All too often frames arrive glazed and the builder is far too keen to get them built in, leading to problems later down the road.

Cape Town - The latest increases as agreed at the Building Industry Bargaining Council between the employers and employees become active at the beginning of next month. Hopefully you have agreed fixed-price contracts, but if you have not done so you can expect your contractor to be looking to recoup the additional cost of his labour.

 

Tip of the week

I thought I would start out this week by spending a few sentences on the painting of new timber windows and doors.

All too often frames arrive glazed and the builder is far too keen to get them built in, leading to problems later down the road. All surfaces of any frame should receive some sort of priming, whether they are going to be varnished or painted. Your local paint supplier can advise on what to use and where. Just because you are not going to see part of the frame does not mean it does not need priming – ensure that the backs of all frames receive a coat of wood primer as this will help protect them from moisture seeping out of the new mortar.

The rebates of the frames where glass is going to be placed should also be primed and treated; this ensures that moisture is not drawn out of the putty. If glazing beads are being used, ensure the back of the beads have been primed. To repeat what I said last week, and especially if glazing beads are being used, I prefer the use of silicone to putty.

The other item that requires a little more thought before painting or varnishing is sliding timber doors. All too often there are areas on the frame that cannot be reached if the glass has been inserted, and with the panes of glass being so large you certainly don’t want to try removing them. So ensure that all areas – especially the middle where the stiles tend to sit behind each other when the doors are closed – are painted.

 

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Heidi writes: “My daughter moved into a house two years ago and at the time the water meter reading was zero. Two years later it is still reading zero. She has reported it three times and has the reference numbers, but nobody has come to repair it. She is worried that one day she will get a massive bill, which she will not be able to afford. What else should she be doing?”

Answer: I am not sure what the law says in this regard, but if the meter is not working, then they would find it very hard to prove how much water she has actually used. She must also remember that the monthly charge for sewerage is linked to water usage. Presumably the council would attempt to work out an average cost. However the fact that she has tried to have it fixed should work in her favour, but it is strange that the inspector that reads the meter has not followed up with his office.

I think she should make a nuisance of herself at the council and in the meantime try and put a little money aside every month.

Here’s Andy’s problem: We live in Fish Hoek overlooking Long Beach Mall. Our lounge is above our garage but set back some 2m to allow for a balcony, to which we gain access via double aluminium French doors. The balcony is therefore concrete slabbed and tiled with Revelstone cement tiles. When it rains we find that excessive moisture comes through between the tiles and the concrete slab and it also leaches a white chemical, which I assume comes from the tiles or the cement, and leaves nasty white marks on our garage wall face. No moisture leaches through to the ceiling of the garage.

We had the stoep retiled and the contractor confirmed that he used a bonding liquid in the cement upon which he placed the tiles. This hasn’t worked – in fact, it’s worse. We then had some gent who claimed his “plasticised paint” would seal the veranda, which also didn’t work.

Who should I consult to try to sort this problem out?

Answer: Staining under balcony tiling is a very common problem and does not have a one-touch easy solution. The fact that you have no water seeping into your garage and presumably, as you don’t mention it, you have no water seeping back into the lounge, my initial thought is to let things lie.

Over a period the staining will eventually disappear and a bit of hard work with a scrubbing brush or paint brush will, over a period, certainly cost less than starting from scratch, where eventually you may end up with a leaking garage roof and nasty deposits on the roof of your car. I am a great believer in “if it ain’t broke don't fix it”.

Alternatively, you could try and divert or hide the staining. This problem manifests itself in many different ways. I have often seen a joint being cut just below where the leeching occurs and a drip flashing can then be inserted. In other words you are inserting a small piece of flat metal sheeting into a cut joint below the staining. You have now taken the moisture away from the wall.

The next step is to fit a gutter, under but hiding the drip flashing. All nasty leakages or discharges then end up in the gutter and you are not left with a stained wall. - Weekend Argus

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