Add a Simple, Dry-Type, In-Floor Heating System
Dear James: We are remodeling a bedroom for my mother to live here. I would like a radiant floor-heating system under hardwood. Is a wet- or dry-type system best? -- Johnny G.
Dear Johnny: Radiant floor-heating systems are some of the most efficient and comfortable warmth, especially for an older...Read more
Dear James: I got a new tool set and plan on doing some repair projects. I went to buy some nails, but the selection is overwhelming. What types of nails are best for various projects? -- Alison R.
Dear Alison: Selecting among the tremendous numbers of nails and other fasteners can be overwhelming because many of them look about the same. As ...Read more
Dear James: I had a detached garage built with a somewhat rustic exterior decor and blew past my budget. I plan to make a sandwich-design garage myself. Is this a good DIY choice? -- Michael T.
Dear Michael: You can save a lot of money building the garage door yourself, and this also allows you to create a unique design to complement your new ...Read more
Dear James: My master bathroom has some beautiful antique brass fixtures that have gotten tarnished over the years. What is the best way to clean them and maintain them tarnish-free? -- Shari R.
Dear Shari: Hopefully, you will be able to clean all of them because it will likely be impossible to replace any parts you cannot clean. The cold-water...Read more
Dear James: My roof and wood siding should be replaced soon. Cedar shingle or shake siding and roofing would be my preferred option. Is there a real difference between shingles and shakes? -- Barry L.
Dear Barry: Cedar is an excellent choice for a durable and unique appearance for your house. Alaskan yellow or western red cedars are most ...Read more
Dear James: I have always liked wainscoting on walls. The old drywall has dents and loose joint tape. Is it possible to install wainscoting myself over the old walls? -- Aleta N.
Dear Aleta: Wainscoting is not as popular these days because of its high cost compared with drywall. It does create beautiful, unique and durable walls. In order to ...Read more
Dear James: My cats and kids have damaged many window screens. Some have small holes, and others are torn. Is it difficult to repair the screening, or should they be replaced? -- Anderson H.
Dear Anderson: Repairing or replacing a damaged screen is an important home maintenance item. Don't skip repairing tiny holes, because insects such as ...Read more
Dear James: We are building a guest house using wood stud walls. We plan to build the walls on the ground and raise them. What is the easiest method to do this and have nice, flat walls? -- Laurie S.
Dear Laurie: This simple building method has been used for centuries. You will need a group of friends to help raise each completed framed wall. ...Read more
Dear James: The lighting is bad in my home office, and I plan to add some recessed lighting. I need it primarily over my computer. What is the best type of recessed light to use? -- Donald H.
Dear Donald: Recessed light is a good choice for your home office, particularly over your computer area. With the lighting coming down from directly above...Read more
Dear James: Several ceramic tiles by my front door are damaged but still down tight. How can I remove the old ones and replace them without damaging the adjacent tiles? -- Timothy G.
Dear Timothy: The most common damage to ceramic tiles is a scratched surface near an entrance door. Ceramic tile is an extremely hard and durable material, which ...Read more
Dear James: I want a smooth, curved ceiling in my living room. It now has a standard vaulted ceiling. Is it a difficult project to convert it to a curved ceiling? -- Chris K.
Dear Chris: Your living room will look completely different with just that change to the ceiling. The interest in curved or arched ceilings has waned in recent years for ...Read more
Dear James: I want to install some glass block windows for security and privacy. Would a kit that uses silicone caulking be a strong as the regular mortar installation to deter a thief? -- Donna G.
Dear Donna: Both glass and plastic block windows provide much more security than a standard casement or double-hung glass pane window. Although it ...Read more
Dear James: For our starter home, we are considering a dining area instead of a dining room to save money and floor space. What are some good design ideas for this concept? -- Rick B.
Dear Rick: With today's lifestyles and high building costs, eliminating a seldom-used dining room is becoming more commonplace. On a limited budget, this allows ...Read more