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Robert Lamoureux: Build overhang to get out of rain

Posted: February 11, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: February 11, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Hi Robert,

I’m a big fan of yours. In order to get to our garage, I have to walk out the front door and go through a side door. This is usually no big deal, but during the rains, we get soaked going to or from the garage.  We’d like to put a door in the common wall that separates the bedroom and the garage. Is there any reason why we shouldn’t do that?  Thank you,

Manny P.


Hi Manny,

You can’t do that. If, hypothetically, someone is in the garage with a car running, then the carbon monoxide could be fatal to somebody sleeping in the bedroom. 

You could install the door between a hallway or living room — basically any other configuration would be fine, just not a bedroom. 

If there are no other access options, you might consider building an overhang from your front door to the garage.  


Hey Robert,

I’m doing a window replacement this weekend.  I’ve never done anything like this before and I just want to make sure I’m on the right track before getting started.  I know that there is 6” wide window paper that I use, but please go over the application process on this.  I just want to be clear on everything. 

The guy I talked to at the hardware store didn’t seem to be 100 percent accurate, so I want to double check with you before I start. As far as I know, I have to break out the stucco around the window and peel the paper back and save it as best as I can. Then I would pull the window out, clean the area off and put in the new window. Is this right? What about how the paper goes on?  Many thanks,

Matt J.


Hi Matt,

You first apply the bottom piece of paper along the bottom of the sash.  You would then put both side pieces on, overlapping the bottom piece. You can overlap it by about 1” or so. 

Then you would set the window. I would caulk it in place. Nail it per manufacturer recommendation. Then, once the window is in place, take the top piece of paper (it’s called sisalkraft), and you’ll lay it over the top of the window frame once it’s set. 

We at IMS would then take a 12” strip of roll-on bituthene paper and surround the entire window with that, and then lath and stucco as required. We never get window leaks. 

You’re going to want to let your stucco dry a minimum of 30 days before you paint. This is because fresh stucco has a high alkalinity that must fade before painting for best results. 


Robert Lamoureux,

I see that you are a general and electrical and plumbing contractor. I have an electrical question. We have a handyman that works on our property. He has run the white plastic coated wiring inside of a storage closet that he stapled to the walls. He has five of these in there.  Is this per building code? Does the wiring have to be inside a metal enclosure? Thank you for your time,

Sylvia A.


Hi Sylvia,

Well, there are a couple of ways this can be done.  He could open the drywall and put the wiring inside the wall, coring through the studs and then repair the drywall or he can take whatever gauge he’s running and put it in a metal conduit. 

But you are right, the Romex he’s using can’t be mounted to the surface of the wall. The reason being, somebody comes by with a sharp object and accidentally cuts through the Romex, they could get shocked or killed.

Let him know he has to take it down. If he argues with you, then just call the building department. They’ll take care of it. 


Hi Robert,

A few years ago we put replacement windows in our house. We haven’t been too pleased with them. They have a film on the glass, hard to clean and get dirty quickly. Is there a different quality of glass used for differently priced windows?

We are rebuilding another house and our contractor likes the brand of window with which we’re disappointed. What is your opinion?

We also love our wood burning fireplace. In the new house we are also putting in a fireplace. My understanding is that wood burning is not an option.

I can’t believe they will let you put in a firepit and a pizza oven and not a wood-burning fireplace.

Do you have any suggestions for a fireplace?

Thank you,

Kathy P.


Hi Kathy,

Without seeing them, I wasn’t sure what kind of film you could have on your windows. 

We called your window company and they suggested that perhaps you had the optional Low-E. 

Low-E glass means low emissivity.  It is an energy efficient glazing technology meaning that it reflects heat in hot weather and retains heat in cold weather. 

Typically this is achieved by coating the glass with transparent microscopic layers of metal or a metallic oxide. 

There is an upgrade window with three layers of coating that blocks approximately 95 percent of UV rays.

Although the metallic coatings are inside the panes of glass, if you have what’s called a hardcoat Low E coating on the exterior of the pane, this layer can be damaged by using an ammonia-based window cleaner like Windex. The ammonia will cause the glass to look permanently dirty. 

Regarding my window recommendations, I like Milgard. Their Presidential line offers some of the best windows available, in my opinion. They’re not that much more expensive than your average window and you get a lifetime guarantee. For as long as you own your home, the windows are warranted. 

As long as they are installed correctly — the proper nailing pattern and so on — Milgard is unbelievable about honoring the warranty. 

Although I’ve had a couple of problems over the years, there was never a question. They stand behind their product. 

You are correct about the fireplace. In efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, new construction of wood burning fireplaces and appliances is no longer allowed in California, and their use is regulated in other parts of the country.

Although some look at burning gas as using a non-renewable resource, it remains the most popular alternative.

We have designed a custom, full-color The Signal/Your Home Improvements T-shirt we will give you if we answer your question. The T-shirt is available to be picked up at our office.

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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