Q: I sanded and cleaned my wood deck boards with Behr semitransparent weather-proofing stain and sealer, one coat with a second coat in certain places. It is sticky after a month or so in certain places. The Behr people said it will dry eventually. But when? RICK RIPLEY, Wellesley

A: The finish is a preservative that penetrates the wood and will not peel, and that is why a second coat should not be used. Maybe the sticky parts will eventually dry. Power-wash the sticky areas to speed up the process.

Q: Help! My 1980 Kenmore top-door washing machine has stopped draining, and I dont know how to get it going again. And I am reluctant to have a house call for big bucks. What can I do? ROBIN BLEDSO, Cambridge

A: Whoopee, sell it back to Sears which should put it in its museum, because it is nearly 25 years beyond its life expectancy of maybe 15 years. Yippee! Buy a new one, which I dont think will last half that long. The only problem you might have is sticker shock, because you have not priced washing machines in 34 years!

Q: My foundation is about 21Ž2 feet above the ground level, and it is developing a lot of white powder. Is there anything wrong, how can I get rid of it, and how can I keep it from coming back? RAY, confused

A: It is lime leached out of the concrete by water and or moisture. It is harmless, and can be swept up and tossed out.


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If it is on the outside of the foundation, there is not much to do except sweep it up. If it is on the inside (on basement walls), and the basement is quite damp, then open the windows for cross-ventilation and to release that excessive water vapor.

Q: Storm windows are often custom built, which makes them difficult to replace. The only storm window builder that I know of is Harvey, which makes a storm window called Tru-Channel. Maybe its theirs and can be reproduced. You may have to buy the whole window. After years of dealing with ice dams, I put a new roof on three years ago, with 6 feet of ice and water shield wrapped over the joint where the roof meets the facia. In each of the past two winters, I still get the ice dams. I know I have poor insulation in the attic. However, water appears to be getting into the soffit -- I get icicles from the soffit vents, and it runs down the side of my house. My roofer claims he has no idea what’s happening and blames condensation. CHRIS BROWN

A: I don’t think you have ice dams, unless they are just above the shield designed to protect the roof under the shield. I think your problem is the gutters, which sound as if they are overflowing. Now, all gutters overflow when they ice up, but yours continue to overflow when all ice and snow is gone. That is because water is dripping or flowing near the back of the gutter, not down the middle, where it should. If it flowed too close to the front of the gutter, it will overflow the front of the gutter, with the resulting flow from the soffit vents and down the sides of the house. Have a gutter man over to make adjustments. More insulation on the attic floor, and a ridge vent will prevent ice dams best.

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