Super Handyman: Spruce up your old deck this summer - The Buffalo News

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Super Handyman: Spruce up your old deck this summer

A nice outdoor deck can add a lot of value to your property, not to mention fun times for your family. But a deck can age over time, so let’s talk about how you can correct some common problems and head off some others.

If your deck is made of pressure-treated lumber, as most are, then you need to be careful not to breathe in dust when sanding or sawing. Wear a dust mask, safety glasses and gloves when working with the stuff.

If any of the piers or joists are damaged, you probably ought to replace these before doing anything else.

Warped or cupped boards are going to happen. Remove screws or nails that are in the way. This will make it easier to use a crow bar or lever to persuade the board back into place and install screws to secure it. Sometimes you can pull the whole board up, flip it over and then secure it. If it’s severe enough, you will have to cut a new board to replace the old one.

Loose railings, steps and other members need to be tightened back into place with bolts and nuts, screws or metal brackets.

The surface of the wood needs to be maintained regularly. You can buy deck cleaner at your home center or hardware store. A good one will strip off the dirt and mold/mildew and make the surface look new again. Then you can coat it with stain/water seal. Some formulas are thicker than others and can cover and even seal in splinters and other minor imperfections.

This should be an annual event and, once finished, will help you avoid these timely repairs and make your deck much more fun to use!


Q: Our master bathroom has a tile flooring in the bathroom and dressing area. I want to cover part of it, the dressing area and closet, with carpet. I don’t want to remove the tiles but would love to have a soft surface in my closet. How can I best do this without damaging the tiles? – K.A.

A: Use heavy-duty, double-sided tape all the way around the edges in a continuous strip where the carpet will be installed (like tack strips). Now you can install your padding, inside the taped area. The carpet will be placed on top and pressed down onto the adhesive, where it should stay just fine.


Q: Years ago, we put down carpet squares in our basement. To make sure they stuck, we used adhesive. I need to remove the old adhesive so I can put down new carpet in this area. What will remove it? – K.L.

A: You’ll need to use a paint and varnish remover to dissolve the old adhesive, and a putty knife or scraper to remove the old adhesive. But before you do that, consider that the carpet and padding is going to cover this up, so it isn’t going to show. Unless there’s some other reason to remove it, we’d suggest just leaving it.


We found a super degreaser at our local hardware store. Mean Green Super Strength Cleaner and Degreaser is remarkable. It works on lots of different messes inside the house, in the workshop, garage and even outdoors. It is very effective at cutting through grease, and on a variety of surfaces, too, including concrete and fabric. You can spray and wipe, or spray it on tough, greasy stains and let it sit to work on them for a half-hour or so. It also can be used to spot-clean stains on carpeting or used directly in your carpet-cleaning equipment. It’s great for cleaning showers, toilets, greasy engine parts and recreational equipment, too. Just do a little shopping around and find it at your hardware store, home center or discount and grocery stores. To find out more, go to

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