Q: I have a big very old tub that I love, but the shower handle is broken, and parts of the inside porcelain enamel have rust stains. What’s causing them and how can I get rid of them?
A: The broken shower handle may be leaking rusty water, so you should have it repaired. Then clean off the rust with detergent and water. The porcelain enamel on the inside may be wearing off, revealing black cast iron, which will rust. Try removing the rust with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Rub hard. If not successful, have the inside reglazed.
Air conditioner drips
Q. Help! My window air conditioner works nicely but is dripping water on the floor inside the house. How can I stop that?
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A. There is usually a tray or other mechanism that allows condensed water to drip outside. The unit may not be far enough out the window, so try relocating it.
Prevent glare with screen
Q: I have a new window that causes a heavy glare on the deck. Is there something I can do about it?
A: Yes, there is. A full-sized screen.
Move the woodpile
Q: While looking out over the backyard one day recently, I saw two rats at the woodpile. What should I do?
A: Make sure the woodpile is at least 50 feet away from your house and your neighbor’s. If you burn wood regularly, store a minimum amount in the basement.
Raising a lattice platform
Q: I am putting up a lattice fence, but it must be 5 feet tall. The lattice panels come only in a 4-by-8 foot size. How can I make it 5 feet high?
A: Build a 1-foot-high support at the bottom and put the panel on its wide side on top of the platform.
Glue chair veneer
Q: The veneer back of one of my Hepplewhite dining chairs is parting a bit. Is there a good way to glue it back? Also, my maple kitchen table is 60 years old. I know how to remove the finish, but how can I sand without gouging it?
A: If the Hepplewhite is a real antique – a real Hepplewhite and not a Hepplewhite design – have an upholsterer reglue the veneer. You can try this yourself: Use a putty knife to insert yellow carpenter’s glue between the loose veneers. Swish it around a bit, then close and keep it closed by placing waxed paper on each side of the veneer, followed by two thin boards over the paper, and clamping overnight. The waxed paper will keep oozing glue from sticking to the clamping boards. If you find any dried glue where it shouldn’t be, wash it off with a damp-to-wet sponge.
For the table legs, wrap the sandpaper around a dry sponge so it can follow the curves of the legs without gouging. Then apply two coats of a water-based polyurethane varnish.
Removing concrete floor
Q: We are having a hard time breaking up an old concrete floor in our one-car garage and putting in a new one. We have called several people, but no one wants the small job. Who can help?
A: I am amazed, but I can think of some experts who might help: Try a foundation specialist or a driveway installer, who can grind up the old concrete to act as a base for the new.