Home & Decor

Solutions & Substitutions Column

By: Reena Nerbas

Dear Reena,

I very much enjoy your column in our local newspaper and have benefitted by the great tips you give. I had Silestone counter tops installed in my new house 4 years ago and made the big mistake, at great expense, of having them honed because I like a matt 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

 Dear Sylvia,

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 luster 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.

 Hi Reena,

 I hope you can help me with the cork floor in my kitchen. We have had 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

 Hello Ineke,

Cork comes from the bark of the Cork Oak (Quercus Suber). The bark is harvested approximately every 9 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 its 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 molding and pry up the damaged plank, replace 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 coarse grade sandpaper wrapped around a block. Next use fine grade sandpaper 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).

 Dear Reena,

I have found your solutions so helpful. I would like to know how you can get rid of silverfish in my apartment. Lois

 Hi Lois,

A mixture of 2 tbsp. powdered (icing) sugar and 1 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 a milk jug; 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 water 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
  •  With regards to broken light bulbs stuck inside the socket, I like to put a bit of “Never-seize” on the threads of the base. 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, this splits the base and collapses it and makes it easier to remove. Keep up the good suggestions. Gerry
  • Hi Reena,
    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
  • Hello Reena,
    A few months ago a reader wrote in regarding mold 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 and saved us from ripping out the tiles and replacing them. Anonymous

 Reena Nerbas is a professional speaker and the author of three national best sellers, “Household Solutions 1 with Substitutions”, “Household Solutions 2 with Kitchen Secrets” and “Household Solutions 3 with Green Alternatives”. Books and Household Solutions 1, 2 and 3 Christmas Gift Packs are available on-line or by calling: 204-320-2757.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming!

Check out my web site! www.householdsolutions.org

For all of your home improvement needs please contact my friend Shell Busey at www.housesmartcentre.com

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Canadian Home Trends magazine gives you a personal tour of the most stunning homes and condos across Canada. You'll be inspired by a selection of accessible home décor products, trend reports, simple yet stylish DIY projects, and much more. In each issue, you are given the tools to recreate designer spaces you've always dreamt of having at home, in-depth renovation and design advice, colour palette and furniture pairings, and Canada's best places to shop.

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