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Metal drip edge needed on roof behind gutters
By Henri DeMarne | Columnist
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Published: 8/15/2010 12:02 AM

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Q. I wrote to you recently about the gauge weight of 6-inch commercial gutters. As I write this, the crew is installing them, but another issue has arisen. All the work I mention is being done through one company per one contract. I now have a new roof, vinyl soffits all around (the house is a ranch with a hip roof) and aluminum-covered fascia boards (some of the fascia board is new unfinished wood due to the poor condition of the old). I had asked the soffit/fascia installer, who seemed very knowledgeable, about the aluminum covering the fascia, since I noticed it covered only the outside, bottom and part of the back of the board from the bottom up to the soffit but does not cover the top of the fascia. He told me that the new ice- and water shield under the shingles is supposed to be folded down over the fascia and the back of the gutter placed over it, which would seal everything. That made sense to me. But I see that the shield is not being folded down, and the gutter crew chief said that is because it is not long enough. This appears to be the case around most of the house. Thus, the top of the fascia and the plywood of the roof are unprotected. I can't see it well, but it appears that the top of the fascia is butted up against the underside of the roof, so it's not actually exposed, but it isn't protected. The edge of the roof plywood is visible. The reason I wanted these impervious coverings was to eliminate this issue. But now I wonder. Is this a problem? How serious a problem? What would you advise?

A. The ice- and water-protecting membrane is not folded over the fascia. The raw edge of the roof sheathing and the top of the fascia board are covered by a metal drip edge that is applied to the roof sheathing and covered by the membrane. If the roofer has not installed metal drip edge all around your hip roof, this is an error. The gutters are installed on the fascia board just below the drop-leg of the drip edge. Since you say you owe them a sizable sum of money, you should insist on having a drip edging installed, but it must be installed under the membrane, not on top of it. The membrane is so sticky that they may not be able to lift it to slip the drip edge underneath. If this is the case, they should put the drip edge over the membrane and cut a strip of membrane or similar peel-and-stick tape to cover the drip edge and run a few inches over the existing membrane. You should also consider using Lamb & Ritchie's Positive "Rite Flow" Drip Edge to ensure that water will not get behind the back of the gutters by surface tension, staining the aluminum-covered fascia, resulting in unsightly streaks that are very difficult to remove. Check, click on "Catalog," then use the "Catalog Navigation" drop-down menu and scroll down to "Roof Edgings." There you'll see why the drip edging is far superior to any off-the-shelf edging available in building-supply houses; it overhangs the back of the gutter, ensuring that water will not be able to creep behind the gutter.

Your column appears in a paper of ours, and I continue to save them because you provide excellent tips. We have a brick fireplace that has some ceiling paint splattered on it from the previous owners. I haven't attempted to try anything for fear of damaging the brick. Can you offer any advice on removing the paint?

A. You can safely remove the paint splatters from the brick using a semisolid paint remover. You will find an assortment of these removers in paint, hardware and big box stores as well as building-supply houses. Choose one that can be safely used indoors and ventilates well.

Our street was recently resurfaced. We drove over the new asphalt shortly after it was laid and now have black asphalt marks on our concrete drive. What can we do to remove these marks?

A. Asphalt is a petroleum-based product. Any cleaner you could use to dissolve it would drive the asphalt deep into the concrete. You can try applying TSPPF crystals on the marks, sprinkling hot water on them and brushing with a stiff-bristle brush after a half-hour, but be prepared for disappointment. Time, wear and snow are likely to help.

I have a concrete floor in my garage and I noticed that in the spring, where we park the car, the floor is all pitted. Do you think this could be caused by the winter salt? We live in Vermont, and they use a lot of road salt. Do you have any suggestions to take care of this problem?

A. That is exactly what is happening. You can patch the pitted areas with Top 'n Bond or a similar product. Be sure to follow the directions on the package to ensure longevity of the repair. When the repair has cured, you can apply a sealer on the entire floor after cleaning it thoroughly with a solution of TSP-PF and warm water. Rinse when finished scrubbing. You can buy a sealer in a masonry supply house.

I was reading that one way to reduce humidity in a home basement was to paint the cement block foundation with a vapor-barrier type of paint. Is this a true statement and if so, what would you recommend for paint?

A. This is not only incorrect information, but also a dangerous suggestion. Sealing cinder or concrete blocks can cause the accumulation of water within their cores. Evaporation takes place in the living quarters and can lead to severe mold problems. The best way to deal with moist or wet block foundations is what I have been advising for years: correct any grade problems outside, as that accounts for the majority of basement and crawl-space leakage. Nothing will eliminate the use of a dehumidifier during the muggy days of summer, even though central air-conditioning would help reduce its need.

We bought our home in 1991. It was billed as a ranch with a finished basement and no water problems. We found out that was not exactly true and within a few years we noticed that mold was building up on the rugs and creeping up the wall about 6 inches in a few areas. Is it best and safest to just rip all of the rugs and finishing out to get rid of the mold? Or is it possible to get rid of it by tearing out only the lower part of the walls? What do we do then to prevent further issues? We don't necessarily want to sell and move if we can get this problem handled.

A. You may not be suffering from an actual water problem (leakage from outside) but instead from condensation and/or high relative humidity (RH) in your basement - a typical summer condition. If you haven't kept a reasonable amount of heat in the basement in the winter and used a dehumidifier in the summer, it is quite possible that this is causing the mold, which typically forms at the joint of the floor and the base of the walls. Rugs are most susceptible to mold. Depending on the seriousness of the problem, this is a condition that may require diagnosis and remediation by a mold specialist, as molds have become very aggressive in the last decade or so, and can seriously affect health.

• Henri de Marne was a remodeling contractor in Washington, D.C., for many years, and is now a consultant. Write to him in care of the Daily Herald, P.O. Box 280, Arlington Heights, IL 60006, or via e-mail at

© 2010, United Feature Syndicate Inc.