Your Home Improvements


Dear Robert,

I was trying to be a good citizen and conserve water by not flushing the toilet every time I used it.

Now there is a large, brown toilet ring that will not come out with any product. Can you give me a solution for this problem?

-Thank you.

Sincerely, Dean W.


There are a couple of things that you can try: You can use CLR, soak paper towels in it and set them along this stained area, letting it sit for about an hour. Go back with an abrasive scrubber and see if it comes off.

You may have to do this a few times, but should work.

Another option is to purchase what is called a pumice stone, you can find it at the big box stores or sometimes even the grocery store, and is for this purpose.

It is a more abrasive option than the CLR, however, it can be very affective. It may scuff the inside of the toilet, but I’ve never had this happen personally.

If neither of these options take care of this to your satisfaction, you may want to install a new toilet. If you choose this route, look into the toilet that has the two flush mechanisms; one for liquids only and the other for solids, these are great water saving devices. Good luck to you.


I’d like to install bead board in parts of my home but I want to be extremely careful in the wet areas, as we’ve previously had mold issues in our home.

I want to make sure that anything that I install anywhere in our house, that I do it once and do it right, and prevent problems where I’m able to.

On that note, what can you tell me aside from nailing this stuff on, that can help prevent issues especially in the bathroom area where it’s a high-use shower room? Is this even a good idea to have in there? I appreciate your insight and willingness to help, thank you.

-Sam S.


Great question. Bead board is a very popular item and can change the whole look of a room, however your suspicions are correct, it can cause issues in a wet area if not installed with all precautions.

Here is what I recommend; first use a good quality paint primer and completely prime the back side and edges of this bead board. The back and edges are raw and will absolutely wick moisture and hold it, and that dark wet area is a perfect situation for mold growth.

Once you have the primer on and install, run a bead of caulking along the top edge prior to installing your trim. This will be an additional barrier so that moisture cannot run down the wall behind it.

Then put a good coat of paint on your bead board and you should be good to go.

One other thing to think about, is the ventilation in this bathroom. Be sure that your fan if you have one, is in good working order and if it isn’t then you should install a new, efficient one to replace it.

If it is a bathroom on the ground floor, you likely have only a window. Just make sure that daily, this area has good ventilation and you should be ok. Good luck with your project.

Hi Robert,

My name is Ilsa J. and I live in Canyon Country.

After these last rains my husband went onto our roof and discovered that the big silver air conditioning pipes (photos attached), right by that tan tape that you see, is where water got in and leaked into our house.

How can we fix this area with? We’ve never seen anything like this and certainly don’t know how to make this repair, but are hoping that it may be a fix that a homeowner can do instead of having to call in an expensive roofer.

We don’t want to put the wrong stuff on it and have it leak again, or have to deal with it again in a year. We’d rather do it right even if it means that we do have to call a roofer.

–Ilsa J.


This needs ducting mastic and tape. You have to get it through a supply house, though you can first check the big box stores and see if they carry it, for ease.

If this is an emergency fix, you can always use Henry’s 208 which is a roofing mastic, and you can coat the areas with this. Only do this in an emergency situation though, because this is not the actual proper way to repair this, but it does save on water intrusion in the case of an emergency.

If you have time, do it right by first removing any previous tape/debris, scraping as necessary. Apply the fiber tape securely and then coat with the ducting mastic. We just use a plastic putty knife and thoroughly coat the area, and this with the fiber tape is a good hold to the area, and you should have no issues for a very long time. Good luck.

Robert Lamoureux has 38 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].

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