Question: I have 30-year-old wooden blinds that are still in very good shape. They looked good when the room had a rustic theme. Now, the room is silver gray and I’d like to paint them white. Is that possible? Would I have to take them apart to paint them? Cords, not ribbon tapes or anything of that sort, secure the slats in place.
Answer: Yes, you can paint wooden blinds. For the tidiest look, you should take them apart so you can paint the slats without smearing paint on the cords. One advantage of this approach is that you can use brush-on paint, which creates far less mess and fumes than spray paint. But if you care less about perfection and more about a speedy change, it’s also possible to spray-paint the blinds with their cords still attached.
If you decide to remove the strings, you’ll probably want to install new cord, so purchase that ahead of time. Find instructions and videos about determining the cord size, as well as for removing and restringing cord, at www.fixmyblinds.com.
Vacuum or wipe the blinds to remove dust and grime. And set up a work space where you can set each slat across scrap wood while paint dries. There is no way to know what finish is already on the blinds, so test first in an inconspicuous place to make sure the paint sticks. You might be able to use a paint with primer, such as Behr’s Marquee Paint & Primer in One, but if the test paint doesn’t stick well, brush a shellac-based primer over one side of each slat. Let that dry, then flip the pieces and brush the primer/paint on the opposite side. Repeat for the main paint coat if you used a primer. When the paint dries, restring the cords.
If you opt to spray-paint, set up a work area outdoors where paint droplets that miss the mark won’t be a problem and where you can hang the blind while you are painting it. Wear goggles, gloves and clothing that covers your skin. Wear something that you don’t mind getting covered in paint. Beginning at the top, spray the slats as evenly as possible. Lift each slat as you go so you can paint the whole strip underneath. Paint the cords as evenly as possible, too.
Question: I am seeking to replace my toilets with tall toilets. I am 6 feet tall. I have been told that toilets are available in 17, 19 and 22 inches, as measured from the floor to the rim. I can’t seem to find a toilet taller than 16 inches. Can you help?
Answer: Toilets that meet standards for wheelchair users but are also more comfortable for most adults, especially tall ones like you, must be at least 16½ inches from the floor to the rim. The seat height then becomes 17 to 19 inches, a couple of inches higher than standard toilets.
Whoever told you about the available heights might have overlooked the fact that some companies cite distance from the floor to the top of the rim in their marketing materials, while others use the distance from the floor to the top of the seat. It’s an easy distinction to miss. The Lowe’s Web site, for example, has a toilet-buying guide that states: “The bowl height is generally 14-in to 15-in high measured from floor level (without the seat). Taller bowls are available that are the height of a standard chair (16-in to 19-in) for comfort and accessibility. Taller bowls are also ADA-compliant.”
The implication is that the 16 to 19 inches are also measured from the floor to the rim. But, as you’ve discovered, 19 inches is a height that’s typically measured to the top of the seat. Many of Kohler’s Comfort Height toilets, for example, are that high at seat level. But if you check the spec sheets — the architectural drawings that show measurements for toilet features — you see that they are 16½ inches at rim height. Sterling Plumbing’s Luxury Height toilets are also 16½ inches at rim height.
One toilet that is a little higher, 17 inches at the rim: Gerber’s Viper ErgoHeight toilet, $335 at Gerberonline.com.
To make your current toilet taller, one solution would be to install a riser for about $100. The Toilevator Toilet Base Riser is an oval ring that elevates any standard round or elongated toilet by 31 / 2 inches. The Medway Easy Toilet Riser has a rectangular base and lifts a toilet four inches. A riser under the toilet doesn't change the look or feel of the toilet itself, except to make it taller, so it’s a more viable option than the more common kind of riser that fits under or substitutes for the toilet seat.
Another option is a wall-mounted toilet, such as Kohler’s Model K-6303, which can be installed with the rim as high as 26 inches. Also known as the Veil, you’ll see it advertised for less than $400 at places such as Homedepot.com.
But that gets you just the bowl. You also need a seat, an in-wall tank, and a flush actuator plate, which mounts on the wall above the toilet. The complete set is available for about $1,000 through Thos. Somerville Co., which has showrooms in several Washington area communities including Falls Church (703-436-2714; www.tsomerville.com). Installing this toilet requires more than a simple plumbing change since the tank needs to be tucked into the wall. The wall has to be framed with 2-by-6-inch studs or built out to accommodate that thickness.
All of those options sounding too pricey? You can also put your existing toilet on a riser, such as the aptly named Toilevator, available on Amazon.com for less than $100.
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