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Ladder Fills Bill to Paint 2-Story Home


Q. One of the projects our family wants to tackle is to paint the exterior of our two-story house. Getting to that second story is, of course, the biggest obstacle. Would it be a good idea to rent scaffolding to do the job or just use our extension ladder? My nightmare is that we'll be constantly going up and down, moving and adjusting the ladder.


Fountain Valley

A. If it's your average two-story home, it doesn't make sense to rent scaffolding, says Jim Craig of Decratrend Paints in Anaheim.

Scaffolding is used on very large homes or on jobs where there's going to be a lot of detail work. If you're just using a roller or sprayer, you're much better off with the extension ladder and using an extension for the roller or brush, if necessary.


Q. On our last vinyl kitchen floor, we had problems when the refrigerator was moved across it, and some deep scratches resulted. We're planning to get a new floor, and I'd like to just lay it down without adhesive so that it can be picked up when the refrigerator has to be moved again. Will that work?



A. That's really not advisable because you may have problems setting the floor down once it's picked up, says Gidon Adlon of Bob's Shades & Linoleum in Orange.

It may curl and buckle, leaving bubbles where you once had a smooth floor. On some floors in small spaces, you may be able to get away with just adhering the edges and holding the floor down with quarter-round molding around the room's perimeter.

You're better off using protective measures, such as placing the refrigerator on a thick piece of cardboard to shield the floor from scratches.


Q. Is there a trick to painting behind a toilet tank? I know that not many people are going to see that area, but it bothers me to paint the whole bathroom and leave that one area untouched.


Anaheim Hills

A. Unless someone comes out with a super narrow roller, the only way to do it is to remove the tank, says plumber Jack Dobson of San Juan Capistrano.

It's not that difficult for a homeowner to do. The water just has to be turned off and the toilet flushed. Scoop the rest of the water out of the tank until it's dry, then disconnect the water supply line and the two bolts that hold the tank on the toilet.

After painting the wall, reconnect the tank, taking care when screwing the water line to the tank, and check for leaks.


Q. We have central air conditioning, and during the hot days of summer the unit runs almost constantly. This results in a flow of condensation off the roof, which splashes mud onto the stucco. Can this be prevented?



A. You may be able to have a drain attached to the unit that will take the water safely to the ground, says air-conditioning technician Randy Wimber of Santa Ana. Or you might be able to add a simple extension of your gutter so that the water will flow to the downspout. You can also just put a splash block down below where the water falls to prevent the water from eroding the dirt next to the house.

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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