Painting Popcorn Ceilings
To the Editor:
The answer on how to paint popcorn ceilings, or sprayed-on
7/02), was right on as far as it went, but a couple of issues
were not addressed.
Acoustic ceilings continuously shed, so if they're dirty, why
not strip them? It's simple: Mask off the room, walls and
floor. Spray the ceiling with a mix of warm water and detergent
until soaked, using a Hudson Sprayer. Move a large garbage can
lined with a plastic bag around the room and, using a broad
knife, remove the acoustic. It will come off like damp cereal
and with care will drop right into the plastic bag. A room will
take only a couple of hours. Then a new clean job can be
installed without the corn.
Most seriously, these ceilings commonly contain asbestos and
should be tested before anything is done, including painting,
that will blow acoustic dust around. (A test costs around $25.)
Wet removal prevents the material from becoming airborne and is
better than painting, but contractors should make sure all
regulations are followed.
My advice, if it's not commercial space, is to get rid of the
Karl Kardel, Consultant
San Francisco, Calif.
Repairing a Stone Foundation
To the Editor:
I want to commend David Rippe for a fine article
("Repairing a Stone
Foundation," 7/02) and for his answer to a remodeling
problem. It's obvious that he's a problem solver who looks for
ways of doing things instead of reasons not to. Some people in
the field would likely call him a maverick; I would say he is a
can-do person who weighs the considerations at hand and uses
his head to the benefit of the customer.
Reading the article reminded me of some similar projects I
have done but also broadened my repertoire of ways of doing
My favorite line in the article is "You want to do what, now?"
Boy, did that ever ring a bell. I wish David and his partner,
Art Rombauer, a wonderful career.
Les Deal Inc.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
To the Editor:
The first thing to catch my eye on the cover of the May 2002
issue was how the starter course of shingles was being run. I
don't know of any manufacturer who instructs the installer to
spin a shingle around to use it as a starter course. The tar
strip needs to be at the bottom of the shingle to seal the tab
down, which is achieved by slicing off the tabs and sliding the
shingle down. You won't get a good seal if the tar strip is in
the middle of the shingle.
Garage Floor Finishes
To the Editor:
Some months ago, we received a call from one of your staff
asking us to contribute photos for an article you were doing on
garage floors (Trade
Talk, 2/02). Since this is an important part of our
business, we quickly complied. In fact, you used one of our
photos on the first page of your article. However, no one
called for our technical input in developing your
Quotes by apparently less sophisticated formulators, such as
"never use a water-borne epoxy for a garage floor," mislead
your readers. If you had asked us, you would have learned that
our state-of-the-art water-borne polymer garage floor system
will perform as well as traditional heavy-duty industrial
coatings in every aspect. It is unaffected by hot tires and is
impervious to solvents, including brake fluid and gasoline. It
is extremely stain resistant and will not show tire stains
after it has cured. Furthermore, Supercoat exceeds all
traditional floor coatings, in that it breathes and can be
installed in areas with excessive moisture vapor transmission,
up to 10 pounds.
The article states that "a smoothly troweled concrete slab
needs to be roughed up by either acid washing or shot
blasting." Supercoat's adhesion to concrete is far greater than
traditional floor coatings. It will stick to unprepared but
clean concrete, even steel-trowel finish, without mechanical or
chemical abrasion. Supercoat's adhesion to plate glass is over
450 psi, based on ACI Test Method F1869, Elkometer.
Kent Speers, General Manager
Oklahoma City, Okla.
Cracked Manufactured Stone
To the Editor:
I am writing regarding the question on cracked manufactured
6/02). I have worked in the plastering trade for more than 20
years and am currently a supervisor for a San Francisco Bay
area plastering company.
The manufactured or faux stone will perform only as well as
the substrate it is applied over. This includes the foundation
system, the framing system, the lathing system, and the
plaster, if any, applied over the lath. Experience has shown me
that noncontinuous wire lath has a great tendency to allow the
stucco over it to crack. This cracking can extend through
stucco, tile, faux stone, marble, or whatever.
In my opinion, the vertical cracks are from the wire lath not
being lapped at the corners. The UBC specifies that all lath be
lapped; however, corners need not be lapped if corner-aid is
applied. The use of thin wire may also contribute to this
cracking. Standard wire lath is either 17 or 18 gauge. The use
of 20-gauge material is common and contributes to the problem
The thermal stress increased the chances of this stress crack
appearing. The timing of the appearance of the cracks also
indicates to me that this was a structural (underlying) problem
and not a problem that developed later, when the moisture
content of the beam dropped. The lack of integrity of the
lathing system allowed the stresses to manifest almost
immediately as a crack. These cracks will now allow moisture to
enter, and a new stress will be added -- the swelling and
shrinking from the framing alternately getting wet and drying
I strongly recommend two layers of paper and 17-gauge 1
1/2-inch self-furring stucco netting. I also
recommend the use of furring nails and of weep screed (which
can easily be hidden by the faux stone) to prevent capillary
action. With a properly constructed substrate, your cracking
problems should vanish (on the next house).