New products to help out the bathroom


August 29, 1999|By Karol V. Menzie and Ron Nodine

Besides being the site of most household accidents, bathrooms also seem to require more than their share of home repairs. It's the water, of course; combining moving water with any kind of construction or fixture is a recipe for trouble. But who would give up such modern conveniences?

Fortunately for homeowners, manufacturers keep coming out with new products to make repairing or restoring bathrooms easier -- or at least, more efficient and with more professional results.

Here are some of the new offerings, available at hardware and home-improvement stores:

Bondo, best known as makers of auto body fillers, is introducing a new line of household repair products, called Bondo Home Solutions.

The kits contain everything you need to do a repair, from resins and putties to mixing sticks and mixing boards. There's a Tub & Shower kit for white and almond-colored surfaces that contains a resin mixed with liquid hardener. It can be used to repair fiberglass, ceramic tile, marble and acrylic surfaces.

Besides the resin and hardener, the kit contains a mixing board, spreaders, cups and sticks, thickening agent, fiberglass cloth tape, sandpaper, rubbing compound and coloring agents. And, of course, there's a detailed instruction booklet on how to make the repairs. The only catch? You have a working window limited to 10 to 13 minutes. Study the instructions thoroughly, so you know what you're doing, since you'll have to work fast. For more information, call 888-44-BONDO.

Dremel, which makes a hand-held multi-purpose tool, has bits for bathroom cleanup and repair. There's a drill to hang mini-blinds; bristle brushes for deburring, cleaning or polishing; and a brass brush, which removes rust and corrosion. Because brass is softer than steel, the brush won't damage softer metals such as brass, gold and copper. If you buy the MultiPro rotary tool, you'll get a booklet called "The 175-Plus Uses Guidebook," with hints for all kinds of home repairs and projects. If you already own the tool, you can call and ask for the booklet. For information, call 800-4-DREMEL, or check the Web site at

If you like maps, you'll love the new Sunset Fix-it Maps, fold-out, laminated instruction sheets for various home repairs. The maps guide you around the process of stopping drips and replacing faucets, unclogging drains and toilets, and tiling around the bathtub, among other things. Besides lists (and pictures) of tools you'll need, there are safety tips, hints and clear illustrations. The maps can go right on the job. They will lie flat, right where you can see them, and are impervious to wet or greasy fingers. There are 14 maps in the line, available at hardware and home-and-garden centers. They cost $4.95 each.

Ron Nodine is owner of American Renovator Inc., a Baltimore design-build remodeling firm, and former president of the Remodelers Council of the Home Builders Association of Maryland. Karol Menzie is a feature writer for The Sun.

If you have questions, tips or experiences to share about working on houses, e-mail Ron at or Karol at Or write c/o HOME WORK, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. Questions of general interest will be answered in the column; comments, tips and experiences will be reported in occasional columns.

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