Your Home Improvements

By Robert Lamoureux

Last update: Saturday, February 25th, 2017

Hi Robert,

My name is Mary J. and I live in Canyon Country. I’m a 91 year old who has a little bit of computer knowledge, but I needed help to send you pictures, so my granddaughter helped me with that and typing this.

I have a bathtub that my granddaughter tells me is fiberglass. It’s cracked and is leaking downstairs.

I called a plumber from town and they’re telling me that the whole tub needs to be replaced because it’s leaking from where the faucet is, also. They say it can’t be fixed but I’m on a very limited income and want to know if they are right or if there is something else that I can do.

Can you see my pictures and help me to know what to do, please?

–Mary J.

Mary,

Your granddaughter did a great job sending the pictures and email, thank you for writing in.

From what I’m seeing in these pictures, it looks to me like it can be fixed.

There are companies out there that specialize in these types of repairs and can take a tub like this back to near original condition with their special chemicals and techniques, and it is much less expensive than replacing the entire tub and surrounding tile that usually will get damaged.

The cracking that I’m seeing in the bottom is usually because the tub is flexing below. They can fix this problem before they resurface the tub itself, and it will prevent that problem from reoccurring.

They will drill holes into the bottom of the tub, apply a foam product that will then harden and offer support below, and then they fill the holes and resurface the tub.

This fix usually runs approximately $550.00 – $600.00 and is much less expensive than a whole tub replacement.

As far as the plumbing fixtures, they can try to access the area perhaps from behind. Sometimes the plumbing runs into a closet area or an adjacent wall that is accessible. I would definitely have the diverter replaced, which is the shutoff at the handle area and even the supply line.

I will send you a local plumber’s name, and please let him know that I recommended him. He does residential and does great work. I will also send you a couple of referrals to companies that do the tub resurfacing and repairs, and you and your granddaughter can give them a call and get quotes.

I’d be very surprised if they can’t make these repairs, I’ve seen worse tubs that have been repairable. Just know that when they do these repairs, you’ll need to follow their cleaning guidelines specifically, you have to use a non-abrasive cleaner on it, but it’s worth the extra caution.

Good luck to you, Mary.

Hi Robert,

I live in Westridge and during the rains I had two French doors leak and ended up with probably a couple of gallons of water that entered (the house). I’ve gotten the entire area completely dried out so I’m not worried about mold.

I’ve included some photos, showing the doors that are east facing. During the heavy rains the water was literally pouring against the door and there was no way to keep it out especially due to the high winds and the location of my property.

What can I do in this situation, where there are no visible signs where the water enters?

-Kevin S.

Kevin,

You’re describing my home. I’ve had this issue once before, but ultimately decided it was an anomaly because I never found the source of the leaking, despite my extensive knowledge and experience. I scratch my head still, wondering how the water got in.

Any door especially that is exposed to weather in that way, can be victim to this. I recommend that you perform a water test, by starting at the bottom of your door and forcing water at it.

You’ll need help. Have someone on the inside that you can work with to force water at the door. At any point that water enters, you’ll need to examine that area closely. It could be the smallest of areas where caulking has failed, a bad door seal, or many other things. Start at the bottom and work your way up.

If like in my case, you cannot get it to fail, then you’re in the same situation I was at my home. During these last rains I had nothing happen, it was only the one time.

Do know though, that when there is no overhang and the door is not protected then leaking can also happen.

Worst case scenario if you can’t find the source, then tarp your area for another big expected storm and know that you’ll ride it out. Big storms are so unusual for Southern California, it’s not worth it to me to tear out the whole door and stucco around it to try and figure it out when I can tarp it if necessary. Once every 6-10 years we get a storm like this.

You have options Kevin, it just depends on the lengths you wish to go to in order to figure it out. Reach back out to me if you need any additional help, I’ll do what I can. Good luck.

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 robert@imsconstruction.com.

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Your Home Improvements

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Hi Robert,

My name is Mary J. and I live in Canyon Country. I’m a 91 year old who has a little bit of computer knowledge, but I needed help to send you pictures, so my granddaughter helped me with that and typing this.

I have a bathtub that my granddaughter tells me is fiberglass. It’s cracked and is leaking downstairs.

I called a plumber from town and they’re telling me that the whole tub needs to be replaced because it’s leaking from where the faucet is, also. They say it can’t be fixed but I’m on a very limited income and want to know if they are right or if there is something else that I can do.

Can you see my pictures and help me to know what to do, please?

–Mary J.

Mary,

Your granddaughter did a great job sending the pictures and email, thank you for writing in.

From what I’m seeing in these pictures, it looks to me like it can be fixed.

There are companies out there that specialize in these types of repairs and can take a tub like this back to near original condition with their special chemicals and techniques, and it is much less expensive than replacing the entire tub and surrounding tile that usually will get damaged.

The cracking that I’m seeing in the bottom is usually because the tub is flexing below. They can fix this problem before they resurface the tub itself, and it will prevent that problem from reoccurring.

They will drill holes into the bottom of the tub, apply a foam product that will then harden and offer support below, and then they fill the holes and resurface the tub.

This fix usually runs approximately $550.00 – $600.00 and is much less expensive than a whole tub replacement.

As far as the plumbing fixtures, they can try to access the area perhaps from behind. Sometimes the plumbing runs into a closet area or an adjacent wall that is accessible. I would definitely have the diverter replaced, which is the shutoff at the handle area and even the supply line.

I will send you a local plumber’s name, and please let him know that I recommended him. He does residential and does great work. I will also send you a couple of referrals to companies that do the tub resurfacing and repairs, and you and your granddaughter can give them a call and get quotes.

I’d be very surprised if they can’t make these repairs, I’ve seen worse tubs that have been repairable. Just know that when they do these repairs, you’ll need to follow their cleaning guidelines specifically, you have to use a non-abrasive cleaner on it, but it’s worth the extra caution.

Good luck to you, Mary.

Hi Robert,

I live in Westridge and during the rains I had two French doors leak and ended up with probably a couple of gallons of water that entered (the house). I’ve gotten the entire area completely dried out so I’m not worried about mold.

I’ve included some photos, showing the doors that are east facing. During the heavy rains the water was literally pouring against the door and there was no way to keep it out especially due to the high winds and the location of my property.

What can I do in this situation, where there are no visible signs where the water enters?

-Kevin S.

Kevin,

You’re describing my home. I’ve had this issue once before, but ultimately decided it was an anomaly because I never found the source of the leaking, despite my extensive knowledge and experience. I scratch my head still, wondering how the water got in.

Any door especially that is exposed to weather in that way, can be victim to this. I recommend that you perform a water test, by starting at the bottom of your door and forcing water at it.

You’ll need help. Have someone on the inside that you can work with to force water at the door. At any point that water enters, you’ll need to examine that area closely. It could be the smallest of areas where caulking has failed, a bad door seal, or many other things. Start at the bottom and work your way up.

If like in my case, you cannot get it to fail, then you’re in the same situation I was at my home. During these last rains I had nothing happen, it was only the one time.

Do know though, that when there is no overhang and the door is not protected then leaking can also happen.

Worst case scenario if you can’t find the source, then tarp your area for another big expected storm and know that you’ll ride it out. Big storms are so unusual for Southern California, it’s not worth it to me to tear out the whole door and stucco around it to try and figure it out when I can tarp it if necessary. Once every 6-10 years we get a storm like this.

You have options Kevin, it just depends on the lengths you wish to go to in order to figure it out. Reach back out to me if you need any additional help, I’ll do what I can. Good luck.

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 robert@imsconstruction.com.

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Robert Lamoureux

Robert Lamoureux

  • I called a plumber from town and they’re telling me that the whole tub needs to be replaced because it’s leaking from where the faucet is, also. They say it can’t be fixed but I’m on a very limited income and want to know if they are right or if there is something else that I can do.

Robert Lamoureux

Robert Lamoureux