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Inside & Out | A HELPING HAND

Peepholes, People Who Don't Need Peepholes . . .

June 22, 1996|JOHN MORELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

QThe previous owners of our new house used one of the bedrooms for their toddler. To monitor him while asleep, on the bedroom door they installed a peephole, like the kind generally installed on a front door. We'd like to remove the peephole since that will be a guest room for us. Can the door be made to look normal?

S.D.

Mission Viejo

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ANo problem if the door is painted, as most interior doors are, says woodworker Red Ulmann of Fullerton. With a door that's been stained, you may have trouble creating a patch that will blend in with the rest of the door. With a painted door, after removing the peephole, you're left with a cylindrical hole through the door.

At a crafts store, find a wood dowel that fits snugly inside, then cut it so that it's slightly shorter than needed to be flush on both sides of the door. Glue it into place so that there's a slight depression on either side. Use a good wood filler to patch the depressions, then sand them smooth when dry and paint.

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QWe're thinking of building a deck around our spa in the backyard. I know that redwood is commonly used, but what other types of wood are good for decks?

T.T.

Costa Mesa

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ABesides redwood, there are two other good choices, says Joe Brown of Austin Hardwoods in Santa Ana. Teak is very durable and resistant to insects and is used extensively for boat and dock building, as well as fine garden furniture.

If it's well treated, it will last a lifetime. It's also very expensive.

IPE is a wood from South America that's mid-priced and designed for heavy-duty use. It's five times harder than pine and redwood, and it resists splintering and decay. When new, it has a rich brown color, and over time it weathers to a silvery gray.

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QOur dishwasher is fairly new, and it's supposed to get the grimiest dishes and pans clean. My husband thinks we can just plop the dishes into the machine and turn it on, while I think they should be rinsed off first. Who's right?

S.A.

Tustin

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ADishwashers have come a long way over the years, and the good ones can get extremely dirty dishes clean, says Tom Houlihan of Orange County Appliance Parts in Garden Grove. But a dishwasher isn't a garbage disposal. It's always best to rinse as much food as you can from the dishes before you put them in the machine. You'll end up with cleaner dishes and a cleaner dishwasher.

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QI have a large amount of vinyl flooring left over from having redone my kitchen floor, and I'd like to use parts of it to line my kitchen cupboards. How can I make it stay in place?

G.F.

La Habra

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AYou can, of course, use the same mastic that's used to adhere the vinyl to the floor, but in a cupboard there may not be enough pressure to keep the vinyl down, says floor installer Gary Edwards of Huntington Beach. You might try just simply tacking the vinyl into place. Vinyl makes a good choice as a drawer and cupboard liner for areas that get heavy use because of its durability.

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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