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S20 E6: Easier Plumbing, Roofing 101

In this episode, Mason Mark McCullough explains how bricks are made and how many different varieties there are. Then, Plumbing & Heating Expert Richard Trethewey explains how solderless connections work, and General Contractor Tom Silva assesses and reshingles a shed roof with asphalt shingles.

Previous episode: S20 E5 | Next episode: S20 E7

In this episode:

Mason Mark McCullough takes us to a brickyard to explain how he chooses a brick and manufacturers make this durable building material. Mark explains that when he’s looking for a brick to work with, his choices at any particular brickyard could number as many as 20 different types and styles.

Mark explains that the main ingredient in any brick is clay and how clay color affects the brick. He discusses how the molds or forms used in brick manufacturing determine their consistencies, textures, and shapes. Finally, Mark describes how bricks evolved and how masonry isn’t just about structural envelopes anymore—allowing masons to hone their skills and display their talents and craftsmanship.

Back at the barn, host Kevin O’Connor meets plumbing and heating expert Richard Tretheway for a primer on fitting copper pipes. Richard shows Kevin some of the most common methods for plumbing connections, including soldered and several types of solderless connections.

Walking Kevin through each type of fitting, Richard explains the benefits and drawbacks of soldered, clamp-on, push-on, and compression fittings. However, even with the slew of choices for heat-free connections, Richard clarifies that he isn’t giving up his torch and solder any time soon.

Finally, general contractor Tom Silva helps a homeowner replace the shingles on an old shed roof that has been leaking for some time. After discussing the signs to look for when determining the condition of a shingled roof, the two get started by removing the existing shingles and patching the damaged sheathing underneath.

Tom and the homeowner install lengths of drip edge flashing along the roof’s perimeter. Next, they roll out and staple a layer of underlayment to separate the sheathing and the shingles. Tom then shows the homeowner how to create a course of starter shingles before moving on to layout. With a tape measure and chalk line in hand, Tom marks the roof with a grid of horizontal and vertical lines to reference for centered, even, and straight courses of shingles.

With the layout finished, Tom shows the homeowner how to cut and install shingles across the roof. The two reach the roof peak before long, so Tom explains how to create a ridge cap from a three-tab shingle, nailing them across the top of the roof for a watertight ridge.


How Bricks Are Made

Masonry expert Mark McCullough explains how bricks are made and what makes them unique.

Where to find it?

Mark explains that he loves a variety of bricks for different functions and purposes, and they’re sourced naturally from all other parts of the country and the world. When looking for bricks, a brickyard or a stone masonry yard is the best place to look.

The Spaulding Brick Company provided expert assistance with this segment.


How to Fit Copper Pipes

Plumbing & heating expert Richard Tretheway shows host Kevin O’Connor several methods for making solid, watertight connections, both with solder and without.


How to Install Shingles on a Shed

Where to find it?

Tom replaced the roof shingles with GAF Royal Sovereign Charcoal Algae Resistant 3-Tab Roofing Shingles. He also added GAF FeltBuster 1000 sq. ft. Synthetic Roofing Underlayment Roll. Both of these products are manufactured by GAF.

Original Air Date: Nov 4, 2021, Season 20; Ep. 6 23:42


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