Drainage Pipe Leak – This One Is Not Uncommon!

So you move into your home or apartment and start to get the pictures and things hung up on the walls, sometimes with nails, sometimes with screws. The key to getting things to look “just right” often times means centering on the wall, or above the television, or toilet. That’s right, I said toilet. This post deals with this location specifically.

It is common for an upstairs toilet to share the same drain line as the downstairs. Two bathrooms, one above the other, very common in apartment because they have the same floorplan. This drain line is centered on the toilet. I recently came across an apartment unit that was moist on the wall above the toilet.

The previous tenant had hung something centered above the toilet with a screw that drove through the plastic drain pipe. What are the odds of this happening? Well this pipe had 4 holes in it at different spots, I’d say the odds are higher than I originally thought.

Usually the pipes are set back far enough to eliminate this problem with the drain pipe, but that’s not always possible. The real “kicker” is that the problem does not start until the screw of nail is removed. In most homes and apartments, that means when the tenant or homeowner moves out.

The good news is that this can be fixed.

Problem solved!

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A Non-Smoking Apartment Community?

I don’t know of any apartment communities that are non-smoking, but apparently this may soon change. I read an article in Unit Magazine that was very interesting. I know what kind of damage that smoking can do to the smoker and those around them. That is documented and common sense to most of us.

The problem that the smoker brings to an apartment community is not as well understood. For example, the nicotine collects on the surfaces within the unit making it more difficult to restore when the tenant moves out. The odor can linger despite rigorous attempts at removing the smell. If you’ve stayed in a hotel which has that nasty aroma, you know what I’m talking about.

Interestingly, the article states that tenants would be willing to spend more for a smoke-free community. Apparently there is a demand for this kind of housing. Housing that is more comfortable, safer, with the rights of the non-smoker in mind.

The lawmakers have already begun making changes for this change. California is included in the list of states on this bandwagon. I don’t smoke but personally I would prefer to live in a smoke-free environment.

Here is a link to that article!

Cracked Drainage Pipe Repair In Placerville

 

As a General Contractor, I am called to look at all sorts of repairs and improvements to properties. Dry Rot and Water Damage Repair is my job of choice, not because it is glamorous and sexy, but rather because its messy and disgusting. High on the list of messy and disgusting repairs usually involves the drainage pipes. If one of these cracks, you have a situation. Anything that you wash, rinse, soak, flush, or dispose down a drain flows through the drain pipes. Obviously, you don’t want this kind of leak for very long. But why do pipes crack?

Drainage Pipes installed in the last several decades have been primarily ABS pipe. This black plastic pipe is used in most residential construction today.

Drainage pipes break or leak for a number of reason. Here are a few…

1.  Nail and screw holes. I’ve see several cases where people have used a long nail to hang a picture and the nail hit and punctured the drain pipe.

2. Pipes that have been hit with great force. Know anyone who drove to far into the garage and hit the wall? In many homes, that wall is the laundry room with drain pipes within the wall.

3. Poor installation. The pipes were not glued correctly when originally installed. Sometimes the pipes were never glued at all!

4. Drainage Pipes that are bent to fit. These plastic pipes have some flexiblity. Pipes that maintain constant pressure will eventually crack under the stress.

5. Manufacturers defects. There has been cases were manufacturers have produced defective pipes and or glue. If you have several areas on your property with breakage and cracking, you may want to check into this possibility.

These are just 5 examples of how drainage pipes can leak or crack. The important thing is to identify that you have a leak and get it corrected as soon as possible.

Sacramento, Cameron Park, Placerville

Gutter Maintenance And Repairs

There is truth in what I have to say here. Gutters do not last forever, but you can extend its life by doing some things during the year.

Nobody seems to notice when the gutters on our homes are functioning correctly. During the heavy storms, tons of water comes racing down the roof and into the metal gutters and flows smoothly downstream into the downspout and away from the home. It’s a perfect system of water collection and placement. Over time, debris gets into the system. Leaves, sticks, dirt, maybe even a tennis ball, can all start to accumulate and ruin the perfect gutter / downspout physics. You can’t see it from the ground but a bunch of stuff can get into the mix. Once things stop working as it should, we have a problem. How can we prevent this from happening?

Five important things that the property owner can do to maintain a properly working gutter system.

  1. Check your gutters and downspouts regularly. Do this at least twice annually. Look to see if anything is building up in the gutters and the downspouts are clear. Check for signs of rusting of the metal.
  2. Clean the gutters at least once a year. Get a gutter scooper to clear out the leaves and dirt. If possible, wash out thoroughly. This will also verify a clear downspout.
  3. Repair any rusted or damaged areas. This will eliminate any leaks and restriction in the flow of water.
  4. Clear away overhanging trees limbs. Low hanging branches can crush and bend the gutters. Trees limbs overhanging the roof will also add the the amount of leaves stuck in the gutters.
  5. If necessary, replace the gutters. Gutters that do not function correctly will allow a lot of water to flow in places that can easily lead to much greater problems.

Doing these things may seem a little excessive, but it will benefit the property owner in the long run. It will add to the life of the gutters, eliminate problems during the rainy season, and keep the water flowing where it needs to go.

Wood Rot Damage in Sacramento

It’s hard to say when the most wood damage happens. Is it when the moisture is the greatest and everything is getting wet? Or is it in the spring when things are starting the dry up and new growth is beginning? Or maybe in the hot summer months when the dry rot has grown and fungus is visible on the wood. Not real sure of the answer myself, but I do know that if something isn’t done to correct it – it will get worse.

As a property owner, your best bet is to find out if you have a wood rot issue. It may be that you can get by with a good wire brush and quality paint job, if you can catch it early enough. Have someone who knows what to look for check it for you if you are not sure. Better to be informed than to ignore the problem. Most contractors that I know are willing to inspect such problems at no cost to you.

The important thing here is to correct any wood rot issues before it grows into a major problem. If you do have a wood rot problem several repair options may be available. The extent of the work can only be determined after thoroughly checking each individual property.

Placerville General Contractor Replaces Two Decks In One Day in Sacramento, Ca

We had the opportunity to replace two wood decks in an apartment complex in Sacramento, Ca today. This is not the easiest task to do in a day. Freezing cold weather in the morning, digging through lumber outside in the dark, in beautiful Placerville, Ca. Setting in the morning commute traffic was next, fighting our way into Sacramento to get to the job site. Then we got to the apartment complex to work on the second story decks.

After clearing the decks demolition could begin. The condition of the wood was poor. Dry Rot and moisture damage made the removal of the structure pretty easy. In a matter of hours the first deck was done. The second deck was slightly larger, it too was rotten and easy to demolish. By 5:00 the second deck was completed and the apartment community was clear of all construction debris.

When we first bid on this project, we were not the low bidder. When asked if we would consider doing two deck to get a better price, the numbers made sense – if we could get it done in a day. So by working with the management company, this become a win-win situation. The apartment community got a lower price per unit, and saved money!

We, of course, got the privilege of working a full day in a beautiful apartment community. Do you have a similar situation? Let us know how we can help you get your project completed.

Cloudy, foggy, moisture in dual pane windows

You have probably seen this happen in dual pane windows. You may not even think it is a problem, except the window looks a little cloudy and hard to see through. It usually starts by looking like a dusty window that need to be cleaned. Over time, the window gets more and more foggy and harder to see outside clearly. Then one day you notice that the glass actually looks wet – it may even have droplets running down between the two panes of glass in the dual pane window.

We see it here in Placerville, down in Sacramento, and just about anywhere that there are dual pane windows installed. It actually is moisture that has accumulated inside the window. How does the water get inside the window? Glad you asked. As the window gets older the gasket can fail, allowing moisture to get inside. The windows now has lost its insulation value and condensation begins to form between the two pieces of glass.

Dual pane window before repair
Dual pane window after repair
There are several factors that can lead to the foggy, cloudy window gasket to fail. The primary reason is temperature changes, and that is usually a result of direct sunlight. Metal window frames can get extremely hot in the sun, then cool down at night. These temperature extremes causes cracks in the rubber window gaskets that hold the window in place.
Can the window panes be replaced without removing the entire window? Yes, and if the rest of the window is in good working order, this can be done at a reasonable cost. It’s a whole lot cheaper than replacing the entire window and frame and replaceing it with a new unit.
Good Luck in all your window projects.
Sacramento, Placerville, Cameron Park
 

Chili Cook-Off in Cameron Park

 I was invited to attend a Chili Cook-Off at Cameron Oaks Apartments here in Cameron Park. Several residents brought their own special chili dishes, each one that I tried was very tasty. But this Chili Feast had more to offer than just good food. The management at Cameron Oaks went to great lengths for this event.

In addition to the chili, there was a costume contest for all ages. Customes were not required but many came and joined in the spirit of fun. There was a live band that played at the clubhouse for hours, many residents danced to the familiar tunes. And tons of prizes donated by businesses in the area. I think that nearly everyone who attended walked away with something that night.

This video was recorded that night if you would like to see that party for the residents there. Cameron Oaks puts together several events throughout the year for their residents, it looks like a great place to live. Here is that video.

Roofs, Gutters And Downspouts

With the first major rainfall in the Sacramento Region the past 48 hours, your roof, gutters and downspouts were probably given quite a test. Lots of water, leaves, branches, and some pretty strong winds throughout the area may have caused some problems for you. With the break in the weather, now would be the time to check around the property and correct some of these issues.

Roofing – Check for anyloose or missing roofing tiles, or shingles. The wind and falling debris may have knocked some roofing out of place. Are there any signs of moisture inside your property? This will need to be addressed right away. Fixing a roof leak is best when it is not raining. In checking for moisture, look at the walls and ceilings for both water discolorations. The strong winds may have forced water to the sides of the building as well, check windows and wall penetrations while you’re at it.

Local General ContractorGutters – A lot of leaves, dirt, twigs and stuff has fallen into the gutters since the last major rain. It doesn’t take much to block the gutters from flowing correctly. During the rains, was water cascading over the top of the gutters? If so, now would be a great time to get up there and scoop up the debris that has collected in the gutter.

Downspouts – The purpose of a downspout is to divert the water away from the property. This means that the water flows through the downspout and away from the foundation. Water from the gutter should not be running down the outside of the downspout. If it is, you have a clogged downspout or a bad connection to the gutter. When the water exits the downspout and floods the area at the foundation. You may need to add add an extension to the downspout or grade the soil so that the water flows away from the property.

Hope you have a dry winter season inside your property.

Sacramento General Contrator

Removing Hardwood Flooring

Tearing things apart at the beginning of a project kind of clears the slate for the home improvement project that is about to start. I like this part. Ripping into walls, floors and demolishing the outdated stuff has it’s own satisfaction within itself. This is usually the case. Some projects are just not fun to start. We are starting such a project, glued down hardwood floors. The idea of chiveling out wood for days is tidious work. The plywood subfloor can lose chunks, making for an uneven surface.

But it has to be done to get the new flooring in. Like many home improvement projects, if you want the results, you have to put in the effort. Even the scraping of glued wood on wood is worth the effort. So I will take the steps necessary for the home project to progress, however begrudgingly. Hour by hour until it is completed.

In the end, I will look back and say “I’m glad we decided to do this” and probably not even remember how difficult it seems right now.

Good Luck in all your home improment projects.