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Robert Lamoureux: City offers building permits and more

Your Home Improvements

Posted: June 2, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 2, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Dear Robert:

On behalf of all of us at the city of Santa Clarita's Building and Safety Division, we want to say thank you for your support and kind words. We work hard to provide excellent customer service to our customers, through our Permit Center at City Hall, ePlans, our on-line plan submittal program, and our next-day building inspections. To your readers, we would like to say that it is an honor to serve you and we encourage you to check with us for all of your construction needs to assure that your projects are permitted and safe. We offer a wide variety of general information for residents and business owners through our website at: (just put building and safety into the search box). Many thanks,

Damon Letz

Building Official

City of Santa Clarita


Hello Robert,

I enjoy your column.

We have three gated entrances to our property. We are constantly pouring good money after bad.

We are looking for an installer or advice regarding a gate operator that will not constantly be breaking down.

After the first time the gate stuck open and cars were vandalized, we hired a security guard.

This gets very expensive especially waiting for parts to come in from out of state.

I think what we've spent on security and maintenance we could have more than paid for a new system not including the aggravation.

What should we do? Thank you,

Eleanor Z.


Hi Eleanor,

My recommendation would be go with a local manufacturer out of Inglewood called DoorKing. I will forward a reputable installer privately. The company you are referring to was bought out by an Arizona company so you will have delays waiting for parts to come from out of state.


Hi Robert,

We have a fiberglass tub that is leaking. We had a man come out and he said we had to take it completely out and replace with ceramic tile. Or we could bring in a new shower of the same style but we would have to open holes in the walls in order to make the turns and navigate it through the house to get the new one into the bathroom. Is there another option? We're retired an on a budget so we would really appreciate any help you could provide. Thank you,

Gloria W

Hi Gloria,

There is a company in the San Fernando Valley that does nothing but repairing and refinishing fiberglass.

They will recoat the entire wall and tub assembly and when finished it will look completely new. Prices would probably run somewhere between $300 and $700 depending on the amount of existing damage.

The entire process will take two trips. The first day they will come in and make the repair and will then re-glaze on the second trip. After the re-glaze, you'll be limited to nonabrasive cleansers, but they will give you recommendations.

I've used this company on various jobs over the last 30 years. I will forward contact information to you privately.


Hi Robert,

I have a wall that's been uprooted by my neighbors tree. This is been going on for a couple of years when I first noticed the wall starting to crack. I brought this to his attention and it almost turned into a fight.

I told him I wanted him to replace the wall that his tree damaged.

He cut the tree down and says that's all he intends on doing because once the roots rot the wall will settle back down.

It makes sense but I would like to get your opinion.

Thank you very much,

Darlene F.


Hi Darlene,

No, that's not true. At this point, the roots have lifted the footing and it won't go back down. For the repair, the wall will have to disassembled, dig up the roots, repour the footing and then repair the damaged portion of the wall.


Hi Robert,

I had 10 sq. ft. of drywall repaired on my wall now 3 times by 2 different companies. I'm not trying to be difficult I just don't want to see a bulge where the repair was made and I don't think that's asking too much. All I keep hearing is this is the best you're going to get and I would have to replace the entire wall to make it perfect. Is this how it works in drywall?

Tomas G.


Hi Tomas,

That is not how it works and you do not have to replace the entire wall.

Are you working with licensed contractors?

Professional drywallers that know their craft can make a repair in the middle of a wall that you can't see.

If a repair is spot painted, it can stand out like a sore thumb. For any drywall work we do, we repaint the entire surface, corner to corner.


Hello Robert,

I read your article every weekend. I'm doing some drywall repair. I'm having a problem with the texture.

It's a splatter coat but it comes out of the can too thick. When I try to make it smaller it just makes a mess. Should I go with a machine to spray it on? If yes, where do I get one and what is it called?

George D.


Hi George,

The reason it's coming out thick is because the can is too cold.

Run warm water over it or submerge it in a sink for about 10 minutes. Warming up the can will thin out the texture.

I would buy an extra can or two to practice with.

Once you get it warmed up, take a piece of cardboard and spray it until you get the kind of texture and consistency you want for your wall.

If you're looking for a knockdown finish, spray the material onto the test piece and let it dry for five to seven minutes.

Then you gently drag the leading edge of a trowel over the semi-dry texture.

Don't expect this to look great on your first try. It's more of a hit and miss, especially when starting out.

Drywallers are craftsmen; they are like artists.

I've seen from the very good to terrible. I happen to be a terrible drywaller. That's why I have employees that are the artists.

Some people take to it relatively quickly, but don't get discouraged if you need extra practice.

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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