Your Place: Removing a plaster stain, assessing whether to rebuild a deck

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Q: My husband was using plaster of Paris to mend something and wiped his hands on his jeans and then sat in his black leather chair.

There are now streaks of white on the seat.

I have tried vinegar and leather cleaner. Any suggestions?

Answer: Plaster of Paris dries, hardens and is tough to remove. Since vinegar and leather cleaner have not worked for you, it is time to ask our readers to weigh in.

Q: I live in the Mayfair neighborhood of Philadelphia, and many years ago I had a deck built off the kitchen at the rear of my house over the rear common driveway.

We no longer use the deck, and it has fallen into disrepair.

My dilemma is: Should I just tear the deck down or have it torn down and rebuilt? The price quoted to just tear down the deck is $1,500.

My wife and I are in our mid-60s and are considering downsizing by relocating to a condominium in the suburbs.

In your opinion, will having a rear deck significantly enhance the selling price of my rowhouse?

A: Without question, a rear deck in Mayfair is something a rowhouse cannot do without.

Just walk from Friendship Street to St. Vincent Street and down Rowland Avenue and look at the alley between two streets.

Deck after deck after deck after deck . . . well, you should know, you live there.

I would think that if you didnít have one, your house might be more difficult to sell. That is no guarantee that the cost of demolition and building a new deck will be recouped when you sell, but I think it will pay to have one.

Say that two houses were listed for $130,000, and one had a deck and the other did not?

Would a buyer pay $130,000 for the house with a deck, or the one without it?

When high-rise condo developers design new structures, they try to include as much outdoor space as they can, because their buyers are used to it, coming from big houses in the suburbs, as many do.

The same should apply to a rowhouse in Mayfair. Even if it isnít in use 12 months of the year, it still makes a small house look much, much bigger.