Might be time for a new roof
Q. I had ice all over my roof with a 12-inch overhang, and plenty of leaks except where the gutters are. I had two contractors offer suggestions: 1. Pull off roof shingles along the edge of the roof for several feet, then put down ice and water shield and install new shingles. 2. Because leaks are around a chimney, pull off a few shingles and install an ice and water shield and new flashing. What shall I do? The roof is 19 years old.
JENNY SULLIVAN, Somerville
A. Both plans have merit, although the idea of removing shingles and putting an ice and water shield along the edges is a shade better. But since the roof is 19 years old and despite the fact the roof has 5 to 10 years of life left in it, I think you should bite the bullet and have a new roof installed by taking everything off and installing an ice and water shield on the entire roof under the shingles. And fix the chimney flashing while the work is being done.
There is some controversy over covering the entire roof with ice and water shield. Some claim this does not allow the roof to breathe. Such a roof will breathe if the attic is well ventilated. The ice and water shield will not prevent ice dams, but will prevent leaks from ice dams.
Uncover those gas meters
Recently the handyman suggested that gas meters probably don’t need to be shoveled free of snow when they get buried. Not necessarily so, wrote Joe Cardettino by e-mail. Said Cardettino: The advice on the snow-covered gas meter should also include that many meters have a regulator that has a vent which must be kept clear to provide proper gas pressure. Just another reason to uncover meters.
Added Chris Manley by e-mail: I work for a gas & electric utility company. I read a question about a buried gas meter in the real estate section. Just an FYI, if the gas meter is buried and has a regulator, ice build-up could clog the regulator and cause the gas to shut off.
Thanks for the heads-up, Joe and Chris.
Q. I have bamboo flooring, which I am not wild about, but I’ll put up with it. Trouble is, when I use a wet Swiffer, I just can’t get the stubborn stains off. I rub and rub without results. Water with vinegar may help, but is there another way?
MARIE NUTILE, Lynnfield
A. Water is the best solvent, running water is even better. But since we cannot have running water on our floors, water with detergent is the way to go. You are not letting the water do its work. So, apply water and detergent, not too much, and let it sit for up to 5 minutes, then scrub. Voila! The stains are gone. To do this, use a sponge mop, well squeezed out; most sponge mops have a little abrasive brush that will dispatch those spots pronto. When I say water is the best solvent, that is true, but like God’s moves, exceeding slow.
Raise the roof Every now and then the handyman gets e-mails from John Wilder of Florida, citing alleged errors in the handyman’s column and suggesting corrections. This is his latest: “Peter I don’t know why you persist in giving the same wrong advice when I have sent you corrections. Your advice that you can reroof any time in the winter is dead wrong. It violates every single shingle manufacturers installation instructions and voids their guarantee. The temp must stay above 40 degrees to properly install shingles so that the hot melt glue will heat up and adhere the shingles.’’
OK, said the handyman, that is true, but most roofers in the northern parts of the country will install roofs in cool or cold weather (mine was done in November, after a snow storm), and I have never never never heard of a roof failing because it was installed in cold weather. Roof manufacturers hold the roofing industry ransom by threatening to void the guarantee. Many roofers ignore this warning, knowing that their roofs will endure. I think some of the questions involved making repairs which have to be done in cold weather.
Globe Handyman on Call also appears in the Sunday Real Estate section. He is available 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays to answer questions on house repair. Call 617-929-2930. Hotton (firstname.lastname@example.org) also chats online about house matters 2-3 p.m. Thursdays. Go to www.boston.com