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INSIDE & OUT : When Vinyl Floor Tiles Buckle, Fix Problem, Not Just Symptom

November 26, 1994|JOHN MORELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Q. I put some vinyl floor tiles in our kitchen during the summer, and there's a problem with three tiles in front of the dishwasher. I believe that because of moisture from the dishwasher, the tiles have buckled and are no longer fully attached to the floor. If I flatten them out, is it OK to reglue them?

R.W., Santa Ana A. The first thing you'll need to do is find the cause of the moisture, says Becky Gonzalez of Anaheim Centsible Tile. It may be a bad door seal or leaking hose, but you'll need to correct that before you replace any tile. If the tiles are warped, flattening them won't do any good; get new ones. After pulling up the old tiles, let the floor dry out for a few days before installing new ones.

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Q. Last January, we had a mess created when we removed our Christmas tree. Dried needles were everywhere, and they were very difficult to remove from the carpet. We also had spots where tree sap had fallen. Is there a trick to saving your carpet from a droopy Christmas tree?

W.I., Irvine A. Prevention is probably the best advice, says Mark Silverberg of New York Carpets in Anaheim. To keep needles from getting on the carpet, keep sheets or tarps around the tree as you move it. Also, make sure no one steps on the fallen needles. This can dig them into the fibers and make them harder to remove. Make sure you're using a good vacuum; rent a good one if necessary. The best are the upright models that have a "beater bar" that pulls debris out of the carpet and into the vacuum. For the sap spots, try putting an ice cube on them and freezing them off, which also works to remove bubble gum.

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Q. The power flickers in our house for no reason. I thought it was because we had some drain on our system, but then it began happening late at night when very few electrical items are on. What could be happening?

T.H., Newport Beach A. You may have a problem in the main panel, probably in the main circuit breaker, says Mike McCoy of Current Supply in Westminster. In California, the main panels are covered, but they're usually outside because of our mild climate. This leaves them open to sand and dust, which can pit the components and cause a problem like this.

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Q. We recently bought a home that has nice bathroom faucets. However, I'm annoyed that the hot turns on clockwise while the cold turns on counterclockwise. Can this be changed easily?

W.T., Anaheim Hills A. Buy two of one stem, says Ron Albright of Albright Plumbing & Heating in Los Alamitos. Usually faucets are sold with the handles turning in opposite directions. This is done especially with lever handles, because most people like both to turn in toward the sink. When you have round handles, many people like them to turn in the same direction. The stem is relatively easy to replace, and most hardware and plumbing stores carry them.

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Q. I need to complete the exterior paint job on the peaks on my roof, which is made of asphalt shingles. Being leery of heights, I wanted to know about any safety tips for walking around up there.

P.P., Fullerton A. Asphalt shingles are pretty stable and are not as treacherous to walk on as a wood shake or tile roof, says Jim Gorman of Rancho Lumber in Westminster. Just make sure you have solid, rubber-soled shoes and also make sure you're getting up there in late morning or early afternoon, after the dew and moisture have burned off. You also may want to take a broom to sweep off any leaves or debris in front of you that could cause you to slip.

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