Proper prep can save lots of money


Question No. 1

Hi Robert, 

I have a question: We have a P-trap that is leaking under a newly tiled shower.

Every day, we fill it with water and, within 24 hours, it is bone dry. We have a cement foundation. 

Is there a trenchless/epoxy option to fix this? Or is my only option to rip out the tile and dig out and replace the P-trap?

Thank you in advance for your help.


Answer No. 1


Thank you for writing in.

Unfortunately not, with regard to the epoxy part of your question.

However, if the tile man you used to do the install is good at his craft, he can open up the area and allow you to do the repair, then waterproof the pan and reset the tile. 

This is one of those situations where the plumbing was installed and not tested before the pan was set. 

Any time you do any type of plumbing it should always have a standing test done before you replace the surface whether it’s tile or drywall.

This will eliminate this type of situation. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Best of luck to you. If you need a referral for a quality tile contractor, let me know.


Question No. 2

I live in Canyon Country, and want to thank you for the repeated answers via email and getting involved with helping me try to figure out the legitimacy of the contractor who I was looking at.

In the end, you were right and really saved the day. It was not only not his license, but the insurance was bogus, also.

Everything about him looked true and factual until I looked in to whether his documents were legitimate. In the end, I think you saved me thousands of dollars by figuring out that this guy was nothing but a sham, using someone else’s license with a nearly identical name, and providing falsified insurance documents.

(His workers’ compensation insurance) wasn’t even his. Please tell your readers about this, I was ready to write a check for nearly $40,000 to start the work, but my instinct and your advice had me questioning things. 

Your advice on looking further into these documents is the reason we are going to be OK on this.

I really want to thank you for your help and patience with the back-and-forth questions via email, you’ve done a great service and it is very kind of you.

Richard D.

Answer No. 2


You’re very welcome, and I’m happy that the advice of verifying documents provided, helped you pick this disaster of a contractor out of the woodwork.

Unfortunately, there are many of these guys out there that are around just to take people’s money. They know enough to pull the wool over people’s eyes but so often their work is poor and safety can very often become an issue. They’ll often convince people to pay the majority of the bill prior to the work being done and then ultimately walk before completion, leaving the poor unsuspecting people without a contractor, without their money, and unfortunately sometimes having to redo some or all of the work. I’m glad that you listened to your instincts and reached out for advice, and ultimately that you didn’t sweep it under the rug. It really is you: You did the work and investigating.

One other piece of advice that I have for you, and everyone out there hiring a contractor: Take photos.

This is something that we’ve learned over the years that is incredibly important in our record keeping. A picture is worth a thousand words, and in our business it can also be worth thousands of dollars.

Take before photos of the areas to be worked on, and as your projects progress, continue to document what is being done. In today’s times, many contractors are also doing the same, and it really helps when questions arise later.

This is especially helpful for what can’t be seen any longer, once construction is complete and things are closed up. Knowing how something was built or installed can be extremely helpful in the future.

Good job on investigating, and good luck with your project.


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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