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Oiling a Roof May, May Not Get Job Done


Q: We have an older wood shake roof and we've been told having linseed oil sprayed on it is necessary to keep the shingles from drying and splitting. However, we've also heard that this type of oil spraying does little to preserve the roof. Any ideas?

R.R., Orange


A: There is some controversy surrounding this issue because some experts say oiling the roof makes no difference, while others say it adds life, says Jim Gorman of Rancho Lumber in Westminster.

If you find that your shingles have already curled and are deteriorating, spraying them probably won't make much difference. If the roof is in good shape overall, spraying may just give it a few more years of life.

It may slow down the deterioration, but it also may not make an impact based on the condition of your roof. Unfortunately, the spraying only affects the outside of the shingle, the inside portion that's against the roof doesn't get treated and that's usually where the curling starts.

A good shake roof has about 20 to 25 years of life. If your roof is in that range and you're noticing a lot of deteriorating shingles, you're probably better off replacing it rather than treating it.


Q: We've found that our water bill has increased over the last few months, and our water consumption hasn't increased along with it. I'm worried that there could be a water leak somewhere in the system. I know there are professionals who can do this, but is there a way for me to check it out myself?

N.O., Costa Mesa


A: First, make sure you give the house a basic look-see, says Ron Albright of Albright Plumbing and Heating Supply in La Habra.

Check for a toilet that may be slowly running or a shower head that doesn't completely turn off. Check outside for areas of soggy ground where there might be a broken sprinkler pipe. If that doesn't reveal anything, make sure water isn't running anywhere in the house and check the water meter.

There's a main dial and a smaller one, the smaller dial is the more sensitive meter and if it's moving slightly, that means that there's a drip somewhere in the house. If it's moving and there's no apparent leakage, the next thing to check for are leaks in the slab.

Houses built on concrete slabs have pipes built under them. If there's a leak, you may be able to detect a wet spot on a floor. You could also feel a warm spot if it's hot water that's leaking.

Plumbers with leak-detecting equipment can figure out where a leak is very precisely. Their services aren't inexpensive, but in the long run you're better off paying them now than continuing to pay high water bills.


Q: I was working with some Super Glue recently in my kitchen and didn't realize that a good portion of it had been squeezed out onto my vinyl floor. Is there something I can use to get it up?




A: There is a Super Glue Remover available, however, it may end up damaging your vinyl floor, says Gary Lillge of Crown Hardware in Corona del Mar.

The problem is that the remover contains acetone, which can melt the vinyl and discolor it. You might try putting a drop of it in an inconspicuous place to see if it will affect your floor. If you try it on the glue, use a minute amount and be prepared to wipe it up quickly.


Q: I'm trying to figure out ways to remodel my bathroom, and one of my ideas involves putting in a claw-foot bathtub. Are those still manufactured or will I have to find one at an antique dealer?




A: You'll want to contact some kitchen and bath supply stores. It's not an item you'll find at your local home discount center, says plumber Ed Singer of Huntington Beach.

You should be able to find someone who makes them and who'll let you order one. When making plans to do that, remember you'll probably need to redo the floor. With a raised tub, the floor is exposed and you'll need to have it tiled or the vinyl laid all the way through the bathroom. Because the tub is higher, this might also affect any nearby cabinets.

If you have a question about your home or garden, A Helping Hand will help you find the answer. Send questions to John Morell, Home Design, The Times Orange County, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

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