Q: We recently painted our brick fireplace white and would like to hang a 40-pound mirror on it. What would you recommend to secure the mirror to the fireplace wall?

A: If the mirror has wire for hanging across the back, use hook-style picture hangers with Wall-Dog screws, which hold well in brick. Or, if your mirror has a wooden frame, use a cleat-style picture hanger – a two-part type where a bracket attached to the back of the mirror slips over a mating section attached to the wall – with the same type of screws. If either option would work, choose the cleat: The mirror will never shift out of level.

Several hanger manufacturers include these screws in their packages, which are available at many home centers and hardware stores. The Hillman Group, for example, sells a brass picture hanger with this screw ($1 on amazon.com). Each hook is rated for 50 pounds, so use two, which will also help keep the mirror from shifting out of level. For the cleat style, look for Hangman Products’ heavy-duty mirror and picture hangers. An 18-inch version is rated to hold 200 pounds ($15 on amazon.com). Shorter and longer cleats, which are also called Z hangers, are available as well.

The hanger rating is just part of the equation. The screws also matter. The manufacturer of Wall-Dog screws, Powers Fasteners, publishes a chart showing the holding capacity of various materials. Embedded three-fourths of an inch into brick, each screw is rated to hold 80 pounds in tension (if you were to try to pull it straight out) and 130 pounds in shear (the issue with holding up a mirror), even with a generous safety factor applied.

Zandra Cabrera, who works in customer service for Hangman (818-610-0487; hangmanproducts.com), said the 18-inch brackets come with fewer Wall-Dog screws than there are holes. But you don’t need to buy more screws. Just use all of the screws and space them evenly.

You don’t need to drill a pilot hole to drive the screws into a wooden frame, but you will need to pre-drill in the brick, using a three-sixteenths-inch carbide-tip masonry bit. Use a hammer drill, which you can rent.

Q: We recently hired painters who did sloppy work. They left a thin, uneven line of paint on the tile alongside the newly repainted plaster walls in both of our bathrooms. I have tried to remove this line but have found that I am also removing or marring the paint on the wall above it. Is there a remedy?

A: Cover the edge of the painted walls with low-tack painter’s tape before you rub or scrape the paint from the tile. That should protect the wall paint.

There are a few ways to remove paint from smooth ceramic tiles. Moisten the surface (for lubrication) and scrape with a sharp razor blade held at an angle of 45 degrees or less. Or use rubbing alcohol or alcohol-based hand sanitizer to soften the paint, then wipe it off with a cloth. Using a razor blade minimizes the chance of softening paint on the wall, but alcohol is a better option if the paint also got onto grout, because it’s too rough to clean with a razor blade.

When you’re done cleaning up from the sloppy crew, use a small brush to touch up any bare spots on the walls. The wet paint will look slightly different in color, but that should even out when it dries.

If the painters didn’t leave any extra paint, you may be able to get a sample-size container from the paint store for just a couple of dollars. The sheen may be different, though, so don’t overdo your touch-ups. Repaint only the bare areas.

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