Christmas Tree Tip
Here’s how to extend the life of a live Christmas tree: When you get the tree home, cut about 4 in. off the end of the trunk. Then, drill 1/4-inch-diameter hole up into the very center of trunk, and immediately place the tree in water.
Holiday Light Tip
Attach holiday lights and decorations to your home using self-stick cable-tie mounting squares. Each 3/4-inch x 3/4-inch nylon square has slots for inserting plastic or Velcro cable ties. Simply peel and stick the squares to any clean, dry surface, then use ties to secure the lights strands or decorations. At end of season, snip off the ties, but leave the mounting squares for re-use next year.
Around the Yard
Julie Day Jones shares items from her December Lawn & Garden To-Do List.
Gary in WA
I built a large overhang to cover my deck, but when the wind blows from the southeast it sounds like a banshee convention. I have sealed my light cans, sealed my vents, and every cranny I can find. It sounds like a resonating chamber like a pipe organ: really loud! Nobody can figure out what it can be. There is a vented roof peak that came with the asphalt shingles. The problem began before I installed rain gutters. Any ideas?
Kathy in WV
We have an apartment above a block garage fully above ground. Garage doors are insulated, but walls of garage do not have any added insulation. There are two heat ducts from the apartment in the ceiling of the garage which keeps the garage space on average of 50 degrees in colder months. Would insulating the floor be any benefit for energy efficiency of the apartment, and if so would the batting go next to the floor?
Bob in TN
When we open the hot-water faucet at our master-bath vanity, it takes forever for the water to get hot. Would a tankless water heater or an instantaneous water heater help? And what’s the difference between the two?
Hear the answer Straight from the Pro: Ed del Grande, Master plumber (holds three current Master licenses in pipefitting, fire protection and plumbing), contractor, author and comedian
JR in TX
I know weep holes allow moisture to escape. However, they also provide an entry for insects and rising water. Is there any product to protect water from entering a home from rising water?
Manny in MI
I’m refinishing our 4-foot x 6-foot butcher-block kitchen island, which is used for food prep and eating. How do I proceed, and is linseed oil a good finish to use?
Grace in CA
I am replacing my tile floor with Pergo floor or engineered wood. My home has a slab foundation. My contractor said he needs to put the plywood under the new floor. Is it necessary to put the plywood wood as sub floor?
Tamara in AL
I’ve noticed some of my grout in my tiled shower floor is missing. How do I repair this? Do I ‘spot fill’ with a matching grout?
Conrad in PA
I have a 1920s fixer-upper home in West Phill. After months of work, it has fresh sheetrock ceilings, but no insulation above, and winter is coming quickly! I’m excited to insulate the attic and get the house cozy, but I am confused about vapor barriers. Do I need one? What about a “vapor retarder”? What kind of barrier do I use?
Tim in FL
My question has to do with an old bathroom exhaust fan. I have looked everywhere and can’t find where the duct leads to. My concern is that the fan is blowing moisture right into the attic. The space above the bathroom ceiling is very tight and not very accessible. How can I confirm that the duct is exhausting to the outside?
Eddie in South Africa
Can I paint a tiled shower floor and what type of paint is recommended?