Question: We bought our 21-year-old home last year. The carpeted floor in the master bedroom and adjacent hallway has a loud creak that seems to be getting more audible. Is there anything we can do to eliminate these annoying creaks? - S.A., Annandale, Va.
Answer: Squeaks are usually caused by a floor board rubbing against a nail or another floor board. This happens when the wood floor joists under the floor shrink due to drying of the wood. There are several remedies for floor squeaks, but the easiest method is as follows:
Using a screw gun or drill, apply a 11/4-inch No. 8 wood screw through the carpeting and into the floor joists at the squeaky area. There should be joists 16 inches apart, running from the front to the back of the home. The screw pulls the floorboard down tight on the shrunken joist.
Question: We built our home in 1990 and are having a problem with mold developing on the cedar trim of the soffits, fascia, freeze and rake boards. We've been able to clean and kill the mold with a mixture of bleach and detergent, but it recurs every year or two.
The cedar was dry and stained with Bruning solid color stain. We've heard there is a formula containing copper sulfate that will keep the mold from coming back. If you know of this formula, or something else that would eliminate our problem, we would greatly appreciate it. - R.K., Evansville, Ind.
Answer: Copper sulfate leaves a greenish residue that might be more unpleasant than the mildew. Power washing with a mildewcide added to the cleaner should kill the mildew. However, as the mildewcide neutralizes, the mildew could return.
You can take steps to discourage mildew growth. Good air flow around the home can sometimes be accomplished by trimming trees or bushes around the house. Provide drainage for the landscaping.
Ultraviolet radiation, or sunlight, also destroys mildew. And place some exterior lighting where the sun doesn't shine.