Ask The Expert


Hi Robert,

This is the first time I have written to you. I’ve been saving it for something major. I’ve got a pool leak and I can’t find it. I’ve broken out my concrete and have been digging for two days. It looks like I might not have this thing back in order for summer. Could you offer any advice on how to find the leak? Thank you,

Mike G.

Hi Mike,

Contact a leak detection company that specializes in pools. They will either drain your pool down so they can plug, or they will use a jet sweat and put it in the recirculating jets.

Once they get everything plugged up, they energize the line with a gas. They then listen for the sound of the gas escaping the line with sounding device equipment. Basically, they are listening for the bubbles underground. There is a company in Sylmar called Goldak that offers this service — they are very good. They also sell the location equipment, but I wouldn’t recommend buying for one time use. Instead, just hire them to come out and they will pinpoint that leak down to a one sq ft area. Fees are about $400, which will more than make up the cost in materials and digging time alone.

When they run these lines during installation, they are all stacked on top of each other, which makes it even more frustrating. If the bottom line happens to be leaking, then you have to cut all of the lines to access the problem and make the repair.

Many times, the source of these types of leaks are caused by an over rated pump or motor. Some folks think the bigger the pump, the better, because of more water movement. The problem with this is it places too much pressure on the lines and they break.

Hey Robert,

I have a bad stucco patch repair on my garage. It’s wavy and lumpy and does not match the rest of the wall — in the shape of a square like it’s where a window used to be. Do I need to take it down to the wood frame and start all over? It’s about 2 feet by 4 feet. How would I fix this? Thank you,

Nick S.

Hi Nick,

Take a surface grinder with an abrasive disc and grind it down so that it’s below the working surface. Then get some base 100 or 200 and build it back up using a sponge trowel.

Depending on what color your garage is, you can get dye and color it or stay with the natural base color white. I would start in a small area and work it to your satisfaction.

Don’t grind it too deep. The base is not intended to be thick. Get it just about flush and then come in with the base coat. Use a rubber sponge trowel and work it in a swirling pattern until you achieve the look you want to get. It’s just a matter of practice and doing it that way will teach you how to perfect it.

New stucco is hot, meaning the alkalinity is high. It has to cure for 30 days before you paint or it will burn the paint, causing it to bleach out and look spotty. 

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Robert Lamoureux of IMS Construction, Valencia, CA, has 30 years experience as a 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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