Q. For many years we used a paste wax on our furniture.Then we switched to a brand name furniture polish. Now we have accumulations of both and we would like to remove them so we can start to rebuild a good shine. The dining room table is mainly what is a bothering us. What can we do?
A. With such a heavy accumulation of wax and polish, chances are that a simple washing with detergent and water will not get it all off. You will probably have to wipe the surface down with paint thinner. Use a rag to wipe if on, then immediately wipe it off with a dry rag. Work small areas at a time, and discard the rags as soon as they are soiled. Remember, thinner is flammable so work with plenty of ventilation, and make sure no one is smoking nearby. Also, since I don't know what kind of finish is underneath, test the thinner on a small inconspicuous area before you begin. When the surface is clean, start with a good quality furniture polish, but use is sparingly and only when needed.
Q. The paint on my hall ceiling is flaking off in large chunks. What can I use to fill in these depressions and create a smooth surface before I repaint?
A. After scraping and sanding all loose material, use a ready-mixed vinyl spacking compound to fill in the low spots. It sticks better and works easier than most other patching compounds of this type.
Q: We live in an old house that has small pane casement windows. Before painting these windows we always cover the glass next to the metal with masking tape to avoid a big scraping job after painting. We leave the tape on for a few days to make certain the paint is hard and ry, but on sunny days a problem occurs.When we remove tape that has been exposed to the sun a sticky residue remains on the glass which takes hours to remove, even when we scrape with a razor. Is there a solvent or some easier method we can use to remove it?
A: You are creating unnecessary work for yourself by leaving the tape on for days after the job is done. Remove masking tape after a few hours of painting when paint is dry to the touch but not yet hard. The residue that is left can, however, be removed by using rubber cement thinner sold in art supply stores.
Q: My foyer has a metallic wallpaper and the living room next to it has a self-adhesive non-metallic paper. How can I remove the metallic paper without damaging the other paper?
A: You won't be able to use a steaming machine - you will have to scrape by hand using a liquid wallpaper remover. But first scratch the metallic surface thoroughly with coarse sandpaper, otherwise the liquid won't penetrate to soften the paste.
Questions about home repair problems should be addressed to Home Improvement Department, The New Times, New York, N.Y. 10036. Only questions of general interest can be answered in this column.