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  • Identifying strange old insulation in house walls?

    I had to cut a large access hole in an inside wall in my house, built in 1930 and heavily "remuddled" in the 50's and 60's. We needed to get into the enclosed attic headspace to evaluate the roof framing to install solar panels so I cut into the space above the stairs to the second floor. When I cut through the lathe and plaster I found insulation batting on the inside of the cavity. I have worked in construction for 35 years but never saw batt insulation like this. It has a "skin" that was sort of like a lightweight black tar paper and the insulation materiial itself is layers made up of thin crinkly brown paper-like material with tiny pleats in it. The best I can describe it is that it reminded me of baklava pastry. I don't see any asbestos or glass like fibers in it and it doesn't look like any cellulose material I've ever seen, but it did tend to crumble when I removed it from the wall and bagged it for disposal. I used gloves and a respirator while pulling it out and vacuumed up with a HEPA filter afterwards, but I'm just curious what the material might have been. Any remodellers or insulation pros on here that can tell me what this stuff is and what cautions I should take in removing it?

    3 AnswersDo It Yourself (DIY)4 years ago
  • Replace pump in GE washer?

    My 12 year old GE top load washer failed to drain when it hit the rinse cycle a few days ago -- the machine makes noise but no pump action and it quickly trips the breaker. I am presuming the pump is toast? I actually had a "spare" new washing machine in my basement (one I got on super clearance at Lowes a few years ago for under $100) so I hooked that up in its place and manually drained the old GE and pushed it aside. But I was wondering if it would be worth replacing the pump in the older one which was otherwise in excellent shape and worked well until this happened -- certainly somebody could use it.

    A new pump is only $25 and after checking a video I know I could easily swap it out myself. But how do I determine if that is the only problem? If the transmission is gone, the $25 and the effort would be wasted. Any tips on determining if the pump is the only issue?

    5 AnswersMaintenance & Repairs4 years ago
  • Leather sealant?

    6 AnswersAbuse and spam5 years ago
  • suggestions from remodelers for an unusual bathroom ceiling situation?

    I'm remodeling a funky old utilitarian bathroom to make it pleasant, attractive and comfortable for the guest suite we are installing in the walk-out part of the basement. The old bath just had painted concrete floors (I have poured floor leveler and will be installing ceramic tile), the walls were cheap plastic panelling (I have removed that, furred them out and will use green board above and hardi-board and tile below). I added a vented glass block window, an exhaust fan and new wiring and plumbing. It will have a large tile shower.

    My dilemma is the ceiling. The overhead area in the bathroom proper is 7' 6" x 5' and in the adjacent shower will be 42" x 72". The ceiling throughout is currently exposed 3/4" styrofoam insulation glued directly to cast in place concrete (the bathroom is under a concrete porch). I have limited headroom in here -- it is barely 86" as it is, so I really can't afford to fur or stud the ceiling (which I could do with a hammer drill and concrete fasteners). Is there any fairly economical and lightweight sheathing that I could glue to the styrofoam instead? I have looked at those thin plastic imitation tin ceiling tiles that they sell for kitchen backsplashes. Seems like they might work but they are horribly expensive. I could glue up some paneling, as they had done to the walls, but I am concerned the adhesive bond, even using the glue intended for styrofoam, would not be sufficient and it would fall down or sag.

    Help! Any other constructive suggestions to cover this ceiling without lowering it too much or having to drill a ton of holes for fasteners in the concrete? The lighting is all wall mounted in there and the concrete is fairly smooth, dry and competent. it is just ugly (and covered with ugly foam).

    3 AnswersDogs7 years ago
  • why can't I post answers anymore on YA? No "post" button in answer field.?

    Since they changed the format for YA! I can no longer post answers. When I select the choice to post and answer I get a text box, but once I have entered my answer there is no button to send or post or preview it. I tried just hitting "enter" on my keyboard but it doesn't work.

    Sometimes there is a slight sliver of blue color along the lower right hand portion of the field below the text box that I can click on and the answer will post. But today there is nothing, no matter how much I click or resize the window.

    I'm logged in and there is no error message. Anybody got any tips on this?

    10 AnswersOther - Yahoo Products7 years ago
  • why don't some categories appear when you search for them on YA?

    Try to find "Water Sports" under the new design layout of YA. You cannot get to it. The new format is horrible. Also, when trying to post a question or an answer, the text field often appears without a "post" or 'send" button so your question/answer can't be posted. This is true on both Mac and Windows platforms.

    Honestly, the new design of the site is so bad and so unusable I will probably stop bothering to post on it. I've been a regular answer poster for several years and am a top contributor in several categories, but the terrible design of the site now makes the process so miserable I no longer enjoy participating in it. Bad move, Yahoo!

    Can anyone explain why they thought this lousy revamp was a good idea?

    2 AnswersOther - Yahoo Products7 years ago
  • Choosing angle for a framing nailer?

    I got some good advise from answers on here a couple weeks ago about what brands of pneumatic framing nailers to look at. I'm doing some basement remodeling (non-structural framing of walls) but would also like the unit I buy to be usable when we build a cabin next Summer. My question is, how do you determine which angle to buy? I see framing nailers ranging from 15 degrees to 30 degrees, with most around 21 to 28 degrees. What is the best angle for doing standard 16" on center wall framing? Would a higher angle framer make it easier to get into tighter spaces? I have not been able to find anything on line that explains how the various angles apply in use. And which range of fasteners should I look for it to handle. I see some only take clipped head.

    I'd be grateful for advice from carpentry pros or experienced home remodelers. I need to buy one by the weekend (plus a 6 gallon, 150 psi compressor).

    7 AnswersDo It Yourself (DIY)7 years ago
  • Can you recommend a framing nailer?

    I'm remodeling a basement bath and rec room and will be framing some walls. Hammering the frame together is not only a tedious bother, it kills my right wrist (which still has 3 screws in it due to breaking it in a ice skating accident 5 years ago). There are also some other projects we have planned that this would be handy for. So I've started looking at pneumatic framing nailers -- just want something as light as possible for home use. I like the $199 Ridgid from Home Depot for lightness and the $179 Hitachi at Lowes for the price and aluminum body but I have also heard that Paslodes are good as well.

    Also would like a compressor with a bit more oomph than the standard 6 gallon 150 psi Porter Cable pancake type but want it to be quiet. I don't need a commercial grade but don't mind paying a little more for tools that are well designed, easy to use and reliable.

    Any recommendations from you pro and hobby framers out there who own these tools?

    2 AnswersDo It Yourself (DIY)7 years ago
  • Suggestions for bathroom ceiling material?

    I'm doing a complete upgrade of a funky semi-finished full bath in my basement. The height from the bare concrete floor to the current ceiling is barely 83", I will be installing porcelain tile on the floor so I will lose at least another inch there. The present ceiling is poured formed concrete (this portion of the cellar is under a porch) with 1" thick styrofoam insulation board glued on it. The ceiling area is roughly 7' x 7' square. I want the finished ceiling to look fairly attractive.

    If I attach furring strips (by cutting gaps in the foam and using a hammer drill to drill into the concrete to fasten the wood) and hang drywall, I will be loosing another couple of inches of height. Would it be possible to use construction adhesive to attach sheets of a good quality laminate directly to the styrofoam or would that look funky? I would have to seam it somehow since maximum laminate is 5' wide. How about that wood paneling that looks a little like narrow wainscotting? Any other suggestions from experienced bathroom contractors? I'm doing a large full tile walk in shower in there too (42" x 60"), and would need to install a low profile ceiling in that as well. I have heard that tile over handiboard is hard to do on a ceiling for an amateur -- I gather I would have to build some kind of temporary support for the tile until the mortar set, right?

    The foam is tightly bonded to the concrete. I removed some that was glued the same way to the walls and it was a bear to scrape off. Could I glue waterproof drywall directly to that foam or would that be asking for trouble?

    The original installation was all those hideous laminate panels in gloss white with the gold swirls, glued directly onto wall studs or to the foam wall insulation with plastic strips over the seams. Don't want anything like that again. Moisture resistance is not a huge issue. I had French drains and a complete vinyl weep wall system installed in that room and the walls and floor are dry. It will also have an exhaust fan and it has a large ventilated glass block window above grade.

    Any recommendations for a low profile, nice looking ceiling would be appreciated. Thanks is advance.

    4 AnswersDo It Yourself (DIY)8 years ago
  • Plumbers: what is this mystery piping?

    I just demo'ed an old bathroom in the basement of my 1920 house so I can upgrade it. It was a slapped together job by the previous homeowner so most of it was pretty funky, but what I found when I tore off the old laminate wallboard behind the sink and toilet really baffled me. I knew there was a 2" PVC vent pipe there because it exited to the outside through a basement window above the toilet (they had removed the glass and filled it in with plywood then buried the window behind the paneling). But when I exposed the wall framing I saw the 2" vent only came off the drain under the floor beside the toilet. The sink drain was tapped off a separate 2" pipe coming out of the floor (so far so good) but this pipe continued above the sink tap, went up in the wall about 3' then did a 90 to the right, went another foot, 90'ed back down another foot, 90'ed left and reconnected with the same pipe just above the sink tap -- in other words there is a square loop of 2" pipe that reconnects to itself above the drain tap. No connection at all between it and the toilet vent stack and no vent to the outside. What the heck is that? Why would they have not just 90'ed the riser from the drain tap to the left and teed it to the toilet vent right beside it? Never seen anything like this.

    Needless to say I am going to redo all the vents, but I just wondered what a an unvented closed loop like that stacked above a drain tap was supposed to accomplish. Or is it just another "clueless handyman" oddity?

    Whoever last plumbed this basement was crazy anyway. There are no less than 4 pairs of laundry hookup valves (4 hot and 4 cold) lined up along one wall side by side. This is a 2 bedroom single family house so I doubt they would have needed 4 sets of washing machines. And there are probably 30 shut off valves everywhere in the basement. Nice for isolating areas to work on them but a lot of the valves are really redundant. Oh, and though all the piping is 3/4" hard copper, it was all painted silver. Go figure.

    5 AnswersDo It Yourself (DIY)8 years ago
  • Tile contractors: what wet saw do you recommend?

    I'm planning to tile a couple of areas in my basement with the 6" x 24" wood look porcelain tiles, and if it goes well, also tile 2 outdoor concrete porches this summer. I could rent tile saws but I'd prefer to have my own so I can do the various installations on my own time schedule. Since I will have to do a few cuts on the 24" length of the tiles I would need something with that range of cuts, right? I don't mind paying more for good tools, but realistically I would not be using this for more than a half dozen jobs around my own house so top of the line contractor grade would be too much. Just a good solid saw is what I want.

    What models do you professionals recommend? And any tips on setting these sorts of tiles would also be welcomed (grout type, spacing, etc.) I've been reading up on installations before starting (picked up a couple of books) but there is nothing better than first hand advice.

    Also, I plan to use the Mark E Quick Pitch products to create a 42" x 60" shower base that will be tiled. Is it all right to use standard lumber to frame in the base area behind the cement board and under the shower pan? Or should I used treated 2 x 4's or even Trex (the synthetic outdoor lumber). The shower will be in the basement, on concrete and the whole thing will be porcelain (small meshback tiles on the pitched base, larger tiles on the walls)

    I am a careful DIY'er so I will take your advice (have worked in the trades for over 32 years but have no direct experience with tile other than helping a boyfriend who was a contractor on a few small jobs). Want to do the right thing here. Would love to hire a pro for this but the budget isn't there this time. ;-(

    Thanks in advance.

    4 AnswersDo It Yourself (DIY)8 years ago
  • Why doesn't Yahoo Answers update the "best answer" percentages?

    I've noticed that my "best answer" percentage on Yahoo Answers has stayed the same (46%) for over two years, despite the fact that if you calculate my number of "best answers" to date from the graph on my profile against the total number of responses I am actually at 54% and have been at that level or higher for quite a while.

    Not that I care one way or another but it just strikes me as odd that a site that makes such a big deal out of quantifying responses can't get that to periodically recalculate.

    7 AnswersYahoo Answers8 years ago
  • Bath remodelling pros: question on drain location with larger shower pan?

    I have a nice sized basement bathroom that was done on the cheap by the previous house owner. I'm building a suite in half the basement so I want to upgrade it. I ripped out a 32" square center drain fiberglass shower unit last weekend. The room is 7' square so there is room for a much bigger shower -- I was thinking of putting in at least a 34" x 48" or even a 60" long one. The problem is the drain stub ( a 2" PVC in good condition) is centered at 32" from both sides of the corner it was installed in. Larger pans seem to all have the drain in the center (half the width of whatever they may be) or close to one end, maybe 8" from the wall.

    Is it possible to get larger pans that fit that old 32" centerline drain or will I have to bite the bullet and have a custom tile shower floor built in? I would like to do as much of the work myself as possible. I have gutted and remodelled two baths completely in my last house with good results but in both cases replaced a tub unit in the same location as the old one. So this is a new predicament. The old shower was mounted on a 3" high concrete pedestal. I guess I could bust it and the concrete floor below out to make room to to offset the drain to another location but would love not to have to do that.. Any suggestions?

    4 AnswersDo It Yourself (DIY)8 years ago
  • Question on social security reductions due to partial income after retirement?

    I'm in the US. I know if I partially retire this year when I reach 62 and apply for Social Security they will reduce the payments proportionately if I make over $14,000 a year in part time income.

    My question is, is that reduction in benefits based on GROSS income or NET TAXABLE income? Since I am over 55, could I actually gross $40,000 per year at my job but defer $22,000 of that to my 401K and the maximum allowed $4,000 to my Health Savings Account so that my NET TAXABLE income was only $14,000? Would the IRS then consider my "income" only $14,000 so they would not reduce the monthly Social Security payments? Or are you no longer permitted to contribute to a 401K once you have "officially" retired?

    I've searched a lot of websites, both IRS and financial consultant ones, and don't find these question addressed anywhere.

    5 AnswersUnited States8 years ago
  • Using manure for winter bedding?

    I have never owned a horse myself but have known family members and friends who owned them and used to do some care for them on family farms in the summer when i was younger. In fact, one of my jobs as a kid staying on relative's farms was mucking out stalls every day. So that was always my understanding -- that you need to remove the manure and keep the straw or other bedding fresh.

    The problem I have now (and my question) is that my boyfriend since last Spring has an unusual approach to stall cleanliness. He has two mares he has owned for at least 6 years who seem to be quite healthy, he seems to be a very responsible caregiver and gets them farrier and vet care as needed.

    But the one aspect of their care that makes me uneasy is that he insists they don't need bedding in their stalls and just lets manure accumulate in the large stall they share. He sent them to spend a few of months with a friend this summer while he was out of town and when he got back I helped him clear the stall with a frontloader and shovels -- it was about 18" deep solid with at least a years worth of pure manure! We hauled 3 trailer loads of it out to a pile beyond the paddock.

    I admit I know little about horse care but I just can't see how this could be healthy. This is not dried, composted manure, this is fresh, pee-soaked manure on top of a foot or more of old stuff that they stand and sleep in every day.

    He's an intelligent person, in fact he's a medical doctor (and, as I said, the horses seem fine) so I am not comfortable questioning this practice -- am I just being overly queasy? Is this a legitimate and healthy bedding option for horses? We live in a cold climate and they will be spending a lot of time in their stall which is now just bare packed earth floor -- no straw, no litter of any kind. I asked him if he would be putting down some bedding before he brings them home and he said, no, they would be fine with the manure they will be dropping in there as soon as they come back.

    I'm not personally queasy about horse manure, in fact I like the smell and don't mind shoveling it. But I just have trouble accepting that it is good for any animal to stand and sleep in their own excrement all the time. I mean, as an MD he is aware of microbiology and the chemistry of body wastes. If it is actually OK, I will stop fretting about it.

    I'd appreciate some informed feedback from professional horse people on this. Looking at equine care websites, I have never seen this practice mentioned, let alone endorsed.

    If there is a better option I would offer to pay for it, honestly. But then I am only around on weekends and don't live near enough to offer to help by mucking daily. And I don't want to make an issue of it if he is right.

    16 AnswersHorses10 years ago
  • Class ll towing: Ford Ranger pickup or Volvo 850?

    We recently bought a small travel trailer, single axle, 2350 lbs. dry weight. We're pulling out the upper bunks and won't be loading too much in it so I expect even with the water tanks filled it will be under 2500 lbs. My boyfriend's older 5-speed 4-banger Toyota pickup really strains pulling it so I was going to either get a Class II hitch for my '95 Volvo 850 Turbo wagon (220 hp with a tow rating of 3600 lbs) or buy a 2003 Ford Ranger pickup, 5 speed 3.0L V6. But I notice the Ranger is only around 185 hp and the tow rating is only about 2500 lbs (5 speeds are rated lower for towing than automatics but I still prefer a stick).

    Anybody with more car and truck savvy than me care to comment on which would be a better tow vehicle? Though the 850 is an older car, the engine still has good compression at 140K and the tranny (a factory rebuilt auto) is only a year old and has 6K on it. Then again, it's front wheel drive and the Ranger is a 4 x 2 with rear or all-wheel drive. I hate to drop $8000 on the Ranger when the Volvo would work just as well. I have limited experience with towing and would welcome any advice.

    2 AnswersOther - Cars & Transportation10 years ago