Ask The Expert


Hi Robert,

I’ve been “going green” in more ways than one. I’m concerned about the environment and want to know how to properly dispose of cans of paint (which happens to be green.) Thank you very much,

Kay M.

Hi Kay,

Are you referring to latex or oil paint? Latex paints are used in 85-90 percent of all painting jobs in California. They are a water based paint that clean up easily with soap and water. Of course with oil base, you need paint thinner or turpentine to clean up. Latex is much less harmful to the environment than oil based paints, but is still considered to be a hazardous material.

It is illegal to dispose of paint in the trash, sinks or storm drains due to the toxic impact on the environment, fish and wildlife.

If the paint has completely dried in the can, then it is legal to dispose of in the trash. Keep in mind that this only applies if the paint has dried out naturally inside the can. According to the DTSC (Department of Toxic Substances) you cannot remove the lids and air dry the cans or add any agent to the paint to help dry because this is considered treatment of a hazardous waste.

Another option is to contact a local HHW (Household Hazardous Waste) collection program. More information can be found at You can make arrangements to give them your unwanted paint which is then passed on as is or reprocessed, strained and provided at low or no cost to groups and individuals.

Hello Robert,

I have a bedroom that is adjacent to my garage. I heard it is illegal to put a door from my bedroom to the garage. Is that true? Sincerely,

Petra S.

Hi Petra,

That is absolutely true. You cannot have sleeping quarters joined to the garage by a door due to fire and smoke safety regulations.

Mr. All-Knowing,

I really enjoy your column. Our HOA recently hired a company redo our asphalt on our streets. They were using a blanket that they poured oil on and then covered with the asphalt. Could you tell me what this is for? Thank you,

Joseph C.

Hi Joseph,

Thank you. The blanket is called petromine. The purpose is to prevent crack transfers from the old material you have below that will have cracking and alligatoring in it. Without this blanket, which is acting as a slip sheet, the old cracks would come up into the new cap sheet.

I see this being used more and more. It saves the HOA a considerable amount of money. Instead of them completely breaking out the old street, taking it all the way down and starting from scratch, they remove the top portion, apply the petromine so it won’t crack out, and then add about an 1.5” asphalt cap sheet on the top. It’s much less costly and will last a few years but does have some potential problems.

My experience has been that once water gets between the asphalt and the petromine and is then baked by the sun, the surface will bubble and buckle. But, if your HOA was looking for a low cost asphalt resurface alternative that will last for a few years, this will work fine.

Submit questions to:

Robert Lamoureux of IMS Construction, Valencia, CA, has 30 years experience as commercial General, Electrical and Plumbing contractor. The opinions expressed in “Your Home Improvements” are not to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after a thorough visual inspection has been made.

Views All Time
Views All Time
Views Today
Views Today

About Author

Ask The Expert

Comments are closed.