Floating floors can be anchored down with glue
Q. I have had laminate floors for five years. Every day or so, I notice several of them lifting up. I called the dealer. However, that was while everyone was trying to get their homes repaired because of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. After many calls to the dealer, I gave up. The product name is Nafco. Is there any way I can reglue the areas that are lifting? I know it’s not water causing the lift. I’m afraid someone may trip on these areas that are lifting. What can you suggest?
LOIS HILL, River Ridge, La.
A. Laminate floors are often not glued down and are called floating floors. Your floor may be floating, and it popped or warped. A good way to get it flat again is to screw it down with solid brass screws, but they won’t work if the floor under is concrete, which is likely in your area. So it might be possible to lift the panels and put a construction adhesive on the under side or on the concrete, then stand on the high areas for five minutes for the glue to set.
The warranty is probably ineffective, but it won’t hurt to keep calling the dealer or visit him in his den; or have your lawyer call him.
Q. I live in a contemporary house built in the late ’70s or early ’80s. I have several very large windows that go from about 6 feet high to the top of the cathedral ceiling. I assume they would be wicked expensive to replace. They are double-layered — in other words, the glass has two layers with air between to insulate (I’m sure you know what I mean). On one of them, I noticed when I was washing it, that there appears to be a film on the inside. I assume that this means that the air seal between the layers of glass has broken, although I don’t see any water vapor in between the glass. Assuming I am willing to live with the “film’’ until my son finishes college, does the window still give me insulation from the cold, or should I just bite the bullet and replace it?
BOB BROOKS, via e-mail
A. Rest easy. The film may mean the seal is broken, but the window is still giving as much thermal protection as it did when it was new. I have heard reports that a busted seal (fogging, etc., between the layers of glass), will stop the insulative value of the windows. Don’t believe it; that air is still dead air, which is what does the insulating.
Q. I bought my house a year ago and have a few projects being done by pros. But there are a few projects I think I can do myself.
1. I am replacing the treads on my back stairs. Should I paint or varnish them?
2. There are several holes in my mulch, I think from chipmunks. How can I get rid of them or keep them out of the house?
3. My basement floor is covered with the old asphalt tiles. Some are cracked. Can I leave them, or should they be replaced?
NERVOUS NELLIE, Winchester
A. No need to be nervous, Nellie, these things you can do. 1. Treads are often varnished, but going up and down them will wear off the finish quickly. You can do that, but you will have to repeat fairly often. One alternative is to stain them with a semitransparent stain. One coat will penetrate the wood and will not peel. When it starts to wear, give it another single coat.
2. Chipmunks do not go into houses; they might hibernate, but getting rid of them is like shoveling sand against the tide. Enjoy them when you can.
3. You can leave the cracked tiles in place; they might contain asbestos, but not much, and left in place, they are safe. If you like, you can scrape up the cracked ones, buy 12 x 12-inch tiles and cut them to fit. They don’t have to match. The new tiles may be a little thinner than the old.
Q. There are some peculiar-looking strips of dirt or discoloration following the stud lines on the wall and joist lines on the ceiling of my kitchen, which has electric heat. What are they, how can I clean them and how can I keep them from coming back?
A. Those lines are there because the joists and studs are cooler (under the Drywall) than the insulated wall and ceiling. Water vapor in the house, formed by breathing, cooking, washing, and bathing, builds up and condenses on the cool studs and joists. Then dirt flying around the room will land on the damp surfaces, which are stickier than then other parts of the wall and ceiling. It could be mold, but if the house is dry, chances are it is not.
Clean the dirt off with detergent and water, although painted Drywall is difficult to clean. Rubbing with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser also might work. If you suspect mold, clean with a mix of one part bleach and three parts water. Reducing humidity in the kitchen might help keep the stains away. Use the exhaust fan on your stove or microwave when cooking, if it exhausts outdoors.
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