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ASK THE HANDYMAN / JOHN MORELL

Delay Can Paint You Into a Corner

August 21, 1993|JOHN MORELL

Question: We're going to paint our three bedrooms and, because of our schedules, we were thinking of cutting in the corners and along the ceiling one weekend, then rolling the paint out over the walls the following weekend. Will there be a problem with paint color if we wait a week before finishing?

R.R.

Fullerton

Answer: "Yes, there's a good chance," says Andy Carter of Sinclair Paint in Costa Mesa. "When you paint part of a wall and let it dry for a few days, it sets and hardens. Then, when you go back over the rest of the wall, you have what's called the 'picture frame' effect, in that the borders are darker than the rest of the walls. Make sure you roll over a wall within a few hours of cutting in, and use the roller to overlap as much as possible over the brush strokes."

Q: We live in a townhouse with a gas furnace in the attic space and an air conditioner on the roof. With that kind of arrangement, where can I find the filter to change it?

E.F.

Brea

A: "In cases like that, the filter is usually in the return-air grill," says Manny Gwartz of B.J. Discount Plumbing Supply in Garden Grove. "The grill is generally located in the ceiling or in the wall, and it's through the grill that air comes from your house and returns to the air conditioner or furnace. It's important to change your filter at least once a year, and maybe more often if you have pets. Hair and dust can clog the system and make your furnace and air conditioner work harder."

Q: We're in the process of changing the electrical outlets in our house, but they're not as easy to replace as I'd thought. Instead of the wires being held in place with a screw, they're pushed in. To get them out I have to push a small awl down on a metal plate before they release. It's not easy, which makes me think I'm doing something wrong.

B.N.

Costa Mesa

A: "Rather than an awl, try a small, flat-blade screwdriver," says electrical technician Alan Corrow of Lake Forest. "An awl is so small you may have a problem with it slipping, which is why it's hard to get the wires out. Press down into the slot gently but firmly with the screwdriver. This will separate the tines enough to free the wire. Of course, before working on your outlets, double-check to make sure the power for the area you're working on is off."

Q: I'm planning on tiling one of my upstairs bathrooms. In doing some work on the toilet earlier in the year, I noticed that the toilet flange wasn't fastened very well to the wood subfloor; parts of the floor had rotted away. When laying the tile, is it O.K. to put tile underneath the flange to give it some support?

R.F.

Santa Ana

A: "Before tiling there are a few things to check out," says contractor Dave Edwards of Anaheim. "You should find out why that subfloor had rotted. Was it a problem with the seal or a bad flange or a leak in the toilet? The flange should be rigid and screwed into place, so you should get a piece of plywood in there to replace that subfloor. Using the tile to support the flange could be dangerous. Making sure the plumbing is properly connected is especially important for upstairs bathrooms, since leaks will affect the downstairs areas."

Q: Last year I refinished a small cabinet in my kitchen and put a urethane sealer on it. It looked great, but after lots of use, the areas that have gotten lots of fingerprints are now soft; I can scrape the urethane off with my fingernail. What went wrong?

G.G.

Anaheim

A: "It sounds like the surface wasn't correctly prepared," says furniture refinisher Frank Muller of Santa Ana.

"You'll need to strip those bad sections down, and make sure they're clean and dry. Re-stain them, then let them dry fully before applying the sealer. It's important then to let the sealer dry out for a few days before putting the cabinet through heavy use again."

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