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The Super Handyman: Try a latch for your gate

A gate should remain closed, in most cases. But if you want to invite visitors in, then you will want to make a latch available for them to come in. If the latch is your typical type that is pulled up to open the gate and it’s on the inside, you can add an opener on the outside. Just drill a hole that is several inches above the latch on the gate. Run a cord through it and tie one end to the top of the latch and the other to a washer, ring or some other pull and give it a tug. It should pull the latch up so that the gate will open. Test it out and make sure it works to both open and close the gate.


Q: When I went up into the attic to pull some boxes down, I found a lot of moisture up there. I couldn’t tell where it was coming from – no leaks anywhere. What’s the best way to deal with this situation? – L.K.

A: Do a complete inspection for leaks to make sure you don’t have anything going on. Then check your existing vents to make sure they are all open and operating like they should be. If you still haven’t found a problem, then you might just need to add more ventilation. This could be accomplished in a variety of ways, so do a little shopping around and find a good solution for your space.

Tips from readers

Dear Carrells: Our patio was in good shape, but we did apply a topper to level it out last fall. It looked boring, so my wife painted it. She actually painted a rug on it. It looks like there is a real rug on the patio. She used special patio paints and then put a clear sealer over the whole thing to protect it. It looks fantastic! – J.R.


Dear Al: I had some chair cushions that I wanted to spray with water repellent for use on our boat. I had an older can from a while back but couldn’t get the can to spray any longer. I pulled the spray nozzle off and placed it onto a can of WD-40. Then I sprayed through it and could tell it was clearing out. I replaced it back on the can of water repellent and tried again. This time it worked. So now we have some new cushions on our boat for the summer. – N.E.


Dear Kelly: We had a huge mosquito problem last year in our community. I learned several things that can help prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your yard. You’re supposed to limit standing water. I checked and found that I had a lot of potted plants on my patio, with saucers under the pots, filled with the overflow water. I got rid of them all – not the plants, but the saucers. I also helped my husband clean out our gutters. They needed to be cleaned again anyway. Hopefully, we’ll have fewer problems this year. – G.T.


Dear Al and Kelly: I found a material that you can mix into your wall paint that turns any wall into a magnetic surface. It was easy to use and really does work. I did a wall for my son in his room, and he loves it. He is always looking for magnets now, and every time we go on vacation, he comes home with some new ones. He also found some magnetic cars that he loves to use. Now, my wife wants me to paint a part of a wall in her sewing room so she can put patterns and things on her wall for storage. Sounds like a great idea. Maybe I’ll have to paint one in the shop in my garage. – S.H.


Evapo-Rust Rust Remover is a water-based product that safely and quickly removes rust. It won’t harm metal, plastic, PVC or even paint. It’s biodegradable and has no fumes, isn’t flammable and contains no VOCs. It’s easy to use, and it’s so good that you might not even have to use any elbow grease. It’s available in three sizes, and you can find it at most auto-parts stores. To find out more, go to

Got a question or a handy tip? Visit the Super Handyman website at Those of general interest will be used in future columns.