Home Fix-up

Q One of the old 8-by-8-foot posts in our family room has developed a deep crack and keeps producing a fine brown dust. We have treated the cracks with Crack & Crevice, to no avail. What do you recommend? Alfred Stevens Old Lyme, Conn. In the photo you enclosed with your question, it looks to me as if the cracked post lends character to the room. Large members, such as this one, just keep moving with changes in the temperature and moisture, relieving internal pressures by splitting.

Thorough sealing will control the moisture, and vacuuming can control the dust. The dust is probably the Crack & Crevice being crushed by the forces of the wood.

If you wish an unblemished appearance, you may want to consider boxing the post with clear, dry, three-quarter-inch-thick wood boards. Q We have just moved into a new town house which has two large skylights, one 5 by 6 feet and the other 6 by 20 feet. The skylights are double-domed acrylic, so a film cannot be applied to reduce the tremendous heat buildup. Any ideas? Heather Walker Washington

I suggest you install reflective metal mini-blinds under the domes to reflect the heat and light back out in a controlled fashion. You may also consider building a wood or metal louver device above the skylight. Angle the louvers so you get the southern sun in the winter and shade the rest of the year.

Another option is to call the skylight manufacturer and ask the cost of solving your problem. The company may be able to trade some solar bronze or gray-tinted domes for your clear ones. It's worth a try. Q We wish some advice on soundproofing our 12-by-20-foot bedroom, which has 92 square feet of windows on two walls. Jet aircraft often pass over our house and the stress of living with the noise is intolerable. Can you help? Ann Thorgenson Louisville, Ky.

I suggest you reduce the window area to that allowed by the local building code minimum (probably one-eighth of the floor area); next, make sure all the windows are extremely tight fitting.

Beyond this, use heavy draperies to dampen some of the noise. You can also place new drywall over the old plaster or drywall on the walls and ceiling. Fasten it by means of resilient furring clips (metal strips that isolate the new wallboard from the old surface, thus allowing the new walls to vibrate independently).

You also can use sound-insulation batts in the attic and change the bedroom door to a solid-core door and install weatherstripping around it.

The noise from the jets is so intense and of such a low frequency that it is hard to dampen or absorb it.

A more expert approach than mine may be obtained from an acoustical engineer, which the director of the airport may be able to recommend. Q We have a small summer cabin on an island in Casco Bay, Maine. The roof is covered with asphalt shingles which are cracked and curled. Because of the difficulty of getting materials in or out of the site, we want to know if you can suggest a light roofing material that can be placed over the present shingles. Lewis E. Weeks Jr. Potsdam, N.Y.

It sounds to me more like a job for sheet metal than asphalt. Use corrugated galvanized iron if you aren't concerned about aesthetics.

Two manufacturers of aluminum shingles are Perma Shake, 3560 California Street, San Diego, Calif. 92101, (714) 295-3131, and Berridge Manufacturing Company, 1720 Maury Street, Houston, Texas 77026, 1-800-231-8127. Ask for brochures and the names of their local distributors. To the real estate editor:

Your comment in the Oct. 25 issue of the Monitor impels this note. In regard to radiant heat-panel replacements, we have successfully used the Continental Glass Company, 215-B Central Avenue, East Farmingdale, N.Y. 11735; (516) 293-2160. Mrs. G. Hanby Philadelphia

If you have a question about designing, improving, or maintaining your home, send it to the real estate editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, Mass. 02115.

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