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INSIDE & OUT : A Solution for Problem of Cabinet Mold


Q. I'm getting a moldy smell from the inside of one of my kitchen cabinets. What causes this, and how can I get rid of it?

L.C., Anaheim Hills

A. What you'll want to look for first is the source of the mold, says cabinetmaker Steve Alvarez of Santa Ana. Generally, mold is found in cabinets under the kitchen sink, where there's a leak in one of the water lines or in the drain. If it's coming from a different cabinet, check the walls or surrounding area for leakage. Use a solution of bleach and water to wash the insides of the cabinet and kill any mold. After it dries, apply in the cabinet a sealer or a paint that contains a mildewcide.


Q. We have a hardwood floor in our kitchen that's about 12 years old and in need of refinishing. Is it possible to turn a waxed floor into a no-wax floor?

E.P., Westminster

A. It depends on the type of floor, but it should be possible, says Mark Chamberlain of Chamberlain Floors in Westminster. Most of the floors made then had a veneer thick enough to take refinishing. If your floor has bevels between the planks, you may have a problem removing the wax that has built up over the years. Basically, the floor is sanded and refinished, stained to the color you want, and the urethane is applied over the stain.

Before you go to a no-wax floor, you may want to reconsider. Many people feel that a urethane finish is best for high-traffic areas. However, when you get scratches in a waxed floor, you can hide them by applying a new coat of wax. When you scratch a no-wax floor, you must cover it with urethane, a more involved process.


Q. I'm considering putting a ceiling fan in my den, but I'm concerned about safety. I'm afraid that if the fan is on I might forget about it, raise my hands up and get hurt by the blades. Do any fans come with some kind of safety clutch that prevents these kinds of accidents?

W.B., Brea

A. Generally, you won't get hurt if you get hit by one of those blades, says Bob Owenby of A-1 Fans in Anaheim. They're wood, not metal, and it will probably scare you more than it will hurt. Of course, you should be careful about keeping children away from a moving fan blade and also stay away from commercial fans with metal blades. The blade bracket for most home fans is made of metal, but that would break before it did you any harm if it hit you in the arm or hand.


Q. I know this probably sounds odd, but I'm thinking about making my asphalt driveway red. Is there some kind of special paint that can be applied to asphalt?

C.C., Santa Ana

A. Pete Gorman of Rancho Lumber in Westminster says there are different brands of driveway coatings, but he only knows of those that come in black. There is a curb paint that's used by municipalities to paint red curbs that could work, and you may be able to find a paint dealer who could alter the shade to the color you want. Before painting your asphalt, make sure it's in good condition. Give it a good washing and remove as much dirt and grease as you can. Also, use an asphalt patch to fill in holes and cracks.


Q. We're getting new carpeting in our house. We want a cut-pile throughout, except for two bedrooms, where we want a Berber style. Is it a problem having carpets of two different heights meet? How can that be handled?

L.O., Laguna Hills

A. There is a device that's used to connect different types of carpets that creates a professional look, says Mark Silverberg of New York Carpets in Anaheim. It's a metal or plastic channel screwed or nailed into the floor, and it makes a smooth transition from one carpet to the other. You can also use a wood or metal strip at the threshold to hide the seam.

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