Walking on a clay tile roof can cause the tiles to crack.
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 system. His goal is to provide answers that suit the specific lifestyle wherever someone lives in Arizona. Here are questions about home maintenance and house improvement from the Southern Arizona area.
Q: Will it wreck my tile roof if I walk on it just a little bit to install Christmas lights?
A: You should probably stay off your tile roof completely, especially in the case of those roofs that are covered in curved clay tiles. It's too easy to crack those tiles by stepping on them. The surface of those tiles can also be very slippery — a real risk to your safety. So pick some other location for your lighting display.
Q: Several months ago, we noticed our water use was significantly higher month-to-month compared to last year. By a process of elimination, I have determined the cause is the two-year-old drip system made of plastic hose. I located one large wet spot, pulled the hose up, and discovered a split in the line. I have a hunch that parts of the system were too close to ground level and froze during the winter months. My question is: Rather than letting the irrigation lines run for days while looking for additional set spots – or digging the entire system up – how can I locate other possible damaged areas of the line?
A: Unfortunately, there are probably no good alternatives to solving this problem. Generally, you can't check for leaks unless your system is running, and you find those telltale wet spots or see water spurting out of a line where an emitter or spigot has come loose. Keeping an eye on your water bill is an excellent idea.
Also, do some test runs of your system now and then to see if you can spot problems developing. Your irrigation system is fairly new, but as it ages, you will probably see more and more of these issues developing.
Eventually, you may have to replace large sections of drip lines as the plastic dries out, hardens and splits in our arid climate.
Q: I have a cape honeysuckle that was doing pretty well, but recently its leaves started to turn yellow. What should I do?
A: You're probably overwatering now that the weather has cooled off. As nights grow cooler, you need to adjust your watering way back.
Almost everyone seems to overwater in the winter in desert areas. Starting right now, you should use one-quarter of the water you used on your plants in summer.
Unfortunately, most homeowners set up their summer watering schedule and never change it.
Q: Our home has a bunch of quarter-sized holes on the outside stucco walls that were apparently made by woodpeckers. Is it hard to fix these? What is the process?
A: As you might imagine, you really need to repair these holes or they could turn into large cracks in the stucco. Start by buying some elastomeric patching material and sticking them into these holes. You need to dab the material into the openings so they are completely filled. Then put some primer over the patches to promote adhesion.
Then get some powdered stucco patching material and put that over the areas. Then prime again and cover with your exterior paint. Obviously, may not look very attractive, but it will fix the holes.
Eventually, you should repaint the entire outside of the house with high-quality exterior paint to achieve a uniform appearance.