We often come to a job after an emergency repair has been made. Marlon worked in a similar situation at the Ritz-Carlton Millennium residences. The maintenance staff had to quickly fix a ceiling leak. In order to do so, they cut the ceiling sheetrock along its seam, leaving a small hole.
Unfortunately, the edge of this hole was right next to the sprinkler head. We use mesh tape and an appropriate joint compound to attach the new pieces of sheetrock to the repair edges. As part of our best practices, we thoroughly sand the mesh tape, compound and sheetrock to create a glass-smooth surface. However, this process creates dust. The location of the edge of the hole is important as it determines where the dust will be. If the edge of the hole is next to the sprinkler, the dust is sure to get into the sprinkler sensors. Dust and sprinklers are never a good combination. Dust particles can easily set off a sprinkler system as they are incredibly sensitive. To add to the problem, they usually cannot be shut off one unit at a time.
After assessing the situation, Marlon decided that the most workable solution was to cut an even bigger hole. Of course, that sounds scary, but it was the best way to avoid more water leaks and damage.
The new hole put the sprinkler head in the middle of the repair area rather than along a seam or edge of the cut sheetrock where he would be working and stirring up dust. Centering the sprinkler allowed Marlon to place the mesh tape and compound along the perimeter of the repair far away from the sprinkler. Marlon’s decision allowed him to keep the dust from floating into the sprinkler’s sensors. Using the right kind of compound and strategically planning out the steps allowed him to install the new sheetrock, patch, and paint the ceiling all in one day. A combination of a good solution and best practices worked wonderfully by keeping the cost down and reducing our time in the client’s home to only one day.