Answers from Glen: bricks, roofs and sewer lines

Here's the next article in the Ask Glen! column, where readers can submit questions to local Petworth contractor Glen Sperling of Harmony Remodeling and get answers.

Today we look at a unmotared bricks, a roof issue and a sewer line issue.

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Gentle reminder: Glen is offering advice and recommends that you always hire a qualified professional. This column isn't an opportunity to hire Glen nor sponsored. 

All in all, they're just a pair of bricks in the wall...

This wall has a few bricks loose... 

Anonymous in Petworth writes:

We recently opened up the walls in our basement bedroom to perform some mold remediation and discovered that two concrete bricks in the middle of the wall were left un-mortared. Is there any reason why a builder would have left those bricks loose? The exterior side of that wall is stucco. I am baffled. Please see the attached picture.

Glen Says...

Very bizarre!   I can only assume that were loosened/removed at some point for reasons beyond me… they should be properly repaired!


Finding the right roofing company can be a heavy lift...

You can put that new roof right up here...

Anonymous in Brightwood writes:

We have been soliciting contractors and have come up blank with several quotes all over the map in terms of price for a new roof. Angies List seems to be hit or miss and internal referrals are limited. How can one vet companies better or how can you ensure we are paying a fair and reasonable price for services?

Glen Says... 

Seriously one of the hardest things to do!  Angie’s List takes payment for placement and isn’t really much of an insight to work performed. I can really only speak for myself as both a contractor and a homeowner.  As a homeowner, I would simply ask for three references (of course they will give good ones, but in speaking with folks, you may gain some important insight).  I would be looking for good work, good clean up, not the least expensive (always a warning sign) or someone ready to start tomorrow, try to compare apples to apples (work to be performed), and a solid reputation.

As a contractor, I have spent a great deal of effort to make my clients happy, and as result have been fortunate that they have said nice things about me on listserves, Petworth News and Google.  I will never walk away from someone who isn’t completely satisfied, whatever it takes!  That, is how you gain a reputation, and keep it in good standing ;-)


Who's line is it anyway?

Who's responsible for a backed up sewer line? (photo: Damian Gadal)

Kari in Petworth writes:

In follow up to the leaky basement questions, we have a drain that is backed up and were told it's because it's tied to the city sewage and in heavy rain it will get backed up. What's the best way to fix this or who should we call? We tried several companies but since it is a runoff drain no one knows who would clean it or fix it. 

Glen Says...

If it is in fact tied to the sewer system (as ALL of our drains are) directly and not part of your home’s sewage line, then DC Water is responsible for keeping it clear. Having said that, I usually find it is tied to your sewer line (if it’s on your property) and responsibility is then yours to get it snaked and cleared (and kept clear ;-)      

A “runoff drain” says to me that it isn’t on your property and is likely DC Water's responsibility.  But that isn’t call I can make without seeing where it is! Call DC Water to have them come out and inspect it.   

Have a question about home renovation or fix-it projects? Ask Glen! >