Uptown Albany has a paint question: If spring ever comes, I plan to paint the fire escape on the back of my house. What do I use? The man at the paint store tried to sell me some latex paint, I didn’t buy it because the fire escape has some rust on it and I was afraid it would bleed through.

Mac answers: That was wise! Latex paint is great for many applications; fire escapes are not one of them. Use a good quality oil based enamel designed for use on outdoor metal. Follow the directions carefully, you do not want to do this again, you will not enjoy it. If you plan to hire it out, be sure to vet the worker carefully. They should have adequate insurance. If they plan to spray it, make sure they cover everything. If they over spray and wind blows paint on the neighbor’s houses or cars, no one will be happy. You want someone who has painted fire escapes before. Don’t let them use latex. On a side note; latex does not hold up well on outdoor steps or porches.