Q: Around 20 years ago I put vinyl siding on my ranch house. I started by putting the starter strip on and then my "4 over 4" siding starting at the bottom and worked my way up. Last year we put the gas grill too close to the house and you guessed it, the vinyl in the middle buckled. So now it has to come off and be replaced as soon as it cools down somewhat. My question to you is do I start from the top and work myself down to the bad piece or can I just pull the buckled piece off and replace it from there. –B. C.

A: Well if it makes you feel any better, you’ll be happy to know that melting your vinyl siding with a gas grill is a very common problem. You’ll also be happy to know that you don’t need to go all the way to the top of the wall to make the repair.

You’ll need a tool called a zip tool, which you should be able to pick up wherever vinyl siding is sold. This is a small hand tool that enables you to reach under the bottom of the siding and unclip one piece from the one below it.

Start at the highest piece that’s not damaged. Reach the zip tool under the bottom of that piece, at the corner, and hook the tool under the siding. Pull down slightly, and the upper piece will pop off the lower piece. Work the tool all the way across the wall, and unzip the siding. Lift the upper piece up gently to expose the nails on the lower piece, un-nail it, and remove it. Now work your way down the wall, removing all the damaged siding as needed.

To replace it, start at the bottom. Cut new siding to length, snap it into the one below it, and nail it in place. Work your way back up until you get to the old siding. Nail the last new piece in place, then use the zip tool again to carefully pull the old siding down and re-lock it in place against the new siding.

My only concern is with color. You said that your siding is 20 years old, and it’s going to have faded quite a bit in that time. The darker the color, the more pronounced the fading will probably be. Before you start your repair, you may want to check with a siding dealer and see how close the new siding is going to be in color to the old stuff. If the color difference is substantial, than it may be best to go ahead and just replace the entire wall.

Q: I have plaster walls and have removed one layer of very stubborn wallpaper from a room. There was a ceiling molding and chair rail that also had to be removed preceding the work. I scraped most of the glue which held the molding in place and patched multiple holes where the chair rail was attached, etc. The problem is, there is some white glue on the ceiling that is just impossible to scrap off. What suggestion would you have for removing it? Is there a solvent I could use? –Carolyn D.

A: It’s hard to say without knowing what type of glue, so always start with the least aggressive method and go from there. I would start with a cloth dipped in hot water. Press it against the glue and hold it there — if it’s water base, that may soften it enough. You can also try a little bit of mineral spirits or acetone, which will work on a number of different types of adhesive. There’s a product called Goof Off, which is available from home centers, hardware stores, and paint stores, that also works on a lot of different glues.

Test anything in an unobtrusive spot first, and follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions for ventilation and other safety precautions.

Q: We have hardwood floors installed new when the house was built in 1993. These floors have been maintained with a liquid wax that up until a year ago was purchased through Oreck. They no longer handle the product and I have bought up and used all but 1 quart. Do you know of anyone that still manufacturing a liquid wax for hardwood floors? I have Googled and looked many places on the internet but to date found nothing. Do you have any suggestions short of sanding the floor and starting over? I love the floors as is, but I am 1 quart from disaster. –John C.

A: Sorry, but I’m not familiar with a liquid wax product like that, and if the floors don’t have any other finish on them, you might be stuck having them sanded or at least screened to get all the wax buildup off, then having a coat of clear finish applied. It will also make them easier to maintain in the future. I would suggest calling a qualified hardwood floor contractor in your area, and have the contractor come out to the house to inspect the floors and give you an opinion and estimate.

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