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Robert Lamoureux: Several options for waste concrete

Your Home Improvements

Posted: June 16, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 16, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Dear Robert,

We need to remove a long walkway at our house. Where can we dispose of the concrete other than a landfill? Thank you very much,

Yolanda G.


Hi Yolanda,

In Santa Clarita, you can go through Waste Management. Or, you can take it Curtis Sand and Gravel off the 14 freeway where they will recycle it. They will charge you a small fee to dump it. They then grind it down and pulverize it to use for road base. They prefer clean concrete meaning there is no steel.


Hey Robert,

I serve on a homeowner's association board of directors. We have a very long unsightly wall that runs down an alley behind our building. I've noticed at the Sepulveda Pass they installed walls that looks like stone and I'd like to do something similar to our wall. Where would I look to get something like this going and do you know what it's called? I read your column all of the time.

Gordon F.


Hi Gordon,

At the Sepulveda Pass they are pin-shotting the wall and spraying on gunite, which is a cement mixture, as a cap. They are running rods into the mountain to secure the exterior which keeps all of the rock from falling so it's a retaining wall.

The first coat of gunite is sprayed over mesh. Once dry, they spray on another coat. It is then shaped and trowled into what looks like rock and dyed.

This is how they created the Matterhorn at Disneyland, for example. It's just wire, like chicken wire that's formed into the basic shape. Then the gunite is sprayed on at 100 psi.

You could absolutely do something like this on your alley wall.

Call a gunite company and find one that does that kind of decorative stone sculptering as most work only with pools or v-ditches.


Hi Robert,

We hired a worker to repair a 4 foot tall stucco parapet wall that goes around the perimeter of our roof. To be honest it was the lowest bid and now that it's finished I learned that nobody even checked references. It looks good, but it is leaking. The new company says we can put a metal cap on top of the wall to stop the leaking, but we don't like the look of it. Is there another fix?

Jon E.

Hi Jon,

The first step is to determine exactly where the water is entering. Is it only coming through the top of the wall or is it getting in through the sides also? The only way to know this for sure is with extensive water testing.

Many times there are holes in the paper due to workers running a million staples on top then water will chase the staples in.

If the water is only getting in through the top, you can break the stucco and peel the paper back and apply bituthene on top of the framing. Then felt it and apply another layer of bituthene on top of that.

Then re-lath and re-stucco. This way the cap is not necessary and you won't lose the aesthetic appearance as the waterproofing will be internal.

If you do decide to go with a cap, I recommend you go with a clip-on instead of a nail-on cap.

You would get the parapet cap made up to fit the wall with invisible clips. The clips are nailed into the framing under the stucco and the cap snaps onto the clips.

If you nail the cap on the top of the wall through the flashing, you will have an on-going maintenance issue and it will have to be sealed every year, year after year. The clip-on style is zero maintenance.



I'm continuously caulking the floor and the wall of my shower. It's always lifting or mildewing. What type of caulk is best for this? Thanks,

Ben T.


Hi Ben,

First of all you should never caulk the bottom of a shower, it should be grouted.

If you have a void between a wall and tile, clean it out with a groover and regrout.

There's humidity in the grout and under the tile. Grout does not keep water out from under the tile.

It's the hot mop or rubberized system they used under the tile that keeps the shower from leaking.

There's water under the tile and grout and that's why caulk will never stick.

Once you get it cleaned out, get the tile grout from your local hardware store. There are many colors available. When you get it re-grouted, that will be the end of your problems.


Hello Robert,

I'm the vice president of an HOA. We have a problem with a sewer line in our parking garage. Being a novice in this type of work I would like to get some professional guidance from you.

We discovered that one of the planter drains was illegally tied to the sewer line from original construction.

Tree roots grew into the area drain and then into the sewer system and that's what is causing all of the problems.

Our question is do we need to run new line to tie the planter drains into the storm drain system?

The plumbers say this would require 100 feet of 3-inch line that would have to be run.

This sounds logical but due to the price we would like to be absolutely certain before we continue. Thank you very much,

Anto K.


Hi Anto,

That's one of the reasons why we don't tie area drains into main sewer lines. Roots will get in there and grow very quickly because the contents of the sewer pipe is fertilizer for the trees.

I'm guessing your trees look great because of the nutrients they were pulling out of that sewer line.

Another reason to not tie planters into the sewer is because you don't want the processing plants to clean all of the extra rain and irrigation water.

The plumbers are correct. Bite the bullet, pull the permits and tie the planter line into the storm drain system.

We have designed a custom, full-color The Signal/Your Home Improvements T-shirt we will give you if we answer your question. The T-shirt is available to be picked up at our office.

Robert Lamoureux has 25 years experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contacting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, and 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. Send your questions to



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