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
Dear James: I try to do some home improvement projects myself, but many require the use of a table saw. My father hurt himself badly with one many years ago. Do you have a list of safety tips for using one? -- Rod H.
Dear Rod: A table saw is an indispensable tool when doing most home improvement projects with lumber, but it is also one of the ...Read more
Dear James: We are planning a do-it-yourself project to add another bathroom for the children. What are the basic design considerations, and what is the proper construction sequence to save time? -- Janine H.
Dear Janine: There are many items to consider when installing a new bathroom. A bathroom is a unique room from a design standpoint ...Read more
Dear James: I want to add ceiling lighting and a ceiling fan to my living room, but there is no wiring up there. I would like to add decorative box beams and run the wiring through them. How can I do this? -- Andy M.
Dear Andy: This is an excellent idea for adding lighting and a fan to a room without access to existing wiring. Even if you did ...Read more
Dear James: A house is being built on a vacant lot next to my sloping lot, and I need some privacy. I think a fence might work well. What type of fence do you recommend that I can build myself? -- Sara Z.
Dear Sara: Installing a fence can be an excellent way to provide privacy for your home. It can also be a deterrent to burglars if it is high ...Read more