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HANDYMAN Q&A

Ventilation will fix dampness

January 22, 2006|Morris and James Carey | Associated Press

Question: I have condensation on the ceilings of my home and mildew at the wall near the floor in a couple of bedrooms. What's going on?

Answer: If you do some further investigation you may find that you also have condensation in your attic and that the crawl space under the house is damp. This is a classic case of poor or nonexistent ventilation.

Interior ventilation performs two important functions: comfort control and moisture control. Fresh air is cooling in hot weather and also removes steam, smoke, cooking odors and other indoor pollutants. Windows and natural air infiltration help provide this ventilation, but every home should also contain attic and foundation vents and mechanical ventilators such as bathroom exhaust fans, range hoods and dryer vents all ducted to the outside.

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How to put new putty in its place

Question: The aluminum windows on my house have an almost concrete-like substance on the exterior, which presumably holds the windows in place. It is cracking and whole chunks are falling out. What should I do?

Answer: That hard stuff is well-aged glazier's putty, used to hold glass panels in place in old-fashioned aluminum frames. Very soft and pliable when installed, the material naturally hardens until it finally reaches an extremely brittle state.

The large chunks falling to the ground are your cue to scrape the remaining putty from each pane. Be careful, because the putty is all that holds the glass in. Then apply the putty.

To apply, remove a palmful of putty from the can and knead it. You want it to be about the width of your small finger. Then force it into where the glass and frame meet. Use a small putty knife, working at about a 45-degree angle, to smooth it.

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