November 18, 2012 in Features

Do It Yourself: Both cork, vinyl resist slipping, easy to clean

Gene Austin McClatchy-Tribune

Q. We want to install flooring in our kitchen and bathroom that is resistant to slipping when wet, but also easy to clean. Can you make some suggestions?

A. The main problem is that most floors that are slip-resistant are not especially easy to clean. Most so-called anti-skid flooring has a coarse or textured finish, which gives better traction than a slick floor, but also collects more dirt that can’t easily be wiped off. Many types of anti-slip flooring, such as special ceramic tiles and plastic laminates, are designed for commercial use rather than homes. There are also special coatings for slippery floors, but most of them contain some type of grit to improve traction.

One possible less-slippery flooring choice that might go well in a kitchen is cork, which some manufacturers say is also easy to keep clean. For more information, check and click on Cork Flooring. Many homeowners opt to use easy-clean flooring such as vinyl, either sheet vinyl or tiles, or smooth ceramic tiles, and help avoid slipping by using non-skid rugs or mats in traffic areas and, of course, at showers and bathtubs. Choose mats that can be tossed into the washing machine when they get dirty.

When it’s time to clean the floor, simply pick up the mats and proceed – carefully, of course.

Q. The bowl of our bathroom sink is somewhat pitted and I’m looking for the best approach to repairing it. Is epoxy spray paint the best way to go or should I buy a kit that has various painting materials and uses a brush to apply the paint?

A. Aerosol spray paint is a great innovation but my choice to refinish the sink is a two-part epoxy paint applied with a brush.

Also, before you start, be aware that painting might make the pits less visible but won’t eliminate them. Repairing small pits is very difficult. There are products available to fill chips, but getting one of these to adhere in small pits and end with a smooth surface won’t be easy.

If you go ahead with painting and choose a spray, you will have to very carefully mask surrounding surfaces to keep paint from going where you don’t want it. The aerosol sprayer will also apply only a very thin coat at a time, and it takes great care and some practice to get an even finish.

Two-part epoxy in a can, applied with a brush, is much easier to control and you’ll get a thicker, tougher finish. That said, I should add that painting bathroom fixtures often isn’t a good choice for do-it-yourselfers. The surface must be very carefully cleaned and prepared or the finish won’t adhere for long – peeling and chipping are common problems. You can get a professional to refinish the sink, but even a pro job should be considered only temporary, probably with a lifespan of no more than five years.

If the sink is in such poor condition that it bothers you, I think the best bet is to replace it. Unlike bathtubs, sinks are relatively inexpensive and usually need only some easy-to-make plumbing connections.

Q. A piece of plastic-laminate edge banding about eight inches long has come loose from my kitchen counter top. How do I fix this?

A. Laminate edge banding is usually applied with contact cement, but this cement is tricky to use because it bonds instantly and adjustments can’t be made. I suggest using a slower-setting adhesive that will let you adjust the edge and make sure it is on straight. Good choices are Liquid Nails or Goop, both of which are sold in toothpaste-type tubes at many home centers. Sand the back of the loose banding and the counter edge lightly with fine sandpaper to remove some of the old adhesive. Spread a thin film of adhesive on the counter edge and press the banding into place. Hold it in position with strips of duct tape until the adhesive sets.

Questions and comments should be emailed to Gene Austin at Send regular mail for Gene Austin to 1730 Blue Bell Pike, Blue Bell, Pa., 19422.

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