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
Dear James: Many trees were recently bulldozed for new homes, so I want to build some birdhouses to help out the birds. What are some good birdhouse design tips? -- Donald F.
Dear Donald: As more land gets developed for human use, there is less habitat available for wildlife. People don't often think this is a problem for birds because they ...Read more
Dear James: My living room is too dark, so I want to add a skylight. My house has a pitched roof. How can I add a skylight when there is an attic above the living room? -- Colleen G.
Dear Colleen: Installing a large skylight will definitely bring more natural light into your living room. The basic installation process in the roof itself is the ...Read more
Dear James: Our house has unique room shapes and carpeting. We are installing hardwood flooring in one with a curved wall. How can we make a nice, curved edge on some hardwood pieces? -- Anthony R.
Dear Anthony: Carefully remove the old carpeting that fits along that curved wall. This will be a good template to use when laying out the hardwood ...Read more
Dear James: It gets too hot in the afternoon sun to use our deck, but we like being outdoors. Are there any inexpensive do-it-yourself shading projects that would help? -- Kristin T.
Dear Kristin: Being outdoors on a deck on a sunny afternoon can be unbearable. You will find it worse in the early afternoon when the deck materials have already ...Read more
Dear James: I am using recycled brick over a wood-framed wall for my new house. Should my builder take any special precautions to ensure the old bricks do not crack over time? -- Rosie H.
Dear Rosie: There are not many solid brick houses built today, so if some bricks do crack, the house will not collapse. The house construction your builder is...Read more
Dear James: I could use a long bench on my deck to use when entertaining. Are there low-cost, simple-to-build bench designs that I could make myself? -- Mark B.
Dear Mark: Building a deck bench is one of the most common do-it-yourself projects. It would be wise to make two benches while you are at it. The material costs, which are really high ...Read more
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