Waterproofing “Naked Alley”

Waterproofing of commercial building exteriors is something we have extensive experienced with.  Many buildings in the greater Puget Sound area are older and have failing exterior envelopes that require maintenance and waterproofing.  At times, it is the wall to sidewalk transition joint that has failed and is causing water damage or it could be a failed expansion joint in a concrete tilt up building.  Regardless of the circumstances, our highly skilled carpenters can address waterproofing with many products and mechanisms.

Many times the job is fairly straight forward and our approach is clear and the team determines the best process to achieve the waterproofing.  However, it is those circumstances outside of our control that can tend to cause the greatest issues on a job.  One might think it would be the weather that would cause our carpenter the biggest challenge.  True, weather can play a big factor, but over the years we have learned how to work with our every changing weather here in the Pacific Northwest.  Our greatest challenge on any given job is always the people.  Not our people or even the client’s people, it tends to be “the other people”, those totally not related to the job that can be a big challenge.  

While working down south in the Olympia area, our highly skilled carpenters were working on a commercial building, alley side, that had a few areas of water intrusion that needed waterproofing.  We arranged for a City of Olympia permit to close down the alley to all auto traffic and most foot traffic so our team could work without hindrances.  While working inside the alley to address the waterproofing of the building our crews parked their vehicles in the alley.  This would allow the crew to easily access their tools and our crew vehicles made it impossible for others to enter the alley.  The job foreman was comfortable with the job set up until a gentlemen came strolling down the alley right through our established job site.  Now foot traffic was not a large hindrance and the team could kindly direct a few pedestrians out of the coned off area.   This particular man was walking down the alley naked, nothing but the birthday suit on.  Awkward!  Of course this is one of those times when the crew thinks to themselves, “we don’t get paid enough to handle this kind of stuff.”  

The job foreman got off his ladder and was approaching the naked man, when all of a sudden the naked man grabbed a large sealant gun (similar to a standard caulk gun, but larger) that was sitting on a truck tailgate and he took off running past the crew and the area of work.  There wasn’t a single carpenter that was willing to chase that man down to reclaim the tool.  The job foreman just yelled out to the others on the crew saying, “I’ll call the office and put in for a tool replacement, we are not chasing that one down.”  We have a standing policy in our company that if your tools wear out or break while on the job site, the company will replace them.  We have always said if a carpenter is careless with their tools and it just “walks off”, then you are on your own for replacement.  In this case, that sealant gun ran out of the alley faster than the crew could imagine.  Long story short, the company replaced the sealant gun.

Needless to say, it has been 10 years since that project and the waterproofing is holding up very well.  Any time we have a new project to address for the client at that building in Olympia, the crew refers to it as “Naked Alley”.  We will never know what happen to that sealant gut, but we do know that we stand behind the amazing work that our crew performs each and every day.  We pride ourselves on doing an amazing job that stands the test of time and finishes on time and on budget.  Let us know if you have a project you need help with. 

Until we share another funny story of the Adventures at Wheeler Painting and Restoration Services, be well and do good.