I love my job...


Old 02-01-06, 05:09 PM
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I love my job...

You know, it boggles my mind when I encounter shoddy craftsmanship on the jobsite that has been done by other contractors. It makes me think, "How do people like this even stay in business?" Case in point:

Today I was privileged to go investigate and repair a 2 story home that has had problems with water leaking in on the north side of their home when it rains. The home was built in 1991. It has Masonite siding that is in wonderful condition, except for some small evidence of water damage at the corners of the north windows. Whenever it rains, it leaks into their living room ceiling on the first floor. I suspected that the 2nd floor window was the cause- it's a 3 lite window with a half circle mulled to the top.

As part of the job, the homeowner wanted to get rid of the half circle window and replace it with a new 3 lite window. The old aluminum clad window was showing signs of rot behind the cladding and inside the casement frames. The windows had worthless glazing.

Well, as we began to tear off the siding, the problem was obvious. The builder did not use any type of building paper on the home! Water that got behind the siding, or moisture that wept out of the window unit would wet the OSB sheathing on a regular basis. This water would run right down the wall and behind the nailing fin of the next window below it. The window frames had rotted clear through and the OSB sheathing had large areas of rot that needed to be replaced. It had likely been leaking like this from day one, but didn't show up inside the house until the OSB had rotted clear through. How disappointing! I was very sad to report this news to the homeowner.

We've replaced the rotton sections of OSB and have flashed the lower window with Grace Vycor membranes and have applied tyvek to the entire north wall. Tomarrow we'll install the window and hopefully finish installing the fiber cement siding that we are using in place of Masonite.

What's disappointing about this is that the entire rest of the house will develop the same problems, and it's going to eventually ruin every window in the house. What's worse is the builder likely did other homes in the neighborhood the same way. It dismays me when builders cut corners like this to save a few dollars, which ends up costing homeowners 100X as much down the road.

This is just another example of why I would never install vinyl siding (any siding for that matter) over masonite, over asbestos/slate siding... or over foam that is not installed as a "weather resistive barrier". When are contractors going to wake up and take responsibility for their craftsmanship? It doesn't take a genius to figure out that a house needs building paper no matter what. <--- no matter what the "codes" say, either! Since some codes went through a period where building paper was not required under some types of siding.
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Old 02-01-06, 07:06 PM
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I think too many people want a fast buck and don't care about their reputation. It always kind of tickled me when I was the high bidder but got the job anyway. Only sad thing is my profit done right was probably less than hack's profit on a shoddy job.

I did a job years ago where my bid was almost 3x the low bid. I explained to the homeowner that my material bill for the job would likely be as much as the low bid [and it was] Why are there so many that don't take pride in their work?

I know you are a siding contractor and I'm not talking about you but some of your shoddy competitors. I've painted more than one house that you could see daylight past the window trim until I caulked the casing. If you can see daylight from inside is the vinyl siding and trim doing any good? I would hate to think I had a home that the only thing keeping the weather out was a thin bead of caulk.
Old 02-01-06, 08:14 PM
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Heh, yeah you are right about the profit. That's how some guys make their profit is by cutting corners. I'm in a fairly rural area, and around here if you don't have a good reputation, you probably won't be working for very long, since word gets around fast. My co-worker has a friend who had one of our "rivals" do some work for him, and one of the corners he cut was not using any caulking... AT ALL. But that's another story for another day. That guy also does some pretty unbelievable stuff.

About the light you saw past the trim, I'm not sure what would explain it. I guess it could be that they stuck a replacement window with NO nailing fin into an opening (they'd really be asking for it if they did that) and then tried to flash the outside with aluminum trim coil (and then forgot to caulk it) but you'd have to be pretty dumb to try that. Most new construction windows have nailing flanges.

The light was coming between the casing and the extension jamb? That would indicate to me that number one, the window is not insulated at ALL. Normally, any gap between the window and the exterior will either be packed with strips of fiberglass insulation or filled with a low-expanding polyurethane or latex foam. Secondly, the only place light would be seen is either through the holes punched in the nailing fin (which would mean the rough opening was too big) or perhaps if the light is brighter near the corners of the window, the corners have not been taped and flashed.
Which now that you mention it, is also a beef of mine. A lot of window companies use fold-down nailing fins, or even rigid aluminum fins that do not seal up the corners of the window whatsoever. Then they give you these stupid little corner patches to supposedly "seal up" the corner. What a joke! I pitch those things as soon as I see them, because they don't work, they don't stick, and they make me angry just thinking about them. But anyway, there is usually a small 3/4" x 3/4" corner of the window where you could stick your finger right into the R.O, unless you taped that up with flashing tape. So perhaps that is what you were seeing.

The only other thing I've seen is that in some cases the nailing fin vinyl may be so thin that it's actually translucent in direct sunlight. It would have to be some pretty thin vinyl for that to happen though.

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