DEAR SAM: Because of the unique design and orientation of our house, we are concerned about the snow load on our roof. We're not sure but a gigantic 4-to-5-foot high snow bank or drift builds up in the valley between our two gable roofs. We've considered electric heater cables, a tarp, a net, a vent fan and even a roof-mounted snow fence. Do you have any proven solution? A collapsed roof would be terrible! - W.B., Baltimore, Md.
ANSWER: Since this column definitely pervades the snow-country, including Maine, N.H., and Vermont, I am requesting some readers to forward their experiences to me for a futurecolumn; thus, I do not have a proven solution for this first-time query of this type.
Your list of considered solutions attacks the problem from the outside, however, my precedure would be to resolve it from the inside.
If the problem roof is over the garage area with exposed rafters, it would be quite easy to install additional rafters between existing ones. If there is a ceiling, access to the attic space may be gained through the adjoining attic.
An addition, "collar ties" should be attached to each rafter, viz., 1 x 8-inch fir or hemlock boards nailed firmly with 8-penny nails, at less than midway from the ridge horizontally between the lengths of the roof rafters.
According to good architectural design, the live load can be more than doubled without chance of a collapsing roof when rafters are added and collar ties installed.
DEAR SAM: We would like to replace our house shutters but the sizes we need must have gone out of style. The sizes are; 18 x 55 inches, 23 X 55 inchs, and 20 1/2 x 39 1/2 inches. Could you tell us where to obtain wood or vinyl shutters? - F.P.D., Claymont, Del.
ANSWER: Shutters have lost their early utilitarian purpose and are now concerned with aesthetics. Your sizes should be available from stock or they can be modified by local millwork. Any large lumber yard in your area should be able to obtain them for you.
If you will consider comparable lengths but reduced widths, vinyl shutters would be less costly. Dealers in a aluminum/vinyl siding will be able to help you; you could write to Bird & Son, Inc. E. Walpole, Mass. 02081.
DEAR SAM: Our attic has a mildew odor which we can't seem to get rid of. The attic has a window in front and vents in the back which seem to provide sufficent ventilation. The odor appears much stronger in the winter. We had a new shingle roof installed last year, so we don't think therecan be any roof leakage to cause dampness odors. Yet, they prevail. Sprays, disinfectants, camphor, baking soda, etc., only after temporary relief. Please help; it's really getting me down. P.S. Evea clothing stored in chests seems to absord the odor - Mrs. B.S. Havertown, Pa.
ANSWER: The mildew odors must have their source in dampness, which you cannot seem to locate, especially since you have installed a new roof. Have you checked the underside of the roof sheathing to see if shingle nails protrude?
These may be the culprit. During the winter, in freezing temperatures, the nails will take on the outside temperature . The humidity in the attic will rise to the nail tips and coat them; eventually icicles may even form, extending from the nail tips. With thawing weather, the nails will similarly change temperature and the conduction will cause the icicles to melt.
In many instances, a roof may appear to be leaking, when in fact it is the dripping from the protruding nails. How can you eliminate this condition? You should attach double-faced aluminum foil between the rafters, which will prevent the rise of moisture to the protruding nails.
Aluminum foil is available at many lumber dealers in rolls of 250 and 500 sq. ft. ($10 and $20, respectively) For samples, write to Denny Corporation, Rte. 4, Caldwell, Ohio 43724.
DEAR SAM: Since brass beds are in vogue, we invested a rather large sum of money in restoration of a similar family heirloom of considerable value which included polishing and lacquering. After six months they are in terrible shape, not exactly black but very much discolored. The company admits to being baffled by such premature tarnishing but blames it on the salty atmosphere. What should I do? Mrs. B.H., Marshfield, Mass.
ANSWER: It seems to me that the company is responsible and should correct the "damage" by new refinishing and better lacquer coatings. Notify the State Executive Office of Consumer Affairs; send a copy of the letter to the company. You are entitled to good workmanship or a refund of money.