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Robert Lamoureux: Louvered patio covers stand up to wind

Your Home Improvements

Posted: September 25, 2009 9:51 p.m.
Updated: September 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Mr. Lamoureux,
Reading your article in The Signal (Sept. 19) I was interested in the section about the louvered patio cover.
1. Who makes it and how do I contact them?
2. How do they stand up to our high winds?
3. Are they very expensive? Pricing was never mentioned in your reply to Thomas K. Thank you.
Donald M.

Hi Donald,
The company I was referring to is Vergola. I spoke with John Johnston, in Orange, who heads up national distribution. He said you could contact his office at (877) 769-1916 and they would provide you with local dealer contact information.

Concerning the high winds, the Vergola louver system has been approved for safety standards in all 50 states and is engineered to withstand winds of up to 120 miles per hour.

Regarding the pricing, they are more expensive then traditional, manual louvers because of the electronics.

Your dealer would be able to give you a price based on the specific system, options and square footage you need.

The Vergola system is the only one that has the electronics package that move and control the sun through the day, allowing light and ventilation. When they are perpendicular to the ground, they allow 89 percent of natural light.

The rain sensor automatically closes the roof at the slightest bit of moisture, even dew, to protect your furniture or pets. The remote control allows you to modify the position of the louvers at will, overriding the rain sensor and pre-programmed settings.

With the other manual operated louvered systems, they found that people had a tendency of leaving them closed for a couple of weeks. This would allow for leaves and debris to build on the top. When opened, it would all fall into their patio space. This is avoided with an automatic electronically controlled system when the louvers are constantly in motion. The Vergola system will stay clean for 3 to 4 months at a time. Then just wipe or hose them down.

Other than that, they have systems for both residential and commercial applications. You can also go to for more information, pictures and videos.

Hi Robert,
I read your article about hardwood flooring and this is something I've been wanting to do for some time. I will be installing on concrete. How do you check the moisture barrier and make sure it is safe to move forward? Thank you,
Stan P.

Hi Stan,
That's a good question. Moisture is a primary concern with wood flooring. Before any wood flooring project, you have to let the wood to become acclimated to where it is to be installed and humidity levels must be monitored.

You also have to make sure that the sub-floor or concrete slab is dry enough, or "acceptably dry," for the installation or else the wood will cup and warp.

There are several methods that you can use to check the condition of the vapor barrier and the slab. It sounds easy but it's not. Moisture is not evenly distributed across the surface of the slab. Some of the ways used most often are:

Tape a piece of plastic sheeting to the floor for two to three days. Then check to make sure that no water accumulates on the plastic or discolors the floor. If yes, there is a problem.

There is also a probe on the market that is a self-contained sensor and is slightly larger than a AA battery. For this, you drill into the concrete, vacuum out the hole, drop in the probe then come back later and take the readings.

Another method is to use a concrete moisture meter. These are hand-held electronic devices that use non-destructive impedance and transmit low-frequency signals into the concrete or cement floor to a depth of approximately 1/2 inch.

Another very accurate way of measuring the amount of moisture coming through the slab is to use a calcium chloride test kit. These kits contain a pre-weighed jar with anhydrous calcium chloride. You open this jar and place it inside an air-tight dome on the floor.

One kit is used for every 1,000 sq.ft. of floor surface. After 72 hours, or however long the manufacturer recommends for the test, you weigh the jar on a gram scale to see how much moisture was absorbed. Then by using a concrete moisture emission calculator, you enter the weight gain and the amount of hours of exposure to determine the amount of moisture measured in pounds.

Usually, any reading less than 5 percent and you're good to go.

Hello Robert,
I have metal fencing around my back yard and pool that is always rusting. What product can I apply to prevent this? Thank you,
Mario H.

Hi Mario,
Unfortunately, metal fencing is a maintenance issue. You have square tube, which is hollow. With the temperature changes from day and night, the metal heats up then cools. The inside of the tube sweats and condensates. This moisture is what's causing the rusting from the inside out.

You can always replace the tube with solid steel. This will help with the rust problem, but the cost is through the roof. Practically speaking, the best thing to do is to apply a rust prohibitor, prime and paint. Then keep it painted and keep sprinklers from hitting it. Even with all of that work, just realize that the rust is going to keep happening.

Hi Robert,
This is a note of thanks. I wrote to you a few weeks ago about problems around our battery charging station where the acid was pitting the concrete. I followed your recommendations and everything worked out perfectly. Thank you very much. It really looks good. It looks better than brand new. It was not only the money we saved, but the pride involved in doing the job ourselves. Of course, I gave you all of the credit! Thank you very much again,
James B.
P.S. Maybe I'll see you up at the Magic Castle one of these nights, if the ticket offer still stands.

Hi James,
I'm happy to hear that. I'm glad the project turned out well. I usually don't publish the thank you notes but it's always nice to hear how the job turned out. Thank you for taking the time to let me know.

Concerning the Magic Castle, I'd like to thank Jim Walker again on the fine article he wrote. And yes, the offer still stands. Make arrangements for the passes through our office at or (661) 296-0462.

Robert Lamoureux has 25 years experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contacting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor, after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Send your questions to


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