Home & Leisure



Ask the Builder: How your plumbing pipes work

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

You may wonder how I got my start as a builder. The hook was set in Boy Scouts, when I obtained my home repairs merit badge. I then helped pay my way through college working on the weekends and during the summer for a man who restored old homes that he bought out of foreclosure. After graduating from college with my geology degree, I decided to ...Read more

Ask the Builder: The pros and cons of foam insulation

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

A new home is being built on my street. I’ve visited the job site countless times to check on the progress and to observe the quality of the workmanship. So far I’ve recorded nearly 40 videos showing mistakes and shortfalls. You can view the videos on my website. The link is at the end of this column.

Days ago, the insulation that was put ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Build a magic playhouse or clubhouse

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Many decades ago, I was a small lad, right in the middle of the baby boom created by soldiers and sailors returning from World War II.

There were no fewer than 10 kids on my street that were within two years of me in age. Two were brothers that lived just 200 feet from my house. Woods surrounded all the houses on our street. Behind their house ...Read more

Ask the Builder: The pros and cons of bold colors

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

I’ve had the distinct pleasure of attending numerous editors' conferences over the years sponsored by different manufacturers. I’ve toured plants that heat-treat hand tools and factories that make everything from saw blades to small engines, to name a few. Each experience is like Christmas morning to me because I got to see new tools and ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Troubleshooting a masonry fireplace

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Every winter, I get quite a few emails from readers who suffer from smoky fireplaces.

Just a month ago, one of my amateur radio friends reached out to me with the same problem. After asking him some questions and looking at photos he provided, I was able to solve his primary problems. I saw reasons why he was plagued with smoke in his home, and...Read more

Ask the Builder: A bathroom vanity primer

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Two months ago I made a trip to Cincinnati to attend a retirement party for one of my geology professors. It’s my hometown, and when I go back I spend at least a week there visiting friends. One of them, Tom, a grade school friend, invited me to a gathering about 60 miles east of Cincinnati in Maysville, Kentucky.

The group of his friends ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Painting rusty metal can be a lifesaving DIY job

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Did you see in the recent news the catastrophic gas explosion that killed nine people on the island of Jersey in the English Channel? It’s early in the investigation, and the experts may not ever be able to pinpoint the cause, but I have my own idea based on something that happened to me two years ago.

I was hired by a small condominium ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Cleaning and restoring tile and slate floors

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Recently, I wrote a column about how to get ceramic tile grout clean. I received quite a few thank-you notes via the "Ask Tim" page at AsktheBuilder.com. It’s always gratifying to hear from you that I helped you save time and money.

Pam, who hails from Kenosha, Wisconsin, reached out to me after reading that same column. Her problem was ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Remodeling and new home hacks

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Just a half-mile from my home a new house is being built. I’ve yet to meet the new owners but I’ve been able to closely monitor the progress. The aroma of sawdust still invigorates me, and I must say I do miss wearing my tool belt rig all day long while building a new house. Three years ago I had the pleasure of doing this installing all the...Read more

Ask the Builder: The secrets to squaring anything

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Are you trying to save money in these harsh financial times? Have you given up trying to find a contractor, and are you starting to do more projects on your own? If so, you’re in fine company, as my email inbox has exploded over the past months with requests for help.

Lately, I’ve been in contact with several people who need help building ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Cleaning shower grout requires the right tool

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Sarah reached out to me a few days ago. Six months ago, she had a new master shower installed with a marble tile floor. The pieces of marble are small 1-inch hexagons. Sarah’s finding impossible to keep the grout clean.

Fortunately, she uploaded a high-resolution photo of the tile floor via my Ask Tim page AsktheBuilder.com. That photo ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Installing a tile backsplash is not as hard as it seems

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Six months ago, my son bought a new house. He had been looking to move from his apartment for well over a year.

The hot real estate market made it hard to find a house in his price range. Each tired and worn-out house I toured with him needed quite a bit of work. I cautioned him that if he thought it was hard to buy a house, he was in for even ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Renovating an old building

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Not a week goes by that I don’t receive an email asking me about what’s involved in renovating an old building. Most who reach out to me realize it can be an expensive endeavor, but the allure of restoring a sound old building to either its former glory or transforming it into an attractive modern look sometimes overrides the financial ...Read more



Chip Bok John Darkow Marshall Ramsey Pat Byrnes Steve Breen 9 Chickweed Lane