Proper gutter alignment will keep wood rot at bay
Q. I had a new roof and new gutters installed four to five years ago. Now, the fascia board behind the gutter is rotting out, requiring new fascia boards. How did this happen, and how can I prevent it?
DOUG, from Reading
A. It’s an old story, but worth repeating to help people install gutters and roofs the right way, which is only one way. Gutters are installed to allow water from the roof to drip into the very middle of the gutters and flow away to the downspouts and onto the ground. But in your case, the water drips too close to the back of the gutter, so water runs over the back of the gutter. It took only five years for the wood to rot, which is a very short time. If the water drips too close to the front, the water will overflow the front of the gutter. It is difficult for people to understand what water will do. It will do anything it pleases, given the chance.
Ask the installer to come back and do it right, allowing water to drip in the center of the gutter along its full length. In some cases, you can extend the drip edge with a drip edge extension, bringing the water into the middle of the gutter. He also should replace any rotted fascia, and he can use Azek, a solid PVC board that will not decay.
Another reason the gutters overflowed may be their position. If placed too high or too low, water will overflow. To determine how to position a gutter, place a 5-foot-long board on the roof, with about 2 feet hanging over the roof edge. The front top of the gutter should come within half an inch of the extended board.
Q. I am reusing some 1 x 4 pressure-treated boards from my old deck for a new deck in the same spot. Trouble is, the 3/4-inch-thick boards are going to butt up against new 1-inch-thick boards on another deck, leaving a 1/4-inch lip. How can I ease that difference and make the transition safer to prevent trips?
EVERETT SHOREY, Arlington
A. Before installing the old 1 x 4s, nail a 1 1/2-inch-wide cedar shingle (they are easily cut lengthwise with a utility knife) on each joist with the butt end next to the old inch-thick ones. Then put on the 1 x 4s. The slope will be gradual (about 16 inches) and no one will know the difference.
From Elise, in Natick: We also have a Bosch dishwasher and had the same problem. It has a stainless steel interior and after calling the company and rereading the manual that came with it, we took apart as much as we could and still were not able to find the source of the odor. Then we found that things get caught under the door so when it is open you need to drag a cloth or paper towel along it and that seems to be catching gunk. We do this whenever the smell comes back and that seems to do it.
From Carolyn Tusinski of Dracut: I have a Bosch in the home I bought last August. The smell was awful. On a hunch, I tried leaving the door unlocked. The door looks closed, but is just ajar enough to be unlocked. No more smell.
From K. of Dracut: I too had a Bosch dishwasher for over two years and have had an odor since day one. The tech came back and said it was draining fine. According to another Bosch tech, the issue apparently is with the amount of dishwashing detergent you use. According to the documentation, for a small load you should only use 1 tablespoon of detergent. If you run your dishwasher without any soap, there will be no smell the next time. I haven’t been able to come up with an appropriate amount of dishwashing detergent or type of detergent to deter the smell each time, however I do believe this is the cause of the odor due to the fact that when I use less the smell seems to lessen.
The Handyman thanks the e-mailers. J. does too, I am sure.
Q. I don’t know how old my driveway is, but it is in fair shape. I have a few small cracks, the surface is flat with no heaving, although the top shows a bit of wear, and I can see some sand on it. How can I tell when it needs replacing?
BILL, from Arlington
A. Perhaps when there are heaves, holes, and tears in the asphalt, and you can hardly keep your balance walking on it, it’s time for a new one. I think your driveway has quite a few years left in it. And if you are unhappy about how it looks, you can make it look better with a seal coat. I am not a big fan of seal coating because it is about 90 percent cosmetic, but at least a seal-coated driveway looks good. Have the seal coaters also fill the cracks, because if water gets in the cracks and freezes, you will have nothing but bigger cracks.
Globe Handyman on Call Peter Hotton is also in the g section on Thursdays. He is available 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays to answer questions on house repair. Call 617-929-2930. Hotton (email@example.com) also chats online about house matters 2-3 p.m. Thursdays. To participate, go to www.Boston.com.