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Dear Dale:

Regular Paint Should Work on Bricks

May 15, 1988|Dale Baldwin

Question: What kind of paint do you recommend for a red brick fireplace in our 23-year-old house? The brick doesn't go with our decorating style and we would like to paint the bricks white. Is there a paint that will take that kind of heat and not flake off?

Answer: I've used conventional semi-gloss paint--the water-thinned kind--on a fireplace like yours without any flaking or other kind of failure. The heat shouldn't be too intense around a fireplace that is operating properly, anyway. Get a good brand of paint and clean the bricks thoroughly before you apply the paint.

If you're worried about the paint not adhering to the bricks, you might investigate Break-Through paint, a water-borne cross-linking acrylic coating that replaced the largely banned oil-based enamels.

The product is slightly more expensive than alkyds and, like them, requires only water to clean brushes and rollers, according to Jay Leanse of the Procos Group, 8501 Washington Blvd., Culver City, Calif. 90232. Break-Through is ideal for use on existing painted woodwork, where adhesion is often a problem, he added.

You might investigate paints designed to be applied to concrete surfaces, although I doubt that you'll need a specialized paint of any kind.

Q: When I installed a seconddoorbell in the patio, separate from the existing bell inside the house, instead of the normal "ding-dong" it has only a soft "dong." Do I need a larger transformer?

A: According to Ken & Bill's Electrical Supply in Burbank, the problem might not be the transformer, but rather the solenoid that activates the hammer that strikes the bell to give you the tones. My advice: Take the unit to an electrical supply house and have them test it.

HELP WANTED! A reader wants to know where to find old "Standard"--not "American Standard"--water control parts for a 1935-vintage house. A plumber working on the handle to control the flow of water from the tub to the shower bent the rod so that when the control is set on "shower," water not only flows to the shower but also to the tub. The plumber who bent the rod in the first place, isn't any help, according to the reader, so if anyone knows about parts for this old shower valve, drop me a line.

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