Contractor used roof asphalt in my garage conversion

Discussion in 'General Home Improvement Discussion' started by SFBayHouse, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. Jan 6, 2014 #1

    SFBayHouse

    SFBayHouse

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    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:
    APOCĀ® 107 - Fibrex Col-Ply Cement
    http://www.apoc.com/linedetails.aspx?id=18
     
  2. Jan 6, 2014 #2

    GBR

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    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.

    Gary
    PS. welcome to the forums!
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2014
  3. Jan 6, 2014 #3

    SFBayHouse

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    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?
     
  4. Jan 6, 2014 #4

    nealtw

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  5. Jan 6, 2014 #5

    SFBayHouse

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    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?
     
  6. Jan 6, 2014 #6

    nealtw

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    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.
     
  7. Jan 6, 2014 #7

    bud16415

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    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.
     
  8. Jan 7, 2014 #8

    SFBayHouse

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    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.
     
  9. Jan 7, 2014 #9

    nealtw

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    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:(
     
  10. Jan 7, 2014 #10

    bud16415

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    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.
     
  11. Jan 8, 2014 #11

    GBR

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    Just scrape off what you can, add some 6mil poly, add the joists, add some foamboard between the joists, tape all joints air tight including to the joists, add cavity insulation minus the FB thickness to reach at least code minimum; R-19; http://energycode.pnl.gov/EnergyCodeReqs/index.jsp?state=California

    Add this to your furniture/carpet, anything that will hold a smell, it really works; http://www.febreze.com/en-US/odor-removal-tips/home-odors

    Leave the gap in insulation cavity (if any) at the top for warmer floor.

    Gary
     
  12. Jan 8, 2014 #12

    SFBayHouse

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    Thanks everyone.

    I am working with a new contractor to figure out how to get this stuff off. Maybe scraping + pressure washing will be enough, rather than sand blasting.

    I am guessing at the thickness, but probably like 20-30mils or so. It became mostly dry but still tacky after 2 weeks, and still stunk pretty bad. (eyes burning bad). it has been around 40-70F in the area since it was put on.

    After the Kilz is on (two full coats), the smell is mostly gone. I had to walk around and find every little speck in the garage, and scrape up the residues that had been tracked in to the house to get the smell gone. Now it is just a subtle hint of tar smell in the garage.

    We are going to add a sleeper floor and build up a living space with bed/bath/kitchenette on top it would be a real bummer if all that work got done and then the whole area smelled like hot tar in the summer.
     
  13. Jan 8, 2014 #13

    bud16415

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    Sounds like you are going in the right direction. By the sounds of it a little bit of all of the above will be the answer. I thought sandblasting also seemed to be more than needed.

    Good luck would love seeing the rest of the project as you move along.
     
  14. Jan 8, 2014 #14

    oldognewtrick

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    It will come up easier when it is the coolest. The warmer it is the sofeter it will become. If you have a cool nite, leave the doors and windows open and get to it first thing in the morning. Once you get the top off there will still be residue on the concrete that will need to be cleaned or allowed to completely cure before it quits off gassing.
     
  15. Feb 7, 2014 #15

    SFBayHouse

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    Follow up:

    We were able to get this stuff off, but it took some doing. Scraping turned out to be really slow and ineffective. We ended up pressure washing it first (which was still painfully slow, the nozzle had to be less than an inch from the concrete to be effective). Pressure washing removed most of the bulk but left a lot of residue. Then we used WD40 to dissolve the residue into a goo, and mopped and scrubbed the goo with scrub brushes. Then we pressure washed it again to clear the goo out. After that we resealed it with an epoxy coating to lock in any remaining residues in the pores. (we did the epoxy because after living with the horrible smell for a month, I was paranoid that it would not be fully eliminated)

    Dirty, dirty job and took 2 full days for 600sf. ugh.

    But at least it is done, and my project is back on track :)

    Thanks for the input!
     
  16. Feb 7, 2014 #16

    nealtw

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    Thanks for the update, hopefully you have saved other from trying this stuff.
     
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