Remove gummy floor tiles, fix plaster walls

Proper equipment can be rented

Q: I have two questions about remodeling my old house. First, I need to remove some floor tiles from an oak hardwood floor prior to refinishing it. There are no asbestos issues, but the tiles are pretty well stuck down with a black, gooey material. Any suggestions? Second, I have plaster walls in a small room and would like to apply a light texture to cover some minor cracks. What should I use? Thanks! --Dan W., via e-mail A: For your floor tiles, a heat gun should be your best bet. Commercial heat guns are available from retailers of floor-covering supplies and from some home centers, or you can rent one at most rental yards. The important thing is to provide adequate ventilation and to work slowly in one very small area at a time. DON'T OVERHEAT ANYTHING -- working too fast or with too much heat can create a very definite fire hazard! As you heat the tile, use a small, stiff scraper or putty knife to lift the softened adhesive as well as the tile, taking care to avoid go...