Monday, June 14, 2010

Ask the Yankee #2 - Answers to Your DIY Questions

It's Monday night…a time to get those tough, challenging, oft-frustrating DIY questions answered by an expert.

If you've ever gotten stumped by a project and wished you had a go-to-guy for answers, this event is for you!

Now, let's take a peek at three of the questions from last week.

Esther @ Fleur Cottage asked:

"The caulking for the moulding is yellowed & I've painted over it several times & it will not go away - the caulking merely gobbles up the paint. What do I do to get rid of the yellowed caulking?"

There were several things I needed to know before I could address Esther's problem:
  • First, I wanted to make sure I understood her question correctly.  What it said to me was that something in the caulk continued to bleed through and discolor any new paint applied over it.
  • Next, I needed to know exactly where the caulk was located–inside or outside.  In other words, what room or area the caulk was in.
  • Was the caulk originally a different color than the paint being applied over it–for example, white paint over a different color caulk?
  • What was the age of the caulk?
  • Was it possible that the yellowing could be mold or fungus growth?  Many people are unaware that mold can occur in even the cleanest of rooms.  If there is little to no natural light and excessive moisture, you've got the right environment for it.
It was determined that the problem area was a bathroom that had been remodeled six years ago.  The "yellowed" caulk had been bleeding through the white paint since the remodel.

My suggestion was to clean the affected area thoroughly with a bleach & water solution or with TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) cleaner prior to repainting. 

In addition, adding a mold inhibitor to bathroom paint can be a very wise choice.

In Esther's situation there was also another possibility–the caulk could be oil-based. Over time, as the compounds which make up the caulk began to dry out, the oil could separate and bleed through.

My final recommendation was to simply cut out the old caulk and reapply a latex caulk, then repaint with the paint of choice.

The next question came from Jenn @ Five & a Highchair:

"What is the best product for cleaning up and polishing antique wood so you end up with a nice healthy looking item?"

After years of working with furniture, I have found that the best wax to use on fine antiques is Briwax.  It is rather expensive, but well worth it.
It was formulated in London in the mid-1800s and has been the choice for fine woodworkers–worldwide–since that time.
If the piece is vintage or old–like the tool chest posted about in Tips & Tricks Tuesday #2–but not a fine antique, either Minwax or Bowling Alley wax works well.  And the product cost for those two waxes is more in line with a piece of lesser value. 
The final question came from Sandy @ The Wonder of Doing:
"I painted my furniture with a 'white enamel' and want to put a sealant on it. What kind?"

Enamel is a term that has become widely used for a variety of paints these days.  True enamel is an oil-based paint that dries to a hard finish.  Painting furniture with an enamel paint is a good choice for providing a long lasting, durable finish.

Just make sure the painted surface has cured well before applying a sealant, however. To apply one prior to proper curing will prevent the paint from drying completely.

I've painted quite a number of pieces of furniture myself, over the years. By far, the sealants of choice for me have been from the Deft line of products.  Be sure to check out their site to get the exact product to match your needs.

Another recommendation is Rust -Oleum Varathane Diamond Polyurethane–a non-yellowing formula sealant.

I also suggest that the sealant be brushed on ,as opposed to spraying, to prevent the finish from becoming splotchy.

Now it's your turn to ask me!
~The Yankee~

Here's how:

Create a post on your blog addressing your DIY question–or showing others where you're stuck in your project and need direction.

Link your post to the Ask the Yankee event. If you link up with a post, please make sure to use a direct link and not one to your main blog.  As a courtesy, please link back to the Brambleberry Cottage.


Leave your question in the comment section of the Ask the Yankee post, and place the event button on your sidebar.

The following week, a few of your questions–along with their solutions–will be featured at the cottage.


  1. thank you for all the wonderful ideas and you won my giveaway the cute enesco tea pot!!
    email me your address

  2. Always enjoy reading your blog!

    Have a great day!


  3. SMART! I learned a lot-especially about the Briwax!
    I will remember you, Mr. Yankee, when I need help!
    Thank you!


Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to comment.