QUESTION: During my last paint job, I covered the floor of the room I was painting thoroughly, but when I finished I found I had tracked latex paint throughout the rest of the house. How can I remove the stains on the carpet and varnished wood floors?
ANSWER: To avoid tracking paint into unprotected areas, many pros wear galoshes that they step out of when leaving the work area. Getting dried paint out of carpeting is difficult. You might try scraping the carpet fibers with a razor. If you have a high-pile carpet, you might be able to get away with carefully cutting out some of the stained fiber.
Do not use solvent on the varnished wood floor. Try washing the paint spots gently with a steel-wool soap pad. If that doesn't work, try scraping off the paint with a razor blade.
Compound Available to Fix Wall Depression
Q: There's a large depression in my basement wall, and chunks of gravel are exposed. What's the best way to repair the depression?
A: The condition you describe is called "honeycombing" and can be patched with vinyl polymer patching compound. If the cavity is deep, it may be best to fill it in two stages--first with a thin coat and then with a finish coat--to prevent the patching material from sagging.
Televisions Damaged in Lightning Storm
Q: I've had two television sets damaged by lightning. It blows the tuner out even when the set is turned off. A 15-amp voltage surge protector installed between the wall plug and the TV plug hasn't helped. We have cable TV that is grounded outside. What can I do to prevent this from happening again?
A: Your problem sounds like the classical example of what happens when the cable TV coaxial cable is not grounded properly. The National Electrical Code specifies that the CATV cable should not have a separate ground, but that it should share a common ground with the inlet electrical service to the house.
If the electrical system and cable TV are grounded separately, a lightning surge can generate a difference of many thousands of volts between the power cord and the coaxial cable, causing the TV set to blow out. You can avoid this problem in the future by making sure the ground for the TV cable is connected and properly bonded to the main ground for the electrical service to your home.