Handyman on Call

Does wind-whipped roof really need to be replaced?

Q. We lost a healthy 100-foot pine tree during the last blizzard. We were lucky that the trunk missed the house, but the branches managed to puncture several holes in the roof.

 The roof guy patched the holes but told us that our 10-year-old roof needed replacement due to excessive wind damage. We live in the Blue Hills and we do get our share of wind, but we used top of the line architectural shingles when we replaced the roof in 2003. Are we being duped?


CLAUDIA, by e-mail

A. One does not know how long the patches will last, but I suggest you wait and see. Done right, they could last for years. If you have chronic problems in the future, then it’s time to reroof. The shingles look pretty good to me, and since they are heavy duty, it is worth waiting before doing much of anything. Check with the roofer who installed the shingles originally. He might be able to help, because I think the shingles are warranteed for 20 years.


Q. My split-entry attic has mold in a corner of the ceiling as a result of vapor coming from our shower, which has been exhausted into the attic which is used for storage. I thought I could clear this up with a water bleach mix but my wife called Service Pro. Look at their estimate ($4,913) to clean up this problem. I don’t have this type of money. I’m unsure if they really need to do this or whether I can. Clearly they are a for-profit business and need to make money, but wow, what a cost and they scared my wife to have them do this job. Please advise on the cost they are proposing and if I should try to do this myself with the bleach mix.


RICK POZNIAK, by e-mail

Get Talking Points in your inbox:
An afternoon recap of the day’s most important business news, delivered weekdays.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

A. I hope you did not have that work done for $4,913! The company included a lot of inadequately described projects, most of which cannot be understood by you and me. Although one that stood out was “content manipulation” ($137), which I think means rearranging the items stored in the attic, as they treated the entire attic, not just the moldy area. I don’t think the entire attic had to be done, although the company proposed taking extra precautions. Mold can be a small or horrendous problem, but yours is, I think, a small one.

 So, you can do this: Treat the mold in the corner of the ceiling and anywhere else you see black or other color stains, including white, with 1 part household bleach and 3 parts water. Paint it on with a paintbrush and let dry. Wear skin an eye protection when working with bleach, and a mask.

 I have received many brickbats from specialists who claim the bleach-water solution does not get rid of mold permanently, but I and many others have had good experience with this homemade solution. Alternative mold killers mentioned by mold remediators have not proven helpful for me.

 And if you can find the man who laid the bathroom vent on the attic floor, which caused the problem in the first place, get on him like ugly on a ape. But all you have to do is put that exhaust duct through the roof, or through a vertical wall in the attic. I also saw no reference in the company’s proposal as to what to do with the exhaust duct.


Q. I am interested in finishing off my basement and I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the most cost-effective approach to soundproofing this space. My basement has 10-foot walls with joists between the basement and first floor. There is batt fiberglass insulation there already. We were going to put up one layer of Sheetrock. We are trying to minimize the noise between the basement and first floor. Do you know if the brand Quietrock Sheetrock would be an advantage to use?



A. With concrete walls and insulation in the ceiling, there is one more thing you need to do, other than add a layer of glass to windows. The ceiling is most critical, and putting up a ceiling that is separate from the existing joists is the best you can do.

 The Quietrock Sheetrock is a sound absorbing board that will work best if it is separate from the old ceiling. You could also insulate the door leading to the first floor with a layer of Homasote.

 The best way to install walls is to use an Owens Corning insulated wall system, which is only a few inches thick and is as effective as, or better than any other system. It is professionally installed.

Peter Hotton is also in the g section on Thursdays. He is available 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays to answer questions. Call 617-929-2930. He also chats online 2-3 p.m. Thursdays. To participate, go to Hotton’s e-mail is