Home & Leisure



Ask the Builder: Roofing 101 - Tips for an expert installation

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

I have no clue how many new roofs are installed in the USA each year, but it’s got to be in the hundreds of thousands. Perhaps a new roof is in your future or in the next few years. If so, you’d be wise to read up on the topic at AsktheBuilder.com before it’s time for you to meet with a roofer.

Most roofs installed in the USA are asphalt ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Will I get shocked? That is the question

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Tim, it's a very long story, and don't think I'm crazy. I'm building a new home and wondering if I can install all the electrical wiring myself. It's not a big home, but it's got all the things going on you'd normally have in a home, including quite a few three- and four-way switches. I've watched a bunch of online videos, I've read a few ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Considering a textured kitchen ceiling? Not so fast

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

I’ve lost count of the questions I’ve answered. It’s in the tens of thousands over the past 28 years. Most questions are pretty straightforward, and the answers are somewhat obvious. However, every now and then I’m blessed with an email from a homeowner who provides an incredible teaching moment.

Such is the case with an email I ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Modern building methods may not always be the best

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

I've been wanting to write this column for years. The topic has been a burr under my saddle, but I needed to base the column on proof, not speculation.

That proof arrived last week in a desperate phone call from my son-in-law. He and my daughter are building a new home in Maine, and water was leaking into their home across the top of windows ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Water movement in the ground

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Your home may be plagued by a wet basement or crawlspace where water enters at will whenever it rains. In addition, your yard may be the neighborhood bog, rendering it useless in the wet season. Would you be interested in knowing how to make your basement, crawlspace or yard as dry at the Atacama Desert? I thought so.

I was quite fortunate to ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Babysitting your contractor

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

In the autumn of 1993 when I started Ask the Builder, I knew I’d become a clearinghouse of homeowner complaints, misery and frustration. Homeowners from all across the fruited plains of the USA might understand I was an independent voice and someone who didn’t have a dog in their particular fight. That prediction came true, and lately I’m ...Read more

Ask the Builder: The secret to a smooth concrete patch

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Do you have a wide unsightly crack in your concrete sidewalk, driveway or patio? The concrete may have cracked all the way through the slab and now one piece is higher than the adjacent piece. Some cracks can be trip hazards.

Each Sunday, I walk up the handicap ramp at my church and shake my head where some handyman, contractor or well-meaning ...Read more

Ask the Builder: The challenges of building on solid rock

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

I live in central New Hampshire, aka The Granite State. They don't call it that for nothing. My own house sits directly on top of one of the enormous granite plutons, the Meredith Porphyritic Granite. A giant piece of this solid bedrock is right next to my driveway. What a perfect place for me to live, considering my college major was geology.

...Read more

Ask the Builder: Want your room addition to be perfect? Plan early and exhaustively

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

In recent weeks I have done quite a few telephone consultation calls. One in particular stood out, and it should be of particular interest to you if you’re planning on remodeling a kitchen or building a new home, a large room addition or even a humble outdoor shed.

The young homeowner I spoke with had contracted to build a two-story room ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Connecting deck posts and piers

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Tim, you helped me years ago, and now I’m back. I’m going to build a freestanding deck at my house during my vacation. After watching lots of online videos, I’m somewhat confused about how to connect the deck posts to the concrete piers. What is the best way? I’m worried about my freestanding deck swaying back and forth. The top of ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Questions to consider about a 3D printed house

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

You may wonder if the new belle of the ball, a 3D printed house, is really going to cost you less money to build than a normal house in these times of stratospheric lumber prices. Some publications fawn about new techniques like these and often only share the glitter and gleam of the technology. This is nothing new, as decades ago lots of bold ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Condo collapse, rusty rebar and your home

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

After seeing news of the tragic, sudden collapse of the 40-year-old condominium building near Miami, my wife had all sorts of questions.

We’ve dated since high school, and she knows I’ve got a geology degree instead of one in structural, chemical, or metallurgical engineering. All four of these sciences, and maybe a few more, are in play as...Read more

Ask the Builder: Getting your building foundation right

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Recently a 75-year-old man submitted a question on the Ask Tim page at AsktheBuilder.com. I get quite a few each week and answer each one. This particular question put a huge smile on my face because it screamed “Attitude.”

Connie — yes, it can be a name for a man — wrote: "I am going to attempt to build my home myself using some subs ...Read more



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