Ask The Expert


Hi Robert,

I’m a big fan. In order to get to our garage, I have to walk out the front door and go through a side door. This is usually no big deal but during the rains we get soaked going to or from the garage. We’d like to put a door in the common wall that separates the bedroom and the garage. Is there any reason why we shouldn’t do that? Thank you,

Manny P.

Hi Manny,

You can’t do that. If hypothetically, someone is in the garage with a car running, then the carbon monoxide could be fatal to somebody sleeping in the bedroom.

You could install the door between a hallway or living room — basically any other configuration would be fine, just not a bedroom. If there are no other access options, you might consider building an overhang from your front door to the garage.

Hi Robert,

A few years ago we put in JELD WEN replacement windows in our house. We haven’t been too pleased with them. They have a film on the glass, are hard to clean, and get dirty quick! Are there different qualities of glass the company uses for different-priced windows? We are rebuilding another house and our contractor likes that brand. What is your opinion?

We also love our wood burning fireplace. In the new house we are also putting in a fireplace. My understanding is that wood burning is not an option. I can’t believe they will let you put in a firepit and a pizza oven and not a wood burning fireplace. Do you have any suggestions for fireplaces?

Thank you,
Kathy P.

Hi Kathy,

Without seeing them, I wasn’t sure what kind of film you could have on your windows. We called Jeld-Wen and they suggested that perhaps you had the optional Lo?3-366.

Low-E glass means low emissivity. It is an energy efficient glazing technology meaning that it reflects heat in hot weather and retains heat in cold weather. Typically this is achieved by coating the glass with transparent microscopic layers of metal or a metallic oxide. The Lo?3-366 is an upgrade with three layers of coating that blocks approximately 95% of UV rays.

Although the metallic coatings are inside the panes of glass, if you have what’s called a hardcoat Low E coating on the exterior of the pane, this layer can be damaged by using an ammonia based window cleaner like Windex. The ammonia will cause the glass to look permanently dirty.

Regarding my window recommendations, I like Milgard. Their Presidential line is some of the best windows available, in my opinion. They’re not that much more expensive than your average window and you get a lifetime guarantee.

As long as they are installed correctly — the proper nailing pattern and so on, Milgard is unbelievable about honoring the warranty. Although I’ve had a couple of problems over the years, there was never a question. They stand behind their product.

You are correct about the fireplace. In efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, wood burning fireplaces are no longer legal in California, and their use is regulated in other parts of the country. Although some look at burning gas as using a non-renewable resource, it remains the most popular alternative.

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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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