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If wood is not properly protected and it is constantly getting wet, it will rot and need replacing. If you have painted wooden doors or windows that are starting to bubble or crack due to moisture, there may be a Do It Yourself repair. First, feel the wood: if it feels spongy or brittle it will need to be replaced (preferably with vinyl or aluminum). If just the surface seems to be bubbly or is peeling and the wood itself is in good shape follow these steps for repairing and preserving the door or window: Any loose paint and wood needs to be removed with a scraper and coarse sandpaper. When it seems like all that is left is a sound surface, PVA putty (produced by Tambour), suitable for outdoor use, should be applied to the wood as filler. After the putty is fully dry (10 minutes to two hours depending on how thickly it is applied), it should be sanded with medium-grade sandpaper until it feels smooth and even. If there are still bumps, either sand more or add more PVA putty (afterwards wait until dry and sand). The entire area should be wiped down with a lint-free cloth slightly damp with turpentine. An exterior-quality undercoat, such as the water-based Bulls Eye 123 or synthetic oil-based primer, should be applied and allowed to dry. Again, feel that the entire surface is smooth, and if not, repeat the filling-sanding-undercoat process. Any exterior-grade paint can be applied to the wood for the final finish. I prefer Tambour Poliur Paint as it is easy to use and is available in thousands of shades via the MIX system. This oil-based paint will also repel water and protect the wood. R. Hammer asks, "Our bathroom ceiling was painted with plastic paint which peeled badly. I have scraped it off and want to paint it with whitewash. Do I have to use an undercoat?" I have always preferred a peel- and mildew-resistant paint in bathrooms, such as PermaWhite (available at all better DIY stores). If you want to use whitewash, a water-soluble undercoat, such as Bulls Eye 123 or Bondorall, can be used first. Fill any cracks with appropriate filler, sand and then paint with whitewash. Aliza Bernstein asks, "What do you use to get gold metal finish (Eckart Zahav) off your hands? What is the difference between acetone, thinner and turpentine for stain removal?" When I have wanted to clean such materials off my hands without harsh chemicals such as acetone, I take a quarter of a stick of margarine and keep working it back and forth on my hands for about 20 minutes. This will remove oil paints and most metallic finishes. Soap and warm water will remove the margarine. When removing a stain with solvents it is always a good idea to use the less harsh chemicals first as the harsher ones may ruin the surface you are trying to clean. For example, if paint got on my (non-painting) clothes, I would first use cold water, then hot water and soap with a brush to try to remove it. If that didn't remove the paint I would try turpentine or white spirit, acetone, 21 or Nitro thinner and paint remover, in that order. Acetone will also remove many types of finish on furniture, 21 or Nitro thinner will dissolve most finishes and some plastics. None of these should be applied without properly protecting one's skin, and only use these chemicals in a well-ventilated area. This week's Do It Yourself Resource is: Lowes.com, an invaluable resource.