A Trip Down Memory Lane

Donald E. Smith, CCS

April 2005

After over a year of putting this column together, I thought it would be a good time to look back on past issues of AWCI’s Construction Dimensions to see if things had changed in the past 10 years. Two subjects caught my eye. Questions are still being asked on a regular basis about bottle caps and the levels of finish for drywall.

From the February 1995 issue, this is what Michael Gardner, then AWCI’s director of technical services, had to say about bottle caps "We [have] heard from a number of people seeking a source for the ‘metal or plastic rigid bottle cap’ specified in AWCI Technical Manual 12-A: Standard Practice for the Testing and Inspection of Field Applied Sprayed Fire-Resistive Materials; an Annotated Guide. The same high-tech item is also mentioned in ASTM E736.

What you seek is the lid to a screw top jar with the dimensions (3-1/4 inches in diameter and approximately a half-inch deep) called for in the standard and, while you are perfectly welcome to scrape the mayonnaise off as many lids as you may need to perform the application bond strength test, you may prefer to contact one of the following sources should you need to make a bulk purchase:
Andler Bottle Co.
376 Third Street
Everett, MA 02149
617.387.5700
Thomas Scientific Co.
99 High Hill Road
Swedesboro, NJ 609/467-2000


Just to bring you up-to-date, the two suppliers are still valid.

From the May 1995 issue of AWCI’s Construction Dimensions:
"On a different matter, Wachuwannano received a call from J.J. in Pittsburgh who asked, ‘I’m bidding a project where the building has an institutional function. Many of the drywall partitions are going to receive gloss or epoxy paint. The architect has specified a skim coat for the drywall in some areas around skylights where he has a concern about light striking the finished wall at an odd angle, but he hasn’t specified the skim coat for the drywall partitions that are to receive the gloss paint. I seem to remember that gloss enamel and epoxy finishes on drywall should receive a skim coat finish.’”

"Well J.J., you’ve got a pretty memory. If you use the Levels of Gypsum Board Finish document jointly produced by AWCI and three organizations (PDCA, Gypsum Association and CISCA) as your guide, you will note that the Level 5 finish states, ‘this level is recommended where gloss, semi-gloss, enamel …. Paints are specified or where severe lighting conditions occur.’ A Level 5 finish specifically requires that a skim coat of joint compound be applied to the entire board surface. This level of finish provides a uniform finish for the entire board surface and minimizes the possibility of joint photographing.

"There are many issues with a Level 5 finish that are sent on to me. Generally it has to do with expectations. Even though the Matrix Edition of Gypsum Board Finishes clearly states that a Level 5 finish is not a substitute for veneer plaster it is amazing the designers and owners who are expecting just that, a finish as smooth and as hard as veneer plaster. It is also surprising the number of times improper surface preparation is specified. This is especially true when dealing with high gloss finishes regardless of the makeup of the finishing materials. All too often the imperfect substrate is not discovered until after the fact when the lighting falls on the finish. Sometimes an overzealous inspector will try and use a magnifying glass to discover the imperfections. The direction here is to be aware of the finish being applied to your drywall even though you do not have anything to do with the application of the finish material.”

So our trip down memory lane tells us the more things change, the more they remain the same. It is still a matter of education of the designers and owners.

Now, here’s an issue that will require further research but it’s something you wannano about: Apparently the latest edition of the International Building Code is requiring third-party inspections for installations of exterior insulation and finish systems. Third-party inspections for EIFS installations are also being required by the Unified Facilities Guide Specifications. UFGS is the new name for the guide specs published by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Naval Facilities Engineering Command and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. When bidding on these jobs, look closely for the third-party inspection requirements--don’t let it come as costly surprise later on in the job. More on this subject later.

About the Author
Donald E. Smith, CCS, is AWCI’s director of technical services.