Dear James: My house has a light-colored roof and it needs to be replaced. It has always had a problem with dark stains on it. What is causing the stains and how do I avoid them on the new roof? -- Peggy K.
Dear Peggy: The staining problem is very common and unattractive, but it can be eliminated. Don't switch to dark shingles to hide the ...Read more
Dear James: We just moved into a house with a septic tank system. Should we change any of our water usage habits now? How to do we keep it maintained and can we still use a garbage disposer as always? -- Steve M.
Dear Steve: Septic sewage system are excellent for purifying home wastes and they do it naturally without dangerous chemical such as ...Read more
Dear James: I have always liked decorative inlaid hardwood flooring in older homes, but it is not used much today. I would like to install some in my dining floor. Can it be done in an existing floor? -- Kathy G.
Dear Kathy: Inlaid hardwood floors are actually more commonplace today than you might realize. The new computerized design and ...Read more
Install a Glass Shower Enclosure to Enhance Bathroom
Dear James: My master bathroom could use an upgrade. The space is somewhat tight. Would installing an expensive shower enclosure give it upscale decor and make it appear more spacious? -- Ken M.
Dear Ken: Remodeling a bathroom is usually full of compromises between wish lists and budgets, so...Read more
Dear James: My old steel deck table/chair set has some rust and is discolored. I might be able to repair it. How should I prepare the surface for a new coat of paint? -- Yvonne G.
Dear Yvonne: Patio furniture made with steel frames can be very attractive. With the high strength of steel (much stronger than rustproof aluminum), more intricate ...Read more
Dear James: My parents had major renovations done and the finished job was not the best quality. What can I do to make sure an upcoming remodeling project is done properly? -- Sylvia D.
Dear Sylvia: Your question is a very common one. Although there are some steps you can take, unfortunately, there is not a clear-cut method to ensure high-...Read more
Dear James: One room has old plastic tiles and I want to remove and replace them with more modern tile. What is the most effective method to remove the old hard adhesive? -- Billy T.
Dear Billy: Preparing the wall for the new tiles is always the most difficult part of the project especially when the old tiles have been up for many years. Don't ...Read more
Dear James: Since we don't use the dining room often, we plan to combine part of it with the old laundry room to create a family studio. Do you have any design tips for this project? -- Ann J.
Dear Ann: The concept of a family studio is becoming more popular in today's home. People tend to be less formal than in the past, so as you have found, ...Read more
The Empty PulpitSandra Arrants
Fourteen year old Sherman Thompson has stumbled upon the body of his pastor. Laid out, dead, on the front lawn of the parsonage, Reverend Archibald Temple had a voice of thunder that has been rendered silent forever. Sherman and his sister Grace are determined to find out who killed him and ...
Dear James: I have old aluminum siding trim on the sides of my house, but it looks bad. I would like to replace it with wood siding. Can I just nail wood over the old siding? What is the best method to do it? -- Andre B.
Dear Andre: New aluminum or vinyl siding looks good and is practically maintenance-free, but neither has the sharp crisp look...Read more
Dear James: I have a beautiful old stained wooden front that is in good condition. I have tried to refinish it twice, but the glossy finish does not hold up. How should I finish it next time so it lasts? -- Jen P.
Dear Jen: The workmanship on many of the heavy older wooden front doors is truly beautiful. It is very important to have a good ...Read more
Dear James: I plan to convert part of my large concrete patio to a screened-in porch. I cannot afford a complete kit. What are some ideas for building an inexpensive one myself? -- Mark T.
Dear Mark: You and your family should get a lot of enjoyment from even a small screened porch and it should add more resale value to your home than its ...Read more
Dear James: I am running over budget on remodeling my house, so I cannot replace all the carpeting. What are some methods to rejuvenate the older carpeting to look newer? -- Sandra K.
Dear Sandra: You certainly are not the first person to overrun a budget and have to cut back a bit on the final touches. Generally, unless your old carpeting is ...Read more
Dear James: I like to do flower gardening and plan to install a natural stone path through mine. What type of stones should I buy and what is the best method to lay them? -- Bonnie S.
Dear Bonnie: Using natural stone is one of the most attractive pathway materials. This is particularly true in a flower garden where you do not want the bright ...Read more