Q. I have rot on an outer door frame and also some leaking into the kitchen around the door. A few floor boards need replacing inside. A few contractors want to replace the entire door while a few said they needed to remove it to find the leak but could fix the frame and put the old door back up. The house is only 7½ years old so the door is fairly new. What are your thoughts? Does the entire door need to be replaced?
MIKE, in New Hampshire
A. If the door is exposed to sun and rain, I think the decay came from sloppy construction. Someone forgot to put door flashing at the top of the frame. They might have caulked it, which rarely does any good. Door flashing is a simple piece of aluminum or vinyl folded into an “L” shape, with one leg of the “L” placed under the siding at the top of the door, so the lower part of the “L” sits on the top of the frame (casing), with its edge folded down over the casing. Such a simple item does a great deal in stopping water from running down the header casing and the side casings. Putting a small roof over that door will help, too. Your contractor should check the vinyl weatherstripping on the door, and replace it if it is defective or missing.
I don’t think the door needs replacing. Small amounts of decay can be dug out and filled with a wood hardener and a Minwax wood rot filler. Large areas of decay in the casing can be cut out and a pressure-treated replacement installed, or the whole casing can be replaced.
Q. We have a deck around our aboveground pool that is made with pressure-treated wood. It’s about 12 years old and has gotten very dry and therefore has splinters. We have sanded it and painted it with a deck stain, but it peels and needs to be redone every two years. Do you have any recommendations as to how to avoid the peeling or splinters?
JOE BLACK, by e-mail
A. One problem with your deck is that you used a solid-color stain, and of course it peeled. To do it right, you have to sand to the bare wood, then apply a semitransparent stain, which will bring the splinters together and make them less obvious. Also, as you sand, you can cut out some of the splinters. Only one coat is needed, and can last for 5 years or so. Semitransparent stains come in earth colors. Such stains are the only ones that will work on a deck, because they penetrate the wood and will not peel. They also contain a preservative, and will stand up to cleaning. The only alternative is a clear sealer, which lasts only one or two years.
Q. I’m in a downtown loft condo with large metal frame double hung windows that are getting pretty old, and show their age. How should I proceed?
KC, in Hotton’s chat room
A. Metal framed windows are mortared into the masonry opening in your condo, and are very difficult to take out when necessary. They are also very poor insulators, being as cold indoors as out, and as hot in the summer. In other words, they are good conductors of cold and heat. You could have a window specialist evaluate them and make a recommendation, or simply install replacement windows. If the windows are refurbished, you can have storms put on, which will be a big improvement. One window specialist who can help is David Liberty (www.windowrepair.com).
Q. I was tired of poor quality hose nozzles and received a good one last year for Father’s Day. But I left it on my hose and now it’s “welded” in place. I’ve tried Liquid Wrench, heat (hair dryer), vise pliers, and I am not sure what else to try. Any suggestions?
JR, in Hotton’s chat room
A. Try a hot-air gun, but it fires an extremely hot stream of air (700 to 1,000 degrees), which can melt the hose, so keep it on the nozzle.