By: By Paul Bianchina
Q: I am sort of handy around the house and was wondering how difficult it is to remove and replace the windows in my house. There seems to be moisture between the double-pane windows now. Any tips? --Frank C.
A: If you are seeing moisture between the panes of glass in a double-pane window, that indicates that the air-tight seal has failed, which is not unusual. What you want to do is replace the insulated glass unit, not the entire window -- the same as what would happen if you broke the window glass.
Insulated glass units need to be special ordered to fit the window. Contact any licensed and bonded glass company in your area, and have them come out and measure and order the units for you. They can also discuss any options you have for installing glass that is more energy efficient.
Installation involves snapping out the trim pieces that hold the glass in place, removing the old insulated glass unit, setting the new unit into the window frame with special tape to hold it in place and help with the air-tight seal, and then reinstalling the trim pieces. All in all, it's something best left to the glass company.
Q: I recently had my wood shingles removed and replaced with an Elk 40-year composition shingle. My wood shingle roof did not have any vents, and the new roof was installed with continuous "Z" ridge on top for ventilation. The house is single-story, 3,000 square feet, and I have calculated that I need 10 square feet of vent area. There is vent all around the house at the eaves. How do you figure the ventilation of the ridge vent? Do you think I need more vents? --Don H.
A: The Z-Ridge that you mention is actually Elk's ridge shingle, not the vent itself, so the first thing you would need to know is exactly what type of ridge vent was installed, because they can differ between brands in the amount of net free area (NFA) that they provide. If you have the Elk brand of continuous ridge vent, they list it at 10.65 square inches of NFA for every one linear foot of vent length. That assumes that the roofer cut back the roof sheathing at the ridge by the recommended 1/2 inch on each side, creating a total of 1 inch of air space at the ridge.
Because you want your vents to be divided roughly equally between high and low, you would want about five square feet in high ventilation, which is 720 square inches. Divide that by 10.65, and you would need almost 68 linear feet of ridge vent.
The final step would be to measure (or ask) how much ridge vent was installed, and see how close it is to that 68-foot figure. If it's substantially less, I would suggest adding additional ventilation in the form of individual gable or ridge vents.
Q: During our remodel, our existing wood floors got soaked during an unexpected rainstorm in the spring. They were refinished in September. I've noticed some gaps between the lengths of the boards, maybe 1/16 inch wide. Is there a way to fill the gaps without refinishing the whole floor? Should I fill these gaps or leave them alone? The wood floors are 3/4-inch red oak and nearly 40 years old, and they have been refinished two times. --Cindy K.
A: There are ways to fill the gaps and repair the finish, but they are difficult to do correctly for a nonprofessional. They should also not be left alone, because gaps in the finish will more readily allow for the intrusion of dirt and, more importantly, moisture, which can damage the floor in the future.
It sounds as though the floor may have been refinished before it had dried down to a low-enough moisture content for finishing. As a result, when the boards completed drying, the gaps opened up. Since the floor was just refinished last September, in my opinion the flooring contractor needs to come back out and make the necessary repairs for you.