Having just restoned my 800-foot lane and the parking area and garage approach, I would like to know if there is a method I can use to keep grass from growing through the stone.
I don't want anything toxic to humans, pets or my well-water system. Don't tell me I should have put plastic down first. It just gets chewed up by the stone under the pressure of vehicles. -- R.D.M. One of the best products available to control weeds and grass from areas like the driveway you describe is "Cleanup," also sold (in larger volume) under the name of "Roundup." This type of product is often used along freeways to keep weeds and grass under control. It is simple to use, effective and does not sterilize the soil. Check your local nursery. The front of my cabinet doors below the sinks in the kitchen and the bathroom of my condo are finished with lacquer, I think, and are now badly water-spotted after 19 years.
I need advice on how to cover these water spots without having to refinish all the cabinet doors. I would appreciate any suggestions you can give me. -- C.M.H. Treating the water-spotting will depend on the extent of the damage to the wood. If you are sure that this is a lacquer finish, try cleaning the surface with a small amount of denatured alcohol or naphtha on a clean cloth. This should clean the surface and dull the finish, so you can add a new coat of lacquer. You cannot apply a lacquer finish over a varnish finish. Your best bet would probably be to strip the wood of the old finish, sand and refinish with a product of your choice.
If the finish is varnish, lacquer or shellac, you only need a modern furniture refinisher to dissolve the old finish. Check with your local paint dealer on the selection of finishing products and proper application for the new surface. You might want to consider a polyurethane or epoxy finish that would hold up better in the kitchen and bathroom environment where water conditions will continue to be a problem. In one of our bathrooms there is a strong odor, which I can best describe as a sewer odor. It is not coming from the wash basin, but more likely from the toilet area. It seems to be stronger in the early morning and then goes away. I thought it might be a backup from the outside sewer system. Any suggestions? -- A.B.
It appears to me that a personal inspection of the problem is needed by a qualified plumber. The problem could be in your draining system, improper plumbing, clogged piping or a number of things. The walls in our condominium have small bubbles along what looks like the area where the wall paneling was joined during construction. Is there anything I can do to correct this problem prior to repainting? -- B.H. It sounds like your problem is nails that are popping out along the seam of poorly installed dry wall. This is sometimes the result of the installer hammering them too hard.
To repaint, you will have to remove the popped nails. After they are removed, use two nails to refasten the dry wall. Position the new nails 2 inches apart, above and below the point where the old nail used to be. Drive the new nails into the wall so they create a shallow dimple in the wall. Then fill the dimple with joint compound or spackle and repaint. The stucco on our home, which is six years old, looks faded and dirty. I would like to restore the surface but do not want to go the expense of having a new stucco finish applied.
Can the exterior stucco be painted, and is this something you would recommend? -- W.A. There is no reason you can't successfully paint stucco with lasting results. Most types of latex exterior paints are excellent for use on stucco surfaces. These can be applied with a roller.
Be sure to thoroughly read the directions for each brand of paint when you are making a selection. Also, buy the appropriate roller for the brand of paint. Your paint dealer can be helpful in both the selection of paint and the equipment required for application.
Send inquiries to Here's How, Copley News Service, P.O. Box 190, San Diego, Calif. 92112-0190. Only questions of general interest can be answered in the column.