Chip Away at Esteemed Old Bricks


Question: We have an old brick barbecue in our backyard that is no longer usable. I'd like to remove it and use the bricks to make up part of a new patio surface. How do I disassemble it without damaging the bricks?




Answer: Use a brick chisel and a hammer, says Jim Gorman of Rancho Lumber in Westminster.

Hammer away the mortar to free the bricks. Then use the chisel on each brick, carefully cutting away mortar that's still attached.

You may want to contact a building supply or masonry dealer to find out about an acid wash or some other treatments you can use if you want to change the look of the brick before it's installed.


Q We have a king-size bed that's about 7 years old, and it's mounted on the metal frame that came with it. It creaks very badly when someone sits or lies on it. Is this a sign of a bad box spring, or is the problem with the frame?


Laguna Beach


A The best way to narrow down the problem is to remove the box spring and set the mattress on the frame, says carpenter Jorge Rios of Santa Ana.

If the bed creaks, the problem is the frame. Check for bent arms or legs on the frame, and make sure the bed rests tightly on top of it. Some frames that come with mattress and box spring are not built well. Yours could be bent and ready for the junk pile.

If there is no creaking with just the mattress on the frame, you have to assume the noise is coming from the box spring. Because it's only 7 years old, you might want to contact the company you bought it from; many of the big manufacturers have warranties up to 10 years on their products.


Q My husband spilled water-based paint on our new carpeting. He tried wiping it up, but only managed to spread it out over the carpeting. The color blends into the carpet color, so it doesn't show too badly, but we'd like to get rid of the spot.


Huntington Beach


A Assuming it's a spot larger than the bottom of a paint can and that it has dried, you need a professional carpet cleaner to take a look at it, says Rich Zelle of Fullerton Paint & Flooring.

Many good repair services can either dye the spot to make it match the rest of the carpeting or cut it out and replace it with a matching piece.

When something catastrophic--such as an open, full can of paint dropping onto the carpet--happens, blot up as much as you can with dry rags, then use plenty of wet rags to pull up even more.

Smaller spots can be attacked using a solvent such as Goof Off, but be sure to test it first in an inconspicuous area.

If you have a question about your home or garden, Helping Hand will help you find the answer. Send questions to John Morell, Home Design, The Times Orange County, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World