Question: I have an asphalt-shingle roof that I am thinking of replacing.

In our neighborhood I have seen other roofs replaced. Some have had the old shingles removed and others have had the new shingles installed over the existing ones. Is one way better than the other?

I imagine putting new shingles over the old ones is cheaper, but is it as good?

Answer: It is cheaper, but I've never considered it wise. My roof was done just before I bought the house, and I've seen just one layer underneath. Most of my neighbors have new roofs, and the roofers took off the old to make sure the decking was solid and what needed to be replaced was done.

If there is just one layer of shingles on the roof and you are adding one more, then, yes, it might be all right. From what I've read, most roof structures can support a couple of layers of shingles without causing problems.

It is important, however, that the roof underneath be able to accommodate the one being installed on top of it. If a lot of the old shingles are curled, the new ones might assume that shape.

Does the existing roof leak? You might be covering it over rather than repairing it.

There is also a manufacturer's warranty to check out before anything is done to make sure that you don't inadvertently void it.

Q: Two of my sisters have made renovations to their bathrooms. They have removed the bathtubs to replace them with walk-in showers.

They only have other half-baths, therefore no other bathtubs. What are your feelings regarding sale values of homes if there is not a bathtub available in the house?

A: Although we have become a people that appears to favor the quick shower over the long bath, most buyers want to have the option available.

I can see a point in having just one tub in the house rather than in every bathroom, but I wouldn't go out of my way to remove one, especially if it did the job.

Older bathtubs tended to be shorter than modern ones. People who use tubs prefer to stretch out in them rather than curl up their legs. If the existing tub were, say, 4½ feet and I could add a longer one without having to spend thousands of dollars to do so, I would.

You cannot assume that buyers' tastes will be just like yours, especially in a resale market in which those who are looking want everything to be available and don't want — or have — lots of money to make it so.

They'll just move on to the next house.

Q: My husband seems to always get moth holes in his cashmere sweaters. First we put mothballs in the closet but his clothes smelled like mothballs so that didn't work. Then I bought moth traps and put those around. Not a great result.

Finally we had most of the closet lined with cedar, which I would have expected to work, but he still got holes in his sweaters.

I don't seem to have the problem in my closet like he does. Could it be that he needs to have his sweaters washed each time he wears them (I heard that it may be caused by food left on the sweater)? He claims that they are not dirty.

Any suggestions? Getting tired of buying these beautiful sweaters and having to sew up the little holes.

A: Where do I start? Cedar needs to be renewed periodically to do its job. Lightly sanding the wood with fine-grit sandpaper ought to renew the scent. Wear a dust mask when you do so.

I would say that if it is food on cashmere sweaters, no amount of cedar scent will keep the moths away from a meal. That means checking them thoroughly after he wears them, and washing the sweater if necessary.

I'm told by the person in my house who knows about these things that the sweaters shouldn't be washed all that often — I've seen her wash sweaters, and it takes days.

For summer storage, she suggests dry cleaning the sweaters and storing them in plastic bags designed for storage, with cedar chips to deter the moths.

Questions? E-mail Alan J. Heavens at or write him at The Inquirer, Box 8263, Philadelphia 19101. Volume prohibits individual replies.