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Q. I am demography advantage of the abnormal February acclimate in Vermont to go abode ting. I've apparent several 1950s-era ranches with absorbed garages. What baffles me is that their attics are absolutely accessible to the garages. There are no vents on the ends of the attics in these buildings. There is no arresting insulation central the attic roof. The alone insulation is on the basal of the attic, amid the boards aloft the ceiling. (Don't apperceive breadth the ablution vents bankrupt to.)

Can you amuse explain why an attic would be accessible to the barn like this? It seems like an allurement to bugs and critters. Wouldn't this abode lose a lot of heat? Wouldn't the damp from the abode abbreviate on the central of the roof?

If a meowner capital to accomplish a abode like this added energy-efficient, what could be done about careful the attic? Suld the aperture to the barn be bankrupt in, alike partially? Suld the meowner consistently leave a le?

A. It was a accepted convenance in Vermont in the 1950s to leave the gable end adverse the barn accessible back architecture ranches. I umption the cerebration at the time was the accessible gable into the barn provided the attic's ventilation. I accept the builders of the time didn't accord abundant anion to the charge for blast or to the actuality that the damp brought in by the car in winter would accord to damp in the attic. I additionally don't ane the builders anytime anion about mice and squirrels nesting in the attic floor's insulation. Times accept changed! Architecture a abode this way is absolutely not a acceptable practice.

The insulation was appropriately installed amid the attic's attic joists, but it was to the day's standards and is woefully bare by today's. Calefaction accident was not added by this system, but it additionally is aerial by today's standards. The acceptable allotment is that such accessible gable architecture makes it accessible to add insulation.

The accessible gables in these uses can absolutely be closed, but added agency of blast may again be appropriate to abstain damp accession and abeyant cast problems on the roof rafters and sheathing. The attic suld be arrested over several winters for abstract or frost on the roof sheathing, rafters or beam nails. If these are present, added blast suld be considered.

The best blast arrangement is a aggregate of soffit and backbone vents with an accessible affiliation amid the two.

Q. Is there a way to anamnesis the calefaction or activity from sources in the me? For instance, it has consistently addled me that we absorb all this activity to calefaction baptize to cook, ablution and ablution with, and yet we let best of that activity go bottomward the drain. I additionally can't angle to see the calefaction from the dryer aperture breaker out into the freezing air.

A. Recapturing the activity from the sources you acknowledgment is not accessible or, in some cases, possible. You can let affable baptize air-conditioned on the stove or countertop, or booty a ablution instead of swering and let the ablution baptize air-conditioned afore clarification the tub. Laundry is primarily done with algid baptize nowadays, so this is no best a antecedent of ashen heat.

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The calefaction from the dryer is addition story. During the energy-crisis aation in the aboriginal 1970s, accouterments food awash a accoutrement that was installed on the dryer aperture and directed the calefaction -- and damp -- into the allowance while demography affliction of the lint in a altered way. It was OK with old adulterated uses, which bare added damp for the bloom of the occupants and furniture, but absolutely abominable in today's bound uses, breadth damp can already be a problem.

You may appee to acquaintance Efficiency Vermont in Burlington for suggestions to abate your accurate apropos about activity recapture.

Q. I afresh apprehend an commodity breadth you brash a meowner not to waterproof the central of the bat because of abeyant cast problems. Well, I apparent that two of my bat walls were corrective by the antecedent buyer with Drylok bat paint. So I aching off a baby breadth of the acrylic and apparent a cast problem, like you said, amid the Drylok and the bat foundation.

I went to Lowe's and, cerebration all acrylic strippers are the same, bought one alleged Citristrip by Barr Co. to administer to the acrylic afore stripping it. My aberration was that I didn't ysis it on a baby breadth to see if it absolutely formed and acclimated it on both walls. It's a gel and went on adequately thickly.

Of advance it did not ignment as advertised, and now I accept no abstraction what to do. I accept this artefact all over the walls, I can't get the acrylic off and I'm abashed of the actinic acknowledgment addition stripper ability cause. Any suggestions would be abundantly appreciated.

A. Already Drylok has absolutely cured, it becomes allotment of the accurate and can be removed alone by automated agency -- sandblasting, grinding, etc.

At this point, you apparently charge to use a wide-blade ser, such as a drywall collective admixture artificial applicator, to abolish the gel. Put the dregs in a artificial bag and actuate of them as appropriate on the Citristrip container. Apprehend the instructions on the stripper's alembic to see w to apple-pie the walls of any stripper residue.

The cast problems I accept mentioned several times apropos block walls advised with Drylok or agnate waterproofing articles are added austere than what you are apropos to. Waterproofed block foundations can accrue baptize biting from outside. With no way out, baptize evaporates advancement central the use, breadth it can account untold nightmares. I already advised an accommodation architecture breadth the bat block foundation had been waterproofed to aculate the bat dry. The apartments had to be alone because the drywall was atramentous with mold, the air was putrid and aggregate central was contaminated.

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If your foundation is fabricated of caked concrete, you accept annihilation to anguish about, as there are no accessible cavities in caked accurate to accommodate water. But if your walls are fabricated of alveolate blocks, the simplest way to cesspool out any baptize is to ignment baby les at the basal of the vertical adhesive joints of the basal advance of blocks. Do so with a brilliant ignment and a hammer, or use a masonry bit in a cordless ignment to annihilate any accident of beheading in case baptize pours out.

If baptize comes out, you suld investigate the cast about the foundation and any appendages, and absolute any deficiencies to ane baptize imilation into the foundation.

Q. I accept noticed a accouterments affiliation fabricated by SharkBite at Home Depot. Are these accessories the absolute thing? Can you cautiously awning them abaft drywall afterwards anytime accepting to anguish about them leaking? They ume too easy, not accepting to adhesive or about-face on the baptize to ysis the fitting. Will they bear the burden of a umption or chestnut fitting?

A. Altugh I am actomed with the SharkBite fittings, I accept no absolute acreage acquaintance with them, and I don't apperceive anyone w has activated them over a continued period. As one plumber put it, he would use them for repairs, but not for a new use.

SharkBite accessories are fabricated of umption and advised for accessible affiliation to copper, PEX and added types of artificial pipes. They accept animate teeth that grab the amid aqueduct tightly, but the applicable can calmly be appear if bare appliance the appropriate apparatus provided. Already a aqueduct is inserted, it can be rotated about to fit the action -- an advantage. These accessories are code-approved for underground and bank accession afterwards the charge for admission panels.

The attention -- as it is with the accession of any accessories -- is to chase admonition carefully, aen that any aqueduct or applicable may advance a leak.

Q. I accept a ceramics asphalt kitchen attic that is ugly. The blush I called was a ablaze tan, but abounding tiles are aptic brownish amber tiles with swirls in the tile. Unfortunately, the aggregation went out of business, so I accept no recourse. The asphalt wasn't cheap, so abbreviate of ripping it out, what can I do? Chemicals? Paint?

A. If you apperceive the cast of the tiles purchased from the asleep company, you may appee to ysis with added asphalt companies in your town. It is acceptable that added than one banker carries this brand. Depending on w abounding tiles are in question, it may not be too difficult or too big-ticket to alter the abrrent ones, compared to the alternative.

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Altugh best asphalt dealers will acquaint you that ceramics tiles cannot be painted, it is accessible to do so. First, awning all adjoining copse (baseboard, cabinets, etc.) and added surfaces with painter's band to ane damage. The tiles charge be troughly bankrupt appliance an annoying cleaner such as Aqua Mix NanoScrub. Be abiding to abrasion vinyl gloves and urance gles (in case some of it splashes in your face). Use base animate wool. Rinse the attic troughly.

Next, use an alternate sander with 220-grit cardboard to roughen the tiles. Abolish all dust from the sanding with a exhaustion cleaner, followed by a absolute castigation with tack cloths. Appliance brushes and a srt-nap roller, administer two coats of a top-quality, oil-base al that has been brave to almost the accomplishment paint.

Lightly beach the al afore applying the accomplishment covering of top-quality, oil-base semigloss or high-gloss paint, depending on your preference. The accomplishment covering charge be activated in two or added attenuate layers, with a actual ablaze sanding amid coats.

It is difficult to abstain painting the adhesive lines; appearance them is arduous. If you appee the adhesive curve to be a altered color, it is best to acrylic the absolute floor. Anxiously administer painter's band to the tiles on anniversary ancillary of the adhesive band in one administration for affluence of application. Acrylic the grout. Again administer the band to the tiles in the added administration to acrylic the erect adhesive lines.

Q. I accept absorbed pictures of the vinyl siding, overhang and shutters from an breadth of my use. They accept arms bane on them from some admixture that was in the area. Do you apperceive any adjustment to abolish the bane afterwards damaging the siding, etc.?

A. The ballpoint-size atramentous dots on your vinyl siding, overhang and shutters are absolutely arms bane advancing from a decomposing admixture aing to the foundation. The bane explodes in the bounce and abatement back the temperature is ideal for the spores to do so. They can be propelled 20-plus anxiety in the air, which is breadth the bane gets its name.

It cannot be removed afterwards causing austere accident to the vinyl barade and any apparent to which it attaches itself. Repair is accessible on copse siding, but not on vinyl, aluminum or steel. Abbreviate of replacing the afflicted pieces, your alone acknowledgment may be to acrylic the surfaces afterwards a absolute charwoman -- altugh the dots will still be there.

The alone way to ane the bane in the approaching is to put new amoebic admixture over the old every year, abolish the old admixture absolutely or alter it with elastic mulch, accessible in garden-supply stores.

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• Henri de Marne was a adjustment architect in Washington, D.C., for abounding years, and is now a consultant. Write to him in affliction of the Daily Herald, P.O. Box 280, Arlington Heights, IL 60006, or via email at henridemarne@gmavt.net. His book, "About the House," is accessible at www.upperaccess.com and in bookstores.© 2012, United Feature Syndicate Inc.

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