Suppose you owned a beautiful 75-year-old house on the shore of a lake in the mountains that, with additions over the years, had grown from an A-frame boathouse to a four-story, eight-bedroom, six-bath 5,000-square foot mansion. You knew the plumbing system needed repair but you didn’t want to rip into the walls and floors to remove the old galvanized and copper pipes. Neither did you want to spend upwards of $500,000 for a 4-6 month project to locate, remove and replace the pipes. Plus you were sure you needed to have it done in the summer months and not wait for winter.
That was the dilemma faced by Heather Hallderson, personal assistant and estate manager for Michael and Mary Shannahan, owners of The Boat House, a historic property on Hamiltair Drive in Blue Jay, an upscale community on the south shore of Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains.
New technology to the rescue.
San Diego Plumbing and Pipelining with the Tri Sure system designed to line the aged pipes with a high-tech epoxy formula originally developed for the U.S. Navy and now available as Water Epoxy Lining. San Diego Plumbing and Pipelining is the sole distributor of the Tri Sure system.
The patented process includes drying and cleaning the inside of the pipes, and then shooting the epoxy lining in 100-foot segments, filling pinhole leaks and creating “a pipe within a pipe.” San Diego Plumbing and Pipelining ’ four-man, three-vehicle crew was in and out in four weeks, on time and on budget. Their restoration bid was a fraction of the possible repiping cost, according to Bill Brink, owner of the firm.
Even so, San Diego Plumbing and Pipelining ’ sales and operations manager, Josh Bellows, judges the Lake Arrowhead Boat House as one of the toughest, most complicated single-family home jobs he has experienced. Old galvanized pipes are particularly challenging, requiring higher heat in the initial drying stage and using larger gage grit to blast out rust and corrosion in the cleaning process.
Bellows said the entire plumbing system was brought up to current building codes, including forming a “dielectric union” between the galvanized and copper pipes wherever they were joined. They cleaned and coated the hot and cold lines separately, leaving a source of water on, most of the time.
X-Ray & Electrical Current Technology
Another high-tech feature: the San Diego Plumbing and Pipelining ’ crew employed electric current and x-ray technology to trace and locate every joint and turn of the pipes in the walls, under stone floors and underground. Several “dead legs” were located as well – old pipes that had been branched off and been capped sometime in the past 75 years.
An add-on was to clean and coat the 120-foot, 1.5-inch main line from Hamiltair Drive down a slope paralleling the driveway and entry staircase. It turned out to have a split, with a dead leg. The better solution was to dig and install a new polybutylene pipe.
Bellows made a few more points favoring lining the pipes rather than replacing them. “Since there was no demolition, we created no landfill waste. Since we didn’t have to cut into walls or ceilings that contain asbestos or lead paint, we had no hazardous materials issues. And of course, doing this work before there was damage from actual major leaks, we did not have to treat any mold or dry rot.
Some History On This Beautiful 75 Year-Old Boat House
The original boathouse, a replica of a boathouse on the Thames River in London, was built in 1933 by the Thomas Hamilton family. Considered the first structure to be constructed on the lakeshore, it stands on the north side of a 36-acre peninsula now called Hamiltair Point. Hamilton was an inventor, and is credited with developing the variable pitch propeller for aircraft.
Among past residents of The Boat House is Tom Selleck, the actor. Scenes in the classic “Frankenstein” motion picture starring Boris Karloff are said to have been filmed there. The current owner, Michael Shannahan, is an executive at The Capital Group, a firm that manages mutual funds. Hallderson, who has been personal assistant and estate manager for the Shannahans for 18 years, oversees other Shannahan properties in Beverly Hills and Indian Wells.