Handyman on Call

How can he get rid of mold in his attic?

Q. I bought my house in 2008 (built in 1977) and was told by home inspector there was some mold in the attic due to no bathroom vent in second-floor bath. Had a vent put in immediately. I recently went into the attic (crawl space only) and found most of the insulation moldy on top and the bathroom area very moldy but very hard to reach (near soffit/eave area). So, my plan to scrub and clean seemed impossible. The cleaner I bought, DampRid (I was told not to use bleach by a realtor, as it would make mold grow?), is an apply, wait 5 mins, and wipe type of cleaner. Since I am not much of a handyman I’m hoping you can help me. Where do I start? New insulation? Is there a spray-only solution to mold?


A. Does that new bathroom vent exhaust to the outdoors? If not, make sure it does so. If the insulation is just lying on the attic floor, that is most of your problem, because all that mold is due to lack of ventilation. I suggest you put in a ridge vent and also proper soffit vents. The soffit is the under side of the roof overhang, and the correct vent is a 2-inch-wide screened strip going the full length of each soffit.

To kill the mold, mix 1 part bleach and 3 parts water, and apply to the mold areas. I think the moldy insulation should be replaced because it is difficult even to spray a bleach solution to the insulation. Where the realtor got the idea that bleach causes mold is way over my head. Those ready-made mold killers just don’t work for me.


Q. Our dining room light is on a dimmer but not one that can be used for LED bulbs. Is it feasible for my husband (76 years old) to change it or should we get an electrician?


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A. Your husband is an intrepid warrior, but if you have to ask, then have an electrician do it.

Q. My dilemma I am hoping you can help with. We have an office that is connected to a three-season room by an average glass-paneled interior door. The office is colder than other rooms and a bit drafty. This has been fine up until now but it will soon become a baby room. Should we replace the door with an exterior one or is it possible to protect the room from the cold by weatherstripping? If the former, any recommendations on what door would work?


A. That three-season porch is essentially outdoors, and an interior door with glass and no weatherstripping is not going to cut it. Take the door out and buy an exterior setup door which will work well. It’s as complete a door that you will ever get. Brosco is a good brand. For your purpose, I suggest a wood door, with high windows. If the office has any heat in it, you will be all set.

Q. My Formica counter tops are in good shape, but a little dull. Is there any way to polish them and sort of restore them?


CRONIN, in Hotton’s chat room

A. Surely there is some kind of polish to perk up the tops. But here’s an idea. There is a polish used for tire sidewalls, which I forget the name of. Check for it at a hardware or auto supply store. It might work equally well on your tops.

Globe Handyman on Call Peter Hotton also appears in the Sunday Real Estate section. He can be reached at or visit