Tuesday, August 8, 2006

House Project: Concrete Color Fixed; Fiberglass Screens Being Eaten

After much struggle, the builder came up here with a representative from Brickform, the makers of the colored stamped concrete that we had done around the house. As regular readers will know, this was a disaster. The builder didn't put in drainage when we first discussed it, and some of the concrete on the rear garage apron cracked. When the concrete guys came in and re-poured it, it was the wrong color. Then they put on the finish that was supposed to be shiny and rose colored--and it didn't hide the gray concrete, and the finish was inconsistent and dark brown. At this point, we gave up getting the color the one that we had been promised--we would have been happy with a consistent color and finish.

Anyway, the first attempt to correct this problem didn't work so well, but by experimentation, the representative from Brickform and our builder found that a combination of the sealer (which makes it shiny and repel water) and xylene would dissolve the existing sealant layer, and produce a fairly consistent color and sheen. It still isn't quite what we had expected from looking at other work, but it's not too bad.

Here are a couple of pictures--and let me point out that we've tracked a bit of dirt across it, which hoses right off because of the finish.

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Click to enlarge

I mentioned a few months back that we had a problem with woodpeckers punching big holes in the screens on the south side of the house. We have noticed a gradually increasing problem with little holes in the screens mostly on the north side of the house, but a little bit everywhere. It turns out that the screen material is made of fiberglass--not metal. The builder was a little surprised by this, and suggested that we could rescreen them pretty easily. (Of course, he wasn't suggesting that he do it or pay for it.)

Had the problem been birds, I would have cringed at the cost of having it done, or the labor of doing it ourselves, but we finally caught a grasshopper eating the screen. What is the purpose of window screens? To keep out bugs. If the bugs can, and do, eat through the screens, they aren't performing their only function, are they? As far as I am concerned, this is a warranty issue.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Of course, it might be easier to do just rescreen them ourselves. I bought some aluminum mesh at Home Depot, and two hours later, we discovered why Valley Glass charges about $28 to rescreen--this is a difficult job, and the results (if you don't do this regularly) aren't terribly pretty. There are enough screens involved here that we have told the builder to take care of this. If he delays too long, we'll have Valley Glass do it, and we'll deduct it out of the final check we still owe him for various work that has been done since we closed in December (about $5200).

And yes, I expect to write that check only after all warranty work has been done, and I will issue that check about as rapidly as he has responded to warranty claims. He may see it this year.

Last house project entry.

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