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ASK THE HANDYMAN / JOHN MORELL

Deck Should Be Cleaned, Then Stained

April 24, 1993|JOHN MORELL

Question: The finish on my redwood deck has become flat and dull, and I'd like to re-stain it. Other than sanding, is there anything I should do to the wood to prepare it?

L.Q.

Santa Ana

Answer: "First, you should probably use some kind of detergent to clean it off," says Jim Craig of Decratrend in Anaheim. "Then get a belt sander and strip off the old sealer and finish. You want the wood to become porous again so that it will absorb the new stain. Generally, because they're under such heavy use, stain doesn't hold well on decks. You have to figure that you'll need to re-stain every three or four years, depending on how it's weathered."

Q: I have a concrete patio edged with brick that has become very soiled. What can I safely use to keep it from looking dirty and spotted?

J.U.

Mission Viejo

A: "I'd try one of those simple concrete and masonry cleaners that are detergent based," says Jim Barrett, a brick layer from Santa Ana. "Usually you wash the area with a hose, apply the cleaner and scrub the spots with a wire brush. If this doesn't work, I'd recommend having a professional concrete cleaner come out and use a high-pressure water stream, which costs around $100. I'd avoid using any kind of acid since this could damage the bricks around the edge."

Q: I have a 23-year-old wood shake roof that has a couple of leaks. I'd like to tear off some of the old shakes and replace them since I think this will stop the leaks. Will it work?

B.M.

Villa Park

A: "First of all, you'll need to find out where the leak is. You'll have to check in the attic space to see where it originates," says Pete Gorman of Rancho Lumber in Westminster. "You'll also have to be extremely careful walking on the roof since it's old and you may cause more damage while you're working on it. You can get replacement shingles for cracked ones. You'll need to insert a hacksaw blade underneath the old shingle and cut away the nail, then hammer the new shingle in place. There's also a 'tin shingle' available that you slide under the bad shake and it keeps water from coming through.

"A shake roof lasts about 20 years so you may be needing a new roof soon. If you're not ready to do that now, you could just repair it. But if it's in bad condition overall, I wouldn't recommend using a sealer of any kind to protect it, since it will have to be replaced soon."

Q: In painting our bedrooms, I'm worried about getting paint on the carpeting when doing the trim. Even if I push back the carpeting, the carpet will hit the wet baseboards when I finish each section. How do the pros do it?

F.F.

Santa Ana

A: "You'll basically need a few rolls of two-inch-wide masking tape," says Harold Brobst of Hal's Paint & Decorating in Fullerton. "Before doing the trim, push the carpet down and secure it away from the baseboard with the tape. Use a trim guard as you go to help protect it. After the paint is dry, you can remove the tape and it should be fine."

Q: We have interference on our low frequency TV channels 2, 4 and 5. Repairmen claim that our antenna is positioned properly, and no one I've contacted has been able to help us. Is there anything that can pinpoint the problem or counteract the interference?

L.P.

Laguna Hills

A: "Short of getting cable service, it's very difficult to eliminate TV interference," says George Sherman of Mar Vac Electronics in Costa Mesa. "Channel 2 has had on ongoing problem with interference for some time, and it often bleeds over into other channels. You may want to recheck your antenna. Although it may be positioned properly, there could be 'shadows' created by nearby trees or structures that are affecting your reception. Also, double-check your antenna connections. If the contacts are slightly off, they can change your picture."

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