Q: The outside of our bungalow was painted with white latex paint about four years ago, and this paint is now covered with a great many bleeding rust spots. What do you recommend to stop the rust seepage and the hide the rust spots?
A: The only thing I can think of that would cause rust spots to appear in your exterior siding is rusting of nail heads - in other words, the nails used in your siding were not rust-proof and the heads were not recessed and covered over with putty. Painting over the exposed metal with a latex paint hastened the rusting process. The best solution is to countersink each nail, then fill the hole with putty before repainting. If the this is impractical, you can cover the rusty nail heads and the rust spots or stains with a stain killer such as Enamelac, BIN or Incolac. These are widely available in most paint stores. You can then paint over these with a regular house paint.
Q: I have a deck or porch on my split-level home that is over part of the garage. It is made of tongue-and-groove boards that have been covered with canvas. Now, after 20 years, it leaks a lot. I want to recover it, but wonder if I should use plywood or some other material.
A: I think your best bet is to get all the old canvas off first. Then put down exterior grade plywood, and cover this with fiber glass and resin for the best results. You could re-cover with canvas, but this would not last as long. If you use just plywood paint over it you will still have a problem with seeling the seams where the plywood sheet meet. There is a new product you can use to waterproof plywood - a liquid silicone rubber you can paint on with brush or roller. It is made by Dow, comes in gray only, and will last many years, but it is fairly soft and could be damaged by walking on it if you are not careful.
Q: What can be done about a toilet tank that sweats on the outside and drips on the floor?
A: Line the inside of the tank with sheets of Styrofoam plastic. You can buy these sheets in many plastic supply outlets. Drain all the water from your tank and wipe it dry. Apply cement to the inside and cement in the sheets after cutting them for a snug fit on the inside of all four sides. This will insulate the walls of the tank so that they won't get as cold on the outside - the cause of the sweating. CAPTION: Illustration, no caption, By Mary Myers for The Washington Post