Home & Leisure



Ask the Builder: Do you need steel in concrete?

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Tim, I’m flummoxed. I’m about to build a large detached garage. The plans call for a 10-inch-thick by 20-inch-wide poured concrete footing with two 1/2-inch steel bars that run continuously in the concrete. One bidding contractor says this steel is a waste of time and money, while another suggests I upgrade to 5/8-inch steel reinforcing ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Can I move a support column?

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Yo, Tim. I have this load-bearing post right in front of my laundry room door. What can a person do to remove or relocate it to a more convenient location? Is this something that a reasonably handy homeowner with a decent array of tools can do by himself? Can you share all that’s involved? Do you have a clue how this column ended up in such...Read more

Ask the Builder: Relocating pipes, wires and ducts

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Tim, I need you to weigh in on a remodeling conundrum. Two plumbers and one handyman say that two plumbing vent pipes can’t be relocated to an exterior wall. I took the drywall off the back of a linen closet to open up the space for my soaking tub. I want to have extra space for candles and wine bottles.

I live where it can get really cold...Read more

Ask the Builder: The saga of the sagging floor

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Howdy, Tim. I really need your advice. I’m thinking of residing my house, and it’s time to bite the bullet about repairing a structural issue that’s been getting worse each year. The floor in my living room has sagged 2 inches! The cause has been traced to a support column in between my two garage doors. I’m terrified about what this ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Moving a front door sideways

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Tim, I need your help and advice. I bought a foreclosed house for a really great price. The entrance hall is two stories high and features a large front door with a semi-circular window above it. But for some reason, the architect off-centered the door and window in the porch alcove. My contractor says the door and window can’t be relocated...Read more

Ask the Builder: $9,000 gutter guards and other tales of high-pressure sales chicanery

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Most of you have experienced a high-pressure sales presentation at some point, perhaps unaware of the psychological triggers the salesman was pulling in your head that would transform you into soft putty in his smarmy hands.

The inspiration for this column came from a reader named Les. He recently wrote to me via my website, AsktheBuilder.com: ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Replacing a foundation can be done, but find the right contractor

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I’m thinking of buying a house that has a crawlspace. The foundation is in very bad shape. While the house looks quite bad, it’s got good bones. Is it possible to completely remove a bad foundation and install a new, taller one? What’s involved? Who does this type of work? What would you make sure gets done if you’re going to all this...Read more

Ask the Builder: Dishwasher is clouding glasses. What to do?

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Tim, please help me. My husband and I are at odds as to what’s slowly ruining all of my wonderful clear glasses and heat-treated glass items in my kitchen. Each time I remove them from my dishwasher, they look worse. My husband states it’s just hard water. I tried soaking some of the ruined things in hot white vinegar, and there was no ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Repairing a shallow blacktop pothole

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Tim, I read a previous column of yours in which you talked about repairing a shallow depression in a concrete surface using sand and Portland cement. My issue is I have a few shallow puddles in my blacktop driveway, and I know this ponding water will eventually create a far more serious issue. The normal patching products sold in bags will ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Venting a kitchen island sink

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: My new kitchen is going to have a large island with my double-bowl sink in it. The young plumber and my contractor want to use some newfangled thing that just fits under the cabinet. They call it an AAV. They say it saves time and money.

My experience with many products like this is those words are synonyms for “shortcut and trouble-down-...Read more



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