Robert Lamoureux: upgrading HVAC, sharing on shingling

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux

Question No. 1


I live in Canyon Country and recently have had to turn to offering Airbnb, just due to economics.
Years ago, we added a room onto the house, and because we weren’t planning to use it a lot, the venting requirement wasn’t much and we went with the minimum.
Fast forward to today, and the reality that the heating and cooling is not adequate enough to be able to follow through with our plan. I don’t trust many contractors, so I’m leaning toward you to guide me on what we need to do to this room — so we are not taken advantage of.
Is there an answer for this issue that won’t break the bank?

— Jeremiah

Answer No. 1


What I recommend for you on this is to go with a split system.
There needs to be a hole cut to accommodate this unit and if necessary, I can refer a reputable contractor for this, and the unit sits in this hole.
The unit contains the fan or air handler, and the condenser, which cools the air, sits outside nearby. It’s a combo unit that also heats, but everything goes through this one unit and not your house venting.
I personally have one in an addition of my home, and it has served its purpose perfectly for years, very dependable and it does a fantastic job.
The sizing of this unit will be done by the contractor — they have to calculate the room size and will purchase a large enough unit to both heat and cool this room for you or your guests, depending on the weather.
They are pretty high-tech now. They can be used with remote controls, they have thermostats and can be put on timers.
They’re relatively inexpensive considering the comparative costs of a second condenser and additional ducting for this one room.
Good luck to you.

— Robert

Question No. 2

Dear Robert,

I enjoy reading your solutions for construction and repairs for our wonderful homeowners and I appreciate very much your willingness to help Santa Clarita residents with these important repairs on their homes.
We are facing a different issue here at the city, as we are attempting to save our valley’s history along with the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society at Heritage Junction at Hart Park. We are currently re-roofing five historical structures and performing multiple other repairs.
I urgently need some advice on some of the issues on these historical structures and would love it if you could call me at my home.
Right now, I have a question that is very important for everything we will do in the next year:
What is the best caulking for exterior work on these structures? I understand that elastomeric sealants are excellent. I have used Dynaflex 230 by DAP, but I want to use the best caulking.
Some of these structures are 140-plus years old and are all entirely made of wood. Please help save our history the right way.
Many thanks for all you do.

— Laurene W.

Answer No. 2


Thank you for writing in. Please use my cell number and call me at your convenience. Evenings are fine, too.
The best sealants are the single-stage urethanes, such as Sika Flex, available at any big-box store.
IMS Construction will not use caulking on any of our jobs, as the urethanes are more resilient to the UV and have better elasticity for the outdoors.
The caulking usually fails within two years, whereas the urethane will last as long as five-plus years.
The cost is about 30% more than regular caulking, but the savings in labor after the two years is nothing if you’re having to redo it. Feel free to call me.
Good luck.

— Robert

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].

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