Q A couple of years ago, I had light beige carpeting installed in my home. At the edges of the walls, the carpet has become quite dark. I've had it cleaned, and I've been told that the dirt in that area is trapped and can't be removed. Is that true?
C.J., Santa Ana
A This common problem that occurs in most homes relates to its construction, says Mark Silverberg of New York Carpets in Anaheim.
Where walls meet the floor, there's often a slight gap that expands or closes as the house settles. From that gap, air can pass through. When you have carpeting butted up against the molding, the carpet acts as a kind of filter for the air and collects airborne dust and grime. It becomes very apparent in light carpeting.
You might try to find a manufacturer-approved spot cleaner for your carpeting, then work on the wall staining by hand. You may want to pull the carpeting up along the walls and apply a caulk along the edge to help seal these air gaps. It's also a good idea to vacuum along the walls regularly.
Q We had a solarium room added to our home that protects our spa from the outside weather and gives us a nice room to sit in. However, the room faces the south and most of the year it's unbelievably hot. Even opening all the windows doesn't help. Any suggestions?
R.G., Mission Viejo
A Check with glass shops in your area to see they have an E-glass film, says contractor Rodney Wilson of Santa Ana.
E glass is uniquely made to seal out the heat-creating rays of the sun while allowing the light to come in. They may have a film that you can use to cover your windows. You also could keep some powerful fans going to circulate air. If none of that works, you may need to see if you can install a wall air conditioner to keep the room livable.
Q I'll be decorating a children's room soon, and I'm interested in the look in which paint is splattered all over the walls. Can this be done safely without damaging the carpet?
A With careful preparation and masking, you can protect your carpet, says painter Dave Willis of Anaheim.
Get the thickest, toughest plastic tarp you can find and tape it to the molding. Paint the room with a latex base coat (usually lighter colors are used). After it's dried, select your bright splatter colors, at least three, along with good stiff brushes for each.
From there, splatter the paint randomly.
Q Since we started using our furnace, we noticed that our windows are dripping water and fogging up on the inside. Is there an easy way to keep this from happening?
R.T., La Palma
A Try attaching glascene panels, suggests Katy Jackson of Maley's Glass in Anaheim. These are heavy, clear plastic sheets that can be cut to fit your window glass. They aren't a permanent fix, and they eventually dry out and crack, but they will keep condensation from forming on the interior of the window, and they'll prevent some of the heat from your furnace from being lost.
Q The kitchen sink in my condo is much too shallow and small. How hard would it be to stick a larger one in there?
B.B., San Clemente
A There may be a lot of labor involved, says plumber Ted Mobley of Anaheim. Once the old sink is out, the counter will have to be cut to allow the new sink to drop in. Fittings underneath for the disposal, drain and water lines may also have to be modified. It's not an uncommon job, but if you're doing it yourself, give yourself a lot of time.
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.