YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


August 14, 1993|JOHN MORELL

Solution of Vinegar and Water Can Flush Out Toilet Deposits

Question: I have an old Case toilet that is flushing too slowly. I've been told the problem is that water deposits have clogged the passages inside and that it's best to replace the toilet. However, considering that it's a wall-mounted unit, replacement would be very expensive. How can I fix the problem without replacing the toilet?



Answer: "The easiest thing to try first is to take a piece of stiff wire and poke it through the holes underneath the rim," says Rod Albright of Albright Plumbing & Heating in Los Alamitos. "This might clear out the holes enough for water to flow freely. If not, you'll have to remove the toilet, plug the outlets and fill it with a solution of vinegar and water. After a few days, the deposits may loosen enough for them to be flushed out.

"If that doesn't work, you can try using muriatic acid to burn them out, but you'll have to be careful. Acid can etch an old porcelain finish, which will make it harder to clean in the future."

Q: I've been reading about a paint that claims to be formulated out of vinyl and is guaranteed for 25 years. Can a paint really be that durable?


Costa Mesa

A: "All latex paints have some vinyl in them," says Gene Teramura of Dutch Boy Paint & Decorating Center in Santa Ana. "Vinyl is good for some surfaces but isn't great for everything. Generally, latex paints use more of either acrylic or vinyl in their formulation. Those with more vinyl work well on masonry or stucco, since these surfaces are less likely to expand or contract with changes in the weather. When used on masonry, this kind of paint generally has a long life. Paints with more acrylics are better suited for wood trim, since they're more elastic."

Q: I have a 14-year-old rock roof that has been trouble-free except for this past year. Small rocks have fallen off in various areas; what can be done to get them back in place?


Garden Grove

A: "It sounds as though the tar is drying out, which isn't uncommon when a roof gets to that age," says Jim Gorman of Rancho Lumber in Westminster. "If the felt is in good shape and isn't torn, you can sweep away the loose rocks and spread a cold application roofing cement over the area. There are cements that are white, which will help blend into the roof if your rocks are white. You can then cover the cement with new or loose rocks to patch the bare areas."

Q: We bought a house recently with urethane-finished hardwood floors in the den and kitchen. We did some painting in those two rooms and got a little paint in the grooves between the planks. I tried getting out the little flecks of paint with a brush, but that didn't work well. What can I use that won't damage the floor?


Buena Park

A: "You may want to use a clean cloth and some mineral spirits," says floor installer Clay Majors of Santa Ana. "Pour the spirits, or turpentine, onto the cloth--not the floor--then gently rub it into the crack area. If that doesn't remove the paint, you may want to use an old toothbrush and try to push it out. That urethane finish is pretty tough; you just have to be sure not to use some kind of abrasive or a detergent. And make sure that if you use any water while trying to get rid of the paint, you wipe it up immediately because it can leave spots."

Got a question about your home or garden? Write to: John Morell, Handyman, The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626.

Los Angeles Times Articles