Ask Alice

Do you have an interiors dilemma? Consult our resident specialist
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Dear Alice, I'm buying a Victorian house where all the front sash windows have been replaced with aluminium ones. Is having them replaced going to cost a fortune?
Patsy Jennings, Littlehampton.

Q. Dear Alice, I'm buying a Victorian house where all the front sash windows have been replaced with aluminium ones. Is having them replaced going to cost a fortune?
Patsy Jennings, Littlehampton.

A. Of all the hideous things that people do to their houses in the name of modernisation, aluminium window frames come top of my list. I would recommend Harmony Home Improvements, who make frames in Sapele hardwood for about £1,600 a window, including installation (0800 652 1387; www.harmonydirect.co.uk). If you want all the benefits of UPVC with good looks as well, Harmony also manufacture UPVC sash windows that are approved by English Heritage; these aesthetically superior products have slimmer, more authentic-looking frames than most (about £1,100 a window).

Q. Our elderly cat has annoyed us for years by urinating in the same corner of our dining room - even after we recently re-carpeted it. How can we stop this?
Jane Gates, by e-mail.

A. Try visiting a wonderful US-based company, called Planet Urine ( www.planeturine.com), which manufactures a range of products to remove stains and smells (a kit that includes spray, powder and a brush costs around £18). Planet Urine also has a highly effective Cat Scram ultra-sonic housetraining device, which will keep your cat away from the immediate area.

Q. Dear Alice, Our garden decking was installed four years ago but is now covered in persistent mildew. How can I get rid of it?
Samantha Heel, Uxbridge.

A. If your decking is made from pressure-treated timber, it should be expected to keep its good looks for many years. One solution would be to colour your deck with a wood stain, as most stains contain a fungicide that inhibits future growth of slime and mildew. I can recommend Liberon oil-based stain from the woodworking supplier Richard Barry ( www.richardbarry.co.uk).

Wash the surface with a mild bleach solution, applying it with a stiff broom and rinsing afterwards (do make sure that pets and hibernating hedgehogs aren't around). Apply the stain with a roller or large brush, allow to dry, and relax. Then apply a coat of Liberon clear decking oil, which will protect the deck for many years to come. Another alternative would be to hire a pressure washer - excellent for removing slimy moss.

Design dilemma? E-mail askalice@independent.co.uk

Comments