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HANDYMAN\Homeowner nailed for bad idea.

Byline: Peter Hotton

Q: Someone - I'll never tell - put some decorations on the roof with 16-penny nails. When the decorations came down, I left the nails in place, thinking it will be better if they remain there until spring when I can make proper repairs. Will this work?

A: Yes, I think it will. I have seen nails driven through water pipes that don't leak (much), but when the nails were pulled there was a deluge. So, keep the nails in place. In spring, when it's warm and sunny and dry, pull the nails and insert roofing cement (you can buy it in a caulking cartridge) and insert the cement as deeply in the hole as possible. It should give yeoman service.

Q: Water was spilled on a night stand, getting between the glass top and the wood finish. The color of the finish is the same, but the water raised the grain. How can I restore the finish?

A: If the color is the same, you can live with it, and put the glass cover back on, but make sure the cover does not touch the finish; little rubber feet can be put on the glass or stand top to keep it away from the wood. When you're ready, you will have to refinish; sand down the raised grain and remove all the finish to the bare wood with sanding. Then stain it to match the rest of the stand and varnish with two coats of a semigloss, oil-based polyurethane varnish. With a good finish like that, you won't need the glass.

Q: My recessed bathroom light extends through the ceiling into the unfinished attic, and it has no insulation around it. Can I build a box around it and insulate the box?

A: If it is not a "no clearance" fixture, and is not labeled as such, you cannot insulate over it; to do so would cause heat to build up and possibly cause a fire. Newer recessed fixtures are labeled no-clearance and can be insulated over. But you have to make sure they carry that label. So, if yours is not labeled, leave it exposed.

You are, indeed, losing heat through that fixture, but there is nothing you can do except replace it with a no-clearance fixture.

Q: I am tiling a shower with standard ceramic tiles, using adhesive, and was told that I have to put the ceiling tiles on the diagonal. Is this necessary? I was also told that I have to put plywood on the ceiling to hold the tiles in place. Is that necessary?

A: There is no need for tiles on the diagonal; in fact it would require cutting all border tiles, an unnecessary chore. Put them on square; that way you may not even have to cut any border tiles; if you do, it will be on two sides at most. As for the plywood, it is not necessary if the plaster or plasterboard ceiling is in good shape and adhering well to the joists, with little or no peeling paint and no sagging plaster. If there is peeling paint, sand it heavily to remove as much as practicable.

Q: My house is 70 years old and covered with vinyl over old wood shingles, and no insulation in the walls. How much would it cost to put insulation in? Wouldn't it smell?

A: Insulation has no odor, unless it gets wet, and with luck, it will never get wet. You can blow in cellulose or fiberglass for $1 to $2 a square foot. Even with vinyl siding, this can be done. Installers will pry off the vinyl (there is a way to do it without damaging it), drill holes in the shingles and sheathing, blow in the insulation to fill the cavity, then replace the vinyl.
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 20, 1996
Words:635
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