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Hi, Robert.

My wife and I own a 1928 English Tudor-style house. The house is white stucco all around, but we would like to remove some of the stucco to reveal the nice brick-work of the chimney and the support pillar of the front porch. The only option we can think of is sandblasting, but we are afraid that the high pressure of the air compressors used might damage the brick under the stucco. Do you have any suggestions as to how stucco removal might safely be accomplished?

Thank you for your reply.

Gerry S.

Hi Gerry,

Contact a sandblasting company and let them take a look at your home. They may choose to water blast or most probably bead blast; it’s up to the operator once he sees what he’s working with. Depending on the blaster’s preference, he may come in with a sand blast to remove a majority of the stucco and change up from there.

You may have just a brown and a color coat so he may bead blast. That’s usually used on pool tiles to remove alkaline from hard water, but it’s gentle enough to not damage the ceramic tiles.

Hi Robert,

I’m sure you have answered this question in the past but I have Hunter ceiling fans that are unbalanced and rattle at various speeds but cannot seem to find anyone interested in coming out to repair them…. Is there a way to balance the fans? (Also, all of the fans have lights … if that makes a difference.) Any info you can provide will be appreciated. Thank You.

Del H.


Rattling could be due to a loose box, loose screws in the fan or light or it could mean that the blades are unbalanced.

If the box and screws of the fan and light are tight, then the problem is with the balance of the blades. Purchase a balance kit with weights. Place the weight on each of the blades, one at a time, and determine if the rattling or wobble is better or worse.

After testing all of the blades, put the weight on the blade that showed the most improvement and move it along the length of the blade until it spins smoothly. Then permanently attach the balancing weight as per instructions.

Hey Robert,

I discovered a gas leak in my home. I went outside to shut off the gas valve and discovered I have an emergency shut off valve. Why didn’t it turn the gas off?

Sonny R.

Hi Sonny,

The emergency shut off valve is for earthquakes, not for gas leaks. It can’t differentiate between supply and demand. The gas valve will shut down on anything over a 4.0. It works on the same principle as the tilt on a pinball machine.

The shut off valve has a pendulum that sits inside a ring. An earthquake will cause the pendulum to swing. If it touches the ring, it will then shut off the flow of gas to your home.

The best recommendation with any gas problem is to call the gas company. If the problem is their responsibility, they will fix it. If the problem is a homeowner responsibility, I would recommend you call a licensed plumber for the gas repairs

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Robert Lamoureux of IMS Construction, Valencia, CA, has 30 years experience as a Commercial, General, Electrical, and Plumbing contractor. The opinions expressed in “Ask the Expert” are not to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after a thorough visual inspection has been made. 

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