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Floor Won't Settle for Just Any Cleaner


Q: I have a wood floor that has a pickled white finish. I'm finding lots of scuff marks from chairs that are very difficult to remove. What type of cleaner should I use on this floor?


Lake Forest

A: It's probably best to find out who the manufacturer of the floor is first before shopping for a cleaner, says Joel Spencer of Floors Unlimited in Orange.

The problem is that a cleaner that's ideal for one floor may not work well with another brand. If you can't find the manufacturer and you don't have any scrap pieces you can take to a floor retailer, you'll probably need a professional to come out and evaluate it. The pickled or whitewashed floors weren't around very long. As you've found out, they tend to scuff very easily and don't wear well.

Q: We have sliding aluminum windows in our 20-year-old house, and my pet peeve is that when I try to open them, they often stick and need to be pulled very hard. Is there a way to make them work easier?


Huntington Beach

A: If the windows are as old as the house, the first thing to suspect is that the rollers are bad, says Debbie Mundt of College Glass & Mirror in Fullerton.

Over time, they tend to stick and cause problems when you try to open and close the window, and replacing these isn't difficult. This could also be caused by pile weatherstripping bunching up and making the slider stick. You might also suspect the window frame. They're generally screwed together at the corners, and if a corner is bent or slightly out of shape, it can affect how it runs and how it closes.

Q: We have some neighbors who live in a tract home that's the same style as ours, and they're in the process of remodeling their bathroom.

They've offered to give us their old counter top, which is made of Corian and would fit our cabinet perfectly. While the top is in good shape overall, there's a small corner that's broken off of it. Can this be successfully repaired?


Mission Viejo

A: If the top is made of Corian, it can be repaired successfully, says Scott Blanke of Central Plumbing & Heating in La Habra.

You'll just want to be sure the top is Corian, since there are many look-alikes, and some cultured marble products can look very much like it.

Corian can be sanded and buffed, filled and plugged, but generally it must be done by a professional.

Look underneath the top to see if the underside looks the same as the top. Corian is about half an inch thick. If it's a cultured marble top, the underside will usually be white and bubbly.

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, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

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