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ASK THE HANDYMAN / JOHN MORELL

Use Solvent to Remove Plastic 'Brick' Adhesive

September 25, 1993|JOHN MORELL

Question: Years ago I used a plastic, raised-brick wall covering in my kitchen, and I'd like to find some new pieces to replace the ones that have worn. Any suggestions on where I'd find it?

C.T.

Seal Beach

Answer: "I believe you're referring to a product known as 'Z Brick' that was popular more than a decade ago," said a representative from Tustin Paint Mart. "It had an adhesive back where the 'grout' was and you applied it to the wall in large pieces. Unfortunately, if you don't have any spare pieces in the garage, you may not be able to repair it, since it hasn't been available in years.

"It may be time to start over and paint or cover the wall with paper. The adhesive residue left behind by plastic brick can be a problem when you try to remove it. You'll probably have to use a solvent such as acetone to get it off, but be very careful about opening all the nearby windows and staying away from open flames or light fixtures while you're doing the job."

Q: We had some leaks during the rainy season, and now there are leak stains on the ceiling. How do we go about eliminating the stains?

S.J.

Dana Point

A: "First, you'll need to seal the stains using a sealer such as Kilz," says house painter Mike Cromer of Anaheim. "Use an alkyd- or oil-based product and let it dry out completely. This will provide a good base for your finish coat. Use a good-quality flat ceiling latex and roll it out evenly. The better quality the paint, the more likely you'll hide the stains."

Q: There are a couple of legs on my kitchen table that have worked themselves loose at least twice. I'm considering using a hot glue gun on them. If I do, what type of glue sticks should I use?

F.S.

Fountain Valley

A: "Forget about the glue gun," says Bob Espeland of Espeland Antique and Furniture Repair in Orange. "The glue used for these devices is too rubbery and flexible to use when repairing wood. You should use a simple wood glue available at any hardware store. The secret of gluing is clamping. If your job isn't properly clamped, it isn't going to set properly no matter how much glue you've used. Clean off the areas you're going to attach, then apply a thin film of glue to each side. Get it into position, then clamp it down."

Q: I have tile on my kitchen counters that is relatively new, but the surface is somewhat rough, and I think I'd prefer a laminate top. Does this kind of changeover require a lot of work?

D.C.

Laguna Hills

A: "The tile will need to be pulled out down to the cabinets, which isn't a complicated job, but it can be messy," says Marlene Marcum of Carle & Sons Wood Products in Anaheim. "When you get down to the cabinet, you have a wide range of countertops to choose from. Many people replace tile with a faux stone such as Corian that is very tough yet smooth and easy to clean. It's more expensive than the laminate tops, but it also wears better. You can also go with a laminate like Formica that gives you a large selection of color and design choices."

Q: My sons have used the family room for putting practice, and now the molding on one wall is covered with golf ball imprints. How should we get rid of these before painting?

A.R.

Santa Ana

A: "Try taking some light, 220-grit sandpaper and sanding the area until it's even," says carpenter Sid Dellums of Fullerton. "Fill in any holes with wood putty and sand those spots down, then use a latex primer on the molding before applying the finish coat."

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