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Awning Mold Is Easier to Prevent Than Eliminate


Q. We have a deck covered by an awning. Over the past year, mold has formed on the last six to eight inches of material before it reaches the bottom fringe. I tried washing a small portion with water and bleach, but that didn't work. Is there anything else that can be done?


Huntington Beach

A. While an awning can be a great accent to the look of a home, it also easily collects dirt and provides a great environment for mold and mildew to grow, especially in beach areas. The best remedy is regular maintenance, in which the awning is effectively cleaned three or four times per year to keep the mold in check.

Most manufacturers recommend using some mild dish soap with water to clean an awning, but if the mold is entrenched in this area, you may not have much luck, says Frank Herrera of Clean Awn of Los Alamitos.


Q. My fiberglass tub has a hole in it about the size of a pencil. I've tried covering it with tape, but that, of course, doesn't hold. Can it be patched successfully?


Buena Park

A. Fiberglass holes can be easily patched, but because of the equipment and chemicals involved, it's generally a job for professionals, says Rich Haagsma of Faucets 'n Fixtures in Orange.

It's not uncommon for holes to occur in fiberglass fixtures from accidents. Generally a fiberglass tub has some kind of laminate underneath it to give it strength, but it can be penetrated. A fiberglass repairman will patch the hole and reapply a gel coat to the surface to make it match the rest of the tub.


Q. My gas oven is about 20 years old and until recently has been trouble-free. But lately, it's taken much too long for some dishes to cook in the oven. I assume that the problem is in the thermostat. Can this be easily fixed?


Garden Grove

A. Many models have adjustable thermostats that are easily correctable, says Gary Kuhn of Appliance Parts Center in Laguna Niguel.

You may be able to take off the knob and with a skinny screwdriver turn the little screw at the end to adjust the thermostat. Put a meat thermometer in the oven to check on the actual temperature and adjust the screw accordingly. If the thermostat can't be adjusted, it may need replacement, which can be done by someone who's reasonably handy.


Q. We painted the exterior of our house last summer, and now I'm noticing several rust spots on the wood siding where the nail heads are. I was going to paint over them, but I don't want the rust to return. How can this be done?


Costa Mesa

A. Use a counterpunch, available at most hardware stores, to punch the nails with a hammer below the surface of the wood, says Charlie Kaczorowski of Tustin Paint Mart. Then apply a painter's putty to the holes, let them dry and sand until smooth. Sand away rust stains and apply a primer before using a finish coat on the area.


Q. Much of the exterior caulking around a couple of my windows is coming off. Why would this happen at these and not at other windows?



A. It could be that too much moisture is getting around the windows, says glass installer Greg Gurchess of Fountain Valley. You may see that a sprinkler is hitting the windows too much or a faulty gutter may be leaking above the windows. The caulking is easily replaced using a good exterior-rated caulk.

Before reapplying it, however, make sure that the area is clean and free of dirt and especially moisture.

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