DEAR SAM: I've recently had my sundeck rebuilt with construction grade redwood. The contractor advised not to apply any preservative for two years. During the past four months, however, the sun has bleached the reddish tint that I preferred and I believe the wood needs a preservative. Am I correct in this assumption and if so, what product should be used?
ANSWER: The contractor I am sure, did not receive this opinion from the California Redwood Association. If you do not prefer the change in color, as a result of the bleaching sunshine, you may use a nationally known stain. Cabot Stains are available at many paint dealers in the color designated as redwood. Follow the directions of application and you will be able to restore the color, as desired. Even though some sections may be bleached more than others, the entirety should be treated so as to permit the stain to penetrate equally, but to allow the beautiful redwood grain to be visible.
DEAR SAM: I am most interested in a procedure or technique that allows one to take up old floor tiles. They 12x12 inches and were installed with a common adhesive 10 years ago. I want to use the old tile to cover the utility room floor. I plan to tile the family room with new ones or cushion vinyl.
ANSWER: The usual method of removing floor tiles is to use a wide putty knife and cut into the center of one tile, which may then become only partially usable. With it removed, it is easy to pry up the others without breakage.
Since the mastic will be brittle, it will take some work to remove it from the backs of the tiles and from the existing family room floor. If this is a do-it-yourself project, you should obtain sufficient information from the tile dealer about preparation of the floor. You may need some floor spackle to smooth out cracks or holes.
Sam Fishlyn welcomes your letters on home improvement but can only include those of general interest in this column. Write to him in care of this paper or to P.O. BOX 62, Newton Centre, Mass. 02159.