Home help

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 February, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 February, 2001, 12:00am

I've been told rosewood furniture deteriorates in colder climates. Is this correct and, if so, how can I prevent it occurring?

Pola Antebi replies: Any hardwood, rosewood included, will not be affected by changes in temperature. So rest assured your rosewood furniture will not deteriorate when you move to colder climates. However, damage in the form of cracks in the wood will occur if the humidity levels change dramatically in the room they are stored. After you move, make sure you use a humidifier whenever central heating is switched on.

Damp has appeared in the corner of my bedroom ceiling. How should I treat it?

Won Yiu-kwan replies: If you find damp or water marks on the ceiling, or any area of the home for that matter, you should first establish where the leak originates from. It may be coming from the flat above or the external walls, and either way it's not an easy problem to solve so you should contact your Building Management Office to deal with it immediately. Once you've established the source, let the damp dry out and using a paint scraper remove any peeling or flaking paint. Sand until smooth, wipe away any dust then apply an anti-leakage paint such as aluminium primer to prevent damp from recurring. Add a coat of paint to match the existing wall finish. If the damp stain is bad, normal emulsion probably won't cover it. A layer of undercoat before the final coat of emulsion may hide it better.

My landlord is allowing me to wallpaper the bedroom of my rented apartment. Can you recommend any stockists and do you have any tips as I've never wallpapered before?

Tania Cha Chu-chow replies: Leave wallpapering to the experts and employ a decorator to do the work. It's a skill and getting a professional to do it will save you time, money and more importantly, a great deal of frustration. Walls are notoriously uneven in Hong Kong and if you opt for a patterned paper, it will be very tricky to match up. Wallpaper suppliers can often recommend a specialist decorator.

Concentrate your energies on finding the right wall covering. There are two main types: paper and vinyl. Paper is a little trickier to handle as it has a tendency to tear and you must be careful not to load too much paste on the backing. The nicest designs, often from the major European firms, are usually printed on paper. Vinyl wallpaper might be paper or vinyl-fronted. Designs tend not to be as inspiring, but it's cheaper from $1.50 to $5 per square foot. Vinyl-backed wallpaper is also easier to put up. All the major fabric suppliers stock a selection of wall coverings from $50 per 10m roll to well over $1,000 for hand-printed designs. Alfield Interiors (223-225 Prince's Building, 10 Chater Road, Central. Tel: 2525 2738) has a great paper-backed natural grass coverings made in China from $370 to $740 per roll. Tat Ming Wallpaper Co (tel: 2832 9987) supplies to contractors, but has a large budget range suited to residential projects. Buying tip: the more complicated the pattern, the more complicated to install. So allow for more wastage.