Home Improvement Questions and Answers in Boston, MA

Do you have  home Improvement questions or just enjoy reading about home improvement? We all do! Recently, I stumbled upon a weekly home improvement Q and A series on www.boston.com. Peter Hotton, a Globe Correspondent and home improvement guru, answers local homeowners questions and posts the Q and A in a weekly column. Below is an excerpt of some of our favorite articles.

Note: Globe Handyman on Call Peter Hotton is available Thursday 1-6 p.m.Insulation 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 www.boston.com. Hotton’s e-mail is photton@globe.com

Q. My house has no insulation. Do you think a do-it-yourself foam injection kit is a feasible solution?

A. No, installing foam is very tricky, and too often the foam, which expands greatly, can cause the walls to bulge. You can blow cellulose into walls with less likelihood of distorting them because it is easier to handle. Also with foam, you must make sure it is nonflammable. I think Icynene is the best of the foam, and it is installed by professionals, usually on new construction, or on walls that are open to the studs.

 Q. My son left some big truck tires on a finished wood floor and they left many black marks. I tried various cleaners such as paint thinner, Brillo, and Murphy’s oil soap, without success. Do you know what will do it?

A. Try one of these: Dow’s Bug & Tar Remover, any citrus cleaner (Citrus Green, Citrus Clean), or mechanic’s waterless hand soap. In a pinch, apply any kind of oil, wait 15 minutes, and scrub with a nylon pot scrubber.

Q. I have a big problem with an interior woodworking paint job. Professionals painted all the woodwork and used a high quality Benjamin Moore paint. Just a few weeks later the paint is coming off in thin layers, especially around door knobs. What went wrong?

A. If the woodwork was not sanded lightly, that is one possible cause. Another is the lack of a primer (undercoater or primer-sealer). A third reason for failure is that around door knobs and other areas where hands often touch, oils from the skin are transferred to the finish. The old bugaboo about latex not going well over oil paint was discredited years ago, although light sanding would have helped. The correction: Those professionals should come back and sand off all that peeling paint, then apply a primer-sealer and finish with the Benjamin Moore paint. For free, or at a greatly reduced fee.

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