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Horrific Stains on 20-Year-Old Oven May Be Permanent


Q: I recently bought a 20-year-old house, and the original oven has some horrific, raised stains inside. Oven cleaning products haven't removed them; any other ideas?


Lake Forest


A: It depends on the type of oven, says Tom Houlihan of Orange County Appliance Parts in Garden Grove.

Many ovens made in the 1970s had a "self-cleaning" interior. These worked on the principle that food stains would just burn away to ashes, but they never worked very well. You can tell if it's one of those because the interior has a rough surface. When one of these gets stained, it's almost impossible to clean. Other ovens use a porcelain surface, which makes old stains more easily removable, but not by much.

Try putting a wet sponge on the stains, even taping it to the oven walls, to see if that loosens them.


Q: We have redwood patio furniture that's about 5 years old. I'd like to paint it, but don't I have to use a special kind of paint for redwood?


Seal Beach


A: After cleaning the furniture and smoothing any rough areas with sandpaper, apply a stain-blocking exterior primer, says Rich Zelle of Fullerton Paint & Decorating. After that, you can apply your finish coat, whether it's an oil- or water-based paint.

If it's 5 years old, the wood should be dry enough to paint. Redwood and other woods that are new and haven't been treated probably shouldn't be painted until they've been fully dried, letting the oils and moisture release. Painting them before they're fully dry can damage the finish coat.


Q: We're considering installing wood flooring in our kitchen, but we're concerned about the high traffic in the area. We've heard that laminated wood flooring is a good choice for kitchens. What's the difference between it and regular oak flooring?




A: Laminated wood flooring is easy to care for and is a great choice for heavy-use areas, says Gidon Adlon of Bob's Shades & Linoleum in Orange.

The better brands guarantee against dents; you can drop heavy pans on some of these floors and not make a mark. They're pressure-treated with a hard sealer on top, which gives them their strength.

Another advantage of laminate flooring over regular wood floors is that, if you were to install a wood floor in your kitchen and decide next year to continue the floor into your dining room, finding matching dye lots is not difficult.

The only downside is that, as with regular wood floors, if you let water sit on the floor for long, it can stain.


Q: I have jalousie windows in my bathroom and have always been bothered by the fact that they don't insulate very well. Is there a way to make them more insulated?




A: Many glass shops sell a pliable plastic that attaches to the edge of the louvered blades, says Katy Jackson of Golden Glass in Anaheim Hills.

It's a clear sealing edge that runs along each slat. As you close the window, each glass slat sits tight against the plastic instead of the next glass slat, which keeps the room tremendously insulated.

They're easy to install, although they cost 85 to 95 cents per linear foot. If you have several windows, it might be quite an expense.

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