INSIDE & OUT : Cabinetmakers Put In Table Legs, but Repairing Damage Costs Less


Q. The pine table in our dining room isn't an antique it's only about 30 years old--but it has great sentimental value. Our new dog seems to have enjoyed it so much that he's chewed up the lower part of one of the legs. Would it be better to patch the damage or have a new leg made?

C.E., Laguna Niguel

A. It all depends on the damage that's been done and what's acceptable for you, says Mark Bausman of Bausman & Father Furniture Restoration in Huntington Beach. If you want it to be perfect, you'll probably have to find a cabinetmaker who can make a leg for you, attach it and match the finish, which will probably be very expensive.

A furniture repairman could patch the damage, which will be less expensive, but it will probably be somewhat visible. If the damage is light, you could try using wax furniture repair sticks, which you can apply like a crayon to scratches and which hide minor cuts and dings.


Q. We had a glossy, Italian ceramic tile installed in the courtyard of our house. It looks beautiful, but whenever it gets wet, it becomes very slick and dangerous to walk on. Is there anything we can do to improve the traction?

E.S., Seal Beach

A. There is a product available that can be applied to tile that keeps it from being slippery when wet, says Tere Corrigan of In Tile Designs in Anaheim. It's available at tile stores, and it's applied like a sealer. Make sure the surface is dry and clean, then use a paint roller to apply it. Other than that, you could also use clear plastic runners that can be laid out in the walkway areas of the courtyard.


Q. We moved into a house that has a ceiling fan in the dining room. It's hard to tell who made the fan; it looks like it's quite old. We'd like to install lights into the bottom of the fan, but how do we find out what kind we'll need, since we don't know the manufacturer?

R.R., Buena Park

A. Nearly all light kits for fans are universal and will fit any fan, says Bob Owenby of A-1 Fans in Anaheim. Any fan that has a cover on the bottom can have a light kit attached. Just turn off the power to the circuit and remove the cover. Follow the directions for installing the light wiring, and attach the lights to the bottom of the fan.


Q. Is there a trick to painting over patched drywall? I've done it before, and it never comes out quite the same as when I see a professional do it.


A. After you've patched the drywall hole, use one of the wall texture sprays on the market on the patch to simulate the look of the rest of the drywall, says Charlie Kaczorowski of Tustin Paint Mart. Once that dries, you can try feathering paint out from the spot with a roller or brush that has very little paint on it. The problem with spot painting is that, if it's been a while since the rest of the wall has been painted, it will be hard to make the spot blend into the wall. You may have to either paint the whole wall or live with the change in color.


Q. One of our shower stall enclosures is made of anodized aluminum, and it's become very difficult to clean because of water and soap deposits. I know you're not supposed to use anything harsh on it, but is there anything strong that can remove stains from aluminum?

G.B., Placentia

A. For aluminum stains, you might want to try naval jelly, which is available at most hardware stores, says Dee Watt of College Glass & Mirror in Fullerton. The key to keeping enclosures clean is to wipe them off after each use. Keep a squeegee in the shower and go over the glass and aluminum when you're done. Make sure the track drains properly and the drain holes are clear to keep excess water and suds from building up. Once a week, clean the track out with a mild detergent.

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