Installer Profile - Doug Scarlett

We found the toughest experts around and threw them in the Certified Tough Series. Get the rundown on each expert and learn the tricks of the trade from the best of the best in installation, repair and diagnosis.

Doug Scarlett
Commercial Estimator, Elements Hospitality
Lynden, Washington

Previously a home builder and remodeler, Doug got his start in building science when the owner behind Canada’s Leaky Condo Crisis launched a U.S. project, hired, a large GC and brought him in as a project superintendent to help with compliance. Today, he travels across North America diagnosing building envelope problems and helping to develop solutions for them.

 

How did you get into the window fail business?

Surfside, a 51-unit timeshare on the Washington coast north of Long Beach, brought me in as a hired gun who had hands-on experience with crazy exposure experience via the Leaky Condo project. I basically had this building envelope engineer ride me like a surfboard until I figured it out. It took a year, all kinds of crazy isometric boots and learning how to counter-flash and flash. It gave me a lot of exposure to the whole regime of building science and engineering and how to have buildings breathe and be properly flashed. This led me to a bunch of window, door, and frankly, floor failures. Now, with Elements Hospitality, when the crap hits the fan they call me.

 

What’s the worst window fail you’ve ever seen?

Probably that Surfside project sixteen years ago. We ended up doing an entire exterior rebuild. Talk about extreme exposure -- it gets the crap beat out of it. The entire north wall would move 1.5 inches when you walked on the floor because the actual building wrap was insufficient -- it was a craft paper. Completely failed. We ended up going with a whole series of envelope developments -- stainless steel pans under windows, 11-part self-adhesive flashing, etc. Quite an extensive system. We actually used QUAD on the repair for the windows.

 

What do you love about your job?

I love the challenge of figuring it out. How did the building leak? Why did it leak? What was the failure? How can we fix it most cost effectively?


What is the most common mistake you see contractors making?

Either no or improper use of self-adhesive flashing on window and door heads. They’re trying to save time and money. They may put some tape down and think they’ve done the job, but they don’t take the time to learn where the flashing goes, how it terminates, making it work with a building wrap that breathes properly, etc. And the end-user gets short changed. I’d say do your homework, don’t be afraid to be different and look at what has worked and do it. It’s about more than just the products you use.


What’s the worst thing Mother Nature has ever done to you, personally?

How much time do you have? One of the worst was in West Yellowstone, Montana. Minus 38 degrees. Winds over 70 miles an hour and snowing sideways. Could barely see, truly A BLIZZARD. I was project manager. We did these crazy slider windows with an exterior well. Talk about extreme. I was driving an all-terrain forklift out in the open - no cab. It was brutal. BRUTAL.


Who is worse for a window -- a kid with a baseball or Mother Nature?

Oooh. Over time, Mother Nature wins. She’ll win against the baseball. Just because of the level of water telegraphing that happens undiscovered over time.
 

A $60,000 repair caused by a...cloud?

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