Q. When painting I've always used rollers, but friends tell me that using pads is easier and makes a cleaner paint job. Is that so, and if it is, why don't professionals use them?
G.B., Santa Ana A. "Pads are fairly new to the painting scene, they became popular a few years ago," says Jim Hawkins of Hawkins Paint in Orange. "They don't really speed up the process--you're not going to complete a job any faster. However, there's not as much splatter with a pad. They'll spread paint very easily on flat surfaces, but you'll need a brush for uneven surfaces such as molding. As for professional painters, they probably prefer rollers because that's what they've used for years and because they're probably a little quicker than pads."
Q. I've got a bolt that connects my bathroom sink to the wall that I need to remove. Unfortunately, it's been rounded off and it resists anything I use to get it out. Any suggestions?
F.K., Brea A. "You might try an 'Easy Out' reverse thread screw," says Bud Heyer of Fullerton Hardware. "You drill a hole in the center of the bolt, then insert the Easy Out, which looks like a drill bit. You then turn it in a counterclockwise direction and it should come out."
Q. I've just finished remodeling our bathroom; however, I've gone through three wax seals for the toilet drain and I just can't get it to seal properly. Is there a trick to reinstalling a toilet?
L.G., Tustin A. Maneuvering a heavy ceramic toilet into place is never easy, however, it can be even more difficult if your floor isn't aligned. "If you've installed a new floor, you've got to make sure that the toilet flange is flush with it," says James Scott of BJ Discount Plumbing Supplies in Garden Grove.
"If the floor is even a bit too high, you won't be getting a good seal. You'll have to modify the floor surface around the toilet so that when it's installed it's perfectly flush. Before setting it down, clean the flange surface and set the seal on top. Using two people, carefully set the toilet in place over the seal and floor bolts, then screw it down very evenly, maybe two turns at a time. Before completely tightening the nuts, sit on the seat to put weight on the seal, then finish tightening."
Q. We've just bought a 30-year-old house that's passed its termite inspection with flying colors. However, I'd like to know if there's any way I can actually prevent termites from getting into my house. Is there a way I can treat wood myself?
J.E., Trabuco Canyon A. The person who finds a way to prevent termite infestation will be rich. But for now, it may be best to leave the termite hunting to experts. "You could have your attic dusted with dry dye," says Jeff Vint of Vint Pest and Termite Control in Santa Ana. "Dry dye dries out their bodies and it's very effective. However, there are so many ways termites can attack your house that a simple dusting may not do it.
"Probably the best thing you can do is have your house checked every year. It varies in price from $100 to $150 depending on the size of your house, but it's a worthwhile investment. Because they usually check your attic and your crawl space, they'll also be able to tell you about pipes you might not know are leaking, roof problems or defects in the wood that aren't related to termites.
"But it's hard for the do-it-yourselfer to do much because most of the insecticides used for termites aren't available to the public. If you're building an addition, you might buy and use treated wood, and you also want to keep big stacks of firewood away from the house since they'll attract termites. Other than that, the best suggestion is the yearly inspection."