Q: To get the particular look I want in my home, I have used Rustoleum to paint the brass on the fireplace. I also used copper and black to give the bathroom light fixtures and towel racks a bronze look. Can you explain how to paint the door levers since they will be touched daily? Can the bathroom faucets be painted from "gold" look to "bronze" look? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. –Della W.
A: Sorry, but there’s not much you can effectively do to change the colors of the knobs or faucets. About the only suggestion I would have would be to check into having them powder-coated, which can be done in any number of colors. However, that still requires removing and reinstalling the knobs, faucets, etc., and you would have to make sure that the powder coating process does not interfere with how everything operates afterward. It also might affect any warranties on the knobs or faucets.
All in all, unless these items are of great value to you and you want to save them, simply replacing them would be your best bet. And if you go that route, check and see where you might donate the old ones to help someone else who’s remodeling.
Q: I own a triplex and want to install glass block myself. I am a woman, but handy. Do you have any suggestions? –Betty F.
A: Glass blocks are installed in much the same way that bricks are installed, with a bed of mortar between the blocks. Because the glass blocks are more smooth and regular then bricks, the mortar lines have to be more uniformly laid in order for the finished installation to look symmetrical and even. About every third course, you will also have to install reinforcing wires that help keep the blocks structurally solid.
All of the materials you need will be available wherever you buy the blocks. I would also recommend checking your local library for a book that contains detailed installation illustrations.
To be honest — and this has everything to do with experience and absolutely nothing to do with gender — if you are not comfortable laying bricks, I would not recommend undertaking a glass block installation as your first mortaring project. Since you asked for suggestions, mine would be to either leave this to an experienced professional mason, or else consider one of the preassembled acrylic window units that are almost indistinguishable from solid glass blocks.
Q: The Mexican travertine tiles on our bathroom floor all had a smooth surface when installed three years ago, but have recently developed a few shallow, 1/4- to 1/2-inch-long pits. I’ve heard that travertine is a sedimentary stone and that some pitting occurs during its formation, but the pits weren’t there before. My feeling is that they’re caused by someone dropping a curling iron, a hair dryer or something else. Can you recommend something to fill the pits? –John L.
A: The pits may have occurred from impact, or, if this is a true travertine, they may be natural fissures in the stone. Smaller pits can be filled with colored grout or a color-matched caulking. Larger cracks should be filled with an epoxy filler that has been colored as needed to match the surrounding tile. The epoxy method is the best and the strongest, but it requires careful mixing, coloring and then grinding after it hardens, so it’s something that should be left to a professional tile setter.
Q: I’m trying to remodel my townhouse, and I need some sample molding pictures so I can visualize how it would really look. Do you have any suggestions on where to look? –Tonia G.
A: Check out the Wood Molding and Millwork Producers Association Web site at www.wmmpa.com. Click on the "Resources" link, then on "Design Gallery." You can also order some very informative booklets directly from them that will show you a lot of different molding and pattern ideas.
Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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