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INSIDE & OUT : Wait Until It’s Dry to Plane Jammed Doors

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Q. Over the summer I planed two exterior doors in my house because they were sticking, and now I’m finding that they’re sticking again. How much more should I plane? I want to be careful because I don’t want to compromise the weatherstripping.

A.D., Placentia

A. A lot of people are finding that their doors are sticking after all this rain, says contractor Bob Hartwell of Huntington Beach. You should probably wait until summer after everything dries out before you plane again. The problem could be that you didn’t seal the planed areas, and moisture has soaked them and made them swell again. In July or August, open and close the doors a few times and mark where the sticking occurs, then shave off a little. Don’t worry about the weatherstripping, you’re not taking enough off the door to affect it.

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Q. I’ve been given three dried flower arrangements from a friend who’s moving, and while they’re attractive, I’ve noticed that there are a number of moths around them. Could they have come from the flowers, and is there some kind of spray I can use on the flowers to kill them?

B.B.,Irvine

A. Unfortunately, all dried flowers tend to get “buggy” over time as they deteriorate, says Vivian Moreno of Ben Franklin Crafts in Fountain Valley. Insecticides might damage the flowers, so those aren’t recommended. The longer the flowers cure and dry, the longer they’ll tend to last. Eucalyptus leaves and baby’s breath tend to deteriorate faster than other plants, but you should get at least a year out of an arrangement before it starts to go, then you’ll have to think about replacing it.

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Q. I bought two fire extinguishers six years ago and haven’t used them. There’s no indication on them as to how long they’re good. How can one tell?

D.E.,Stanton

A. If you’ve had them awhile and they don’t say when they expire, I’d get rid of them, says contractor Dave Wilson of Santa Ana. A high-quality extinguisher will indicate what types of fires it’s good for, and it will have a gauge or a button that shows if the pressure inside is OK. I like to keep one in the kitchen, the garage and in the hall bath.

Something I’ve done, and recommend doing, is get an extra extinguisher, take it in the back yard and try it out to make sure you know what to push and pull and what to expect. When there’s a fire, you’re probably going to be too panicked to read how to use the extinguisher.

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Q. We recently moved into a home that has a fairly new bath/shower enclosure. The metal frame is aluminum and the glass is clear. What can we use on the aluminum to keep up its appearance?

G.M., Brea

A. Eric Watt of College Glass & Mirror in Orange says he’s had customers tell him that they’ve had great success putting furniture polish on the metal to keep it sealed from water damage. There are also some products designed for car windshields, such as Rain-X, that will protect both the metal and the glass. It’s also a good idea to keep a squeegee handy in the tub area that can be used on the glass after it gets wet. This will remove any water build up and keep hard water deposits from forming.

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Q. We have a vinyl, one-piece no-wax floor that is fine except that it has an intricate design in which dirt and grime seem to collect. About the only way I’ve found to clean it is to get on my hands and knees with a rag and the cleaner and rub it out. Is there an easier way?

L.K., Laguna Hills

A. Many people who have no-wax floors just assume they can wash them and forget them, says Leslie Cooper of Bob’s Shades & Linoleum in Orange. That’s not always the case. Much of the grime that seems embedded in no-wax floors is the result of cleaning with products other than those recommended by the manufacturer. If the floor has become permanently dulled, you might have to strip it to remove the coating and the build-up. You can apply an acrylic floor polish, which will replace the old shine.

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