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ASK THE HANDYMAN / JOHN MORELL

Lay Groundwork for Sealed Pavers

September 04, 1993|JOHN MORELL

Question: We're thinking about installing those Mexican paver tiles in our entryway. We've installed ceramic tile ourselves, so we're familiar with the process. But we've had people tell us that installing pavers is a complex job that requires a professional. How does it differ from installing regular tile?

D.D.

Santa Ana

Answer: "Since they're usually handmade, you often find that no two pavers are alike, which can make fitting them a problem," says Dave Kaessner of Ceramic Design in Laguna Niguel. "Also, if they're not pre-sealed at the factory, they should be sealed before they're installed. They are very porous, and grout or thin-set cement can cause a permanent stain if they're not sealed properly. The pre-finished and sealed pavers are a good product to use for do-it-yourselfers because they're installed much like common glazed tile.

"You apply thin-set on the prepared floor, lay the tile out and let them dry, then apply the grout. After the floor is complete, you can use a glaze-and-seal floor polish that will keep the pavers protected."

Q: I'm concerned that my attic vents aren't very efficient. I'm thinking about installing a roof turbine fan that will clear out the hot air. Will one or two of these cool my attic more than vents?

E.R.

Placentia

A: "If you're thinking about a turbine vent, look for the best on the market," says Jim Gorman of Rancho Lumber in Westminster. "It's not easy putting one of these on the roof, so you'd better get one with good sealed bearings that won't rust out in a year's time. The turbine vents may be more efficient, but they require maintenance that the standard gable vents don't.

"Many people have problems with the installation of turbines because you have to disturb the roofing, and there's a chance of leakage. Gable vents are relatively easy to install because there's no roofing around them and, by installing two on either end of the attic, near the top, you're allowing for cross-ventilation and for the rising hot air to escape."

Q: At a garage sale we bought a 10-year-old kitchen table that has a butcher-block top. The wood doesn't look like it's ever been stained or sealed, but it's dirty. How should we clean it and make look like new?

S.V.

Costa Mesa

A: "If you're intending to use it as a kitchen table and not do any cutting or food preparation on it, there's an easy way to make it look great," says Chris Macias of The Old Way Furniture Restoration in Brea. "First you'll need to clean it with acetone or lacquer thinner. Then, lightly sand it down with a fine sandpaper. Afterward, you can use a good quality finishing oil in any tone you want, then after it's dry, use a good wax sealer, like Bri-Wax. Put a coat of the wax on and buff it out, then let it cure for three weeks before putting another coat on."

Q: Why is it that most thermostats are downstairs? When the weather's hot, my kitchen and living room can be fine while the bedrooms boil. I usually end up pushing the thermostat down too much, making the downstairs chilly in order to sleep.

D.A.

Anaheim Hills

A: "In a well-designed house, you don't have a great temperature variation between the upstairs and the downstairs," says air conditioning technician Art Hayes of Irvine. "There should be proper ventilation so the rooms are comfortable, but unfortunately, many homes aren't well-balanced. Builders usually put the thermostat in an area where there's a lot of traffic, such as a hallway, assuming this is an area where most of the family will be. You can try running the thermostat wires behind the wall to the second floor. This is a more practical solution than installing a separate cooling and heating system for the upstairs area."

Got a question about your home or garden? Write to: John Morell, Handyman, The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626.

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