Janice Sachen of
Chicago offers what she says is a sure cure for that cat-urine smell:
cat started urinating on the basement floor and she would always go
back to the same spot because she could smell the urine.
everything to mask the smell to no avail. Finally I tried peroxide,
the regular drugstore kind, although there are stronger concentrations
available at chemical supply houses.
a full-strength solution on the concrete area, and it neutralized the
want to take an old towel, place it over the area and saturate it. It
may take one or two applications, but it works. No resurfacing or
other extreme measure is needed."
Q: Ever since we
bought our house — yes, we’ve put off doing anything about it for
17 years — we’ve heard what sounds like wind swishing against the
house in certain rooms. We figured it had something to do with the
siding but ignored it because you could only hear it on one side of
the house in rooms we rarely use. We recently learned that the siding
has come loose close to the foundation — where it’s anchored, I
guess. It’s likely also loose in other spots, which accounts for the
noise we’ve heard.
Our question is,
what can we use to reattach the siding to the house (stucco, I think),
at least at the bottom?
I suppose fixing
it elsewhere would involve replacing the siding, an expense that we
don’t want to take on if we don’t have to.
A: Because it is
stucco, the siding (vinyl, I’ll bet) is nailed to furring strips
that are screwed or nailed to the stucco. Lap siding or the J-channel
used to install vinyl siding is attached directly to the furring
strips. Lap or vinyl siding begins flush with the sill plate or at the
bottom of the stucco wall.
Each new piece
of siding overlaps the previous piece and is leveled to ensure a true
The ends of the
siding are placed next to the edge of the wall, window frames, and
door frames. I assume the furring strips have come loose from the
stucco, and the siding has as well. Since it starts at the foundation,
so should you. You’ll need to remove the siding and see if the
furring strips are still attached to the stucco. If not, a two-inch
screw or nail would be used to reattach it. Then you’ll have to nail
the J-channel to the furring strip.
Not a job I
would do myself, if it is as extensive as it sounds. You should never
let small problems morph into bigger ones. This one might have been
easier and less expensive had you gotten to it sooner.
putting a pillow over your head during a rainstorm so you won’t hear
the water dripping from the ceiling.
Q: We’ve lived
in a Cape Cod-style home in Northeast Philadelphia for 12 years. The
problem is the previous owners built a room in the back of the house
12 inches below ground level. When it rains, or we have a lot of snow,
the room floods.
We put in a new
concrete driveway and a new side wall on the house with drainage
holes. It cut down on the flooding, but we still have water come up
through the floor. We are tired of moving furniture to higher ground
and rolling up the rug every time a storm is coming. Who do we hire to
get the problem solved?
A: A structural
engineer, which is what the previous owners should have done before
the addition, and you, as well, before the driveway. Expertise in
these matters costs money but it saves you money and angst in the long
The people who
tell me "but it never flooded before …" don’t understand
that we have no control over everything, including the day it rains 10
inches in two hours.
Think before you