Today’s Homeowner Radio Podcast | October 22, 2022

This week, hear how to fill in scratches on a wood floor, relevel a brick walkway, and more. (Joanne Millum/Terri Dudley)

Hour 1

Listen to hear how to fill in scratches on a wood floor, relevel a brick walkway, and more.

Fix for Scratched Floors

Scratches on wood floors are an eyesore, but you can lessen the look of them. (Joanne Millum)

Joanne Millum has beautiful hardwood floors in her mid-century home. Unfortunately, when a repairman moved the fridge to check a filter, it left gouges and scratches across the wood grain.  

She wants to know: “Is there any way to fix that? One side is worse than the other.”

The only way to completely get rid of scratches is to refinish the floor.

But first, go to The Home Depot and get some Rejuvenate Wood Floor Restorer. This product is like a cleaner/filler for wood floors. 

Clean your wood floors first, and apply it to the damaged area. This will help blend in the scratches to the rest of the floor. 

Here’s our suggestion for preventing future scratches near the fridge — Cut a thin piece of paneling to the width of the refrigerator, and store it in the garage. Whenever you need to take the fridge out, tip it and slide the paneling under it to prevent any scratches. 

Releveling an Uneven Brick Walkway

These unlevel bricks on this walkway are a tripping hazard. (Terri Dudley)

Tree roots have shifted the bricks on Terri Dudley’s walkway, and it’s now become a tripping hazard.

The tree has since been cut down, but the roots are still intact around the stump and under the walkway. 

“I am a widow with a disabled daughter. Do you have any suggestions on how to make it safe?” she asks.

In a situation like this, it’s hard to tell what can fix the problem until you start removing the bricks — and yes, you’ll need to remove them.

But be careful. Depending on how the bricks are installed, removing the bricks could damage them unless they’re loosely laid. 

Don’t touch the bricks that are flat and smooth. Remove all of the ones that are displaced, and use a reciprocating saw to cut the root from the walkway.

Then, pack in some soil or crushed rocks, and replace the bricks. Fill in any voids with sand.

This may not get it 100 percent level, but it will eliminate the trip hazard. 

Hour 2

Listen to learn how to fix peeling paint, drill into tile, correct gaps in bamboo floors and more. 

Fix for Peeling Paint in a Bathroom

Peeling wall paint
Warm, moist air can cause paint to peel from walls. (Taveesaksri, Getty Images)

The paint is peeling off the ceiling in Philip Costa’s bathroom. He says the ceiling was plastered with a swirled pattern, and only a few areas are peeling. 

“Do you have any ideas on how to fix this,” he asks.

First, you need to make sure your exhaust fan is working to remove all the hot, moist air in the bathroom. 

The problem with exhaust fans is they get dirty and become ineffective. Try this test: take one square piece of toilet paper, turn the fan on, then hold it about an inch away from the grill. It should attach itself immediately to the fan, indicating the fan is drawing air up.

Make sure the exhaust fan is vented all the way to the outside. Make sure the air is coming out outside. 

First, scrap all the paint off and sand the ceiling. Next, paint the whole ceiling with a bonding primer. Then, repaint it with two coats of acrylic latex paint. This binds it well. 

This, coupled with making sure the hot, moist air is vented out, should eliminate the peeling paint. 

Tip for Drilling into Tile

Drilling holes in tile through masking tape
When drilling through tile, apply masking tape to keep the drill bit in place. (Getty Images)

Louis Sanchez just remodeled her master bathroom, which included tiling around the three walls of the toilet alcove. The tile extends up about 36 inches and is trimmed along the top edge with a natural-stone chair rail. 

Before installing the tile, the toilet paper holder was screwed to the drywall. 

“How would you suggest I attach the holder to the tile? I’m pretty handy, but I’m concerned about cracking our brand-new tile job.”

Trying to drill through a ceramic tile surround can be a challenge. The slick, glazed surface makes the masonry drill bit walk all over the tile.

I’ve heard some suggestions about using a nail to tap a slight indentation in the tile for a starting point, but this may end up cracking your tile.

Instead, try this: Place an “X” made from masking tape on the spot you want to drill. Use a pencil to mark the location on the top of the tape. The paper surface of the tape will keep your drill bit in place, allowing you to drill the hole where you need it.

Once drilled, simply remove the tape, and you’re ready to install the toilet paper holder. I recommend using a toggle bolt that goes through the tile into the cavity in the wall. 

Of course, if you’re worried about ruining the new tile, you can do away with the attached toilet paper holder and opt for a free-standing one instead.

Gaps in Bamboo Floors

Bamboo flooring
Bamboo flooring can expand and contract like regular hardwood. (gyro, Getty Images)

Cathy Cooly had bamboo hardwood floors installed in her dining in 2013. She’s since noticed a  gap that’s about 4 feet long and about 1/8-inch wide. 

“What can I do to stop it from gapping or what can I do to remove the gap in the floor?” she asks. 

A bamboo hardwood floor is typically glued down, so you can’t move the boards as you can with laminate floating floors.

You can try to fill in the gap with wood putty, but consider that the gap could be caused by thermal expansion.

In the wintertime, wood contracts, so that could be why the gap is noticeable. If you wait until summer, the wood might expand and fill the gap on its own. 

Fill it with something flexible, like caulk to accommodate for the expansion. 

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Simple Solutions

Jack-o-lanterns on a home's front steps during the morning
Carving jack-o-lanterns offers an opportunity to show your creative side. Give that pumpkin a personality — but light it without a flame! (DepositPhotos)

Jack-O’-Lantern Tips — After carving your Halloween pumpkin, dip it into an ice bath with one cup of bleach. Let it soak for several minutes, then dry it off and rub petroleum jelly onto the edges of all the cutouts.

This will help seal in moisture and make your jack-o’-lantern stay fresh throughout the holiday. 

Broan-NuTone range hood, seen close up in Today's Homeowner host Danny Lipford's home
Many modern range hoods have LED lights that are flush with the surface, making them difficult to remove for replacement or cleaning. (3 Echoes Content Studio)

Bulb Removal Tip — Many modern range hoods have LED lights that are flush with the surface, making them difficult to remove for replacement or cleaning.

Plus, the bulbs aren’t threaded into a socket, but instead must be pushed up into the housing and rotated slightly to disengage it from two protruding lugs.

So, here’s how to remove flush bulbs: Take a length of duct tape and pinch it in the middle to create a T-shape with a tab that will serve as a handle. Stick the tape to the bulb, push up and twist it counter-clockwise.

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