Q: I have mahogany porch-decks. I cleaned the wood and stained it, but the stain remained tacky for a long time and showed dirt and footprints. I used a roof-and-deck cleaner, and it removed some of the stain but just made things worse. Suggestions?
The best way to handle a botched or ugly deck stain is to remove it and start fresh; a deck cleaner won't do the job. Try a deck-stain stripper such as Flood's Wood Stripper, www.floodco.com. Some strippers remove only latex stains; others, like Flood's, remove oil-based and latex stains. Removing stain is a messy, tedious job but should leave a clean surface.
Mahogany is considered a premium deck wood and often has good color of its own, so you might want to consider a clear deck sealer rather than another stain. It will probably need to be reapplied in a couple of years.
To avoid a sticky finish, follow directions for best application temperature and humidity, and wipe off any finish that doesn't penetrate.
Fixing a leaky shower
Q: Our bathtub leaks when we take showers but not when we take baths. The water gets on the floor and even leaks through the ceiling below. Some of it seems to leak through the shower curtain.
The best bet is to scrape off the old caulk and apply a bead of mildew-resistant tub-and-tile caulk around the tub-wall joint. Next, look for cracked or missing grout in the tiles on the walls around the tub. A few cracks can be repaired with the tub-and-tile caulk. However, if the grout is in poor condition, it could mean water has soaked into the wall behind the tiles and extensive work is needed, including replacement of wall panels. You also should consider replacing the shower curtain with a sliding glass door. It is crucial to stop leaks to prevent mold and rotting.