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Home & Leisure

Here's How: Increase Storage Space with Simple-to-Install Wire Shelving

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: When we moved into this house, it seemed to have plenty of closet space. Now, with my daughters in their teens, there isn't enough space. How can we install some inexpensive shelving to better utilize the closets? -- Steve C.

Dear Steve: It is amazing how quickly the closets fill with clothes and just "stuff" when the children hit ...Read more

Here's How: Accent the Edges of Your Walkway with Pavers

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: I have a slightly curved concrete walkway from my driveway to my front door. I am on a limited budget, but I would like to jazz it up with some trim or something. What would you recommend for me to do? -- Jan F.

Dear Jan: A gently curved walkway can be made to look very attractive and distinctive with simple red paver (brick) edging...Read more

Here's How: Choose and Install a New Deadbolt Lock

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: We would like to install a new classy real stained wood front door. I would like an attractive, secure lockset to go with it, but there are so many to choose from. Which are best? -- Mike A.

Dear Mike: The style and beauty of a high-quality brass lockset can make your new front door look spectacular. It is like the decorative icing ...Read more

Here's How: Repair and Match Mortar Between Old Bricks

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: We have a brick house and the mortar between the bricks has fallen out in spots. It looks terrible. What is the best method to repair this and how can I get new mortar to look like the old? -- Kathy T.

Dear Kathy: Brick is virtually maintenance-free, but the mortar will crumble over many years. Although it is unsightly, don't worry ...Read more

Here's How: Add a Damper to the Top of Your Chimney

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: During winter, I feel a breeze coming down the fireplace chimney even with the hearth damper closed. Also, I think raccoons and bats get down in there. Will installing a chimney-top damper help? -- Karl T.

Dear Karl: A fireplace certainly is a pleasant and attractive feature for a home, but it allows many unwanted "things" to enter ...Read more

Here's How: Simplest Method to Remove Old House Paint

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: I need to paint my house which has wood siding. The paint is in pretty bad shape. What is the proper way to scrape and prepare the wood surface so the paint will stay on longer and look better? -- Missy D.

Dear Missy: You are thinking along the right lines. When people say they are going to paint their house, the painting phase is ...Read more

Here's How: Regrout Discolored Tiles in an Old Bathroom Floor

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: The grout in my bathroom tile is discolored and crumbling in spots. It look terrible. Do I have to remove all the tiles and start over or can I just repair the existing grout? -- Tracy G.

Dear Tracy: If only the grout is deteriorating and your tile is still in good shape, then there is no need to remove tile. It is important to ...Read more

Here's How: Build a Simple Brick Barbecue Without Mortar

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: I grill on the propane barbecue for quick meals. For entertaining, I would like an attractive brick barbecue that uses real charcoal. What design can an inexperienced homeowner build? -- Mike F.

Dear Mike: You must pay more attention when cooking with a brick fireplace because you do not have quick control over the heat as with a ...Read more

Here's How: Keep All the Design Details in Order When Building a New House

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: I am going to have a house built. There are so many items, products, details, etc. to keep track of that I am sure I will miss some. What is the best way to work with my builder to avoid problems? -- Gary E.

Dear Gary: When you first sit down with your builder, it can seem overwhelming going through the details of what you want in ...Read more

Here's How: Repair Rotting Decking and Support Lumber

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: The wood on my deck needs some repairs. It is four feet off the ground and made of pressure-treated lumber, so I thought it would last longer. How do I go about checking and repairing it? -- Kim F.

Dear Kim: Contrary to popular belief, a deck, even when it is constructed of pressure-treated lumber, needs regular maintenance and care...Read more

Here's How: Simple, Effective Method to Caulk Windows

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: I noticed a draft coming in through a few of my windows, even though I recently had the weatherstripping replaced. I am afraid my heating bills are going to get very high this year. What can I do to seal these leaks? -- Larry H.

Dear Larry: The new weatherstripping should have sealed most of the leaks through the window joints. It ...Read more

Here's How: Replace a Shower Curtain With a Door

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: My girls never completely close the shower curtain and the floor gets wet. There are walls on each end, so adding a shower door would be good. Is this a project I can do myself? -- Claire C.

Dear Claire: The idea of installing a shower door in your girls' bathroom is an excellent one. Shower doors block water spray better than ...Read more

Here's How: Build an Attractive Board and Batten Fence

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: My yard is level, so I think I can install a board fence myself. I was considering a board and batten style. What other board fence styles are there? I could use some building tips. -- Philip F.

Dear Philip: A board and batten fence can be very attractive while providing the benefits of privacy, security and a windbreak. The fact ...Read more

 

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