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Kelly Camacho's Blog

By Kelly Camacho | Agent in Las Vegas, NV
  • How to fix a squeaky floor

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Las Vegas, How To... in Las Vegas, Property Q&A in Las Vegas  |  March 9, 2012 3:00 PM  |  776 views  |  1 comment

    DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS

    Produced by Inman News

    March 9, 2012

    Sponsored by Lowe's

    A remedy for a squeaky floor

    Carpet replacement is perfect time to drive new screws into joists

    By Bill and Kevin Burnett
    Inman News®

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    Q: Our floors squeak when we walk on the carpets. What can we do to remedy this problem before we replace the carpets in two weeks?

    A: What perfect timing! You can put an end to the squeaking by screwing the subfloor to the floor joists after you remove the old carpet and pad, but before the new carpet is installed. You'll need to do a little work before the carpet layers show up, but you'll have a quiet floor when all's said and done.

    Your first order of business is to expose the subfloor by taking up the old carpet and pad.

    First, remove all the furniture from the room. Take a pair of pliers and pull the carpet from the tack strip in one corner of the room.

    Tack strip is nail-impregnated 1/4-inch-by-1-inch wood strips nailed around the perimeter of the room. The points of the nails in the strip are angled toward the wall. The carpet is hooked on the nail points, allowing the carpet to be stretched flat. Once the carpet is free from a corner, it's a simple matter to pull the rest of it from the perimeter of the room.

    The easiest way to remove old carpet is to cut it into strips. Roll the old carpet from the wall. Cut the backside with a utility knife into 2- or 3-foot-wide lengths, roll them up, duct-tape the rolls, and it's off to the landfill or better yet, the recycler. The carpet installers should dispose of the old carpet as part of the price of the new installation.

    Next, remove the pad. Carpet pad is light. It's usually 5 feet wide, so there's no need to cut it. Just pull it up, roll it and carry it away. The pad is stapled to the subfloor. Remove the staples or pound them flat with a hammer. Removal of the old carpet and pad is usually part of the installation price of the new carpet. It's worth a try to ask your carpet layer for a credit if you're doing it yourself.

    You're three-quarters of the way there. With the floors bare, it's easy to locate the floor joists. Simply look for the nail heads in the subfloor. This will give you the location of the floor joists. If the distance between joists (nail heads) is 16 inches or up to 19 1/2 inches for engineered joists, the subfloor is probably 3/4 inch thick. If it's wider (not likely, but possible) the subfloor can be up to 1 1/2 inches thick for a 36-inch span. The 3/4-inch-thick subfloor takes a 2-inch screw. A thicker subfloor takes a 3-inch screw.

    Use a heavy-duty drill to drive Phillips-head wood screws through the subfloor into the floor joists. Drive the screws approximately 8 inches apart. To make the job easier for you and the drill, we suggest that you predrill holes before screwing the subfloor down.

    Use a drill bit slightly smaller than the screw and keep the hole short of the length of the screw. In other words, if using a 2-inch screw, drill only a 1 1/2-inch-deep hole. This ensures that some of the screw gets full purchase on the joists. It also has the added benefit of making sure the screw is hitting the joist.

    Test your job by walking on it before the carpet installers show up. Once the new carpet is down, you'll not only have a fresh look, but a silent floor.

  • What to do if you happen to break a CFL bulb..how do you clean it up?

    Posted Under: General Area in Las Vegas, How To... in Las Vegas, Property Q&A in Las Vegas  |  February 27, 2012 3:45 PM  |  369 views  |  No comments

    A broken compact fluorescent bulb isn’t cause for panic, but it is cause for concern. CFLs and other fluorescent bulbs typically contain a small amount of mercury, which can turn into dangerous mercury vapor if the bulb breaks.

    Cleaning up and disposing of a broken CFL properly is important, especially if you have young children, you’re pregnant, or the bulb breaks on a carpet.

    Don’t reach for the broom to sweep it up. That’ll disperse the mercury; your goal is to keep the mercury in one place and remove it.

    Follow these 8 steps to clean up and dispose of any CFL bulbs that break:

    Step 1: Contain the damage

    • Get people and pets out of the room.
    • Open the windows to let in fresh air.
    • Shut the door to the room and turn off your forced-air heat or AC to keep mercury vapors from traveling elsewhere in your home.
    • Avoid stepping on the broken glass or mercury powder as you leave the room.

    Step 2: Gather up cleaning supplies

    Stay out of the room for 5 to 15 minutes to give the mercury enough time to settle into little balls, but not long enough to disperse. Meanwhile, collect:

    • disposable rubber gloves
    • duct tape
    • a piece of stiff paper or thin cardboard
    • a few damp paper towels or baby wipes
    • a sealable container — a glass jar with a lid (best), a plastic jar with a lid (OK), or a zipper plastic bag (better than nothing)

    Step 3: Cleaning up your broken CFL

    • Put on the gloves and pick up the big pieces of broken glass.
    • Use the stiff cardboard to scoop up the smaller pieces.
    • Use the sticky side of the duct tape to pick up the smallest shards.
    • Wipe the area with your paper towels or baby wipes.
    • Put the broken CFL pieces, the cardboard, and the wipes in your container and seal it.

    Step 4: Double-check your work

    Look closely at the area where the CFL broke for any remaining powder, pieces of glass, or mercury balls. If you see any, repeat Step 3.

    You may vacuum the area, but use only the hose attachment and pay special attention to the disposal techniques in Step 5.

    Did your CFL break onto a carpet? If you have small children who crawl or play on the carpet, you may want to replace the area of carpet where the CFL bulb broke. A Maine Deparment of Environmental Protection Agency study says residule mercury left behind after you clean the carpet can be released as vapor when children play or sit on the carpet.

    You can avoid the problem entirely by using only LED or halogen bulbs in rooms where your kids play or sleep, and in your bedroom while you’re pregnant. Also, make sure you’re using CFLs appropriately to keep them from burning out too soon.

    Step 5: Take out the trash

    • Take the zipper bag or glass jar right out to the trash.
    • Toss out anything else the CFL broke on, such as bedding, fabrics, and clothing.

    If you vacuumed, take the whole vacuum outside before pulling the bag out of the machine. Seal the vacuum bag and put it in the trash. If you have a canister vacuum, empty the canister into your sealable container and wipe the inside of the canister clean. Put the cleaning rag into the container, too.

    Step 6: Clean yourself

    • If bits of glass or mercury got onto your shoes, use a towel or wipe to clean your shoes, then dispose of the wipe.
    • If mercury got onto your clothes, toss them out.
    • Wash your hands with soap and water.

    Step 7: Remove the debris from your property

    Your sealed waste container and contaminated trash need to go to a universal waste facility that handles all types of trash, including environmentally sensitive materials.

    Ask local government officials where to find one in your area.

    Step 8: Continue to air out the room

    Continue to air out the room and leave the HVAC system off several hours, or as long as that’s practical given the outdoor temperatures. If the CFL bulb broke on carpet, open the windows when you vacuum for the next few weeks in case vacuuming releases any mercury you didn’t already get out of the rug.

    Dona-DeZubeDona DeZube

    Dona DeZube has been writing about real estate for more than two decades. She lives in a suburban Baltimore 1970s rancher on a 3-acre lot shared with possums, raccoons, foxes, a herd of deer, and her blue-tick hound.

 
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