tv [untitled] July 29, 2010 10:00pm-10:30pm PST
>> good afternoon and welcome to the department of building inspection's brown bag lunch. we depo this every third thursday here at the department of building inspection. we have an interesting topic today about preventative home maintenance. and we'll talk about what that means a little bit. i have two great guests, extremely knowledgeable folks, anthony wong who is a contractor here in the city, thanks for joining us, anthony. and dan, also a contractor and both of these gentlemen do a lot of small, medium and some, i guess you do some large size jobs as well. but also have maintenance and home prevention, damage
prevention and maintenance issues built into the work they do. in fact, i know dan brought along a list of maintenance check lists that they actually use in their business to help people. so what do you use that mapet nance check list for? -- maintenance check list for? >> for every project we finish, we sign a service agreement or offer a service maintenance agreement and then when we go back to the house a year later we go through this check list and we go through the whole thing to make sure everything's being maintained, that, well, it's a very detailed check list. but every house in san francisco needs to be maintained and you can see through lawrence's slides what happens if you don't maintain them. >> in my experience, often people do wonderful design work and excellent construction but stop at that point when the construction is finished and think they're done. but that's not the case. you have to maintain it.
you have to have a program first to evaluate it. is this what we wanted? pick up the stuff that's not quite right, you thought it was ok but not. so we have to do post construction evaluation and then we have to have a maintenance program. you've got to maintain them. these houses do not maintain themselves. and much of the work that we see coming in for small permit work in the department of building inspection are things that are related to maintenance. people want to rebuild a deck or they need to fix the bathroom and put new materials and tile and so on and a lot of that work is work that could be -- extend the life of what you have if it had been properly maintained. not to say we don't like you to do bork in your homes, we -- to do work in your homes, but maintenance will help home repair. i have some slides here. let's take a quick peak here -- peek here. we'll look at the outside buildings first and inside
buildings next. outside buildings are typical maintenance issues. a whole plethora of maintenance issues. the siding, the windows, the doors, the stairs, the sidewalk, the landscape. so let's just look at a couple different kinds of buildings and the typical problems they might have. so, for example, here's a building with final siding. what kind of maintenance do we need with the vinyl siding? we have to wash the thing, that's for darn sure. what do you think? >> it's got to be washed, caulked, checked to make sure water is not getting behind the siding. >> caulking is not a replacement for good flashing. caulk something sort of a -- an interim waterproofing material that has to be maintained. if somebody says, we have a leak, let's caulk it, what that means is we've got a temporary solution that's going to leak some more unless you maintain that caulking constantly. the way that leaks are prevented and by the way leaks and water intrusion are pretty much the number one problem in buildings. that's my experience. is that what you see as well? the way to really prevent that is through proper flashing,
typically metal, and then counterflashing over the top. complex flashing solutions. we're talking about washing buildings by the way and every year or two it is really a good idea for to you put a ladder up on your long weekend and get a bucket of soapy water and a big long handled mop or brush and get up there and scrub it and hose it off. you don't need a pressure blaster, you don't need to do anything more than just wash it off and hose it down. that's my speernls. what do you think? -- experience. what do you think? >> it's really important. also, when do you the water testing you have to make sure you test around the windows and then go back inside to see if there's any dampness around the sheet rock, to see if there are areas you need to do additional flashing or caulking which again is a temporary measure. but that's a good time to check to make sure that your windows are waterproof. >> so don't be overly aggressive about water testing, though. if you take a hose ass and
squirt it at something, water will -- hose and squirt it at something, water will go in. when you wash it off and hose it down gently and carefully, it gives you a chance to look for problems as well. >> yeah. the main thing is wash around all the windows. the water will go inside your house,ed siding. >> so don't be overly aggressive with your hose. if you go to a window an start squirting it, it'll get wet. let's look at another style of house. here's wood siding with stucco in this pattern of masonry and then a solid wood garage door. how do we maintain wood siding? >> wood siding needs to be painted, it needs to be maintained. if it's a clear finish and you -- there's some shingles and siding that you can let go gray in that instance you're really depending on all the flashing to do your water proofs. >> by the way, stucco, people say, oh, i got stucco like this blue area of the house.
stucco is taking care of the waterproofing. stucco is not a waterproof material. stucco always cracks. stucco combracks and in fact -- cracks and in fact unless you put a waterproofing membrane on top of it which is paint or something, when it gets wet, water's going to pass right through the stucco and what happens when it passes through or gets behind your wood siding? what happens then? a few things happen. first you get wood rot from the sheathing underneath. but secondly something really important in our earthquake-prone areas is that you can rust the fasteners, the nails, the nails that are holding the sheathing and other types of metal as if ners which are always underneath -- fasteners which are always underneath the siding, you lose the sheer connections between the sheathing and the framing of the building. and we saw that in earthquakes. especially in that lower few feet close to the sidewalk where you have a lot of water
splash. we see rusting of connecters, a serious problem and a reason for to you make sure you're keeping that stucco painted and coated. do we have to seal the grout and the masonry around brick? >> if you don't, if you don't seal the brick, then water penetrates through and you have the same problem as you have with stucco. most of the dry rock that we come across is either in stucco or brick because the water gets in and gets trapped and can't get back out. where the wood breathes better. so, wood gets -- water gets behind stucco. the worst dry rot is always behind a brick or a stucco facade. >> brick has a special problem and a special reason for you to make sure that it is waterproof and that's because it has metal fasteners that keep the brick attached to the building. if the fasteners rust, the brick is just sitting there and in an earthquake the whole brick can fall off.
>> you should always have a six-inch separation between the lowest shingle or piece of siding and ground contact. and that should be a concrete foundation there. >> so it's probably -- there probably is a foundation but they figured out a way to extend those all the way down to the ground which is a problem. so the reason you want to have it up from the ground is that we have a lot of water splash in heavy rain and they're going to get wet and also that what happens is water through capillary action and other methods will actually get sucked up through -- behind those shakes and shingles, if they can go all the way down to the ground. dan mentioned a topic that i think is really important. it covers not just building maintenance but generally new buildings and everything. and that's that the building is made of a system of components and the problem is that not all
of these components have the same life span. so we build a building and the life span of a building in san francisco is essentially unlimited. we don't say we expect buildings to last 30 years and then we're going tear them down and build a new building like they do in japan and other places. we say, once a building is built we expect that it will be able to be maintained. and once it's 50 years old, it's likely to become a historic resource of some sort. the problem is then that buildings might have shakes and shangele -- shingles that are good for 30 years but the paper underneath it might be, you know, have a 10-year or 15-year or 20-year warranty or life expectancy and the fasteners mible own -- might be only reasonably good for 15 or 20 years and the window might have a 20-year warrant and this stuff does not align. and we see this especially as a problem with new buildings where we have a new building
that -- where we have a facade that we expect to be secure for 30 years to 40 years before it needs to be reteared but underneath it has -- it has some membrane that's a 20-year membrane. that's an issue that we're all wrestling with it as part of this new sustainability overview. how do we align all of the components so that we have a durable building? you can't have a durable building if the stuff that's behind those shakes is not as durable as the shakes themselves basically. one of our big issues right now. here's a stucco facade with a wood door. it looks like it might even have new vinyl windows, hard for us to tell from this distance. >> wherever you have two dissimilar materials coming together, you have an opportunity for a leak. so we're stuck -- where stucco but thes up to -- butts up to brick or wood or to vinyl or -- those are the areas that you have to be -- where two materials come together, that's
the area that you really have to maintain and that's where the leaks happen. that's where cracks occur. there's differential settlement, over time the materials pull apart and that's where you really have to be concerned about maintaining a water proof seal. >> so if you look at a picture like this where we see the stairs which are probably concrete and the building which is a wood frame building, they separate. they will separate. they are not made of the same materials. and the reason that we have a gap that will ultimately occur between the stair and the building is they have different rates of expansion and contraction from the sun and just from temperature change. they have differential settlement in san francisco. everything settling a little bit. doesn't have to be settling a lot but if it settles a quarter of an inch over 10 years, part of it is going to settle more
than another part and the inherent materials actually have different properties that allow them to shrink and swell. for example, a wood building when it gets humid shrinks and swells. here's an interesting building. it has three different construction types, materials on its finish. it's got this brick -- what do they call that? clinker brick? is that what it's called? yeah, clinker brick, where it's sticking out. when i was young i used to climb on buildings to practice my rock climbing skills. clinker brick buildings. and then above it we have, i think that's shingles and then above that we have a wood siding. so three different types of material makes it a little more challenging even to maintain this building. and we're talking about painting. you've got to maintain your building and paint it. here's a building that is painted up to the height of their ladder, i think. so, i think they'll be finishing soon. i hope.
>> if they get a bigger ladder. >> i'll loan them my ladder. ok. so now let's look a little more detailed at exteriors of buildings. an exterior door, it has exterior door hardware and we can see it needs maintenance. peeling paint, we see windows where the caulking is exposed. typically do you have to paint over caulking or on glazing around windows? or is that snok these windows are grazed -- ok? these windows are glazed. >> the glazing compound doesn't have any u.v. protection. you have to put paint on them to protect them. >> so we see -- >> or they'll crack. >> we see painting coming off where the windows are glazed into the door. so that needs to be painted and maintained as well. i was talking about durblet. this is a new environmental window about 10 years ago. replaced an old wood frame window that was 100 years old. and this 10-year-old window you
can see it is damp inside and the reason is that the seal between the two sheets of glass, it's a double-pained glass. the -- paned glass. the seal has failed. you say, i'm going to put double-paned windows in and put environmental windows and save a lot of time and energy and money. it turns out it's in many cases more expensive because the cycle of replacing dual glazing, you have to pull this out and replace it again. the overall life cycle cost is quite high. dual glazing is getting better but we still see a lot of failures of seals in glazing. do you see that? here. looking up close you can see. that moisture in there is not going away. what do you have to do to fix this? >> take it out to reseal it.
so take it out, either reseal it or replace -- yeah. here also along the same lines, dan mentioned that u.v. resistance issues, you know, sight in degrades a lot of material -- sunlight degrades a lot of materials. it's going to degrade caulking and paint and it's going to degrade the vinyl on the sides of windows and this is once again part of this dourability conundrum. how long is this environmental going to last that supports this new window? and what do we do to maintain that? i brought along some armor ol. it has a u.v. resistant compound in it. so i think as part of your home maintenance, if you have exposed vinyl you should think about not only armorol but some material that provides u.v. resistance so you can make the
plastic last longer. i see a lot of environmental where it starts to crack off -- vinyl where it starts to crack after 10 or 15 years. this window was built in the 1910 era and here's an old wood window. great. that is a great window. you just have to maintain it. you don't have to take it out and replace it. if you have -- if it leaks, what do you do? you get drafts, what do you to? -- do? you take the window out, you can reglaze, put new glass in it but you don't take the whole thick and throw it away. there's -- thing and throw it away. there's no need. take them out, take them to a reglazing shop, clean up the frame, tighten it up and put it back in. it's a green building practice, too, rather than requiring you to take this 100-year-old functioning thing and throw it away and put in some temporary vinyl clad thing that's going to last 10 or 20 years if you're lucky and have to throw that away again. now, it's possible by the way
to take these windows and increase the steps of the rabbit and put that thin double glaze in there. i've heard of people doing. that i've never actually seen it done but i hear it's possible. have you ever seen that done? where people put the dual glazing in existing -- >> we do it all the time. we try to -- the positive is that you cut down noise, but you can do the same thing with a lambnant window and you cut down energy loss. the problem is, like you said, unless it's a good window system, the seal will eventually fail and then you've got another problem on your handles. which is an unsuitly -- suit -- unsightly fagging of the window. >> so in many -- fog -- fogging of the window. >> so make sure the glazing is properly sealed and weather stripped and if you have noise or you're worried about temperature, put in some heavy curtains on the inside you can
close. that's a wonderfully cheap, easy, reasonable green solution. >> green. very green. >> very greefpblet exterior decks -- very greefpblet exterior decks require maintenance just like every other part. these desk and stairs need to be maintained and one of the things you have to do to maintain them is clean the space between the boards. and this should be done every once a year or every season. so if you fail to do that, water starts to get soaked up in all the debris that accumulates between the boards and then starts to rot in between there. so you have to keep that clean. once again that's a simple homeowner thing. you get a little saw blade or a pressure washer or just a saw blade is what i use. get down on your hands and knees and spend an hour and you get it all cleaned out. it's not a big deal. and if you fail to do that, you will be replacing your deck. >> one thing about stairs and really you have to -- if you're rebuilding a set of stairs, exterior stairs, what we try to do now is, if it doesn't have
to be a usable space underneath, in other words, if it could just be an exterior storage, you can build the stairs and shim them off a finish siding on the inside. so you're not like the situation that -- i don't know if you've shown them the stairs, but you can build exterior stairs so you allow water to pass through. you can have it drain out. obviously if you have stairs over a living space you have to water proof the stairs -- waterproof the stairs but a lot of energy is being spent trying to get exterior stairs waterproof when you could just let the water flow through. some of the stairs you're showing are good examples of those. >> we have another shot in a minute. here's somebody's exterior deck and stairs which they've been -- a couple of rails have been replaced. i want to point out, by the way, that the spacing between the guard rails on this deck or guards, as they're now called, are pretty wide and don't need
the mod -- meet the modern codes which they forum maximum space and it's easy to accomplish that before building a giant new stair and deck by using some kinds of fencing, whether it's metal fencing which you can buy at any hardware store or plastic fencing. just put it up and over the years renters and building owners have been held responsible to meet the standards of today's safety, especially for decks and stairs. so for those of you who have rental units, i encourage you to upgrade your stairs and your spacing so that you have good hand rails and spacing where people can't slip through because that's -- well, it's not in the code as a requirement. it comes up from the results of lawsuits and so on that that is really the expectation of a building owner. ok. here's one of those stairs we're talking about. talking about this meeting the wood frame building.
will they -- well, they expand and contract and settle and they always leak. you could build it so it couldn't leak with the right kind of flashing, it would be a real challenge. >> the way to do that is put the stairs and have things going around that cover that for the stucco so the stucco goes down on top. but basically the situations that we come across are ones where it's dying into the stucco and there's caulk eventually being used to keep it waterproof. >> just like this one. >> yeah. >> and what happens? the water gets in that, it's a wood frame wall. the water gets into the wood frame wall and run down and start to rot the material inside the wall. so that needs to be caulked clean -- cleaned very well and caulked every year until the owner gets it together to properly -- if ever, to knock out stucco and put proper flashing. that would be huge. so just maintenance by caulking
is what you have to do. >> the other thing -- the other situation we find with the stucco wall is if you go underhead and -- ahead underneath the wall, if you vent it and water gets in, the water will dry and it won't rot. venting is critical for that situation. exactly. >> so, here's one type of vent. we have a lot of vents. we're going to show some pictures. this is a little illume numb vent. there's benefits to using illume numb. it doesn't -- i lume numb. it doesn't runt and doesn't need any long-term maintenance. we're looking at long-term, 20, 30, 40 years when we're doing this sort of work. >> the advantage to vents is water can get in but it won't do the damage. if there's no ventilation, that's when dry rot starts and that's when that wall starts to fall apart. but if you have it vented and a little water gets in, it will be able to dry up and it won't -- dry rot won't grow.
>> so, how far -- how hard is it for you to insert these vents? you get a four-inch drill you can buy at any hardware store. it's not a big deal. you drill a hole, caulk it, stick it in and that's it. you're done. and you do this on the inside. if you can do it on the inside, you have caulking issues. this has a few other attributes i just want to point out. one is that it has very narrow spaces. so insects can't get in. and we're going to look in a second at holes in the building which is a serious problem where both water and insects get into buildings and the building code says maximum space something a quarter inch where you have meche covering a hole. -- meche covering a hole. this is -- meche covering a whole -- mesh covering a hole. that's good. the vinyl hides any damage to the wood which is a serious problem with vinyl siding by the way. you don't know what's underneath it. you can't see what's under it.
it's all hidden. here's somebody's hand rail, a pipe rail. some serious maintenance due on that. here's a brand new building, looking at the same problem. it does not flash. by the way, it doesn't have any hand rails yet. it's still under construction, i think. but, you know, people are building new problems in by not having the flashing done as we're talking about. let's talk just for a second about exterior mold and mildew. we talk about maintenance and preventing long-term problemsful. here's mold and maintenance issue. what do we do to take care of this? >> it's not an issue -- there's areas that you have to be careful about are on the -- tend to be on the north or northeast side of the houses where you're not getting any sunshine. if you're on the south or west side of the house and if it's a very well exposed east side, you're not going to have the problem either.
but on the north side of the house you have to be careful when mold starts creating and basically it's a maintenance problem. you have to scrub, it you have to power wash it off, scrub it, clean it. that's basically what you have to do. you have to maintain the north side of your house. >> so, what do you use to remove mold and mildew? people say bleach kills mildew. also, when you paint and when this gets repainted, there's a very simple additive you can get at the paint store, the mildew side that prevents the development of mildew and wherever you paint. do you use mildew sides in paints? >> we mix it in with primer. >> especially good for bathrooms? ok, good. we're going to look a little more at inside bathrooms. scrubbing it off, definitely. here's a hinge, an exterior hinge. it looks like it is rusting in certain areas of the hinge which are not designed for
weather exposure. exterior metal is a serious, serious problem. here's a hinge which is solid stainless steel. so stainless steel or brass or bronze or, you know, other similar materials which are designed to be exposed to weather are what you have to use for exterior. if you use anything that has galvanized or other it will -- unless -- thank you, unless it's hot dipped galvanize it will rust. people say it's galvanized but it's what they call electroplated galvanized. maybe it lasts for -- yeah. so, for exterior use, it's almost always wort the extra cost to use, you know, stainless steel bronze, brass or certainly hot tipped ga have a niesed at the lowest -- galvanized at the lowest cost and don't use an interior
hardware on the outside of a building. it won't last at all. you'll be back there. and the cost -- people say, i'm going to save some money by using cheap paint or cheap hardware or cheap something. the cost is not in the material. the cost is not in the paint. the cost is not in the hardware. the cost is in the time, the prep, the installation and all that work. so, i always say, buy the best equipment, buy the best paint can. the paint is cheap compared with the cost of the painting job. don't you think? >> don't buy the cheap caulking, bite expensive one. >> another common problem which homeowners can deal with, this is a little flour bed that goes right up to the -- flower bed that goes right up to the siding of the building. as they water it, unless there is a very clear water protective membrane between that little flower box and the siding, every time they watt
tier they're going to water the inside of their wall. the building code specifically requires that, to have a water protective membrane or be physically separated from the building. >> could you explain again how you would probably flash the -- [inaudible] with the stucco wall? >> if you're rebuilding the stair, if you're starting from scratch and going to put the stairs in, you want to put the stairs in first and you have two options. one is to put the stairs in first and run a regularlet around the stairs that the stucco comes down to. a reglet is an l-shaped piece of metal that you're waterproofing for the stucco that goes behind distribute stucco goes on top of. it's a piece of flashing and that follows -- they'll make it -- it follows the curves and the whole edge of the stairs. and so you can put that on there, the stucco paper comes down there and you would stucco