Ask Dale


How much area will one gallon of paint cover?
For many paints, one gallon will cover 400 square feet. However, the quality of the paint may affect how much it will cover. The label on the paint can usually provides some guidance. In addition, there are a number of factors that affect how much paint you will need. These include the type of surface being covered, the color currently on the surface, and the color being applied.

How do I recognize a good paint?
Paint has three components: the binder, the pigment, and the liquid. The best paints contain a higher volume of solid materials. Pay close attention to the solid content. For example, a $13 gallon of paint with a solid content of 19 percent might cover about 200 square feet, while a $20 gallon of paint with 41 percent solid content will cover about twice that amount. The binder is the most important factor in the durability. Some paints also have additives to enhance their performance, such as mildewcide.

What are the advantages of latex paint?
In addition to being thinnable with water, latex paints feature:

  • Less odor
  • Water cleanup
  • Nonflammable
  • Faster drying
  • Ease of touch up
  • Ease of application
  • Better gloss
  • Less fading on exteriors
  • No yellowing on interiors
  • Resistance to cracking or peeling


Will any lock fit my door?
Most locks come in two sizes: 2-3/8″ or 2-3/4″ backset. This is how far the center of the hole is away from the edge of the door. As a customer, you need to know this distance or purchase a lock that has an adjustable backset.

Can locks be rekeyed so that more than one uses the same key?
Yes, we can rekey existing or new locks to the same key. However, they have to be the same brand and use the same key blank.

How do I know which latch fits my storm door?
If you’re going to use existing holes, you need to know the spacing of the holes, or there is an adjustable one available.

Does Dale Hardware sell nuts and bolts in both metric and standard sizes?
Yes, Dale sells a wide variety of nuts and bolts in both measurements.


What does it mean when a faucet is said to have 8 centers?
The faucet mounts with the fixture holes set 8″ apart. It’s important that you buy the right size faucet to fit.

What is plumber’s putty?
It is a sealing putty used for a variety of tasks, including to seal basket strainers, garbage disposal rims, and tub drains.

What is the purpose of pipe joint compound or tape?
They reduce friction in assembly and provide a watertight seal.


Could I just throw away my old recyclable batteries?
No. Laws require that they be recycled. This includes Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion), and small, sealed Lead (Pb) batteries. You can look for a battery recycling seal on the rechargeable batteries found in cordless power tools, cellular and cordless telephones, laptop computers, and camcorders. Bring the old batteries to Dale Hardware and we will recycle them for you.

What is a time-delay fuse?
Time-delay fuses are used on circuits where appliance motors have initial surges of electrical power when the motor starts. This initial surge might blow a regular fuse.

I need a circuit breaker. Are they all the same?
No. It’s best if you bring in the old breaker and match it up. If you know the name of the brand of service box, we could also match it that way.


I need to buy a chisel for a woodworking job. What size do you recommend?
You can handle most of your needs with a 1/4″ model and one larger one—either a 3/4″ or 1″.

I’m looking to put together a basic hand tool set. What do I need?
The tools needed for basic home maintenance should cost you less than $150 and include:

  • Handsaw
  • Hacksaw
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Level
  • Utility knife
  • Pliers
  • Locking pliers
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Plunger
  • Tool box
  • Tape measure

What’s the difference between a rip hammer and a curved-claw hammer?
A hammer with a curved claw provides leverage for pulling nails. A rip (straight-claw) hammer is often the choice of professionals because it is usually a slightly heftier tool used to rip apart wood that has been nailed together.


What do the three numbers on the bags and boxes of fertilizer mean?
They represent the percentages of plant nutrients by weight. Just remember “up, down, and all around.” The first number represents the nitrogen, the second represents the phosphorus, and the third represents the potassium. These numbers are always expressed in the same order.

What is a good all-around, multipurpose fertilizer?
A 12-12-12 helps promote growth and is good for all vegetables, flowers, fruit and nut trees, shade trees, evergreens, and shrubs. A 1-1-1 ratio (10-10-10, 15-15-15, 20-20-20, etc.) is widely used at the time of lawn establishment, but established lawns generally respond better to fertilizer ratios high in nitrogen. Two of the more common complete fertilizers used by homeowners for flowers and vegetables are 10-10-10 and 5-10-10. A high phosphorus fertilizer such as 6-18-6 is often recommended for vegetables when transplants are set out.

When should I apply fertilizers to plants and trees?
Don’t apply liquid fertilizer at the same time you plant. Some root hairs will break, and the fertilizer will burn them. Wait two to three weeks after planting before you fertilize. In general, apply fertilizers to plants at the beginning of the growing season. For deciduous trees, fertilize when leaves appear; and for evergreens, when it turns cold. Shrubs do not require much fertilizing.