Handyman on Call
Saving a hickory tabletop
Q. Nail polish remover was spilled on the tabletop of my hickory kitchen set. The stain looks bleached out, and that part of the finish is gonzo. How can I make repairs?
PAULINE GIANNELLA, Melrose
A. The damage is irreparable. But all is not lost. You can refinish the top only. Sand it to the bare wood, buy a Minwax oil stain of your choice, apply this stain with a cloth, not a brush, and finish with 2 or 3 coats of a semi-gloss oil-based polyurethane varnish. Use a high-quality (expensive) brush.
Q. My metal garage is probably galvanized steel and does not hold paint. A painter tried using a metal primer, then latex paint, without success. Any really good ideas?
A. Not really. There are two paints on the market that might work: Krylon’s Contractor Wrought Iron paint and Krylon’s Door & Shutter paint. Inquire at a paint store to see if some of it comes in colors other than black and if it also comes in regular paint cans.
Q. My daughter’s shower creates a loud chattering noise when it is turned on. Is there anything wrong here, or is it something to live with?
A. Chattering pipes are more of a nuisance than a hazard, I think, although severe chattering can cause a leak. The pipes leading to the shower are running along the ceiling, possibly secured to the side of joists or running across the joists. And they are loose and vibrate when water courses through them and in some cases two are close enough together to clatter against each other. Insulating the close-together pipes with foam tubes will deaden the noise. Or, tighten them in their hangers or brackets, but not too tight because that can cause problems, too.
Q. We have been having trouble keeping the claw feet on our old tub since we applied ceramic tiles. The tub lies unevenly on the tiled floor, and any movement when we bathe tends to loosen the feet. Each foot slides onto a protruding groove cast onto the tub bottom; the flanges on the legs (which are roughly parallel to the floor) are wider at the top, and the tub grooves are correspondingly narrower on top, so the pieces lock together. A set screw at the end of each leg flange tightens against the tub bottom to lock the leg in place. Despite this simple and seemingly immovable system, one or another leg now works loose. This didn’t happen when the tub sat on vinyl tile on a wood floor but started after I installed ceramic tile. My only theory is that the floor isn’t perfectly level, and since it is now more rigid the legs don’t all rest perfectly, rock a bit as we use the tub, and work loose.
PHIL AND KAREN
A. There are two things that you can do: Secure the set screws, then slip a thin layer of wood or plastic under one or more claw feet to see if the tub will stabilize and not rock. Retighten each set screw and put a drop of super glue on the set screw. And try not to rock the tub so much.
Q. One of the steel lolly columns in my basement has what looks like liquid rust coming out of it from 5 feet up all the way to the bottom. Is it cursed? If I scrape it down and repaint with Rustoleum, would that stop it?
BOB, in Hotton’s chat room
A. Rustoleum will not help. Your basement is damp, caused by water vapor coming in through the concrete slab and condensing on the cold steel. It is also coming up where the column sets on or in the concrete. Ventilate the cellar by opening windows to release that water vapor.
Another fix is to replace the column. Or raise the beam above the column so you can raise the column, too. It might have a steel plate at the bottom, and it might be an inch or so under the surface of the slab. So you have to pull it up and put a vapor barrier (an old piece of vinyl flooring will do) on the floor so the column will set back on it. This will keep moisture from coming up through the slab and causing more rust.
Globe Handyman on Call also appears in the Sunday Real Estate section. He is available 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays to answer questions on house repair. Call 617-929-2930. Hotton (firstname.lastname@example.org) also chats online about house matters 2-3 p.m. Thursdays. Go to www.boston.com.