Q. The previous owners of a house we recently bought constructed a room addition.
The quality of the construction is satisfactory, with the exception of a problem we are having with the nails popping out of the drywall. What can we do to remedy the problem? -- A.B.
A. The most common cause of nails popping through the drywall is that moist lumber was used to frame the walls.
If the drywall was attached to wet lumber, the shrinking process as the wood dries causes the nails to pop.
The best method of correcting the problem is to refasten the drywall with drywall screws. They grip better than nails, and reduce the chance of more popping.
Drive the screws in one inch above or below the existing nails. Make sure the head of the screw is dimpled into the wall. Then drive the popped nails back into the framing lumber. Fill all dimples and holes with two coats of drywall compound. Sand it smooth and repaint.
Q. I have had a serious problem with the breakdown and shedding of paint covering the knots in pine planks used to construct a lattice frame over my balcony. Because there is no roof over the lattice frame, it is fully exposed to the weather.
Before painting, I have always sanded the entire surface, including the removal of any remaining previous coating from the knots, most of which are about two inches in diameter.
I have then applied a sealer over and around each knot, generally shellac, but on the most recent occasion, I applied aluminum paint on the advice of a technician with the paint manufacturers' association.
Over the sealer, I have applied a coat of oil-base primer followed by two coats of flat white latex exterior house paint. In every case, the finish has lasted only a couple of years, after which the remainder of the pergola's painted surface is still in good condition. -- C.O.
A. Unfortunately, the methods you have described are the steps we would have recommended.
It is important that the exterior latex paint be of high quality. There are several factors to look for when selecting the exterior paint to ensure superior adhesion and resistance to degradation from sun, moisture and temperature fluctuation.
Look for a paint that contains 100 percent acrylic binder, a high percentage of solids (look for solids that are pigments or binders, rather than extenders such as clay and silica, which are less costly ways to add solids to the product so it will be applied more heavily), a high content of titanium dioxide, a sufficient amount of antifreeze (ethylene glycol) and mildewcide. Such paints will be more expensive, but worth the investment in durability.
Be sure to use a primer recommended by the paint manufacturer. Beyond this there is little that can be done.
Knots are extremely dense and resist penetration. If the knots occur in just a few boards, you might try replacing those boards with a higher-grade pine. The higher the grade, the fewer the knots. Otherwise, your only option is to repaint every year or two.
Q. I have an attractive end table with a veneer finish that has raised in a couple of areas. Overall the surface is unblemished, but the two areas where this has occurred mar the appearance of the entire table.
Do you know of any way to repair this without having the entire table top redone? -- M.C.
A. Raised veneer is usually caused by excessive moisture or excessive heat.
Moisten the wood, cover it with a cloth and then apply a medium-hot iron to the loose area.
If this doesn't work, try cutting a razor slit in the bubbled area and force glue underneath and then clamp it down. When gluing veneer, use furniture glue and clamps.
If clamping is not possible, contact cement may help. Replacing or patching veneer is very difficult and is best not attempted unless you have some practice in working with the required materials.
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.