Thursday, June 12, 2014

Good Morning and Thank You Bad Contractor

This morning I was up around my usual time, padded downstairs in my usual way, and started making coffee with my usual lack of coffee-making talent (if you don't get up before me, you deserve bad coffee). I went to empty the prior pot's used grinds into the trash (which is in the garage to prevent the dogs from feasting), and stopped at the door that opens from the kitchen to the garage. The door has a paned window on the top half so you can see into the garage from the kitchen, and I tend to be sensitive to changes in light or movements in the garage. I didn't even have to look through the glass to notice something was different out there. When I opened the door, I was greeted by a "poof" of swirling debris resembling grey snow, and saw that a portion of the garage (which we just recently finished converting to a hobby room) was covered in the stuff.

Some time during the night or early morning, about a quarter of the garage ceiling collapsed, dumping all of the blow-in insulation it previously held onto the floor and one of the hobby tables.

I quite calmly finished the process of making coffee (okay, not entirely calmly; I did say "what the fuck" out loud) and ensured there was a full pot brewed before I went back upstairs to wake David and quietly inform him, "We have a small problem in the garage." Wasn't that thoughtful of me?

Not surprisingly, David's immediate response exactly echoed mine: "What the fuck?"

A somewhat closer inspection made clear what the problem was. As you can see below, on a section that had not yet collapsed you can see the gap between the drywall and the rafter beams it is supposed to be attached to. That's not good.

Oh, yeah, and did I mention the ceiling fan was hung without being secured to an electrical box attached to a rafter? So, yeah, both of them were dangling another foot-plus into the room.

 Once we started getting into the clean-up and tearing down the portions of drywall that were clearly ready to fall, it became apparent the cause of the collapse: The contractor who hung the ceiling used nails instead of screws, and only placed them every two feet on every second rafter beam. They used blow-in insulation (probably because the space above the garage was originally attic), which over time absorbed moisture from our lovely, humid climate, which added weight to the ceiling. Compounded with the vibration of the garage door being opened and closed several times a day over the course of three decades, and you've got a bunch of ever-loosening nails.

Now, we realized shortly after the bought the house that the original builder had taken some shortcuts (my understanding is that at the time of construction Georgia had few or no actual building codes for residential), and that the sellers had done all of their "upgrades" on the cheap. But, we really did not expect to have the ceiling collapse in the middle of the night. We're just grateful no one was in there when it did.

No comments:

Post a Comment