Handyman on Call

Is there any glue that can get a grip on shower wall?

By Peter Hotton
Globe Correspondent / September 19, 2010

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Q. I had a Corian shower stall installed two years ago. Two shelves are glued to the stall, but one failed and fell off. The installer came back and reglued, but after it failed again, he said he would come back but hasn’t. Is there a glue that will hold despite the sides of the stall tending to flex a little?

JANE OTT, Belmont

A. I know that fiberglass tends to flex, but I didn’t think Corian would. Any thin material will flex if it has no solid backing. I am not sure any glue will stand up to flexing, but maybe one that will work is Grip. Made by Liquid Nails, it is designed to set quickly.

The company sent me a sample. I tried it on a concrete dragon whose wing I broke, and my goodness, it set in less that two minutes and is hard as a rock. Good thing, because the dragon was a gift from my daughter.

Q. I have five skylights that are slightly domed and do not open. After 23 years, one leaks when it rains. The flashing is intact. The wood frame in the opening is beginning to look bad in all five, and the paint is peeling. How can I determine where the leaks occur, and is there something I can do about it?


A. Some of the water in the other skylights may be from condensation; the only cure for that is to release all that water vapor by opening the skylights. Not openable? Not much can be done.

As for the fifth and toughest skylight problem, the water may be coming in where the glass fits the frame. In that case, it might be caulked. Or find the builder of the skylights and have him check it out. Can’t find a maker? Find a roofer who might help.

If all else fails, consider installing roof windows that open. By the way, Velux is a top quality roof window.

Q. I am tiling a bathroom and using bullnose tiles on the corners. Trouble is, the tiles are one-16th of an inch smaller in height. Since I only have a one-16th-of-an-inch grout line to begin with, how do I deal with this?

RUSS S., in Hotton’s chat room

A. How about making that final grout line one-eighth of an inch?

Q. I am reusing some 1-by-4 pressure-treated boards from my old deck for a new deck in the same spot. Trouble is, the three-quarter-inch-thick boards are going to butt up against new 1-inch-thick boards on another deck, leaving a one-quarter-inch lip. How can I ease that difference and make the transition safer to prevent trips?


A. Before installing the old boards, nail a 1 1/2-inch-wide white cedar shingle on each joist with the butt end next to the old inch-thick ones. Then put on the 1-by-4’s. The slope will be gradual (about 16 inches, the length of the shingles) and manageable.

Q. When I converted my steam boiler to gas, the installer had the asbestos insulation removed from the boiler and pipes. The new boiler is well insulated, but the pipes were left bare. The installer then recommended a non-asbestos insulation be installed on the pipes at a cost of about $700 for 100 feet of pipe.

This should be done, he said, because bare pipes will lose a lot of heat as the system tries to heat the house.

He added that an amateur like me can insulate the pipes, but it must be a perfect fit along the entire lengths of the pipes; otherwise it will be of little use.

OK, I am an amateur, and a not very apt handyman; do you think I would do a proper job of fitting the insulation properly?

JERRY HAYES, Brookline

A. I don’t know, but is it worth a try. If you screw up (The Handyman, who thinks he’s pretty good, has done that on occasion.), you can have the professional bail you out. The insulation is a thick tube of compressed glass fiber, and connections must be tight.

For example, you will have to cut the insulation at a 45-degree angle to allow it to turn corners and meet the next piece. You can also buy a new type of heat-resistant tape to cover all joints.

Another $700 to have it done does not seem extravagant considering the total cost of the conversion.

Q. I have a bubble on one of my inside window sills where the natural finish is rising. Was it caused by moisture? It is raised up about one-eighth of an inch and is about the size of a child’s foot.

COLLETTE, by e-mail

A. The bubble is simply a section of the wood that swelled from moisture. Any cause is possible, including a child’s wet foot stepping on the sill before or after it was installed. You will have to sand that area down to line up with the rest of the sill, let it dry, then refinish it.

Globe Handyman on Call Peter Hotton is also in the g section on Thursdays. He is available 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays to answer questions on house repair. Call 617-929-2930. Hotton ( also chats online about house matters 2-3 p.m. Thursdays. To participate, go to