Acrylic Countertop Repair

Acrylic countertops, commonly called solid surface, have colors and designs that run all the way through the material. This makes it possible to repair most damage, including stains, scratches and burns. Although you need professional service for very deep scratches and burns, or to restore high-gloss counter finishes, you can repair less serious damage to matte and semi-gloss surfaces yourself.

Stains

Acrylic counters are nonporous, but they can stain. Common stains include ink, food, shoe polish, cosmetics and superficial cigarette burns. Remove these stains by cleaning the counter with an abrasive cleaner and the appropriate cleaning pad for your counter’s finish. Use a heavy-duty scouring pad for a matte-finish counter, or a non-scratching scouring pad for a counter with a semi-gloss finish. Alternatively, use the cleaning pad recommended by your counter’s manufacturer.

Light Scratches

You can remove light scratches on a matte- or semi-gloss counter using an abrasive cleaner and a sponge or damp cloth. Scrub gently, in a circular motion, until the scratches disappear. Use a non-scratching scouring pad to work in the cleaner if the sponge doesn’t remove the scratches.

Deeper Scratches and Cuts

Deeper scratches and cuts might require sanding. Your counter’s manufacturer may sell a scratch-removal kit with sanding pads or sandpaper, but you can achieve the same results using your own materials. Use a random orbital sander and 120-grit sandpaper. Sand the counter a second time using 180-grit paper, then use 220-grit sandpaper until the damage is gone and the counter surface is smooth. Buff out sanding marks on a matte-finish counter using a heavy-duty scouring pad. For semi-gloss counters, use 320-grit, then 400-grit, sandpaper, then buff with an ultra-fine scouring pad.

Restoring a Damaged Finish

Sanding can restore your counter’s matte or semi-gloss finish. Begin work on a matte finish counter with 220-grit sandpaper, then buff the surface vigorously using a heavy-duty scouring pad in a circular motion. For a semi-gloss counter, start with 220 sandpaper and work your way up to 400. Buff the surface with an abrasive cleaner and a sponge to blend any marks. Glossy counters need professional restoration.

How to Choose the Right Vanity For Your Bathroom

These seven tips will provide you with everything you need to know for selecting a new vanity that fits your space, style, and individual needs.

Selecting a new vanity for your bathroom has a myriad of benefits. Not only can it can completely revamp a space without requiring a full remodel, it can also be the gateway to extra storage and even allow for smoother morning routines. Here, we’ve culled some of our best tips for how to pick out a new bathroom vanity for just about any bathroom size.

1. Think About Proportion and Size

One of the first things to think about when selecting a new vanity for your bathroom is to consider what would be appropriate and adequate in terms of size. For instance, are you swapping out your old one because it’s too small? Are you planning to install a new vanity in a tiny powder room and need to find something small enough that would fit? While the standard widths for vanity cabinets are 18″, 24″, 30″, 36″, 48″, and 60″, you may find some in-between sizes out there, from as small as 16″ wide to over 84″ inches. The standard depth of a vanity, from front to back, is typically between 18.5″ and 21″, but there are certainly narrow depth options around 18″ deep.

2. Measuring Is Key

Once you’ve decided on your ideal vanity size, you should confirm that you have enough clearance around any opening doors, shower stalls, and drawers, as there is nothing worse than installing a big new vanity and not being able to open the bathroom door all the way. In fact, y may even want to take some painter’s tape and mark out the dimensions to make sure you make the right choice.

3. Evaluate Your Sink Needs

Different types of sinks can include vessel bowls, drop-in sinks, undermount sinks, and integrated sinks that form a continuous surface between the sink bowl and the rest of the vanity countertop.

Sinks—like the vanity cabinet itself—come in a range of sizes, depths, shapes, and types. Your vanity cabinet may require a specific type of sink, or it may even come with a sink, so be sure you read the product details carefully before you make your selection.

4. Review the Number of Sinks You Need

It is also important to consider the number of sinks, because more isn’t always better. While two sinks can help ease morning traffic, especially for large families, they also reduce countertop space. You may need to ask yourself: would a double sink with little countertop space be more useful than a single sink with more surface space?

5. Prioritize Storage or Easy Cleaning

The two main ways of mounting a bathroom vanity are either freestanding, wall-mounted, or corner-mounted. Freestanding vanities are the standard selection and typically provide more storage than their wall-mounted cousins, as the cabinets are longer and rest either directly on the floor or are raised on legs.

While extra storage is always nice, it is important to note freestanding vanities are also known for being harder to clean, since there are more corners and nooks where dust can hang out around them.

6. Examine Your Existing Plumbing

If you’re installing a new vanity, you or your plumber will likely be doing some new plumbing work. Yet, it is critical to remember the location of the existing plumbing. Typically, freestanding vanities are more forgiving for irregular or off-center existing plumbing connections, and require only minimal alterations, if any, to the existing water supply or drain.

However, a wall-mounted vanity has less flexibility, and you may find that moving some of the plumbing hookups is required. Be aware that this can result in a longer timeline and possibly a higher cost than anticipated.

7. Don’t Neglect the Faucet

Finally, it’s important to remember that faucets or Pop_up Drain aren’t always included in a new vanity, which may require a bit of research and coordination. If you do have to purchase the vanity or sink separately, take note of the number of faucet holes, how far apart they are, and how they should be installed.

For instance, does the sink require a centerset or widespread faucet? Does the faucet or sink come with a drain? Again, these questions can all be answered by carefully reading the product details, so be sure not to skimp on your research.

 

How to Clear Any Clogged Drain

Tools You’ll Need

Armed with the right tools and techniques, you can easily unplug stopped-up drains without having to call in a pro. All plumbing systems develop clogs—there’s no way to avoid it. We’ll show you how to clear stubborn clogs in a kitchen sink, bathtub, toilet and floor drain. These proven techniques will dislodge virtually any clog. If you can’t clear a clog after a few attempts, make sure you admit defeat and turn the job over to a drain-cleaning service or licensed plumber. Exerting too much force can permanently damage a pipe or fixture.

That said, specialized plumbing tools used to combat clogs are affordable, and they’re available at any hardware store or home center; you can even rent some.

The first tool to reach for when trouble arises is a plunger. This plumber’s friend clears clogs from most fixtures, including sinks, tubs and toilets. Every homeowner should keep one handy.

To dislodge clogs located farther down the drainpipe, use a cable auger, or plumber’s snake, a long, flexible steel cable wound around a spool that’s fitted with a hand crank. Cable augers are available in lengths up to 100 feet, though a 25-foot model will suffice for most any household clog.

closet auger is specifically made for snaking out toilets. It, too, is equipped with a hand crank, but instead of a spool, the cable is encased in a rigid shaft. The auger end is bent at a precise angle to fit through the tight curves of a toilet trap.

For a very large clog or one that’s far from the fixture, rent an electric power auger. This machine—basically a large cable auger powered by an electric motor—is very effective at cutting through virtually any clog, even tangled tree roots. Before bringing home a power auger, be sure the rental agent shows you how to safely dispense and retrieve the cable.

Unclog a Sink: Remove Trap and Drain Pipe

Most minor sink clogs can be cleared with a plunger. Partially fill the sink with water, then start plunging. Vigorously work the plunger up and down several times before quickly pulling it off the drain opening. If it’s a double-bowl kitchen sink, stuff a wet rag into one drain opening while you plunge the other one. If it’s a bath sink, stuff the rag into the overflow hole. In both cases, the rag helps deliver the pressure directly to the clog.

If plunging doesn’t work, grab the cable auger and go to work under the sink. Remove the sink trap with a pipe wrench. The large, threaded coupling on PVC plastic traps can often be unscrewed by hand. Empty the water from the trap into a bucket, then make sure the trap isn’t clogged.

Unclog a Sink: Cut Through the Clog

Remove the horizontal trap arm that protrudes from the stubout in the wall. Feed the cable into the stubout until you feel resistance. Pull out 18 inches of cable, then tighten the lock screw. Crank the handle in a clockwise direction and push forward at the same time to drive the cable farther into the pipe .

Pull out another 18 inches of cable and repeat the process until you break through the blockage. If the cable bogs down or catches on something, turn the crank counterclockwise and pull back on the auger.

Once the cable is clear, crank and push forward again.

Retrieve the cable and replace the trap arm and trap. Turn on the hot-water faucet to see if the sink drains properly. If it doesn’t, don’t worry. Debris from the busted-up clog sometimes settles into a loose blockage. Partially fill the sink with hot water and use the plunger to clear the debris. Follow up with more hot water.

Snake a Tub Drain: Block Overflow Plate

It’s rare for a bathtub to suddenly become stopped up. A clog in the tub usually builds up over a period of several weeks, with the tub draining more and more slowly each day. We’ve all seen this happen.

As with a sink clog, start with the plunger. First, unscrew the screen from the tub drain and use a bent wire to fish out any hair and soap scum. If there’s a pop-up drain on the tub, raise the lever to the open position, then grab the stopper and pull it from the drain hole. Clean it of all hair and soap. This will often take care of things.

If not, cover the holes on the underside of the overflow plate with a wet rag and start plunging. If that doesn’t clear the clog, use the cable auger.

Snake a Tub Drain: Access Clog via Overflow Plate

Remove the overflow plate from the end of the tub; the stopper linkage will come out with it. Feed about 30 inches of cable down the overflow tube. Push forward while turning the hand crank. You’ll feel resistance almost immediately, but keep cranking on the auger until the cable passes all the way through the P-trap that lies underneath the tub.

Retrieve the cable, then run several gallons of hot water down the drain.

Finally, replace the overflow plate and screen or pop-up drain.

Free a Toilet Clog: Use a Closet Auger

Toilet clogs almost always occur at the top of the tight, up-curving trap that’s part of the fixture. In some cases, a plunger can provide enough power to clear the way, but more often than not, you’ll have to use a closet auger.

Place the auger end into the bowl with its bent tip aiming up.

Free a Toilet Clog: Crank and Repeat

Hold the tool shaft steady as you crank and push down on the handle. You’ll feel the cable snake its way up and through the trap.

Continue cranking until you’ve dispensed the entire cable—about 3 feet. Retrieve the cable by simultaneously cranking and pulling up.

Flush the toilet to clear out the drainpipe. If it’s still a little sluggish, run the auger through the trap twice more: once up the left side of the trap, then again up the right side. This three-pronged attack will clear any matter clinging to the sides of the trap.

Clear a Floor Drain: Loosen Brass Plugs

In many basements, garages and laundry rooms there are floor drains that carry away wastewater from central air conditioners, washing machines, water heaters and snow-covered cars.

Over time, these drains collect large quantities of soap scum, laundry lint, sand and slimy bacteria that crystallize inside the long drainpipe. To break through these tough blockages, you’ll need the extra clog-clearing muscle of an electric power auger.

Rent a power auger with at least 50 feet of cable. Start by removing the strainer that covers the drain hole. Then, look for a clean-out plug on the side of the drain basin. Remove the plug with a wrench. That allows you to bypass the trap and feed the cable directly down the pipe. If the drain doesn’t have a clean-out plug, you’ll have to snake the cable through the trap; this is a somewhat more difficult approach.

Clear a Floor Drain: Using a Power Auger

Plug in the power auger and position it near the drain. Most models are fitted with a foot-pedal switch, leaving both of your hands free to guide the cable. Feed several feet of cable down the drainpipe. Set the motor for clockwise rotation, then step on the switch to start the cable turning. Push the cable into the pipe until you feel resistance or hear the motor start to bog down. Stop the motor, reverse the rotation and back out a few feet of cable. Switch back to clockwise rotation and feed the cable farther down the pipe. Repeat this back-and-forth procedure until the clog has been cleared away.

Retrieve the cable and flush out the drainpipe by pouring several buckets of hot water down it. If the water still drains sluggishly, run about 2 feet of cable directly down the trap.

Before replacing the clean-out plug, wrap Teflon tape around its threads; this will make it easier to unscrew the plug in the future. Caution: Failure to replace the clean-out plug will allow dangerous sewer gases to seep into the house.