Real estate


Sanding out seams takes determination, grit

This seam needs to be sanded carefully.

Q. Our painted wood fireplace surround appears to have been a kit, and there is a seam right up the front. It runs through the mantel cap and down the face about a third of the way across the front. There is a piece of molding across this area that has no seam. Any suggestions for how we can hide the seam?

DEB, Topsham, Maine

A. I would carefully sand your seams. You might have to use wood filler (I recommend Minwax) to feather it out a bit. Try a random orbital sander, a multi-tool sander for tight spots, or good old hand sanding with a block.


Q. I have a Silestone kitchen countertop. A black permanent marker left a line on its white surface. I used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser on it, and it left a dull spot. Do you have any suggestions for how to bring back the luster?

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here


A. I reached out to a stone care and restoration service for advice. An expert there told me the Magic Eraser works because it is a mild abrasive. Quartz counters are made up of the same basic minerals as granite and will scratch with abrasives. This means that you should avoid using them and setting hot pots down on or cutting directly on quartz counters.

Unfortunately, the only solution is to refinish the counter. I recommend you call a professional stone-restoration company. Be prepared for them to tell you that the countertop will have to be polished to a higher finish to ensure that the repaired area does not stand out.

Q. In a recent column, a reader asked what he could do to keep water from running into his garage. You suggested laying down some sort of rubber or plastic seal that would create a 1-inch lip to keep water from running under the overhead doors, but you didn’t name a specific product. I can find nothing comparable online short of a British product that costs roughly $150 to $200 per door, depending upon whether I want 1.18 of an inch or 1.57 of an inch in thickness.


Can you recommend a more-or-less comparable domestic product that won’t hit my wallet quite so hard?


A. I guess the buck stops here then. You’re not the only person who asked this question; we had several e-mails on it.

I do not have a specific brand to recommend, but you can call a local overhead garage door company or search the term “garage door threshold weather seal” online. Some brand names are Clopay Storm Shield and Sensible Solutions’ Storm Shield Garage Door Threshold. These weather seals typically sell for $40 for 10 feet and include a quality adhesive to apply them.

Thresholds typically measure 3 inches in width, slope up on both sides, reach a half inch in height at the tallest point, and are black in color.


Once in place, they will help create a tight seal and keep out water, dirt, and leaves. These seals are very durable, stay flexible in extreme heat or cold temperatures, will not crack or shatter, and can withstand vehicles driving over them.

Note: Massachusetts state building code requires the garage floor surface to be sloped to facilitate movement of liquid toward a drain or main vehicle entry. Adding a threshold could create a dam, so you might want to cut small channels in the threshold.

Rob Robillard is a general contractor, carpenter, editor of, and principal of a carpentry and renovation business. Send your questions to or tweet them to @globeaddress or @robertrobillard.