圍牆舊換新

住獨棟屋 (Single Family Houses)的缺點就是自己要處理維修更換屋頂, 圍牆, 粉刷油漆, 排水, 除草皮等事情, 住公寓 (Condos/Townhouses)的因為有繳住戶管理費 (HOA), 所以這類屋外的事情都是由管理委員會去處理.

一般圍牆的壽命, 跟你選擇的材料, 裝置的方式, 保養的方式, 周邊是否有灑水系統有關.  遇到要換圍牆的時候, 鄰居好不好配合就很重要, 因為費用對分, 如果遇到一邊屋主不願意換, 除非你自己願意承擔整個費用, 或者你要去市府送申訴, 不然的話, 你也沒辦法. 這次我就遇到手上的一個房子要換三面圍牆, 但是後方房子的房東, 認為圍牆狀況還行而不願意換.

上圖是後方房東簡訊給我說他們來檢查看過後拍的照片 (我倒覺得比較像是房東請房客拍的照片), 我問房東太太, 你有近看嗎? 你有搖一下圍牆嗎? 因為我這邊的圍牆看起來很不一樣ㄟ (下圖)

我說我這邊要用四塊木頭頂著, 你那邊的Ivy都快把圍牆壓倒了, 有些部分的木片搖一下就掉了, 而且我這邊已經維修/補釘過幾次了, 現在你跟我說圍牆狀況 “看起來" 還好??

然後他就不再回應我 (這些都是用簡訊). 屋主夫妻二人都是華人 (老公姓Wong, 老婆姓Yau), 住Los Altos Hills, 房屋市值大概三百五十萬美金左右 (他們2008年買的時候是一百八十八萬), 還有一間開了十年的科技公司, 而且剛度了三個月的假期回來, 而他們要負擔的圍牆費用不過八百塊, 所以我不認為是錢的問題, 就是不願意配合罷了. 我也只能先處理左右二邊的圍牆了, 起碼這二邊的屋主都同意換新, 我猜後方要等整個圍牆往我這邊倒下, 房東才會願意換了.
我找了二間圍牆公司來估價, 第一間是 Los Gatos Fence Company.  來估價的人是Andrew, 非常親切友善, 對屋主的問題有問必答. 估價單是隔天email給我們, 不但清楚列出所需材料, 還把價錢算得清清楚楚, 一開始先列出每一邊的價格, 最後還幫你把每個屋主總共要負擔的金額算好, 看了就很舒服.

第二間是Bay Area Fence – 非 常 不 推 薦 Bay Area Fence, 態度不客氣, 估價單是當場用手寫的, 而且價格還比較高. 他當下的態度, 讓我很想叫他走人, 不用給我估價單了.

之前的豪雨, 造成很多圍牆倒塌, 所以圍牆公司都超級忙. 我們三月初估的價, 實際上排到的工程日期是五月初, 他們說慢慢會好一點, 因為之前因為豪雨造成的, 都弄的差不多了.

Los Gatos Fence Company的回電話或回電郵的速度都算快, 而且很客氣. 基本上, 主要的屋主 (這次的案例, 我是主要簽合約的人, 因為我要換二邊的圍牆), 簽好合約, 連同總金額的10%為簽約金寄出, 然後工程日之前要再給50%的費用, 最後的費用等工程完成後付清.  我的做法是, 我付10%和尾款, 我跟二邊的屋主拿到他們的費用支票, 抬頭寫Los Gatos Fence, 然後當作50%費用寄出.

下週一要開工, 這週五PG&E的人就來插旗子, 標示瓦斯管線的位子.

76 ft長的圍牆, 從拆除到新的裝好, 只要一天.  工程做好後, 工人會把所有裁剩下的材料帶走, 雖然還是有留一些木屑, 但我覺得算乾淨了.

新的圍牆裝好後, 等三週, 找個幾天都不會下雨的某個陰天早上或傍晚, 給二邊的圍牆塗上Wood Stain, 算是一個保護膜 (細節如下).

A wood stain helps create a protective barrier that keeps your fence looking beautiful over the years. In general, fence stains get categorized as either semi-transparent, penetrating stains or solid-color stains, depending on the level of pigment in the solution.

Wait at least three weeks before you stain a wood fence you’ve just built that allows the wood to “settle" into its new environment, noting that it also gives the new wood time to open its pores so your stain sinks in more effectively.

The best time to apply stain is in the morning or late afternoon on a cloudy day. Wait for a day when it hasn’t rained for 24 hours and no further rain is in the forecast for the next 24 hours.

When it comes to applying a stain to a fence, you have the choice of brushes, rollers or pads. For the best results with a brush, pick a staining brush that’s 4 or 5 inches wide. If you opt for a pad, the best type for fence staining is a pad with a fluffy nap, such as the pads that are sometimes labeled for use on decks. Finally, if you’re using a roller, any paint roller will do.

Focus on painting from the top of the fence to the bottom to prevent uneven dripping. Follow any product-specific guidelines on the label of the wood stain you purchased, as thickness and coat requirements vary by manufacturer.

In most cases, solid-color stains are like traditional paint and need just one coat to protect your fence. Semi-transparent penetrating stains often need two coats, with the second coat applied approximately an hour after the first coat.

Measure the length and height of the fence to be stained. Multiply the length by the height to determine the total square footage of the fence. If you are going to stain both sides, multiply the square footage by two.

Note the coverage provided by the stain you plan to use. This is usually listed on the side of the can. Different stains offer different coverage, although it is often between 150 and 200 square feet per gallon. Divide the total square feet of fence to be stained by the coverage listed on the can.

For example, if you have 1,000 square feet of fence and the stain says that 1 gallon covers 200 square feet, you would divide 1,000 by 200, which equals 5 gallons to cover the fence. If you get a fraction in your answer, always round up to the next whole gallon.

Make sure you stain and paint your fence, and reapply the stain every 2 years, or the paint every 4 years.

我們拖到7/4才有空上漆, 不過這個圍牆工程總算完成了!!

後註: The Family Handyman出了這篇有關How to Set Fence Posts That Won’t Rot文章, 我想一般圍牆公司是不會多做這些準備步驟, 也許你可以試著要求看看, 我的已經裝好, 來不及要求了.

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