Q: When Sandy
flooded our basement, we had a contractor pull up the carpeting and
install vinyl tiles.
He prepared the
concrete floor by scraping up the rug glue that remained, and used
commercial adhesive to put down the new tiles.
Some of the
tiles do not lie flat against the floor; their edges bow slightly,
creating a space that rises above the adjoining tile. This looks bad,
and I expect that dirt — or water, when the floor is mopped — will
eventually accumulate in the spaces.
says the floor is not even. Is there a way to correct the way this
looks? Should some sealant or grout be used to close the spaces?
A: I assume you
paid the contractor for this job.
do-it-yourself vinyl tile installation instructions, Armstrong says it
the floor you're laying over is clean, dry and flat."
laminate, vinyl, wood, and ceramic tile floors and the first thing
I've done in each case is make sure the surface on which each is
installed is level. Otherwise, you are going to have problems, and you
the problem is that these are glue-down tiles rather than
self-adhesive, which are easier to install and to fix.
self-adhesive, you simply cut the affected tile, pry it up, and sand
the glue. Glue-downs are embedded in mastic, which is tougher to
should have been determined beforehand and corrected with a leveling
compound designed for use on concrete surfaces.
Vinyl tile is
not designed to be grouted. You snap chalk lines and then you butt
each tile up against the next.
Solution: It is
Q: Anything I
put on my back deck gets mildew on it every year.
I clean it with
ammonia and water, then put on a new coat of stain about every two to
if there is anything else to do.
A: You can try a
sealant, but if your back deck is on the north side where the sun
doesn't shine very much, regular maintenance is probably the only
I've tried many
things over the years, but periodic "de-greening" and
sealing is usually the best answer.
Q: I have a fine
dining room table with a dark stain and the standard, I assume,
urethane protective finish.
By mistake we
placed on the naked wood hot plates without an undercover protection.
The result is a series of three white spots. My guess is that the
urethane coating blistered and turned white.
How do I remove
the white spots without further damage and treat the area to bring
back the dark finish?
was to use fine-gauge steel wool to remove the white blister finish
and treat it from there. What are your suggestions?
A: I've had that
sort of problem with steam from a coffeemaker putting a white spot on
a cherry cabinet, but what I noticed is that more steam removes it.
question piqued my curiosity, in that we have a mission-style oak
dining room table that could suffer the same problem if someone is
I've found on the Internet is, oddly enough, applying more heat to the
white spot created by something hot.
The solution I'm
recommending you consider is on littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com,
under "How to Remove White Heat Marks on Furniture."
revisited: OK, here goes: I paid $3.49 at the hardware store for
Goddard's Granite & Marble Polish. You can find it on Amazon.
No, you don't
have to use it every day unless you have all the time in the world. I
use it annually, and it does the job.
The bottle says
you also can use it on tile, stone, porcelain, Corian, Formica, and