Real estate


How to keep your dishwasher from tipping


Q. I enjoy your column and hope you can answer two questions:

1. My heating system (forced hot air) has a thin plastic tube attached to it through which water is expelled. Near the basement wall, the tube goes into PVC that extends through the basement wall and juts outside about 8 inches. The water toward the end of the thin plastic tube within the PVC tube often freezes in the winter, causing water to back up into the cellar. What is the best way to insulate the exterior portion to prevent the water from freezing? I’ve added black pipe insulation around the exterior PVC, but this has not helped.

2. My dishwasher is not affixed to the granite countertop above it, so when I pull out the bottom drawer, the whole dishwasher tilts forward. There are two pieces of metal at the top of the dishwasher with screw holes in them, but there is very little space between the top of the dishwasher and the granite, so I can’t fit a piece of wood in here. Is there a way to safely screw the two metal tabs into the granite, or is there a glue that would securely hold the tabs against the granite?



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A. Regarding your drain, it sounds like you need to cut your existing tubing back and install ¾-inch PVC. There are options here, but some may hinge on local code requirements.

With external drains, most condensate drain lines are -inch clear tubing. Attach your tube inside ¾-inch PVC pipe with a barb connection. Extend the ¾-inch PVC out of the house 1 to 2 inches only and finish the end with a 45-degree fitting that faces down.

A note on internal drains: Many of these HVAC systems will terminate the ¾-inch tubing at a laundry drain. This is where you need to check local codes to see whether this is an option for you. Many high-efficient furnaces produce acidic water and are not recommended and may not even be allowed to drain into galvanized plumbing. The acidic water can be treated with a neutralizer, but that requires yearly maintenance, which many people don’t do. Local officials know this and may restrict this option, so do your research first.

Regarding your dishwasher: You might be able to secure it along the sides, into the wood cabinets. If this is not possible, use adhesives.

Here’s how:


1. Slide the dishwasher out a few inches or more if the wires and pipes allow.

2. Lower the leveling feet evenly (turn clockwise) until the brackets on top of the dishwasher fit under the stone top without touching it.

3. Apply a layer of clear silicone adhesive to one side of a 4-by-30-inch piece of ¾-inch plywood.

4. Stick the plywood to the underside of the granite as far back as you can and still have something to screw into. Apply clamps. Tip: Pad the clamp jaws to avoid scratching the stone top.

5. Allow the silicone to cure overnight.


6. Remove the clamps.

7. Slide the dishwasher back into place.

8. Check the distance between the clips and the plywood. If the clips are within ½ inch, bend them up to fit against the bottom of the plywood.

9. If the distance is more than that, pull the dishwasher back out and turn the leveling feet to raise the dishwasher until the clips are within ¼ inch or even touching the blocks. Make sure to turn all of the feet evenly so that the dishwasher is level.

10. Insert ½-inch screws in the holes and drive them into the plywood to secure the dishwasher.

Q. The 6-foot-high wainscot in my dining room has hundreds of cracks in the paint. To get rid of them, I would have to go down to the bare wood and start again, and I assume there is lead paint in the older layers. Is there anything else I can do? At the paint store, they suggested I use a product called XIM Peel Bond. My painters were planning to use wood filler or putty on the whole panel, sand it down, and apply an oil primer before painting. I’d appreciate any advice you give me.


A. What’s red and smells like blue paint? Give up? Red paint!

Seriously though, I wouldn’t cover the whole panel with wood filler or putty. It wouldn’t last. Any proper job is going to require sanding, which presents a problem if you do have lead paint. Some methods of removing lead paint actually increase the risk of exposure, so you need to take the correct approach and create as little dust as possible. You can hire a trained professional to check for lead paint using an Environmental Protection Agency-recognized lead-test kit. If you do have lead paint in the older layers, I would leave the job to an experienced professional who will properly seal off the area and clean up carefully.

Regardless, I suspect poor primer/paint bonding. Both methods you mention, stripping to the bare wood or using XIM Peel Bond, are good approaches. Stripping to the bare wood is the best but most costly method. XIM is a very good primer and an excellent alternative, but sanding is never skipped if you want a quality job.

If you don’t have lead paint, do this:

1. Sand.

2. Spot-prime the splits with XIM, giving the putty something better to which to bond.

3. Apply the putty and sand it smooth.

4. Apply a full coat of oil-base primer.

5. Apply a top oil-based coat.

Rob Robillard is a general contractor, carpenter, editor of, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business. Send your questions to or tweet them to @globeaddress or @robertrobillard.