Handyman on Call

Can she flatten out factory finished wood planks?

Q. A few months ago I had a pinhole leak from a bathroom sink, which leaked through the living room ceiling and left water puddled on the floor. The floor is factory finished wood planks. I got the water up as quickly as I could, but in one section of the floor the planks curl up on the edges. Anything I can do to get them flat again?


A. I don’t think there is anything you can do except wait to see if the curls go down over the next few months. You could sand them down to flatten them out, then apply two coats of water-based polyurethane varnish to try to get a match, but just waiting may be your best bet. Not to be facetious, if the area is small, put an area rug over it.


Q. I clean my glass-top kitchen table with Windex and yet I cannot seem to get it completely clean. I think it is getting worse. It seems to have what I can only describe as a foggy appearance in many areas and nothing I use (Windex, soap and water, etc.) seems to clean it. It is brand new. Is there anything I did and more importantly, is there anything I can do to get a shiny clean table?

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A. I must assume that the glass was not foggy when you bought it. And, are you sure the fogginess is not on the bottom of the glass? Some cleaners may make glass look worse, so you can call the dealer to see if he has any ideas. But try this anyway: Clean the glass with the lotion designed for glass-topped stoves. Or, rub with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

Q. Is there any natural stone kitchen countertop available that is less expensive that granite?

JKFG, in Hotton’s chat room


A. I don’t think so, although there are many natural products coming out, such as slate and soapstone. I suggest you look into Corian’s quartz countertops, which look like granite and resist stains, which can be cleaned off with fine sandpaper or a nylon pot scrubber.

Q. I had to patch up and paint several areas after I had some improvements made, and when I finished roller painting my dining room ceiling I noticed that I did a lot of paint spattering, which was hard to get off. Is there a product or method to paint without the splatter?

MARCO, in Hotton’s chat room

A. Yes, there is a product and a method that will work. It is you, and how you roll the paint on. Do not load the roller too much. When you load it, roll it on the dry part of the tray to take off excess and dripping edges. Then push the roller s-l-o-w-l-y.

Q. Problem: I have a small reservoir that screws into a pipe. They both appear to be brass or with a brass washer. They are stuck together. I have tried WD-40, Bolt Off penetrant, heat, cold, etc., with the application of twisting force. Now what?


JIM YANNES. by e-mail

A. Have a plumber try. He has more tricks at his a disposal to help, including heat, so he might succeed. If he breaks it, the onus is on him.

Globe Handyman on Call Peter Hotton also appears in the Sunday Real Estate section. He is available 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays to answer questions on house repair. Call 617-929-2930. Hotton ( also chats online about house matters 2-3 p.m. Thursdays. Go to