Handyman

August 23, 2014

Deck stains, washing machines, foundation woes

Homeowners want to know: When will their deck stain dry? How can they get their 34 year old washing machine to drain? And what’s that white powder on their foundation?

I sanded and cleaned my wood deck boards with Behr semitransparent weather-proofing stain and sealer, one coat with a second coat in certain places. It is sticky after a month or so in certain places. The Behr people said it will dry eventually. But when?

The finish is a preservative that penetrates the wood and will not peel, and that is why a second coat should not be used. Maybe the sticky parts will eventually dry. Power-wash the sticky areas to speed up the process.

Help! My 1980 Kenmore top-door washing machine has stopped draining, and I don’t know how to get it going again. I am reluctant to have a house call for big bucks. What can I do?

Whoopee, sell it back to Sears which should put it in its museum, because it is nearly 25 years beyond its life expectancy of maybe 15 years. Yippee! Buy a new one, which I don’t think will last half that long. The only problem you might have is sticker shock, because you have not priced washing machines in 34 years!

My foundation is about 2 1/2 feet above the ground level, and it is developing a lot of white powder. Is there anything wrong, how can I get rid of it, and how can I keep it from coming back?

It is lime leached out of the concrete by water and or moisture. It is harmless, and can be swept up and tossed out. If it is on the outside of the foundation, there is not much to do except sweep it up. If it is on the inside (on basement walls), and the basement is quite damp, then open the windows for cross-ventilation and to release that excessive water vapor.

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