El Dorado Hills - Homes & News - DeeDee Riley Realtor


Have you ever heard the saying, "Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to build it." ?

Carpenter - noun - a person who makes wooden objects and structures.  From the Latin 'carpentarius artifex', or 'carriage maker.'  Derivative word:  carpentry.

Well, I see fine carpentry every day.  And I see jackass carpentry every day.  One complaint I have about modern construction is that most builders couldn't put a house together without caulking.

Take this  piece of trim on the garage door opening to the left.

This is a typical garage door opening on a typical suburban house with a typical arrangement of trim around the edges.

It's a pretty simple installation.

The carpenter only had to measure from top to bottom.

There isn't even a 45 degree miter cut at the top.

This is a mere measurement top to bottom, cut, fit and nail into place.

Pretty simple.

In this case the opening is a very common 84" from top to bottom.

What's the old adage?

Oh yeah, measure twice, cut once.

Again, pretty simple.




So, why does the bottom look like this?

Yes, that is a gap of 1".

But - it's not one board cut too short.


What's wrong:

1.  The board facing you should have been cut exactly to the bottom.

2. There is a slight incline there, so an angle should have been scribed so that the length of the board is the same distance from the bottom front to back.

3.  A 1/8th" to 3/16th" gap would have been perfect from board to concrete.

4.  That board should NOT touch the concrete as its moisture will cause the wood to rot. 

5.  The wood should be protected from the concrete with caulking, hence the slight gap.

6.  A bead of caulk should not be wider than about 1/4".  And it should be a caulk that is compatible with wood AND concrete.

7.  The front board, not seen but to your left, should have been cut to the same length as the outside edge so they lined up.  The board there is 6" wide, and that thick "bead" of caulking extends around to the front!

This is carpentry a sixteen year old apprentice would have been taught.  The "carpenter" above was never taught anything so basic.

NOTICE THAT THE THICK CAULKING BEAD WAS PAINTED TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE THE BOTTOM EDGE IS THE SAME THICKNESS AS THE BEAD TO THE RIGHT!?  It took more time to smoosh that caulking in there, shape it and paint it then it would have to rip those two boards off and start again!

My genealogy includes two lines from Scotland - MacGregor and Wallace.  An old Scottish proverb is this:

A crooked stick makes us know the carpenter.

So does a crappy one!

My recommendation:  It's the little things that make big differences.  Look around and see how the little things are handled.  If they are done well, the big things probably are too.



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Comment balloon 66 commentsJay Markanich • December 17 2010 05:47AM
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