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INSIDE & OUT | A HELPING HAND

Seep and Ye Shall Find: Foamy Tiles Trap Water

ALSO: * Tricky faucet leak; * An upstairs fridge

April 04, 1998|JOHN MORELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Q Since the recent rains, the Mexican paver tiles in my entry and kitchen have developed isolated areas with a white foamy substance bubbling up. What is this, and how can I eliminate it?

S.F.

Dana Point

*

A This has become a common problem, says Ron De Quillettes of California Wholesale Tile in Anaheim.

Because of excess water in the ground, moisture is coming up through the slab and hitting the sealer on top of the tile, which leads to the white stains, also known as effervescence. Use a chemical stripper to remove the sealer on top of the tile, let the tile breathe a few days, then coat the tile with a neutralizer that removes the effervescence and reseals it.

This should be done across the whole tile, not just the affected areas, so the tile will have a uniform look when the job is done.

*

Q I have a 4-year-old white, European-style single-handle kitchen faucet. Sometimes when I turn it on, a brownish/blackish water will leak from the base where the faucet turns. Does this mean a washer is going bad? This is supposed to be a washerless faucet.

P.P.

Tustin

*

A There could be a number of causes, says Scott Blanke of Central Plumbing & Heating Supply in La Habra.

There may be a problem in the spout O-rings, where it seals. If the water is brown, that suggests rust and could be because it wasn't installed with any or enough putty underneath the plate. You may want to change the spout O-ring, then remove and reset the plate underneath the faucet body with plenty of putty.

*

Q We spend most of the time in our house upstairs, so I'd like to have a refrigerator installed there in either our bedroom or den. Could the moisture or heat created by a refrigerator damage the carpeting underneath it?

K.W.

Fountain Valley

*

A Modern refrigerators are designed not to leak, says Tom Houlihan of Orange County Appliance Parts in Garden Grove.

As the appliances self-defrost, water is dropped to a pan near the compressor. The heat generated by the compressor helps evaporate the water. There shouldn't be a problem with water damage as long as the refrigerator is working properly.

As a precaution, you may want to place the fridge on a large plastic pad or runner to help protect the carpeting and put something in front of the door to protect against spills from dropping food or drinks.

If you have a question about your home or garden, 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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