Q. I have an 8-year-old steel bathtub with a tile surround and a ton of rust on the tub. I tried steel-wooling the rust and repainting, without success. How best to fix it?
Steel tubs are among the worst deals you can ever get. For a replacement, cast iron with a porcelain enamel finish is best. Even acrylic and fiberglass are good. One thing you can try is reglazing. Companies clean the finish and treat the rust, and apply an epoxy finish that is guaranteed for some years.
Q. Is it possible to install central air to an existing steam heat system? Would it be crazy?
It’s not crazy to think it’s crazy. With any kind of water-fed heat, you need ductwork and a compressor and distribution unit. It can cost $10,000 or more.
Q. I am considering “popping” out the back side of my Cape-style house to increase the space in my upstairs rooms. Do you think that done right, we’d get our money back in terms of recouping what we spent and having the house worth that much more?
It doesn’t work quite that way. What you spend on the improvement might add 75 percent of its cost to the value of the house.