Home handyman: When your precious floor is violated


Boston Globe
Q: 1) Our house has wide pine floors with square nails. Our dog has ruined the floor with her nails. Is it worth refinishing with anything harder than polyurethane? Or would you recommend a laminate? 2) We painted an old vanity with a faux marble finish and applied three coats of a water-based polyurethane. Looks great, but if any water is left on, it stains.

A: 1) Nothing but ceramic tile will stand up to the dog, and I am not sure the tile will either. 2) Clean off water marks with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or dry the top before any marks show up.

Q: I just purchased a single-family home in July and moved in in late August. The interior had been painted right before we moved in, and shortly after we started living there, I noticed cracks. Some of them were clearly cracks that had been there before and had been spackled over, but others were new. Then after four days of rain in October, we had a roof leak and I noticed even more cracks. And it seems like the house is settling; I see small gaps where I don’t remember finding them before. After we bought the property, we did “disturb” some things: We had the original windows replaced and the house insulated, but other than that we have not done major work.

A: Did you order the paint job, or was it the previous owners? If the latter, it was put on willy-nilly, slapdash, and overly thick, and when the paint dried too fast, it cracked in many places. Or you just got a very bad paint job. Also, spackled-over cracks are bound to crack again.

I don’t think the roof leak caused the cracking. (The leak should have been caught by the house inspector.) Settling? Symptoms don’t show that quickly and might be due to expansion and contraction of the house itself. So, have an architect, builder, or general contractor inspect the damage and make recommendations. The windows and insulation are unlikely to have an effect unless the workers were inexperienced and heavy-handed.


Last modified: December 18, 2014
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