Archive for July, 2012|Monthly archive page

Removing Wet Mark From Wood Table / Repairing Small Holes From Hanging Pictures / Maintenance To Keep Ceramic Floors Looking Great

In Flooring, Miscellaneous, Q&A on July 23, 2012 at 9:41 am

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I had my nephew over and he set a glass on my wood table (without using a coaster) and it left a large white spot or ring. Do we need to refinish the whole table?


You’ve now experienced the age-old problem that people with wood furniture have all experienced. I just didn’t think furniture was made from wood anymore. I was beginning to think everything was plastic, acrylic or laminate. Nice to know wood is still around, and your nephew is gone!

To remove the stain, mix a small amount of toothpaste with some baking soda and lightly rub it onto the white stain. Rub with the grain using a damp, soft cotton rag. When it dries take a dry rag and wipe everything clean.

If the area you cleaned is now a different shade than the rest of the tabletop, don’t fret, gently do the rest of the table and when done, wipe with lemon oil instead of furniture wax.


The house I am trying to sell has some holes where I hung pictures. I want to repair them but don’t know where to start, can you help?


You know I think most of us have some minor nail pops, cracks or holes in at least one wall or ceiling, especially when you remove a shelf, picture, or even from small settling cracks.

I remember my first apartment. I filled the nail holes where I hung pictures with toothpaste to get my security deposit back.

Well, you don’t have to resort to such devious measures as long as there is easy-to-use, “ready-mixed” spackle or patching plaster available for under three dollars a quart. If you’re really trying to save money, buy the very inexpensive, five-pound box, you just mix it with water for about two dollars.

The only tools you’ll need will be a hammer, possibly a putty knife, a four-inch flat blade trowel and some sand paper. Tap in any protruding nails or remove them and replace them with drywall screws. Clean out and remove any loose pieces and fill the holes and cracks using the putty knife and the flat blade. Push the spackle as far into the crack as you can and then release pressure on the blade and as you get farther away from the crack or hole slowly apply more pressure to the blade. What that does is feather the new spackle down the existing wall. The smoother the finish the less sanding you’ll need to do.

So you see, spackling is also like getting plastered, but on a smaller scale and it’s even ok to drive the car afterward!


What kind of maintenance do I need to do to keep my ceramic floors looking great?


You should know that ceramic tiles are like men. If you take care of them in the short run, you can walk all over them for years and talking care of them means just mopping with a cleaner like Spic & Span, rinsing with water and letting it dry. Better yet, you can purchase the Bissell® Steam and Sweep™ at local home centers such as Target, Sears, Lowes and Meijer. It is chemical free and does a great job sweeping and cleaning.

Unglazed tiles should be sealed with a tile sealer (sold at tile stores) and sealed just about every other year. You don’t have to seal unglazed tile, but you should still clean and seal the grout periodically. Products like “Grout Revive” or “Tile Guard” are available at hardware and tile stores, which do the job nicely.

But if you have stains in the grout or in unglazed tiles that just won’t come out, and you’ve tried all the grout cleaners on the market, wearing rubber gloves, goggles, protective clothing and working in a well-ventilated area, you should be able to get the stains out using a diluted solution of Muriatic Acid mopped on and rinsed with water. If that doesn’t work, Phosphoric Acid will. You’ll also find them at hardware and tile stores. Finally, if you can’t get the grout clean, it can be cut out and replaced or even colored using a grout stain or colorant. Similar to what you use to cover your grey hair.


Spalling Concrete Driveway / Cleaning a Fiberglass Garage Door

In Concrete, Fiberglass, Uncategorized on July 10, 2012 at 10:37 am

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Last year we began experiencing scaling, pitting and crumbling of our cement driveway. This winter the scaling has spread tremendously. Numerous homes in the subdivision are experiencing the same problem. Efforts by residents of the subdivision over the past 2 years to obtain some type of retribution from the builder on this matter have turned up void. The builder claims the reason for the problem is due to winter salt. I am having difficulty with this response since we have not salted our driveway since we moved in and it’s not happening to everyone.

My question is twofold, from a homeowner perspective, what can we do to prevent further deterioration of our driveway and what legal recourse do we have in this matter (if any)? It sickens me that we may have to spend thousands of dollars fixing our driveway when it appears that what we may be experiencing is poor quality.


The scaling of your driveways is called “spalling”. Any one of four things can cause it:

  1. De-icing compounds.
  2. Allowing the concrete to dry and not cure.
  3. Adding too much water to the mix when the installer placed the concrete.
  4. Over-troweling or over-finishing the concrete.

Any one of the causes (2 through 3) put a thin skim coat on top of the concrete, which in turn will spall and deteriorate.

That being said, concrete is the best choice for walks and driveways. It can and will last for the life of your investment.

The Michigan Concrete Association has six requirements or recommendations for all exterior concrete flatwork.

  1. Don’t drive on new concrete for at least 7 days.
  2. Don’t allow drain water to get under the slab. This can cause settlement cracks or erode the base.
  3. Shovel the snow and ice off the concrete during the first year.
  4. Do not use de-icing chemicals for snow and ice removal the first winter.
  5. Never use de-icers that contain fertilizer ingredients such as ammonium sulfate, or ammonium nitrate. We’ve been using them commonly in the past several years to remove accumulated snow and ice from roofs, which they do not harm. De-icers such as calcium chloride and salt can be used after t he first winter.
  6.  Seal your concrete at least 30 days after it has cured with a concrete sealer or a 50/50 mixture of boiled linseed oil and kerosene. They also recommend re-sealing every 2 years. Some sealers can darken the concrete surface.

If I were you, along with your neighbors I would check with an attorney who deals with this type of litigation!


I have an 18 x 7 fiberglass garage door that was installed when we built our house many years ago. Through the years the sun has weathered it to where the fiberglass threads are becoming exposed. We really like the door as it lets light into the garage.

Is there some kind of clear lacquer or polyurethane finish that can be applied to the door to prolong its life span? I have called garage door companies without success. Paint stores have suggested that we paint the door because clear coatings would blister and peel, but that would defeat the whole purpose of trying to preserve it in the first place.


I don’t see many fiberglass doors and I really like them because they indeed do make a garage lighter and brighter.

I do have a solution to your problem but it requires a lot of work. Start by sanding the door with 36-grit sandpaper. Wipe and clean the door so it is dust and dirt free.

Now apply 2 coats of surfboard resin. You should be able to find where they repair fiberglass boats. The resin, when mixed properly, can be brushed, rolled or sprayed onto the door. You’re attempting to apply about 18 to 26 mil thick coating. Sand and buff again when it hardens. When this job is done, the only wave you’ll feel like catching will be from your neighbor.

Twice a year you’ll want to keep it sealed with turtle wax automotive polish so it doesn’t yellow.

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