Question: I'm going to have to paint the wood siding on our house, and on one side the wood seems rougher and more porous than on other sides. I want to know how much paint I will need and whether I can use interior flat paint to prime this section. It dries the same as primer.
Answer: "With rough, porous surfaces, figure on using at least two topcoats of paint as well as a good exterior primer," says Jan Trautwein of Frazee Paint & Wallpaper in Anaheim. "A good primer will cover about 300 to 500 square feet per gallon, and for a good paint you'd better figure on 100 to 150 square feet for rough surfaces.
"As for using the interior paint as a primer, that's not recommended because exterior paints and stains are designed to be more flexible with the extremes of the weather. An interior paint will crack."
Q: We recently bought a couple of decorative brass outdoor faucets at a swap meet that looked as though they'd be pretty easy to install. However, when I was about to put them in, I noticed that they have male connections, the same as the outlet for the water line. What can I do?
A: "Try calling around to some of the hardware and plumbing supply stores for an adapter," says Leo Riley of Yorba Linda Hardware. "There are companies that make brass adapters that will change a male fitting into a female and go with your brass faucet. Remember that whenever making a connection on a water line, seal the joint with Teflon tape to ensure a watertight fit."
Q: I'm thinking about getting one of those portable air compressors that run off of the cigarette lighter in your car. Would it be good for anything else besides filling a tire? Can I run a small air tool off one?
A: "They're really designed to help you out alongside the road," says Mark Garrison of Nail Apron in Mission Viejo. "If your battery has a good charge, you can quickly fill up a flat tire and drive home or to a service station. You can also use it to inflate balls or bicycle tires, but it's a little too weak to run an air tool."
Q: We don't have built-in sprinklers, and I'd like to find out whether there are any water-saving hose sprinklers I can get for our lawn.
A: "Probably your best bet would be to get a drip-irrigation system that attaches to your hose," says Ray Sturgess of Green Thumb International in El Toro. "The big advantage is you can control the amount of water that you use so that you don't overwater your lawn. That's the same principle for the timers that you connect to your faucet. It turns the sprinkler on at a certain time and shuts it off when you've given the lawn enough."
Q: We're getting a large saltwater aquarium from a friend who can't care for it anymore, and the only place we have to put it is in front of a large picture window. Should we put some kind of window treatments on the glass to keep out direct sunlight and protect the fish?
A: "The main problem with sunlight is you're going to encourage the growth of algae," says Chris Sabage of 'Tis Tropical Fish in Fountain Valley. "By blocking that sunlight, you'll be able to save yourself about 75% of the work involved in taking care of an aquarium. If you don't want to tint the window, use some kind of folding divider that shades it or keep the shades or curtains closed during the day."