drdiy

Patching Rotten Trim / Removing Texture From Walls / Not Enough Hot Water

In Uncategorized on May 2, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Q:

The expression “There’s something rotten in Denmark” may not mean anything to you, but I have some rotted trim on my house and wanted to know if I can patch it myself?

A:

Sure you can. If you have small areas of deteriorating trim around a porch column or a windowsill, they can usually be patched successfully with one of the numerous wood fillers available at your local hardware or building supply store. There is basic, inexpensive wood filler called “wood putty” by Durham. You just dig out the rotten area, mix the water putty with water until you have the proper consistency and fill in the damaged area. It will be putty in your hands and it works just fine.

 

Bondo, DAP and Minwax, just to name a few, are other companies that make wood fillers and hardeners. I think if you follow the directions (as I’ve always said is an interesting concept) you’ll be quite satisfied with the results.

Q:

I have textured stucco-like walls in a room of my house; can the rough stuff be removed?

A:

One of the problems with applying textured walls is that it’s like a tattoo. You’re going to have to live with it for a long time and hope you don’t get tired of it. But understand that like a tattoo, it can be removed with a lot of difficulty and the way I see it, you have four choices:

  1. Leave it and live with it, which requires the least amount of physical effort.
  2. Explosives! But remember, they’re illegal as well as dangerous and it’s so hard to acquire quality dynamite these days.
  3. Conceal it. There is a product you should be able to find on the Internet called “Plaster-In-A-Roll”. It’s from Flexi-wall Systems. You can purchase it directly by going on their website www.flexiwall.com. It’s designed to go over cracked plaster, paneling, ceramic tile, block and even textured walls that have been somewhat ground down but not smooth.
  4. Finally, try removing it. It’s not easy, but the William Zinsser Company makes a product called “Texture Off”. Who would have thought! It works like a paint stripper to remove textured paint from most walls and ceilings. You apply it by rolling it on with a thick-napped roller, waiting two hours and applying a second coat. You let it sit overnight and then begin to scrape it off. It’s still a lot of work but safer to use than the dynamite and easier to get. It’s available at paint and hardware stores.

Q:

I seem to run out of hot water quickly. What could be the cause of this?

A:

If I am reading you correctly, I think you’re talking about hot water tanks. Do you find that when you’re taking a shower, before you finish, you’ve run out of hot water? Have you already tried turning up the temperature on the tank to an unsafe level, which helped a little, but uses a lot more energy (read that as money!).

Well, the problem is pretty easy to correct. Inside the tank the cold water supply line usually extends into the tank and down to the bottom of the tank via a “dip tube”. You see, hot water is lighter in density than cold water, and so the hottest water is in the top of the tank. When the dip tube is installed and functioning properly, cold water entering the tank is directed to the bottom near the burner. If the dip tube should deteriorate or fall off, as a lot of them did in tanks manufactured between 1993 and 1997, then the cold water mixes with the hot water at the top of the tank, thus lessening the supply of hot water.

Replacement dip tubes are available at plumbing supply houses. You just turn off the water to the tank along with the electricity, if it’s an electric tank. Disconnect the supply line and insert the new dip tube. Reconnect, and boy, you have hot water! Speaking of being in hot water, I’m out of here!

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