Dear James: With the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to split a big room with a wall to make a home office. How do I build a wall that will be reasonably quiet so I can concentrate? -- Gerry H.
Dear Gerry: Your situation is a common one today, and who knows for how long and how many days a week we will be working from home. No wall, no matter how ...Read more
Dear James: A dark spot is forming on the ceiling below my master bathroom with a tile floor. My newer house is just past the warranty. Where should I look for the water leak? -- Amy F.
Dear Amy: It seems like problems always occur just after the new house warranty expires. The basic plumbing is probably not the source or the leak would have ...Read more
Dear James: The mortar in my new limestone patio is deteriorated and looks bad. Can I remove and replace the bad mortar without having to disturb the limestone pieces? -- Ellen P.
Dear Ellen: The large, irregular limestone piece is what makes these patios look so attractive and natural. Limestone is typically much more durable and weather-...Read more
Dear James: We have a storage room, and the drywall is pretty beaten up. I want to put paneling over the drywall. What panel choice is good, and how can I install over the drywall? -- Randall K.
Dear Randall: The walls in a storage room can get damaged from hauling things in and out, and people are generally not too careful about avoiding ...Read more
Dear James: I want to build a curved glass block wall for a shower stall and a straight one in my kitchen. How do lay a glass block wall so that it will not leak when showering? -- Darlene G.
Dear Andrea: Glass block walls can give a house a very open look and make smaller rooms appear to be much larger than they are. They can also provide more...Read more
Dear James: I have a box of old paint brushes here, but should get new ones for my remodeling projects? With so many options in the paint brush aisle, what type is best to buy? -- Jose M.
Dear Jose: As you have funds, there are typically at least several dozen different sizes, bristle types and shapes in the typical brush aisle. You will also ...Read more
Dear James: I found some termite or carpenter ant damage in the wall supporting lumber. After I have an exterminator treat my house, how can I treat the new replacement wood? -- Jeffery H.
Dear Jeffery: Termites and ants can do significant damage to the wood in a very short amount of time. They often are drawn to wood that is continually damp ...Read more
Dear James: I have a box of old, dull drills that could not go through warm butter. When I buy new ones, what type is best for different types of drilling tasks? -- Anne Y.
Dear Anne: There is nothing more frustrating than trying to work with old, dull tools and drilling holes is about the worst. You will probably need several sets of drill ...Read more
Dear James: I just moved into an older house, and a lot of the drywall tape is coming loose and needs retaping. Why did it come loose, and how should I replace it? -- Randall N.
Dear Randall: It is not uncommon for drywall tape to come loose after many years. A change in humidity and temperature levels inside a house can gradually deteriorate ...Read more
Dear James: We decided to raise chickens and need to fence our backyard. Is chain-link fence a good choice, and what are the various parts we will need to install it? -- Rhonda F.
Dear Rhonda: Chain-link fencing is a versatile choice for your backyard. It makes an effective enclosure for any type of pet including chickens. Keep in mind that ...Read more
Store Extension Cords and Hoses for Easy Use
Dear James: I am a do-it-yourself type of guy. It always is frustrating trying to untangle extension cords and air hoses. What is the best method to store them after each use? -- Clark H.
Dear Clark: Many people now use lithium cordless tools, so cord storage is not a problem. If you do a lot of ...Read more
Dear James: My asphalt driveway has many cracks and small holes. It is only a few years old. My repair attempts don't last for long. How can I fix them better? -- Carla A.
Dear Carla: Asphalt driveways do require periodic sealing, but they should not be deteriorating in just a couple of years. It sounds like improper installation or ...Read more