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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. Here are questions about home maintenance and improvement from the Southern Arizona area.
Q: My garage door is broken. The big spring that lifts the door has snapped and now the door won’t open any more. Is replacing this spring a repair that I could do myself?
A: This is the kind of repair that I like to call a “jawbreaker.” To replace garage door torsion springs can be very dangerous because the springs are under tension. You have to put in a special kind of metal bar and spin and lock it repeatedly as you install the spring. You also need the right kind of tools for the job. If you don’t do it properly, there are parts that can break, fly off, and cause a very serious injury. This kind of repair should be done by a qualified garage door contractor to do.
Q: I have a full-grown mesquite in my yard and when I’m outside working in the garden, I notice that it makes a popping sound all the time. What is wrong with it?
A: Probably, you’re just hearing an expansion noise in the wood of the mesquite tree that is similar to when your house heats up and the two-by-fours start to stretch and expand. Make sure that you keep giving that tree a good, deep watering periodically. If you’re worried about its growth or appearance, have a tree service take a look at it.
Q: I live in a modular home and would like to install solar electric panels. Will the roof of my house be able to support the weight of the panels?
A: Probably it will because solar electric panels are fairly lightweight and actually will add little weight to your roof — at most, another three pounds per square foot of roofing. Most homes built in the last 30 years are designed to support loads much greater than this. If there is a problem with an older roof or a roof with water damage, the solar company can arrange for replacing and improving your roof. Before installation, an engineering analysis should be done on your roof by a solar contractor.
Q: I have a flat roof on my house that’s covered with asphalt. Over the years, it has deteriorated, and we have recently had a number of leaks as well as water stains on our ceilings. We want to replace it, but what type of roof should we install? If we do foam instead of asphalt, can we walk on the roof after that?
A: Our recommendation is to replace your old asphalt, built-up roof with foam roofing that will do a much better job of protecting your home. That built-up roof was installed by putting down sheets of asphalt and then covering the seams with fiberglass tape. Then the whole roof was mopped with black tar. This process was common for years and years before foam came along as a replacement. Now we know that there are just too many problems that can develop in those built-up roofs.
A good foam roof will last a long time, although it needs some maintenance every five to seven years when a roofer puts down a coating over the foam. But generally, foam will be easy to care for and can help quiet your home. It also provides extra insulation. It is still possible for someone to walk on a foam roof; someone can go up there to service your air conditioner or clean off your skylights.
For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for 25 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program, heard locally from 8-11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) and -FM (97.1) in Tucson and KGVY-AM (1080) and -FM (100.7) in Green Valley. Call 1888-767-4348.
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