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Renovation & Design

Porcelain tile rejuvenation not difficult

Ornamenta / Associated Press

Porcelain tiles

Question: A few years ago, I put in a dark, slate-coloured porcelain-tile floor in the bathroom.

It was tricky time-wise, as to putting in the grout and letting it set enough to wipe off the excess grout without shifting the position of the tiles. In some places, the grout was left on too long, hardened and could not be wiped off with a damp cloth.

I removed it, eventually, carefully with a plastering spatula without making any gouging/scratching marks, but I think leaving the grout solution on the top surface of the porcelain tiles to long removed some of the shiny surface and colour, and made these areas a dull and lighter shade of slate.

Is it possible to make all the tiles a uniform colour and brightness by using of an etching solution, then applying a darker stain and finishing with a sealer?

— Jim

Answer: There are a wide variety of products on the market which will rejuvenate porcelain tiles, with fewer steps than you may think.

Head to your nearest home hardware store, and look for products that are high-gloss water-based or acrylic sealants, apply according to instructions.

Another option is to rent a buffing machine and utilize it with a cotton or linen pad to buff the tiles back to life.

Question: I always get a kick out of reading your column, and appreciate all the useful tips.

Do you have a formula for a laundry stain remover? I find the smells too strong.

— Lindsey

Answer: The following formula makes a wonderful, all-purpose laundry stain remover that can be used on any washable fabrics and a variety of stains; it works just as well as store bought brands.

In a spray bottle combine: one half cup dish soap (Dawn works best, but you can use unscented dish soap); one half cup household ammonia; six tablespoons of baking soda; and two cups of warm water.

Shake the solution, and spray area. Leave for five minutes before laundering (test on an inconspicuous area first).

If you find the smell too strong, you can substitute white vinegar for ammonia or add additional water, but it will not be as effective.

Question: Why do frozen items (bags of peas, fruit, etc.) in my freezer have SO MUCH frost inside? Sometimes, even before I have even opened the bag! Help!

Thanks in advance, and keep those tips coming.

— Jaine

Answer: There is a limit to how long an item can be frozen, because after approximately three months of freezer life, items tend to dry out, which results in frost build-up.

Also, inadequate draining of vegetables before freezing makes a difference, and freezer temperatures above -17 C may cause undesirable ice formation.

Here are a few suggestions to prevent ice: put veggies into a double or triple lock sealable bag, some people even double bag meat and veggies before freezing. Using a straw, suck as much air out as possible. Remove straw, and seal bag.

Or forget about bags and purchase reusable containers that are manufactured for the freezer, which should help to keep the frost out.

Store-bought frozen vegetables can be kept in their original plastic bags and placed inside of a sealable bag to guard against freezer burn.

When using sealable bags, label the bag with the contents and date using masking tape and a permanent marker.

Note: Every user assumes all risks of injury or damage resulting from the implementation of any suggestions in this column. Test all products on an inconspicuous area first.

I enjoy your questions and tips, keep them coming. Need a presenter on the topic: Effective Speaking or The Power of Words? Check out: reena.ca.

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