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Install Vapor Barrier to Stop Condensation


QUESTION: I built a porch with a metal roof on it. We enclosed it using storm windows but have not installed heat. The problem is that in the summer, with the windows open, condensation forms and runs off the inside of the roof. What is the best way to stop the condensation? Will installing plywood and shingles over the metal help?

ANSWER: The way to stop the condensation from developing is to prevent the vapor in the porch air from contacting the cold metal roof. Putting plywood and shingles on top of the roof will not help. Instead, you should put insulation under the roof and cover the insulation with a vapor barrier. With this installation, the vapor will not migrate beyond the vapor barrier. Also, because of the insulation, the vapor barrier will have a temperature that is above the dew point. Consequently, condensation will not develop. You can cover the insulation and vapor barrier with drywall or wood panels.

Call Manufacturer for Replacement Part

Q: I am looking for a replacement toilet tank cover for an American Standard tank F409 in Regency blue. Our local plumber claims the cover is not available and wants to sell me a complete toilet. Since the color of the new toilet will not match that of the other bathroom fixtures, I am reluctant to buy it. Do you have suggestions?

A: We called the American Standard Co. and inquired about the cover to your toilet tank. Although they no longer manufacture that model and color, they apparently still have some covers in stock. The company suggests that you contact the American Standard wholesale distributor that covers your area. If you don't know who the distributor is in your area, you can check with American Standard at (800) 223-0068. Ask for the consumer product service department.

It's important to remember that just because an item is not available locally and is no longer manufactured doesn't mean that it's not available. Always check with the manufacturer before you give up your search. Very often, there are a few items left. The cost of a telephone call can save you the cost of a total replacement.

Repair Kit May Fix Dishwasher Peel

Q: The inside skin of my dishwasher peeled and left a bare spot down to the metal. Can it be repaired?

A: Frigidaire sells a porcelain repair kit, which can be used on the inner surface of your dishwasher and should repair your peeling liner. The porcelain repair kit is Frigidaire part No. 8950102. It costs about $35 through your nearest authorized Frigidaire parts distributor. For more information, call (800) 451-7007.

The kit contains a tube of RTV compound and instructions. Basically, you clean the area to be repaired using a file or emery cloth, then smooth on the compound. It may take several coats to build up the surface to the original height. Let the compound dry for 24 hours before using the machine.

Moisture Below Slab Causes Tiles' Crunch

Q: The floor tiles in my 11-year-old home seem to be lifting. When we step on them, they make a crunching sound as if there is sand under them. What causes this?

A: We assume that you are referring to tiles on a concrete slab. Moisture is collecting beneath the tiles and causing them to lift. The crunching sound is probably efflorescence under the tiles. Efflorescence is caused by soluble salts in the concrete slab that dissolve in the water as it migrates through the slab. When the water evaporates, the salts remain under the tiles as an encrustation. This condition can occur even though you do not see standing water on the floor. You will have to reduce or eliminate water below the slab with a drainage system around the perimeter of the foundation.


To submit a question, write to Popular Mechanics, Reader Service Bureau, 224 W. 57th St., New York, N.Y. 10019.

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