Q: We have partitioned half our basement and finished that room to serve as a study area and playroom for our children. However, they like to play their stereo set down there and the noise comes up through the ceiling into our bedroom and living room, which are over this finished room. What is the best way to keep the noise from coming upstairs?
A:First, install an acoustical ceiling in the basement room. You don't say what kind of ceiling you have now, but if it is a gympsum board or similar paneling you can paste acoustical tiles over the existing ceiling. Or, if headroom permits lowering the ceiling about three or four inches, install a suspended ceiling with acoustiacl panels supported by an aluminum grid framework. Kits for this are sold in most lumber yeards and home centers. You can also put carpet on the basement room floor, and apply insulation to the partitions that separate the finished room from the rest of the basement.
Q: We live on a tidal lagoon. Several years ago we put some red brick laid on a sand base in some patio areas. I don't know what we did wrong, but the bricks seem to be shifting and moving, and when we have a storm we are really in trouble. Is there any way we can put the brick down so it will stay in place?
A: When brick is laid in or on a sand base it needs a firmly anchored border around the perimeter to keep the brick from shifting. One way to do this is to set 2x6s on edge around the perimeter; another way is to dig down about 6 or 8 inches, then pur a concrete curb around the perimeter. Still another way that often works if the soil (or the sand in your case) is reasonably firm is to set a row of bricks vertically on edge around the perimeter to act as a border. Lay the patio bricks with no more than one-quarter inch between them.