Robert Lamoureux: DIY compression, termite troubles

Question No. 1

I live in Canyon Country and am pretty handy, I’ve done a lot around my house.

I’m a single mom, trying to get through, save money and have had to learn a lot to get it done on my own. I have a leak at my sink shut off.

As long as I leave it in the shut position it’s not leaking, but as soon as I put it in the on position, it begins to leak from right where the little thing comes out, so I’m not able to use it. I see that they welded the shut off on, so I went to the hardware store and they told me that there is something called a compression angle stop that I can use. They say that it looks the same but you don’t have to weld it, what you have to do is to cinch it down really tight. This looks weak to me so I have concerns about cutting the old one off and using this one, is this something that is dependable and should I use it?

Is this as good as welding and is it safe? I wonder if I need a plumber to come and weld this on.

Kelly R.

Answer No. 1


This is called a compression coupling, and yes they are perfectly fine to use.

You sound handy so I’ll tell you how to do this, and if you have any further questions just reach back out. While you’re doing one you should do both, as these things tend to wear out at about the same time.

First, shut the water to the house down and have some rags handy under your work area, as there will be residual water from the line. Wear safety glasses in case anything unexpected happens and use gloves as there will be sharp edges on the newly cut pipe.

Use a tubing cutter to cut off the copper piece, making sure that there is enough length coming out of the wall first, that you’ll use to attach the new coupling to. Attach the new coupling then cinch it down tight with two wrenches so you have a good, tight seal. Replace the flex lines that go to this new coupling to the fixture.

Check for leaks once you turn the water back on. If you have a leak, it’s because you need to tighten the new coupling more. Good luck and let me know if you have additional questions.

Good for you, being able to do this type of work.


Question No. 2

I live in Canyon Country, have opened up some drywall and found a significant size (approximately 4-x-6 post) of termite infestation that looks like it needs to be redone.

This literally looks like it is disintegrated and it needs to come out. I have submitted photos for you, and you’ll note that the header above this post is also affected. I know that this is a big deal and needs to be done but I’d like to attempt it myself, just need some guidance on the support while I’m making the repairs.

I am familiar with framing and will simply replace like for like, but the safety/support is my main question with regard to replacing the header, if that is needed. The opening to this doorway is about 12 feet long, can you help guide me with the photos I’ve submitted, please? Can I cut it where the other 4-x-4 post is and replace that area only?

Mikael R.

Answer No. 2


Yes you can make your cut at this point where you’re referring to for replacement of the header, that’s not a problem.

First shore up the area by opening the drywall and installing 4×6 between your joists. Never shore with drywall in place, the drywall will compress and it won’t be nearly as safe as if you open it up and install timber to timber.

You’ll then put in (2) 4×4 posts vertically for adequate support, one on each end, prior to your cuts.

Add blocking in at the bottom, never use posts directly onto concrete. Make sure this load is spread out so use another board such as a 2-x-6 or 2-x-10, set your posts onto this. Be sure that these are wedged in good and tight, so you have adequate support.

Now make your cut so the old and new transition centered on the other 4×4 post. The one that is damaged, you can put two 4×4 butted together and put them up using a “T” strap on both sides with Tico nails. Once this header and vertical 2-x-4s are replaced and secured, you can then remove your shoring without worry. You sound handy so if you follow these instructions, you’ll be safe, as will your home.

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

This post was last modified on June 19, 2018, 1:37 pm

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