Today’s Homeowner Radio Show for Dec. 23, 2017

Hour 1

Hour 2

Simple Solutions

Homemade Trivet
Protect furniture surfaces by making a trivet from a leftover ceramic tile. Start by spraying a light coating of cooking oil spray onto a piece of wax paper. Then, lay two paint sticks across the wax paper.

Next, use a hot-melt glue gun to put a half-inch-diameter dab of hot glue onto each back corner of the tile. Then, immediately press the tile down onto the wood sticks. The sticks serve as spacers to ensure that each glue pad is exactly the same thickness. And the cooking oil prevents the glue from sticking to the wax paper. Let the glue harden for a few minutes, then peel off the wax paper.

Cleaning Narrow-Neck Vases
Here’s how to clean narrow-neck vases without using a bottlebrush. Pour into the vase about one cup of warm water, ¼ cup of white vinegar, 1/4 cup of uncooked rice, and a couple squirts of liquid dish detergent.

Now swirl the bottle around in tight circles for 30-60 seconds. The vinegar and warm water will loosen any caked-on dirt or stains, and the rice will act as an abrasive to scrub the interior of the vase clean.

Hour 1

James in FL
We have a large skylight in our kitchen. When it rains hard we can’t hear each other talk or watch TV. How can we take some of this noise away?

Art in GA
We had 3/4-inch hardwood floors installed a few months ago on top of our 3/4-inch plywood floors. The contractor stopped the floor under the door between the bedroom and the bathroom. Now I’m ready to tile the bathroom and want the tile to match the height of the 3/4-inch hardwood at the threshold. The tile is 1/4-inch thick and, if I use 1/2-inch backer board, the numbers add up to 3/4 inches, but I know it will be thicker because of the thin-set used for the tile and the backer board. Your installation process calls for 1-1/4” minimum floor thickness under tile. What should I do?

Stuart in VA
I’ve installed radiant floor heat in my new remodeled home. I managed to save a lot of pine plank flooring that was in the home originally and used it for my flooring. As I use the heat I’m noticing that the floor separates quite a bit. I’m wondering if it’s OK to seal the floors or if I should leave them alone. I was also thinking I should use putty to fill in the spaces or use a lot of sealer to maybe fill the joints. Since the boards are old planks they aren’t always level anyhow even after a lot of sanding.

Dessie in GA
The back of my house has a flat roof. A couple of weeks ago, I notice several brown spots on the ceiling in the den (flat roof area). My entire house roof was replaced in 2013. The ceiling in the den is popcorn ceiling. Will the flat roof always be an issue?

John in OH
I have an old 80-CFM bathroom vent fan that does a poor job of exhausting steam and dampness. I’d like to replace it with a quieter, more powerful 100-CFM fan. Is there a problem installing the larger fan and connecting it to the existing 4-inch diameter duct?

Tony in OR
My plastic-laminate floor has some water damage. Can I seal it and then paint it with garage floor-type paint? Also, I’d like to paint the ceramic tile floors in my bedroom. Any suggestions on how to complete these projects?

Hour 2

David in MN
I have a hole in the wall in my basement and there are 6 electrical wires, water line and flexible gas line going through the hole in the cinder block. They lead to the crawl space of my addition. What would you recommend to seal the hole and prevent critters from getting in and stop heat loss?

Carol in AL
Our home was built in the ’60s. The shower curtain looks like rust and worried that we might have rusting pipes. I contacted a lab in hopes of having water tested in bath and kitchen to see if it showed signs of rust; however, the lab has not returned my call. Can you suggest where to start on this project?

Roger in WA
I have a dryer that is in the entry from my garage. The vent comes out at the back of my house. Approximately 24 feet from the dryer. Poor design in my opinion when it could have been sent out the garage way. I’m betting there isn’t enough air power to push the lint through the entire vent hose and I’m sure it needs a good cleaning. That said, what is the best way to clean that long vent? The only access I have is at the dryer and where it comes out the back of the house.

Ann in WA
we recently replaced the door closer on the interior door that leads to our garage. However, the closer makes a loud cracking noise when we open the door. And it doesn’t seem to matter if we open the door fast or slow. Any idea how to silence the noise?

Steve in AL
I’d like to tile over some glued-down vinyl flooring, but there’s high spot along a seam in the plywood subfloor. My question is: Can I sand down the high spot right through the vinyl? Or must I peel up the vinyl and then sand the plywood level?

How do you replace damaged weather stripping along the bottom of an aluminum storm door?


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