Finishing plaster walls with paneling glued to them
Dear Glenn: Do you have any advice for how to finish plaster walls that have had paneling glued to them? We are thinking we may have to remove the paneling and put up drywall. Any advice you may be able to offer will be greatly appreciated.
— Karen, Detroit
Dear Karen: After you have removed the paneling, take off the remaining glue with Adhesive Remover by Savogran.
You can find the product at most hardware stores. Fix the damage to the plaster with spackling compound or patching plaster. Sand smooth and paint.
You want a very nonreflective paint such as Muralo Ultra. This paint is specially made to hide imperfections. Tim Eisbrenner at Shelby Paint, (810) 739-0240, carries the product at his Utica store.
A recirculating pump will help eliminate cold starts in the shower
Dear Glenn: I’ve heard it is a good idea to run a pipe from the water heater to the highest faucet in the house. This is supposed to eliminate cold water at the beginning of a shower. The water stays hot in the pipes & circulates back to the heater as it cools. Good idea?
— Frank, Round Lake Beach, Ill.
Dear Frank: You got it half right. That is part of the old way of installing a recirculating pump system. You would also need to install a recirculating pump.
Grundfos, www.grundfos.com, (877) 987-7867, has a simpler solution. You install their pump at the water heater and a specially made “T” at the sink so that cooled hot water goes directly to the cold water line.
You can get the Grundfos product at most plumbing supply houses. Call the company and see who stocks it near you.
Increased insulation and ventilation needed to fight ice dam problem
Dear Glenn: I live in Grand Blanc and have a severe ice dam problem on a 13-year-old roof with 30-year shingles. The roof has gutters and a highly pitched roof with several overlapping valleys. Ice builds up on the valleys and gutters. The roof is getting leaks in both these areas.
Is there a local company that you would recommend to evaluate the insulation and ventilation for the house.
—Bob, Grand Blanc
Dear Bob: With problems such as you describe, I can guarantee that you need both increased insulation and ventilation. Cellulose both insulates and seals out drafts. It would, therefore, be a good choice for your attic.
Nu-Wool insulation, www.nuwool. com, is a Michigan manufacturer of cellulose insulation. I suggest that you call their technical department at (800) 748-0128, and ask if they have an insulation installer near you that also handles ventilation problems.
Also, call the roofer who installed the shingle roof 13 years ago and tell him you need work on the valleys and need more soffit and ridge or pot vents installed. If he is no longer in business or not interested in doing the work, go to a roofing distributor and ask for recommendations.
Call right away because roofers are getting very busy and most will not want to bother with what they will consider a small and difficult job.
Re-wiring this house will require a contractor
Dear Glenn: I purchased a home in Mount Airy, N.C. On the deed, the house is listed as being built in 1929. But I have learned that 1929 was when they started keeping records, so all existing houses were given that year as their build date. The best information I have is that this house was built somewhere around the 1870s.
The house has had some updates, but much of the work was not done very well. The current electrical wiring does not utilize the ground wire, the breaker box does not seem to be grounded either. I would very much like to get the house updated to current standards, but am honestly at a loss as to the best way to do that.
Kevin, Mount Airy, N.C.
Dear Kevin: Find an electrical contractor in your area who specializes in residential wiring and get a quote on re-wiring the house. You need to have it done professionally because many of the “do-it-yourselfers” who have worked on the house during the past 134 years probably did it wrong. I am certain that you are way underpowered and would suggest increasing the service to 200 amp service.
Make certain that you have 2 home runs (direct circuits) to the kitchen (optimum would be 6) and one to the baths. One to the family room and at least one to any home office you may have. You should also have one going down to the basement and one in the attic. I also suggest a direct circuit to the outside with outlets on all four sides of the house.
For more complete information, go to my help site, www.masterhandyman.com, and type “electrical” in the search engine at the upper right of the page. You want to read my Detroit News Homestyle column of Feb.16, 2002, entitled: “Exactly how much power does your new house currently need?”
Eliminate water mark with swirl remover
Dear Glenn: I have seen this problem addressed many times in your columns but never saved it. My husband put a wet glass on a table and it left a water spot. How do I get it off?
—Mary, Royal Oak
Dear Mary: Clean it off with Meguiar’s Swirl Remover from the auto supply store. After you have removed the water spot the area will look different (cleaner) than the rest of the table, so clean the entire table top with the Meguiar’s, (800) 347-5700, www.meguiars.com. Finish off with a coat of Doozy from Mr. Furniture Finisher, (888) 851-8500, www.doozy.com. You can find it at Damman Hardware and Hiller’s Markets and many fine furniture stores.
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