Handyman

Handyman: Removing lichen from shed roof

Boston Globe CorrespondentMay 9, 2014 

Q: I have a tool shed in a shady area with a roof covered with unsightly lichen. Can you suggest any relatively simple way to remove it before I paint the shed?

A: Try this: Wet it heavily and try scraping it with a flat, wood spatula. If you start gouging the asphalt, stop and live with it.

Fixing basement floor

Q: Periodically, our unfinished basement took in water during heavy rains. The concrete slab has taken a beating; there is effacement in several places and efflorescence where the concrete has not chipped or flaked away. Many years ago, a previous owner painted the slab and cinder block walls gray and the floor now looks like the surface of the moon and trace amounts of concrete dust still come up. Since we installed a sump pump and new gutters after Hurricane Irene, we haven’t had a water problem. We’d really rather not replace the concrete. Is there a tintable product that would provide some cosmetic improvement and prevent more concrete dust?

A: If you don’t plan to use the basement as good living space, I don’t see why you should spend good money toward improvements, which will be pricey.

But the floor can use some help, and I suggest you apply large ceramic tiles to the floor with thin-set mortar. The mortar will help level out defects or gouges, vagaries and the big good-looking tiles may encourage you to consider the basement for living space.

Hotton: photton@globe.com

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