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Monthly Archives: April 2017

Asbestos in Home

Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used for a variety of different applications. Many homes may have this material in their insulation, as it is a fire retardant. Once exposed, individuals can inhale the microscopic asbestos particles and take them into their lungs. Once there, the fibers can cause lung cancer. If prolonged exposure occurs, an individual can also develop cancer in the chest cavity and abdomen.

It is important to note that many individuals have experienced brief exposure and been just fine. The fine asbestos particles are difficult to see and get rid of, so it is common for them to remain in their air for long periods of time thus increasing the risk of cancer. Smokers are at an increased risk for side effects due to exposure.

If you think that your home may have asbestos there are several places that you want to look. It is important to remember that products today do not contain the fiber, only things built in the 1970’s or earlier.

– Steam pipes, boilers, and furnace ducts could be insulated with an asbestos blanket or asbestos paper tape. If the fibers become damaged or are repaired improperly, they could lead to exposure.

– Resilient floor tiles- the backing on many vinyl sheet flooring and adhesives could contain asbestos. Sanding the tiles or scraping them could release the fibers.

– Cement, millboard, and paper that were used as insulation around furnaces and wood burning stoves. Repairing or removing these appliances could stir up the fibers.

– Door gaskets- in furnaces, wood stoves, and coal stoves.

– Sound proofing or decorative material sprayed on walls and ceilings. Sanding, drilling or scraping the material could be harmful.

– Cement roofing, shingles, and siding. This usually only cause a problem when sawed, drilled, or cut.

Wet Basement

Your rain gutters should be cleaned of leaves and debris at least once per year.
Downspouts should direct water runoff from the roof to a discharge point at least several feet away from the homes foundation. Use a splash block at the end of your downspout to avoid soil erosion. Never bury your downspout lines unless you can empty them out to daylight.

Buy a good dehumidifier to lower the natural humidity level in your basement. Make sure your dehumidifier is the proper size for your basement. Ask for a drain hose attachment so you don’t have to empty the water collected every day. Get a unit with a built-in de-icer. Dehumidifiers are actually refrigeration coils and can freeze up and stop working.
Keep the doors and windows to your basement closed, year round. Opened doors and windows allow extra humidity to enter your basement, causing condensation. Your dehumidifier will also run less.

Waterproofing Paints and Sealers There are several good waterproofing paints and sealers on the market today. Waterproof paints and sealers can work well for minor dampness on walls and floors. Pay special attention to the preparation instructions from the products manufacturer. Be aware though, interior waterproof paints and sealers don’t do anything to alleviate the “source” of the problem.

Time For a Professional?

A professional basement waterproofing contractor can offer you a variety of solutions, depending on the source of your problem. Methods can include outside excavation, installation of drain tile, parging your walls, interior drainage systems or epoxy cove systems

Hardwood Floors Shine

If an oil based cleaner is used on polyurethane finished floors, it leaves an oily residue on the surface which can not only make cleaning the floor more difficult, but after a period of time, when the floor is showing signs of wear and needs to be buffed and recoated, this residue can present adhesion problems. When cleaning any hardwood floor, or furniture, minimal water should be used. In other words, wipe with a dampened, not wet cloth. Adding a capful of vinegar can help and is suggested by the National Wood Flooring Association.

However, I have heard one floor finish manufacturer dispute this, believing the vinegar is too acidic and can break down the finish eventually. The absolutely simple and safe way to clean any sort of wood that is finished with a urethane is to use polyurethane cleaners which are manufactured by both hardwood flooring manufacturers and manufacturers of polyurethane. I use Squeeky Cleaner from Basic Coatings. Any hardwood flooring supplier near you should carry this or similar product. Also, Home Depot is a likely place to look, since they do sell hardwood flooring. This cleaner is usually blue in color, and is mixed 4 parts water to one part cleaner in a spray bottle. Mist some on a cloth and wipe. You can use this to clean any wood finished with urethane top coats.

“We bought a beautiful old home with wonderful wood floors throughout which were installed in 93. They looked pretty good when we moved in two years ago, but now they look dull and mottled. Our cleaning person uses ****** for floors and some floor dusting cloth called ********. Could they be the problem? What can we use to get the shine back?”

There are any number of cleaners on the market, found in supermarket that say they are for hardwood floors. Your safest approach is to purchase a cleaner created by hardwood flooring manufacturers or floor finish manufacturers. This can be purchased (these products, as far as I am aware, are all basically the same) from local hardwood flooring retailers or a big box store that sells hardwood flooring. Best bet is the Hardwood retailer who specializes in hardwood.

All about Fixing Old Wooden Chairs

If you know what the wood is in the chair such as Oak, Maple or Pine, buy some 2″ x 2″ lengths in the same kind of wood to be turned on a lathe. Cut the 2 x 2s , 1″ longer than the post to be replaced in the chair back. Better too long than too short.

Turn the 2x2s down to match the posts left in the chair, when you have enough for the back of the chair, then cut the posts to the right lengths according to the height needed for each.

Next if you need to replace rungs between the legs, you will need to turn them to match ones that remain in the chair. If you can get one of the good rungs out, match the new rung to the old one for length and design. If you need to cut any off the new one, cut the same amount off both ends of the new rung so the design remains centered when placed.

Now we are ready to glue the rungs in place. The glue I like is called Titebond ®. The glue is clear and waterproof when it dries. I do not use clamps to hold the chair together when I glue it.

Go to a tire place and see if you can get an old inner tube without too many patches. Cut the tube so you have one long piece, then cut 1″ to 1 1/2″ wide strips the length of the tube. Now when you glue the rungs between the legs wrap the rubber strips around all four legs and tie off. That will hold the rungs in tight.

Now for the back of the chair, put the glue where you need it, then set the posts or slats in place. Now take a strip of the rubber tube, leaving six inches or more on top of the back of the chair to tie to, go under the seat and up the front of the chair, pull the tube tight and tie it on the top of the back, this will hold the back down to the seat.