Articles filed under DeMarne, Henri

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  • White vinegar can remove deposits, but needs time to work Oct 26, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. Can you tell me how I can remove mineral deposits from rubbed-oil bronze faucets? I have tried salt and vinegar, but I am afraid to leave it on too long.

  • Wet & forget products will kill moss and stop mold Oct 19, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. A couple of years ago, you mentioned in your column a method to spray shingles to get rid of moss. Moss is becoming quite apparent on an area about four feet wide by 10 feet long.

  • Oil-based driveway sealer exists, but its use is uncommon Oct 12, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. My sister-in-law just had her driveway newly asphalted, after which the contractor immediately applied a sealer. You can imagine how alarmed we were when we read your reply to my previous email advising that it not be sealed for two years. So I called the contractor and requested his side of the story.

  • Ivy tendrils can be burned off with a propane torch Sep 21, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. How do I clean my brick-sided home of ivy, specifically the tendrils that are attached to the bricks?

  • Attack rust spots on metal with sanding, primer and paint Sep 14, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. We have a white metal garage door that’s about 20 years old. There are some rust spots showing on it and we’ve tried everything to remove it without success.

  • Shingle underlayment protects both structure and shingles Sep 7, 2014 5:01 AM
    Q. Architectural shingles were installed over bare roof boards on our house four years ago. Will the absence of felt underlay affect the shingles’ life?

  • Handle aluminum gutter cleaner with care Aug 31, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I enjoy your articles. A past article included a “recipe” for cleaning aluminum gutters. I’ve used it before but have misplaced it. I believe it included TSP and possibly another detergent. Could you forward the copy?

  • Unqualified contractor makes poor attic repairs Aug 24, 2014 1:01 AM
    Q. We had bathroom vents incorrectly installed into the attic, rather than being vented outside. We had a contractor convince us it needed to be encapsulated with a special paint, rather than fixing the problem and letting dry conditions kill the mold

  • Leave ‘professional installations’ to the professionals Aug 17, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I wanted to let you know I installed 10 Magnetite windows — several were cut wrong and they sent me a YouTube installation video after my installation. I was looking for soundproofing and cold protection.

  • Seal off entry points to cut off insect invasion Aug 11, 2014 4:00 PM
    Q. Bees and wasps are making our home theirs. How do we deter them from doing this? We’ve had D-Bug and Terminix come to no avail.

  • Additional insulation may not be worth it in some cases Aug 3, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. My house is a 50-year-old, two-story colonial. The attic already has blown-in insulation up to the top of the joists with an attic blanket over that. I have no trouble with ice dams, etc., on my roof. Should I blow foam into the walls?

  • Powerful odor is intermittent, difficult to pinpoint Jul 27, 2014 12:01 AM
    Our problem is an odor that smells much like a dead animal outside, although sometimes a bit like propane. The odor began suddenly late last fall. The smell is intermittent and there seems to be no correlation between heat or cold, wet or dry. It is most prominent on the north side, which is the driveway side, and it existed even during subzero Chicago winter, so dead animal unlikely.

  • Aim to keep frost at bay when insulating basement walls Jul 20, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I have a concrete block foundation that ranges from fully exposed to totally below grade. The basement area is dry, and I intend to finish the space. What method of insulation would you recommend for the walls, and would you recommend a vapor barrier?

  • Chimney leaves black stains on bricks Jul 13, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. Please help! We have a wood-burning stove in our basement. Last fall, my husband put a chimney cap on and now we have creosote on our chimney brick and vinyl siding. What can we use to clean this off?

  • Weather, clean surface key to asphalt sealant application Jun 29, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. My problem is my blacktop sealer won’t stay on. Originally, I thought this was because it was sprayed on and not brushed in, so last summer I cleaned the drive and applied Sealbest 400 to the drive when dry on a nice sunny day.

  • Years of varnish can be removed like paint Jun 22, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. Can you tell what is wrong with the finish on this woodwork (photo attached) and how we can repair or improve its appearance? Much of the woodwork in our 1929 house has this bumpy mottling. We’re happy to refinish it, if necessary, but aren’t sure how to go about it.

  • Ventilating bathroom fans through roof is far from ideal Jun 15, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. We read your information in a recent Sunday column about not venting bathroom fans through the roof. Our first-floor powder room and second- story bathrooms all vent into the attic. We had an HVAC contractor out to give us an estimate to properly vent the fans. He wants to vent through the roof because we do not have gable ends on our house.

  • A reciprocating saw can fit into hard-to-reach places Jun 8, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. We have a 5-foot retaining wall in our backyard that is constructed of 6-inch-by-6-inch pressure-treated timbers. The timbers are connected by three 12-inch spikes driven through each one. Many of the timbers are still in very good condition and we would have use for them if they could be salvaged.

  • Pressure washers can be powerful tools when used correctly Jun 1, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I am thinking of buying a power washer and would like some advice on which type to buy. It will be used to clean my deck, fence and vinyl siding. Thank you for any help you can provide.

  • Reader’s patio condition backslides May 25, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. We have a patio in the back of our house. Part of it is starting to slope toward the house and we want to replace it. One contractor tells us not to concrete the patio to the foundation, especially if we worry about water getting in to our finished basement. The other guy tells us we should concrete all the way to the house, including affixing it with pins to the foundation but using something to allow it to rise and fall with the weather. Which one is right?

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