Home & Leisure



Ask the Builder: In praise of bumpy shower floors

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: What do you think about a pebble stone shower floor? I’ve been seeing these for years and wonder if I’d like it in my new shower? Are they durable? My smallish feet are sensitive when I walk on gravel and I wonder if I’ll be in pain when I’m in the shower. Are these floors hard to install? I’m also worried about all the grout to ...Read more

Ask the Builder: What to do about peeling and flaking deck sealers

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I’m so frustrated. Before I clean and seal my outdoor deck, I need your advice. It’s a tremendous amount of work, and I’m discovering I need to do it every three years. I scream each spring when I see the expensive sealer I’ve used start to peel and flake. Surely there’s a better way. How would you clean and seal your outdoor wood ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Why is treated lumber rotting?

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I’m a remodeling contractor and have started to see a disturbing trend in the failure of treated lumber. I was hired to rebuild an outdoor stair railing that had a treated 4x4 post wrapped with redwood. A vast majority of the bottom of the post rotted away and the post was very wet once I removed the redwood. The bolts were very corroded ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Salvaging and restoring a wood deck

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I’ve got a 9-year-old treated lumber deck on my home that’s showing worrying signs of decay. I removed some of the deck boards and discovered that some of the 2-by-12s are rotting at the top, and there are huge cracks running along the top edge of each joist. Should I replace the entire deck and start over? Is there a way to salvage what ...Read more

Ask the Builder: If you’re planning a new garage, go big

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I can’t tell you how many thousands of dollars I’ve spent on remote storage facility fees. I want to put all my stuff on my own land in a dream garage. I realize a garage can be detached as well as attached to my home. Have you built the dream garage for yourself or a client? Would you please share with me what your dream garage would be ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Vinyl siding - Should I use it?

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I’m going to be building a new home, and I have to make a decision about the siding. I can afford wood shakes and love the look, but I am concerned about long-term maintenance. Vinyl siding seems to have so many advantages, but it just doesn’t look like wood to me. How would you go about making this decision if you were me? What are all ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Building with faux stone

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I'm building a very small house and love the look of natural stone. I also intend to build some low garden walls that I want to look like stone too. I've seen the artificial stone at building centers and home and garden shows. What's your opinion of this fake stone? Will it last? Is it hard to install? Can it be installed by someone like me ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Chimney repair - How hard can it be?

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

DEAR TIM: The top three feet of my chimney needs to be rebuilt, and I'm homebound because of the pandemic. I've gone outside and stared up at the brick monolith projecting from the roof and pondered this project. How hard can it be to do this repair? Do you have any tips, and can you help me convince my wife I'm able to complete this challenge ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Epoxy garage floor coatings - I wouldn't

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I've got problems with some of the concrete on the outside of my home as well as in my garage. There are lots of places where the top finish and layer of the concrete has eroded away. I think it's called spalling. It's worse in some areas than others. My biggest question is if I should transform my concrete garage floor by installing a fancy ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Cleaning outdoor wood and composite decking

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Every year I've got some wood or composite decking to clean outside. This year I need to clean and reseal a ramp that leads up into my outdoor shed. I also see conflicting information out on the internet about the best way to clean wood. Many say to use a pressure washer. What do you feel is the best way and why? What do you feel is the best ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Coronavirus, you, and your home

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

There's not a doubt in my mind that you've been directly affected by the current health crisis that's sweeping over the USA like some biblical plague. These are extraordinary times and they call for extraordinary effort from many of us, me included.

Several years ago, I was involved in a discussion with a dear friend. We are polar opposites on ...Read more


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