Q. Last April we moved into our brand new condo. Just prior to moving in, we noticed that cracks had formed in between the boards of the new hardwood floors. The developer took care of the problem with a wood filler and then a wood filler stain, and everything looked perfect.
Q. I have two basement doors and would like to get rid of one. Inside, there are two concrete steps up to the door. On the outside, there are two concrete steps down to the “landing” which is hard-packed soil. There is a concrete “wall” on the other two sides. Weeds grow in this landing and it’s a mess.
Is a water-based stain as good as an oil-based stain on pine molding? When applying the prestain conditioner and the stain itself, is it best to use a brush or cloth? Is there a waiting period to apply the finish stain after applying the conditioner?
Q. I have a fully insulated (cellulose) 3-family house where an attached garage was converted to the 3rd apartment. The bathroom above the kitchen has water pipes run up from the kitchen sink along an exterior wall. The wall is insulated, but when it’s really cold outside the pipes going to the bathroom freeze.
Q. Every year about this time there comes up the question as to in which direction should ceiling fans be rotating. For the winter season some say clockwise, others counterclockwise, and then in the summer you change. Which is correct?
Q. I live in a rural area and have been feeding birds for about 5 years. I always hang suet in addition to seed feeders about 40 feet from the house at the edge of the woods. The problem we are having since early fall is woodpeckers pecking at the house trim. It is getting out of hand and no one seems to know how to stop them. Do you have any suggestions to stop this?
Q. I have a serious problem with ice damming in my house and have been looking for solutions to the problem. It all seems to boil down to not letting the roof heat up from indoor heat sources. It seems that spraying foam insulation on the underside of the roof is the most effective way to accomplish this. I would be interested in your opinion on this vs. fiberglass or cellulose insulation, neither of which seem to solve the problem of air leakage into the attic space. Also, I’d like to know about odor, shrinkage, and other things that can go wrong?
Q. Help! I expect some ants in the spring, but now have them in my dishwasher and on the counter! They appear to be craving orange juice, fresh squeezed, and anything sweet. How do I get them out of the dishwasher?
Q. The bottom shelf of our the medicine cabinet in our bathroom is solid but rusted and the cabinet as a whole needs to be painted. There is contact paper, applied years ago, on the inside door and the back wall of the medicine cabinet. It’s smooth, intact, and not shiny. If I wash the contact paper well and let it dry, and I sand to get as much rust off the bottom shelf as I can, would it be OK to paint the whole interior of the cabinet (over the contact paper) with Rust-o-leum paint?
Q. We have a garage floor that had “vinyl” tile. We removed the tile, but there is a black adhesive on it. The person who painted my house said that BM makes a concrete paint that you can apply directly over the adhesive. Is that true? If not, how is the adhesive removed?
Q. My son just had a 6-foot cedar stockade fence put in a few weeks ago. I’m wondering whether he should apply a wood preservative to seal the cedar pickets now before the winter starts. Also, what is the best preservative to use, if necessary.
Q. This question is unusual, if not unique, because the handyman is asking the question because he is assuming others have the problem: The invasion of ants. Not 2 or 3 a day or week, but 12 or more a day, simply appearing in the kitchen and bathrooms mostly, medium sized, and quite active. How to get rid of them and stay free of ants?