Every year, thousands of Arizona residents email Rosie Romero's website or call his radio show with questions about everything from how to prevent fires in their chimneys to what to do about the tree roots invading their sewer systems. One of his goals is to provide answers that suit the specific lifestyle wherever someone lives in Arizona.
QUESTION: We have a master bedroom with a western exposure that can get very hot in summer so we're thinking of building a greenhouse in front of the bedroom to increase shade and cool off that room. We would also like having the greenhouse as a place to grow plants and vegetables in winter. We would build the greenhouse using clear acrylic sheets, and we would hang the back wall of the greenhouse from the fascia on the roof. Do you have any advice about our plans?
ANSWER: Generally, we advise against hanging anything from the fascia, which is a band of wood or sheet metal located just under the edge of your roof. It's better to hang the wall from the plate where your trusses are attached. In addition, building a greenhouse with all that glass and without an adequate ventilation system might not accomplish what you really want to do in terms of cooling off the bedroom. You might create a heat sink instead of a shade solution. It might be better to build your greenhouse somewhere else in the yard. Then put a free-standing trellis in front of the bedroom wall and cover it with vines to create a cooling effect. Thick foliage on the vines can create a cooling buffer in front of the wall.
Q: I have iron bars on my windows. In the second bedroom, there is a quick-release latch for use in emergencies. But the latch seems to be broken or the bars may need replacing because the bars are not locking properly. Who could fix this type of a window?
A: You will need a welder or a fence fabricator to fix this issue for you. However, remember that window bars can certainly be a hazard during a fire. You want to be sure that you have single-action, quick-release devices on each window in case of an emergency. There are also many other product options these days that offer window security that you might want to look into instead. One popular alternative is covering the glass with security film, which makes breaking windows extremely difficult. The film also stops heat from coming through your windows on very hot days.
Q: Can an acrylic pool deck withstand the heat of a barbecue grill or standing heater? Are there tiles that remain cool in the sun like Kool Deck?
A: A thin coat of acrylic or polymer concrete can be an alternative to Kool Deck. These acrylic decks are usually a mix of acrylic resin, Portland cement and sand, applied over plain concrete to give it texture. Acrylic finishes can be acid-stained or custom-textured and are usually finished with a solvent-based sealant to make them stain resistant. An acrylic finish can be cooler than plain concrete, but will not be as cool as Kool Deck.
In addition, acrylic decking might be damaged if a heat source, like a heater, was placed directly on top of it. Generally, most types of tiles cannot withstand the exposure to minerals and chemicals from your pool water. You might think about installing interlocking concrete pavers around your pool instead. They can handle wear and tear and now come in lighter colors that are cooler to the touch.
Q: We have an older home with a patio paved with glazed bricks. A lot of these old bricks have been chipped and broken and we want to replace these individual bricks. We were going to hire a handyman to do it, but where can we find bricks to match what we have?
A: It's going to be very difficult to find replacements for those existing bricks. It's unlikely that you can match them because your current paving material has been out in the sun so long that the color has probably completely changed. In the future, the old bricks will also keep on chipping and cracking. It probably would be best to replace the entire patio.
For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for 25 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program, heard locally from 8-11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) and -FM (97.1) in Tucson and KGVY-AM (1080) and -FM (100.7) in Green Valley. Call 1-888-767-4348.