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
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
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
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
Dear James: We are planning to build a new home in three years. Our current house is noisy inside. What can we do to soundproof our existing house and make sure our new house is not as noisy? -- Lou T.
Dear Lou: Lacking adequate soundproofing is an extremely common problem with existing homes and many new homes today. Even if a new house is ...Read more
Dear James: I have a flat, asphalt roll roof over my garage and it has a slight leak. It is only three years old, so I want to repair it, not replace it. Where should I look for the leak and how do I repair it? -- Christine A.
Dear Christine: A flat asphalt roll roof is generally more prone to leaks than a pitched roof is, but there are ...Read more
Dear James: I have noticed the paint job on the exterior of my house looks terrible in some spots. My house has lap siding which we installed ourselves. There is blistering in certain spots that makes the house look really bad. What is causing this and how do I fix it? -- Robin R.
Dear Robin: No one wants the outside of their house to be an ...Read more
Dear James: My window and door screens are an absolute mess from the kids and the dog. Some are on metal and others on wood frames. How can I repair these screens myself to keep the mosquitoes out this summer? -- Cari F.
Dear Cari: It is amazing how the mosquitoes can find even a tiny hole in a screen and come indoors for a feast. Damaged old ...Read more
Dear James: I really need to organize my bedroom. I have noticed how organized my friend's room is. Do you have any suggestions for some easy-to-install shelves that won't take up my already limited floor space? -- Theresa H.
Dear Theresa: There comes a time when people need to get rid of stuff cluttering their lives. There also is a time when ...Read more
Dear James: I am thinking of putting up a fence around my yard. I don't need it to keep an animal in, but I would like to keep children from wandering in. I am worried about blocking my neighbor's view and would like to install something attractive. What type do you suggest? -- Doug W.
Dear Doug: A simple, yet attractive rail fence is probably ...Read more
Dear James: My house is about five years old, and there is a small leak on the ceiling under the shower stall with a ceramic tile floor. What could be causing this leak and how do I go about fixing it? -- Jess N.
Dear Jess: If your house is only five years old, the most likely cause of the leak is a faulty waterproof membrane under the shower. ...Read more
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Dear James: We get too much glare and heat through our dining room window. I installed window film in my former house, but it looked a mess. Do you have any installation tips so that it looks better? -- Carolyn N.
Dear Carolyn: Window film, when applied properly to a window, can be an attractive improvement to your home. It can certainly reduce...Read more
Dear James: I noticed a small drip coming from one of the steel pipes under my kitchen sink. I have called a professional to fix small leaks and they have replaced the entire pipe. Is it feasible to just repair the leak instead of installing a whole new pipe? -- Jack N.
Dear Jack: Don't let that pipe leak any longer. Although it seems like a ...Read more