Question: On our front door and in some of the doors in our house, the pins in the hinges have worked their way up and I have to periodically push them down. Is there any way to keep this from occurring?
Answer: "Try drilling a hole through the hinge into the pin and installing a set screw," says Tracy Bengochea of Ganahl Lumber Co. in Garden Grove. "That will keep the pin in place as the door swings. Many of the hinges sold today are made with this feature."
Q: To fix a squeaking floor, do I have to remove the carpet and padding to find the floor joist, or will a stud finder work? Also, can I nail through the carpeting? And what would I use?
A: "To find the joist through carpeting you'll need a better-quality stud sensor," says Pete Gorman of Rancho Lumber Co. in Westminster. "The kind that use a magnet to find nails aren't reliable. Try one that indicates density. They run about $17. You can nail through carpet depending on the type of carpet you have. If it's a tight pile or mesh that will hide the small head, it will probably work. If it's a shag-like carpet, you might see the nail.
"Once you find the joist, you'll need a ring shank nail, which has a small head. If there's a hardwood floor above the subfloor, pre-drill the hole the diameter of the shank of the nail, then nail it down. Of course, if you're dealing with a number of squeaks over a wide area, it might be best to pull up the carpet. But if you're dealing with an isolated area, you can fix it without removing the carpet."
Q: We have a snake cactus that's 4 feet high, and we'd like to move it from the patio to a sunny spot in the back yard. Is there a way to transplant cactus that will ensure success?
A: "Start out by digging the hole where you want the cactus transplanted about 1 1/2 feet deep," says Richard Hipp of House of Cactus in Stanton. "Your goal is to remove the heavy, clay soil that we have around here. Fill it in a little bit with sandy loam, which is available at many nurseries. After you remove it from the pot, place it in the hole so that the plant is at the same soil level as it was in the pot.
"You might use a low-nitrogen fertilizer after the transplant. During the growing season, which is in summer, you can use a liquid fertilizer that has a mix of 10-18-6 to help it along."