Q We have long had a problem with our bathroom door swinging open and bashing into the toilet. I want to install a doorstop in the ceramic tile floor in front of the toilet but am afraid to drill through the tile or the grout. Any ideas?
A You may want to think of another solution, says Gloria Richey of Tile Importers in Anaheim. Whether you drill through the tile or the grout, you’re risking some damage to the tile. You may get better protection by attaching some kind of rubber guard to the door so that it doesn’t get damaged when it hits the toilet. If you really want to go with the doorstop, use a new tile bit and drill through the grout to the subfloor. If you have to go through the tile, put a piece of tape on the area you’ll be drilling to keep it from breaking.
Q I’ve got an old redwood gate that needs a coat of sealer before the hot weather gets here, and I have a 10-year-old can of sealer that’s almost full. It appears in good condition, but I’m wondering if it loses some of its sealing properties over time.
A There probably is some loss, says Jim Grant of Dutch Boy Home Decorating Center in Santa Ana. It’s probably an oil-based sealer, which isn’t sold anymore because of air quality regulations, and oil-based sealers tend to crystallize over time. While using it for your gate is probably a great way to get rid of the sealer (you won’t have to take it to a hazardous waste center), there’s probably going to be some loss of quality. You’re ultimately better off using a modern water-based sealer or one that has an emulsified oil base.
Q I want to get one of those small, under-counter refrigerators for my bonus room, but I’m worried that the condensation might ruin my hardwood floor. Is there anything I can put underneath the refrigerator to catch any fluids that might drip?
A There are big pans made for washing machines and water heaters, but you’ll probably have a hard time finding one for a small refrigerator, says Tom Houlihan of Orange County Appliance Parts in Garden Grove. Those small units usually have a dehydration system. But sheet metal shops can probably make you one inexpensively. Spray-paint it the color of the refrigerator and it will look as if it was meant to be there.
Q We take our two young children to the beach almost every day during the summer and fairly often on nice days throughout the year. The problem is they get so much sand in the bathtub. The drain isn’t slow, but I fear the sand may be damaging the plumbing.
A Look for a fine mesh screen that can fit on the drain and filter out some of the sand, says plumber Andy Howard of Santa Ana. Also, although the kids may not like it, make them dry off completely, then brush the sand off them in the yard with a towel. And make sure their swimsuits are dry and shake the sand out before putting them in the wash.
Q We have a semi-enclosed patio, with one side facing the back yard, and we were interested in finding a wallpaper that could be used outdoors. Is there such a thing?
A Paperhanger Steve Bella of San Juan Capistrano says you won’t have much luck. Getting paper to stick on some indoor walls is hard enough, but making it stay outdoors would be just about impossible. If you are determined, try a heavy-duty vinyl paper; buy a small roll, put a piece in an inconspicuous area and see what happens. With the range of humidity and temperature changes outside, it will probably soon peel off.
If you have a question about your home or garden, A Helping Hand will help you find the answer. Send your questions to: John Morell, Home Design, The Times Orange County, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.