Dear James: The old-tinted film on my windows blocks heat, but the corners are becoming loose and cracking. How do I remove the old film and install new film myself? -- Lana T.
Dear Lana: Old, deteriorating, tinted window film is still effective at blocking heat and glare, but it can look really bad and impair your view outdoors. Newer window ...Read more
Dear James: A tree fell and damaged some gutters, but I should replace them all. I plan to have the gutters professionally made, but I will install them myself. Do you have any advice? -- Greg R.
Dear Greg: You can typically save about 50% of the total cost by installing the gutters yourself. The material cost for the downspouts, hangers and ...Read more
Dear James: I enjoy gardening and landscaping. It would be convenient to have an attractive walkway through my flower gardens. What is a good option for a colorful DIY walkway? -- Amy T.
Dear Amy: For a do-it-yourself walkway, you should avoid any design that uses concrete. Although some stained and colored concrete is attractive and durable, ...Read more
Dear James: The old deadbolts on my front and side doors are difficult to turn with a key or from indoors. What maintenance is needed, and can I do it myself? -- Mike L.
Dear Mike: For security reasons, it is important for the deadbolt to extend completely into the doorjamb, so you should fix the deadbolts. This makes it much more difficult for...Read more
Dear James: Our window and door trim are looking dull, worn and scratched. They are beyond just refinishing. What are the steps to removing and replacing the old wood trim myself? -- Colleen W.
Dear Colleen: It is surprising how much window and door trim can affect the appearance and style of an entire room. If you are remodeling and want to ...Read more
Dear James: We remodeled our kitchen, but we love our stained wood cabinets and some need new doors. How can we match the color and edge detail on the new doors with the old ones? -- Ted G.
Dear Ted: The detailing and stained natural wood on some older cabinet doors is very attractive. Not replacing them can create a unique kitchen decor. ...Read more
Dear James: My old deck and patio have gotten worn and rough over the years. Instead of having expensive repairs done, are there comfortable, durable coverings I can put over them? -- Cheryl T.
Dear Cheryl: Deteriorated deck and patio surfaces can be very uncomfortable to walk on, and they look bad. A rough wood surface can be dangerous because...Read more
Dear James: We are empty-nesters and plan to combine rooms for a more open floor plan. Box beans would look nice for some separation. What are some tips for adding box beams to the ceiling? -- Nick K.
Dear Nick: Most modern homes have more open floor plan layouts instead of many smaller distinct rooms. It does provide a more open and spacious ...Read more
Dear James: I need to do some projects around my house that require patching and adding some concrete. Is this a project the average do-it-yourselfer can do without expensive tools? -- Sharon M.
Dear Sharon: If you have a container or wheelbarrow for mixing the concrete, and you are strong enough to carry the heavy bag of dry concrete, you ...Read more
Dear James: We think wainscoting would look good in our dining room. We have extra drywall here from a previous project. Can this be used instead of wood for wainscoting? -- Julie R.
Dear Julie: Wainscoting is becoming more popular again, even in newly built houses. The decorative walls are attractive, and doing just one wall can change the ...Read more
Dear James: There have been some break-ins in my neighborhood, so I want to improve security at home. I'm on a tight budget. What are some simple do-it-yourself security tips? -- Darrel K.
Dear Darrel: Almost every homeowner is on a tight budget these days, but there are still some things you can do to make your home more secure from break-ins....Read more
Dear James: There are leaks in our garage when it rains. The dark shingle roof is about 20 years old. Is it better to try to just fix the leaks or re-shingle the entire garage roof? -- Jennifer T.
Dear Jennifer: At 20 years, your roof is reaching the typical life of an asphalt shingle roof. Dark shingles also deteriorate faster than light ones ...Read more