Friday, December 21, 2012

Leaky Shower?

A common problem I observe weekly is a shower that is leaking water and damaging the area below.

Determine if it is water supply or drain related. Cutting access holes to observe supply pipes, valves and drain fittings while operating is pretty straight forward. The extent of repairs can be determined and made.

If it is not water supply or waste pipe related, then there is a problem with the shower pan/shower drain itself.

Most Common Problems

  1. Lack of proper seal around shower doors. Either lack of Silicone or an improper installation can allow a small amount of water to escape each shower and cause significant damage over time.

Solution: Remove existing sealant and re-seal with a mold resistant caulk or silicone sealant. After drying completely, observe closely when in use.

  1. Cheep, flexible shower pan is in use. If the pan moves at all when you stand in the shower, it will eventually break the seal at wall juncture or at drain.

Solution: Replace with a reinforced pan that you cannot move or set pan in concrete when installing.

  1. Custom shower pan not installed properly. See diagram below for proper shower pan installation.

Solution: As shown in diagram: The proper drain is designed to accept water even if it somehow gets past the multiple layers of concrete (mud), rubber liner, tile mortar, tile, grout and sealer.

Follow these guidelines whether you have an existing leaky shower or are having a new one installed.
Stay dry!

Joe Nelson
Twin City Home Remodeling LLC

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Stop Costly Ice Dams From Occurring

With heavy winter snows now on our roofs how do we avoid spending thousands of dollars on interior and exterior repairs from ice dams?

Why do Ice Dams Occur?

Ice dams occur when heat from your house escapes through ceilings, ceiling penetrations or even wall cavities and melts snow on your roof. This water freezes as it moves down the roof slope and forms a dam of ice. Additional melting snow sheds water that is then dammed and when deep enough actually flows backward up under the shingles and roof underlayments. When this occurs it makes very little difference whether roofing is properly installed. Roofs are not made to be pool liners.

How do I prevent ice dams from occurring?

Most home owners make the mistake of thinking their roof is the problem to preventing leaks from ice dams. While this is possible if significant shingle deterioration exists—very rarely is roofing the problem. Lack of insulation and ventilation is the culprit.

1st, provide for proper ventilation from soffit vents, through air baffles in the attic and out roof vents at the roof peek.
2nd, properly insulate wall cavities, ceilings and wall top plate or 'rafter tails' . Rafter tails can be insulated with fiberglass insulation or with foam up to the air chute.

Insulate any exhaust vent penetrations through the attic space.
3rd, Seal any electrical or plumbing penetrations through attic space.

4th, blanket the entire area with either spray foam or blown in fiberglass insulation to R-49.

By taking these preventive steps you will save money on your heating and air conditioning as well as costly repairs from ice dams.

Joe Nelson
Twin City Home Remodeling LLC
Minneapolis, MN

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


It seems that with each new building practice being adopted there is a significant delay in public application of the new knowledge. Basement insulation is a good example of this. Frequently, I run into basement remodel projects where the basement walls are insulated with fiberglass batt insulation and encapsulated by poly on both sides—taped and caulked on the interior layer. Surprisingly, no one else has suggested to the home owner that anything be changed prior to finishing the basement. Using sealed vapor barriers was a required practice just a few years ago, but has been found to be a big problem for home owners. As noted by as far back as 2002 the common basement insulation methods were in many cases a collection area for moisture and subsequently mold growth.


The best way is to frame the block wall about 1 1/2” away from the concrete and then spray foam the wall cavity filling the framing as well as the open area behind each 2 x 4. This also includes spray foaming the rim joist and wall cap area as well. Sprayed polyurethane foam provides a thermo barrier, R value (R - 6 per inch) and no place to collect moisture and grow mold.

By Joe Nelson,
Twin City Home Remodeling, INC

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Storm Chasers, what to watch out for.

If you have owned a home in Minnesota in the last few years you have probably seen your share of water related damage. It could be that your window sills and jams are rotted, or maybe ice dams have opened up holes in your roof. Whatever the problem make sure to check with your insurance company before getting too involved in the replacement or repair of the damaged areas. In addition please always do your homework when dealing with any contractors. I have had too many customers come to me after they have hired a storm damage repair firm, that just happened to be in the neighborhood, with horror stories such as contractors not showing up all the way to taking a check and never calling again. Do yourself' a favor and do your homework, check for proper insurance and licensees, and always check references. It would be great if bad things never happened to good people, but we need to be realistic it's the only way to keep yourself from becoming a victim.

Now with all of that said, it's not all doom and gloom for those people with water damage. This is actually a great time to look at some of the new maintenance free products on the market.  These products can make your life a lot less stressful and save you money on your utilities. Products such as vinyl windows and doors are now being utilized by a  large number of home owners in order to save on the initial investment and protect against mold and rot. Another trend in remodeling right now is installing metal roofing instead of asphalt shingles. While the original installation is twice the price you can save quite a bit over time by not replacing your roof after every hail storm. Not to mention, most metal roofing products carry at least a 50 year manufacturer warranty. While it's not exactly fun to deal with these types of repairs, some times it takes a little push in the right direction to open our eyes to all the options available.

By: Twin City Home Remodeling