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
Dear James: We are on a strict budget for our new home. It will have to be fairly small overall. What are some design tips for making the living space seem bigger than it actually is? -- Kellie D.
Dear Kellie: The modern trend in homebuilding is smaller houses. Building material costs are very high right now because of the pandemic. Efficiency ...Read more
Dear James: Our old wood front door faces west, so it took the abuse of the sun and storm wear. What is the best method to replace the old door with another wood myself? -- William D.
Dear William: The first step is to measure your existing door and the door frame. If it was initially installed by the builder, it most likely is a standard ...Read more
Dear James: I am having a new house built in an area where others have had many cracks in the concrete. What should our builder pay attention to in order to avoid this in our house? -- Logan G.
Dear Logan: It is not unusual to have some cracks form in concrete. It takes time for concrete to totally cure to full strength, and some cracking can ...Read more
Dear James: We just bought an older house with lots of natural woodwork. Can we sand it down and refinish it with another natural oil finish? What are some tips to apply the finish? -- Tammy V.
Dear Tammy: Staying with a natural oil finish is a good idea both for its original attractiveness and the resale value of your house someday. If you do ...Read more
Dear James: I am planning a partial remodel of my bathroom with just a new vanity and cabinets. What are reasonably priced options, and can I easily install them myself? -- Oliver J.
Dear Oliver: Just replacing the cabinets and vanity is the typical do-it-yourself bathroom remodeling project. A full remodel would include replacing the tile ...Read more