Home Improvement

Ask the Remodeler: Drafty vestibules and black marks on sinks

Send your home improvement questions to [email protected]

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Send your home improvement questions to [email protected]


Q. My small Cape has a vestibule for the front door that juts out from the main part of the house. When you walk through the vestibule, there is a raised wood threshold to step over, and the hardwood flooring planks in the main part of the house go at right angles to the threshold. Between the end of the flooring planks and the threshold, I can feel wind coming in, especially on zero-degree days! What can I do to stop the breeze? There’s a full basement under the main part of the house but not under the vestibule.

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M.B.

A. If you can create an opening under the vestibule, it may be possible to get spray-foam insulation under there. There are lumber yards that sell small spray foam kits, larger than the small cans you get at hardware stores. This could allow you to spray the entire floor under the vestibule. If you have no access at all to the space under the vestibule, I would suggest using a high quality caulking to seal the gap at the threshold from inside the house.

Q. We recently had remodeling work done on our home, but before it was completed, someone dropped a power drill in the bowl of our new porcelain sink in the bathroom. It left a black mark about a half-inch long. I have tried several things to remove the stain (basic household/non-scratch cleaners), but they haven’t worked. Is there a way to remove it, or is it permanent?

K. J.

A. Hard to say what the best solution would be when I don’t know what part of the drill made the mark. I am guessing the black rubber or plastic on it did the damage. I would try something mildly solvent-based as opposed to a bathroom cleaner. The best place to start is with mineral spirits, basically paint thinner. Try a little bit first. It may smudge a bit, but that is good; it means it’s dissolving whatever is on there. Go slow and steady. I hope that does the trick.

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Mark Philben is the project development manager at Charlie Allen Renovations in Cambridge. Send your questions to [email protected]. Questions are subject to editing. Subscribe to the Globe’s free real estate newsletter — our weekly digest on buying, selling, and design — at Boston.com/address-newsletter. Follow us on Twitter @globehomes.

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