Q: Is there any way to clean a stain in a fiberglass bathroom basin?
A: "You can try a product called Gel Gloss that is designed for cleaning marble and fiberglass, although it really depends on the stain," says John Johnstone of Niagara Plumbing in Garden Grove. "If that doesn't do it, you might try a little acetone, but first try it out in an inconspicuous area because it may bleach the fiberglass.
"To prevent stains, you can use Gel Glass because it also acts as a sealant. And on faucets and fixtures, get some automobile carnuba paste wax and rub it in. The water will just bead and roll off instead of collecting and leaving spots."
Q: The aluminum sliding doors and windows in our 20-year-old home are drafty because some of the "fuzzy gasket" strips are worn out. Can they be repaired or replaced?
A: "What you have to do is remove the sliding panel and replace the strip," says Brian Greenlee of Openings in Anaheim. "The trick is often getting the panel out of the track. Prise it up and pull it out. You can find the strips at hardware or window supply stores, and in a pinch, they can be glued on.
"Unfortunately, that doesn't always solve the problem of a draft. Sometimes, if the door or window is warped, cold air gets in where the glass meets the frame. Replacing the striping may help, but if there's still a problem with drafts, the window may need to be replaced or fixed."
Q: We have a large mirror attached to the wall by an adhesive around the area above our fireplace. The morning after we had built a fire, we found a large crack in the mirror. Before installing a new one, I want to know if the heat from the fireplace could have caused the crack.
A: "I've worked with mirrors a long time and I've never known one above a fireplace to crack because of the heat," says Don Lane of Grove Glass in Garden Grove. "Usually cracks occur because of the way they're installed. They may be too tight against the wall as the house settles, or the wall may not be true. There are a number of things that can cause it, but the fireplace is pretty well insulated and it shouldn't be putting out enough heat to crack the mirror."
Q: I'm interested in added security for my sliding glass doors. My neighbor once installed pieces of metal that run the length of the doors that she called "Charlie bars." Are these still being made?
A: "I haven't seen those around in a while," says Mike Campos of Anaheim Glass. "They worked on the same principle as putting a broomstick at the bottom of the track. If you're interested in more security, there are locks available that attach to the sliding door and push a pin into the frame to keep the door from sliding or from being pulled off its track.
"Or, instead of buying a lock, you can just drill a hole in the frame and the door and insert a screw. You'll be getting the same security at a cheaper price."
Q: We have an outside wooden deck that's been painted with Old Quaker 6005DB Acrystain. I'd like to know if there's some type of varnish or shellac I can apply to make it really "hoseworthy." I'm thinking of a boat deck finish.
A: "Your best bet is using Marine Spar-Tek Varnish," says Jim Hawkins of Hawkins Paint in Anaheim. "It's made specifically for boats, but in this type of application it's also very durable and it has ultraviolet screening agents that protect the wood. You might want to thin the first coat down with paint thinner or mineral spirits before applying, and that will help it work as a sealer. After it dries fully, follow with a coat of solid varnish."