DEAR SAM: My linoleum dealer refuses to install resilient tile on the basement floor until the dampness problem there is corrected. I have read that Phenoseal Waterproofing Liquid can be painted over basement floors but I can't locate any paint or hardware store stocking it. Please send me the name of distributor or manufacturer.
ANSWER: The product is manufactured by Gloucester Co., Inc. of Franklin, Mass. and distributed by Winde-McCormick, Inc., 11 Wheeling Ave., Woburn, Mass. The latter will be glad to send you further information and a descriptive pamphlet.
Your dampness problem, however, may need something more than a "waterproofing liquid" to prevent the access of moisture through the cement floor of the basement. If you have a wet basement because of ground water seeping through, resulting from hydrostatic pressure, such as a high water table, this waterproofing liquid will hardly solve the problem. You will need a "French drain" around the perimeter of the inside foundation to absorb the water and direct it to a sump, where a sump-pump will eject the water to the outside.
I am enclosing a copy of my article, "French Drain May Be Answer to Leady Basement." Other readers may obtain copy by enclosing request with self-addressed, stamped envelope.
DEAR SAM: We rented our home while overseas for several years. On our return a general refurbishing was necessary, including repainting all the interior woodwork. We decided to change the color from cream to white. An elderly painter, who seemed to take considerable pride in his workmanship, was given the job.
Later, we learned that he failed to clean the woodwork, which was dirty and greasy. Now, whenever, any part of the woodwork is tapped, a small chip of paint comes off, leaving a noticeable spot of the cream-color undercoat. What can we do?
ANSWER: You have correctly diagnozed the problem. Not only was the undercoat supposed to be greaseless and dust-free, but the gloss finish should have been sanded for better adherence of the new paint. Also, the new paint, even if it was of high quality, may not have the same coefficient of expansion as the previous paint.
I do not recommend that the existing paint be removed with any liquid paint remover that contains methylene chloride, which is hazardous where ventilation is insufficient.
After the paint has hardened for at least six months, it may be liquid-sanded and a new paint applied in one area as a test. An acrylic semi-gloss latex may adhere better than the previous paint.
After it has dried for a few weeks, you can test-tap it to see if it chips. If it does, you may have to wait somewhat longer for another test period.
Samuel Fishlyn's address is Box 62, Newton Centre, Mass. 02159.