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Handyman on call

Rhino Shield resolves homeowner’s issue

We have a good report on the Rhino Shield paint situation that one reader told us about a few weeks back. I wrote that I suspected the house itself had moisture issues that caused the Rhino Shield to fail. Rhino Shield representative Bill Wightman tells me the company replaced damaged wood and refinished the side of the home. It is my hope the owner also make repairs to fix the water problem, which can be done by a pro and basically is easy to detect. The owner messaged me that Rhino Shield did everything nicely, and following is a condensed version of his letter to the Handyman.

I am pleased to report that Rhino Shield has completed repairs to my house. Thanks to the attention you gave to my predicament I gained the attention of Rhino Shield and now feel comfortable they have honored and will continue to honor the lifetime warranty that induced me to contract for their services in the first place. Bill Wightman, the Rhino Shield representative who was instrumental in making sure the current repairs were completed (and done well), asked me to let you know that Rhino Shield was abiding by its warranty, and I am happy to do so. I told Bill that although the house does look good now, the real test won’t come until the spring, because it took about six months for the initial problems to emerge.


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Q. I put in a whole house humidifier in my hot air furnace, and ever since I am getting a musty smell in one bedroom. I have turned off the humidifier, but what went wrong?


A. Keep the humidifier off because it is causing more problems than it allegedly cures. The musty smell in one bedroom came from excessive moisture in one bedroom, and there was no way to release that extra water vapor. You could ventilate that room regularly, but if you keep the humidifier off the musty smell will go away in a few days. If you want some kind of humidifier, buy a console type to humidify one floor. Such a unit is easy to adjust to the needs of the house, keeping humidity at the right level. Don’t worry about the second floor; humid air rises, so it is unlikely to need a unit up there.

Q. I have two pieces of antique wrought-iron kitchenware. One is called a spider. I put them in a storage chest, and now they are rusty. How can I restore them to “like new?”


A. The fine old items are, I think, cast iron, among the best cooking vessels around. Rub with Brillo pads to remove the rust, and rinse. Then you can cure them, ready for cooking and reducing future rust. Add a bit of olive oil or cooking oil to the spider, wipe it a bit to spread it, then put it in a hot oven for just a few seconds — before it starts to smoke. Let it cool and it will be cured, ready for cooking or storage.

Q. I sprayed a lot of insect repellent in my house, and now I can’t get it off. I read your column and found the answer: Simple Green. Thanks. How can I get rust off steel tools?


A. Well, that was one good answer. I think paint thinner will also work. For the rusty tools, scrub with Brillo pads, rinse and let dry, then apply a thin coat of any kind of oil; WD-40 has enough oil to protect the steel.

Q. My 1980 town house has a fiberglass bath tub. I’d like to paint it a new color. If I can’t do it myself, are there pros out there who can paint it?


A. You should never paint a tub by yourself. Call a fiberglass fabricator, who I think can paint such a tub. Mirror Bond is a fiberglass dealer.

Q. My daughter is moving out of her apartment that has a small burn on the kitchen laminate countertop. It is black but not bubbling. Is there a way to remove the mark?


A. Maybe. First, rub the spot with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. If that doesn’t help, rub with the finest emery cloth available. Still no success? Try a less fine emery cloth, and keep trying with less fine emery or sandpaper. Use a little water with the emery cloth.

Globe Handyman on Call Peter Hotton answers house questions Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., at 617-929-2930. Hotton ( also chats online about house matters 2-3 p.m. Thursdays. To participate, go to
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