Home & Leisure



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

Ask the Builder: A repair for cracked concrete that almost looks perfect

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Tim, I need to replace a cracked-off section of my concrete driveway. My primary concern is I want the color and texture of the new patch to match as closely as possible to the existing driveway. It doesn't need to be perfect, just close. How does one accomplish this? I've read your past concrete repair columns at AsktheBuilder.com, so I ...Read more

Ask the Builder: First rule of decks - Don't build a death trap

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Tim, I need your help. I contracted with a large home center to have a deck built. I came home from work and saw that the carpenters had toenailed an outer joist to the side of my home. Many of the nails are close to the edge and I can already see some splitting of the wood. The deck railing post is connected to this joist and I'm worried ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Be bold when painting your house, and other tips

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: This summer I need to paint my house. I need your advice about a number of things. First is the color choice. My husband and I are involved in a daily cage fight about the color. I want to go bold. He wants a plain vanilla color. We have no intentions of moving if that matters. What paint would you recommend we use? What are a few of the best...Read more

Ask the Builder: How to hang a fancy wall sink with no visible support

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I need your help solving a perplexing conundrum. I love all things old and have purchased a salvaged antique marble stone corner sink that I want to use as a powder-room lavatory.

It already has a drain hole, so that's not the issue. The faucet needs to be in the wall, and I can handle that as well. My problem is I want the sink to appear as...Read more

Ask the Builder: Building a strong retaining wall is not so simple

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I want to build a retaining wall that's going to look great for years. At my last house I had a short retaining wall around a patio that started to lean out toward the lawn. The little wall was but 10 inches tall, for goodness sake, with no soil pressure against it. Why do you think that wall failed, and what can I do to build retaining walls...Read more

Ask the Builder: Installing large format wall tile: It's all finesse

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Dear Tim, I'm remodeling a large bathroom in my home. The large shower stall is going to be tile as well as the floors in the room. I cut out some pieces of scrap cardboard to resemble large-format tile, and it's going to look perfect. I've never done a job like this. I've done my own tile work for years and had decent results, with the ...Read more


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