Dear James: My father is coming to live with me, and he is in a wheelchair. I need to remodel the bathroom so he can access the shower. What is the best way to design the shower for wheelchair access? -- Denise H.
Dear Denise: With the aging population in the United States, more and more people are becoming concerned about wheelchair access ...Read more
Dear James: I like the way sheet vinyl flooring looks in a kitchen, but at my friend's home, it cracked and got dull in less than a year. If I have it installed in my kitchen, how can I avoid these problems? -- Janet H.
Dear Janet: Sheet vinyl flooring is attractive and generally very durable. One of its most common uses is in commercial ...Read more
Dear James: My house has old paneling with vertical grooves, and I want to cover it with drywall and paint it. I am not sure how to handle fitting the wood trim around the doors and windows. Do you have any tips? -- Ronald D.
Dear Ronald: Installing drywall over old paneling is one method to improve the appearance of a room. As you noted, it ...Read more
DEAR JAMES: The grout in my bathroom between the tile is discolored with dark mildew. Some of the tile is glossy, and some has a flat, dull surface. What is the easiest and safest way to get it clean? -- Ryan T.
DEAR RYAN: Dark mildewed grout is common in most bathrooms and anywhere else where there is tile and constant moisture. Even though ...Read more
DEAR JAMES: My baby boy is at the crawling stage, and I want to make my house more child-safe with gates at the stairs and room doors. What is the best type to get, and do you have any other tips for safety? -- Yvonne L.
DEAR YVONNE: People naturally think first of a child falling down the stairs or getting from a safe room to a more dangerous ...Read more
DEAR JAMES: Our son repairs motorcycles in our garage. We need to install a small half bathroom in there, but the slab floor has no drain. I need tips for adding a bathroom. -- Debbie R.
DEAR DEBBIE: There is nothing worse than trying to clean old black motor oil and grease mixed with grit from the doorknobs and floors, not to mention their ...Read more
Dear James: I have been trying to clean up and refinish some of the hardwood trim in my older home. I went to the home center store to buy sandpaper, but there are so many types. Which is best for what? -- Randy T.
Dear Randy: The sandpaper aisle at the home center store can be a bit overwhelming, sometimes even for professionals. It could be ...Read more
Dear James: We had a home built and installed a fiberglass front door. When we open it, it hits the oriental carpet on the tile floor. How did this happen and what can we do other than cut off the bottom? -- Larry G.
Dear Larry: Unfortunately, the problem you are experiencing is all too common in new homes. The weatherstripping on the bottom of...Read more
Dear James: My old kitchen countertops are scratched and discolored. I want to replace them with new synthetic solid surface countertops. Are these very durable and should I try to install them myself? -- Melanie Y.
Dear Melanie: If you like glossy, easy-to-clean countertops, then a solid surface one is just what you need. These countertops are...Read more
Dear James: I am having a house built partially on a slab and on a crawl space. Is it necessary to install a vapor barrier under the concrete, and is this something I can do myself to save some money? -- Eileen G.
Dear Eileen: Even though concrete feels as hard as a rock, it is still permeable to moisture in the ground. Most people are quite ...Read more
Dear James: I have some recessed lights in my living room ceiling. I would like to replace them with more contemporary track lights. Is this something I can do myself, and if so, how do I do it? -- Ron H.
Dear Ron: Track lighting is attractive and actually much more effective than recessed lighting. Particularly with older recessed fixtures, ...Read more
Dear James: I am doing a major room addition to my house. In my past two houses, the shingle roofs leaked prematurely. What should I look for and discuss with the roofers to make sure this roof lasts longer? -- Jimmy G.
Dear Jimmy: Most roofs that leak prematurely are more often a result of poor installation rather than material defects. If you...Read more
Dear James: I am redecorating my house. At a recent home show, I saw some very attractive elegant interior door hardware. Is it possible to install new hardware on my old doors to jazz them up a little? -- Don J.
Dear Don: If someone asked what you notice first when you walk into a home for the first time, most people generally would not think ...Read more