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ASK THE HANDYMAN / JOHN MORELL

Giving the Slip to Stains From Bathtub Decals

March 27, 1993|JOHN MORELL

Question: Years ago I lined my bathtub with those decals that keep you from slipping. Now they are breaking apart and I'd like to remove them all, but I can't get out the stains left over from the decals. Any suggestions?

T.V.

Laguna Hills

Answer: "You may want to try a cleanser containing phosphoric acid," says Joel Gwartz of B.J. Discount Plumbing and Heating Supply in Garden Grove. "The usual bathroom surface cleaners don't work that well on adhesives. Phosphoric acid is generally effective on tough stains, and it's not harmful to the bathtub enamel. Follow the directions on the container--you may have to put it on the stain and let it sit for a while to work. You may also have to wear gloves and eye protection when using it."

Q: We're looking at some new lighting for our home, and I'm a little confused about halogen bulbs. Do they use more energy than regular bulbs? Are they interchangeable with regular bulbs?

R.D.

Santa Ana

A: "Basically, halogens provide you with 40% to 50% more light than a standard bulb," says Tom Becker of Harbor Lites in Costa Mesa. "With a 150-watt halogen bulb, you get the equivalent of about 200 watts of light, so you can get a lower wattage bulb to light a room. Halogen creates a 'whiter' light that makes a room brighter and clearer. The bulbs are also interchangeable, in general, with other bulbs, and you can convert a standard lamp to one that burns halogens fairly easily."

Q: The previous owner of our house had the exterior re-stuccoed three years ago, and in various areas the stucco has become flaky and it brushes off easily.

What can I do to prevent more of this from happening? Should I have some type of texture coating applied?

A.C.

Cypress

A: "I'd be interested in finding out why it was re-stuccoed," says contractor Steve Bray of Placentia. "If water is getting into the wall from a leaky roof or pipe, it can cause the stucco to deteriorate. That may have happened, and the leaking problem wasn't fixed correctly, which has caused the new stucco to deteriorate.

"If the problem is close to the ground, it may be caused by moisture seeping up from the ground, or from water that's pooled next to the walls after all the rain we've had. These areas are easily repaired with a stucco patch, and you can apply a clear sealing coat to the wall after painting to keep it dry. I think stucco is better than these texture coats. It's more attractive and keeps your home's value up, and it also lasts a long time."

Q: We have a guest house near the beach that has a bad mildew problem. It doesn't have air conditioning or heat, and the problem has become so bad that we've had to remove the carpeting and mattresses. How do we keep mildew out?

R.R.

Santa Ana

A: "I'm assuming that your house doesn't get used for long periods at a time," says house painter Dave Bridges of Anaheim. "In a humid environment, such as a beach, with the doors and windows closed, you're going to have a mildew problem. You may want to consider installing some type of air circulation system with a timer to keep the air moving in the house while you're not there.

"Remove the mildew from the walls with a water/bleach solution, and you may need to repaint them with a paint that contains a mildewcide. As for the floor, since you already have the carpet up, you may want to consider a cleaner flooring that isn't as affected by moisture as carpeting."

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