Home & Garden

Handyman: Be safe when storing used paint thinner

Q: I read the tip about letting the pigment settle in paint thinner and reusing the clear, still-potent thinner. I did not know one could do that. It would be good to emphasize that it is important to put the clear reusable paint thinner in a receptacle clearly for paint thinner, with the usual type cap on it. Some people may just pour the leftovers in a jar or bottle that a child may think is soda or another drink.

A: I agree that the reconstituted paint thinner should be installed in the original can with its lid, or into a container with a warning, and kept securely away from kids. Also, dispose of the paint you poured the thinner out of, too. Safely and legally.

Window repairs

Q: We have Andersen windows about 25 years old. Several have broken/sagging strings. And one of the casement windows needs the crank mechanism replaced. We have been trying to find someone to replace the strings, but the job is “too small.” Who might do the work?

A: Replacement windows are usually under warranty for 20 years for the glass, and lifetime for the windows themselves and mechanisms. Call Andersen to see what they can do. For that broken casement hardware, it’s easily replaced at a Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Painting old cabinets

Q: We have rather drab kitchen cabinets and cannot afford to put in a whole new kitchen. Could my daughter and I get by with just sanding the old cabinets and then painting them and adding new hardware? If sanding is an option, just how much sanding is required? Can we just rough up the surface or must we really use some “elbow grease”?

A: You both can do it. If you like to paint, that is helpful, but you won’t like sanding and washing first, though it has to be done.

First, remove all hardware and hinges, and put the doors on a table, making sure to protect the table. Then sand thoroughly – not removing the paint but just roughing the finish. Apply a latex interior primer and then two coats of a latex eggshell finish wall paint. Thin coats will succeed.

If you like the hardware, just put it back on. If you want something fancier, try to make sure the holes of the new hardware line up with the holes in the cabinets. If not, it is extra work to fill in the old holes and drill new ones to accommodate new hardware.

Hotton: photton@globe.com

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