Reviving a tired cork-tile floor, and propping up the bird population

Resident Expert

Q. Is there any product or method (short of sanding) to restore worn and discolored cork-tile flooring? - D.D., Midland, Mich.

A. Sanding is the only method to fully restore cork tile, according to Doug Lux, president of the National Wood Flooring Association. As a material, cork has remarkable properties: It is an excellent insulator and soundproofer.

If sanding is out of the question, you can try to wipe, rebuff, and apply another coat of finish. While it will not take out all of the surface scratches that sanding would, it will give the floor a nice luster. Clean only with solvent-based cleaners, and test the product on a small, unobtrusive section first. For specific information, call the National Wood Flooring Association's consumer hotline at 1-500-443-9663, or visit the Web site

Q. I've heard that if a bird feeder is withdrawn from circulation, the bird population drops. Is this true? - S.R., Bothell, Wash.

A. We don't yet know the answer to that question, says Ron Rohrbaugh of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y. However, withdrawing one or a few feeders will have little impact. Bird feeders act only as a supplemental food source. Besides, wild bird feeding is such a popular hobby that birds can easily find another feeder in the neighborhood.

Readers: Pose your questions and we'll seek out experts on home repairs, gardens, food, and family legal issues. Send queries to the Homefront Editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail

CORRECTION In the June 23 Neighbor to Neighbor column about bridal showers, the Web site should have been listed as

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