Question: Recently a pet parrot chewed on one of our custom shutter panels. How do we repair the damaged slats without replacing the whole panel?
Answer: “It’s not hard to replace a slat if you can get one that matches your panel and if you’re a little handy with tools,” says Jana Baldwin of Heirwood Shutters in Costa Mesa. “Contact the company you bought them from about getting a replacement slat. The slats are usually spring-loaded into place on one side, and you need to take a pair of needle-nose pliers, tilt the louvers until you reach in and pull it off. When installing, insert the spring-loaded side, reattach the staple connecting it to the rod that moves the other louvers.”
Q: We have a pool deck, patio and sidewalk made of small pebbles set into concrete that’s about 5 years old. We’ve noticed that many of the pebbles have become loose and we sweep up large amounts with a broom each week. Is there a way to reset the pebbles?
A: “There is, but you’re talking about a very labor-intensive job,” says Dan Verduzco of Champion Masonry Materials in Buena Park. “There is a concrete glue available that, if you found a loose pebble, applied some of the glue to it and put it back into place, nothing would pull it out. But when you have a lot of pebbles to glue into a patio, you could see how you’d be doing it for a long time. It would be different if you reglued each pebble when you saw that it was out of place.”
Q: I’ve got a bracket in a sliding closet door that has a Phillips screw that I can’t get out. I’ve tried every size screwdriver, spray lubricants and nothing works.
A: “Probably your best bet is to drill right down the center of the screw,” says machinist Rick Mendoza of Fountain Valley. “Use a regular steel bit, then get a small tap which screws into the hole. As the tap bores into the screw, it will force it to turn and draw it out.”
Q: I’ve got a lamp cord that I want to run from the kitchen into the dining room. In order to do that the cord must go behind the stove. What’s a safe way to insulate the cord before putting it down there?
A: “You’re going to have to protect it with something else besides tape due to the extreme heat it may have to endure behind the stove,” says Neal Hinz of Plains Lumber in Costa Mesa. “It’s probably best to find another way to run the cord just to avoid that problem. There is a molding that’s made with a wire inside that you could attach to the wall and run just above your wood molding that will keep you from having an ugly cord lying around.”
Q: I have an area of ceramic tile over a cement slab floor, and cracks have turned up in the tiles. If I replace the tiles, is there an adhesive I can use between the slab and tile that will have some elasticity so the tile won’t crack?
A: “There is a product that’s mixed into the cement and is normally used for applying tile on wood floors that gives the adhesive elasticity,” says Rob Maushardt of Tile Outlet in Anaheim. “It’s called Flex Elastic, and it provides great strength and flexibility. Although, to get the most benefit, it may be best to redo the tile floor.”