Q: Some pieces of melted candle wax were accidentally dropped on the flagstone steps outside my kitchen door and melted in the sun. I have tried household degreasing agents, plus a driveway cleaner, but none of these work on the candle wax. Do you have any suggestions?
A: A lot depends on whether the wax has soaked into the stone or is on the surface. If it is on the surface, place some dry ice on the wax and leave it there for about 20 minutes. You should then be able to scrape the wax off (the ice makes it brittle enough to scrape easily). If, on the other hand, some of the melted wax has soaked into the stone, you will have to apply heat to melt or liquefy the wax so you can remove it with solvent.
Try covering the area with paper towels, then apply an iron set for medium heat. This should melt the wax so it can be absorbed by the paper towels. If this doesn't get it all out, apply a paste made by mixing dry powdered cement with some turpentine or paint thinner and use a heat lamp to warm the surface. Keep the heat lamp far enough away to avoid overheating (remember that paint thinner is flammable) but close enough for the heat to penetrate. Remove the paste after an hour or so and repeat, if necessary.
Q: I recently bought a house that has insulation in the attic that is up between the roof rafters. This insulation goes right up to the peak of the roof and all the way down to the eaves. Will this have any adverse effect on the roof shingles or the wood under the roofing?
A: It depends on whether there is an air space between the top of the insulation and the roof above it, and on whether there is a vapor barrier on the underside of the insulation (facing down). If there isn't, there could be condensation. Pull the insulation down in several places (during cold weather) to see if there is any sign of dampness. If there is, you will need to provide ventilation above the insulation by installing collar beams so the insulation does not go all the way up to the peak. However, if there is a good vapor barrier, and if there is some air space above the insulation, you may be able to leave the insulation as is. Check for dampness periodically during the winter.