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Roofing – World Class and Second Class

The roof on your house is probably one of the last things that you think about. Until it leaks, gets damaged, or wears out. Last October a freak hailstorm happened on my birthday which severely damaged a large number of roofs in the Phoenix area. So much so that insurance companies sent damage response teams here to get repairs underway as quickly as possible.  A number of my clients got affected and I recommend only one roofing company. Collum Roofing.

Before I continue, a quick note about contracting in Arizona. Being a Right to Work state, there is no requirement to have your employees actually proficient in the trade they are being paid for. Contractors here hire on a per job basis and pays ‘piecework rates’, which is a set amount for any particular job. There is nothing wrong with this if you are good at what you do, but the downside is finding yourself part of a crew whose tools still have the price stickers on them, contractors who supply cheap materials, and projects run by accountants rather than folks who care about quality. Hourly workers are like pink monkeys here. Crews get hired off of street corners and are together long enough to get the job done before needing to find another job. Even skilled tradesmen get this treatment. Keep this in mind when you look for contractors for your house.

In looking for a contractor in Arizona, the standard License, Bonding, and Insurance questions should be asked, but more important is asking how long the employees have been with the company, as the better companies have stable work forces, who are treated fairly and just do a better job.

Recently I managed a project requiring re-roofing, repair and painting. First the setup.

The front.

The design of this roof with the gables and the lunacy of the entryway is a rant for another time. Note on the right side of this photo the blotches on the metal drip edge. When this roof was applied, the original roofer used 1” galvanized drip edge and the painter did not prime the metal, which would have required another step and would have resulted in a better job. The trim had been repainted once since construction.

One of the first things I did after making the shingle selection and deciding on a standard pre-finished brown drip edge was to computer color match the new trim paint color to the drip edge. This adds to the finish which you will see soon.

The Rear
One of the oddest bits was the back side of the roof having three layers of shingles. This is unusual as this is the north facing side of the roof and is not as exposed to damage like the south sides of roofs especially in Arizona.

One other interesting item is that there is no metal drip edge. More on that shortly.
Last is the rear patio.

Re-roofing consists of tearing off the old roof, down to the decking. This includes the shingles, underlayment, old drip edge, vent caps, and or lifting or removing HVAC units. Anything less is bullshit and you will be sorry. Maybe not tomorrow, but a lot sooner than a world class job.
This gets the roofer to the point that a complete damage assessment can be made. There are always surprises when you get the roof torn off. In the case of this project, Rodney from Collum and I had a good idea going in what was necessary. Having worked with Collum on other projects, the Roof Repair Project, Artroom Expansion, we have a great working relationship.
One of the first things the roofers did was to tear off the rear patio so I could replace the fascia and decking while they were tearing off the rest of the roof. This allowed us to minimize the time that the roof was exposed. Roofing in Arizona in January has two significant drawbacks. One is that it is our winter rainy season, the other is cold temperature making shingles stiff.
World Class and Second Class
As our project was going on, the house next door was also getting re-roofed, by somebody else. I emphasized that as you will see in a moment. I am providing an illustration of a standard roof detail.

It is important to note that after the tear off, and any repair, the base sheet on a shingle roof is a felt underlayment that extends to the edge of the roof, and gets covered with the metal drip edge. This provides the first layer of protection for your house. The eaves and fascia’s  take the brunt of punishment in any roofing project. Neglecting this is a recipe for disaster later on.  It is not economical to save drip edge for reuse, nor is it a good practice in a quality roof job. The same goes for the other sheet metal items like vent caps.


The diagram above illustrates the order of a quality roof job. On top of the drip edge is the starter course, which is a solid shingle without granules. It extends beyond the drip edge to keep water that much farther from your exposed wood. Also note that we are using a 2” drip edge which completely covers the 1×2” wood drip edge.

With the shingles it looks like this.  This is what a world class job looks like.

This is next door.

Not only did they not completely strip the roof, they left the old drip edge and starter course, and just shingled over it. You can tell this by the paint color as well as the over paint on the bottom of the shingles.

The house next door also has a patio. This is their roofers idea of a complete job.

Here again they left the old drip edge, did not remove the old vent material and it looks like they didn’t even parge the shingles where the roof meets the patio fascia.

Here is how it is done right. Not only is there new underlayment, drip edge and fascia,(details are here) there is also counter flashing to the edge of the roof to avoid the dry rot which created the problem with the old fascia. The counter flashing gives the water a place to exit the roof.

Here is our re-roof in progress. Note the new sheetmetal vents, clean work area and not visible is the fact that the shingles extend behind the gable and not just up to it. (this is one of those PITA areas) Also they are using air nailers and not staples. This is  a significant difference, that could consume an entire posting, (nails work better than staples) but for the sake of brevity trust me on this.

One of the other details that set a world class job apart is the details. This is the finish next door.

Note that they reused the old fittings and caps. Actually they never reset them.

Here is our job. New covers, properly set and painted to match. This is not an extra, this is how they do it.

The last detail to demonstrate why I use and recommend Collum is the front entry.

This is the entry. One of the worst parts of this design is that most of the water that hits the front of the roof gets funneled down here.

Here is one of the inside corners.

The elements have taken their toll.

Here is the finish detail. After replacing some of the sheathing,  repairing the trims and fascia, the roofers extended the starter course below and underneath the corner, shingled and wrapped the shingle over the edge and wrapped it beneath the gable end.

This is the finished project.

The paint helped but the roof is the star of the show. No more roof worries for years.

So if you are anywhere in the Phoenix area and need roofing, Collum Roofing is who I use and highly recommend. Their phone number is (602) 437-1184. Or you can request a quote online. Tell them the remodgeek sent ya.

Patio Cover Repair

Due to October’s Hailstorm, the roofing industry in Arizona has been busy. Insurance companies have been opting to replace the shingle roofs rather than trying to repair them as the damage has been severe. Part of a quality roofing companies work is to warranty their work. To do this, they need to have a solid surface to attach their materials. In a tear off, defects may show up that require replacement of sheathing, fascia and or trim. This will affect the final cost of repairs. Structural repairs are not usually part of a roofers job.A recent project  I did as a residential project manager illustrates this.

Patio covers are a common addition to Arizona houses, and are made from light gauge steel to wood framing. This is a typical wood framed patio cover.

Because of the construction type and slope, this cover was roofed with roll roofing as the slope is too gradual to support shingles. Note that the fascia boards exhibit “dry rot” across the face as well along the side where it meets the house. Improper roofing and flashing allowed water to pond and seep into the fascia damaging it as well as the roof sheathing. This cannot be roofed without being repaired.

Investigation

Here is a closer view of the right side damage.

You can see where the corner has collapsed on the left side. On the right side the damage is more subtle but equally bad. The problem here is that there was no flashing installed under the original shingle roof where it meets the patio fascia. This is probably ignorance on the part of the guy who did this.

Here is the underside where somebody attempted to patch the problem rather than corrected it.

Once the tear off was complete this is what we found. A much more involved area than was seen from below.

Looking at the other side we find an ‘interesting’ repair. On the surface someone strapped the corner with sheet metal.

Underneath they blocked it.

In the center of the patio we saw on the surface of the fascia more dry rot.

Underneath we saw this.

Once the deck was exposed there was more damage then shown.

Repair

We start by replacing the fascia all around.  This is a shot of our problem corner.

The front pieces are in place, and it is time to insert the end rafter. The brown piece attached to the underside sticking out is acting as a third hand as I place the end fascia board.

Here is a detail shot of the inside.

The outside blocking was removed to get the fascia in place, which I fastened to the original roof with 3” deck screws. The 2×4” block inside supports the transition between the two roof planes.

In sheathing the deck I used plywood clips as shown.

Because the cover was framed at 24” centers with 1/2” plywood, clips are necessary to provide the support for the dead and live loads of this cover. Clips are a PITA, but are part of doing a good job.

A brief interlude regarding flat roofs.

A lot of flat roofing is done with standard roll roofing, which when applied correctly functions well. Unfortunately this is not the case in Arizona. This project illustrates this in spades. We will replace this with Torch Applied Roll Roofing. Below is a diagram of a typical construction detail and the roofing.

The major point of a  roof is to keep water out of your house . Regardless of the roofing style – hip, gable, flat, etc. the carpentry is the same. Rafters, fascia, sheathing, and or wood drip edges. The diagram below illustrates the preferred method of getting ready to roof.

The Torch Applied Roll Roofing system is different in a couple details. There is a base sheet, that is fiberglass rather than felt. The fiberglass sheet is nailed to the sheathing in case years down the road the roof needs replacement, and also  acts as a fire stop for the torch application of the roll roofing.

It is important to note in almost all asphalt roofing systems(shingle, roll), the base sheet(roofing felt) is covered with the metal drip edge and counter flashings were appropriate. This ties down the base sheet at the perimeter of the roof and provides a handy guide for the roofers in establishing the overhang when applying the shingles, etc. Trying to save them is an exercise in futility and foolishness  and is only done by bad roofers. You cannot get a quality job this way.

This is one of those deals where you may think you are getting a deal, but trust me, you are not.

The Torch applied roll roofing is heated with a torch and rolled onto the fiberglass base sheet where it bonds to it forming a waterproof roof giving you years of use. Highly Recommended.

Here is the almost finished fascia. On top of the 2×6” fascia we nailed a 1×2” which is called a drip edge/batten which brings the elevation flat to the top edge of the plywood. In this photo, the roof side is loose to allow the roofer to install the counter flashing which was not done in the original build and will prevent the rotting problem which led to this repair.

Here is our problem corner ready for roofing.

I mentioned counter flashing earlier. Here is a photo of it in action.

Note that it extends all the way down to the edge of the roof giving the water a clear path and not creating an area to rot the fascia which is one of the things that started this project.

And who are these roofing wizards? Collum Roofing.

Foam Roofs and Hailstorms

I love foam roofs! It was the second thing that I did when I moved into the casa. Two reasons is insulation and sound proofing. Having a flat roof limits the amount of insulation that you can install between the joists. Closed cell foam has an R value of 6.25 per inch and the typical roof is 2” thick. This translates into reduced energy costs for heating and cooling. Living underneath one of the airport landing patterns for Sky Harbor makes its sound deadening qualities a winner.   However….


Hail takes a toll. Were it just surface problems, usually re-coating would solve things. With the hail storm we had my roof looks more like the surface of the moon and will need to be replaced. Because of the depth of the impacts and the subsequent rain, it is not repairable.

The shingle roofs got hammered as well.

The plastic gutters I put up got smashed. They were more of an experiment in plastic laughing at the Arizona sun. The sun won and the hailstorm drove in the final strokes. Note to self: No plastic rain gutters down here.

If that wasn’t quite enough, my A/C unit got clocked.

The fins should be a dark grey showing you the edges, rather than smashed flat. My A/C guy will have to figure out if this can be fixed.

I waited to call the adjuster as my damage though bad was minor compared some folks, friends and clients. Trashed roofs, broken windows, soaked furniture, glass embedded carpets. Not to mention the cars that look like moonscapes with the dents from the hail.

This will be an interesting time as this is repaired. Photos and commentary to come.

Storage Project 4 Details - Long Post

At the beginning of the Storage Project I said, “What I am going to do is to open this side of this wall, remove the pocket door and frame in the opening, remove the short wall between the existing opening and the new wall creating a long storage room. I will wire it for cable, network and electricity for future uses.”
This is standard stuff and sounds easy. If you do this for a living it is. If you are just starting with a small project around your house, here are some of the drywall detail work to help you conquer your projects.

I have mentioned that I screw drywall. After you have bought the basic drill, circular saw, and hand tools, you very next purchase should be a screwgun. Screws work better for holding drywall. A screwgun has an adjustable nose so you can set depth of your screws just below the surface. This is important because of the design of drywall screws and the ability of them to hold the drywall to the walls without popping.
You cannot use a regular drill and get a consistent depth for maximum holding power by hand. You will be either not deep enough requiring you to use a screw driver to get them deep enough or you will go to deep past the paper making the screw useless in terms of holding power. Trust me on this one.

Here are a few of the details on this project.
Wall Fix.
This is the wall where we removed the small wall that formed part of the old storage closet.

The ceiling is how they hung the drywall just over the top plate. You can barely make out the mesh tape I have bridged the gap with. The wall was a little different. I cut a line into the inside of all the corners before removing the old drywall, to prevent the walls from running. After I removed the old drywall and studs, I used a 4” mud knife and slid it along the wall cutting into the leftover corner material before filling in the gap left by the old studs. I screwed the drywall to the blocking that was in the wall that they used to build this wall. I meshed taped both seams. This will be filled with speed set. I use speed set for pre fill as it dries quickly and shrinks very little requiring much less labor to blend. (That comes later when I skim coat) Also I can add less water to produce a stiffer mix to fill these gaps without runs or bulges.

Ceiling Outlet Repair

This is a typical ceiling outlet hole.  This is made by using a circle cutter and then bashing it open with a drywall hammer. When you are hanging footage, it takes 5 seconds to bash the hole, and up to 30 seconds to use a keyhole saw. Bashing the hole this way breaks the core of the back side of the drywall, which you remove by sweeping it with the hatchet side of your drywall hammer. You should take the time to cut these out with a keyhole saw.

I mention this because if you have small pot lights or retro fit ceiling cans, that keeping falling down or loosening up, this is the reason. There is not enough material around the sides to allow the clamps to hold it tight to the ceiling. You can loosen the clamps, rotate the light and hope you get lucky, or remove the light and build up the top of the sheet with compound. It doesn’t work very well in most cases.

Squaring the hole.

Just like it sounds. Cut a square scrap of drywall, cover the hole, trace around it, and cut it with keyhole saw.

Blocking

Install blocking above your hole. This is a scrap lumber that is long enough to extend beyond the cut line and narrow enough so that you can hold it tight while you screw it in place. The point here is to repair the area and keep it flat. On walls you can use the “tapeless drywall patch technique” But on ceilings I recommend blocking.

Patching

Screw in the block that you used as a template for cutting the hole.

Taping
Mesh tape and you are ready for mud.

Here is a wall patch. This was an exploratory hole for a cable run into the dining room. Measurements get you only so far, Sometimes you just have to perform surgery. Here also I used blocking rather than a tapeless patch which is really much better on smooth walls.

Here is our hole covered before skim coating.

Here is another patch. This is actually a twofer. When I disconnected this outlet, it turned out not to stop here but was also connected to the porch light. So I had to cut it open both top and bottom to trace the wiring. I wire nutted the connections, pushed them in the box, and will be covering this with blank cover plate.

Never !Ever! bury  a box that contains live circuits. It is against code, and if there is ever any problem, you or your electrician will thank me.

Note that I covered the box opening with blue tape. This prevents filling the box with mud as you work. This saves time and aggravation when it comes time to  install outlets,switches,  and cover plates.

It makes taping easier not having to worry about crap in the box or loose wires sticking out, live or not.

Drywall over Concrete
This is the west end of the storage area. On the left and back is the concrete block that forms part of the veranda in front and the garage wall.

Here we use drywall with heavy adhesive(PowerGrab) on the back and use short spiral shank concrete nails to hold it in place while the glue sets. Here is the intrepid client lending a hand.

In the photo below on the right side, the brown area is where we did not cut the inside corner deep enough  so when we pulled the drywall down, the top ran, taking the paint and texture off. This will have to be pre-filled before skimcoating.

Taping
The walls are taped and covered coated prior to skim coating the walls smooth. Because there is so much patching, skim coating is the best wall treatment.

Skim Coating
Because of depth of texture multiple coats of mud will be needed. This is the first coat applied vertically. The second coat should be applied horizontally, and the final coat, with vertically. I used speed set for the fill coats and Dust Control mud for the final coat. Because you have to sand it smooth eventually:)

Second Coat.

Sanded and Primed

Not everything goes according to plan. In finishing up one last connection in the attic, which is another whole post. Suffice to say , in arizona the shortest distance for wiring is anywhere you want.

Attics are dark dusty, and slippery.

One small step for mankind, one more repair for the taper.

Here we installed blocking between the ceiling joists, and screwed through the joists into the blocks with 3” screws, because folks will step on any thing that looks solid. So screw up the drywall, tape over the cracks, and skim over it.

The repaired area is in the middle of the ceiling over the end light. Came out okay.

These are some of the most common challenges you may face in remodeling, but hopefully not all at the same time or in the same room.

Outdoor Table Repairs

This is an end view of a popular outdoor table. Call it Table 1. Wood top and seats and metal legs. The boards have warped and ‘cupped’.  Notice the cracking on the end of the boards. More on that later.

Here is another table from the same yard. Call it Table 2.

The difference between these two tables is the paint. Not the brand, not the type, but the coverage. Table two’s wood was completely painted, (all 6 sides) and table 1 was not.
Table 1 was painted a few years ago, and here is one of the seats. Notice the cracks. The paint is only failing where there are cracks that have broken the ‘skin’. This is not a paint failure, this is an application failure.

This is why this table’s wood failed. Because the bottom was not painted or primered,  the weather in Arizona destroyed these boards. Because the wood was not sealed on all sides, the elements and especially heat, sucked the moisture out of the wood and accelerated the damage process.

There is no repair as the wood has dried past the point where any salvage is possible. If you are going to have wood furniture, protect it by sealing it completely. If  you are going to repaint or seal wood furniture, disassemble as far as practical, clean it, sand it , fill it, re prime and repaint. A little time now or a lot of money later.

Since I am replacing the wood, I am adding a bit of blocking to the end of each board. This will cover the end grain of the planks and minimize damage and end grain cracking like you saw in the first photo of table 1. These blocks were ripped from an 2x and were glued(powergrab) and screwed (3” deck screws with countersunk holes drilled beforehand).

This serves two purposes. Stop the current cracking and minimize future damage.

Since wood is an organic material, there is always defects that you can work around. Sometimes. Twisting, warping, cupping, excess moisture, pitch and mold are just a few things to look for when selecting wood.

Modern wood is shit. I don’t care what they brand it as, or how how carefully they grade it, the big box stores are there to move product. I started at the blue store, looking for 8′ material but thinking that I would need 10′ material and have to cut the ends off to get defect free material. We were out of there in 5 minutes, the selection was so bad.

Went to the orange store and spent 30 mins. digging through the stacks to find 4 2×12” for seats and 6 2×10” for the decks. Was able to find 8′ material so I wasn’t going to waste lumber by cutting down 10′ material.  The most surprising thing about this was the width of the boards. A 2×10”  board in theory is 1 1/2” x 9 1/2‘ 9 1/4′ nominal.  (hattip to Derek @ Kensington Bungalow ) There is a certain amount of variation but usually it is small. The material I picked up measured between 9 7/16” down to 9” even.  Modern wood is shit. But I will make it work.

Fascia Repair

Normally the things I post here are projects that most DIY’ers have the ability to do. This is not one of those projects. This is a demonstration of what can be done in a similar situation.

Arizona is brutal to anything containing moisture. Especially exterior wood. Most homes in Arizona are of either block or wood frame with stucco exteriors. Roofing ranges from shingles to clay or concrete tiles, and in some cases closed cell foam. The trim boards at the bottom edges of the roofs are almost always wood, and are called Fascia. Recently I repaired some fascia that had been savaged by the Arizona sun and rain.

Be advised that this is not a novice repair nor is it recommended if you are on your first skil saw and have less than a couple of hundred hours of cutting time. Call a pro for this.
First, you are not on the ground.
Second, you will be cutting at eye level, in order to control your cut.
Third, removing and replacing the fascia is heavy and awkward.
You have been warned!!

Here is a photo of the damage a few years created. This is not just peeling paint and warped boards. This is dry rot. This creates an interesting problem. This is a carport with a foamed roof. The fascia is 2×12” material. Removing the fascia completely is not an option.

A foam roof’s drip edge also forms the dam for the roofing foam. So removing the drip edge to replace the fascia would entail removing about a foot of foam roofing and the drip edge to replace the entire fascia. This is not a repair you want to undertake at home. After you removed the foam, drip edge which will end up needing replacement, replacing the damaged boards, you will need to install new drip edge of the proper type and find a roofing company to foam the space you created,(the foam in a can looks like roof foam, but it is not) and re-coat the roof.

What I am doing is cutting the fascia at the bottom of the drip edge, replacing it with new material, gluing and screwing it in place, priming and painting.

The plywood outriggers are screwed to the roof joists and the arms extend beyond the fascia to act as a holder for the old fascia and as a guide for the new material. Here is a side view.

Next up is a photo of the area I am repairing. Notice that the fascia below the drip edge is in good condition, which is why this type of repair will work in this situation.

The new material is ripped to depth,(In this case I started with a 2×10 -9 1/2”actual. and ripped it down to 8 1/2”) and cut it to length. I am using PowerGrab glue on the top of the new fascia and on the faces of the roof rafters, and screwing it in place with 3” deck screws. Note: The top screw is angled up at 45 degrees to pull the new material tight to the existing fascia. Then there are an additional three screws in the field. I also used 1 5/8” deck screws through the miters to hold them tight. I used a countersink bit to pre  drill my holes.
Here is the result.

I used DryDex ”pink stuff’ spackle for the screw holes and a 35 year paintable latex caulking, for the edges and the gaps on the back side where the old and new material joined.

I used Glidden Gripper Primer for this. Fantastic Primer. Couple of coats of Behr Exterior Latex and it should be good for 5-10 years.

Not so Simple Truss Repair

Note; This is probably one of the most dangerous techniques that I have posted. Unless you are comfortable with all of the suggestions and tools and techniques, farm this out to a professional.

Found a cracked truss at in a clients house. This is not normally a concern as engineered trusses are built pretty well. But things happen. This truss is underneath a HVAC roof unit. It was probably a combination of heat as temperatures in Arizona get insanely hot in attics, and vibrations from the heating unit.

The open crack tells us that the top chord of the truss has bent due to drying out and the extra weight of the HVAC unit. To repair we need to close up the crack and add some reinforcements. We will need to jack this up.
truss1

To straighten this I am using a 2 ton bottle jack found at the auto parts store. Any more than this, the risk of damage and or injury goes up.You don’t need any more power than this.

bottlejack

You need to be sure that you have a secure platform for doing this. I used a piece of 3/4” plywood spanning two joists to give me a solid jack point.  If you do not do this, you run the risk of bowing the bottom truss chord and causing nail pops on the ceiling below.

You want to perform a straight lift. It will also take some time. You need to jack slowly, let it rest before attaching the plywood reinforcements, and allowing time for the glue to set before releasing the pressure from the jack.

The diagram below shows the jack resting on the plywood, the jack, the temporary post, and a block of wood screwed to the rafter portion to prevent the jack post from sliding out while jacking.  To help my repair I am using PowerGrab in the crack before I jack it closed. Checking it with a level upon contact and before jacking will keep the jack and post from tipping over.

trussdwg

The left side of the photo below shows the wood post that is sitting on top of the jack for straightening and closing the crack. Notice that I cut an angle on the jack post so that it will contact my block and not tip the jack and post. Having jacked up my truss, I glued the back sides of my plywood and am using quick clamps to hold them in place before I screw them to the truss.

To repair this I cut 2 pieces of 5/8” 5 ply plywood,  3”x72” as reinforcements for either side. I am using 1 – 1/4” Deck Screws spaced about 8” apart staggered to attach them, taking care not to screw into the crack area we just fixed.
truss2

After about 30 mins., we slowly release the pressure on the jack, (it will sag a bit) and remove our jack and tools and materials. All Done.

truss3

Like I say, this is a dangerous repair due to being awkward, and is being presented for information only. You probably want to farm this out to a professional. This is only one method and I disclaim any responsibility for  injury or damage.

Yeah it really is that dangerous.

Home Depot’s Curious Faucet Section

6a00d8345237e469e20115715fefa3970c-800wi I was in the Home Depot last week looking for a repair kit for this
faucet. I was in the orange store as the client remembered getting it
there. It is a Delta Cierco Around 170 bucks.

Here in Arizona the water is bad, not being toxic
or smelly, but in having large quantities of dissolved minerals. Folks
in other parts of the country probably wonder what products like lime
and scale removers are for but here in the southwest they sit next to the glass cleaners.

These minerals act like abrasives on seals and the moving parts of faucets, so they leak. They all leak. I don’t care what the ads or salesman tell you, sooner or later your faucets will leak. So when you are spending money on a faucet you should make sure that repair kits are available.  Really. If the place you are buying it from does not have repair kits in the same section as the faucets, run away! Unlike a lot of products, faucet manufacturers have pretty explcit instructions for repair. Plus faucets are not like electric outlets where the only decisions are amperage and color. They are different and do not share parts.

Home Depot and Lowes both offer a selection of faucets that will work
fine and look good. What they do not do but should, is on those cute
little tags with the price and model numbers is to put the model number
and location of the repair kits for them. I mean really, the repair
kits are right there on the other side of the aisle. I mean you are already installing the thing, so knowing that you can fix it later will make you a hero.

Some expensive faucets have parts that are only available through plumbing supply houses. These require a plumber, usually twice. First to figure out what brand it is, then another service call to install it after ordering the parts hoping that they are, 1-available, 2-not on back order,3-not more expensive than the faucet is worth.

If you are apprehensive by the selections in the orange or blue store, a plumbing supply
house will have you hearing the danger music  from  Jaws screaming in
your brain.

Maytag Major Appliances (Don’t Buy Them!) and Extended Warranties.

I don’t think that Maytag produces good appliances or is a very good company anymore. Let me expand on this.

I bought a bunch of Maytag products almost 5 years ago. At the Maytag Store(which are not owned by Maytag, but are independently owned stores that hustle Maytag Products) My ex and I had sold our house, we were both moving and were under the gun to get out of the old house. A 25 cubic foot
Refrigerator,(which has had the compressor replaced already, and as I discovered my freezer has the same compressor) a 25 cubic foot freezer, and a ‘Commerical Grade’ washer
dryer pair. My ex also bought the same  refer (and has had the compressor replaced also) and a Neptune Washer Dryer Pair that turned out to be the Appliances from Hell. We also bought the factory Extended Warranties for these.
Dave the salesman made a lot of money that day, but he is also a bottom feeder. (The Neptune was so bad that there was a class action lawsuit filed and
Dave the salesman said nothing about it when I asked him point blank if
there was any reported problems with the machines we picked out, to
which he said No., which is why he is a bottom feeder.)

Normally I don’t buy extended  warranties on products, as most stuff
that I buy either works or breaks inside of the standard warranty time
frame. I bought the warranty because I don’t want to be an appliance
repairman above the stuff I already know how to do.

My Maytag Washer SAV2555AWW broke last Sunday. This is a knob operated non electronic washer. Simple operation for a simple guy. I am a beltline washer, above the belt is one load with the towels and sheets, and below the beltline is the other load.  I do laundry once a week. Since I live alone, we are not talking about massive laundry action, which is probably more than you wanted about my laundry habits.

6a00d8345237e469e20115715cdd24970c-800wi

So a scratch paper calculation would have me doing 520 loads over almost 5 years. Not what you would call real hard use.

I have an extended warranty for it. I tried calling on Monday from my cell phone, and ended in a voice mail repeating loop where the voice says “Select one of the following options”, pauses and says “Select one of the following options”. . .

Tuesday I called and after a significant wait time got someone with lungs, who ‘knew’ me and had my information on the screen based on my phone number. I am thinking this is pretty cool. Having my information at hand so things can move along. I described the problem, “got loud, started puking water on the floor from the bottom”.

To my amazement, I was scheduled for service the very next day. Cool I thought, moving on with my life etc.

Wednesday, the repairman arrived at the outside of the time window, and after describing the problem, he was able to diagnose it in a little less than 30 seconds. Cool I thought, thinking that he would repair it and my life would continue. Not so fast.

The repairman did not have the transmission on the truck with him, nor could he repair it. He had to go back to the shop and and describe the fix and get authorization to order parts, let alone fix it.

Here is the deal on this. Sniffing on the web brings up the triple lip seal problem which is not limited to my model but is also a problem on these models: which are Maytag and Amana units.

ALW110RAW, ALW210RAW, ALW210RMC0, ALW210RMC1, ALW210RMW0,

ALW210RMW1, ALW410DAW, ALW410RAW, ALW430RAC, ALW430RAW,

ALW432RAW, ALW450QAC, ALW450QAC1, ALW450QAW, ALW450QAW1,

ALW480DAC, ALW480DAW, ALW540RAC, PALW540RAW, ALW540RMC0,

ALW540RMC1, ALW540RMW0, ALW540RMW1, ALW680RAC, ALW680RAW,
ALW780QAC, ALW780QAC1, ALW780QAW, ALW780QAW1, ALW780QMC0,
ALW780QMC1, ALW780QMW0, ALW780QMW1, ALW880QAC, ALW880QAC1,

ALW880QAW, ALW880QAW1, ALW891SAW, ALW895SAC, ALW895SAW,

ALW895SAW1, ALW980EAW, ALW990EAC, ALW990EAC1, ALW990EAW,

ALW990EAW1, SAV505DAWW, SAV5300AWW, SAV5401AWW,
SAV5600AWW, SAV5701AWW, SLW330RAW, NAV2330AWW; NAV3330AWW; NAV3330EWW;
SAV205DAWW; SAV2555AWW; SAV2655AWW; SAV3655AWW; SAV365AAWW; SAV365ZAWW;
SAV3710AWW; SAV3855AWW; SAV405DAWW; SAV405DEWW; SAV4655AWQ; SAV4655AWW;
SAV4655EWQ; SAV4655EWW; SAV4710AWW; CW9500W; NAV5800AWW; NAV6800AWW;
NAV8800AWW; NAV8800EWW; SAV515DAWW; SAV515DEWW; SAV5710AWW; SAV571EEWW;
SAV5910AWW; SAV5910EWW
Source: Maytag bulletin

Which tells us that there are a lot of wrappers and not much innovation. The bulletin (PDF) goes into detail on replacing the bearing assembly including a whole bunch of special tools to get to it. The last page of the bulletin tells the repairman that he needs to buy  a new tool to perform the repair described on the proceeding 7 pages.

I called Friday to inquire when my washer was going to be repaired, only to be told that they were waiting for e-mail authorization from Whirlpool, (who bought Maytag about a year or so ago) before they could order parts to repair my washer.

I have some Major Problems with this.

The first problem is that the warranty company is a 3rd party company doing business as Maytag, to administer this. And as I noted above waiting for email authorization is last on the list I want to hear. This is one of those deals that shuffles shit around, like claims payers for health insurance which just adds more layers of crap between a company and a customer.

The second problem from a cost effectiveness standpoint is not having enough information or utilizing it. The warranty company has all of my information on file, phone, address,  Model number, etc. What they don’t seem to have is information from Maytag on these machines breakdown history. By this I mean, by model number the various parts and fixes that have happened over time. This used correctly would have sent the repairman out with the parts to fix the machine with one trip. This sucks for the repairman who as you may guess is not a Maytag employee, but is another third party company doing work on contract to Maytag.

Every repair that I or the ex has needed has required at least 2 if not more service calls to fix. Most of them have been caused by not having the parts in stock at the warehouse and needing to order them from the factory if they were not already on back order, because of “popularity”( you know the shit that breaks regularly)

The third problem is this is standard operating procedure for companies. By doing the Tom Peters Downsizing, outsourcing, and third party claims and service, it looks good to the shareholders, since the whole service, warranty and repair problems can be swept under the rug and not show up on the balance sheet.

But the people on the point of the transaction like me the customer, who actually buys this stuff so that they have jobs and  who just wants stuff to work, are screwed,  the poor bastard from the repair service who must want to cut his throat at night having spending day after day knowing what the problems are how to solve them, but having his hands tied, and gagged, by a system that does what it can to make fufilling their obligations as complex as possible.

I don’t think that Maytag produces good appliances or is a very good company anymore. Now that Whirlpool owns Maytag, I wonder how long before Maytag gets replaced by Whirlpool and they hope that we will not remember getting screwed.

Knowing that my freezer shares the same compressor that failed in my refrigerator 3 years after I bought it does not fill me with optimism nor does it endear me to a company that seems to be all hat and no cattle.

Your choices for major appliances are limited as Amana is just rebadged Maytag, Whirlpool is probably gonna use all the cheap Maytag parts, which cuts out a lot of Samsung models as they make the parts for Maytag.

I really just want to do my laundry and not have to bitch slap companies, or tell them how to run their operations so that folks will actually buy their products again.

Drywall Skim Coating - Inside Corners

In remodeling you sometimes decide to bridge the new work to old or existing work. Matching or changing your wall surface becomes a consideration. This is a short guide on skim coating existing walls to match the new construction.

The previous wall surface is a heavy knockdown texture. Basically what happens is that the walls are taped and second coated, and then taping mud is thinned and sprayed on the walls with a texture hopper, and after a few minutes, it is ‘knocked down’ with a taping knife resulting in a textured wall. It is a cheap finish system and all too often is done badly.

This is the alcove where the toilet sits in the Lightyear Sunken Bath Project. In this case we decided to make the walls smooth. This has just about every thing you can run into when remodeling with drywall between old and new construction.

The left of this photo shows the edge of the drywall that covers where we installed a pocket door. The back wall shows where we installed a glass block for light and replaced the piece of drywall we cut out previously. You can also get a good idea of the ‘knock down’ texture.
The right side shows where we framed up the new partition between the toilet and the shower with the opening for the open shelf unit.

Throne Alcove with New and Old work.

Throne Alcove with New and Old work.


Here is the beginning of taping this area. We use mesh tape for the flats, and paper tape for the inside corners. Taping on texture has its own issues. When you feather your mud, the knife running over the texture telegraphs and creates ripples in your mud coat.
When taping inside corners on these areas, mud and embed your tape, and wipe down the new flat side first. This creates a guide area for wiping down the other side and give you a clean smooth corner.

Taping cracks and establishing Inside corners

Taping cracks and establishing Inside corners


Here the process is a bit further along with the introduction of the open shelf unit and the metal bead. This unit is trimless, so I installed ‘L’ Bead along the outside edges of the shelving unit. Not shown in this photo is a piece of mesh tape applied diagonally just below the high side of the bead. This strengthens the joint, minimizing cracking, and reinforcing the gap made by the bead and the drywall. We also taped the flats and installed the corner bead.

Wall and Shelf Detail

Wall and Shelf Detail

Look at the bottom of this photo and notice the grey triangular area. This is where I did not cut through the corner deep enough when I removed the old drywall prior to rebuilding this.

Here is where I have prefilled this area thinking that I had gotten all of the loose paper removed. Bzzt! not so fast. You can see the bubbles from a bit of the paper that had separated. You have to remove these and fill them in. If you do not, succeeding coats of mud will bounce, and look bad. You can also get an idea of the texture filling with the splotchy area outside of the triangle.

Paper Detail

Paper Detail

Here is where I have taped the flats and the corners. You can see the diagonal line of where the two ‘L’ beads do not match up perfectly. This will be fixed on succeeding coats. The magazine rack also gets taped. If it is an inside corner it gets tape.

Reading nook detail

Reading nook detail

The most important part of skim coating is taping the inside corners to provide clean sharp angles.

Inside Corner Taping

Inside Corner Taping


Once your corners are done, you can then begin the process of skim coating to smooth your walls.

Wall Skimming

Wall Skimming