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ASK THE HANDYMAN / JOHN MORELL

To Maintain Palm's Height in Bigger Container, Transplant Pot and All

July 03, 1993|JOHN MORELL

Question: I received some beautiful ceramic pots into which I'd like to transplant a couple of large indoor palms. They're each about five gallons, while the palms are in three-gallon pots now. I'm afraid that transplanting will let the roots expand and allow the palms to get taller, which I don't want. What are my other options?

C.S.

Irvine

Answer: "If you allow the roots to expand, you'll almost always get an increase in top growth," says Jim Kitano of Kitano's Garden Center in La Palma. "You're probably better off keeping them in the same pot, and just (inserting) the pot into the larger, decorative pot. You can then fill the empty space with bark, which hides the smaller pot, and you don't risk any damage to the roots by transplanting them, while still confining them."

Q: Our upstairs bedroom window has a crack that's about two feet long. I know I need to replace it soon, but I'm wondering if this crack is allowing the hot, outside air in and is affecting the climate inside the house. Is that the case?

D.F.

Brea

A: "If it's just a simple crack, there's probably not much of a transfer of air between the outside and inside," says Dee Watt of College Glass & Mirror in Anaheim. "As long as there's not a hole, or there's not a gap along the frame and you can't feel air coming inside, it's probably OK. You may want to use duct tape to seal and cover the crack and also keep the pieces together. If it's a window that's opened and closed a great deal, you should probably replace the glass soon."

Q: We have a long hallway in which we'd like to install ceramic floor tile. The base flooring is wood plank, and it isn't even. What's the best way of leveling it for tile?

W.N.

Garden Grove

A: "You'll probably have to install an under-layment, such as Durabond," says Gloria Richey of Tile Importers in Anaheim. "This comes in quarter- to half-inch sheets, and it's attached to the wood floor. It gives you a solid surface that doesn't move, which is what's needed for tile. Or you can have a layer of float put down, which is like a layer of cement, and which serves the same purpose--keeping the floor level and immobile."

Q: I'm setting up a home office, and I'm concerned about the carpeting. I know I need to get something to protect the carpet from a rolling office chair, but those plastic guard pads that are available have sharp plastic prongs. Can those damage average residential carpeting?

L.L.

Costa Mesa

A: "The advantages of those pads outweigh any detriments," says Tom Nichols at Linbrook Carpets in Anaheim. "As long as the carpet is in good condition, it should be fine to use one. Just make sure that if you're moving it, you lift it completely off the carpet and you don't drag it, because that's when those prongs can do some damage. You're much better off with padding, since those rolling chairs can leave permanent marks on the carpeting."

Q: We have 5-year-old wood blinds in our living room that are in good condition. There's a bedroom window that's the same width but is shorter, which is where I'd like to move the blinds. Would it be difficult to remove the slats to make them fit?

B.C.

Los Alamitos

A: "It can be kind of tricky, which is why you may need someone to do it for you," says Leslie Cooper of Bob's Shades & Linoleum in Orange. "Basically you remove the bottom rail and then pull out each slat. Then you'll have to modify the string ladder, shorten it and replace the rail. If you're a little handy, you can probably do it, but it's easy to do it wrong, and you may need an entirely new blind."

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