Basements

Backfill removed to waterproof basement

Removing backfill from basement wall

Published on November 23rd, 2016 | by Henri

Q.  If I were to remove a four-foot-wide section of backfill down to the footer in order to expose the block wall for waterproofing purposes, how would it affect the integrity of the wall? Is it ... Read More


Paint, stains

cleaning cedar siding

Stain, don’t paint, cedar siding

Published on November 23rd, 2016 | by Henri

Q.  We have a 90+ year old farm house in Kansas. We have painted it several time in the past 40 years. Each time the paint lasts for a few years. Mold is starting to appear ... Read More


Doors

Repairing sliding glass door

Modifying and repairing sliding glass doors

Published on November 16th, 2016 | by Henri

Today I received two questions about modifying or repairing existing sliding glass doors. Since the issues are related, I decided to combine them into a single post. Q.   My 1958 eight-foot sliding glass doors do not ... Read More


Doors

House with red front door

Avoid south-facing storm door

Published on November 12th, 2016 | by Henri

Q.   In the spring we are going to replace our front entrance door, which is currently a wooden one with a sidelight and sorely in need or replacing. This door faces the south, therefore gets direct ... Read More


Concrete

Sealing a concrete walkway

Published on November 12th, 2016 | by Henri

Q.  I need to seal my stamped concrete walkway.  What sealer should I use? A.  There are two types of concrete sealers: topical and penetrating. If the concrete walkway has not been sealed before, it is ... Read More


Patios

Bluestone Pavers

Keeping bluestone slab from heaving

Published on November 12th, 2016 | by Henri

Q.  I have a 10×10-foot  bluestone slab  at the entrance to the house. The base is a cement  3 to 4 inches thick, with stone dust under the bluestone.  The spaces between  the blue stone slabs ... Read More


Pests

Repelling squirrels

Published on October 27th, 2016 | by Henri

Q.  We live in a lovely wooded neighborhood. We have a serious problem with squirrels. There are too many of them! Earlier this spring, I planted pansies around our walk and in planters on our deck, ... Read More


Bricks

Caulking a window on a brick house

Rainwater dampens wall, ceiling

Published on October 27th, 2016 | by Henri

Q.  Can you please help me find a solution to repair the intermittent water incursion I have on the front of my 13-year-old two story brick home? The water dampens the inside ceiling and wall of ... Read More


Paint, stains

Painting a Metal Fence

Painting a metal fence

Published on October 26th, 2016 | by Henri

Q.  I bought an older home with a wrought-iron fence. I painted it with a rust-conversion paint and it is still rusty. What kind of paint do you recommend? The fence is even pitted. A.    It ... Read More


Floors

Refinishing hardwood floor

Refinishing a hardwood floor

Published on October 21st, 2016 | by Henri

Q.  I have oak floors that were installed at least 30 years ago. There are worn pathways from foot traffic and the polyurethane is completely off. The rest of the floors have turned dull, yet the ... Read More


Refinishing

Table-top in need of refinishing

Removing stains from wood surfaces

Published on October 13th, 2016 | by Henri

Q.  I have many wood surfaces in my house – tables, counters, cutting boards – that have an oil finish rather than urethane. Many of these surfaces have been stained with black rings from metal tins ... Read More


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