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Clean, examine concrete before patching potholes

Gene Austin McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Q. I recently bought a house with a concrete basement floor that is riddled with small cracks and potholes up to 2 inches deep. I’d like to resurface it without adding a lot of depth. Is that possible?

A. A number of concrete resurfacing materials are available that add only a thin layer to the surface of the concrete, but they generally won’t work well unless the underlying concrete is in good condition and is thoroughly cleaned.

An example is Quikrete Concrete Resurfacer, which is sold in bags at some home centers. This is a blend of Portland cement, sand and polymer modifiers, and it can be applied with a brush, squeegee or trowel to the old concrete in a layer as little as 1/8-inch thick.

In addition to being in good condition, it is recommended that the old concrete be pressure washed before application. Be sure and read all the directions and requirements before attempting to use this product.

I think your concrete is too far gone for this type of treatment. In my opinion, the best bet is to patch the cracks in the slab with a top-quality vinyl concrete patch.

You don’t say how large the potholes are; if more than a few inches in diameter use concrete mix to fill them, following directions on the bag. If the holes are small, you can use vinyl patch or sand mix to fill the holes.

After you have patched all the defects, let the floor alone for at least a year to see how the patches hold up. If the patched slab appears stable, you can get a reasonably uniform appearance by painting it with a special paint such as Drylok Concrete Floor Paint or epoxy floor paint.

Do not use waterproofing paint, which is not intended for floors.

Q. We recently bought a new white dishwasher that now appears to be slightly different in color from our other appliances, which appear to be off-white. It doesn’t match the counter top either. Will this color mixup hurt if we want to sell the house? Can the dishwasher front be painted to match the other appliances?

A. Most people like appliance colors to match, though many counter tops are of different colors. If the difference is slight, as between white and off-white, it probably won’t make a great deal of difference.

It’s impossible to say whether it would have an adverse effect if you tried to sell the house, since it would depend entirely on the taste of the prospective buyer.

Most appliances can be painted with special appliance paints, but I would certainly hesitate to paint a brand-new dishwasher. My inclination would be to learn to live with the slight color difference; in time, you probably won’t notice it.

Q. My toilets have black deposits under the rim and black rings at the water lines. How can I get rid of these?

A. The rings and deposits are caused by minerals in your water. The deposits under the rim are left by water entering the toilet bowl through small holes under the rim. This happens each time you flush the toilet.

There are many formulas for removing mineral deposits, ranging from white vinegar to the tablets used to clean dentures. I recommend skipping the homemade remedies and using a cleaner such as Lysol Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner or Zud, both sold at many supermarkets.

You will probably have to do some brisk brushing with the cleaner and a toilet-bowl brush; wear goggles and gloves to protect against spatters.

If these cleaners don’t work, I’d go to the ultimate ring remover, pumice sticks, sold at some hardware stores or on line at www.vermontcountrystore. com; write Ring Erasers in the search space.

Questions and comments should be e-mailed to Gene Austin at Send regular mail to 1730 Blue Bell Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422.
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