PEX 1- A True Story

  • By Mackenzie Gallagher
  • 02 Jun, 2017

This may be in your home -  it is time to think about PEX

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Galvanized plumbing in a Boulevard home.

Before I go into what PEX is all about. I’ll tell you the nightmarish alternatives still being used today.


CPVC- This heat resistant variant of PCV held some popularity in the 90’s. It's a glue together chlorinated polyvinyl chloride with a slight tan color. CPVC, although fairly inexpensive, poses some serious problems to the installer and the homeowner. It tends to be brittle so any movement or repairs around this plumbing could cause catastrophic failure. Secondly, it is rigid enough to need elbows and fittings to wind it around every corner. This creates weak points along the system. Caustic primers and chemical glues are used to create a bond in these joints. The marrying of two pieces of plastic is not so simple. Poor installation and preparation short-cuts will lead to breakage of the joints and the glue itself can shrink or become brittle over time. This results in weak joints that simply pull out of place. We will get into how PEX is different, even though it is a plastic product.


Galvanized Plumbing is the huge nightmare here (see photo). Galvanized plumbing is a steel product that has a coating of zinc on the surface to protect it from corrosion. The zinc coating is not totally impervious to degradations and certainly does not hold up to wear and tear. You will get weak spots on the treatment that will result in rusty water, pinholes in the pipe, or even having your plumbing disintegrate all together behind your walls. If these traits were not bad enough. The zinc and steel promote build up of minerals within the pipe causing water to flow to become restricted. And finally, If you're galvanized system is tied into a copper system- commonly found at the hot water heater- an electrolytic reaction will occur that will cause the process of rusting and mineral deposits to happen at a rapid rate. All of these frustrations are compounded by the fact that the rust will get washed into your existing faucets, valves, appliances and anything else you run water to and will cause them to fail.


PVC has successfully been used to make everything from DIY greenhouses to low rent splash pads. And while this is an effective/ cheap irrigation tool. PVC is best left for the small projects. It is , however, very appropriate for sewerage as your waste is not pressurized and typically not hot.


Copper-  beautiful and durable. Copper has its own old-school downsides:

It is expensive to buy and scrap copper can be sold in a big heaping pile so your plumbing may attract thieves. Installation is also challenging as joints have to be soldered with heat and a soldering material. These materials often contain lead, even today, and is best left to professionals to install. You can use press on fittings with copper but each comes at a high cost, and when added to the price of copper it becomes less and less affordable.


PEX competes well against any of the above products. It comes a lower cost than copper when it comes to the pipe itself, although some fittings and tools could be considered higher on average than the other systems. The installation labor is considerably less. All joints are either crimp or push on. And make no mistake, these joints are stout. Also, this product is heat and freeze proof (resistant to be safe), color coded for easy identification of hot or cold (or white if you'd rather) and are easily adaptable to older systems. When you have the benefit of a complete new install you have the option of a whole-house-run system. Instead of pipes branching off of the main line to your different fixtures and losing pressure at every branch, the PEX Piping system can be installed from a main manifold that sends equal pressure to all lines. Each line from the manifold can be flexed around corners and through walls so you can get away with having no elbows or joints between the manifold and your fixture. This greatly reduces the chance of a hidden leak and lowers the installation cost considerably. It also has the added convenience of being able to shut off each line separately from the manifold. If you do find that you need to make a repair or if you are doing remodeling in one part of the house you can shut the water off to just that area to leave your dishwasher and shower free to use while you put in the repairs over a long period of time.


Wait.. did you read that one thing about press fittings. .. do you even know what that means? It means you just push the end of the pipe into your fitting (Elbows , Transitions, Valves) and a watertight and permanent seal is made. That means no tools (er..you'll need cutters for a clean end) and no way to mess it up. You can trust that your install will be okay whether you paid a professional or you did it yourself. If your project requires a lot of connections (but remember, the stuff is bendy so few connections are needed by the nature of the product), you can get off a little cheaper by using a crimper a tool that does just as you would expect and is just as easy to use as you would expect (i'll show you one on the next PEX blog). Some PEX is compatible with expanding and using a collar to make permanent connections.


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On the next PEX JOMAblog I'll show you a new installation of PEX, And where we buy it from!

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JOMA Helps

By Mackenzie Gallagher 20 Oct, 2017

I really enjoyed making the spray foam insulation video. Watching the process was neat. Even more neat was how that old house changed. It felt different. It sounded different. It went from a dusty barn to a home in two afternoons. Comfort is a feature of all insulation types, but this seemed better than the fiberglass I’m used to. The real question is- is it?


Spray foam insulation is a modern alternative to fiberglass insulation(among others). Two liquid components are mixed and sprayed from special equipment and a chemical reaction occurs as the mixture adheres to the surface being sprayed on. Gasses expand within the mixture creating a rigid insulative structure. With all of the different shapes in home architecture, and exaggerated cracks and crevices in an older remodels, spray foam insulation has some great advantages over fiberglass batting.

By Mackenzie Gallagher 23 Jun, 2017

Before I go into what PEX is all about. I’ll tell you the nightmarish alternatives still being used today.


CPVC- This heat resistant variant of PCV held some popularity in the 90’s. It's a glue together chlorinated polyvinyl chloride with a slight tan color. CPVC, although fairly inexpensive, poses some serious problems to the installer and the homeowner. It tends to be brittle so any movement or repairs around this plumbing could cause catastrophic failure. Secondly, it is rigid enough to need elbows and fittings to wind it around every corner. This creates weak points along the system. Caustic primers and chemical glues are used to create a bond in these joints. The marrying of two pieces of plastic is not so simple. Poor installation and preparation short-cuts will lead to breakage of the joints and the glue itself can shrink or become brittle over time. This results in weak joints that simply pull out of place. We will get into how PEX is different, even though it is a plastic product.


Galvanized Plumbing is the huge nightmare here (see photo). Galvanized plumbing is a steel product that has a coating of zinc on the surface to protect it from corrosion. The zinc coating is not totally impervious to degradations and certainly does not hold up to wear and tear. You will get weak spots on the treatment that will result in rusty water, pinholes in the pipe, or even having your plumbing disintegrate all together behind your walls. If these traits were not bad enough. The zinc and steel promote build up of minerals within the pipe causing water to flow to become restricted. And finally, If you're galvanized system is tied into a copper system- commonly found at the hot water heater- an electrolytic reaction will occur that will cause the process of rusting and mineral deposits to happen at a rapid rate. All of these frustrations are compounded by the fact that the rust will get washed into your existing faucets, valves, appliances and anything else you run water to and will cause them to fail.


PVC has successfully been used to make everything from DIY greenhouses to low rent splash pads. And while this is an effective/ cheap irrigation tool. PVC is best left for the small projects. It is , however, very appropriate for sewerage as your waste is not pressurized and typically not hot.


Copper-  beautiful and durable. Copper has its own old-school downsides:

It is expensive to buy and scrap copper can be sold in a big heaping pile so your plumbing may attract thieves. Installation is also challenging as joints have to be soldered with heat and a soldering material. These materials often contain lead, even today, and is best left to professionals to install. You can use press on fittings with copper but each comes at a high cost, and when added to the price of copper it becomes less and less affordable.

By Mackenzie Gallagher 02 Jun, 2017

Before I go into what PEX is all about. I’ll tell you the nightmarish alternatives still being used today.


CPVC- This heat resistant variant of PCV held some popularity in the 90’s. It's a glue together chlorinated polyvinyl chloride with a slight tan color. CPVC, although fairly inexpensive, poses some serious problems to the installer and the homeowner. It tends to be brittle so any movement or repairs around this plumbing could cause catastrophic failure. Secondly, it is rigid enough to need elbows and fittings to wind it around every corner. This creates weak points along the system. Caustic primers and chemical glues are used to create a bond in these joints. The marrying of two pieces of plastic is not so simple. Poor installation and preparation short-cuts will lead to breakage of the joints and the glue itself can shrink or become brittle over time. This results in weak joints that simply pull out of place. We will get into how PEX is different, even though it is a plastic product.


Galvanized Plumbing is the huge nightmare here (see photo). Galvanized plumbing is a steel product that has a coating of zinc on the surface to protect it from corrosion. The zinc coating is not totally impervious to degradations and certainly does not hold up to wear and tear. You will get weak spots on the treatment that will result in rusty water, pinholes in the pipe, or even having your plumbing disintegrate all together behind your walls. If these traits were not bad enough. The zinc and steel promote build up of minerals within the pipe causing water to flow to become restricted. And finally, If you're galvanized system is tied into a copper system- commonly found at the hot water heater- an electrolytic reaction will occur that will cause the process of rusting and mineral deposits to happen at a rapid rate. All of these frustrations are compounded by the fact that the rust will get washed into your existing faucets, valves, appliances and anything else you run water to and will cause them to fail.


PVC has successfully been used to make everything from DIY greenhouses to low rent splash pads. And while this is an effective/ cheap irrigation tool. PVC is best left for the small projects. It is , however, very appropriate for sewerage as your waste is not pressurized and typically not hot.


Copper-  beautiful and durable. Copper has its own old-school downsides:

It is expensive to buy and scrap copper can be sold in a big heaping pile so your plumbing may attract thieves. Installation is also challenging as joints have to be soldered with heat and a soldering material. These materials often contain lead, even today, and is best left to professionals to install. You can use press on fittings with copper but each comes at a high cost, and when added to the price of copper it becomes less and less affordable.

By Mackenzie Gallagher 04 May, 2017

Saturday morning comes around and with a bizarre stroke of luck you have no looming projects, no honey-do list, and you found beer in the fridge that you forgot about. It’s a deck day. Oh wait, that’s right, your deck is gross. It’s covered in mildew and wet leaves are poking out of every crack. You missed it. Your perfect deck day is ruined. Go ahead and text your friends that you are not cool anymore and they should have a cookout on someone else's deck without you.


-OR-


Treat your deck now. This is about maintaining an outdoor living space. 

[OUTDOOR]- as in, the earth with all of its might is constantly trying to reclaim it. It’s going to take some work, but if you fix it now you will be able to summer like is 2017.   #JUNE21soltice #plentyoftime.

GET THE EASY STUFF OUT OF THE WAY

Check for loose Nails and Screws- Pressure treated wood changes size and shape every day as it heats up and cools down. Nails and screws will eventually wiggle out of place. You don’t want to realize this after catching a toe on one. If you have a really bad looking board that you want to replace go ahead and do that. Pressure treated lumber should sit out and dry for a few months before you put product on it but you can get away with a few weeks this summer. Or use KDAT, You watched the video didn't you?


KEEP YOUR DECK TREATED

 If you splash a few drops of water on your deck wood and it soaks right in, you need to treat your deck. If it beads up, then dang, son, you are obsessed. Pat yourself on the back and go outside.


For the rest of us, Maintaining your deck can be done in three easy steps.

CLEAN the wood thoroughly.

APPLY your favorite product according to the instructions on the can.

ENJOY! Because before you know it you’ll have to do this again.


SEALER

Thompson waterseal was the go-to last century but avoid it. Sealer helps with moisture and mildew, but it only lasts one season (if that) and does not provide much in the way of UV protection. It is easy to apply using a garden pump sprayer and you can get away with putting it on an ill prepared deck if it is pretty clean. Thomson’s is also invisible, but if you're still reading about deck treatments I know your deck looks a little rough. Don’t feel guilty. I suggest using a product that protects better than water-seal and enhances the look of your old wood. If you are putting in the effort use a better product. Product Life- 4 months



STAIN

Deck stain works much like a sealer but with added colorant and sunblock. This category is vast as there are tinted water seals (usually a light color- just enough to make your wood look less gray) to thick, multi-coat finishes with a sheen such as Cabot Australian Timber Oil. Application can vary as well. Anything thicker than gasoline and you'll have to put away the garden pump sprayer. Rolling, brushing, or spraying with a powered paint sprayer will work the best for these options. Product life - 1- 2 years. These are mostly oil based, so get some mineral spirits for clean up.


SEMI-SOLID STAIN

With advancements in water based coatings we get a newer line of products that are easy to work with and perform extremely well. Semi-solid treatments leave some visible wood grain but unlike stain are nearly opaque. This is exciting for a few reasons: One is the superb sun protection- containing UV blockers as well as a dose of titanium oxide(white colorant that makes paint opaque). You can also achieve a color range that is almost unlimited. From a white “pickle” to disco-pants-purple and everything in between, you can have a paint-desk employee mix your custom color on the spot. At Lowes, you can pick any color chip off the wall and they will happily mix it into your semi-solid base. Application is a little more tedious than stain only because you need to apply the semi-solid relatively evenly, with a brush, roller, or powered paint sprayer (think handheld Wagner) but it is water clean up and it also dries incredibly quickly. To-the-touch in an hour and have-a-party in 24 hours. Product life- 2-5 years.


SOLID COLOR DECK "STAIN"

I know what it looks like. But it's not. Painting a deck with traditional latex paint would result in a sticky, peeling mess that would scratch the moment you put a chair down. Solid color stain is different. It penetrates into the pores of the wood to create an inseparable bond. It dries just as quickly as the semi solid, and you are left with a matte finish that is waterproof, stain resistant, and the best UV protection of all of the products. Like the semi solid, you have a lot of control over color as your store can match just about anything into a solid stain. Once you go solid, you can't go back to any grain showing finishes. You are stuck with solid forever, however, you can re-coat with a new color anytime. This is the product I just used on my deck. I applied it with a portable HVLP paint sprayer, but you can roll, brush, and spray this stuff with any of the supplies you would have on hand from your previous home painting projects. Water Clean up. Lasts 3-6 years


DECK RESTORATION PRODUCTS

Deep cracks can be filled, but not without a lot of work. I opted out of this product even with the severe cracking on my deck. The point of these products is to fill blemishes and cracks of existing deck boards so you can achieve a smooth finish. I have a few issues with this product. Its costs a lot, nearly the price of replacing lumber. And it is a lot of work to put down. My personal fear is, without proper prep, this product is far more likely to chip, flake, and peel than the others. If you folks tell me it’s good then I may try it later this year in lieu of new deck boards.


Before your start: Clean your deck the weekend before. Use Olympic Deck Cleaner. It works better than all home brew cleaners I have tried (everyone has a recipe or a favorite non olympic brand store bought favorite). Be sure to water your plants and grass surrounding your deck before using any cleaner to help prevent damage to your plants. Let it dry a whole week. RE-sweep your deck. Mask off areas that should not be stained, add sheet-plastic to larger areas such as siding and paved patios/walkways nearby. If spraying, move your cars out of the driveway and cover ponds. If you have a pool consider covering it entirely with your winter cover. I know its a pain but over spray will float on top of the water and form a ring around your vinyl pool liner that will never go away.


Now when that perfect day arrives and the Oscar Meyer Wiener-mobile has a fender-bender with a Coors Silver Bullet truck right in front of your house you will be ready for your perfect deck day. No charcoal grills on your deck please. And as for timing on me next deck treatment, my rule of thumb is being able to walk around on my deck in socks comfortably.


And if you ask:

“Why treat this old hunk-of-junk deck when I want to replace it with my multi-level dream deck and outdoor kitchen?” -

WELL I KNOW WHO I WOULD CALL IN THAT CASE :)


Source: I have used almost all of these products and I sold them for years at the Lowe’s on Epps Bridge while I was in college. If you go there and have any questions, ask for Pete.

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Visit:
https://www.bobvila.com/articles/deck-maintenance/#.WQuEueXyuUk
https://www.lowes.com/projects/porch-deck-and-patio/deck-maintenance/project


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By Mackenzie Gallagher 21 Apr, 2017
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song in video: Big Apple   by   Scott Holmes
By Mackenzie Gallagher 06 Apr, 2017

GUITARS AND MICROPHONES ARE THE TOOLS FOR THIS NUÇI'S SPACE PROJECT

By Mackenzie Gallagher 29 Mar, 2017
You have planned, saved, and researched. You’re finally ready to start your home renovation. You have thought about how your investment will pay off, your increased quality of life, and having friends over to see your new digs. How do you protect your dreams from getting stopped short by a swindling builder? Most builders aspire to do legitimate business, but there are times when investing in a builder goes sour. Here are some things you should be looking for.
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