Installations and ruinous roots

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Question No. 1

Dear Robert,

First, we want to thank you for your extremely informative and valuable column in the Signal.

As homeowners, we look forward to reading it religiously every week. We have been plagued by two problems in our home and hopefully you can recommend solutions to our problems and possibly guide us to reliable, qualified and experienced specialists who can help solve our problems.

As you know, there are all kinds of folks who claim to be experts but as we know this most often not the case. We are experiencing what we believe to be air and outside dust and dirt entering our heating system ducting and the finish is literally peeling away from our kitchen cabinets.

Several years ago, we had a security system installed in our two-story home. The remote sensors, local controller pads and loud speaker are all hard-wired into the central processor. During installation, we believe that a technician possibly stepped on a duct at a difficult to get to location in our attic that created a leak. The house has been very dusty and drafty since this took place.

We believe that a duct pressure test and a borescope camera inspection can answer our question. Maybe even flying a drone with a camera in our attic? However, we don’t have any idea as to what competent local specialist is qualified to perform this work? Our second problem is probably a little more complicated and has to do with the finish on our custom kitchen cabinets. These were installed and finished in place. We are experiencing lifting of the finish that exposes the color of the raw wood. We have never seen this before.

Some touch up was done by the finisher but the problem continues. We believe that the cabinets may need to be stripped and finished with materials that are compatible, and will provide the durability that we need. We don’t have children living with us so they see very light use.

Perhaps you or a competent finisher to tell us the best way to proceed? Any reliable references would be greatly appreciated.

Answer No. 1


Thank you for writing in.

As far as the dust and the problems with the HVAC ducting, I’ll give you a local recommendation that I trust. Have him come in and assess the situation, he’ll know what to do to help with this.

Your kitchen cabinets appear to have had a bad finish applied, and/or a primer issue.

Another high-quality local painting company will help with this, they’re the masters. Both referrals are being sent privately.

Good luck to you,


Question No. 2

Hi Robert,

We have a section of our driveway that is between red bricks and lifting due to tree roots.

We had the tree removed, and now we’re in a bit of a disagreement about replacing it. The big question is: Will this root that is under the concrete rot, and eventually, the concrete will sink back down? How long would this take?

Bob S.

Answer No, 2


You won’t see this magic happen while you own the house, if it ever does.

A tree root large enough to move concrete would take “forever” to decompose to that level, and once concrete has lifted like this, it would never settle back down to the proper placement anyways, so ultimately the answer is “no.”

I encourage you to repair this area sooner rather than later, mostly for safety. The nature of some less than stellar people today is such that a raised area such as this can become a huge liability for a homeowner, especially depending on location.

Good luck,


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