Each year, thousands of Arizona residents email or call Rosie Romero’s radio show with questions about everything from preventing fires in their chimneys to getting rid of tree roots invading their sewer systems. His goal is to provide answers that suit the specific lifestyle wherever someone lives in Arizona. Here are questions about home maintenance and improvement from the Southern Arizona area.
QUESTION: If I install solar panels, what do I do in the future if I need to put a new roof on the house?
ANSWER: Before a homeowner has solar panels installed on a roof, a roofer should come out to take a look at a house and assess whether it needs new shingles, tiles or whatever. If your roof is in bad shape, you may need to reroof before the panels are put on. Panels can be removed later for reroofing, of course, but you will have to pay to remove and reinstall them. It’s best to improve the roof before going solar.
Q: We have been living in our house for about 10 years now. Our home is a little lower than the house next door, but we haven’t had any drainage problems before. But recently, during a rainstorm that included a microburst over our area, we came home to find a little water on the kitchen floor as well as in the garage — all on the side of the house next to the neighbor’s lot. What caused all that and how can we prevent it from happening again?
A: Probably you need to put caulk into some holes that have developed in the stucco on the stem wall of your house on the side where these leaks happened. It’s going to be hard to find these holes because they’re behind what’s called the J-metal flashing. To find the holes, you’ll have to hold a mirror on the ground that will let you inspect this area. You’ll have to put a little caulk on your finger and stuff it up into the holes behind the J-metal. If you see holes in the J-metal itself, don’t seal them with caulk; they are there for ventilation purposes. You might also want to have a landscaper reassess the drainage and grading in your yard near this leak.
Q: I have a very long window in my house that has developed a leak in one corner that has eaten through the paint and drywall. Now even the nails under the drywall are exposed. My house is about 22 years old; it is wood-frame construction covered with stucco. How can I fix this?
A: It sounds as if you have a serious flashing problem. You’re going to need some “surgery” by a stucco contractor who can cut the damage away in that area, fix the flashing and then restucco that section of the house.
Q: I have a flat driveway. So when it rains, some water always seeps inside the garage where it has damaged some of what is stored there. The driveway is about two car-lengths long. How can I handle this?
A: Unfortunately, the best solution is to break up the concrete and regrade the driveway area so it slopes down to the street. After regrading and before laying concrete again, think about installing permeable concrete pavers. That way the water can soak more easily into the driveway when it rains. Another possible solution might be to saw-cut and remove about three or four feet of the driveway near the doorway and install a drain that can divert the water before it gets into the garage.