Today’s Homeowner Radio Show for the week of February 25, 2017

Hour 1

Hour 2

We’re rolling into the final week of February and, I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a little Spring Fever. That usually means I’d like to do more work in the yard, but you can keep the whole “Spring Cleaning” conspiracy to yourself.

And, speaking of Spring, now is the time to start thinking about preparing your lawn & garden equipment before the season is in full bloom. Hopefully, when it comes to mechanical equipment like your lawn mower, string trimmer and edger, you were able to prep it for Spring way back at the beginning of winter. But, if not just a few helpful tips:

  1. Inspect the equipment thoroughly. Make sure there are no missing or damaged parts.
  2. Clean everything. That includes dirt, oils, grass, especially on the underside of a lawnmower deck.
  3. If you never drained the oil or gasoline from last season, do it now, but do so responsibly. Adhere to any and all environmental procedures when discarding oil & gas.
  4. Install clean air filters, especially the paper type. Foam filters can be cleaned, but if it’s been a couple of years, go ahead and replace those as well.
  5. Sharpen the existing blade and purchase a second blade and sharpen it, too, so you have a sharp blade ready to change out in the middle of the cutting season.

We tackle a lot of questions this week, but I wanted to focus in on one question in particular dealing with trying to soundproof a common wall in a condominium. Sound transfers by way of vibrations. You can attempt to soundproof a wall, but sound will also transfer via floor and ceiling joists. That said, adding a secondary layer of drywall can help a lot. If you’re going to the trouble and expense to do so, invest a little extra and get a drywall specifically designed to stop noise. One of my favorite brands is called QuietRock ( It’s not available readily in stores, but some home centers may be able to special order it for you.

And, until March 2017, here are the questions we tackled on this week’s program.

Hour 1

Kevin in Pennsylvania
I have some barn wood that I’m making a head board out of and it has some green coloring on parts of it (mildew?). The wood had been painted white at one point which has mostly been chipped away leaving a whitish gray coloring which I want to preserve. Is there something I can put on the wood to remove the green while preserving the color and integrity of the barn wood?

Daniel in Minnesota
I have a 24′ x 26′ detached garage. It currently has a flat sloped roof. It’s older, needs work and is also kind of leaky. I’m planning on putting a gable roof on with attic trusses so I can have storage above the rafters. I’m also planning on putting a metal roof on it. My biggest question is do I remove the old roof completely first and then put the trusses up or can I put up the trusses first and use the old roof to stand on as I’m putting them up and then take down the old roof. The trusses will be 2′ on center.

Drew in Mississippi
We have hardwood floors and I’ve noticed some issues with powderpost beetles. What can we do about this?

Ellen in Alabama
The handles on my refrigerator are a rough textured plastic. They are yellow and dirty looking. Can I paint them and if so what kind of paint?

Margaret in Pennsylvania
What do I use to verify that the flapper is allowing water to continue to run through it?

Becky in Tennessee
We bought a second home with deck flooring on wrap around porch. The boards are curling. Is our only solution to replace?

Adele in Oregon
If my fixture has 3 bulbs, can I just put one in to save energy without affecting the fixture or electrical consumption?

Becky in Ohio
The drywall tape put on between the wall and ceiling is coming loose in a few places. Is there an easy repair?

Etta in Nevada
I have tried to find what is causing the leak in my kitchen pull-down hose faucet. It leaks from the sprayer head and has a continuous stream of water at that location when using the main stream of water option. There appears to be no leaks at any other location. Can this be a faulty faucet or a simple adjustment?

Charlie in Michigan
My dishwasher doesn’t drain completely.

Hour 2

Len in Alabama
I started leasing a barn with two other people and we are having a problem with wood bees. The owners have up the little boxes with the bottles (traps) but that’s not working. Can you help us? Seems like they are swarming.

Ethyl in Indiana
I want to hang two small ledge shelves to the outside of our refrigerator wood enclosure. As in most newer homes, the enclosure is the same as kitchen cabinetry, only thinner (I’m assuming).
Should we attempt to do this, and if so what would you suggest we use?

We’ve had to have our tub re-done every few years because it gets such bad scum buildup. Is there something we can use to clean it or prevent build up?

Danny in Alabama
We stayed in a condo with a dehumidifier and it made an amazing difference. Can a dehumidifier be used on a larger scale, like for a whole house?

Tracy in Mississippi
In the kitchen what do you recommend for countertops? Granite? Quartz?

Nycholle in Nebraska
My toilet is about 2 or 3 years old and it’s not flushing properly. It takes 3-4 or even 5 times to even flush everything. What could be the problem?

Chris in Louisiana
What do you recommend and use to get rid of some rust on tools. I use to keep my tools in pretty good shape, but I had a severe back injury and was out of commission for a very long time and my boys didn’t take good care of my tools. I would like to get them cleaned up and not have to replace them. Those tools have been with me for a very long time and now that I can get around a little better so that I can get back to do some light woodworking.

Mary Anna in Louisiana
I have your recipe for the non-toxic weed killer, but was wondering if it kills the grass too?

Cathy in Louisiana
We converted a built in desk to a wine bar. We want to add a back splash using wine corks and can extend coverage by splitting the wine corks in half lengthwise. I was asking my carpenter about cutting corks and he said that he heard you on the radio last weekend talking about this. Would you send me the information?

Edward in New Hampshire
I purchased a house with a hung light fixture (three bulbs each with its own glass shade). One of the lights has a cross threaded retainer. I have tried to unscrew the retainer but it won’t budge. I am afraid to apply too much pressure as I might break the fixture. Any Ideas?


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