Question: The floor in my kitchen is covered with a nice sheet of vinyl that I like a lot. It was probably put in right before I bought the house, because it looks like new. The problem is that the floor beneath it has evidently become loose, and when I step in certain places the floor gives a little and creaks a lot. Naturally, the noise factor isn't so bad in the kitchen as it would be elsewhere; however, it is annoying because it's right in front of the sink in the work area where I spend a good part of every evening. Can this be fixed without taking up the floor covering? There are other squeaks in the upstairs hall that has carpeting on it.
Answer: Much of the noise may be coming from wood rubbing against wood, and the give is where the subflooring has pulled away from the joists beneath the floor.
I am assuming that the kitchen is on ground level and there is a crawl space or cellar beneath it. If so, you may be able to get below the house and tap some thin wood shims between the floor and the joists holding the floor.
You might also hammer at a sharp angle some nails through the joists, the shims and just into the subflooring. Be sure the nails aren't long enough to punture the vinyl floor covering above.
On the carpeted hallway, if you can lift the carpet, you probably can ease the problem by driving two 8d finishing nails through the floor and into the joists below, forming a V where the squeaks are. This will pull the boards down to the joists and possibly eliminate the noise. You may have to put the Vs in several locations.
Even though you are going to put the carpeting back down, I'd countersink the nails with a nail set and fill the holes with a wood filler.
Q: I had a skylight installed in my roof, and the results were very satisfactory from the inside, but my contract didn't call for painting the rim of the skylight outside, where it is inserted in the roof. The silver metal looks terrible in my brown shingle roof. Can I paint this metal to match the roof?
A: Sure, and let this be a lesson to others who contract to have work done of any kind on a roof. Unpainted flashing on the roof can spoil the appearance of a home.
Now you're stuck with having to get up on the roof, possibly endangering life and limb, to do the job yourself.
Anyway, here's how to go about the job: The metal must be etched to remove all oily film before painting. To do this, go over it with full-strength vinegar that you can buy in a supermarket. Then wipe it dry and apply a primer coat. When dry, you can put on your finish coat of brown. The most important part of this is the vinegar to get the film off the metal. Be sure it's clean before applying the primer.
Q: I tried to cover a small chipped place in my kitchen sink with a little bottle of appliance touch-up paint. It looks almost as bad as before, because it doesn't match, and the texture seems different. Is there a better way?
A: Try sanding the painted spot lightly with a fine sandpaper. If that doesn't work, you might remove the appliance paint and try again, applying it in many very thin layers, letting it dry each time. If the sink is just a bit off-white, pour out a small amount of the paint onto a piece of aluminum foil or a throwaway jar lid and tint it with a speck of artist's paints to see if you can get a better match.
In the mail: A Canoga Park reader suggests that the way to cure the problem of a free-swinging door is to remove the hinge pin and put a bend in it with a hammer. When reinstalled, the bent pin causes tension on the hinge and the door will not drift. (Don't go overboard with the hammer or your temper might come unhinged when you start to reinstall the pin.)