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INSIDE & OUT : Studs Carry Plenty of Weight With Walls


Q. I'm planning on installing some heavy-duty bookshelves along one wall in my den. Because of the weight involved, should I try to attach them to the studs or will some of the other types of wall anchors be just as effective?

P.I., Dana Point

A. Attaching a heavy object to a stud is always the best way to secure it to a wall, says Frank Eckert of Arrow True Value Hardware in Orange. However, stud location and bracket location don't always coincide. A butterfly toggle bolt also works very well in this situation, but it is a little messy in that you need to make a big hole in the wall for it to fit through. Plastic or metal anchors aren't always reliable. If you're overzealous and tighten them down too far, you may end up spinning them in the hole, and they may not collapse and lock into the wall.


Q. We live in a typical '70s two-story tract home that's fine for our family, except that it's annoying to hear people walking around upstairs while you're downstairs. We're thinking about re-carpeting soon, and we were wondering if putting insulation under the subfloor upstairs will cut down on the noise.

S.S., Fountain Valley

A. You're talking about a major construction job, but if you go ahead with it, you'll probably notice a difference, says Pete Gorman of Rancho Lumber in Westminster. There's a rigid foam insulation that also has sound-deadening qualities. Pulling the floor apart may take a long time, and the foam will have to be cut around where your floor joists have been cross-blocked, so not every square inch will be insulated because not all of it will be accessible.

As an alternative, you could build a false ceiling with Sheetrock to create an insulating air gap downstairs. If you're mainly bothered by the noise in the downstairs den or living room, the new ceiling could be put up just in these rooms.


Q. I have PVC vertical blinds in three windows that continually stick when I try to pull them back. Is there some type of device that can be used to keep them from sticking?

R.M., Anaheim

A. Many people try to draw blinds open when the slats are closed, which can cause this problem, says Leslie Cooper of Bob's Shades & Linoleum in Orange. Using the chain or wand, make sure the slats are completely open before you draw the blinds. They can get easily jumbled if they're not in position, which causes problems later when you want them to open or *

Q. Does my central air conditioner use Freon? Does it have to be re-charged like my car's unit does, and will I have to replace the Freon because of environmental regulations?

G.Y., Santa Ana

A. Your air conditioner does use Freon, says Ray Bakshi of RSSA Plumbing & Heating in Anaheim. However, as long as your unit is checked regularly, you may be able to avoid a leakage problem. If you do have a leak, the unit will have to be properly drained of Freon so that it can be recovered, and an environmentally safe coolant will have to be used to re-charge it.


Q. We have fake brick veneer in our den, and we'd like to remove it and just paint the wall. I don't suppose there's an easy way to get this stuff off.

N.T., Placentia

A. Unfortunately, no, says Steve Sink of Angelus Quarries and Building Supply in Santa Ana. It's often been applied with mastic, which is like a cement. You can try using a solvent or a rub stone to remove the old mastic, but you may not be able to save the wall surface. You may be better off just removing the drywall and attaching new drywall.

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