Handyman on Call

Did the roofer do a shoddy installation?

Q. I live in one of four condos in a complex that just had its roof redone by a roofer whose bid was the lowest of several. The rubber roof on my condo’s widow’s walk is lifting about an inch, and one section was installed in several pieces, resulting in numerous seams. Are those numerous sections a proper job, and can the wrinkled roof be fixed? I am not a member of the condo board, so I don’t have much to do with the job. What can I do?


from Arlington

A. From the slipshod rubber roof installation, it’s obvious that rubber roof has to be taken off and a new one put down without wrinkles, lifting, or in many sections. What to do? Convince the board to order repairs to be properly made, and if the roofer refuses, fire him and find another roofer who knows what he’s doing and will make the proper repairs, for a reasonable price.

Q. Can I paint plastic flower pots? They are a good terra cotta color, but I’d like something brighter.


from Holliston


A. You could paint them, but terra cotta and black are the best colors for a pot. If you like, find some attractive ceramic pots or other containers to hold those crummy old plastic ones, and keep them nicely concealed.

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 put in a new wood threshold in my bathroom, but it left a ½-inch gap between tiles and threshold. How can I fill that gap?


A. That should be easy to figure out. Buy some ceramic tile pieces that match the tile on the floor, or take samples from leftover tiles. Cut them to ½ inch wide or slightly less to allow you to put in some grout. Or, fill the space with grout or mortar and then buy a wider threshold and cut it so it covers the gap.

Q. You mentioned a window repairman in a recent column, but I lost the item. Do you still have his name, and if so, can you tell me how to contact him? The handle of my awning window fell off, and I am desperate to have it fixed, because I love my awning windows.



A. You lost a handyman item? It’s a good thing I filed him in my dandy handy file: Don Bealko, who heads The Window Medics, P.O. Box 2635, Concord, NH 03302; 603-703-3338. Give him a call; he does parts and service.

Q. I am having some trouble unlocking my exterior doors. They seem to stick. I and the house were born in 1928. NEWTON

A. Well, congratulations, so was I, but my house was born in 1768. And it has new locks that work well. Sometimes a door may be loose from its hinges, and the door, being heavy, may be pressing on the dead bolt or latch where it’s in the hole in the jamb called the keeper, making it hard to turn. So, checking the looseness is worth a try. If that and any other tricks fail, call a locksmith.

Globe Handyman on Call Peter Hotton 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