Q. Can you recommend a local company to replace the strapping on my Brown Jordan patio chairs? The straps on mine have permanently discolored over 15 years outside. I’d like to have them redone before spring.


A. You’re smart to plan ahead.

Urban Country, a Brown Jordan dealer in Bethesda, recommends having the chairs restrapped by Criterion Lawn Furniture Repair (800-422-8360 or 301-788-3190, www.criterionrepair.com). The company is based in Keyser, W.Va., but picks up and delivers throughout the Washington area, including in Bethesda. The transportation fee, which covers both round trips, is $150. Restrapping typically costs $85 to $90 per chair. If you also want the chairs refinished, the total price might be $170 to $185 per chair.

HANDOUT PHOTO: reader Sharron Cochran's chair, submitted to Local Living's How To column for repair advice (Sharron Cochran)

Q. How can I clean the slate tiles in my bathroom? They are sealed with some compound and show many splatters of paint as well as scrapes accumulated over the years.


A. company that specializes in stone care can remove the sealer by applying a floor finish stripper. Potomac Stone Care (301-765-3451, www.potomacstone care.com) uses the Hurricane stripper made by Daycon. The stripper will also take off whatever is on top, such as the paint spatters. Stripping may leave the slate slightly chalky, says Steve Kivinski, a stone technician for Potomac Stone Care, but the company then treats the stone to restore the color and bring back the luster. The complete treatment is typically a one-day job. The cost ranges from $450 to $1,500, depending on the size of the room.

If you need a less expensive fix, you might try removing the paint spatters on your own. First try chipping them off with a razor blade held at an angle, preferably in a little holder made for scraping window glass. You can also dab on paint remover, but be careful to lift the loosened paint with a razor blade or a putty knife. Don’t spread it around by scrubbing, or you might wind up with smeared paint that looks worse than what you have now. Check the label on the paint stripper to make sure it says it’s safe for use on stone; if the label isn’t clear, call the manufacturer’s information number, usually toll-free and listed on the label or available from the company Web site.

To remove stains on slate, scrub with an old toothbrush and hydrogen peroxide. This treatment won’t take off dried paint, however.

Have a problem in your home? Send questions to localliving@washpost.com . Put “How To” in the subject line, tell us where you live and try to include a photo.

The Checklist

Read Jeanne Huber’s roundup of home-improvement tasks you should tackle in December, such as disconnecting hoses and installing a humidifier, at washingtonpost.com/home.