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Ask the Carey Brothers

JAMES AND MORRIS CAREY

Question: I have dry rot underneath my vinyl floor, next to the shower in the bathroom. There is a “bubble” formed. What kind of repair is involved and what is the estimated cost? Also, is this a do-it-yourself project?- JayMartinez, Calif.Answer: Yes, this is a nice and challenging DIY project. Tear out the vinyl flooring and the underlaying. You may also need to remove the shower. The rotted flooring needs to be replaced and this entire process could cost anywhere between a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars.Question: The aluminum windows on my house have an almost concrete-like substance (or very hard putty) on the exterior, which presumably holds the windows in place. This substance is cracking and whole chunks are falling out of the window. What should I do? – JamesAnswer: The hard stuff to which you refer is well-aged glazier’s putty. This compound is used to hold glass panels in place in old fashioned aluminum window frames. Very soft and pliable when installed, the material naturally hardens until (after many years) it finally reaches the extremely brittle state you described.The large chunks falling to the ground is your cue to scrape the remaining putty from each pane. Be careful: the glass putty is all that holds the glass in. Then apply a new bead.The trick to applying putty is its softness. Remove a palm-full from the can, knead it into a bead about the size of your small finger, force it into where the glass and frame meet, and then use a glazier’s knife or small putty knife to shape the putty at a 30- to 45-degree angle between the glass and the frame.


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