Design of Shingle Roof Valleys Matter of Taste
QUESTION: Our 16-year-old asphalt strip shingle roof continues to shed generous amounts of granules and will soon need replacement. What is the preferred way to handle roof valleys? In this area of New Jersey, roofing contractors do not use valley flashing but shingle continuously into and out of the valley. However, in the Midwest (St. Paul, Minn., area), contractors continue to use valley flashing (usually metal). Is there a preferred construction in treating roof valleys?
ANSWER: The preferred way is the way the local roofers do it. There is no technical superiority between the styles. There are three basic types of valleys: open, woven and closed cut. The decision on the type of valley is usually the roofer’s. That decision is based on past experience and aesthetics. If the valleys on all of the roofs in the neighborhood are woven, most homeowners would be reluctant to have a roof installed with an open valley, even though it is equally effective.
One reason for selecting one valley style over another may be due to how the local building department interprets national building codes. A roof with Class A (fire rated) shingles with an open valley may not be given a Class A rating, whereas it would be given a Class A fire rating with a woven valley.
Concrete May Fill Gap in Settling Porch, Steps
Q: My brick house is about 20 years old. It has a concrete porch about five feet square with steps going down to the back yard. The steps and the porch have settled and pulled away from the house leaving about an eight-inch gap at the top. The foundation goes deep underground. Even if I could find a house jack big enough, I couldn’t fill in under the porch foundation. There’s no opening under the porch slab and steps to build a form. What can I do to solve this problem besides move?
A: If you are certain the porch is not still settling (if the gap is not getting wider year by year), you can fill in the gap between the steps and the house foundation wall starting at the bottom where the gap is narrowest. Wedge a two by eight board vertically against each end of steps to hold the repair concrete in place until it sets. Carefully fill the space between the house and the porch with concrete and compact it by poking or rodding it with a hoe handle to make certain it has completely filled the gap.
Finish the job by smoothing the top flush to the top step. Where the edge of the patching meets the wall, finish the joint with an edging tool. This leaves space for final sealing with a good grade of silicone caulk. If the joint continues to enlarge, the only permanent cure is to remove the porch entirely and rebuild it on proper fill.
Try Zud to Remove Rust Stains in Sink
Q: We recently purchased a house that had water with a high iron content. There are iron stains in the sinks, bathtub and toilet. Is there a product that will remove these stains?
A: Try using Zud, a heavy duty cleanser that contains oxalic acid, which bleaches and then dissolves rust stains. You’ll find it at hardware stores and some supermarkets. If the stains are the result of dripping water over a long period of time, the surface may be roughened, even after the rust stains are removed. In this case you may want to refinish or replace the fixture for cosmetic reasons.