Extended Warranty or Home Warranty?
Dear James: I am having a house built and I am ready to purchase the appliances and heating/cooling equipment. Is it better to purchase extended warranties for everything or a home warranty? About how long to various appliances last? -- Patrick S.
Dear Patrick: You will certainly be more relaxed in your new ...Read more
Dear James: I had painted a concrete patio before, but it peeled off over time. I want to decorate my new patio by my garden. How can I add a pale pink tint to the concrete surface? -- Cindy R.
Dear Cindy: A pale pink tint on the concrete should create attractive contrast with the green from the new landscaping. You are wise to choose just a ...Read more
Dear James: We are in the design stage of a house for my family and my mother. She uses a walker or a wheelchair. What special design features should we consider for her mobility? -- Kyle F.
Dear Kyle: It is wise for you think of access to the house entrances at the initial design phase of your new home. Providing proper access can have quite ...Read more
Dear James: I am half way through my kitchen remodel. I find I cannot afford now to replace the old linoleum flooring. Is it possible to paint the old flooring and will it hold up? -- Kim S.
Dear Kim: It often happens that you run out of money near the end of a project and have to change your plans. Since the floor area is large and has a major...Read more
Dear James: We have a neighborhood problem with kids mashing mailboxes. What do you think about building a decorative brick mailbox and perhaps adding a light? -- Steven S.
Dear Steven: Your problem is not uncommon. Driving through many nice neighborhoods, you always seem to see a mailbox which has been smashed the night before. Building a ...Read more
Dear James: Our swinging doors use a lot of wall space when open. Our house is small, so we want to install sliding or folding doors. Which design is better and how are they installed? -- Marcia L.
Dear Marcia: Hinged doors do take up a lot of space. Since they are normally in the fully opened or closed position, it may not be apparent how much...Read more
Dear James: I seldom use my old noisy range hood. I thought about making a new one from decorative wood myself. Does this make sense or should I buy a standard metal one? -- Kent F.
Dear Kent: People often don't realize how important it is to use a range hood when cooking. Odors are the least of the concerns. Without at range hood running, ...Read more
Dear James: Now that I am getting older and have to play the TV louder, I have trouble hearing the doorbell. Can I install a new louder one myself? I'm not an electrician. -- Mick H.
Dear Mick: Hearing the doorbell over the normal sounds of a family can be difficult at times. If you have your dishwasher or clothes washer running, it is even ...Read more
Dear James: Our mother just moved in with us, so we could use a carport. There is room next to our garage. What is a simple, low-cost carport design we can build? -- Samantha T.
Dear Samantha: Building a carport is a great idea, especially if you have family visiting for extended periods. In addition to protecting the car from the weather, when...Read more
Dear James: It's a mess carrying firewood indoors, so I want to modernize my old brick fireplace with one that uses gas logs. Are there any tips on how to do this project myself? -- Kathy H.
Dear Kathy: Replacing an old brick fireplace surround and hearth with newer modern designs and a fresh coat of paint on the walls can completely transform ...Read more
Dear James: An architect is almost finished with the plans for my house. I need to select a good general contractor, but have heard of many potential problems. What is the best way to insure a good job? -- Julie F.
Dear Julie: Everyone has heard horror stories of how a contractor has taken someone's savings and not completed the job or not ...Read more
Dear James: We are downsizing to a new house. We are trying to determine the best colors to paint the rooms to make it look more spacious. What do you recommend for various rooms? -- Renee K.
Dear Renee: The particular colors you select will impact the sense of spaciousness and overall feeling in a room. In addition to the basic color, you ...Read more
Dear James: We have vinyl kitchen flooring which is badly worn. We think a ceramic tile floor would look good and wear well. Can this be put over any old floor and what are some installation tips? -- Michael T.
Dear Michael: Ceramic tile is an excellent material for kitchen floors. Not only is it very attractive, but it also is durable and ...Read more