Al and Larry Ubell, Gurus of How-To

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Al and Larry Ubell, the gurus of how-to, take your calls on home repair. Today we especially want to hear about your home repair disasters: tell us about your infestations, collapses on major holidays, burst pipes, etc. Give us a call at 212-433-9692 (that’s 212-433-WNYC) or leave a comment below.

Weigh in: What’s the worst home repair problem you’ve ever experienced? And how was it resolved?

If you can't see the video click here

Comments [14]

Gene Robins from Ardsley, New York

I have ants in my kitchen and I believe they are coming from the basement. I spray in the basement ceiling in the space where I feel they are finding a way up to the floor above. For a day or so if I see one it's moving slowly I perhaps because of the spray. However after a day or so later they're back moving at their regular rate.
What do you suggest?
Thanks, Gene Robins

Feb. 20 2008 01:16 PM
Roger Blaho from Westchester, NY

Your gerrus of home repair get B at best.
There technical information is sometimes faulted.
Broadcast of nov 14th.
Furnaces are permitted in attached garages. Gsaoline funes are heavier than air. The combustion or flame must be a certain height above the floor.
In their discussion of air cleaners they obviously did not know the difference between an ions and ozone. The process is not the same.
Rpger S. Blaho RA

Nov. 14 2007 05:40 PM

Can you suggest a way to water proof an unpainted steel cabinet? We have a built-in metal wall cabinet in the bathroom of our 1930s era apartment. We stripped off layers of paint to reveal a beautiful steel finish but it started rusting within a few weeks.The spray finish we used obviously hasn't worked.
Is there any way to keep the rust off the steel or do we have to cover it with paint? Thanks!

Nov. 14 2007 01:55 PM
Barb Hertel from at home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

I'm stripping my linoleum tile floor right now and getting ready to put the sealer on it. Should I polish it? If so, is there a way to do it without a machine and not exhaust ones self?


Nov. 14 2007 01:42 PM
Kathy from Brooklyn from Brooklyn

I live in a brownstone in Brooklyn that has large rectangular stone slab steps leading to the second (parlor floor). There are small gaps in the mortar between the stones. How do I mix the correct mortar, or is there a pre-packaged mortar I can buy to fill in these gaps so rain, ice and snow cannot get inside? I do not need very much. Thanks so much.
Happy Thanksgiving! Kathy from Brooklyn

Nov. 14 2007 01:40 PM
Melissa from Brooklyn, NY

Hi there,

I live in a building of five apartments, and recently I've noticed a horse smell in my hallway, like a stable. Any idea on what might cause this?


Nov. 14 2007 01:37 PM
chestine from NY



Do you know anything about those ozone lights that are good for getting rid of molds etc> - I heard about them on the radio

Nov. 14 2007 01:36 PM
Michael from Park Slope

The bank opening is a "guichet."

Nov. 14 2007 01:32 PM
NYCMIDTOWN from Downtown

Speaking of disasters waiting to happen...Last night I called 311 to report scaffolding on Madison @ 31st that was held together by duct tape. Some of the crossbar supports were already coming down.

Nov. 14 2007 01:32 PM
Concetta from question

I have insullation in my attic between the rafters. It is old, pink with a brown papery bottom. I want to add insulation. What type should I use? Do I place it perpendicular to the rafters?
Concetta Cantelmo

Nov. 14 2007 01:25 PM
David from New York

We had our basement re-done last year in the summer (concrete slab with tile over it) in time for Christmas as we had family stay with us. My mother-in-law is probably the most critical and meticulous person, who, upon each visit to us, checks for dust even under the bed (we go into severe cleaning mode before she comes). The major motivation behind the basement improvement was my wife's desire to impress her mother with a nice basement when she showed up. Needless to say, by the time everyone showed up there were cracks all over the floor reinforcing my mother-in-law's conviction that I am a total failure in the home improvement department. I was wondering how can I improve my standing in her eyes and do the tile job so the slab doesn't crack.

Nov. 14 2007 01:21 PM
ClayTurner from Hoboken NJ

Our conventional, recently serviced, 15 year old hot water (not steam) boiler blew up and caught fire when first turned on for the winter- luckily I was alert and no real harm done. I would like to replace it with a tankless on demand water heater to heat our baseboards. I know these heaters are used for radiant heat installed in/under floors. We use a Takagi tankless heater to supply our hot water at the tap and we are very happy with it. So how well would one of these work for baseboard heat? Thanks

Nov. 14 2007 12:34 PM
julie from somerville, nj

we decided to hook up a wood burning stove to an old chimney which was closed. We lugged the stove in and ripped out the piece blocking the flue. To our horror the entire living room, including us, became suddenly covered with an entire chimney worth of black soot! After cleaning for several days we finally did manage to hook up the stove. Only thing is, the weather turned frigid, the stove was cozy, but the following morning all our heating pipes where frozen and burst because the stove gave off so much heat our furnance never went on. Beware the black pot bellly!

Nov. 14 2007 12:16 PM
Nancy from montclair nj

In our very old house (+100yrs) the chimney only has one flue. Problem is we have an oil burner AND a wood buring fireplace...which we use all winter long and have for the past 25 years. There are glass doors on the fireplace that we close when not in use. We recently had chimney co. come to reline the flue and they adamantly pointed out we should NOT have just one flue for this set up. How can we fix this potential problem .and..keep our wood fireplace without going bankrupt? Do we have to move?

Nov. 14 2007 09:21 AM

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