To greatly simplify the task of putting up ceiling tiles in almost any room that has an existing ceiling, or over exposed joists when finishing a basement or new addition, Armstrong World Industries, Inc., Lancaster, Pa. 17604, has introduced an installation system that uses 4-foot lengths of lightweight metal ceiling track in place of conventional wood furring strips (1-inch by 2-inch wood strips).
The track is used in combination with special metal clips that lock onto the lip of each tile to hold it in place. The clips are completely hidden by the overlapping lip of the next tile when it is installed. The metal track eliminates the need for working with long wood strips that often warp and are hard to keep straight, and the metal clips eliminate the need for staples or adhesive when putting up standard lipped ceiling tiles or "planks" (actually oblong tiles).
Called Easty Up (cost, $7.95), and designed specifically for the do-it-yourselfer, the new system comes in a package that includes enough nails, tracks and clips to put up about 24 square feet of tile. Only two nails are needed to put up each 4-foot-long strip of metal track. The strips are pre-drilled for the nails, and using them allows the homeowner more room for error because they do not have to be spaced precisely when nailing them up. After the metal tracks have been nailed up, each tile is installed by pressing it flush against the track, then snapping a clip onto the track and sliding its prongs over the lip of the tile. Only one clip is required for each tile, except for border tiles, which need two. The clips make it possible to remove the tiles easily in the future without damaging them -- a decided advantage when it is necessary to reach wiring or plumbing in the ceiling for repairs or replacement. To remove a tile, you slide the clip back along the track until the lip of the tile is free, then slide it out and pull down lightly. Solid Pine Planking
For those who love the look of real knotty pine paneling, Champion International Corp., 1 Champion Plaza, Stamford, Conn. 06921, has introduced packages of 4-inch-wide, solid lumber planking only 1/2-inch thick. Called Pine Valley 4, and sold in bundles of ten 8-foot lengths of planking (enought to cover 22 square feet of wall area), the material costs about $20 per bundle in lumberyards and home centers. The planks are reversible: One side is smoothly sanded, the other is rough-sawn (unsanded). They interlock by means of tongue-and-groove joints when installed. The finished jobs shows a channel joint on the smooth side and a V-groove on the rough side. The planks can be nailed up horizontally, vertically, diagonally or in a herringbone pattern and, when installed directly over a gypsum board wall, usually no furring strips are required. The panels can be put on with adhesive and some face nails, or by nailing alone. When installing over masonry or exposed studs, wood furring strips are usually nailed up first to provide a uniform nailing surface. All-Purpose Snips
A new Power Cutter from Acme United Corp., 100 Hicks Street, Bridgeport, Conn. 06609, is actually a compact but powerful pair of hand snips that can be used to cut sheet metal, wire mesh, linoleum, vinyl tiles, carpet, copper wire, rubber and many other materials commonly found around the house. The offset cutting blades of stainless steel have serrated cutting edges that never need sharpening. The tool, which costs $4.95, is 7-inches long and equipped with contoured plastic handles that make it easy to apply the required amount of pressure when cutting thicker materials. Because of its offset blades and its compact shape, it is ideal for cutting curves as well as straight lines. For Cleaning Carpets
The Bissell Carpet Machine, designed to do a professional job of home carpet cleaning, consists of a powerful, shop-type, wet-or-dry vacuum machine with a special cleaning wand attachment that sprays hot cleaning solution onto the carpet when you press a trigger on the handle. The spray penetrates deeply into the pile to loosen and dissolve embedded dirt. On the return stroke of the wand as it moves back and forth, the trigger is released and the powerful suction action of the machine draws the dirty solution, along with loosened dirt, up through the hose and into the tank where it can be disposed of later. An automatic shutoff keeps the tank from overflowing.
Made by Bissell, Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich. 49501, the Carpet Machine comes with a light-weight, 50-foot hose that supplies hot water to the machine when connected to any faucet by screwing on in place of the aerator attachment (adapters are supplied to fit most faucets). A plastic dispenser bottle on the handle holds a concentrated carpet-cleaning liquid. Called Bissell 4-in-1 Carpet Formula, it is mixed with the hot water in measured amounts each time the dispensing trigger is pulled, and deodorizes and protects the carpet as it cleans. The Carpet Machine ($149.95) comes complete with attachments for cleaning, including a four-wheel dolly to move the machine around easily.