TCL Episode #49 - Evan Jatou Talks about Brick, Stone, Stucco, Construction and more
Bricks is one of those components of foundations is supposed to stay for generations. Evan Jatou from Veracity Group construction talked about masonry, construction, and the entire industry. Evan started when he was 15, he started as a mason, he used to do it in summers. He is 38 now, and says that the industry has changed as night and day since that time. Things have changed, styles, environment, work, techniques. He didn’t learn the trade from anyone though, he didn’t have anyone in the family in construction. He learned everything by himself, and he believes to learn from someone you must observe. He started as a laborer!
Evan says that when he started, his crew had a level to just check the brick. It was an art back then. He says that the passion has declined in the younger generation, they want to complete the work and consider it as just a job. Evan says how he was expected to and he used to set 1200 bricks per day, and now a days if someone does 600 per day, it is considered a good speed. The old guys had some techniques. Evan says that to find a good bricklayer, go stand beside him working and look at how much mortars on his feet. Old guys don’t have mortar on their feet or near them!
Now old guys have stopped smacking the younger ones. In older days, experienced people used to teach their younger ones the hard way, and it was just like polishing the gold. They turned out to be experts!
Let the mortar cure
You must let mortar cure. If you don't let it fully cure, it almost flakes, which means almost an eighth of an inch of your joint will just pop off. You can even put your finger on it. Yeah, run your finger on it. So, people call to come back and ask for power wash. You have to go back, grind and cut.
Signs of a Bad brick/blocklayer
Evan replied how properly Scaffold is built, how clean the jobsite is, how clean the wall is, shows the professionalism of a mason. They won’t use a sheet of plywood, or they won’t put some paper or sand for cleanliness. These guys want to do it quick without considering the quality. You will see joints not done properly or you might see a lot of holes when you observe their work.
Portland is not the key
Evan explained how people have a misconception that more Portland makes better bond. More Portland makes brick dirty. 1 part masonry cement, and 3 part brick sand. When you combine in the right quantity, you get the right density, flex and strong bond.
Evan doesn’t prefer blocks while doing basements or doing town houses (he likes to use in demising firewall in residential and in commercial he prefers to do elevator shafts with blocks), in fact he likes ICF. He likes it as it is made of mineralized wood. He also likes Durisol ICF blocks instead of foam, it is made up of woodcrete – wood and concrete. So, it is made of timber strands with Portland. Evan explained how he got to know that this technology is not new and is decades old. It is very light and comes in different sizes.
Take Pride in your Work
Manny believes in making the construction industry attractive and glamorous to attract the young and talented up and comers into this game. People have to take pride in their work, they need to realize that anyone can get hurt anytime while working on the jobsite, they have to be careful, meet the safety standards but they should also embrace the industry for what it is. He also believes that Instagram may phase out real and skilled contractors and promote the people who just know how to hide the ugly side and show the beautiful side of their work, people even post work that is not theirs. Real tradespeople may not have time to post on Instagram and other social pages.
Evan says that the problem with the industry is that people working in it are not working in this industry for the right reasons. Mostly people want to earn money fast, and they don’t love their work.
Think Twice before making Referrals
As a contractor, if you want to give referrals, you must double check, you have to think twice. Even if you referred somebody as a good gesture, if they screw things over, you will be blamed, and you may lose your networks. So, to avoid getting complaint calls, only give referrals when you are 100% sure.
How far does brick need to be off the ground? Evan says that you should have it minimum of 12 inches.
Evan likes challenging work and loves to do structural works. He worked on a two tier underpin project. So, to do one section, you do one level of underpins and then you excavate your pins to do another section of pin.
A good mason is hard to find, because people are not getting in this field. Even old and experienced bricklayers are not passing on their knowledge to their younger ones. It could be for two reasons, it is a hard work, and money is not that great, it can be great.
Weather and conditions matter a lot in successful brick laying. You have to give attention to details.
Evan says that construction/renovation is a big investment. So, you should do your homework. Even if you buy a car worth $50,000 you go for a test drive. So, shop around, ask questions, ask for previous clients, or previous work and take your decision wisely.
Evan is a Hilti guy.
Evan likes the old original red clay brick and also loves stucco.
The quality of the brick has gotten way better than the past. Some houses even had to go down because of the low-quality brick.
Evan believes the best way to insulate a home is from the outside.
Good amount of a block to be laid in a day is around 200
Evan doesn’t like rigid foam, and prefers actual prefabricated panels.
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