Question I would like to put window film on a west-facing window. Is this material still available, and is it OK to use with dual-paned windows?
Answer It's not a good idea to use this type of film on dual-paned windows, says Katy Jackson of Martin Glass & Mirror in Costa Mesa.
These windows need to breathe, and using film on them prevents that. You're better off selecting dual-paned windows with low-e glass, which is effective at reducing glare.
If you're not up to replacing your windows, consider using outdoor awnings to help block the sun. You might look for a product called Sun Screen, sold at some glass and window shops, which is popular in the desert. It fits over the window and reflects the sun's rays as well as providing a clear view out the window.
Q I'm planning to paint the interior of my house this summer, and I'm most concerned about the moldings around the floor and around the doors. There are lots of dents and dirty spots from shoes. How can this be prepared? Also, how accurate are the paint samples you get from stores?
Rancho Santa Margarita
A Molding can be improved by filling in dents with wood putty, then sanding it all down to smooth it out, says Gene Blauser of ICI DuLux Paint in Anaheim.
If you like nice molding, you'll want to finish with a semigloss enamel. Also, try painting the molding in a color that sets it apart from the walls.
As to the paint samples, the paint you apply is usually lighter, then it darkens as it dries. Bear in mind that the new color can also be affected by the color underneath, if it's darker.
Q I used lacquer thinner to remove old glue spots on my hardwood floor that were left by the carpet padding that was covering it. After cleaning, those spots were lighter than other parts to the floor, so I used the lacquer thinner on the rest of the floor. As a result, the floor seems to have a filmy white cast to it. Why has this happened, and how can I get rid of it?
A Unfortunately, it seems as though the lacquer thinner has melted the finish and it will need to be removed, says Joel Spencer of Floors Unlimited in Orange.
Always be careful about what you use on wood floors; strong solvents such as paint or lacquer thinner can damage the finish. You might want to rent a screen sander to pull off the old finish, then refinish the floor with the stain and protective finish you prefer.
Helping Hand Note: In response to a recent question regarding the painting of cottage-cheese ceilings, R.G.W. of Tustin wrote with a suggestion. Rather than painting, "Try using a new roller and a bleach solution on the ceilings. Be sure to cover walls and carpeting in the room before trying it, wear protection on your face and eyes and keep the room ventilated. This will make the ceiling look like new."
Most ceiling discolorations are caused by discharge from heater vents on the walls near the ceilings. Change your furnace filter regularly to help prevent this.
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.