Several possibilities to stop paint bubbles
Q. I have had a paint bubbling and peeling issue on the wood clapboards in a 31-year-old condo complex for, it seems, 30 years. It occurs only on the outside wall around an indented front entry alcove, and in the alcove itself. We have done everything right: Wash with
RON GRAVES, Ipswich
A. If the bubbles contained water, I’d say that water vapor is going through the wall from inside the house, condensing on the back of the sheathing, and continuing through the sheathing to push off the paint. The cure is to insulate that sheathing, a complex, expensive thing to do.
Another reason may be the use of Clorox, which is chlorine bleach. If the bleach was not thoroughly rinsed off, paint is bound to fail. The cure is to scrape, sand, and rinse that part of the wall, then reprime and repaint.
Still another cure is to take off the peeling clapboards and nail on new ones, rough side out. Do not paint, but apply two thin coats of a solid color stain to color match the siding.
Q. My fireplace enclosure is glass with an antique brass trim. A recent storm got the front wet, and caused water stains. They don’t come off with regular cleaning. What will work?
NANCY, from Reading
A. That antique brass finish is probably tarnished brass, helped out by chemicals. It is also lacquered, applied to keep the brass shiny. It is this lacquer that has the water stains. The only thing that might work is to rub lightly with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
Q. Last week my husband inadvertently shut the flue of our fireplace early, resulting in a house full of smoke. We did our best to air the house without success. I would love to not have to smell smoke until all the windows can be open all day. Any suggestions or ideas?
CINDY OUELLETTE, by e-mail
A. Wash, wash, wash. Wash ceilings and walls and woodwork and nonwood floors with a detergent and water. Wash wood floors with a wet Swiffer. Clean all carpets. Ventilate the house. OK, so it is cold out; venting will help. There are companies that will do all this for you for a fee.
Q. I put little booties on my chair legs (self-adhesive felt) and they helped prevent scratches on my wood floors. But some had worn off, leaving a sticky spot on the floor. How can I remove that sticky stuff?
A. Try a little oil. Put it on, wait 15 minutes, then scrub off with rough cloth or very, very fine sandpaper. Or, use rubbing alcohol. Or, finally, rub with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Also, instead of those self-adhesive felt covers, invest in a crutch tips, rubber cups of different sizes, sold in hardware and lumber stores and in some drug stores.
Q. My double driveway is 20 years old and looks good except for a section that has sunk, creating serious puddles and ice problems in winter. The section is in the center of the drive and several feet long. Can a driveway paver fill that spot with asphalt?
EAGER to FIX
A. A straight driveway man will not do it because it won’t work. But he might be able to cut that depression out right to the gravel under, and fill in with new asphalt. It might look funny, but that can be corrected by sealcoating the entire drive. Normally I would not suggest sealcoating because it is mostly cosmetic, but in this case we are looking for a cosmetic solution.
Q. When I was unscrewing a dead bulb from a socket, it broke off in my hand, leaving intact the shaft that holds the filament. I heard of sticking a raw potato into the socket and turning it that way. Would that work?
ELIZABETH HARMON, Saugus
A. Yes, the potato can work, but make sure the power is off. And, with the power off, wear heavy canvas gloves and turn the shaft and the socket. This all applies if the bulb is incandescent. If it is a fluorescent bulb, call a bulb company that can tell you how to handle the spilled mercury.
Q. When I went to install a toilet for use by a disabled person, I was told they don’t make such toilets any more. Now what can I do?
A. Ridiculous. Call Bill Tragakis of Watertown Heating & Plumbing Supply, one of the biggest plumbing supply houses in New England. I think it’s the biggest. If Bill’s not around, talk to Bill Jr.
Globe Handyman on Call Peter Hotton is also in the g section on Thursdays. He is available 1-6 p.m. Tuesdays to answer questions on house repair. Call 617-929-2930. Hotton (email@example.com)also chats online about house matters 2-3 p.m. Thursdays. To participate, go to www.Boston.com.