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Posted: Friday, Sep. 26, 2008

Candle wax loosens replacement windows

Peter Hotton
Published in: Home & Garden

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Q. My replacement windows are very hard to open and close. I tried WD-40 without success.

Many replacement windows are tight to make sure they are resistant to loss of air and heat. The WD-40 may not have worked if you did not spray the jambs. Raise each bottom sash and spray the jamb, where the window slides. If there is rubber, felt, or vinyl weather-stripping on the jamb, any kind of oil may not be a good idea because it could damage the material. Candle wax will do just as well. So, keep raising and lowering the sash; you eventually might loosen them just enough.

Bald spots on roof

Q. My roof has two layers of asphalt shingles, the top layer being about 20 years old. Some of the gravel on the top layer of white shingles is coming off, and there are black areas where the gravel has gone completely off. Can I repair those bald spots?

The only repair is to have the roof completely coated with a liquid tar-like composition. This is quite expensive, and I don't think the expense is worth it. Your roof probably has five to 10 years of life left, despite the loss of gravel. I don't think all the gravel is gone. Even if there is some life left in the shingles, replacing the roof at any time is not unreasonable.

Gutter covers

Q. My neighbor is putting covers on his gutters. If I do that, will the slotted cover handle all the water during a heavy rain? Do those Gutter Helmet-type covers work? Also, the storm sewers in my street have overflowed, flooding the street, due partly to my gutters being connected to the sewers. Is there a way to reduce this heavy overflow?

Yes, I think the gutter covers work, although they might not handle a very heavy, prolonged rain, but nothing will anyway. To reduce the storm water overflowing and flooding, detach your downspouts from the storm sewer (they are going straight into the ground now) and extend the spouts 10 feet horizontally from the house. You can put them back when the water subsides

Filon plastic roof

Q. I have a Filon plastic roof over a long walkway going the length of my house to keep water away from the foundation. It is in pretty bad shape and needs replacing. Have you ever heard of Filon? Can I replace the old one with a new Filon cover? A solid roof would black out windows below the roof.

Yes, I have heard of it, and wrote about it many years ago. It is a fiberglass panel used for greenhouses. So you might find it at a greenhouse company or from a dealer who builds sunrooms. If the panels are in fair shape, you can buy a paint called Filon Nuglas High Gloss Refinisher from a dealer who sells the panels. The paint will let light through.

Peter Hotton: The Boston Globe, 135 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 02107; .

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