Each year, thousands of Arizona residents email or call Rosie Romero’s radio show with questions about everything from preventing fires in their chimneys to getting rid of tree roots invading their sewer system. His goal is to provide answers that suit the specific lifestyle wherever someone lives in Arizona.
QUESTION: I am redoing my kitchen – putting in new granite composite countertops and a new tile backsplash. So what do I do first – the countertops or the backsplash?
ANSWER: The countertops come first and then the backsplash after that.
Q: I got a bargain on some beautiful new interior doors for my house. The problem is that the new doors all have three hinges while the doors I am taking out only have two hinges. So how do I hang the new doors?
A: You will have to cut hinge mortises into the door jambs to hang the doors. The mortise allows the hinge to be flush with the jamb and door so the door will open and close properly. Go to a specialty shop to get a door-hinge, mortise-strike template; be sure to buy a striking device as well. You will set the template up against the jamb where the new hinge will go and strike it three or four times. Then you can use a wood chisel to make a shallow cut in the jamb on the spot where the new hinge needs to go. As an alternative, you can eliminate the central hinge on the 3-hinge door. Then you can fill the mortise with a paintable or stainable wood filler.
Q: I am redoing the covered area on my patio. Right now I have three posts – each of them 4-by-10s — holding up the roof. I want to take one post out – the one in the center – in order to provide more usable space on the patio. How do I make this work?
A: You may have to buy some larger posts in order to support the roof beam, depending on the span you have to cover. You may also have to put in a larger roof beam – possibly a glulam. To get the right sizing you need for the posts and beam, take photos of your current patio cover and pay a visit to the local planning department to discuss your plans with them. They can provide you with their load-bearing spreadsheet so you’ll know exactly what you need to do to make the new patio cover work out properly. They can also tell you if your idea is feasible or not.
Q: I’m planning to paint the front of my 1950s-era house by myself. But in the process of getting the surfaces ready to paint, I had to take out a large planter box next to one of the walls. Whoever put in the planter lined part of the wall with tar paper in order to provide waterproofing. Now I can’t get the old tar paper off completely. I tried using a propane torch but almost lit the house on fire. A pressure washer didn’t do the job either.
A: You might have to sandblast the area, but it has to be done very carefully or you could damage the mortar joints between the concrete blocks of the house. Maybe a citrus-based degreaser would work or you can use a heat gun to soften the material. If we come up with any more suggestions, we’ll let you know.
Q: I own a manufactured home that has damaged siding boards that really need to be replaced on the west side of the house. I’d like to do it soon because I want to repaint the house in the spring.
A: Try calling a professional painter to come out and look at the problem; painters often have carpenters that they have used in the past when homeowners have issues like yours that need repairs before painting begins.