This is a strange problem, as all the information I can source says that the best paint over silicone is an oil-based paint. Picture: Chris Collingridge

Margaret writes: I am searching for a product called “Damprid” which absorbs moisture in damp rooms/cupboards etc.

I’d never heard of it, but a quick check suggests that you should phone Pam Parkes on 081 275 9397, who is the national online distributors.

Simon writes: A few months ago I saw signs of the wall bulging in one of my rooms. Eventually I broke away at this area to discover rusty old pipes which are not in use for anything, but obviously were used for electrics at one point and just left in and plastered over.

I’ve read they should be taken out before replastering, but they are so well embedded it’s going to become a major task. Is there anything I can use on these rusty pipes and then replaster, so that the situation doesn’t recur?

Sorry, but the best answer is to remove the pipes. To treat them with an anti-rusting product you would have to expose them anyway, and having got that far you might as well just rip them out and start again. You also need to check back along the run of the pipes to establish where water is entering the system, causing rust to form.

Peter has the following problem: I live in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, and decided to take out the four wooden strips that hold the window in place. I covered the corners of the window with white painter’s silicon, replaced the wooden strips, nailed them in, and then again covered the strips and any openings with silicone, which I allowed to dry for two days. I then painting it with a red stoep paint, which is oil-based, as I was fed up with varnishing. It now appears that the paint has dissolved the silicone, which was put there to weather-proof the window.

Is it unwise to use silicone with oil-based paint or is an acrylic PVA better? Could the silicone have reached its expiry date as I bought it in a sale?

This is a strange problem, as all the information I can source says that the best paint over silicone is an oil-based paint. So it’s more likely that the silicone had passed its expiry date, according to my information; silicone will not set if it has passed its expiry date, and stays too runny to paint over. Stoep paint may also contain other additives which could affect the silicone. I am also unsure if stoep paint is suitable for wooden windows.

This question arrived via SMS: Is it legal for your neighbour to build a pillar against your wall? The pillar protrudes above our wall by approximately 15cm. The two pillars support a wooden pergola. They had gutters and IBR sheeting on before, but removed them when they realised it wasn’t legal.

To build any type of structure you need an approved plan, so the decision as to whether it is legal or not rests with the local authority. In certain areas you may not have any structure on the boundary, but it does vary as you move around the city. One thing that is certain: no part of any structure may protrude on to your property. I would suggest that you contact your local building inspector and ask him for a ruling.

Another question via SMS (please give us a name): My wall is brown from the borehole water, is there an easy way to remove it?

If you drive around town and look at the number of stained walls the obvious answer to your question is no, not that I know of. Maybe one of our readers can come up with an idea. The staining is caused by iron in the water which oxidises and turns that dirty reddish-brown colour.

The easiest way to remove the stain is to paint over it, but of course the stain will reappear if you continue to use the borehole water.

One alternative is to sink a new borehole and look for “clean water”. I have the same problem, but my neighbour has crystal-clear water. The other alternative is to look at the new generation of filters on the market – through various chemical and or electromagnetic processes the iron is removed.

These can be so successful that you can use your “brown” borehole water in your swimming pool, without staining the sides. I have a friend who has set up a system whereby his whole house, including his drinking water, comes from filtered borehole water.

l We will catch up with all your questions in the weeks ahead.

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Please keep your questions or comments coming to [email protected] or sms only to 082 446 3859. - Weekend Argus