Tag Archives: Greg Sheck

rubber-duck

Fresh Caulk – The Bathroom Update for The Bathroom That Doesn’t Need an Update, Yet.

Since Brandon and Greg Sheck from G&C Plumbing and Heating started offering up free professional tips here on their Plumbers Without Cracks blog, the guys have been flooded with questions when they run into customers at service visits, wholesaler outlets, even at dinner. “I love it,” said Grand Master Plumber, Greg.  “The more our customers know, the more we can actually help them.”

So, it’s no surprise that when Greg was out to dinner with his lovely wife, Christine (Yes, she is the C in G&C – isn’t it romantic?) A customer, who had the guys install a new heating system last year, had this to ask from the next table:

“Hi Greg, I am planning to call you in a few years to remodel our kid’s bathroom, but I think it has some life left in it for now. One problem I am having is with the caulk around the tub, it’s all dingy. Do you think I could handle fixing it myself?”

The customer’s wife looked over her husband’s shoulder and mouthed to Greg, “He doesn’t know how to do it.” So, here is the answer Greg gave to the father of two kids who love to splash in the tub every night:

You can totally do it – Here’s How!

The entire process, from start to dried caulk, should take about four hours, so make sure you pick a time when no one needs to bathe. 5:00 p.m. on a school night is probably not the best time. I suggest a late Sunday morning so you can catch the afternoon game with a sense of accomplishment.

Head out to your local hardware store and get a quality caulk gun – about $20. You’re also going to need a couple tubes of 100% silicone caulk made for bathrooms – It should say something about containing mold and mildew prevention additives. You can get latex caulk, it’s easier to clean up, but latex will not last as long as silicone. You’ll have your choice of white, almond and clear at all hardware stores. You can also order custom colored caulk at some home centers. Tile stores often have a variety of options.

Other things you’ll need from the store or your garage:

  • Razor scraper
  • Single-edge razor blades
  • Caulk remover
  • Mineral spirits
  • Paper towels
  • Utility knife
  • Putty knife
  • Bleach
  • Course sponge or rags
  • Masking tape
  • (An oscillating tool with a flexible scraper blade is very handy, but you can do the job without it)

Step one – Remove the old caulk

Prepping the surface for new caulk is over half the battle for this project. You need to properly clear away the old before the new will work. If not, your caulk job will look horrible no matter how steady your hand is. A Horrible caulk job can mess up the look of an entire bathroom. To get it right:

  1. Slice through the old caulk along the walls with a utility knife (or with that oscillating scraper blade, if you splurged) Then scrape along the tub or shower floor
  2. Scrape off as much caulk as possible
  3. Apply caulk remover to loosen what remains
  4. Scrape the remains off
  5. Remove any loose grout between the walls and the tub or shower floor
  6. If you notice mold under the grout along the wall and tub gap, kill it with bleach
  7. Scrub the grout, rinse off the bleach and let it dry – Use a hair dryer to speed the drying
  8. Clean the surfaces one last time with mineral spirits
  9. Let dry for 10 minutes – Maybe catch some of the pre-game show.

Step two – Mask the gap

Start by finding the largest gap between the tub/shower and the walls. That gap dictates how far apart you must space the two rows of tape.

  1. Mask the wall corner gaps first
  2. Apply tape to the walls above the tub or shower floor
  3. Apply tape to the tub or shower floor

Step three – Apply the caulk bead

  1. Load the caulk tube into the gun and cut the nozzle tip at a blunt 20-degree angle that is the same width as the gap you marked off with your tape – You can actually stick the uncut tip in the gap to see where the cut should be
  2. Hold the gun at a 90-degree angle to the gap and push a bead of caulk slightly ahead of the nozzle as you push the gun forward and continue applying pressure

Step four – Shape the bead

  1. Wet your finger with water and, starting at the outer corner, wipe your finger across the caulk to create a rounded bead
  2. Remove excess caulk from the gap
  3. Clean off your hands
  4. Remove the masking tape while the caulk is still wet
  5. Let the caulk dry (cure) before using the tub or shower – About four hours
  6. Go watch the game!

“Wow, thank you,”

the man said as he ordered a round of desserts for the now table of four. Then, Greg dropped his biggest tidbit of the night…

“When we remodel your bathroom, the showers we use don’t even have caulk and you’ll never have to do this again.”

You could see the mega mind explosions happening at the other end of the table. “No caulk what so ever?” the man’s wife whispered. “None,” Christine beamed.

(More on that next month)

If you have any plumbing or heating questions, feel free to comment on this blog or on Facebook – The guys would love to hear from you!

 

garbage-disposal

Keeping the Garbage Disposal Clean

Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t! But, this holiday season, your garbage disposal will likely be on over-drive with all the prepping and cooking going on in your kitchen. The last thing you need is a backup or a breakdown! So, the guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating suggest you start the New Year off right with a good old cleaning of the garbage eating machine.

Little Back Ground Info

We all know and love that a garbage disposal chews up all the food scraps we toss down the drain. But, do you know how it works?

“The disposal operates with an electric motor that is either hardwired or plugged into a 120-volt box,” said Grand Master Plumber, Greg Sheck. “Inside the disposal is a grinding chamber where shredding blades grind up whatever you toss down the sink. From there, tiny impeller blades and a plate force the particles and liquid down the drain which is why it’s super important to run cold water while the disposal is on. The dishwater is what carries the garbage through the entire process.”

If you learn anything from Greg about your garbage disposal today…

“It’s not a trash can. Only put biodegradable food in your garbage disposal. No gum, garden debris or chemistry experiments,” said Greg. Other things to avoid include fibrous, oily, starchy and expandable material that can tangle or clog up the system:

  • onion skins
  • grease and fat
  • corn husks
  • artichokes
  • celery stalks
  • potato peels
  • rice and pasta
  • coffee grinds
  • egg shells

Daily Maintenance

“When you run your garbage disposal, let it keep going a few seconds after the grinding you can hear stops,” said Greg. “There may still be small pieces, so leave the water and everything on for a few seconds before you shut it down.”

Also, when you are cleaning up after a good chicken fry, use a towel or paper towel to wipe off as much grease as you can from pans before rinsing.

Finally, if you accidentally toss a big chicken bone down there (small chicken and fish bones actually help clean the blades) Physically remove objects by first turning off the fuse that supplies power to the disposal. “So you don’t chop your hand off,” said Greg. “You can then use pliers or tongs to remove the trapped object.  A flash light will be helpful. “Be careful, damaging the grinder while sticking metal objects down the disposal is easier than you might think. Bottom line – Don’t stick your hand down there!

The Big Cleaning

There are a few routes you go when it comes to cleaning a disposal. If you kept your owner’s manual, that would be a good place to start. If not, Greg recommends the following options:

DIY Clean

Grinding ice cubes and salt in your garbage disposal is a great way to remove sludge and debris. In addition to cleaning the garbage disposal, grinding ice will sharpen the blades and salt will help with stinky smells.

  1. Turn the cold water on
  2. Turn on the disposal
  3. Empty four cups of ice cubes into the sink
  4. Feed the cubes down the disposal as quickly as it will take them – This will freeze all the gunk, causing it to chunk off the impeller blades and the plate
  5. Add one cup of rock salt
  6. Let everything continue to run a minute beyond the grinding noise

Professional Clean

“Don’t use drain cleaners,” said Greg. “These are mainly caustic chemicals that can corrode your disposal’s guts and kill it.”

BCcontainterMDInstead – order a tub of BIO-CLEAN from the G&C guys. “BIO-CLEAN is a blend of bacteria and enzymes. The bacteria are natural, and the concentration is the most powerful on the market,” said Greg. Interestingly, one $49.95 tub of BIO-CLEAN can clean your garbage disposal about 100 times. And, it cleans pretty much anything involving organic waste.

Bottom line, it works better than anything you can pull out of your freezer, but either option should do the trick and keep your disposal running smoothly through the holidays.

From all of us at G&C Plumbing and Heating

We hope you had a restful holiday that is full of peace, love and absolutely no plumbing emergencies. However, if your sister-in-law clogged up your disposal with potato peels, your kids gunked up your washing machine with that magic snow, or your heater just finally gave out – you know how to contact us! We promise to get you back on track for relaxation as soon as possible.

greg-brandon-g&cplumbing

How to Determine If Your Plumbing Team Is… Good

There are ton of talented plumbers out there! Unfortunately, when it comes to customer service, sometimes even the most talented shoot themselves in the foot. The guys at G&C Plumbing and Heating believe that customers deserved both – talented plumbers with amazing customer service skills.

Calling a plumber usually means you already have a headache to deal with. Don’t let the person who is supposed to be helping you add to that headache!

“I’ve been in the plumbing business for a while now,” said Grand Master Plumber, Greg Sheck. (25+ years) “Plumbers are in high demand, and are sometimes let off the hook for some pretty dismal business practices because of sheer demand. Brandon and I are very busy helping people with their plumbing, bathroom remodeling, and heating issues, and could probably cut some service corners if we wanted to. But, the one thing I decided to do, long ago when I started this business, was always uphold the highest standards of customer service.”

That is why Greg and Brandon put together a little list of sneaky tricks to watch out for when you’re looking for someone to help you with a plumbing or heating project. We are not suggesting many plumbers try them – plumbers are good guys; we know lots of them and many are our best friends. But, it’s always best to do your due diligence when selecting a crew that’s going to be coming into your home.

The following are practices that Greg and Brandon consider to be UNACCEPTABLE, and so should you!

1. Hiring the unlicensed and uninsured

“Don’t do it,” says Brandon Sheck. You might be blown away by the price tag on the estimate, but it’s simply not worth the risk.

There are some projects you might be able to handle yourself on the weekend, but most cities require homeowners to use licensed and insured contractors, even when you don’t need a permit. “Keep in mind, you must use licensed professionals for structural, electrical and plumbing work,” said Brandon. If you use unlicensed tradespeople, a building inspector can require you to tear out the job and do it again if it is not done to code. And you are left on the hook for the cost.

When hiring a plumber…

Ask to see identification, a state license and proof of current insurance. If you get that weird feeling in your gut that you always get when something is not right, you can check licensing and insurance credentials by calling your state’s licensing department and/or state insurance commissioner.

2. Lowballing a bid

You know it, we know it – the cheapest route is not always the best. But, it’s always tempting.

“A wicked cheap bid should spark that gut feeling again. Something’s probably wrong,” said Brandon. There is just no way around it, plumbing is expensive and fees can vary widely, so this is something that’s sometimes hard to judge. The best way to get a sense of what a project should cost is to get one or two bids for a project.

Angie’s List, which charges a fee to access reviews of local businesses and professionals, says: “A common plumbing scam is to give a low estimate that doesn’t account for all of the labor needed. You will then need to pay for the additional labor before the plumber finishes the job, putting you in a tough situation.”

Funny thing – G&C Plumbing and Heating has an A+ rating on Angie’s List! Just a little extra proof that they play by the rules, and then some.

3. Showing up uninvited

We don’t even like it when our neighbors show up uninvited these days. “If a plumber shows up, out of the blue, to tell you to hire them, this is a bad sign,” said Greg.

Don’t invite anyone into your home whom you have not first checked out. Find trustworthy plumbers by collecting recommendations from:

  • Friends and colleagues. – This is how Greg and Brandon get most their work.
  • Review sites like Angie’s List (paid) and Yelp (free).
  • The Better Business Bureau. – This is great for verifying complaints or suspicions you have about a company.
  • A Web search. A reputable company should have a helpful and accurate website. Everything should be spelled right, contact information should be up to date, and the best companies will have free, helpful advice for customers right on their website.

4. The bait-and-switch

“If you have a conversation with your plumber about using a certain brand for your project, but a different product is used without consulting you on it- that is not nice,” said Brandon.

Bait-and-switch is a deceptive marketing practice. “When you obtain bids, get the make and model of parts or equipment that will be included. This will help you compare with the final product,” said Greg.

Like Mr. Rogers said…

Look for the helpers!

We don’t mean to sound scary. There are more great, amazing, talented and good plumbers out there ready and willing to help you with your headache of a plumbing project than there are bad. You just need to do a bit of homework to make sure you’re picking from the good pile, so to speak.

Hey, we happen to know two of the best in the industry, and suggest you call Greg and Brandon at G&C Plumbing and Heating for yourself to find out why they are just so…Good.

G&C Up Close and Personal (Papa Greg)

Greg and Brandon of G&C Plumbing and Heating are great guys, but don’t take my word for it. Let’s take a moment to get to know a bit about each of them. This way you’ll understand the stellar work you’re getting and feel even better about the referrals you’re making to friends and loved ones.

First up:

Papa Greg

In 1985, while pumping gas for $5 hour, Greg Sheck was offered his first plumbing job for $5.50 hour. “I didn’t know anything about plumbing at the time, but I was pretty into a .50 raise, so I started plumbing on weekends until I graduated high school.”

After high school, Greg started plumbing full time and discovered he really liked it. “My boss pretty much handed responsibility over to me, so I had to learn how to do plumbing the hard way, which usually meant doing it wrong, getting yelled at, and then doing it again.”

This was before cell phones, so “if I did have a question it was either figure it out myself or find the nearest bar because chances are that’s where my boss was.” Despite the learning curve, Greg managed to stick it out and in 1990, he passed his Journeyman’s plumbers license. He was offered a great job, got married to a lovely lady named Christine, had a beautiful baby boy named Brandon, and a sweet baby girl named Tayla.

Greg worked for the same plumbing company for 14 years and was fairly happy until his boss changed his business model in an attempt to make a quick buck and “things went downhill real fast,” said Greg.

In 2005, G&C Plumbing and Heating was born. “The “G” is for Greg and the “C” is for Christine in case anyone is wondering how I came up with the name.”

Now a Master Plumber, Greg worked for well-known builders and general contractors in the Franklin, MA area until the crash of 2009, when “five general contractors filed for bankruptcy all at the same time -that was tough,” said Greg who decided to use the time to change the G&C business model.

A family business through and through, Brandon came on board later that year as an apprentice to Greg. The father and son team started working exclusively for homeowners doing residential service and repair work. “Turns out it was the right move, business has never better,” says the happy papa!

And that’s the story, well half of it: A father and son team working hard to serve their community. They know your name, and you recognize the G&C Truck as it travels back and forth across southern Mass. It’s a great story when you think of it: A successful local business that helps friends and neighbors.

Great job Greg!!

Stay tuned next time to hear about Greg’s son, Brandon – the other plumber who prides himself on keeping his backside covered (poor plumbers and the plumber’s crack jokes that plague them)