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Home fix-up

Q We moved into a house which has radiant heat in the floor. All of the rooms have wall-to-wall carpeting. Does the carpet impede heat flow? Also, two rooms have a hard, brittle floor tile under the carpet which is about 20 years old. In your opinion, is this an asbestos tile? Is it hazardous? How difficult is it to remove the tile, or should we just install new vinyl tile over it? Mrs. Carla Cronin Birmingham, Mich. The only way to stop radiant heat from being transmitted is by reflecting it with foil or some such material. Carpet will not impede the heat flow, but you may not feel the same warmth on the bottom of your feet when walking on the carpet as from the hard surfaces.

The floor tile is probably an asphalt base which will come up easily with a flat shovel, metal ice scraper, or putty knife.

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I do not advocate placing a new tile over the old as you would be adhering it to a dry, brittle material which is likely to fracture or pop loose.

Q I am in the process of building a log house. The white pine logs are milled flat on the inside and look like pine paneling. Some of the logs, however, show a gray discoloration because of weathering before assembly or else mildew. I have tried to bleach the gray areas with very poor results. The discoloration, however, comes out easily from the spruce beams and purlins. Can you recommend a solution to do the job, as well as tell me how to treat the logs both inside and out? Zane G. Brandenstein Oxford, Maine

If the stain is on the surface, I suggest you sand it away.

I have seen many logs, however, where the gray stain is in the grain of the wood, resulting either from the aging process in the forest or from the minerals in the soil where the trees were grown.

In this case you can only expect to cover up the stain by applying a semi-transparent or opaque stain, such as Olympic or Cuprinol, depending on the final result you desire.

The same products are excellent for the exterior because they require very little upkeep. Both products contain varying degrees of fungicides, penetrating sealers, and a pigment which will resist the deteriorating effects of ultraviolet light.

Inside, the wood can be stained, painted, or left in its natural state, depending on your own taste. Ask for some advice from your local paint store after you decide on the kind of look you want. Q I would like to refinish my kitchen sink. Is there a kit or paint which you can recommend for the job? Leesa Stoner Sherman Oaks, Calif.

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A two-part epoxy paint is the only product I know of which will do the job. A name that comes to mind is Kott Koatings, available at many hardware stores.

You also can write for product or distributor information from the company. Address your letter to Kott Koatings, 23011 Moulton Parkway, Suite J-6, Laguna Hills, Calif. 92653.

I have no firsthand knowledge of the product so I cannot comment on its abrasion or chip resistance.

You might also want to consider replacing the sink completely. When you think of how much a sink is used and how long it lasts, the cost of replacing it is really a small matter.

If you have a question about designing, improving, or maintaining your home, send it to the real estate editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, Mass. 02115. Richard A. Kent is a practicing architect and general contractor in southern California.

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