Answers to Questions about Sinks and Toilets

White porcelain sink in a bathroom with red striped wallpaper.

Q. We purchased a Mancesa Jameco V-6000 4" center pedestal sink. The hanger bracket that was enclosed with the sink does not seem to fit. The holes on the back of the basin portion are wider than the hanger bracket is almost in total. Was the wrong bracket packaged with our sink or should it be this way?

A. It's the right bracket; there are 2 holes that are at the bottom that are used in conjunction with that bracket, along with the pedestal base that also provides substantial support for the fixture. In those holes, you use either lag screws or toggle bolts along with the bracket used in the center for anchoring the sink to the wall.

Q. My 22-year-old son moved back in and then out again but left three small cigarette burns on our cultured marble white vanity in our guest bathroom. Does anyone know of a do-it-yourself method of getting this vanity top back to its original state?

A. You may have a problem that cannot be resolved. All cultured marble, onyx and granite products have a gel coat finish that provides a non-porous, stain resistant surface. Burns are another story. Proper care will ensure lasting beauty, elegance and function. Normal cleaning requires soap or a mild detergent. Dow and Lysol bathroom cleaners work well. Other products may be used but be sure to read the label to ensure the product is safe to use. Do not use scouring or abrasive cleaners. Repeated use will dull the gel coat finish. Due to their non-porous nature, cultured marble products resist most stains. However, extended exposure to harsh chemicals such as ammonia or bleach should be avoided because they may cause discoloration. Products such as nail polish, polish remover, paint remover, etc. may cause permanent damage.

Occasional treatment with a high quality liquid or paste wax will renew the finish and prevent soap buildup. Avoid colored waxes. Gel Gloss cleaner and polish is designed for cultured marble products and is available at hardware stores and building supply stores.

Minor stains and scratches may be removed using 1200 grit wet sandpaper with a small sanding block followed by a good polish. Be cautious not to over sand through the gel coat, which will result in a permanent dull spot. I fear that cigarette burn may not be resolved with this method. You might ask your son to purchase a new countertop - "you play, you pay" must apply here. Avoid extended or frequent exposure to extremely high temperature water. Household hot water heaters should be set in the normal range of 120 degrees F.

Q. We have a large iron sink that we want to re-porcelain. This is not reglazing - like the Miracle Method or others - this is actually sandblasting off the old porcelain and heating the sink up to 1400°F in a huge oven. We have already been in contact with a place near St. Louis that does this, but are thinking that there must be some place closer. We live in New England and have relatively easy access to both the Boston and New York City metro areas. Does anyone know of a place that reporcelain in these areas?

A. There are companies who offer reproductions. If you live in a historic New England home, I realize redoing the piece is important. My Internet research only turned up the same company that you found. Perhaps if you contacted this company, they might know of a company that offers the same services that is closer to home. Surely, they are not the only company in the country that does this type of work.

Q. The tank on my toilet is always sweating like crazy. Any ideas why and how can I fix it? It sweats so much it's causing "little" puddles on my brand new floor that I just installed.

A. If we are talking about toilet tank sweating then there are four options.

1. You could install insulating foam products to isolate the water from the tank sides. Home Depot carries it for a reasonable price. I think they are about $7-$10. You completely empty the water from the tank, and then use a hairdryer to ensure that the sides are dry. Cut the foam and apply adhesive. Let it sit for six to eight hours and it will be ready to be refilled and useable. This usually works but is not a guarantee.

2. The second option is to install a mixer valve, which uses both hot and cold water to "mix" - you can adjust the temperature as you want until it stops the condensation issue. Depending on how far away the hot water heater is, it may take quite awhile for the hot water to get there so in some cases, just running a hot water line is sufficient. This works well but you may have to hire a plumber.

3. A more expensive option is to replace the guts of the toilet with a "pressure assisted" unit, like Flushmate - 1 gallon per flush. This option is a water saver and works very well - no tank sweating at all.

4. Total toilet replacement - Pressure Assisted Toilet - should you need to replace your old toilet. Might cost $260 and up but well worth it. This toilet has a pressure tank in it inside the water tank. Guaranteed to do the job and you get a great new toilet!