Q: The kitchen sink has developed an occasional drip after it is shut off. Do you know what can be done to correct this?
A: All single-lever faucets have cartridges on the inside that eventually wear out and can cause dripping, though this usually takes many years. You can buy replacement cartridges from plumbing supply dealers and hardware stores. However, you have to buy the same brand, so locate a dealer who carries your particular brand of faucet.
Q: Our house, which is 38 years old, has had a new roof put on twice. The roof is gravel over tar paper. Now it is ready for another roofing job and someone told me we should first have the old roofing torn off. The roofer does not recommend this. What do you think?
A: I'm inclined to agree with your roofer. He is in the best position to judge the condition of the old roof and whether you have a decent base for re-roofing. I don't think the weight of a third layer is anything to worry about. The only thing that should concern you is the condition of the wood sheathing under the roofing. If there is no indication of a problem there, I would follow the roofer's recommendations.
Q: I recently brought space in an old building and am converting this to living space. As part of the remodeling, I took all the covering off a wall to expose the old, bare brick which is dirty and dusty looking and needs a good cleanup. I don't want to go to the expense and mess of having the wall sandblasted, but I want to retain the aged-brick look. What kind of cleaner do you suggest?
A: About the only thing you can use is a strong detergent containing trisodium phosphate. Scrub it on with a stiff-bristle brush, then flush it off with water. Muricatic acid solution can be used if stains remain and you want something a lot stronger. You will have to be careful not to leave the solution on too long because it may attack the mortar in the joints. Dilute the acid about 2-to-1 with water, and wear rubber gloves and goggles to protect your hands and eyes. Scrub the acid on with a bristle brush, then flush it off with plenty of water.
Q: I live on a noisy street and I wonder if there is some way I can soundproof the three windows in my bedroom so I will have less trouble falling asleep. I've been to several plastic firms and they tell me that plastic will not soundproof the windows. Can you give me any suggestions?
A: I agree that plastic won't help. If the windows do not have storm sashes, then putting up storm windows on the outside will help some. Also, putting foam-type weatherstripping around the edges of the sash will help a little. Probably the most effective means of deadening sound transmission through the windows would be heavy, lined handgings or draperies -- the heavier the better. And if practical, two rows of hangings, separated by a couple of inches, would be even better than one.