Silencing a squeaky floor — The Boston Globe

Silencing a squeaky floor

Q. My Pergo floor looks great in the kitchen, but it squeaks in one small section that I walk on. How can that be fixed? The Pergo is clipped together and floats; it is not glued or nailed down.

CHEEKY SQUEAK

A. Stop walking there. But seriously, if the floor under the Pergo is not squeaking, then the Pergo is, because there is a bit of space under the Pergo on an uneven floor, and the Pergo is moving a bit when you walk on it. Have the installers come back and insert thin paper or cardboard to prevent the flexing. If the wood floor is indeed squeaking, you will have to nail or screw it down.

Q. My brick walkway is made up of concrete pavers in sand, butting up against earth. The pavers are beginning to wander, to give a little, to separate. Can I slip a metal divider between the pavers and the earth?

A.C. Peabody

A. All walkways with bricks or pavers in sand must have some kind of border to prevent just what is occurring here. That border must be deep enough to handle the pressure of the pavers. You can use soldier bricks (long ends down), or a 2-inch-thick patio block, or timbers. Anything that you try to slip between pavers and the earth is a jury rig at best. You have to dig out the space and put in the border.

Q. We keep the damper closed in a fireplace we never use. Recently we heard some rustling and scratching in the chimney. Is it the wind or a critter?

FROM WELLESLEY

A. The rustling could be the wind, but the scratching is probably a critter, probably a squirrel, hopefully not a raccoon, and hopefully not a family. If it’s not too loud, live with the scratching. The only way to remove the animal is by a nuisance animal person, who must release it in the yard or kill it. You might light a fire in the fireplace to force him out, but the animal rights people will be on you like ugly on an ape.

Q. When I was cooking I got lazy. Instead of using my double boiler, I used two stainless steel pans. It worked, but the pans stuck together. Is there a way to release them?

FURIOUS!

A. Place the bottom pan in a large bowl of very hot water. Put ice cubes or water with ice cubes in it in the top pan. The heat will expand the lower pan and the cold will contract the upper pan, and they will come apart.

Q. My red brick fireplace front is about 50 years old, and recently I saw a spot the size of a silver dollar on one of the bricks. It is white and may be powdery. What is it, and how can I remove it?

AMAZED

A. It is efflorescence, the leaching of lime out of the mortar by water, which deposits it on the face of the brick. It is harmless. Try brushing it off with a dry stiff-bristle brush. Or use a bit of water when scrubbing. If it persists, mix one part muriatic acid and one part water, and paint this on the spot. Let it fizz, then scrub it off carefully. Wear skin and eye protection when working with acid, and be careful. Always pour the acid into water when mixing the two. If the spot remains, it might be mold, so treat it with bleach.

Globe Handyman on Call Peter Hotton also appears in the Sunday Homes Section. Call 617-929-2930 with questions Tuesdays 1-6 p.m. Hotton (photton@globe.com ) also chats online 2-3 p.m. Thursdays: Go to www.boston.com .

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