Home Improvement: Safely Doing Drywall and Stopping Leaks

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By Robert Lamoureux
Signal Contributing Writer

Question: Fire Tape

Hi Robert,

I can handle many scopes of work around my house as I am a licensed electrician and have years of experience in construction but there are moments where I am uncertain about codes for building, and this is one of them. I prefer to follow the rules and make changes per code so here is the thing that stumped me at this time. I would like to put up shiplap, or wood in the form of shiplap, on the inside of an exterior wall. There is new drywall on this area so I’m wondering if I need to fire tape this, and prime and paint, prior to the install of the shiplap.
Thank you for your help,
Konrad W.

On a wall that is not a “fire” wall, you do not have to fire tape this.
You’ll want to at least prime the area most likely, and possibly paint it with the idea that the gap that is usually present with shiplap, will allow the color of the wall behind, to show. In your case, it would be the drywall so depending on the look that you’re going for, keep that in mind.
If you’re dealing with a party wall, also known as a fire wall, this is one example where the answer would be, “Yes,” that you’d need to fire-tape. Any time you have a fire-rated area (or an area that’s designed to be fire-rated), you need to keep consistent with the planning/engineering, because otherwise you have a safety issue.
Good question, and good luck with your project,

Question: Dry wall layers


I live in a condo in Canyon Country and have an adjoining wall with our next-door neighbor.
We recently had a flood and the drywall on the adjoining wall was removed right down to the plywood. I am by no means a contractor, but as I recall during the removal of the wet drywall, there were two layers of this stuff, the drywall.
They sent in the handyman for repairs and he only put up one layer. I’m guessing that since there were two layers to begin with, there should be two put back.
My question to you is, is there a reason that he only put one back, and is this OK? He told me we are done and even though the area looks like something is missing, he insists that this is OK. Please give me your feedback so I can be sure on this before I make an official complaint.
Thank you,
Robert G.

My feedback is that you are correct, and this should be two layers.
The reason two are needed is because this is a fire wall. I can tell you that there was no permit pulled for this work which there should have been, this is one very good reason why.
There is no way that an inspector would have signed off on this, as two layers are needed and the first layer needs to be inspected prior to the second going up. The inspector would be checking for nailing, fire tape and in some cities, smoke stop.
Once they sign off on the first layer then and only then, is it ok to proceed to the second layer. As I always say, the cities are there for safety, and they are vital to help make sure that things are done correctly so folks are safe. I highly recommend that you reach out to your management company and request that they pull a permit and complete this job properly.
Keeping in mind first and foremost safety, and in the unfortunate event of a fire, both homes need proper protection. Secondary to that, keep insurance in mind. Generally coverage can and will be questioned if such things are not done correctly.
Advocate for yourself and get this done properly, ASAP.
Good luck,

Question: Leaking garage walls

We have a below-ground garage that is leaking on the interior two walls.
On the exterior, there are planters with dirt below. We have had three contractors out here and all three have different opinions. Given the pics I sent you of the interior and the exterior, what is your opinion of what we should do?
We are not a wealthy HOA and must fix this, but can’t be broke either.
Mary R.

Based on the finances and the enormity of the problem, I would recommend using an epoxy injection system to the affected areas and attempt to resolve the problem that way. The crew will come in and core (approximately) half-inch holes into the wall and inject and epoxy that will travel behind the wall attempting to seal the water behind the dirt, not allowing it to enter the garage.
This is not a 100 percent fool-proof repair, but a good attempt at stopping the water.
If you use a reputable company, they are pretty good at stopping the majority of the leaks. Sometimes negative waterproofing is an option but if you were to try a negative waterproofing here, this would encapsulate the water which would allow the re- bar to sit in water 24/7, exacerbating the rusting of the steel.
If the steel is allowed to sit in the water like that, then you will get a condition called spalling, where the steel rusts and expands and then blows the inner face of the block wall off.
This is then structural damage and over time can become extremely hazardous and very costly. Give the epoxy a try here, it may buy you some time to allow the HOA to gather funds in order to do a more permanent repair at a future date.
Good luck,

Robert Lamoureux has 38 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].

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