Single-colour laminates for cabinet edges
I want a crisp, same-tone edge for my kitchen cabinets, which will be covered in wood-like laminate. Can a contractor achieve this?
ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) edging are common edging materials for cabinets in Singapore.
Both plastics are highly resistant to impact and abrasion and used to edge melamine and acrylic doors. However, these options will not give a crisp 90-degree edge. There will be a slight roundness at the edge on close inspection, but it will not be very obvious.
General manager Vicky Xie of carpentry specialist Mudian says: "ABS edging that is applied by machine (as opposed to being hand-glued) will be far more durable and evenly applied."
You can choose not to have edging, but the black joint line where the two panels of laminate or acrylic surfacing meet will be visible.
To get the same tone for the edging and laminate, consider laminates which are coloured throughout the sheet.
An example is digital laminate company Greenlam's Colour Core, a homogeneous laminate. It maintains one colour throughout its thickness and comes in four hues: black, white, red and ivory.
Such laminates are usually available only in solid colours and cost more than usual.
Decorate walls with washi tape or decals
I am renting, so how can I dress up my walls without putting in nails and hooks?
There are many ways to decorate walls without leaving holes or marks. Removable decals and wallpaper can instantly turn a "blah" wall into a conversation starter.
If you like the D-I-Y route, consider using washi tape to create patterns on walls, doors, light switch plates, window glass - practically any flat surface. This patterned type of masking tape is low- adhesive and can be removed easily. The Internet is full of washi decorating ideas for inspiration.
If you are into art, the 3M range of picture-hanging strips and Command hooks are a good way of putting in temporary fixtures. The hanging strips can hold frames from 1.8kg to 7.2kg, while the hooks take up to 3.9kg.
Framed art looks just as good when casually leaned against the wall, whether on the floor or on top of consoles, kitchen cabinets or shelves.
To anchor bigger and heavier frames, press on some rubberised pads on the bottom edge of the frame for more grip.
Woodborers reason for tiny holes in wood furniture
I have my eye on a piece of furniture, which is second-hand, but I noticed tiny holes in the back. There are no visible sign of termites, but I am concerned. Is there anti-termite treatment for furniture?
Small round or oval holes on the wood surface indicate an infestation of woodborers, a type of beetle.
Mr Eugene Surendra, technical and client services' director of Pest Busters, says: "These holes are made by the adult borers as they emerge from the wood. This could be an active infestation, or non-active one, such as an old infestation."
Look out for "sawdust" near the holes. This is actually frass, the excrement of the insect, and has a flour-like texture.
Drywood termite frass is more granular or sandy, says Mr Surendra. "Drywood termites cause localised damage in the furniture and are commonly found in pianos."
If you have your heart set on this piece of furniture, call a pest-control professional to determine if the infestation is active or old.
If it is active, fumigation is recommended.
Some believe that tropical hardwoods such as chengal, teak and merbau are resistant to termites, but this is untrue, says Mr Surendra.
"The sapwood and, at times, even the heartwood of these trees can be susceptible to termite damage, especially if the age of the tree when it was felled was 10 years or younger."
•Home & Decor and experts in renovation and home decoration answer queries from readers in this series. These questions first appeared in the October issue of Home & Decor, published by SPH Magazines.
•Got a decorating or home renovation issue? Write to Experts Say, Home & Decor, Media Centre, Level 7, 82 Genting Lane, Singapore 349567 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos and layouts are non-returnable.