Saturday, July 12, 2014

Got rust, dust or sill rot? Aim, salvage, maybe seal YOUR PLACE ALAN J. HEAVENS

February 19. 2013 3:23PM
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Apparently, if you believe Peter Kushkowski of Portland, Conn., I goofed pinpointing the source of rusting of a heating register next to a reader's toilet.

From my experience, the obvious cause is not condensation as you suggested, but her husband, said Kushkowski, identifying poor aim as the cause.

Advising him to sit down as his wife does will go a long way to eliminating the reoccurrence of rust – it worked at our house, he said.

Of the six emails suggesting this as a reason, Kushkowski was the only male sender.

A few columns back, a reader complained that her venerable Armstrong ceiling tiles shed a lot of tiny particles, causing quite a vicious dust problem.

The manufacturer told her to vacuum the tiles regularly, but she said she didn't have the equipment to do so.

Sam Portaro of Chicago recommends that the reader buy inexpensive wand extensions at any retailer selling shop vacuums.

Because most accessory parts are available separately, one or two segments of the proper size and length will add sufficient length to reach the ceiling without any problem, he said. Another possible source: thrift shops, Goodwill, Salvation Army and similar outlets, as odd parts are often available.

Having once owned an older home with higher ceilings, I held on to such extra parts when discarding retired vacuum cleaners and found the extra wand segments especially useful when cleaning stairwells, ceiling fans, and light fixtures of cobwebs and dust, Portaro said.

Q: The original owners of our house kept a curtain pulled across the window in a shower to prevent the sill from getting wet and eventually rotting.

Although this has kept the window in very good shape, I am looking for a less complicated look. The tile surrounding this window is laid in typical 1950 fashion – a wet bed.

Is there a finish that I could paint on top of the wood so that I wouldn't need the unsightly shower curtain in that area?

A: Yes, that's what she said, a window in the shower, which I assume has frosted glass to deter crowds.

Perhaps adding some sort of sealant to the wood surface might offer protection, but I doubt very much that it would be a permanent fix.

Moisture has a way of lingering on surfaces and finding its way into the wood, compromising the material very quickly.

I'd look for another solution or simply leave the curtain up.

Questions? E-mail Alan J. Heavens at or write to him at The Inquirer, Box 8263, Philadelphia PA 19101. Volume prohibits individual replies.

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