Your Home Improvements

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Hi Robert,
My name is Rick H. and I’m involved in my HOA here in Santa Clarita.
We have a couple of monuments that have been vandalized, as you can see in the photos.
This sort of concrete cap that is on the monuments has been broken out on the corners. We’ve searched for replacements for this, but are unable to locate such an item. It is about four feet wide and about three and a half feet deep.
It must be custom because it rises up also, and we haven’t found anything like it. Nobody can seem to guide us either, so we are turning to you for your expertise.

Those are custom caps.
There are Styrofoam jigs that you can acquire at a brick and block supply house. They will sell the forms to you however this is really something that should be done by a mason and not just a handyman. There is an art form to the finished look of these, and if you have a handyman do the work you may end up paying twice – not necessarily liking the outcome if your handyman is not experienced in this work.
Setting the forms is also something that is not easily done, as the configuration must be planned and the finished look accounted for. And they must be shored up properly in order to accept the concrete weight, and hold for the weight.
Rebar must also be used for stability, which will help prevent the fragile nature of what is there.
Currently I see that there was no rebar, and this is a contributing factor to them being easily damaged.
Upon new installation, a good mason will add rebar right to the ends, and bend the ends so that there is extra stability at these corners, this will help prevent such easy damage.
So, as you can see there are many details to account for and a licensed and insured mason will know just what to do to get the look and stability that you are after. Good luck with this project.

We have 3 different pools at our HOA which all have bathrooms.
We are finding that people are leaving the faucets on and the water bills are becoming astronomical. We are also being tagged by the water company as wasting water, rightfully so, but we are definitely in need of a resolution to this problem – and sooner rather than later.
Keep in mind that we will need to do six bathrooms and pricing is important, but we do have to do something. -John L.

There is what we call a metered faucet. They are on a sort of a time delay and they will shut off on their own. They can’t be left on.
You can look online by searching this very thing. They are easy to install and will solve this issue while keeping things affordable for your HOA. Good luck.

I’m relatively new to working with my hands as an older retired fella. I’m looking to save some money by doing projects on my own, and have acquired some tools recently.
My wife has asked me to install an air switch for her garbage disposal. She found that her girlfriend has one and now she wants the same thing.
I’ve never done anything to this effect before, so is there any advice you can give to me prior to me starting?
I have to go through granite and don’t want to ruin the top, so is there any advice you can give to me to keep me out of trouble while trying to take on this project for my wife? -Jim T.

You have to be really careful with this. First, look under your counter and be certain that you have the room to put this air switch in.
You’ll likely be going through the granite and then plywood, so you’ll need either a 7/8” or 1” diamond blade hole saw for the granite, and then you’ll need the same size hole saw made for wood. You may wish to put some tape down and mark the hole on the tape, this will give the blade slight friction and help avoid and movement while starting this hole.
Start off very slowly with the coring of the granite, these bits do not have a pilot bit on them so you must begin very slowly to stay on track. Once you have a groove started then you can speed up your drill.
Also, once you get through the granite change your blade and move forward with coring through your ply.
After you have the hole made then follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for installation. You’ll use the electrical receptacle that is currently under your sink for your garbage disposal.
Be sure that you caulk under the ascussion plate to prevent any water from getting through this new hole, and complete your installation.
Good luck; this will be a good project for you.

Robert Lamoureux has 38 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, 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. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].

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