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INSIDE & OUT | HELPING HAND

Affixing Crown Molding Can Be Royal Pain

ALSO: * Stripping patio chairs; * Cleaning washer screens

September 05, 1998|JOHN MORELL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Question: We have a condominium with a very high ceiling in the living room, and we'd like to dress it up by installing crown molding around the edges. Is this something a reasonably handy person can do?

W.R., Anaheim

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Answer: You can install the molding yourself, but make sure you have the right tools and know what you're doing before getting into it, says Eric Prochnow of World of Moulding in Santa Ana.

There are two types of crown molding available. The traditional crown moldings are made in one piece; you'll need a mitre box to cut it at the correct angles. On the downside, it's usually heavy, expensive and difficult to work with if you haven't done it before.

Most people choose to have traditional molding installed for them. The other type that's easier for homeowners to do is the three-part molding. This is installed in three strips or parts, and it commonly gives it the depth you see in traditional molding. Most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two.

While it's a little easier to work with than traditional molding, the three-part is more labor intensive because you're having to install and cut three separate parts on each wall.

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Q I have white metal patio chairs that are chipping. What's the best way to repaint them?

M.C., Laguna Niguel

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A If the chipping is really bad, you may want to apply a chemical stripper to the chairs to remove all of the paint, says Gene Blauser of ICI Dulux Paints in Anaheim.

If it's not too bad, sand them with a fine sandpaper that's designed for metal. After this preparation, apply a good metal primer. From there you have to make a choice of a finish coat. Many people like to use an oil-based enamel because it tends to wear better and resist chipping.

However, when left outside, oils tend to lose their sheen over time and get a chalky finish. You may want to look for a non-blocking acrylic enamel. These generally hold their sheen longer in those kinds of conditions.

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Q We have a 9-year-old washing machine and lately we've noticed that it seems to take forever for the washer to fill with water. What could be causing this?

R.E., Seal Beach

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A This is a pretty common problem in our area because of water deposits, says Caesar del Prato Jr. of Caesar's Appliance Parts in Laguna Niguel.

There are four screens to check. First, remove the hoses at the wall and pull the screens out of each. Flush them out and replace them if they appear damaged. There are also two screens at the other end where the hoses connect to the fill valve, and you'll need to check these as well.

Be sure to replace the cleaned screens, because by running the washer without filter screens you could damage it.

Send questions to John Morell, Home Design, The Times Orange County, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

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