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Handyman on Call

Fixing new gutters, windows

By Peter Hotton
Globe Correspondent / November 10, 2011

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Q. I replaced three wood gutters; they lasted 40 years. Now, one of the 40-foot replaced gutters is leaking water like mad; water is gushing over the rear of the gutter. What’s wrong and how can I fix it? Also, I have 25 new storm windows, and some of them have condensation on the inside of the storm glass. What’s wrong there, too?

JANET,from Dover

A. For the gutters, the drip edge is mispositioned. It is allowing water to drip near the back of the gutter, causing the overflow. The water must drip in the exact center of the gutter, along its full length. If the drip is near the front of the gutter, it will overflow the front. So, position the gutter so it drips in the center for its full length. Also, a 40-foot gutter requires two downspouts, one at each end.

There are two causes of the condensation: The weep holes at the bottom of the storms are blocked or don’t exist. Open them or drill new ones in the metal sill at the bottom of the storm, 1/8 or 3/16 inch in diameter, about 4 inches in from each side. They will allow water vapor that builds up between the windows to dissipate.

The other cause: Your main windows are leaking house air into the space between storm and window. To fix this, weatherstrip the windows.

Q. The condos in my development are sided with fiber-cement clapboards, a concrete material that usually works quite well. But in some cases many of the nails holding the stuff in place are showing, because some of the clapboards are warped or curling, and the extra nails were driven to straighten out the clapboards. What can I do?

ROD MASON, Somerville

A. The fiber-cement clapboards are rigid, so they can be blind-nailed at their tops, allowing the next clapboard above to cover the nails, the same way shingles are nailed. The attempt to nail them to flatten them is wrong. Those warped, curled, and bendy clapboards are defective, and should be replaced. If the nails that corrected the situation are stainless steel, they can stay, but they should be painted over to match the color of the clapboards.

Q. We have side-by-side sinks in the kitchen. When I run water on one side, the other side gurgles. I cleaned the drains with Drano and the plunger, the water goes down the drains on both sides quickly. Our plumber said some sinks gurgle when the water goes down the drain. What do you say?

RICHARD POZNIAK,by e-mail

A. Your plumber is right, but he should have told you why. I think that the twin sinks have two drains merging into one drain. That will cause gurgling whether you use one or the other sink. A small blockage could do that too.

Q. I am winterizing our windows with foam-backed weatherstripping. My question is: Does it go on the bottom of the window sash or on the window sill? Is there a better low-cost option (besides using curtains)?

WINDOWS,in Hotton’s chat room

A. If the stripping is on the bottom of the sash, it will make the window harder to close because the window will close on the stripping. So, put it on the sill in front of the sash. Curtains will not reduce heat loss. Heavy draperies will not reduce heat loss unless they are secured to the casing on all 4 sides. A cheaper way? Yes, if the windows are weight-loaded, with pulleys and ropes, buy spring bronze weatherstripping, which is invisible when installed. It might be hard to find.

Q. In the spring I will need to rebuild a back porch. I just replaced two columns as there is a roof over the porch (not enclosed). Will I need a permit and how much should I expect to pay? We will need to replace the decking and the knee walls, about 4 feet tall.

PATS07,in Hotton’s chat room

A. If it is a rebuild or repair job, you probably will not need a permit. Call your building department or your public works department to make sure, one way or another. The cost of the permit is based on the cost of the project.

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 (photton@globe.com) also chats online about house matters 2-3 p.m. Thursdays. Go to www.boston.com