Patio Whose Paint Is Flaking Could Use the Ol' Brushoff

Question: We have an old concrete patio on which the paint is coming off. Can we repaint it without removing all of the old paint? What kind of paint should we use?

J.G.

Yorba Linda

Answer: "It's not necessary to get all of the old paint off, just those sections that are loose and flaking," says Marty Covalt of Covalt Contracting in San Clemente. "In order to do the job, you might want to rent what's known as a shot blaster, which cleans an area using small BB shot and is about the size of a household vacuum. Or, you could try renting a floor sander and use a coarse sanding disk.

"As for repainting, look for an epoxy concrete coating. They're the strongest for that type of use. If the patio is going to take a lot of abuse, you'd better get a few more cans than you would normally use since you may need to retouch certain areas."

Q: I'm interested in pulling up the carpeting in our home and laying a wood floor. However, I've heard that if the concrete slab below isn't completely free of moisture, wood floors can buckle. How do I check this?

R.A.

Brea

A: "Moisture meters are available that can test the moisture level of your concrete," says Rodger Tsui of Orange Floor Coverings in Orange. "However, they're expensive, and for the homeowner it's probably cheaper to have a flooring expert come out and check the moisture level. If there's too much moisture in your slab, you can lay out a vinyl liner over the concrete that will protect the flooring from any moisture that will seep out."

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