Q: I have tried unsuccessfully to remove a yellow film from my 14-year-old, silver-plated chandelier with three well-known brands of silver polish. The silver began changing color several years ago. Have you had any experience with specific brands or do you have any suggestions on how to clean it?
A: The brands you mentioned are all excellent for removing tarnish from silver, but from your description it sounds as though you do not have a problem with silver tarnishing. The silver plating may be going and the metal underneath showing, which may be why polish won't bring back the shine.Or, the plating may not really be silver - it may be an alloy such as one frequently referred to as "German silver." This comes with a lacquer coating and when it wears off the color cannot be restored by any method I know of, short of replating.
Q: My parents' house still has prewar copper gutters and down spouts. These gutters have developed some leaks in several joints, and small holes in a few places. Can these be patched? How many down spouts should there be for a given length of gutter to avoid overflowing?
A: You can patch the gutters from the inside with self-adhesive neoprenebased tapes sold in hardware stores and lumberyards. Or you can use epoxy putty, after cleaning the corrosion and dirt, and drying the inside thoroughly. There should be a down spout for each 35 feet of ordinary gutter. With smaller half-round gutters, one down spout for each 30 feet is sufficient.
Q: I am removing the paint from a concrete porch floor because the paint is always peeling. When I repaint should I use the kind of paint they use on the inside of masonry swimming pools, or is there another type you recommend?
A: I don't think swimming pool paint will stand up very long on a porch floor; it could not take the abrasion of being constantly walked on. Use a latex-base outdoor deck paint made for use on concrete. This will be more resistant to peeling than oil or alkyd paint.
Q: My house has always been painted with oil paint by professionals. I now want to paint it myself and plan to use latex paint. Will this cause problems?
A: It shouldn't if the old paint is not glossy, and if it is not chalking badly. Glossy spots may require dulling with sandpaper, and if there is a great deal of chalking you may need a primer.
Questions about home repair should be addressed to Bernard Gladstone in care of The New York Times Syndication Sales Corp., 200 Park Ave., New York, N.W. 10017. CAPTION: Illustration, no caption, By Mary Myers for The Washington Post