Dear James: I just bought an older home. It seems to be constructed well, but the floors are bouncy to the point of being annoying. What are the various techniques for making the floors stiffer? -- Karen N.
Dear Karen: A floor should be somewhat resilient to make it comfortable to walk and stand on. If you have ever worked in a factory or a ...Read more
Dear James: My children are getting old enough to use small electrical appliances, radios, etc. Can you tell me about the various types of fuses and circuit breakers for their and my protection? -- Jimmy F.
Dear Jimmy: People often think of protection from being shocked, and some devices do this, but house fires are also a serious problem. ...Read more
Dear James: I am tired of repairing and sealing my asphalt driveway, so I want to replace it with a concrete one. Some seem to hold up well, and others crumble and crack. Why do some hold up so much better? -- Alexandra F.
Dear Alexandra: From an aesthetic standpoint, the driveway is the first thing guests see and walk on when they visit your ...Read more
Dear James: I am looking for a building lot. The nicest lots have already been taken in subdivisions. What should I look for in a lot, even if none of them appear to be perfect for my house? -- Michael Y.
Dear Michael: In many new subdivisions, the best lots are sold to the representing realtors' clients long before the average person is even ...Read more
Dear James: I am in the planning stage for a new home. My previous stucco home had serious damage for rotting lumber. What is the best way to avoid the same problems in the new home I am building? -- Lynn R.
Dear Lynn: By far, the majority of problems with rotting lumber in a house can be traced back to excessive moisture and persistent ...Read more
Dear James: I have an old laminate kitchen countertop still in good shape. I want to refinish it myself so it looks like real granite. What options do I have? -- Sandra N.
Dear Sandra: There are several do-it-yourself refinishing kits you can buy to provide a durable, real-granite or stonelike appearance. They are available at most home center ...Read more
Dear James: I like sitting in the steam room after a workout at my health club. I know where to buy a small steam generator. Will I need to replace my bathtub, or can I just add some new glass doors? -- Justin H.
Dear Justin: A steam bath can be both relaxing and therapeutic. Although you would think steam baths are used more often during the ...Read more
Dear James: I had a room added to my house. I want to do the trim-finish carpentry myself to save money, but things are not fitting properly. What are the proper techniques for a good-looking job? -- Debi K.
Dear Debi: The quality of the trim-finish carpentry in a home can make all the difference in how the new room looks. But keep in mind, as ...Read more
Dear James: I would like to add some decorative woodwork trim in my dining room, but I am having trouble finding a really unique trim profile. Where can I find the best selection, and how do I install it? -- Patty M.
Dear Patty: Decorative woodwork, baseboards, crown molding and window casings can enhance the appearance of any room. When you ...Read more
Dear James: Now that our daughters are getting older, I need to install a large medicine cabinet in their bathroom for their things. Is a surface or a recessed one better? And how do I install one? -- Gary T.
Dear Gary: Installing a medicine cabinet is the best way to increase the amount of storage in a bathroom. That spot on the wall is ...Read more
Dear James: I have been living in my new home for about three months, and I cannot believe how dirty the windows keep getting. Why is this? What is the proper method to clean the windows the way professionals do? -- Crystal M.
Dear Crystal: It is not uncommon for the windows in a new home to become dirty very quickly after they are cleaned. ...Read more
Dear James: I could use some additional storage space, especially in the children's bedroom. I thought adding some window seats would be a good idea. What are the simplest designs? -- Michael K.
Dear Michael: I don't believe there is a house, no matter how large, that couldn't use some additional storage space as the children get older. Just ...Read more
Dear James: I am redecorating my living room now that the kids are older. I have never been able to paint a room and have it look like a professional did it. What specific techniques do they use? -- Rita P.
Dear Rita: Don't feel inept because your indoor painting projects do not resemble that of a professional painter. It takes many years for a...Read more