Question: I patched my concrete driveway a few months ago and the patch has dried much lighter than the rest of the concrete. Can I color it so it blends in or do I have to dig the patch out and redo it?
Answer: "I see that kind of problem with older driveways," says John Workman of Workman Concrete Repair in Fullerton. "What happens is that after a few years the driveway becomes weathered and goes from a light gray to a dark. There's no way to change the color of the patch now, but you might get some satisfaction with an overall cleaning of the driveway, either professionally or with a bleacher available from the hardware store.
"If it's still a problem for you, you'll have to reapply the patch, but this time go to a masonry supply store and see if they have a tint that will match your driveway's color that you can mix into the patch before putting it on."
Q: We're going to be moving soon, and I dread the prospect of moving our old, 1950s-era refrigerator. It doesn't have rollers, which means we're going to have to do something to protect the floor. Is there some kind of tool that repairmen use to move old refrigerators?
A: "It's very easy to damage floors, especially linoleum or vinyl," says Mark Greenway, an appliance repairman from Cerritos. "Even the newer-model refrigerators with built-in rollers will scratch floors sometimes because they stick and won't move.
"It would probably be best to set a thick piece of cardboard on top of an old blanket in front of the refrigerator. With another person, maneuver it onto the cardboard, then with the blanket under there you should be able to slide it out enough to secure a handcart to move it."
Q: I've got a nice piece of 1-inch-thick plywood that I'd like to turn into a table. What can I use on the edges to finish the project?
A: "Try some of the wood edging tape that's available from most home centers," advises carpenter Rick Corliss from Irvine. "It's basically just regular tape that has extra-thin wood strips on one side. The other side has an adhesive that sticks to the edge you're covering, although you may need to hammer in some finishing nails to secure it. After you put it on, you just prepare and stain the wood just as you had planned."
Q: We bought a home last summer that's badly in need of an exterior paint job. To prepare the surface, however, I need to know if the trim was painted with an oil-based or latex paint. How can I tell?
A: "All you have to do is get some denatured alcohol and a rag," says house painter Phil Barrow from Orange. "Rub some of the alcohol on an inconspicuous area. If the paint comes off, it's water-based latex."
Q: I've seen what are called air convection stoves that seem to be cleaner than the usual wood stove fireplaces. How do they work?
A: "Basically, convection heat is air that's drawn in, heated and circulated out into the room," says Chuck Grinter, a furnace and stove repairman based in Garden Grove. "There are some on the market that also combine convection with radiant heat, which work like a wood stove. They are cleaner than the usual wood stoves you see, although they're also a little more expensive because they're not as common."