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FLOWER POWER.

Byline: shed after the recent heavy rain Lynne Allbutt ASK LYNNE

Q. After the recent high storms Abigail and Barney I have noticed water dripping in my shed. On further inspection the felt has little tears in it.

It doesn't look bad enough to re-do the whole roof so is there a quick fix that I can use to make the shed watertight for the winter at least? A. Yes there is and, funnily enough, I did mine before the storms because the felt had perished on the edges of the roof.

There are various waterproof paints on the market at DIY stores and builder's merchants, which are suitable to use for small repairs. Go for an acrylic-based one as they are easier to use and not as messy as the bitumen or rubber-based paints. I used one called Cromapol.

I am lucky as I have numerous builders that I work with who I can turn to for advice and if possible I would always recommend asking a professional to advice on each individual case.

You could take a few photos of your roof into a builder's merchants, for example - your idea of a small repair might be optimistic compared to what a professional would diagnose.

If you do go for the waterproof paint option, be sure to wear gloves, it can be pretty messy stuff. Good luck.

Q. This is a sort of gardening question - I hope you can help. My dog keeps drinking out of muddy puddles in the garden although she has always got fresh water in the house. I'm afraid she will pick up some bugs or the water won't be good for her. How can I stop her doing it? A. Don't! Ironically, the water from these natural puddles is very good for her and that is why she will prefer it to fresh tap water.

Zoopharmacognosy is the study of how animals self-medicate in the wild; it is a fascinating subject. When animals drink from these natural puddles, even when they look muddy and unpalatable, they are actually 'medicating' with the algae in the puddles, as it is a natural and essential part of their normal or primal diet.

As long as the puddles are in a safe and 'clean' area and are free of pollutants, you have nothing to worry about.

Interestingly, and relevant to this topic, is the fact that one of the biggest causes of tummy upsets and toxic reactions in dogs and cats is from overly-clean tiled hall or kitchen floors.

If you use bleach or a strong cleaner to wash the floor there will be a residue left, which you can't see obviously.

But when your pet comes in with wet paws, the residue will be picked up on their paws.

They then lick their paws clean and ingest the chemicals. It is far better to just use hot water and to have a healthy pet.

Q. I am sure you have had a lot of wind-related questions this week.

My panel fence has been blown down for the third time this year and we are getting fed up with replacing bits of it and the plants that the panels annihilate as they are blown into the garden.

It is the actual posts that seem to be breaking off at the ground even though they were concreted in.

Do you have a solution please? We have to have a fence for privacy and security.

A. The biggest problems, or weakest links, are always the wooden posts in a wooden panel fence.

Even though they should always be treated or tanalised, they rot off at the ground, as the water will lie on top the concrete that they are supported in and rot the wood at this weak point.

Fence panels also rot at the base, as it's where they stay wet. The solution is to use concrete posts and usually a concrete gravel board at the base.

The posts and gravel boards will be recessed so a wooden fence panel just slots snugly into the space.

This obviously avoids the rotting off problem and also if a panel is damaged you just slide it out and replace it rather than run the risk of it pulling the whole fence down.

It is more expensive to install, and needs to be done professionally, but is a good investment.

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It may be time to fix the roof of your shed after the recent heavy rain
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 21, 2015
Words:746
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