Q. Our '70s-era tract home has cheap sliding windows. In our master bedroom, whenever you walk by one of them, it rattles. Is there a way these windows can be easily repaired to make them silent?
A. On many of these styles of windows, there's a pile weatherstripping, a fuzzy, long strip that wears out over time, says Debbie Mundt of College Glass & Mirror in Anaheim. In addition to making the house more energy efficient, it also keeps the sliding frame of the window from rattling against the stationary frame. You may want to remove the sliding frame and replace this weatherstripping. While you're at it, use some silicone caulk around the stationary frame to prevent any air gaps.
Q. While loading a pair of crystal water glasses into my dishwasher I chipped two of the rims. Are they salvageable?
P.W., Mission Viejo
A. If it's a simple chip and the glass isn't cracked, it can be ground down and made usable again, says Fred Brummer of Michael's Lapidary in Anaheim. This can be done with any crystal glasses except those with gold rims. Fixing crystal isn't something that can be done while you wait. You may have to leave your glasses with a lapidary for a week or more. Be sure to hand-wash crystal. Chips often occur as a result of damage when crystal glassware is placed in a dishwasher.
Q. We're looking for new flooring for our kitchen, and we're considering the new laminate flooring, which looks like a wood floor but has better wearability. Is this a good choice?
T.H., Fountain Valley
A. Laminate flooring is great for any room in the house that isn't subject to excessive moisture, such as the bathroom, says Mark Silverberg of New York Carpets in Anaheim. It's very appropriate for kitchen use because the surface is extremely tough.
Laminate flooring is basically a wood veneer that's been placed on a fiberboard or particleboard and a thick laminate coating has been placed on top. On some of these floors, you can scrape the surface with a key and not leave a scratch. It's almost as easy to clean as a sheet vinyl floor, but you have to be careful not to get it too wet near the edges or allow pools of water to sit too long, as you would with a normal hardwood floor.
As for cost, it's about what you'd pay for a high-grade hardwood floor, but it's easier to install.
Q. We have a garage-turned-bonus room that has a ceiling made with rectangular tiles. A roof leak soaked a few of them, and now that the roof is fixed and the tiles are dry, I'd like to do something about the leftover stains. I've thought about replacing them, but I can't find any that are in the same pattern or shade as the old ones. Any ideas?
A. You might try putting some bleach and water in a spray bottle and spraying that on the stains, says painter Will Carlin of Anaheim. If that doesn't work, try having a paint shop match the color of the tile with a flat paint. Before applying the paint, make sure you use a pigmented shellac on the stains so that they won't bleed through the finish coat.
Q. In our bathrooms we have white, 12-inch ceramic tiles on the floors, and we're having a problem cleaning them. After walking on them, a black film is often left that is difficult to remove. What can we use that will get rid of the film but won't damage the finish of the tile?
A. Many people will use household cleaners that leave a film on tile, says Gloria Richey of Tile Importers in Anaheim. You may want to mix up a solution of white vinegar and hot water and mop the floors well to remove the film. Assuming the tile is glazed, make sure the cleaner you're using is specified for glazed tile, and don't use anything abrasive.