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    Leaky and rotten siding

    I definitely agree with posts above that recommend reducing the grade along the side of your house. This is a must-do, or your new repairs will suffer the same fate. Also examine other areas around your house -- the previous owner may have added soil there too. If there is any water in the...
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    How to fix this soffit?

    We had the same problem with our home in Massachusetts. I installed Gutter Guard over the gutters -- and never had a problem again. This stainless steel micro-screen also survived Massachusetts winters. In addition to leaves and pine needles, the "micro-screen" also blocks grit washed off...
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    How to fix this soffit?

    Foursuggestions: (1) Find and fix the water leakage problem first. How did water get behind the soffit trim and rot the ends of the rafters? Is the roofing intact? Is there no drip edge to carry water beyond and over the trim? If this problem isn't fixed, rot will simply recur. (2) Replace...
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    How to fix this soffit?

    Dear Zannej: Home Depot's 'Veranda' brand is less expensive and identical for standard trim boards. They also carry sheets. AZEK offers a much wider range of special shapes, e.g. corner boards and rabbeted edges for new siding. These special AZEK boards are available from Home Depot. They...
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    How to fix this soffit?

    Dear Vinny: Two recommendations: (1) If you use wood again to replace the rotten end of the trim board, be sure to seal the open grain at the end of the board. That's why the original board (and many trim boards) rot. The open grain at the end is an invitation for water and rot. It takes...
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    Furniture drawers need help sliding

    Another trick is to press a few thumbtacks into the runners on each side. The drawer will slide easily on top of the tacks. I hope this is helpful. Mark
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    Outdoor power outlet

    I agree with the previous posts. First, it is more convenient for the user if a GFCI is installed in the extrerior recep - even if another GFCI is in-line on the interior. That way, (a) the external user definitely knows the recep is GFCI proected, and (b) the user can typically reset it...
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    So, the wife wants to paint the kitchen next week ....

    I agree with the posts above re Benjamin Moore latex, e.g. their Aura brand. An eggshell finish is also much easier to clean -- which may be important in your kitchen.
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    How should I fill the void in a horizontal sliding window after installing a condensing fan?

    21 3/4" in which dimension? What are both dimensions? I also dislike 'portable' AC units. We have a window AC unit in our previous house for years, that kept the entire home surprisingly cool on hot summer days. Thanks, Mark
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    How should I fill the void in a horizontal sliding window after installing a condensing fan?

    I agree with Jeff. Even if you live in a fairliy arid climate in Southern California, a standard, cheap window AC unit will work better than a swamp / evaporative cooler - and for a wider range of the year. Plus they are easy to install and seal in a window. No need for a custom window etc...
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    Best way to patch hole in ceiling?

    Dear ZanneJ: Apply a sealant, e.g. DAP 230, on the packed-in steel wool, before you apply the caulk. This will help to hold the steel wool in place to block the rodents. No need to staple mesh over it. Mark
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    Best way to patch hole in ceiling?

    Dear ZannyJ: Rodents will chew through drywall and baseboard, so the best solution is to pack the gaps and hole tighltly with steel wool. stainless steel wool is best - you can buy it online. Then cover the steel wool with drywall compound. I hope this is helpful. Mark
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    Rain chains

    Yes, rain chains are both decorative and can solve drainage problem. Our home along the shore has gutters -- but we needed a way to direct the runoff to a drain in front, and off a deck in back. I bought some solid copper rain chains online; one from a company that specializes in them, and the...
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    Kohler toilets: Bad anchor bolt design for toilet seats -- with no solution

    We purchased a Kohler Pursuade Curv toilet for our beach house in 2013. When the ‘Quiet Close’ lid recently failed I tried to remove the seat to install the new Quiet Close part. To my surprise, the bolts were frozen in the anchor inserts. One anchor finally stripped and cracked into two...
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    Can't remove seat bolt from this 10-yr-old Kohler toilet

    I just received a new 84999 Kohler toilet seat anchor / bolt replacement kit. I hoped that they fixed the basic problem with an aluminum anchor and stainless steel bolt -- which are never supposed to be used together and cause galvanic corrosion. Nope! The new kits have the same problem! I...
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    Can't remove seat bolt from this 10-yr-old Kohler toilet

    Dear 68Bucks: It appears that you misread the galvanic / bimetallic chart. Aluminum and steel / stainless steel are red, indicating that corrosion will occur. Attached is another copy of the chart with blue arrows highlighting the intersection. Kohler engineers made a very basic Engineering...
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    Can't remove seat bolt from this 10-yr-old Kohler toilet

    We installed a Kohler one-piece toilet in 2013. The 'Quiet Close' lid failed so I tried to remove the lid bolts. No go on one of them; the bolt was frozen. I finally removed it and found that the anchor nut is made of aluminum, and the bolt of stainless steel. This is very basic design flaw...