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Articles filed under DeMarne, Henri

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  • 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?

     
  • Use of wrong type of lumber may have led to rotting, mold May 18, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I’m afraid I’ve got something really bad happening to the “knee wall” I built up under part of my house five or more years ago. Here’s my situation:

     
  • Window air conditioners do not take up much space May 4, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. We want to put an in-the-wall air conditioner in the kitchen of a small summer home. The kitchen gets unbearably hot, even when just using the stove burners.

     
  • Drying out after a flood can cause additional issues Apr 27, 2014 1:01 AM
    Q. I need some advice. Last October I had a drainpipe back up, which caused flooding in my finished basement and some of my first floor. I called my insurance company and it had a restoration company come out. That company removed sections of carpeting, drywall and insulation. Then workers brought in dehumidifiers and ran them for 11 days.

     
  • Energy-efficient housing is a worthy goal when done right Apr 20, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I have a zero-net house with 16-inch-thick walls and have the same condensation problems, even on triple pane windows, as your recent reader from Vermont had.

     
  • Air flow, not gutters, is to blame for ice dams Apr 13, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q: We have lived in Rolling Meadows for over 40 years and have always had problems with ice dams. All the articles we have read regarding ice dams state they are caused by water freezing and thawing, running down and backing up against the gutters. We have no gutters — and haven’t had any for 40 years.

     
  • Milsek polish superb at cleaning, protecting wood Apr 6, 2014 12:01 AM
    Q. I just read your recommendations for Milsek as the best wood cleaner for cleaning greasy kitchen cabinets. That is what I am trying to do with mine — get the old grease off them. I am not planning on repainting — just cleaning.

     
  • Bathroom fans are creating a soggy mess in the attic Mar 23, 2014 12:01 AM
    I have a two-story colonial built in the late 1970s in Shelburne, Vt. The two full baths upstairs have fans that just vent into the attic, which has blown insulation and a vent on each gable end.

     
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