Saturday, May 11, 2019

Two Things You Need To Know

The content of this blog will be quite different than I normally present. As most of you know, I am dinosaur old. That makes me somewhat irrelevant; however, some knowledge comes with age and a couple of thoughts can be useful. The two items I’ll share today relate to automobile brakes and foam insulation for houses (I told you this blog would be different).

1. Automobile brakes. Almost everyone hates it when they step on the brakes and the car shudders as it slows. The cause is usually warped disk brake rotors. I recently discovered the reason rotors warp, and it relates to the gorillas who install new tires. If lug nuts are fully tightened one at a time, and tightened too much, the associated rotor will warp. As a result, the car will shudder as the driver brakes. To avoid the damage, you must ensure whoever installs your tires does it correctly. All lug nuts should be finger tightened first, and then, in a star-like pattern, gradually tightened to the manufacturers recommend torque (around 60 ft-lbs). The last time I had new tires installed (not by the dealer), I subsequently had to pay the dealer $250 to have the rotors turned. My special deal on the tire price wasn’t so special after all. I will demand to watch the tires being installed on my car in the future.

2. Foam insulation. This type of insulation is all the rage in new homes; however, there can be a serious problem. There are two types of foam—open-cell and closed-cell. Open-cell foam can only be used where there is limited moisture and an opportunity for venting, like in walls. If open-cell foam is used under a house, as in a pier and beam home, there will be serious problems. Open-cell foam is hydroscopic. It absorbs moisture. A friend recently built his own home and contracted to have the walls foam insulated. Under the pier and beam house, the contractor also sprayed the joists and flooring. Unfortunately, the contractor used open-cell foam under the house. As a result, the house is now rotting from below. Black mold encases all the joists. My friend pushed his hand into the foam and squeezed a handful…and a full cup of water ran down his arm. Where there is a water source, like the ground, only closed-cell foam can be used.
I hope this information is of use. These are hard lessons you don’t want to learn on your own.

Thanks for reading,

James L. Hatch


Tina Donahue said...

Wow - never knew this. Interesting post, James. Thanks for the info.

Tim Smith said...

James, I found this very interesting because I was planning on getting new insulation in my older home this summer. After reading your analysis, I know what questions to ask if someone suggests foam.