Mysterious holes in flooring

Q. I have a floating floor made of oak, installed about seven years ago. Recently tiny holes have appeared on only one board, like pock marks. What are they and how should I handle them? The floor is over concrete. The area is in front of a sofa, and we don’t wear shoes or slippers when we are seated. The oak boards are solid wood.


A. It’s an interesting question, with several possible answers. Oak is an open-pored wood, and the pores generally look a little elongated. Oak is sometimes filled with a wood filler to fill those spores and give a glassy smooth finish. In either case, friction from stockinged or bare feet might have taken off some of the finish. Or, moisture on the concrete under the oak may have caused some deterioration. Why it’s only on one board is beyond me, except maybe it’s because only one board was eroded, or defective. Contact the dealer to see if he can refinish that one board. Or, do it yourself: Sand off the old finish and apply three coats of a polyurethane varnish.

Q. Eight years ago I built a good-sized addition, extending the kitchen over a two-car garage and family room. For too long that kitchen has been mortal cold, with breezes through several can lights recessed into the ceiling. Some of those breezes can blow out a candle. I saw in a store can lights called ICAT (Insulated Ceiling Air Tight). Would they help?

PAT KAVANAGH, Georgetown


A. They certainly will. Some time ago, can lights were not insulated, ventilated, or anything, so when they were recessed into ceilings, no insulation could go over them, whether the kitchen ceiling was under a roof or another room above. Result: Arctic breezes. Your builder chose the cheapest can lights, ignoring the fact that more than eight years ago manufacturers recognized that insulated can lights can be recessed and insulation put over them. They are labeled “No Clearance,’’ “Insulated,’’ or “Ventilated,’’ or all three. The ICAT is simply another label. Go for it.

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Q. I have an old wood Peachtree slider leading to my deck. The rollers on the bottom of the door are OK, and the door moves well. But somehow the door dropped a little, so now it does not latch properly. Peachtree was no help. The rollers are removable, so I was thinking about putting in a thin shim (piece of wood) in the opening, which would raise the door after rollers are reinserted, to bring the door to the right position. Would that work?

ROBERT WELCH, Westerly, R.I.

A. Yes, that would work. I love this question, because Robert answered it himself. The Handyman can only offer moral support. One other possibility, by the way, is to adjust the latch so that the lowered door will fasten properly.

Q. I have three problems. 1) I have some bad caulking between my tub and tile. It keeps growing some pretty awful mold on it. A bit of bleach treatment doesn’t always work. How can I make it mold proof? The gap between tub and tile is quite small. 2) My son drinks a soft drink that leaves a light stain on the floor or countertop. How can I keep it off those surfaces? 3) What is meant by a high spore count?

ROD, Somerville

A. 1) You could take the caulking out, clean it out, and put in a mold-proof caulking. But I don’t think any caulking is mold proof. Instead, fill the gap with an unsanded grout. It is a little like cement, and will fill that gap nicely and smoothly. After it sets, seal it with a tile or masonry sealer. 2) What man or boy has never spilled a drink, so there is no use lecturing about that. Rub the stain with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I have recommended this for many purposes, and have not gotten a complaint that it didn’t work. 3) A high spore count means that many, many mold spores are in the air, waiting to land on a damp surface and grow into blobs and stain black, white, and other colors. When they land, they will feed off whatever they land on.

Globe Handyman on Call also appears in the Sunday Real Estate section. He is available 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays to answer questions on house repair. Call 617-929-2930. Hotton ( also chats online about house matters 2-3 p.m. Thursdays. Go to