Robert Lamoureux: Permit for reroofing; trouble on deck

Robert Lamoureux has 40 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]

Question No. 1 

Robert, 

I live here in Canyon Country in a single-family home and am widowed, so rely on myself for major home decisions. 

This is where I need your help, though. I’ve acquired three bids for work from contractors who all have proper insurance, I’ve discovered. 

Two of the young men are telling me that I don’t need permits for the work, that it would save a lot of money by not getting them, and one is saying that yes, in fact, I do. 

The work in question is re-roofing with a similar product as what is currently in place. 

Other than yourself, I’m not sure who to call to find out the facts, so that I am better equipped to choose the right man for the job. 

Can you help educate me on this, please?

— Barbara E. 

Answer No. 1

Barbara,

You are being led astray, and I would not use either of the two contractors who are trying to avoid permits. 

You do, in fact, need permits, and the purpose is to have someone impartial who will evaluate the condition of the sub-roof under the roofing tiles. This is the pre-installation inspection. 

They will require that this be properly repaired, if needed, so that the new roofing materials are installed properly and so you have a sound roof for the lifetime of the materials. 

They’ll be sure that the new product is similar, so the current engineering of the framing/roofing is adequate to withstand the weight. 

The inspector will look at the installation for the final, making sure that each layer was installed properly and will document it, signing off for your records. 

The city of Santa Clarita is one of the best I’ve worked with over the nearly 40 years I’ve been in business, and I’ve dealt with many. 

Do not pay your roofer until you have this signature and all affected areas have been cleaned, and that you are 100% satisfied with their service. Only at this point do you pay your final bill.

— Robert

Question No. 2

Robert,

We had a pool and deck poured about two years ago. It is a Stampcrete finish with a surface dye. Throughout this deck, the system is spalling! 

The crème, the Portland cement, is coming up and, of course, the Stampcrete has failed. It is all looking quite horrible. 

There are actually chunks/chips of the concrete coming up, and this is in areas where there is no furniture, no high traffic and there has been nothing dropped or no accidents in these areas. 

Also, this was poured when the weather was over 100 degrees. Could that have been a factor? 

What is the proper fix for this situation? I know enough to know that this is the issue, but I’d like your advice on the proper fix for this situation. Do I have recourse with the concrete company? 

What should I do? 

— Roger V.

Answer No. 2

Roger,

The crème in the concrete is actually the protection around a pool against the acid in the water. It’s not foolproof, as over the years it will wear, especially if the chemicals are not tended to properly. 

With Stampcrete, though, the crème is pushed down. Therefore, you lose that protection against the acid. The chips/spalling you are speaking about, this in conjunction with the Stampcrete issue, sounds like the concrete contractor/pool contractor used a mix that was incorrect for this application.

There are too many variables for me to say exactly what the failure of the mix was. 

Being that it is only two years since this was poured, I strongly recommend that you reach out to the concrete contractor and try to get him to make good on this. 

Just the surface dying alone should have never been done. It should have been mixed into the concrete for a longer-lasting effect. Plus, it should have been floated rather than Stampcrete, to maximize the crème on top.

The weather very well could be a factor, due to the expedited curing. Sometimes, the mix will be diluted and, ultimately, this can cause this type of failure. 

I can’t say for sure that it is part of this problem, but it could be a contributor. 

Get this guy out there and do your best to have him make it right. 

Good luck.

— Robert

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