When making EIFS repairs, you may need to paint the wall to blend the new and old top coat colors and hide the repairs. It is usually not too difficult to make the new patch texture match that on the existing wall. Lighter top coat colors can become darker over time due to dirt accumulation and age. So the new patch may stand out even though the same color top coat produced by the same manufacturer is used to make the repair. Top coat material of the same color can also vary in shade from batch to batch. Both photos show EIFS repairs, but the darker color is nearly invisible, while the lighter is easily seen.
Modern sealants (caulks) are vastly superior to those available in years past. They exhibit better flexibility and do so for longer periods of time. As good as the newer products are, they still must be properly applied if they’re to perform as intended.
As a general rule, sealant joints should be about half as deep as they are wide. Shallower than that, there’s not enough material to accommodate thermal contraction of the substrates (which widens the joint) without tearing. Deeper than that, the material can be distorted and/or pushed out of the joint when the substrates expand and narrow the joint. Elastomeric sealants also cannot accommodate full movement in two planes and three-point bonding can result in damage and reduced protection. Backer materials (to control joint depth) and bond breakers (to prevent three-point bonding) are critical elements of sealant joints.
Joint preparation is equally important. The joint substrates must be free of contaminants and in some cases, primed. A properly adhered joint will tear (fail cohesively) before it debonds. The accepted test for adhesion is to cut a cured joint across its width and a few inches along the substrates, then pull the freed segment at a 90 degree angle until it tears or pulls free from the substrates. If it pulls free before it tears, adhesion is inadequate.
Other important factors include temperature at the time of application and other weather considerations. Manufacturers will have requirements specific to their products and those must be complied with to assure performance and longevity.
The conditions necessary for sealant performance cannot be attained when applying new sealant over old. “Overshooting” caulk will produce results that are at best, temporarily or partly effective.
Synthetic wood manufacturers have requirements on the size of the gaps required between their decking boards. We have seen some decks where the synthetic lumber was spaced so tightly that water ponded and ice was formed on the deck surface. Manufacturers offer very long warranties (up to 25-year) but they will not honor the warranty if the gaps are too small and a future problem can be attributed to improper spacing of the boards. Check with the manufacturer before you start to install synthetic decking for the side to side as well as end gaps that are required.
Tap the concrete with a hammer. A sharp, ringing sound tends to indicate that the concrete is sound. A dull hollow sound means that the concrete may be unsound, unbonded, delaminated or deteriorated.
It sounds simple and it is…….hammer away!
Installing linoleum or similar covering directly on concrete floors can be problematic if there is moisture in the slab. This is especially a concern with on grade slabs where there may be moisture under the slab that can permeate upward. Linoleum and similar floor coverings act as a barrier that can cause moisture to be trapped under the flooring. When this happens, the floor covering can unbond, warp and become a serious hazard.
Carpet covering will let moisture vapor pass through and normally are not a problem. Carpet can be a solution where other floor coverings are adversely affected by moisture.
If a linoleum or similar covering needs to be installed, it is important to understand and analyze the moisture present in and/or under the slab. Various types of moisture testing can be performed to help verify that the concrete is dry enough to allow the installation of an impermeable floor covering.
We’ve beat this drum before but some things are worth repeating. When products claim to be breakthrough or cutting-edge technology, it usually means they’re so new they have no history of performance in actual field conditions. Buzzwords can vary (micro and nano are currently en vogue), but unless someone can explain to me why a micro anything is better that a non-micro something, I’m skeptical. I suspect there’s more psychology that physics at play there. Nano-tubes for example are exotic forms of a very mundane material (carbon). They exhibit some very unusual (and useful) properties that are too complicated for most (myself included) to fully understand. As such, they must be special.
That’s not to say all new products are worthless. After all, every product had to start as new. But before you spend a lot of money on one; be aware of its limitations. An “economical” or “simple” roof repair (tape, spray, goo-in-a-can) may be useful for an emergency, short-term fix and not much else.
Snake oil salesmen have been around for a long time, so they must be pretty good at selling their wares. In the early days, their potions, elixirs and decoctions at least had enough opium and alcohol in them to keep you from knowing you were being had.
If you’ve had any experience (good or bad) with rejuvenators, repair tapes or sprays or any other unorthodox products, please share them with us.
There are a number of tools available to help evaluate and correct building problems, particularly those related to moisture intrusion. Infrared scans are frequently used for checking roofs and exterior building walls This same technology is used to check for hot and cold spots in walls, electrical equipment, etc.
A side use of infrared cameras has been to survey interior finished surfaces for possible “hidden” water intrusion. Sometimes, these cameras can detect moisture in ceilings or walls even before there are visible signs of moisture or drywall damage on inside surfaces.
Structural insulated panels (SIP) are a prefabricated assembly of rigid foam insulation sandwiched between layers of structural boards, often oriented-strand board (OSB). These panels are used for walls, floors and roofs for homes in place of “conventional” stick-built construction.
While SIPs have been around for a long time, they are currently gaining a lot of attention and many home builders are making SIP panels a part of there regular construction or at least offer it as an option.
As with most anything, SIP construction has several pros and cons. On the pro side, they are very energy efficient, mechanically sound and quick to construct. On the other side, they are normally more expensive than conventional framing and the consequences of poor fabrication and/or defective installation can be extremely difficult to correct.
Caution needs to be used when deciding on SIP construction. The fabricators and installers must be properly trained to avoid severe problems. People involved with conventional, stick-built home construction are not qualified to perform SIP construction unless they receive the proper training. In addition, the cutting of holes in SIP panels (for skylights or other items) must be carefully reviewed to avoid compromising panel integrity.