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INSIDE & OUT | A HELPING HAND

Sanding Not Only Way to Prep Doors for Paint

July 13, 1996|JOHN MORELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Q: My interior doors need painting. Because of the mess involved, I don't want to sand them. Is chemically preparing them as effective as sanding?

J.U.

Mission Viejo

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A: A number of products at paint and hardware stores, such as Liquid Sandpaper and other de-glossing agents, prepare doors for repainting, says Charlie Kaczorowski of Tustin Paint Mart.

These products have to be used carefully. Cover the floor around the door so you don't get solvent on the carpet. Keep all the windows in the area open to ensure good ventilation. Use rags with the solvent, not steel wool, which can create a fire hazard.

Make sure you test the solvent on the door first to see whether it's marring the finish, which is what you want when you repaint, or if it's actually removing the paint.

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Q: About five years ago I had a white onyx Pullman counter top installed in my bathroom. Over the past year, I've noticed that the onyx is discoloring in areas where the water collects. I've begun coating the top with a protective gel and wiping away any standing water, but is there anything else I should do to help preserve it?

J.L.

Fountain Valley

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A: Keeping water from sitting on the surface of the counter top is essential to protecting it, says Rich Haagsma of Faucets 'n Fixtures in Orange.

Keep the top clean and take care not to use abrasives. After it's clean, apply a wax that's designed for synthetic marble, which can help protect it. When applying the wax, don't get any on floor if it's tile or vinyl; it can create a very slippery surface when wet.

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Q: We hosted a beach party, then several people came over to our house and swam in our pool. The next day, we noticed lots of sand at the bottom of the pool. We went over the sandy areas with our pool vacuum, but that just seemed to stir the sand up, not suck it away. Is there a trick to getting rid of it?

B.C.

Huntington Beach

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A: There may be a problem with your automatic pool cleaner, says Chris Dienst of Orange Canyon Pool Supply in Orange. Some are designed to pick up dust and leaves, while others will pick up small rocks--it depends on the model.

There may be a problem with the pump, or the filter could need servicing. It's probably time for a service call from your pool professional to check on the cleaner and remove the sand.

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Q: I've heard that heat pumps are effective at cooling and are much less expensive than air conditioning. Is that the case?

S.S.

Brea

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A: Heat pumps are devices, similar to air conditioners, that remove moisture from a room and lower its humidity, says Scott Blanke of Central Plumbing & Heating in La Habra.

They tend to work very well in areas that have high humidity, but in most Southern California homes they're not as effective. You may want to have a professional evaluate your home to see what cooling options are available to you.

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Q: I want to put recessed lighting in my kitchen, but I'm not sure what kind of light kits should be used--mirrored, white or black? What are the advantages of each?

L.P.

Garden Grove

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A: Mirrored kits are a good choice for a kitchen because they amplify the light coming from the bulb, says electrician George Sturma of Santa Ana. White kits are also a good choice because they reflect the light well. Black kits are generally used in hallways and living rooms for a subdued look.

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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