Exterior problems on a pot are usually corrosion resulting from exposing the pot to an acid or storing it around damaging chemicals. Kohler has seen copper pans that were packed away for years in copper polish because someone thought the polish would protect the metal from corrosion while in storage. Left in place too long, the polish instead ate the metal.
Hammersmith offers one free retinning to people who buy its pots. For people who own pots made by other companies, Kohler suggests e-mailing pictures before spending money on shipping. Pots with deep corrosion can’t be retinned. “Retinning is an ungentle process,” Kohler says. It requires putting the pot into acid baths and exposing the metal to high heat.
If a pot made by someone else can be retinned, the cost depends on the size, measured in linear inches down one wall, across the diameter (or long axis in the case of ovals or rectangles) and back up the other wall, multiplied by $6. For example, a 7-by-3-inch saucepan would measure out to 13 inches and retinning would cost $84.
We have a summer house built six years ago with a screened porch that faces the woods. A few inches of the screening has come loose, allowing bugs in. I called the company that installed the screens, and because our five-year warranty just ran out, the person I talked to told me they would charge $75 to just come out. I asked whether someone could tell me how to fix it and they said to take the screen to a hardware store and have new spline installed. But the screen panel is huge and I can’t remove it by myself. I’d need to be on a ladder. Is there a cheaper, easier fix, even if it would not be as perfect?
There is no way to make the screen look like new without having access to the side where the spline (a plastic cord) is wedged into a groove to hold the screen in place. Because that’s on the outside, you’d need to be on a ladder to attempt even the simplest possible fix: using a flat-head screwdriver to poke the spline back into place. But there’s a good chance that repair won’t work, because the spline is likely to have stretched a bit. So you will probably need to take down the screen and have a hardware store or a window shop install a new screen and spline. (Reusing the old screen doesn’t usually work because it’s likely to have stretched, too.) Handy homeowners can replace screens and splines themselves, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. So, especially because your letter implies you’re not comfortable working on a ladder, your best bet might be to get a few bids from people who do home repair and from a shop that specializes in screen repairs.