DEAR SAM: In trying to replace a shower/tub combination faucet, the plumber cracked two 18x18-inch glass tile panels. I have contacted several tile companies, among them a tile distributor, but have been unable to find replacements. Dealers have suggested that I: (1) Replace all the tile in the bathroom, but it is installed on cement and wire lath and must be removed by hammering it away. (2) Drill into the 2x4s behind the tile and install rocklath and then cement the new tile to the lath. Capping tile would be used on the top edge to cover the lath. I am fearful of seepage.
ANSWER: The 18x18-inch glass tile panels may be known in the trade as "Vitrolite," which could probably be replaced. The cement and wire lath need not be removed to attach new Vitrolite since it is usually applied with a mastic.
There are few mechanics who deal in Vitrolite. I believe you may have to contact a company using it for commercial store fronts. Check the Yellow Pages under Glass.
Neither of the two solutions seems necessary since only two new glass tiles require replacement. A sample of the broken glass can be used for color matching. Also, the cut-out for the plumbing fixture should be made by the glass company.
DEAR SAM: My fireplace has a strong down-draft. I installed louvered covers for the Heatilator, a Lymance damper and glass doors. They have not helped. This fireplace is an addition to a new room, built on a slab, adjoining the house. Any suggestions?
ANSWER: Have you complained to the Heatilator company concerning the adverse effect of its product? Most large cities have a local distributor who is very obliging in solving complaints. You can also write to Heatilator Fireplace, a division of Vega Industries, Inc., Mt. Pleasant, Iowa 5264, for free brochures.