Robert Lamoureux: Winter weather delays house projects

Robert Lamoureux has more than 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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Question No. 1 

Robert,

I live in Santa Clarita and am building a home up north. About ready to do the stucco and have never heard of this before, so I am in need of knowledge pretty quickly, before this step happens. They’re going to do a smooth finish on the exterior of the house but the contractor just reached out and asked me if I want to do an anti-fracture membrane before they put the final coat on. Is this a sales ploy for them to make more money or is this something legitimate that if done will actually contribute to the value of this job by increasing the integrity of the stucco? This is about an $8,000 question so I want to be well informed before confirming or declining this. Are you aware of this and is it something that I should seriously consider? 

Dave S. 

Answer No. 1 

Dave, 

Your contractor is spot-on and you should consider this, in my opinion. A smooth trowel finish will be installed onto scratch and brown coats, which both contain Portland cement, and the smooth finish is an acrylic-based product. When you are joining two different products like this, it is imperative that you give it the best opportunity to bond and to prevent cracking. It is not a 100% assurance that no cracking will happen, but it is the best chance at it. After the scratch and brown coats, they’ll install this anti-fracture membrane, which is a fiberglass netting application. Once that is dry, then they return and apply the smooth finish, also named “Santa Barbara” or “Beverly Hills” finishes. Worth the added expense if you are going with the smooth finish. You’ll be happy with it. Good luck. 

Robert

Question No. 2 

Robert, 

We are ready to tackle our waterproofing project in the garage but are concerned about the winter weather and effects it could have on the quality of the finished project. Do we have to consider the weather or due to the fact that it is a garage, we can move forward at any time? Please advise. This will be a costly project to our HOA and we don’t want to waste the money being in too much of a hurry to get it done. Even if we have water intrusion is it better to wait for spring time and dry weather for a period of time, to do this? 

Kelly C. 

Answer No. 2 

Kelly, 

You are correct, you do need dry weather for a good period of time for waterproofing projects. The time needed depends on the size of the project. Sometimes a large waterproofing project could take a few weeks, so at this time of year and weather predictions not being reliable that far out, it is often best to wait for a dry season. If areas will be greatly affected, there are often temporary fixes that can be put into place for the meantime, but that just depends on where the failures are. If you need more detailed information, feel free to reach back out but this is a generalization based on information provided. In a nutshell, you need dry weather for the entire project plus a few days following, to ensure the products have adequate time to dry before water is introduced. Good luck to you.

Robert

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