How do you care for newly asphalted driveway

How do you care for newly asphalted driveway

How do you care for newly asphalted driveway?

Henri de Marne (Photo: Courtesy photo )

Q: What’s the right way to care for a newly asphalted driveway? The old asphalt driveway was cut out and hauled away. A new asphalt driveway was just installed. How soon and how often should we get it sealed? What kind of snow melt should we use or avoid this winter? Can I shovel the snow off it as I did before it was re-asphalted? What should I use to clean up any oil stains from my car? We are sure glad you are there to help people solve and avoid those problems around the house. Thanks! — via email

A: A newly laid asphalt driveway needs several years for the oils to dissipate. Depending on exposure to the sun, it may take two to three years for the asphalt to be ready for the application of a sealer.

You can tell when it is time to put on a sealer when the driveway turns a light gray and feels “dry”. If the sealer is applied too soon after the installation of the driveway, before all the oils have had a chance to evaporate, the oils will prevent proper adhesion, and the sealer will peel off. The asphalt also may not harden and be subject to damage from tires, traffic, etc.

Any type of ice melt can be used on asphalt. You certainly can shovel the snow as you have done in the past.

If there are oil spills before the driveway is ready to receive a sealer, these stains can be removed by sprinkling water on them, then sprinkling TSP-PF crystals on the wet spots. Wait 30 minutes and scrub vigorously while rinsing with your garden hose.

Q: My husband and I read your column in the Daily Herald every week, and would love to have your professional opinion as to the best way to handle our patio roof problem. In the early 1990s we had a couple of friends build a 14-by-20-foot roof over our patio. It remained the answer to our prayers until the immense amount of snow we had this past winter began to melt. The ceiling was leaking everywhere.

We received three quotes from different roofing contractors — all of whom quoted for a modified bitumen on the flat portion of the roof. Just last week, we saw a show entitled “Rescue My Renovation” appearing on HGTV. The host removed the flat roof of an enclosed addition and ran the rafters from the garage ridge beam straight to the wall (posts in our case). Our question to you is: Finances aside, would you re-roof using the modified bitumen, or would you re-roof using new rafters?

I’ve enclosed photos of our patio and patio roof. Thank you once again. — Buffalo Grove, Illinois, via email

A: Your friends meant well, but the pitch of the porch roof is much too low to have been covered with shingles; they should have put half-lap roll roofing instead, with tarred joints. It is surprising that you haven’t had leaks before this past winter.

Replacing the roof structure with new rafters over the porch and garage roof makes no sense to me financially. It is best to replace the roof with a synthetic rubber membrane, which is different from a modified bitumen roof. But if that is all you have been offered, modified bitumen is OK.

Q: Recently, I was re-examining the home inspection report of our 1950s ranch, which we bought seven years ago. There were two items about the attic that were notable:

First, “The insulation is vermiculite.” However, there was no mention in writing or verbally of asbestos at all. Even a brief research will tell you that most of the vermiculite insulation put in attics between 1920 and 1990 came from a mine in Libby, Montana, that also had asbestos in it, and according to the EPA, “assume it has asbestos in it.” Sure wish I was told then, since my husband has been up in that attic a lot. Since we have no basement, we also use it as storage. There are wood floors in the areas where we store stuff. The opening is in the garage ceiling. I probably would not have bought the house had I known about the possibility of asbestos.

Second, regarding the fans from the bathrooms, the inspector in his report noted that he wasn’t able to see the vents. Well, my husband found them pretty easily recently when he was in the attic a lot to repair the SpacePack A/C. He found that the bathroom fans vent directly into the attic! He didn’t see any obvious mold. We only use one bathroom to shower and there are only two of us here. We’re wondering if the inspector didn’t want to go into the attic due to the vermiculite. Or he was just too lazy. But it wasn’t hard for my husband to see that the fans vented into the attic.

And third, the living room ceiling had water marks (and a moist floor on a few occasions), and since it was around the fireplace, we thought it was either the A/C leaking from above or the fireplace roof flashing needing attention. So first we had the A/C guy do a check on the SpacePack air exchanger up in the attic (we have hot water heat). Found out that the pan under the exchanger was cracked and leaking, and that the insulated ducts had become detached from the vents and condensation was a result.

We also found that a duct was in two pieces! It had been pieced by the installers and taped with duct tape, which in the heat of the attic over time, came apart. So the air was blowing from one half of the duct to the other, detached half! The energy loss is bad enough. But all these openings in the air exchanger/duct work have me wondering if the asbestos in the vermiculite insulation has been blown into the home.

The ceiling drywall will need lots of replacement and repair. We’re afraid to cut into the ceiling because of the possibility of asbestos entry into the living space.

The EPA website says don’t disturb the insulation. We bought a special face mask for asbestos because EPA said regular masks don’t work. But this is after my husband repaired the SpacePack vents on his own, since he is a carpenter, and the A/C guy told us to use epoxy glue for the cracked pan — it might work, but if not, we will have to replace it ($1,500 or $2,500 for a whole new, updated system).

Am I justified in my concerns? Please advise with any suggestions. I have been reading your column in the Chicago Daily Herald for 20 years. Thank you so much. — Illinois, via email

A: If there was unobstructed access to the attic at the time of the inspection, normally the inspector should have entered it and checked for the outlet of the bathroom fans. A red flag would have been the lack of wall jacks through exterior walls in the general location of the bathrooms. Or it seems to me, not knowing all the facts, that he should have mentioned that, since he could not see any outlets, he assumed that the fans were discharging into the attic, and that further investigation was necessary because that is not acceptable.

How do you care for newly asphalted driveway

But he may have decided not to enter the attic because of the vermiculite, perhaps knowing that it may contain asbestos, in which case he should have mentioned that in his report and told you so verbally. I believe that he should also have suggested that the vermiculite should be tested by an accredited asbestos inspector or asbestos removal firm, which you should do now to set your mind at rest.

Asbestos fibers are so minuscule that they cannot be detected visually. From your description of all the problems you encountered, it is possible that some fibers may have been sent through the air-conditioning ducts into the living space. But it takes many years of exposure to develop one of the diseases attributed to asbestos. You should consult your physician.

It is unlikely that a house built in the 1950s has a plastic vapor retarder stapled to the bottom of the ceiling joists, which would contain the asbestos while you replace the damaged drywall ceiling. So the repair may be difficult, and may need to be done by an asbestos removal firm.

IMPORTANT FOLLOW-UP: I recently responded to a reader who had problems with his new, expensive AZEK decking. My research indicated that there was a class-action suit against AZEK for similar issues, and I reported this information to my reader, suggesting that he look into joining the suit.

I have received the following from the president of AZEK, and it is imperative that I publish it for the benefit of anyone who may have encountered problems with this decking material.

I do not know if those who filed the class-action suit had attempted to file a claim with AZEK first, and what happened to it, but included in the letter is the proper procedure to follow if any problem is found with the material:

“ Mr. De Marne,

“ In response to your recent column, AZEK Building Products would like to reach out to anyone who may have encountered a problem or perceived problem with their AZEK Deck. The first important step is to file a warranty claim, which can be easily done on the www.azek.com website in the claims center. The process usually takes less than 30 minutes and we assign a tracking number to each claim that can be tracked on the site. AZEK follows through on all properly filed claims until they are resolved one way or another. Claimants can also call 877-ASK-AZEK (877-275-2935).

‘’AZEK Building Products stands behind its warranty and we have an excellent level of customer service, with many thousands of happy customers. In fact, in a recent brand study by BUILDER Magazine, AZEK Deck was found to be No. 1 in quality; so our quality is widely known. AZEK hopes to resolve any issues and customer concerns that your readers may have. Regards.” — Jason Grommon, President, AZEK Building Products

Send questions to henridemarne@gmavt .net, or to First Aid for the Ailing House, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St. Kansas City, MO 64106.


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