Every year, thousands of Arizona residents email Rosie Romero's website or call his radio show with questions about everything from how to prevent fires in their chimneys to what to do about the tree roots invading their sewer systems. One of his goals is to provide answers that suit the specific lifestyle wherever someone lives in Arizona.
QUESTION: The kitchen cabinets in our house go back to the 1990s. Now we're getting ready to replace them, and we'd like some advice on what to look for in good quality cabinets. We are planning to make use of the existing footprint in the kitchen.
ANSWER: I've never been a big believer in installing knockdown kitchen cabinets, those ready-to-assemble cabinets shipped to you in cardboard boxes. Another possibility is modular cabinets that have been premanufactured and shipped in boxes, too. They can cost less, of course, but the quality can vary widely. What I prefer is cabinets with what they call a baked-oven catalyzed finish. A catalyzed finish will be impervious to most household chemicals.
In addition, when you pick out cabinets from a manufacturer or with a builder, you will often have a choice among economy-, builder- or high-end-grade cabinets. My recommendation is that you choose builder- or high-end grade. You'll be much happier with your cabinets six, seven or eight years down the road if you do that.
Q: I have a bobcat problem; it's a bobcat that visits my yard regularly and uses a canvas-covered lounge chair for you-know-what. I have purchased stuff to get rid of the odor, but how can I stop the nightly visits?
A: Bobcats are solitary animals, so probably just one is visiting your yard and is marking the area as its private territory. They're usually attracted to a food source like rabbits. Or perhaps you have a dog or cat and you leave its food outside. So try to eliminate that attractive food source or close off the yard to rabbits.
If that doesn't work, you can buy and install a motion-activated sprinkler system for about $60 or $70 that will set off a short but startling blast of water whenever an animal walks by. It's totally humane but will probably scare off the bobcat and maybe the rabbits, too. These devices are easy to install and run on a 9-volt battery that can last six months.
Q: I'm having my very old, cracked and chipped cement driveway replaced. The new driveway will be about a 4-inch-deep slab laid in 8-by-10-foot sections. The contractor's bid was very good, but the company doing the job is not putting any rebar or wire in the cement. Is that OK? Will the new driveway hold up well without that reinforcement?
A: It should work just fine. The general trend these days is toward not putting rebar into concrete driveways. However, if you're worried about the driveway withstanding wear and tear, you could ask the contractor to use a concrete mix of 4,000 pounds per square inch, compared with the 2,500 pounds per square inch, as is frequently used on driveways and walkways.
The price charged might go up, but the extra strength you add to the driveway with this mix will definitely give you better performance over a longer time.
Q: I have a brand-new garage/workshop/man cave where I will store my RV. It's 2,000 square feet of space and looks just great. My problem is that there are black rubber scrape marks on the concrete, which was just poured, due to the scaffolding used. How can I get them off so that I can seal the entire floor? I don't want to use muriatic acid, which might etch the concrete.
A: There is a remover on the market that will help you take off those rubber scrape marks. You can probably find it at an auto parts store. Once you get them off, you have several choices for finishing the floor. Clear acrylic would work well.
For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for 25 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program, heard locally from 8-11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) and -FM (97.1) in Tucson and KGVY-AM (1080) and -FM (100.7) in Green Valley. Call 1-888-767-4348.