Q: I have enjoyed your column for some time, and I now have a question about the composition shingle roof on a house we just purchased. The roof is only 5 years old and is in good shape, but we want to paint the house. Unfortunately, the existing roof color will contrast poorly with the paint colors we’ve chosen. Is there any kind of paint or other surface coloring that we can use to darken the shingles? –Pat W.

A: As you’re probably aware, a composition shingle gets its coloration from the thousands of tiny mineral granules used in its construction. Even in a roof with a uniform color — white or black, for example — you will find a lot of variation in the color of the individual granules. Any type of surface coating you could apply would have a uniform color to it, so it would actually appear rather odd compared to what a normal composition roof looks like. Also, since these are surface coatings — similar to paint — they will wear off relatively quickly and may also void the manufacturer’s warranty.

I did speak with a representative from the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturer’s Association, who said that they get this question fairly often, and raised the same concerns I mention above. His only recommendation was the Brewer Co. — www.brewercote.com — that apparently makes a coating with a variegated coloring meant to mimic the colors in composition shingles. I tried to contact them to ask about this but received no reply, so I don’t have any more information for you on that particular product.

All in all, I would strongly recommend against trying to color your roofing, and would suggest instead that you look at some other color combinations for the exterior of the home that might go better with the existing roof color.

Q: I had a water feature installed, made from brick and cinder block. The rubbery coating the contractor applied as a sealer has formed thousands of blisters, and has pulled away completely in one area. The contractor says that in spite of this, the block is still sealed, and he won’t do anything about it. It’s not leaking, but I’m very concerned about it, especially in freezing weather. What do you think? –Patty P.

A: From what you describe, it sounds like the surface of the block was not prepared correctly prior to the application of the coating. With most types of surface coatings, bubbles in the finish indicate the presence of moisture. I don’t know what type of product was used in your case, but it sounds like the block may not have been completely clean and dry at the time of application. It could also be a defect in the product itself.

Whether the block is leaking now or not, the surface certainly should not have all of those blemishes on it, and your concerns are very valid about moisture getting behind the surface coating with a potential to cause a variety of problems.

If your contractor does not feel that repairs are warranted, have the contractor provide you with the name of the company representative for the particular product he used, and contact them to arrange for a site visit to examine the problem. You can also talk to the store that supplied the product. If all else fails, I would strongly urge you to contact the Construction Contractors Board and arrange for them to send out a mediator. This a free service, and the mediator will do everything possible to work out a solution that’s agreeable to both you and the contractor.

Q: We’re remodeling the kitchen in our 27-year-old home, and need to repair some of the cabinet drawer slides while we have our countertops off. They are called GO-E-Z, and are mounted to the bottom of the drawers. We can’t find any other information, and were wondering if you would know where to look for parts? –Pete Y.

A: I’m not familiar with that particular line of slides, so I can’t offer much in the way of advice on finding parts. However, even if parts are still available, my suggestion would be to replace all eight of the glides completely. Even if you repair a couple of them successfully, you will probably have problems with some of the others in the near future, and as you mention, now is the time while you have the countertop off.

Side-mounted slides are superior to most of the bottom-mounted ones I’m familiar with, and are easy to retrofit. I would check out the selection at a local retailer that handles cabinetmakers’ supplies, or on the Web I would contact Rockler Woodworking and Hardware at www.rockler.com or Woodworker’s Supply at www.woodworker.com — both have a very large selection of drawer slides in many different sizes and styles.

Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at paul2887@ykwc.net.

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