Home & Leisure



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

Ask the Builder: Bathroom Exhaust No-Nos

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

QUESTION: Mr. Tim, I’ve had three contractors over to my house and I’ve received three different answers about how my bathroom fan should exhaust. I’m beyond frustrated. How are we homeowners supposed to protect our largest investments, our homes, if maintenance advice is wrong? I’ve read online about serious mold and wood-rot problems ...Read more

Ask the Builder: A DIY fix for a crumbling concrete foundation

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Hey, Tim. I watched your three-part video series on patching a concrete foundation on your website. It’s exactly what I needed to help me repair the cosmetic crumbling of my concrete. I’ve got questions.

Will that method work to also patch defects in steps and flat concrete sidewalks and driveways? I have a 4-inch diameter hole in the ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Are older building materials and methods better?

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

You’ve undoubtedly heard the saying, “They don’t make ’em like they used to.” Often it’s said in frustration when a newer product fails long before you think it should. If I were a teacher at a vocational school dedicated to building things, I’d divide my senior class into “old” and “new” teams and make them research the ...Read more

Ask the Builder: In bathrooms, form should follow function

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

My childhood home had a pedestal sink. In the wall tile, there were two tiny alcoves, one for a drinking glass and the other for hand soap. There was also a wonderful ceramic toothbrush holder with four holes that protruded from the wall. I don’t recall electric hair dryers, curling irons, or any other modern appliance back then, although a ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Getting brick mortar right

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I need to repair the mortar joints on my older brick home that was built in the late 1800s. I’ve seen some horrible workmanship where the mortar doesn’t match at all, and I want to avoid this. How does one match the original mortar? What would you do to make sure the finished repair is nearly invisible? Is this even a realistic goal, or ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Counters are key to optimizing laundry room space

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I need help with my laundry room. I’m enlarging it in a remodeling project and know I need more countertop room. I’m interested in ways to make the most of the space in the laundry room. I’ve got a healthy budget, and now is the time to put all options out on the table for consideration. —Maria A., Tuscon, Ariz.

A: Not everybody is ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Tile grout color can deceive before fully dry

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I made a mistake and discovered your detailed floor grouting video series a bit too late. I should have watched them before I started my job, but what’s done is done. Five hours ago, I grouted my bathroom, and the color of the grout is not what I want it to be. It doesn’t match the color stripe on the bag. I think I see efflorescence on ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Bring back front porches!

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: The house I grew up in had a covered front porch. A few of the houses I owned after getting married also had this wonderful accessory. It seems that large front porches are being kicked to the curb by architects and builders. How do you feel about them, and why do you feel we don’t see more of them on new homes? If you were building a new ...Read more

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



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