The Gurus of How-To Ease Into Summer

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Gurus of How-To, Al Ubell and Larry Ubell, are here to offer advice on home repair matters, from air conditioning to roofing.

Call 212-433-9692 with your questions or leave a comment below!


Al Ubell and Larry Ubell

Comments [12]

Jeffrey D from Brooklyn

If a roof is flat/slightly sloped and has a suspended deck over it -- how does the roof get resurfaced -- take the whole suspended deck apart?

Jun. 14 2012 01:34 AM
anne Taylor from new york city

Had an interesting experience this am. Spoke to Mr Ubell. I had emailed a question to his company about moisture in basement for a project that I'm involved in as a designer. I learned that his company really doesn't specialize in house problems. A visit to the site on the North Fork he estimated at $5,000 for the day. He was pleasant, but allowed that he needed to visit the site in order to make informed recommendations. So way beyond client's budget.

Jun. 13 2012 02:39 PM
Gail, Brooklyn

When renovating a Bathroom do you recommend using 1/2" or 3/4" cold and hot water pipes for the shower? The existing T flange coming off the building supply pipe is only 1/2" and the plumber is reluctant to change it to 3/4". Please advise. Thanks.

Jun. 13 2012 01:53 PM
Bo Young


Jun. 13 2012 01:50 PM
Tim from Montclair from Montclair, NJ

I have basement windows which are poorly sealed. They are single pain. I am looking for an effective way to eliminate the draft (which filters up through the house) and keep the cold out in winter. Rather than replacing the windows, glass bricks were suggested. Can you comment.

Jun. 13 2012 01:44 PM
marisa from Manhattan

How do you know your plumber is not cheating you?
I had to replace my sink ficture and went out and purchased a generic product.
The plumber brought the same one but charged me more because he said he was under warranty.
I said OK went along but it cost more , but when he called in to his boss he said that the client had supplied them with the fixture, which I didn't and when I brought it up afterwards he said you are very honest, I had frogotten that. It would have cost me much less but he said he would then have to remove his exact fixture and put mine in, so I said forget it go ahead and use yours.
What was that about?

Jun. 13 2012 01:43 PM
Anto from Brooklyn

Help! My roof is leaking and has been for about 4 years now. I live in a rent stabilized apartment on the top floor of a 4 story with a sloped roof (in Brooklyn). It comes into my apartment from what appears to be a leak around the drainage pipe when it gets clogged and water builds up on the roof. My apartment smells like mold, and even though they patch the roof and replaster my ceiling, the buildup and leak keep happening. I don't have control over whether the landlord makes proper repairs -- do you know how to compel him to take care of this problem?
Thank you!

Jun. 13 2012 01:39 PM

Hi, Could you ask the gurus to comment on buying replacement windows? I have to replace all my windows and am overwhelmed by the choices out there. What should I look for in a window? Also, how do I select the installer? Should I go with a big supplier like Home Depot - I'm afraid they will do hasty work. But will an independent be able to maintain the manufacturer warrantee?


Jun. 13 2012 01:38 PM
Rosalie from Garden City

Hi, I have a 1956-built house that has radiant heating in the ceiling. The pipes running throughout the ceiling are copper. The heat works beautifully; however, one of the copper pipes is leaking and has caused the plaster ceiling to crumble. We need to fix the leak and ceiling. Every time we call in a plumber, he's dumbfounded by our system and recommends we put a whole new heating system into our house. We want to keep the system b/c it works so well. What would you recommend? Thanks.

Jun. 13 2012 01:35 PM
Nancy from CT

I love the Gurus of How-To. How about giving them their own show? Perhaps once a week?? I hear the Car Talk guys are's their replacement!

Jun. 13 2012 01:27 PM
amorris from nyc

Hi, How can you get rid of damp odors in a wood house by the beach? Any tips?

Also, if there are wet patches on your ceiling and there is a second floor is a leak in a pipe your first thought?

Jun. 13 2012 01:27 PM
Laura from UWS

Can air conditioners stay in place for their useful life or should they be sent out for cleaning on a regular schedule?


Jun. 13 2012 12:11 PM

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