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Garage floor resurfacing may not be worth the hassle

Your Home Improvements

Posted: June 21, 2008 2:28 a.m.
Updated: August 22, 2008 5:04 a.m.
Hello, Robert,
Would you tell what kind of paint you would recommend for a garage floor? Thank you.
Terry C.

Any of your concrete urethane coatings are good for this application.

These are found at Dunn Edwards or any of your name brand stores.

The most important rule is to follow the manufacturer's recommendations on the prepping. This is the most critical part of it all. You'll want to start with a very thorough cleaning. Depending on which brand you buy, some will call for an acid etch. With this you would dilute muriatic acid with water and lay it down. Let this set for however long they suggest, wash it down and dry it off. Usually you want this to dry for a couple of days. After it's completely dry, apply the coating.

I know many people like the aesthetic look of the gray color. I've had the gray and I've also used the VCT black and white 1-inch-square tiles. This is a bit costly but it looks nice. Having personally tried almost every garage floor scenario, I would never do it again. It's a constant maintenance issue. It's easy to scuff and mark. I put it down and got rid of it. I got tired of always touching up the urethane paint. If you have a lot of cracking, then the coating or tiles will look better, but it requires a lot of time to keep it looking nice.

Personally, I would leave the rock concrete. Wash it down once in a while and you don't have to worry about it.

Hello, Robert,
I live in a condo on the first floor. When I was taking a shower, soapy water from my upstairs neighbor started coming up through my drain. I called the manager and they sent a plumber. By this time, my toilet started overflowing. Since I did not have a drain cover in my bathtub, the manager said that this was "irresponsible" and that maybe some soap or something of mine went down the drain and clogged it. He said I would have to pay for the repair. I called a neighbor that had a metal cable that he hooked to a drill and we put it down through the bathtub drain, but this did not work. Do you have any suggestions on what I could try next? Thank you very much.

Marlena T.

You have to find the source of the obstruction. For something like this, I would call a qualified plumber with an underwater camera and a locator. It could be that you have roots in the line that have nothing to do with a piece of soap.

I would let your manager know that you are willing to call a plumber, but if this problem turns out to be an HOA issue, like roots, then they are responsible for the fees.

Starting with the hand gun was a good first step. This will usually clear up any obstruction that may be in the trap. The plumber will first use a cable machine or snake to try to clear it out. If there are clean outs accessible, he would try that next. If this does not work, they may have to remove the toilet and go in through the drain.

If you still have standing water in the bathtub, use a bucket and get out as much as you can. Do the same thing with the toilet and then sponge out all of the excess water. If you have roots in the line, and if the cable machine can't cut through them, then they shoot a camera and locator through the line to find the obstruction. This repair requires excavation. They will dig up the line and replace it. If it's allowed by your city code, we wrap the line in burlap and cover with concrete. This will help to prevent the roots from growing back into the line. The burlap makes it easier to remove the concrete should you need to repair the same area in the future.

Hi, Robert,
We need to have a new window installed on our home. I've done a lot of price comparisons and there are some nice retrofit windows out there.

They are about the same price as regular windows, but are much less expensive to put in. Are the retrofit windows just as good? Thank you.

Gregory G.

No. As far as I am concerned, they are just a Band-aid. Generally, five years after they have been caulked in, you've got a maintenance issue. If you do it once and do it the right way, you'll be in much better shape.

Every major manufacturer makes retrofits, but what they don't tell you is the maintenance involved.

It's not the window that is the problem so much as the installation.

With a retrofit, they just come in and caulk the frame. You take the slider and the stationary out and inset the retrofit. You're basically just gluing a window in. Over time, the sun's UV rays attack that caulking and it starts leaking after about five years. Now you have to take all of the framework off, re-caulk it and put it back in place.

Also, it looks as if you've picture framed a window. You've got that wide border around them. I can spot one a mile away. If you're OK with that, that's you're decision. For me, I would have someone come in and demo the stucco around the window, add the paper, do it right, and make it permanent.

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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