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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

Ask the Builder: Burying cable? It's best to run it through conduit

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Tim, what are your thoughts on burying electric and cable TV lines? I can buy approved cable and wire that's rated for direct burial, saving the cost of installing it in conduit. What's been your experience with underground utilities like this? What would you do and why? --Glenn A., Columbia, S.C.

A: These questions are excellent. These ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Apron sink tutorial

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I'm almost certain I want an apron sink in my new kitchen. You've got one last chance to talk me out of it. Have you installed one? Do you own one? What are the pros and cons of an apron sink? Are there special things you have to do to install one? I can sometimes be more concerned about looks than how something functions, so if you feel I'll...Read more

Ask the Builder: Infrared and digital cameras help spot problems in the home

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I've seen odd-looking photos taken with infrared (IR) cameras. They seem to me to be more of a novelty than a useful tool. How can they help you around your home? What was the most shocking thing you discovered while using an infrared camera? Can you get one that attaches to a smartphone? Do you have a collection of photos you can share? --...Read more

Ask the Builder: Got a toilet leaner in your household? Install shims between tank and wall

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: An unnamed person (rhymes with "house") living in my home says that the toilet seat lid and the toilet tank are made for leaning back against while using the fixture for personal needs. In a negotiation debate with this person, I mentioned that the bolts fastening the tank to the bowl aren't strong enough for leaning as one might against a ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Removing mold from vinyl siding

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: My house is now 25 years old. It's covered with vinyl siding. Every summer, mold and mildew that develops on the north side of my house. Every few years I remove it. Is there some coating I can apply to the siding to stop the mold and mildew from reappearing? It's aggravating. What about some sort of paint? I'm open to any and all ideas. --...Read more

Ask the Builder: Plumbing technology has come a long way

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

This is the first column in a series in which I'd like to share with you how technology has helped improve building products.

I've worked in the residential construction industry for decades. In that time, I've gotten a unique perspective on new products. Not all of them have worked out so well, and sometimes it takes several permutations until...Read more


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