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ASK THE HANDYMAN / JOHN MORELL

Plumbing Supply Stores Are a Good Source for Used Toilet Tank Covers

April 17, 1993|JOHN MORELL

Question: We have a 6-year-old American Standard toilet in one of our bathrooms and, while cleaning it recently, I dropped the tank lid and shattered it. I've checked with a few hardware stores, and they said I'll have to buy a new toilet to get the lid. Is there any way around that?

D.D.

Yorba Linda

Answer: "Many plumbing supply stores have used lids, so you may want to call around," says Rod Albright of Albright Plumbing and Heating. "With an unusual brand or color, you could have a problem finding the right one, but if it's white and it's from a major manufacturer, you could probably find it. You could also order the lid if it's still manufactured through a dealer, or at least get a new tank instead of having to get the entire toilet. If you can't put the lid back together, make a pattern of the opening on cardboard, take it to a dealer and see if they can't match it with one that fits."

Q: We've replaced the wrought-iron fence around our pool and have sawed off the posts at the level of the concrete deck. Now we have rust stains on the concrete near the old posts. What can we do to remove the rust and prevent the posts from causing more stains?

C.A.B.

Placentia

A: "To remove the rust you'll probably need to use a solution of water and muriatic acid," says Gary Lillge of Crown Hardware in Corona del Mar. "Dilute the acid down to about 20:1, and with a wire brush scrape it into the stain and the post areas. Be sure to wear rubber gloves and some kind of eye protection. After it's cleaned off, you can spray a heavy-duty paint onto the posts that will protect them from oxidation and more rust problems in the future."

Q: We have a cement walkway that a previous owner had painted, and which is now flaking and peeling. We can't afford to sandblast the area, but we did scrape the loose paint away and repainted it with cement paint. Now that is coming up. What can we do to make it right?

M.W.

Corona del Mar

A: "You can try using paint removers on it, but the problem there is you could hurt the grass and plants around the walkway," says Charlie K. of Tustin Paint Mart. "With wire brushes, and maybe a water-blaster, you'll need to get all of the paint off. After it's smooth and clean, you can re-coat it with two thin coats of a cement paint. The reason the paint you applied came off was probably because the old paint was still coming off, which is why you need to get everything off."

Q: I've painted the walls in my bedroom, and I'm about to start on the trim. I want to keep the trim paint off the walls, but I'm reluctant to use masking tape in the areas that are newly painted because it may damage the finish. What do I do?

F.R.

Seal Beach

A: "I would use just a simple aluminum or plastic trim guard," says painter Dave Richards of Santa Ana. "It's about one to two feet long and you just hold it up against the wall or carpet as you stroke down with the brush. Be sure though that you wipe off the trim guard to keep it clean and keep paint off the area you're protecting."

Q: We have a 5-year-old gray carpet that has some small spots in certain areas. Some friends have said they've had excellent luck by spraying glass cleaner on carpet stains and rubbing them out. I'm reluctant to do this since I'm afraid it may make the area blue. Am I right?

G.M.

Costa Mesa

A: "There is no 'cure-all' for carpet stains," says carpet cleaner Ed Brooks of Anaheim. "You could very well remove a stain with glass cleaner and leave a blue stain. First you have to determine what the stain is, then use what is appropriate to remove it, such as water and soap or a solvent. The other factor to consider is the type of carpeting you have and how it's been treated. I'd contact the people you bought the carpet from and get some kind of brochure about its care and spot removal."

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