Question - I am redoing my roof that is only 10 years old. A friend told me the roof looks as if it is twisting and is skewed a little. It is a raised ranch, and a quarter of the space below has a cathedral ceiling. Can I straighten it out? Mike O'Donnell, Attleboro, Mass.
Answer - Ranch houses usually have shallow roofs, which means that the rafters are flatter than in a steeper roof, are taking more strain and could move under that strain. There might also not be collar beams in the attic connecting the rafters (the rafters form an upside down "V" and the collar beams turn that upside down "V" into a "A." Collar beams are designed to keep the rafters from spreading. Also, the cathedral ceiling section, without collar beams, may be contributing to the movement of the rafters. The movement of the rafters may be causing the ridge board to go out of level.
To correct it, I think the whole roof should be rebuilt. There could be some adjustments to keep it from skewing any further.
Your next step is to consult an architect or an engineer to tell you what happened and what has to be done.
Question - My house was stained with a yellow stain that lasted 12 years. Recently I had a gray latex solid stain applied over the yellow, and now I am getting cedar bleed, those brown stains on the gray finish. What can I do? Bob Fitzgerald, Milton, Mass.
Answer - Hmm, it seems strange that no cedar bleed showed through the yellow but did through the gray. You should be able to wash off the brown stains with detergent and water, and gentle pressure-washing, but be careful that the pressure-washing doesn't knock off the gray.
A more permanent cure, and somwhat iffy, is to sand the finish thoroughly, apply an oil-based primer that will stop the cedar bleed, and apply two coats of the gray stain.
I say iffy because while most paint companies make a primer designed specifically to stop that cedar bleed, the primer is a paint, and therefore can peel. That is a chance you have to take, unless you strip to the bare wood and apply a semitransparent stain of a color dark enough not to show cedar bleed.