Home & Leisure



Ask the Builder: How to clean algae off siding, roofs, patios

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Not a week goes by that I don’t get a question at the Ask Tim page on AsktheBuilder.com about cleaning this or that household surface. As it turns out, I happen to know lots about cleaning things.

I attribute much of this to my formative years working at Skyline Chili in Cincinnati. I worked there after school during high school and most of ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Failed cement stucco: Why it happened, how to prevent it

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

My wife and I are the head ushers at our church. Each Sunday, when we arrive early, we walk up a ramp that allows those attending mass in a wheelchair an easy way into Sacred Heart Church in Laconia, N.H.

The ramp was built with two poured concrete walls with the ramp in between them. The church is a stunning red-brick edifice built by French ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Making a simple tile backsplash that mimics mosaic

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

QUESTION: Tim, in a recent column you got me excited about creating something very unique with ceramic tile. The issue is I’m like you and have stick-people skills when it comes to artistic talent. Doing mosaic tile would be impossible for me. Is there some other way I can create a simple but one-of-a-kind tile look that you might only find in...Read more

Ask the Builder: What today's builders have (mostly) forgotten

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This column has been laying in the weeds of my head for months. Every now and then it pops its head up. Yesterday was one of those days, when once again my lovely wife had to get out of the car before I could pull it into the garage. Luckily it wasn’t pouring down rain.

Galadriel, a character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s amazing trilogy Lord of the ...Read more

Ask the Builder: DIY mosaic tile? You can do it

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Tim, I need your guidance. I want to do a large mosaic tile floor in my new room addition. I have no clue where to start. I’ve never done tile work before. Do you think I’m crazy for attempting this? If not, what can you share to ensure success? I don’t want to goof up and have to rip it up. There will be some heavy furniture on the ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Brick pavers can fade, so should i use clay?

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Tim, I have a big decision to make and need your help. I love the look of colored brick for paving, including my driveway, sidewalks and patio. The issue is I’ve started to pay attention to older installations of colored concrete paving brick and many look faded. Why is that happening? Some look horrible, especially at a restaurant I ...Read more

Ask the Builder: You can do plumbing repairs!

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Tim, I’ve got several plumbing repairs to make, and I just don’t have the money to hire a plumber. The water in my bathroom vanity sink drains slower than molasses. Just a year ago it drained really fast. Sometimes my toilet gets clogged, and I think it’s disgusting to use a plunger. Is there another way to unclog a toilet? Lastly, my ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Rot in treated lumber — yes, it happens

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Tim, my neighbor discovered that many of his outdoor deck floor joists are rotting. The rot is along the top where the decking attaches to them. It’s treated lumber rated for outdoor exposure. How can this be possible? I thought treated lumber was rot-proof and would last for a lifetime. What’s going on and are there ways to prevent ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Avoid decision paralysis with test panels

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I’m getting ready to build a new home and am terrified about making a wrong decision about the materials on the outside of my home. I’m afraid they won't look good with one another. I have the same issue with paint colors and even flooring. I'm becoming paralyzed with fear, as I don’t want to have to do things over. I don’t have an ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Don't take your contractor to court; do this instead

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

How many horror stories have you heard about homeowners who want to sue their contractor? These disputes arise for numerous reasons, but in almost all cases it comes down to defective workmanship. Sometimes it’s non-performance, when the contractor vaporizes and stops showing up at the job. In rare cases, it’s actually fraud in which the ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Hoping things go right vs. investing in advice

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

I love TV commercials. I laugh at some and groan at others, but I study them to see the techniques companies use to ply their wares. One commercial in particular struck me recently. It advertises a website that claims it can save you money on car insurance. The actor says, if I recall correctly, that U.S. drivers overspend by $21 billion a year ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Joist hangers, beams and columns

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Tim, I’ve never worked with metal joist hangers. How long have joist hangers been around? When I hold one in my hand, I question whether it’s actually strong enough to support all the weight that will be resting in it! Are they safe? Are there any best practices when it comes to using them both indoors and outdoors on decks? What about ...Read more

Ask the Builder: How do I stop peeling paint?

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Help me, Tim! I’m so darned frustrated! The paint on the outside of my home and shed keeps peeling. Both have wood siding. Every few years I’m out there scraping and starting over. What am I doing wrong? I follow the directions on the label of the paint can to the letter. Is it the paint? Is it something I’m doing wrong? Is it just the ...Read more



Take It From The Tinkersons John Deering Poorly Drawn Lines Phil Hands Joey Weatherford David M. Hitch