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To Create Rustic Feel, Hard Pine Is Good Bet for Getting Under Foot


Q. We have a small cabin in the mountains and would like to replace the tile floor with one made of roughhewn pine or cedar to add to the woodsy feeling. Most of the wooden floors I've seen are smooth. Is there one with a rougher look?


Buena Park


A. Pine might give you the look you want, but it's not especially durable when used as a floor, says Ron Guenther of Wood Floor Wholesalers in Anaheim. It's a soft wood and prone to dents and heel marks.

It's possible to have a cedar floor. However, cedar tends to be very aromatic, so having an entire floor made of it could be too much.

You may want to look at Australian cypress pine. This would give your floor a knotty-pine look, and because Australian cypress pine is harder than even oak, it's extremely durable.

An indication of its durability is its frequent use in commercial applications--for example, at stores that get heavy foot traffic.


Q. We have four floodlights that illuminate the outside of our house at night, and all are 100 watts. To help cut power costs, I'd like to use these energy-saving bulbs, but will they produce enough light?


San Juan Capistrano


A. You can save money with an energy-saving bulb, but you won't get the spread of light you get with a standard bulb, says Gaye Magee of Allied Lighting in Costa Mesa.

A better idea may be to invest in motion detectors, she says. Good detectors will turn the lights on as soon as someone gets close to the house.

But be aware that cheaper models aren't as reliable and may not activate unless the intruder waves his hands up and down.

Using a good detector will give you security and probably improve relations with your neighbors who have to try to sleep with your lights shining.

You can also illuminate the house and landscaping with low-voltage Malibu lights, which keep your property from getting too dark.


Q. We have a stainless-steel sink in our kitchen and would like to install a hot-water dispenser underneath it. What's needed to drill a hole through it?




A. It's probably best to use what's called a knockout, says Rich Haagsma of Faucets n' Fixtures in Orange.

A pilot hole is drilled in the center of the hole you'll be drilling, then the knockout is centered over the pilot hole. It has a cutting edge on one side and a receiver on the other.

By screwing down a bolt, you are squeezing the steel against the cutting edge; eventually a clean hole is created. Knockouts are generally too expensive to buy, but you may want to check with your local rental yards to see if they will rent you one.


Q. We moved into an older house that has a circular window in one of the bathrooms. We have wood blinds on all the other windows, and I'd like to have a similar blind made for this window. Can it be done?


Laguna Beach


A. You can, although installation may be a little tricky, says blinds and drapery installer Leddy Martinez of Fountain Valley. The supporting bar would have to be very small to fit into the top of the curve and would have to be just the right size to keep the blind from looking out of place. You'll be able to open and close the blind, but you won't be able to raise them because of the shape.


Q. Early last year, our sewer line had to be rooted to get rid of roots growing into it and interfering with the flow. Now, we're finding that the drains are slow again, and I assume we'll need it done again. How often can this be done before the line has to be replaced?




A. After the line has been cleared again, you may want to use a root killer in your system, says Joel Gwartz of B.J. Discount Plumbing in Garden Grove. These are simply flushed down the toilet and kill any root growth entering the line. Unless the line has been broken by roots, which can happen if you don't service the system by de-rooting and using a root poison, you shouldn't have a problem.

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