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A HELPING HAND : Ways to Rid Wallpaper of Stray Paint

Q. Recently, I painted one of my bathrooms and found that I got a little bit of paint on the wallpaper border that cuts across the ceiling. How can I get this stray paint off without damaging the paper?

S.D., San Clemente *

A. If you’ve used a water-based paint, you may want to try a product called Goof Off, says Jim Grant of Dutch Boy Home Decorating Center in Santa Ana. “You put some of it on a clean cloth and wipe the paint away. It’s not effective on oil-based paints, however, and you may want to test it on an inconspicuous part of the border to see how it affects the paper. If you did use an oil-based paint, you can try using a solvent called Brush Life on the spots, but again, try it first in an area that’s not easily seen.

To prevent that from happening, you may want to use a ‘paper’ masking tape, available at most hardware and paint stores, which has little adhesive strength and won’t be as damaging when used to mask wallpaper or any other sensitive surface.

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Q. Mice, gophers and rats are getting into the crawl space under my house. I’ve used plywood to block most of the vents to keep them out. Is this going to create any problems in that area?

R.R., Placentia

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A. It’s never a good idea to block those vents, says contractor Keith Stillwell of Santa Ana. You need a free exchange of air down there to help prevent mold and mildew. A better solution would be to install new screens or grates which keep out insects and rodents and yet allow fresh air to get inside. Do that and set some traps and you’ll probably see a difference in your rodent population.

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Q. Last year we painted our master bathroom and some paint fell and went down the drain. We washed it out at the time, but ever since it’s run fairly slow. Any suggestions on fixing it?

E.C., Laguna Niguel

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A If the dried paint has caused the slowness, you could try a drain cleaning product that contains sulfuric acid, says Rod Albright of Albright Plumbing & Heating Supply in Los Alamitos. But you’ll have to be careful. Keep the area well ventilated, use rubber gloves, and pour just a little down the drain with a funnel to prevent splashing. If you’ve used a plumbing snake to try to clear it and it doesn’t get past the trap, you may have to replace the trap.

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Q Some of my crystal goblets have broken on the stem, just above the base. Can they be repaired by reheating and reconnecting the broken parts?

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W.G., Anaheim

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A In that kind of situation, it’s best to professionally glue the broken pieces together, says Mark Willis of the Crystal Factory in Buena Park. Because of the properties of crystal, it has to be evenly heated for it to melt enough to make a repair, and it has a tendency to completely melt down.

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Q There is a patch of our pile carpeting that has a five-inch tear from the wall. Can this be fixed without sewing?

W.C., Huntington Beach

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A You can try using a carpet seaming tape, says Gary Lillge of Crown Hardware in Corona del Mar. There are tapes that are adhesive on both sides to attach to the floor and carpeting. Then there is the tape that is heat-activated, which is a more effective product. You apply the tape to the floor, place the two ends of carpeting that you wish to join, then go over the area with a hot iron. The tape has an epoxy glue that activates and holds the carpeting in place.

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