Home & Leisure



Ask the Builder: Building with wood? Here's how to prevent rot

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

The inspiration for this column came to me one Sunday morning as I was greeting people at our church, where my wife and I are ushers. In between people dashing through the door to avoid the drops of rain falling from the steel-gray clouds, I looked across the street. A project at a multifamily building was finally completed.

The final job was ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Asphalt driveway restoration project

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

You might assume, since I write a column about home improvement, that my house is perfect in every way. You’d be wrong. I suffer from a condition where I know how to do 99 percent of the projects around my house. A deep inner force within me causes me to tackle all of these tasks no matter the size. I often work alone.

For example, seven ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Can't trade up? Finish new space in your home

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

With home loan interest rates higher than they’ve been in years, you may not be able to move to a larger home. You might be able to obtain the added space you need by transforming unfinished space to delightful rooms.

Just a few weeks ago, I started to help my son increase the finished living space in his home by nearly 80%! Two years ago he ...Read more

Ask the Builder: The truth about radiant heat

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

In just a few weeks, my email inbox will begin to overflow. Homeowners like you will be asking what they can do to cool down their attics, garages, houses and sheds. After all, the summer solstice is just weeks away. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, this means the sun’s rays have to travel through the least amount of atmosphere to wreak havoc....Read more

Ask the Builder: Tips for building a small retaining wall

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Last week I wrote about my recent trip to Southern California. I was fortunate to spend time with a dear friend and his wife. I don’t know that I’ve ever met a person who’s more in love with a home than he is. Believe it or not, he’s lived in the same home for all of his 72 trips around the sun. It’s a stunning Craftsman home that was ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Nearly all garages share this flaw

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Two weeks ago, on a whim, I recorded a 60-second video and uploaded it on YouTube. I wanted to discuss one of the biggest mistakes I see over and over again in the design of the common garage.

Within 24 hours, this short unscripted video was watched over 8,400 times. Folks left quite a few comments lamenting this same defect in their own ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Need a bigger house? Add a room or two or three

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Are you feeling pinched by the current economy? I know I am. I shop each week at the grocery store to give my lovely wife a break. She did it for the previous 45 years. Gasoline, food, insurance costs and interest rates are all way up with no end in sight. Your plans to move to a larger home may now be on a cool back burner.

The good news is ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Deck sealer dilemma

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

You might be one of the countless homeowners frustrated with the annual or biannual task of cleaning and sealing your wood deck. I’m right there with you, as I have to deal with my wood dock and the stairs leading to it. It’s a wretched job that can span days. It’s no wonder you might be drawn to the composite decking displays at local ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Secret hiding places aplenty in your home

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

I’m in the final stages of writing a book that contains hundreds of hacks that you might want to incorporate into your home. I got lots of help from many of my newsletter subscribers, who shared some of their best ideas. It’s been a fun project.

The two categories that received the most response were electrical and secret storage. Thousands...Read more

Ask the Builder: Wood needs room to swell and shrink as moisture level changes

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Wood is a true gift from God. We tend not to think of trees as an agricultural crop like tomatoes, wheat or corn, but in many cases they're not much different.

Any farmer who is lucky enough to have a stand of maple trees, AKA a "sugar bush," will tell you that his first crop of the year is maple syrup. Then, of course, there's the lumber value...Read more

Ask the Builder: Installing ceramic tile outdoors

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

A fellow amateur radio operator reached out to me several days ago. My vanity call sign was coined after my Ask the Builder business. It’s W3ATB. The W3 stands for www for my AsktheBuilder.com website. This operator knew I’d be able to answer his question.

He lives in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Thirty years ago, a tile contractor installed ...Read more



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