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Don’t drive nails into good stucco

Posted: October 20, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 20, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Hi Robert,

I live in a condo community and recently I learned of a proposal to install rain gutters below the exterior balcony’s under the pretense that the scupper drains on the decks are pouring water on the lower patio fences when it rains and causing wood rot.

I am aware of your concerns whenever someone penetrates stucco and it is a real possibility of water intrusion into the building.

Our buildings were designed with proper drainage and I feel this is unnecessary and not warranted since the fences are exposed fully to any rain anyway and that any wood rot should be dealt with, as soon as it is noticed.

The added gutters would be unnecessary cost, maintenance (leaf removal) and possible liability in case of water intrusion and mold getting into our buildings.

Enclosed are photos of examples of where the gutters are to be installed.

What is your professional opinion on this issue. As a homeowner do I have a case against this solution to a nonexistent problem? Thank you.

Bill G.

Hi Bill,

You don’t want to start driving nails through the stucco to capture water from a scupper.

Based on the pictures I looked at, it appears the upper balcony is set back beyond the fence line and the scuppers are not in pedestrian pathways. As you indicated, the fencing is unprotected and rain would get the fencing wet anyway.

There is another possibility that they may want to have the gutters installed because of balcony’s being washed down and cleaned during the summer.

Either way, I see it as a double-edged sword. You’re driving nails into what appears to be good stucco and paper, and if you do get water intrusion, not only are you doing damage to the balconies but you’ll have damage to the interior and framing of the balcony itself.

Based on what I’ve seen in the photographs, and I happen to be very familiar with your property anyway, I agree with you that the gutter and downspout idea should be abandoned. Forget the fencing, which is a non-issue and save the structural integrity of the building. Gutter installation primarily needs to be anticipated during initial construction. You can’t just come in afterwards and install gutters wherever you want, especially on stucco.

Also, you have a lot of foliage and trees at your property so there will be the added maintenance.

If the gutters are not kept cleared, you’ll start getting back ups which could cause more water intrusion when it overflows around the gutter spikes and travels into the building.

As far as if you have a case or not, your opinion would count for much more if you were on the board. As a homeowner, I’m sure the board will listen to your position but convincing them is another story.

Hi Robert,

I am a big fan of your informative column. I’d like to get your professional opinion about having solar panels installed on a residential roof. I needed to have my roof replaced last year to the tune of $12,000 and I’m very leery about having solar panels installed on my roof. Although people say that you can save lots of money by having solar panels, I don’t want any damage done to my roof.

Do you know how they are installed on a roof and the potential damage which might result in future leaks?

Thank you.

Annie L.

Hi Annie,

I am also an electrical contractor by trade and have been for about the last 25 years. I am not a proponent to the payout schedules that solar offers at this time. That’s my personal opinion.

If the savings were that good, I would have the work done to my home. I’ve been approached several times and I will not let them come near my house.

As far as your roof is concerned, I have only seen the solar panel installation from a distance. I don’t know how they are affixing the panels but as a homeowner I would have them install pitch pockets.

This is a flashing detail, a square metal boot that is nailed to the roof and then filled with a rubberized roofing membrane around the bracket that supports the panels.

It’s poured hot and dries flexible. This is the only way I would allow anyone to install anything on my roof.

My house is 20 years old and like you I am very protective of my roof.

In those 20 years, I have been on my roof one time. That’s it.

I went up to install permanent donuts over my vent stacks so I don’t have to go up there and maintenance them.

Other than that, I do visual inspections about every two years with a pair of binoculars from the ground.

No one goes up on my roof, but if work was to be done, I would not let anyone lift my roof open without having the entire roof re-papered with pitch pockets at each connection point.

Hi Robert,

Somebody broke into a storage room at our complex. From the footprint door it looks like it took just one kick and they busted in.

The deadbolt was locked so it broke the jam and the trim around the door. I know that locks only keep honest people honest but what’s the best way to beef up doors so they can’t be kicked open? Thanks,

Jimmy A.

Hi Jimmy,

You can install a heavy duty strike plate. You’ll have to mortise it into the jamb and use screws that are 3.5” long. Those screws will drive themselves into the studs.

The alignment is pretty tight so you have to make sure you get the plate in the exact spot it needs to go into. Once you get this installed, shy of taking an axe to the door, that bolt is not going to break.

Every entry door, swinging door, should have heavy duty strike plates. I have them on all of my doors.

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.

Editor’s note: Robert Lamoureux will be discontinuing his column in The Signal. We thank him for his efforts to educate homeowners in the Santa Clarita Valley.



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