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A HELPING HAND

INSIDE & OUT : Wood Floor 'Pops' When Walked On

November 25, 1995|JOHN MORELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Q: We moved into a house last year that has a wood plank floor in the kitchen. The floor is beautiful, but there's a popping noise in a few areas where you walk. How can this be fixed?

P.P.

Irvine

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A: That often occurs when the wood isn't adhering to the subfloor because the mastic has stuck incorrectly; or, there may be a depression in the subfloor, says Steve Hix of Aaron Anthony Floor Coverings in Anaheim. That's why it's so important when installing a wood floor to make sure the subfloor is completely level.

If the subfloor is wood, you may be able to simply nail it down. Use a finishing nail and counterpunch to get the nail below the surface of the floor, then patch the hole. If the subfloor is concrete, you'll need to remove the plank and reinstall it with fresh mastic.

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Q: We have an old, cement-lined laundry sink in our garage that works fine except for a leak that seems to be coming from two hairline cracks at the bottom. What can be used to patch them?

R.G.

Los Alamitos

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A: Because of the conditions the repair is likely to face, use an epoxy cement to fill the cracks, says contractor David Alvarez of Santa Ana. First, make sure the area is perfectly clean and dry, then mix up the epoxy and spread it into the cracks. Give the repair at least two days to dry before using the tub again.

Also, be ready to make more repairs, because the cracks are likely to grow, but once they get above the water line, you won't have much of a problem with leakage.

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Q: We have an old electronic air cleaner that has worn out, and apparently parts for it are no longer available. Is it worth replacing?

T.C.

Corona del Mar

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A: These can be very effective if you have a dust problem in your house or there's someone in the household who has a bad allergy problem, says Ken Tessen of Appliance Parts Center in Laguna Niguel. They cost around $600 plus installation, and they attach to your furnace system.

They take about 90% of airborne pollutants out of the house, whereas standard filters take 5% to 15%. They're also easy to maintain--a set of coils has to be taken out periodically, washed off and replaced.

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Q: We have a faux marble counter in our bathroom that was in very good condition until we chipped an edge by dropping a hair dryer on it. I realize it can't be fixed like new, but should something be put on the chip to prevent further deterioration?

H.B.

Placentia

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A: There shouldn't be any more deterioration, but the chip can be repaired to make it look much better, says Rich Haagsma of Faucets 'n Fixtures in Orange. Basically, this type of material is a thin gel coat surface, like Fiberglas. There are repair firms that can apply a new gel coat surface to your counter, but, because of the chemicals used in the process, it's not something the homeowner can do on his or her own.

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Q: We have a coffee table in our living room that has 1/2-inch glass with exposed corners. We're worried that when our daughter begins to walk these corners may be hazardous. Can they be rounded off without damaging the glass?

S.D.

Westminster

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A: It will depend on whether the glass is tempered, says Katy Jackson of Maley's Glass in Anaheim. If it is tempered, you won't be able to cut it. If it isn't, remember that glass that size generally requires special tools not found in most glass shops.

Instead, the shop may be able to pick it up, send it to a glass manufacturer to have the corners cut and polished and return it. However, this process could be expensive.

A less costly alternative is an item such as Cushy Corners, foam protectors that can be placed on the corners.

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If you have a question about your home or garden, A Helping Hand will help you find the answer. Send questions to: John Morell, Home Design, The Times Orange County, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

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