Protect Your Butts!

Recently I was asked to testify in a court case that involved a bit of a messy situation between a contractor and a client.

In this particular situation, the contractor that was hired to do the work was confident that they were done with the project, less a minor punch list that would take a crew less than a day to complete.

The homeowner on the other hand was quite upset as they had hired the contractor to paint the exterior of their home and there were actually a multitude of items needing doing, so far beyond a punch list that there is almost more work to do now that the home is painted than there was before the project started.

I was asked to come in to provide testimony as to what my observations were on a day that the client had arranged for me to come out to take a look at things and review what I believed it would now take to fix what I saw.

Although there is a plethora of items that need correction, there was one specific item that in and of itself would potentially take much more than a day to properly fix.

The home at the center of things is a cedar shingle home, with a mixture of decades old shingles and shingles that are much newer.

Perhaps one of the bigger pet peeves of knowledgeable homeowners and experienced painters alike, the butts on the shingles were not properly done.

In this case, literally, like completely ignored.

This was an issue that I had amongst my list of items needing to be addressed and one that would be glaringly obvious to anyone in the know looking at the home – very much sticking out like a sore thumb.

One of the representatives of the company referred to them as purely needing to be touched up.

Keep in mind, many of these shingles were weathered to some degree and butts, by nature, are the most porous part of the shingle.

These butts are now going to be a pain in the b**t to fix.

Not only do the butts themselves need to be methodologically doused in product, but while this is being done to make sure the butts are truly protected, it will be nearly impossible to avoid getting product on the faces of the shingles.

With the finish being utilized being a solid stain, this process will require tactfully facing off each shingle on the home in order to avoid lap mark and/or flashing issues.

Please note that there is a distinguished difference between sealing the butt of the shingle itself and sealing the bottom of the shingle by caulking it into place.

The bottom of shingles (or clapboard for that matter) should NEVER be caulked, no matter how much one may be tempted to do so for cosmetic purposes.

Caulking the butts of the shingle will prevent them from naturally being able to expand and contract and may result in some significant issues down the line.

Correctly sealing the actual butts though with a viable paint/stain system is an absolute necessity as because they are so porous, the butts of the shingles will be the entry point for any moisture that comes their way and will soak it up like a sponge if this is not properly prevented!

Unsealed butts could be as problematic, though in a different fashion, as caulking the butts.

When you come across an entire home that needs its shingle butts protected, this can certainly be a bit troublesome…particularly if the home was recently painted and the one responsible for the job is working to pass off a task such as the now correction of the issue as a mere punch list item.

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