Q: The kitchen cabinets in my house are faced with plastic laminate in a color I dislike very much. Can this plastic be painted?

A: Yes, if the surface is properly prepared. Sand thoroughly with fine grit paper, then wipe with paint thinner to remove the dust and any wax, polish, or greasy dirt that may be on the surface. Apply a first coat of enamel undercoat, let dry thoroughly, then finish with two coats of a good quality, high-gloss or semigloss enamel.

Q: Our kitchen is such that we have to keep our refrigerator on the porch behind it. This porch is covered and screened, but on windy days some rain gets in and our refrigerator is beginning to show signs of rust. Is there something I can do to stop the rusting?

A: You won't be able to stop it, but you can slow the process and prolong the life of the refrigerator by coating all the outside metal parts with wax and spraying all the machinery in back or underneath with a rust-preventive, penetrating and moisture-displacing oil, such as LPS or Wd-40.

Q: The house I recently moved into had two layers of paper on the walls that had been painted over. I scraped this off, but in the process I left many gashes in the paper facing of the dry-wall panels under the wallpaper. I intend to hang new wallpaper, but don't know how to get the wall smooth first. Can you help?

A: you can fill the cracks and gouges with either vinyl spackling compound (ready-mixed) or with ready-mixed joint cement. After this, be sure you prime the walls before you hang new wallpaper.

Q: We have a house in a damp area, and the outside is covered with rough vertical siding (12-inch planks). The wood has not been treated in 11 years and is now quite dry and showing a tendency to split easily. We have been advised by one painter to apply hot boiled linseed oil, but another says this would be the worst thing: The oil would darken the wood and attract wildew in wet weather in the summer. What is your opinion?

A: I heartifly agree with the second painter. Using linseed oil almost always leads to the problems he describes, so stay away from it. If you want a clear protective coating use a penetrating type wood preservative or sealer. There are many brands you can buy at local paint stores or lumberyards.