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Polishing Should Restore Marble Stained by Juice


Q: About three months ago, we had our kitchen/dining-room marble floor refurbished, and it turned out beautiful. But we dropped some cranberry juice on it, and it appears to have etched a scar in the surface. Is there some way to repair this ourselves?


Newport Beach


A: Most juices have acids that will etch a natural marble surface if it's not cleaned immediately, says Richard Haney of Stonecare in Costa Mesa.

Marble is a natural stone and can be damaged by seemingly innocuous substances. Your local marble dealer may have a kit that could remove the stain. Basically, it involves polishing it down to make it blend in with the rest of the floor.

If that doesn't work, you'll probably have to bring in a professional with the right chemicals, equipment and expertise to do the job.


Q: Our garbage disposal has developed a terrible odor. We think it's because of food particles lodging under the splash guard and the upper area of the disposal. A new splash guard didn't help. Is there a solution?


Huntington Beach


A: Many plumbing stores carry enzyme tablets designed to eat away the bacteria that cause the odor from sinks and disposals, says Scott Blanke of Central Plumbing & Heating Supply in La Habra.

These work for many people. You can also try running a solution of bleach and water through there, and put some ice cubes in the unit and turn it on to keep the blades clean. With a regular system of maintenance, you should be able to solve the problem.


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


Santa Ana


A: You should use some kind of detergent to clean it off, says painter Jack Wilton of Anaheim. Then get a belt sander and strip off the old sealer and finish.

Your goal is to have the wood 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 has 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?


Mission Viejo


A: Try one of those simple concrete and masonry cleaners that are detergent-based, says Jim Barrett, a brick mason 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, have a professional concrete cleaner come out and use a high-pressure water stream, which costs about $100.

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?


Villa Park


A: Find out where the leak is by checking in the attic space to see where it originates, says Pete Gorman of Rancho Lumber in Westminster.

You'll 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 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 to keep water from coming through.

A shake roof lasts about 20 years, so you may need to get a new roof soon. In the meantime, you can try simply repairing it, but if the roof is in bad condition overall, a sealer of any kind won't protect it.

If you have a question about your home or garden, A Helping Hand will help you find the answer. Send questions to John Morell, Home Design, The Times Orange County Edition, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

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