View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Robert Lamoureux: Keeping out the undesirables

Your Home Improvements

Posted: October 22, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 22, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Hi Robert,

We need a good idea to restrict unauthorized people from using our pools. People are getting in and throwing the furniture in the pool and vandalizing our bathrooms. We have a key-in and people can leave, but we’re finding kids are reaching around and opening the gate and getting in that way.

What we’d like to do is hook up an electrical charge to the fence, kidding, no we’d like to install locks that require a key-in and key-out. The hardware locksmith said that’s not legal. Is that true?  Thank you,

Christie H.


Hi Christie,

Many HOAs have similar problems, and I know how frustrating it can be.

There are no restrictions with a key-in/key-out lock sets but you have to follow protocol. Whether it be a key or a fob, you would need to put in a telephone so that if someone can’t find their key, or needs medical attention, they can call 911. 

If you go to a panic button or bar, then the phone is no longer necessary.  


Hey Robert,

I’ve noticed that you’ve been writing a lot on gates recently. I hate to be redundant, but you said that as people either come in or out they jump on the loop but that will not cause the gate to open. We have a loop inside our garage, and when you step on it or when a car drives over it, the gate opens. Just a small correction — thank you,

Marty R.


Hi Marty,

What you have is a truddle hose which is pneumatically operated. This is not a loop. A loop is a set of wires that is put into the ground that creates a magnetic field which detects metal.

You have is what gas stations used to have in the old horseless carriage days before the electronics came about. That hose can be replaced with a loop or a  photoelectric eye. That will eliminate people jumping on it and opening the gate if that is what you’d like to achieve.

For our younger readers, a truddle hose looks like a black garden hose that has a bladder on one end. When the hose is compressed, air pushes the contact and causes the gate to open. 


Hi Robert,

One of our fire hydrants (out of three on our property) has been hit twice this year. They came out and replaced the bolts with breakaway bolts. Is it a good idea to replace the breakaway bolts with strong bolts so it will stop the car? Sincerely,

Rebecca P.


Hi Rebecca,

The reason breakaway bolts are used is because you want the hydrant to sheer away from the underground line which is usually ductile.

These lines are very cost prohibitive to repair so they are protected as well as possible. 

Also, the breakaway bolts are code so they must be installed. They have to be put in with the head on top of the hydrant.

Inspectors don’t want to see the threads sticking up. 

I’ve seen some of those ductile lines buried as deep as 9 feet. If you were to break one of them below grade, you’re talking about a major repair expense. It’s much less money to have the hydrant broken. 

You can take steps to protect the hydrant. One preventative measure would be to put in some steel bollards. These are 4” black pipe with 1/4” walls.

Mount them in such a way that the vehicles will hit the bollards before the hydrant. 

Pour them with a good footing of about 600 lbs. of concrete on each post and set about 2’ underground. Let the bollard come up about 3’ out of ground so they’ll be a little higher than the hydrant. Keep them about 3’ - 4’ away from the hydrant so they don’t obstruct the hose connection and won’t interfere with firefighter access in case of emergency.  

These bollards are not appealing to look at, but they will stop the car before it reaches the hydrant.  If you are having continuous problems at that area, then this is the way to address it. 



This is just a comment that maybe you’d like to pass along to your readers. I was in the building department to get permits and I have to tell you it was an absolute pleasure to go in there because it is so streamlined and a pleasure to do business in the city of Santa Clarita. 

Keep up the good work.

John K.


Hi Robert,

I’d like to get my home ready for the winter. Everything looks to be in pretty good shape except for the deck. My deck has a rubber coating on it. Please tell me what kind of paint I should use. Thank you,



Hi D.S.,

It sounds like you have an elastomeric system. This would be what we call a 5001 system. You would need an elastomeric top coat which you can find through local suppliers. I will send you a list of the suppliers we use if you’re interested. 

There are a few in the San Fernando Valley that you can work with. The cost runs about $60 to $70 per gallon. 

For the application, you would first scrub the deck with TSP. Wash and let dry for a day or so. Figure on about 100 sq.ft. per gallon for the first coat.  hen broadcast silica sand and let dry for 24 hours.

This will give you a slip resistant surface. We brush off the sand then come behind it with a blower for any residual. 

The second coat will only cover about 80 sq.ft. because you’ll want to go heavy in order to cover the sand.

The purpose of these top coats is to protect the rubber membrane of your deck and should last for three to four years between applications. 

We installed a decking system 20 years ago on a high rise in downtown Los Angeles. We keep the top coat in good shape every few years and that deck is still waterproof after all of these years. 

 Everyone who sends in a question answered in this column will be given a full-color, limited edition The Signal/Your Home Improvements T-shirt. The shirt is available for pick up at IMS Construction in Valencia.

Robert Lamoureux has 25 years of 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


Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...