Q. I have a grand semicircular driveway made of ½- to 1-inch crushed stone. The stone is big enough to stay put when driven on, but one thing that bothers me: lots of weeds growing in the driveway. How can I fix that, and permanently? It would cost $3,000 to pave the driveway, and I don’t want to do that.
A. You can keep the elegant stone driveway as long as you don’t barrel around it with all four wheels churning. Here’s a good fix, an ongoing project. Nothing’s permanent. Pull the weeds; they will come out more easily than weeds that grow between bricks in a brick drive.
Then, with a sprinkling can, sprinkle a gallon of vinegar on the stones and weeds, once in June and once in mid-August. It can be regular vinegar or white vinegar. The white is less pungent but any odor will go away in hours. Vinegar is acid rain, and while it is not the best thing to do, it is a lot better than using an herbicide. Other plants will not be affected if the vinegar is kept away from them.
Q. I have a very nice, very old antique china cabinet, but it has no grooves for inserting dishes against the wall. So, I plan to cut some into the shelves. How deep should they be and how far from the wall so they will lean comfortably?
STEVE, from Braintree
A. I don’t think there is an “official” depth or distance, so you can do as you please. I suggest ⅛ inch deep and ¾ to 1 inch away from the wall. And here’s an idea. Instead of cutting a groove, which might be awkward if the shelf is not removable, try gluing a tiny quarter round away from the wall.
Speaking of dishes leaning against the wall of a cabinet, my wife and I received a great anniversary gift from our daughter, Gina: two exquisite dinner plates of a Royal Doulton pattern, which we cherish and keep in our cabinet. Later we bought more plates to complete the set, and lo, they did not fit in the cabinet; they were just a bit larger than the originals. Problem solved: They fit in the next lowest shelf.
Q. My painting contractor is painting my house trim and suggested he paint the aluminum siding too, for a bargain price. The siding looks OK to me. What should I do?
NANCY SALVATO, Belmont
A. The siding ain’t broke, so no one has to fix it. You can wash it with a good detergent and water and rinse it with a garden hose, but not power-washing, which can get water behind the siding forever.
Here’s a moth treatment
Remember the question about what kind of cedar repels moths? A reader who calls herself an Old Lady in Wellesley told the Handyman, an Old Man, about a treatment she found that kills moths, and bedbugs, too. It’s called SLA, a cedar-scented insecticide made by Willert Home Products. Ms. Good Old Lady said she bought it at Harvey’s Hardware in Needham. It’s also available through online retailers. Way to go, Old Lady. I’m with you.
A no-scratch gate latch
Recently the Handyman told a reader that she could not keep her metal gate latch from scratching the new paint she put on her chain link fence. Wrong, said Uncal from Stoneham, who told the Handyman what he did. He put 1
Thank you, Uncal. The latch will be quiet, too.
He is available 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays to answer questions on house repair. Call 617-929-2930. Hotton (email@example.com) also chats online about house matters 2-3 p.m. Thursdays.
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