Each year, thousands of Arizona residents email or call Rosie Romero’s radio show with questions. His goal is to provide answers that suit the specific lifestyle wherever someone lives in Arizona. Here are questions about home maintenance and improvement from the Tucson area.
QUESTION: I own a townhouse that was supposed to have another unit attached to it, but the developer has stopped building the project, and the proposed unit will not be built. A cinderblock wall was built against my unit, however. It was supposed to serve as the separation between the two units. Rooms on that side of my townhouse are very hot in summer and cold in winter. Can I have insulation blown into my wall to help solve that problem?
A: It is possible to inject foam insulation into the block wall that you refer to. An application like that will aid you in several ways by providing thermal insulation, protection against sound transmission and reduction in dust intrusion.
Q: My beautiful home was custom built by Italian craftsmen in 1956. I have owned it for 18 years. My problem is that the kitchen island is too large — leaving only a narrow work area between the stove and sink. In addition the former owner ran the hot water into the sink through a pipe that extends from the countertop to the ceiling. Now I want to reroute the water flow, reduce the size of the island and raise the height of the countertops as well as replace the existing Formica with a more modern material. Is it possible to do all that while keeping the existing wooden cabinets? Could this be done pretty quickly? I have had work done before in my home, but this is the first time I have been nervous.
A: I can understand your anxiety in this situation. This sounds like a major renovation even though you aren’t changing the cabinets. The biggest problems are moving the water pipes and changing the shape of the island. Both of these require a lot of work and could mean changes in the flooring as well. Yes, a kitchen remodeler can take off the old countertops and put new ones on top. But you might have to refinish the cabinets afterward. You may also have to change the faucet and fixtures for your sink and rip out drywall to get at the water pipes.
It’s not a job that can be done quickly; your kitchen might be under renovation for a month or more. So interview a couple of remodelers and ask lots of questions about how the work will be done. Ask for references from previous clients. In any job like this you need to hire a contractor who is licensed by the state and is insured.
Q: I have several interior doors that drift open. Is there any way to correct this? I saw an online video recommending changing the two-inch securing screw in the hinge to a longer screw, but doing that did not correct the problem. What do I do now?
A: You probably have door frames that are not exactly plumb on these interior doors. But you don’t have to take the door off or redo the frame or do anything drastic. You can stop a door from creeping open by putting a slight bend in the upper hinge pin.
First, close the door; then put a shim, a thin piece of wood, between the door and the jam to hold everything in place when you take the pin out of the hinge. Use a large nail to drive the pin up and out of the hinge with a hammer. Then lay the pin on a flat very hard surface like a block of wood or a concrete floor and whack it with the hammer about a third of the way down from the top. There should be a slight bend in the pin. That bend in the pin should provide additional friction to hold the door in place.
After you’re done, return the pin to the hinge, remove the shim, and open the door slightly to see if it still drifts open. If it does, try the process again to increase the amount of bend in the pin.