Ask The Expert


Hi Robert,

I enjoy your column and this is the first time I’ve ever written in for advice on anything. I want to have the stucco on my home painted and the last contractor I spoke with offered elastomeric paint as an option. It’s considerably more money and I’m wondering what the advantages are, if any.

Thank you very much,
Matthew G.

Hi Matthew,

The advantage would be that it’s a rubberized paint so it would keep the water out, but this would also prevent the stucco and the paper from breathing. Unless you have leaks in your stucco, I would go with standard stucco paint. Without leaks, there would be no reason to go with the additional expense of the elastomeric.

If you’ve got stucco that’s leaking and can’t afford to replace, then you might consider the elastomeric paint as a last ditch effort to keep the water out of your home. Otherwise, don’t spend the extra money. Standard paint allows for good circulation and prevents water encapsulation.

Hey Robert!

I just fired up my pool heater and black stuff keeps pouring out of it, and I can’t seem to get a straight answer.

Brian D.

Hi Brian,

Your heater is starved for fuel and is “sooting.” If you let it soot long enough, eventually, the carbon build-up inside the heater will catch fire.

The line is either obstructed or undersized. In most cases, it’s obstructed because pools need to be permitted so the lines are inspected. This is a common problem when water gets into the gas line and blocks it. For the repair, the line needs to be replaced and there are a couple of options, but no matter what you do, it’s going to be a fairly big undertaking. You can either demo the concrete as necessary to trace the line and replace it. Or, replace the line and not follow the existing trenches as there may be a quicker and easier way to get to the pool heater.

This is a job that you want to be sure to pull permits because it will have to be inspected.

Hi Robert,

I’ve got a pool and I’m losing, what looks like, about one inch of water per day. I don’t know if this is from evaporation or from a plumbing leak. Is that too much evaporation? How could I tell for sure?

Thank you,
Stacy E.

Hi Stacy,

A lot of pool questions this week… The simple thing to do would be take a bucket and put it on the first step of your pool. Fill the bucket with water to match the water level around it. Since the water in the bucket will evaporate at the same rate as the water in the pool, they should be at the same height 24 hours later.

If the water level in the bucket is higher than the pool level, then you will know you have a leak.

If you have a waterfall feature, turn it off during the test. A waterfall alone will cause 1” to 1 ½” of water loss.

You can prevent a lot of the evaporation and expense to refill by installing a pool cover and by keeping the water heater turned down. Warmer water evaporates faster than cool.

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 “Ask the Expert” are not to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after a thorough visual inspection has been made.

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