Adhesive caulk will keep edges of new vinyl floor from lifting — The Boston Globe

Adhesive caulk will keep edges of new vinyl floor from lifting

By Peter Hotton | December 15, 2005

Q. I had a new layer of sheet vinyl applied on top of an old sheet of linoleum on my kitchen floor. It looks nice but there are three seams that are lifting in a high-traffic area. One man said to use Super Glue or contact cement to glue the lifted seams back down. Would this work?

FRANK SHEA, Marblehead

A. The seams have lifted because not enough glue, or the wrong kind, was used to hold them down. Those seams may be curled, making them springy (when you press them down they pop right up again), and doubly difficult to hold down with ordinary adhesive. Super Glue might work, but contact cement will not because the contact surfaces (the surfaces that will be glued) are not big enough to hold well.

This is how to do it: Buy a cartridge of Pheno-Seal, a widely available adhesive caulk that holds like crazy. I once attached some ceramic edge tile to a counter edge, and I really don’t want to tackle the job of removing it, if I ever have to. It holds that well. If you cannot find Pheno-Seal, any quality adhesive caulk that comes in a caulking cartridge will do.

Pry up the seam just a little, without loosening it any more, and put a bead of adhesive caulk into the space; do the other side of the seam if it, too, is loose. Press the seam into place; then put a big piece of wax paper on top of the seam, then a piece of plywood. Put weighty objects on top of the plywood, and leave overnight. Next morning, take off the weights, plywood, and wax paper, and — voila! — the seams will be flat and secure. Use a putty knife to scrape off any adhesive caulk that remains, and clean residue with a wet sponge.

Q. I ripped up a glued-down rug on my basement floor, leaving a thick layer of yellowish adhesive. How can I remove it? I would like to paint the concrete floor.

N.C. Watertown, N.Y.

A. Try chemical paint stripper or even acetone, but use plenty of ventilation when working with these materials. Another way is with brute force, using a long-handled ice scraper.

Q. I am looking for steel hopper type basement windows in which the sash, hinged at the bottom, drops down, inside. One of the latches dropped off a window. Are those windows made anymore? And is there a place that sells latches?

BROOKS H. Sudbury

A. Steel casements may be hard to find, and from a personal viewpoint, good riddance. They provide no insulation, and the frames are embedded in concrete or concrete blocks and are the very devil to remove. You might be able to find a latch at a window hardware store. You mentioned putting a vinyl window in its place. A good idea, and the way to do that is to take out the steel sash, leaving just the steel flange all around the opening. Then glue or bolt the vinyl window on the inside of the steel frame, which you say is about an inch wide. Perfect.

Q. We have a Boston condo from hell. We have a puzzlingly heavy sofa bed that has not been used in five years. We are desperate to get rid of it, but do not know how. The Salvation Army insists that we bring it downstairs if they pick it up, and it’s impossible to schedule a pick-up without taking a Tuesday off. If we hire movers, where would they move it? This couch is my albatross. What can I do that is convenient and won’t cost a fortune?

K.H. Boston

A. I really don’t know what the big deal is. If you apply common sense and logic, you will solve the problem.

Hire several strong young men who will work for cheap, and will drag the monster down to your front porch or front yard. Once it is ensconced there, call the Sallies who can take it away without your having to be at home. I leave clothing in boxes on my porch for the Vietnam Vets regularly. Admittedly I’m in the ‘burbs. Here is another trick: Boston has curbside collections; leave the monster at the curb with a »take me» sign; I guarantee it will be gone in less than an hour.

Q. Some years ago I relocated my septic system and the out-going line through the foundation. The old opening in the foundation was patched with concrete. For some time this patch weeps water, and water collects a little bit for about 2 inches along the floor. How can I waterproof that patch? Do I do it on the inside or out? What material should I use?

P.K. Georgetown

A. Make the patch on the outside, which means you must dig down to the opening and clean it off before patching. Make the patch with roofing cement and tarpaper. Slather the roofing cement on the patch thickly, overlapping the patch by 4 or 5 inches all around. Then embed a piece of tarpaper into the roofing cement to cover the cement, and finally finish off with a new layer of roofing cement, overlapping by a few inches. After this sets overnight, you can back-fill.

You may have to buy a whole roll of tarpaper, unless you can find a neighbor who has a scrap or two, or a friendly lumber clerk who has some remnants lying round.

Q. My master bedroom has a 3-foot-high knee wall leading into a crawl space, and it has an odd-size opening. Now that winter is here, we are losing a lot of heat, with only a temporary cover. I would like to have a door made for this opening. What do you suggest?


A. If your house has the traditional paneled doors, you could have a cabinet maker build a paneled door to fit. But first you may have to build a jamb and casing: the jamb is the vertical and horizontal boards lining the opening; the casing is the trim board around the opening.

Or build your own door with vertical tongued and grooved boards fastened with a Z-bar.

For insulation, on either door, you can nail Homasote to the back. Or, for more insulation, nail on rigid foam insulation such as Thermax or Styrofoam. These foam insulations must be covered with protective covers because they are flammable.

Q. I foolishly tried to patch a crack in the mortar of my blond brick house using the urethane foam. Now the foam has discolored and looks awful. I had the house jacked and shored, which closed the crack but the foam still shows. I tried many solvents to remove it without success. What can I do to get rid of the foam?

J.F. New Orleans

A. Try sanding the mortar. It might make it lighter than the old mortar but this color will even out over the winter, even in New Orleans. It may take a considerable amount of sanding, but it will work. Don’t sand the brick. Another way is to chip out the cracked mortar and fill it with new. You can buy a first-class mortar at big box chains or any lumber store. It is called Sakrete Mortar Mix.

Globe Handyman on Call Peter Hotton is available 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays to answer questions on house repair. Call 617-929-2930. Hotton also chats on line about house matters 2-3 p.m. Thursdays. To participate, go to Hotton’s e-mail is

Leave a Reply