Question: I want to get rid of shower curtains and put in a permanent glass or plastic shower door. The shower is in the bathtub. The problem is that I have small children, and I must bathe them in the tub. With sliding panels or doors that open, half of the tub stays shut up, and it's awkward to reach the children. Is there such a thing as a door that opens all the way?
Answer: There are a couple of options. One bath enclosure slides overhead. The name of it is Up-N-Away, and it's manufactured by Unitspan. In other words, the single plastic panel works vertically, rather than horizontally. And there is no track along the side of the tub (as there is with conventional tub enclosures), so it would be convenient for you to sit on the side of the tub to bathe the children.
There also are shower doors that work like accordion doors. It simply folds to one side of the tub, leaving the rest of the enclosure open. One such door is called Aqua Maid, and the manufacturer is American Shower Door.
Both of these are available at Snyder-Diamond Plumbing & Appliances.
I'm sure that if you shop around you'll find alternatives to conventional tub enclosures.
Q: I'm getting ready to repaint my bedroom, which is drywall. On one wall, there are some bubbles about the size of a quarter in the tape where the sections join. Will I have to remove all of this tape and replace it before I paint?
A: That depends upon how many bubbles there are. If it appears that the tape has not adhered properly all the way down the joint, I would replace the tape. However, if there are just a few places where there are bubbles, I would take a razor blade and cut away the tape where the bubble is. Then fill that shallow cavity with joint compound and sand it before you paint it.
Q: Recently I put new vinyl tiles on my bathroom floor, and it looks good, except the area around the pipes that go into the floor. The tiles broke off, and I had to do part of it in patches. Do you have any tips for this?
A: The easiest way to do this is to warm the tiles slightly, because this makes them flexible and easy to cut. If you have an extra tile or two, you might try laying them on the shelf of a warm oven--with the burner turned off--for a few minutes.
While the tile is warm, cut it to your pattern. If the tile cools, warm it up again before you put it on the floor.
If you have trouble removing the few tiles you are going to replace, use your pressing iron with a cloth over it or a common hair dryer to heat the tiles and lift them up.
Q: We bought a condominium a year and a half ago, and now the stucco around the foundation is showing some cracks. We contacted the builder who sold us the condo, but he won't do anything about it. What can we do?
A: In nearly every area, there are building codes that should be followed and periodic inspections to be made during construction. I suggest you contact the Department of Building and Safety and ask to have the matter looked into.
Q: On the outside window sills, the paint is practically all peeled off. How should I proceed before applying the final coat? Some say to wipe sills with linseed oil?
A: You should scrape off all the old paint before you do anything. Then apply with a brush a half-and-half mixture of boiled linseed oil and paint thinner. You might give the sills two or even three coats, allowing about a day between coats. After the final coat of linseed oil and thinner, let it dry for about three days. Sand lightly and apply an alkyd primer. Then you're ready to apply your final coat.