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When Wallpaper Loses Its Edge, It's Time for It to Bond With Wall


Q: I wallpapered our dining room last summer, and in places near the ceiling the edges seem to keep coming off. Any ideas on why this happens and how it can be fixed?




A: This can occur for a variety of reasons, but most commonly because the paper near the edge was not damp enough when the paper was first applied, says paperhanger Dan Larson of Westminster.

First, check to make sure the wall behind the unglued paper isn't moist for any reason. If it's dry, sand it lightly and clean it off, then apply a very light coat of adhesive paste to the back of the paper.

Use a small roller to smooth the paper onto the wall, being sure to wipe off any excess glue that seeps out.


Q: One project we're going to be tackling this spring is removing the acoustic ceilings in our house. I know about the asbestos problem in these types of ceilings, and we're going to have it tested before removing it, though neighbors with similar homes didn't have asbestos in their ceilings.

Once we're sure it's safe to proceed, how do we go about smoothing out the ceilings?




A: It's a messy job, but if you're dealing with a "blown" ceiling that's been attached with a blower, it's not too hard to remove, says Pete Gorman of Rancho Lumber Co. in Westminster.

First you'll want to put tarps down everywhere to protect the carpet and furniture. Then take a spray bottle full of water and moisten the ceiling, but don't soak it. The next day, you should be able to scrape off the ceiling fairly easily in large clumps.

After you take it down to the drywall, you'll need to apply new drywall mud to smooth it out or create a pattern to match the walls. If, when you start testing it you see the acoustic material almost seems cemented on, it may be a plastered acoustic ceiling, in which case removal is just about impossible.

The only alternative then is to apply the drywall mud over the acoustic ceiling and hide it. Should you find that your ceiling does contain asbestos, it's best if you have it professionally removed or treat it like a plastered ceiling and cover it up with the drywall mud to seal it and smooth it out.


Q: I want to replace my Formica kitchen counters with tile, but I like the way the Formica curves around corners and at the edges. Can that be duplicated with tile?


San Clemente


A: It's going to depend on the tile and the counter design you're looking for, says Gloria Richey of Tile Importers in Anaheim. Tile can be made to curve, generally the smaller the tiles the easier it is to get them to work in a curved area.

At the edges, you can used bull-nosed tile, which is rounded and often has a slight lip to prevent water on the counter from spilling onto the floor.


Q: While replacing the linoleum in our kitchen a few years ago, we discovered that moisture had seeped through the slab. A plumber told us there were no leaks in our pipes, but the new tile that was laid began to discolor. Recently, we replaced carpeting in our living room and found a large moist area underneath. We again called the plumber, who used a leak detector, and were told there were no leaks. Any ideas on what's causing this problem?


Costa Mesa


A: There's probably leakage within the slab somewhere, says Scott Blanke of Central Plumbing & Heating Supply in La Habra.

Try turning off all water outlets in the house, making sure there are no faucet leaks and the water heater isn't filling, then take a look at the water meter. If there's a small leak, you will see the meter move slightly.

Though many plumbers have leak detectors, you may need the services of an expert who specializes solely in finding leaks. You should be able to find some in the Yellow Pages or through a referral from your local plumbing supply store.


Q: After all the rain we had this winter, a mosslike growth developed on our patio. It seems to be almost impossible to remove. Are there any nontoxic cleaners available to remove it?


Laguna Niguel


A: There is a product available at most hardware outlets known as Physan 20, which is most often used as a greenhouse cleaner. It's also good for removing this type of mildew growth and preventing it from recurring. You'll need to dilute it with water and use a stiff brush to scrub the growth away.

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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