Home & Leisure



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

Ask the Builder: Garbage Disposal 101

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Dear Tim, I averted a near Christmas Eve disaster. I was making 75 deviled eggs for 30 guests who were soon to arrive. I turned on my disposal to grind up the eggshells and ended up with a pool of smelly egg water in the sink! I was able to get the water to drain after 45 minutes of plunging. My 1-year-old granddaughter's squeals of delight ...Read more

Be careful how you use asphalt sealer

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I had a new asphalt driveway installed back in the fall. It's gorgeous, and I want to keep it looking that way. I was told not to seal it until the spring. Is that correct? Is it possible to put on too much sealer? I don't want to waste money, so I'm looking for the solution that is the least amount of work over the long run if that makes ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Stop water mess in your garage

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: I'm about to build a new home with both an attached garage and a separate free-standing three-bay garage. The house I grew up in had floor drains in the garage and they were wonderful. My builder has never heard of garage floor drains and insists on sloping the concrete floor so all liquids flow to the doors. I can see this will be a ...Read more

Ask the Builder: Don't sweat copper; press it

Home & Leisure / Ask The Builder /

Q: Dear Tim, I love reading your column in my local paper. Several months ago, you wrote about which plumbing pipe might be better for water lines, copper and PEX. You briefly mentioned a new tool that eliminates the need for soldering copper. I'd like to know much more about this method of making leak-proof copper connections. How does it work,...Read more


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