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Try Drywall Screws on Squeaky Floors

August 01, 1993|From Popular Mechanics

QUESTION: We have a problem with squeaky floors in our 50-year-old home and will be tearing up the floor to correct the problem. What can you suggest to insure that the squeaks don't come back?

ANSWER: We suggest that you use 1 5/8-inch-long drywall screws instead of nails to attach the plywood to the joist. Drywall screws don't require pre-drilling a hole and will countersink themselves. They hold tighter than nails and won't come loose even if the wood shrinks.

These screws are also used by some contractors on outdoor decks. We have seen boards stay as tight as when they were attached under conditions where temperatures vary from subzero to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity varies from zero to 100%.

Be Gentle When Washing Painted Walls

Q: Can you give me some tips on how to wash painted walls? The walls are painted with white, washable paint.

A: If you are interested in just cleaning a dirty wall, you can use soap and water. A gentle liquid soap, such as Ivory, is good. Rub the wall down lightly with a towel or a sponge. Don't scrub too hard, or you will create a slight gloss by removing the pigment.

To submit a question, write to Popular Mechanics, Reader Service Bureau, 224 West 57th Street, New York, N.Y. 10019. The most interesting questions will be answered in a future column.

Water-Resistant Finish Can Be Applied to Sash

Q: I have wood-sash, double-glazed windows that have to be stained and varnished. In the cooler parts of the house, condensation collects on the panes and drips onto the horizontal parts of the sash. Now the finish is starting to crack. What is the most water-resistant finish that can be applied to the sash?

A: For the best protection, the wooden sash should be coated with a polyurethane finish. Prior to applying such a finish, you should strip the sashes, sand them thoroughly and then wipe them clean with a tack cloth. When refinishing, apply the polyurethane so it covers about 1/32-inch of the glass pane. This seals the joint between the glass and the wood.

Most Ceilings Require Light Shaft for Skylight

Q: I will be installing a skylight in my living room and I'm a little confused about whether I need a light shaft, and how to go about constructing one. Can you shed some light on this?

A: When you are dealing with a ceiling other than a cathedral, you will have a space between the skylight unit and the ceiling below. The size and shape of this light well or shaft depends on various factors--the construction of the roof and ceiling, the desired amount of light to enter the room, and the appearance of the entire area. If you want a light shaft, simply frame out the area between the roof rafters and the ceiling joists with appropriate lumber. Keep in mind that this shaft can be designed to extend straight down into the room or be aligned perpendicular to the roof opening so it comes into the room at an angle. Box in the shaft with plywood, drywall or paneling. Finishing off with white paint will better help reflect exterior light into the room.

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