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SFBayHouse 01-05-2014 09:31 PM

Contractor used roof asphalt in my garage conversion
I am converting a garage into a living space, and my contractor put a layer of roofing asphalt/cement as a vapor barrier on the entire floor and foundation wall. The garage is at grade level. It did not have any particular moisture or dampness problem, and I do no know if it had a vapor barrier on the outside of the concrete..

This stuff stinks so bad it made my eyes burn. The smell did not dissipate for several weeks. I put 2 coats of Killz primer on top, and that reduced the smell but I am worried the smell will come back in warm weather. I dont want to proceed with the project unless I am confident that the smell will not return.

Is this an acceptable material to use for a vapor barrier? is this a common practice? or is this 'sub standard' work? If it is not standard, does it need to be removed?

Any help/advice would be much appreciated!

This is the specific material he used:
APOCŪ 107 - Fibrex Col-Ply Cement

GBR 01-05-2014 10:05 PM

Should have used 6mil poly sheeting or rigid foam board is best. Click on the "Data" sheet, notice; "exterior use only- not to be transported in a closed vehicle, etc." I'd make him remove it at no cost and replace with FB with poly under it.

PS. welcome to the forums!

SFBayHouse 01-05-2014 10:09 PM

Thanks Gary,

That's what I was afraid of... unfortunately I am firing the contractor for shoddy work and not keeping schedule... so I am not sure if I can get him to show up and remove it..

Is there any good way to seal it in?

Is it safe to have on the interior side of the slab? or is it a hazard?

nealtw 01-05-2014 10:18 PM

Good question for the people who made the product

SFBayHouse 01-05-2014 10:57 PM

Thanks Neal, I have contacted them and will see what I can find out.

Have you ever heard of this type of material being used in this way before?

nealtw 01-05-2014 11:34 PM

People do all kinds of stuff, but that doesn't make it safe or wize. Cleaning this up may be just as bad as having it. Let's see what the manufacture says before we get into the wild ideas.

bud16415 01-06-2014 08:49 AM

I would have never used that but now that it's down once the solvents go away I think the smell should also. Maybe then it could be covered in poly. Please keep us posted on what they say.

SFBayHouse 01-06-2014 08:14 PM

The manufacturer recommended removing it because it will not cure properly inside. He said it could out gas for years because it doesnt have the heat of the sun to cure it.

He said it could be removed by scraping with a hot spud bar and then sandblasted.

nealtw 01-06-2014 08:34 PM

Sounds like a fun job. A lot of people don't reallize that the garage is not water tight, to bad your guy came up with wrong answer. I guess you have your work cut out for you.
Good luck:(

bud16415 01-07-2014 06:00 AM

So sorry to hear that. 99 out of 100 times you will be wasting more money trying to go after the guy and if you do get a judgment against them they never have any assists anyway. It would be great if the courts handed the guy a scrapper and made him go at it and make it right but that also never happens.

I have had contractors walk because I asked too many questions ahead of time or stopped them until I was sure what they were about to do was what I really needed. Makes you wonder how they get these ideas in the first place.

Well back to your problem at hand. What is the current condition of the material they put down? What’s the weather like there now? You said you were able to paint over this so I’m assuming it was pretty dry at that point after a couple weeks. What are your flooring plans to have as a finished floor? How is the smell now? Is the area heated yet? If you had to guess how thick of a layer of this stuff do you have down?

The reason I ask all this is this scraping and sandblasting is going to be a really tough messy job. If it has to be done then it has to be done. The manufacture has to assume certain things and has very little leeway with saying an exterior product could be used indoors. They have first and foremost their legal liability on their mind also. You may find someone third party that’s an expert with this material and not connected to the company that has some experience in how the smell will or will not dissipate with time. I don’t know if you will find anyone here that will know to a certainty what will happen or what would happen if say you now after painting the kilz on it did a plastic vapor barrier and taped it 100%. There is a risk reward and that depends on how extensive your plans are for this garage to living area conversion. If the smell was almost gone and I was just planning on rolling some indoor outdoor carpet down in the area for an extra room I might be tempted to take a risk. On the other hand if the plan is a major transformation I would bite the bullet.

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