Robert Lamoureux: Repairing concrete and drywall

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 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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Question No. 1
Robert,

I have a home in Oxnard and had a deck installed onto the flat roof garage, all done with permits.

Now, through my general contractor, I’ve been instructed that I must drywall the entire interior of the garage. I don’t understand the reasoning behind this and haven’t gotten a good explanation from my contractor, so am a bit leery that there may be an attempt to take advantage of my lack of knowledge in this situation, so this guy can make an extra buck or two.

Are you able to weigh in on this and put my worries to rest? I’m hoping I’m in good hands with this guy, but will trust your opinion the most, after reading your article for years.

Thank you ahead of time, for your help.

—Tim B..

Answer No. 1
Tim,

First and foremost, make sure that you have a copy of that correction notice from the inspector. You have a right to this and should keep it in your files along with all other documentation. If ever (generally at sale time) you are questioned about the legality of this addition, you’ll have all documentation to show it was done properly.

I’m going to assume a couple of things in order to give you my reply. First, assuming this correction notice is real, and second, assuming that this is an attached garage and the deck is a walking deck…meaning, you can walk onto the deck from the house.

With an attached garage, the need and requirement for drywall is accurate, because it is for fire protection. Drywall is fire-rated, which means that it adds time to the equation. If drywall is present, it takes longer for fire to get past in order to burn to the other side. If a fire started in the garage with no drywall, it would burn through the timbers and into the house much faster than if it had drywall on the garage side, followed by the drywall on the inside of the house. This is actually a very sound correction notice and, though it will cost you up front, there is no price for your safety. Move forward with this if you do in fact, have an attached garage, it could actually save lives.

Good luck with your project, it sounds like you are in good hands. If you have further questions, feel free to write back in.
— Robert

Question No. 2
Robert,

I’ve written in a couple of times before. One more question, please. About three years ago we redid the concrete driveway due to tree root damage. Recently we have chunks of concrete popping out of the top of the driveway and I can’t figure out why. Is this because of the cold weather?

I don’t see the rebar showing but do see cracks and then we’ll go out in the morning, usually on the coldest days, and see that little circles of concrete have popped out of the slab! What is this?
— Jim J.

Answer No. 2
Jim,

This condition is called spalling. Your question is not that uncommon. It’s not due to the cold, as concrete in very cold and icy climates holds up well. It’s more likely that the slab may have been poured during extremely hot weather, and not handled properly.

I’ve seen it time and time again where a pour will happen during extreme hot weather and the techs aren’t aware of proper handling. They’ll wet down the concrete too much in order to keep it moist for floating, which helps during the initial process but later on once all of the water is finally evaporated, you’ve got improperly mixed concrete that cannot hold itself together any longer and the spalling begins.

I’ve seen horrific incidences of this and encourage you to call the contractor back to get him to make this right. On flat work like this a deputy is not required, but on structural concrete work, a deputy (inspector) is required and they come in to do a slump test, which tells them if the concrete has been mixed properly. Ultimately the mix is imperative for a proper, long-term installation/use. Good luck.
— Robert

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