Sile­stone needs some con­di­tioner for ‘mis­take’

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - REENA NER­BAS

QUES­TION: I had Sile­stone coun­ter­tops in­stalled in my new house four years ago and made the big mis­take, at great ex­pense, of hav­ing them honed be­cause I like a matte ef­fect. Un­for­tu­nately, they show ev­ery mark and al­though the marks can be wiped off, the re­sult is un­even and un­sat­is­fac­tory. I have tried gran­ite cleaner but the sur­face is still patchy. Is there some­thing I can ap­ply to pro­vide a more over­all fin­ish? Out­side of re­mov­ing them I am stuck with coun­ter­tops which ir­ri­tate me ev­ery time I look at them! Many thanks, Sylvia, Win­nipeg

AN­SWER: I wouldn’t call honed Sile­stone a mis­take, how­ever it is true that matte fin­ish isn’t quite as care­free as the pol­ished ver­sion. Sile­stone rec­om­mends the use of a con­di­tioner: “The use of a con­di­tioner is purely tem­po­rary and will re­quire ei­ther re­peat ap­pli­ca­tions to main­tain a con­sis­tent lus­tre on the sur­face or thor­ough clean­ing to re­move it.” Daily cleaner for honed Sile­stone should be a pH bal­anced gen­eral-pur­pose house­hold cleaner such as dish soap, and wa­ter.

QUES­TION: I hope you can help me with the cork floor in my kitchen. We have had the cork floor­ing for quite some time but lately chips have come off on some places. How can I fix this? I hope you can help me. Sin­cerely, Ineke (St. An­drews)

AN­SWER: Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak (Quer­cus Su­ber). The bark is har­vested ap­prox­i­mately ev­ery nine years with­out caus­ing any harm to the tree. As a re­sult, cork is a truly sus­tain­able floor­ing prod­uct but even the best things in life have their ups and downs. To re­pair the dam­aged floor, be­gin by con­firm­ing that your floors are solid cork and not ve­neer. Ve­neer cork can­not be re­paired or sanded and must be re­placed. To re­place ve­neered cork, re­move mould­ing and pry up the dam­aged plank andre­place with a new cork plank (you may want to call a pro­fes­sional to help with this). Solid cork floors can be sanded us­ing an elec­tric floor san­der or a coarse grade sand paper wrapped around a block. Next use fine grade sand paper to smooth the area. Clean the floor as nor­mal. Check man­u­fac­turer’s fin­ish to de­ter­mine if the floor has oil or polyurethane fin­ish. Fin­ish by ap­ply­ing two coats of the cor­rect fin­ish (al­low first coat to dry thor­oughly be­fore ap­ply­ing the sec­ond coat).

QUES­TION: I have found your so­lu­tions so help­ful. I would like to know how you can get rid of sil­ver fish in my apart­ment. Lois (Portage la Prairie)

AN­SWER: A mix­ture of two ta­ble­spoons pow­dered ic­ing sugar and one cup bo­rax spread in a few places along base­boards should do the trick to get rid of sil­ver­fish. Take cau­tion around chil­dren and pets; bo­rax is poi­sonous if in­gested. It is also im­por­tant to note that in or­der to zap sil­ver­fish per­ma­nently you will want to get rid of all ex­cess mois­ture in the base­ment by pur­chas­ing a good qual­ity de­hu­mid­i­fier. If in­fes­ta­tion con­tin­ues please con­tact a fu­mi­ga­tion ser­vice.

Fab­u­lous Tips and Feed­back from read­ers:

To flat­ten plas­tic milk jugs pour about a cup of boil­ing wa­ter into it. Put the lid back on tightly. Shake very gen­tly un­til it is all swollen and hot. Care­fully take the lid off, pour out and place on the floor, han­dle side down. Step care­fully in the mid­dle just to push it down enough to make the ends start to col­lapse then move your feet one at a time to flat­ten each end. Keep stand­ing, mov­ing around a bit, un­til it is cool. Voila! Flat as a pan­cake and it stays that way so that ever-so-many can be packed side by side in a box. Joy, Win­nipeg

Reena’s note: Take cau­tion; this sounds some­what dan­ger­ous.

With re­gards to light bulbs, I like to put a bit of “Never-seize” on the threads of the base. When these were made of brass, as well as the sock­ets, it wasn’t a prob­lem. Now, be­ing alu­minum, and alu­minum sock­ets and heat they tend to seize. Also, if you ro­tate the pli­ers clock­wise, as you sug­gested, you will only screw the base in tighter. I find it works best to use a pair of nee­dle-nose pli­ers and in­sert be­tween the base and socket. Turn counter- clock­wise and it splits the base and col­lapses it and makes it eas­ier to re­move. Keep up the good sug­ges­tions. Gerry, Win­nipeg

I wish I had seen your so­lu­tion to the fruit fly prob­lem a few weeks ago, as we had an in­fes­ta­tion in our house. May I sug­gest us­ing a vac­uum to suck the lit­tle bug­gers up in­stead of us­ing hair­spray? Once the flies are gone, dis­pose of the vac­uum bag. Trish (Lake Win­nipeg)

A few months ago a reader wrote in re­gard­ing mould on her bath­room tiles and her lack of suc­cess in re­mov­ing it. I had the same prob­lem — I re­moved it suc­cess­fully us­ing ‘Fan­tas­tic with Bleach’. It took two ap­pli­ca­tions. It saved us from rip­ping out the tiles and re­plac­ing them. Anony­mous

I en­joy your ques­tions and tips, keep them com­ing!

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