A reader wants to replace this cracked patio skylight. (Reader photo)

Q: I purchased a patio enclosure from American Patio Rooms in Rockville , Md., in July 1988. The aluminum roof has two plastic or acrylic skylights framed in aluminum, each 2 feet by 4 feet on the outside. One of the skylights cracked last month, and I am trying to get it replaced.

I called the number for American Patio Rooms in Rockville, but it is no longer in service. I contacted the businesses that installed replacement windows in our house and replaced our roof, but neither was able to help because they have never seen skylights like these and were reluctant to try any repair without more information. The product information given to me by American Patio Rooms does not include information on the skylights. An Internet search led me to American Patio Rooms in Akron, Ohio, but they were not able to help. Do you have any ideas?


A: Delray Glass in Alexandria (703-683-1114; delrayglass.com) can replace the skylight for you, said Alexa Seyforth, who works at the front desk. "It sounds like plexiglass," she said. "We work with that all of the time."

If you aren’t able to remove the window and bring it in so a replacement can be made, the company can send someone to measure it. You would then get an estimate and be asked to pay half the cost upfront. The total cost, including installation, would start at $295 but might be higher if other materials need to be ordered, Seyforth said.

A reader would like to improve the look of this sink drain without having to replace the whole faucet. (Reader photo)

Q: We have a still-beautiful solid-brass faucet in our powder room. It is in excellent condition except for the brass ring that surrounds the drain. We’re told we have no recourse except to replace the entire faucet simply because of the appearance of the drain ring. Is that correct?

Severna Park

A: It is true that some local hardware stores might not carry or even be willing to order replacement drains unless you order a whole new faucet set, but that is not your only option. Search online and you will find plenty of brass drain rings. On Amazon.com, for example, you can buy a Danze Metal Pop-Up Lavatory Drain Assembly With Lift Rod and Overflow in polished brass PBV for $28.46. PBV is the company's code for a polished brass finish, with the "V" signifying that the finish was put on by physical vapor deposition, or PVD, which results in a corrosion-resistant finish.

Or go to a company that specializes in plumbing parts. Thos. Somerville Co., a plumbing supply company with a showroom in Owings Mills (410-363-3841; tsomerville.com), can probably find an exact match. If you don't know the make and model of your faucet, bring in a picture and the staff may be able to figure it out, said a woman who works there. "Most companies have replacement parts. If it's a Kohler, I would get her a Kohler part," she said. "But there are also universal drain rings."

Virtually all residential bathroom sinks have the same size drain opening, 1½ inches, so matching that is usually no problem. However, brass is a mixture of copper and zinc, so the color can vary depending on the specific alloy used in a faucet set. If it’s not possible to identify the manufacturer and model, and if you are also very picky, you might indeed need to replace everything to get a perfect match. But if you typically look at the drain ring for only a few minutes each morning before you get on with the rest of your day, close enough should be easy to accomplish.