N.H. homeowner is baffled by a gutter problem
Q.Is it possible to provide a drawing on the Globe website to show what a baffle on a gutter looks like? I did some Web searching and there was only one image I came across and it was not at all clear how it attached or what it even looked like. As for obtaining a ready-made one, they do not seem to exist. Any ideas? We have two interior corner “leaf proof’’ gutters that overflow during rain storms.
BAFFLED BY BAFFLE, New Hampshire
A. If you mean “leaf proof’’ gutters, you may have to take the guards off before proceeding. There is no need for a drawing of the baffle, because, since I consider myself a wordsmith, I can give you words that should make it clear. Your question is clear: the gutter forms an inside corner at the bottom of a valley, where two roofs meet. Rainwater on two roofs meet at the valley to form a doubled stream running down the valley and overflowing the gutter.
You could double the size of the gutters, which would be costly and might not work. Or take them off and let the valley stream fill your rain barrels. Putting a downspout at that corner would also help by letting the gutter drain faster. A baffle will keep water in the gutter where it belongs, eventually going into the downspouts. You are right, you must build your own because ready-made ones do not exist.
To make one, buy aluminum flashing, or copper, which is more costly but better because it is heavier. Make the piece 8 to 12 inches wide and about 5 feet long. Fold it in half to make an “L’’ shape. Fold the bottom edge to form a 1/2-inch flange. Set this flange on the front top edge of the gutter, and screw it to the metal edge of the aluminum gutter with sheet metal screws. If the gutter is wood, use round-headed solid brass screws. The L-shape will give it some rigidity. Also, you can fold each end over by an inch or so to make the ends more stable. If the baffle isn’t sturdy enough, strengthen it with brackets or wires attached to the top of the baffle and secured to the roof.
Q.A few weeks ago I asked about a stain to stain my new wood glider. You suggested a semitransparent stain, which happens to be oil based, but I can’t find it in a paint store. All they have is an oil/acrylic stain. Would that do?
ROBERT HICKEY, Plymouth
A. Ah yes, the semitransparent oil stains, which penetrated the wood and sealed it, and never peels, have been banned for containing oil, which is considered toxic. The replacement that you saw is an emulsion, combining acrylic with oil. If it works, and is good for wooden outdoor furniture and your glider, go ahead. The only alternative is a solid color latex stain, which is pretty good but is a solid color, and can peel.
Q.I have painted the inside of the concrete walls of my garage for many years. Now, the paint is peeling and bubbling off, after the garage and basement were flooded. How can I repaint, and with what?
DIANE, Smithfield, R.I.
A. Scrape, sand, and pressure-wash as much of the remaining paint as you can, then apply one coat of Drylock, a cement-based paint that will help stop seepage, and will last quite a while. Or, apply one or two thin coats of a solid color latex stain.
Q.My floors have become sticky with an oily substance, mostly on the first floor. The ductless exhaust fan is also oily. I tried cleaning with vinegar and water, without success. I cook with olive oil and butter; would that cause the problem? How can I clean the oil off and keep it off?
CYNTHIA KEOHANE, Littleton, Colo.
A. All that cooking may be partly to blame. Wash the floors and anything feeling oily with an ammonia solution, say half a cup in a gallon of water. Paint thinner on the floor can work, too, but use it sparingly with windows open for ventilation. The only real cure is to install an exhaust fan ducted to the outdoors. Until you do that, you can use your unducted exhaust fan with one or more windows open while cooking.
Q.My concrete walk goes right up to the concrete block foundation of the house. There is a gap developing where the two meet, about 1/4 inch. I think water in the basement is coming in through that gap. The inside walls near that spout are damp. How can I fill that gap?
STEVE CURTIN, Lakeville
A. It is more likely condensation of water vapor on the cool walls, especially during warm, humid months. For starters, keep basement windows open for cross-ventilation to release excess water vapor. Keep them open from April to November.
To fill that gap, scrape out as much dirt as you can. Then apply an adhesive caulk called Phenoseal, as deeply in the crack as possible, using a caulking gun. Level it off at the top and see what happens. Or, buy Mortar Mix at any hardware store. Mix it with water to a sort of soupy consistency, so you can pour it into the gap. Use a pointing tool to press it in place. Or, pour in the mortar mix dry, pack it down, and then pour water in, not too much and not too little, to make the proper mix.
Hotton is also in the g section on Thursdays. He is available 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays to answer questions. Call 617-929-2930. Hotton (firstname.lastname@example.org) also chats online 2-3 p.m. Thursdays. To participate, go to www.Boston.com.