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Dear Dale:

Getting a Square Deal When a Wallpaper Patch Is Necessary

October 13, 1985|Dale Baldwin will answer remodeling questions of general interest on this page. Send your questions to Home Improvement, Real Estate Department, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. Baldwin cannot answer questions individually. Snapshots of successful do-it-yourself projects may be submitted but cannot be returned

Question: When my son-in-law moved us into our house he was careless and gouged the wallpaper in my kitchen. It's right over the stove, where it's very visible. The former owners had just papered the house before I bought it, and I have some scraps of the paper but not enough to put a whole strip down the wall. Should I just cut out a piece to match the pattern and put it over the gouge or try to remove what's under the patch? The wallpaper is vinyl.

Answer: If it were paper wallcovering, the patch would probably be all right without removing what's underneath, but the thickness of the vinyl makes it necessary to remove the paper beneath the patch.

Cut a square larger than the gouge, and, matching the pattern perfectly, fasten it to the wall with masking tape, applying half of the tape width to the wall and half to the patch. Using a straight edge and a sharp razor blade or X-acto knife, cut through the tape, patch and vinyl on the wall about -inch on the inside edge of the tape. (After making a cut, use more tape to hold the patch in place until you've finished cutting it.) Remove the patch and tape and scrape the square of gouged paper from the wall.

Apply paste to the patch and replace the gouged square.

If you fail to conceal the small patch enough, make a patch the entire width of the stove and glue a narrow moulding around the replaced rectangle. Within the rectangle, place attractive cooking utensils on hooks--just as if you planned the whole thing.

Q: I've lived in my house for 10 years and tried to overlook the green and black ceramic tile in the bathroom, but I hate it. I've made up my mind to paint it, because I'd rather have "peeling" white than green and black tile. Do you have any advice for me?

A: Yes I do: Don't paint it.

It's a good thing you've made up your mind to like "peeling" white, because that's probably what you'll get eventually. In areas where painted tiles are exposed to water (such as showers or bathtubs), a paint job often doesn't last long.

If you're determined to paint anyway, clean the surface well with a strong detergent, then etch the tiles with wet and dry sandpaper to make the surface rough enough for the paint to adhere. Wash again, rinse and let dry completely.

Use a good Epoxy paint, and I can't emphasize enough that you must follow the paint directions to the letter. The room should be well ventilated, and you must work quickly because the paint sets very rapidly--although it may not be ready for use for an extended time (see directions). Mask and/or cover surfaces you don't want painted.

Meanwhile, you may want to start saving shekels for a new tile job in your bathroom.

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