HANDYMAN ON CALL
Wasps have made an attic their home
Q. When I built a sunporch, I exposed some of the attic to the outdoors. Now I have what I think are bees making a colony in the attic. I can see a small paper nest in the attic. How can I get rid of the insects so I can close up the attic? ARTHUR, Belmont
A. Leaving the attic open to the outdoors was tempting more than fate, and you could have a lot more critters up there in additon to bees, which are not bees but paper wasps, indicated by the paper nests they have built.
There are two things you can do: Buy a hornet and wasp bomb, which fires a burst of insecticide up to 12 feet. In the cool of the evening, when the wasps are in their nest and have slowed down their activities, hit the nest with a 2-second burst of the killer bomb, then run like crazy back into the house. If you have to stand on a ladder or in any awkward position in order to fire at the nest, don't try it; it is too risky to beat a hasty retreat without falling or getting stung.
Which brings us to the second option: Do nothing; in the cold of autumn the wasps will die off. Make sure they are dead or gone; then remove the nest; then close up the attic.
Q. My summer house has old-fashioned wood screens. The brackets are rusting away; they consist of a hook on the casing and a loop at the top of the screen frame. I have looked in many places without success. Where can I find them? PHIL BREWER, Concord
A. I know they were made at least until 1975; I found them in a 1975 Stanley Hardware catalog. Even if they are still made, distribution may be a problem because they are not in heavy demand these days. You can call Stanley in New Britain, Conn., to see if they are made and where to buy them: 860-225-5111.
There are several hardware catalogs, too. I lucked out with the catalog of Crown City Hardware (626-794-0234) of Pasadena, Calif., and found screen hangers. Other catalogs are Whitechapel, of Jackson, Wyo., 307-739-9478; and American Home supply of Campbell, Calif., 408-246-1962.
Q. I bought a new gas stove with a gas pipe and valve for hooking up to my gas line. Is it easy for me to do myself? T.R., Newton
A. Easy or difficult, it is illegal for you to do it. You need a licensed gas fitter or a licensed plumber authorized to work with gas.
About that little ramp . . .
Here's what we heard from Don Ferguson of Lynn: "You replied to John Durkin of Boylston, who asked about an inexpensive way to fix a two-inch drop between his daughter's garage floor and driveway by using a 2 -by- 12 piece of pressure-treated lumber and having it planed to a taper. I think it would be easier to use a 1 -by- 12 and a 1 -by- 6, also pressure-treated, and probably no need to taperthem."
Y'know, when I suggest to a caller to do something, they often say, "Gee, I never thought of that."
Now it's time for the Handyman to say it. And thanks, Don Ferguson, for an easy, practical solution to a vexing problem. Besides, I am not sure you can find anyone who will plane pressure-treated wood.
Q. One of the valleys in my house, where one gabled roof meets another at right angles to each other, is leaking. The roof shingles butt up against each other where they meet in the valley. And worse yet, water running down that valley and into two wood gutters in the corner overflows the gutters, making a mess of everything. How can I fix the leak and prevent that overflow in the gutters? D.M., South Yarmouth
A. You could caulk that valley seam where the shingles meet, using roofing cement in a caulking cartridge. I don't think that will do much good but it's the only thing you can do without taking up the shingles.
As for the valley water, put some heavy aluminum baffles on the outside edge of the gutter in the corner, maybe 6 to 12 inches high. And install an extra downspout in that corner. The baffles should stop the cascading of water over the gutter, and the extra downspout will collect (we hope!) the water, preventing overflow.
Another solution is to take downthe gutter in that corner and let the valley water cascade down into a rain barrel.
Q. I am an interior designer whose client has a dilemma with his front door. It has well-crafted panels and windows with bottle-bottom glass (like bull's eye glass). They are acting as magnifying glasses and have faded floors and rugs, even caused steam to rise from a wet dog. The dog survived. I tried 3M protective film but it will not stick to the rough surface of the glass. What will work? CONNIE DIAB, Concord
A. There are frosted spray paints on the market that come in an aerosol spray: Zynolite is one; one coat for slight frosting, more coats for more frosting. It can be cleaned off with Windex.
I don't think there is a real cure because any frosting or even an extra layer of frosted glass will defeat the good looks of the glass.
Perhaps installation of a heavily crinkled glass in place of the bull's eye glass will be sufficient to retain the spirit of the old glass. You can also buy antique glass that has typical imperfections such as distortions, pits, and bubbles: S.A. Bendheim Co. of Passaic, N.J., 800-221-7379. Or, how about a custom piece of stained glass?
Q. I bought an antique (1920s) cookstove that has a large vent in the back for connecting to a pipe to vent the stove to the outdoors. The seller said it is not necessary to vent a natural gas stove. Is that right? CURIOUS
A. You may have to vent tht old stove. Before doing anything, check with your local building inspector or a plumber/gas fitter. While modern gas stoves do not have to be vented, generally, older ones as you pointed out burn less efficiently, and therefore should be vented. So, check before doing anything.
Handyman on Call Peter Hotton is available 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays to answer questions on house repair. Call in your questions to 617-929-2930. Hotton also chats on line about house matters from 2 to 3 p.m. Thursdays. To participate, go to www.boston.com. Hotton's e-mail is email@example.com.
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