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ASK THE HANDYMAN / JOHN MORELL

Replacing Wax Ring Might Prevent Stains Around Toilet

October 17, 1992|JOHN MORELL

Question: I recently had vinyl flooring installed in four bathrooms in my apartment building, and in each bathroom the floor around the toilet has discolored. I'm going to replace the floors again. What's needed to prevent this staining from occurring?

J.W.

Santa Ana

Answer: "Hopefully, you had new wax rings installed before the toilets were put back in place," says Rod Albright of Albright Plumbing and Heating Supply in Los Alamitos. "If you try to reuse a wax seal, or if you try to get away with a cheap one, you may have a problem with leakage. Each time the toilet is placed down on the flange and it's picked up again, you'll have to replace the ring.

"Another possibility is that the closet flange, the piece of metal the toilet bolts to, may not be flush with the finished floor. If the flooring is too high, the ring won't compress enough. In that case, you'll have to raise the flange or use two wax rings."

Q: We've got two large mirrors in our living room that are glued to the walls and need to be replaced. What kind of chance do we have to get them off cleanly and without a lot of hassle?

G.B.

Irvine

A: "Unfortunately, if you're thinking about removing them whole, it's probably not going to work," says Kayte Jackson of Maley's Glass in Anaheim. "If it's been put up with mirror mastic, the best thing to do is get a glass cutter and cut it into small pieces, then pry those pieces off the wall, and be sure to wear gloves.

"Depending on how thick the mastic was applied, you may or may not be able to save the wall underneath, and you'll have to do a lot of patching. I've seen jobs where there was so much mastic applied, it was easier to replace the wallboard than repair it."

Q: We've got a 14-year-old stove/oven unit that works fine, but we've bought a new refrigerator that's white, and it clashes a little with the almond color on the stove. We've heard we can have the metal painted. Is that a good idea or should we think about getting a new stove?

R.E.

Huntington Beach

A: "There are places that will refinish appliances and that might be a good thing for you," says Tom Houlihan of Orange County Appliance Parts in Garden Grove.

"They'll clean and paint the sides and oven door but make sure that they'll porcelainize, not paint, the top of the stove. Because of the heat and use in this area, a simple repainting won't last very long.

"The entire job would probably cost around $200. However, you also have to take into account the fact that (the stove) is old, and parts will be breaking down. Also, while the paint will be new, the metal and plastic trim parts will be original, and they may not make the unit look very good. You have to look at these issues before deciding whether to redo it or buy a new one."

Q: In my garage, I had a heck of a time putting up a bracket in which to hang some conduit in the rafters. The worst part was trying to get the screws in from an awkward position while standing on a ladder. I need to do a similar job on the opposite side of the garage soon. Do you have any tips on how to do it more easily?

S.S.

Placentia

A: "If your problem is getting screws into tough places, there is a simple carpenter's trick that may work for you," says woodworker Dave Barber of Santa Ana. "Usually you need two hands to do the job: one to hold the screw and the other to turn the screwdriver before it's set into the wood.

"Take a piece of (clear) tape and with a razor cut a small slit in the middle. Stick the screw completely through the tape, then attach it to the blade of the screwdriver. The screw is then secured to the blade and putting it in becomes a one-hand job."

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