Home & Leisure



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.

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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

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

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

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



John Branch Adam Zyglis Gary Varvel Dave Granlund David Fitzsimmons Mike Peters