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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Saturday, July 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Stories tagged: Ask the Builder


Ask the Builder: Finding the right pipe for your project

It’s very important to realize that there are lots of plastic pipes that you might use, and the chemistry of them is quite complex. I’m just going to stick with …


Ask the Builder: Use clinker bricks to make interesting structures

How are clinker bricks formed and where can we buy them? Are they durable and will they last a long time?


Ask the Builder: Insulated concrete forms require extra care

With interlocking insulated concrete forms, it’s important to realize the foundation footing the ICFs rest on should be perfectly flat and level, and the footing needs to be perfectly square.


Ask the Builder: Don’t build or buy an A-frame house until you’ve tried living in one

A-frame houses are appealing, but they have quirks that take some considering.


Ask the Builder: Yes, you can build your own garden shed

Q. I’ve put off building a small garden shed for too many years. After the wretched winter I endured, I deserve something that will lift my spirits. I don’t know …


Ask the Builder: Flushable wipes are bad for plumbing

The labeling on the product is accurate if you want to split hairs. You can flush these wretched wipes down a toilet. They make it through the curved colon in …


Ask the Builder: Praise for 3- and 4-way electrical switches

The most common uses for these switches are at the top and bottom of staircases or at the ends of a long hallway. When you use one in a finished …


Ask The Builder: Sticky house wrap is a great building innovation

How do you feel about self-adhering house wrap and what’s involved in getting it installed correctly?


Ask The Builder: Giving the gift of hand tools

New hand tools appear in the marketplace every year. Keeping up with them is a full-time job.


Ask The Builder: Building trades are a vocation, not a job

I absolutely recommend that young people pursue careers in the trades. We need thousands of carpenters, electricians, plumbers, roofers, masons, etc. We’ll always need them. It’s never been easier to …


Ask The Builder: Building or adding on? You need to consider factory-built walls

The prefabricated wall panels go together like giant Lego blocks. They’re perfectly square from the factory, and the precision is astounding.


Ask the Builder: Restoring patio tile grout much easier than replacing it

The only reason to consider doing all the work to replace tile grout is if it’s crumbling and falling apart.


Ask The Builder: Building a garage? Think carefully about space

Poor planning is the most common reason for dissatisfaction with both detached garages and homes in general. The root of the problem is that most people are unable to visualize …


Ask The Builder: Rolling cabinet, pegboard are great ways to organize tools

Q. Tim, I lost it last weekend. After I cooled down I realized I had no one to blame but myself. I spent two hours looking for a hand tool …


Ask The Builder: Pre-fab truss systems can make room for attic and access stairs

I grew up in an older home with an attic. I love storing things up there. When I watch new homes being built, all I see are trusses with all …


Ask The Builder: Rotting shed needs to be lifted off soil to make repairs last

For a rotting shed, restoration may be in the cards.


Ask The Builder: How to keep kitchen and bath drains clog free

Never allow grease to go down a drain. It solidifies and will clog drain pipes. Same goes for flour and egg mixtures into your kitchen sink drains.


Ask The Builder: You can drill a well almost anywhere, but beware local regulations (and pollutants)

The trouble is that in many locations well drilling is mostly chance.


Ask The Builder: New trusses let you dispense with interior bearing walls

Is it possible to build a multi-story home with no, or few, interior bearing walls or beams? Sure is.


Ask the builder: Stop water vapor now

It’s important to realize that vapor is very hard to stop. That’s why it’s best to call the products vapor retarders, not vapor barriers. I can tell you unequivocally they’re …


Ask The Builder: Proper materials, hardware and technique are crucial to avoid deck collapse

Deck construction is serious business, and you need to make sure everything is done correctly.


Ask the Builder: How to deal with radon gas in new construction

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause health issues. The gas is generated by the decomposition of uranium, a natural element. Some types of bedrock contain more uranium …


Ask The Builder: Most roof leaks are caused by failing flashings

Q. My roof is leaking, and my last attempt to get it repaired was fruitless. It rained again and water still came in. Where do most roof leaks happen? Is …


Ask The Builder: When things go south with your builder

Yesterday I did a 30-minute phone consultation with a gentleman who lives in New Jersey. It was a grim call because he was thinking about suing his builder. I started …


Ask The Builder: Avoid new building blues by making detailed plans

The best way to prepare for this mayhem is to create a detailed set of plans and some written specifications. Great plans and specifications become your north star and prevent …


Ask the Builder: Installing wallpaper border is simple, but avoid these pitfalls

If you haven’t done the job before, you should know that hanging giant strips of wallpaper is challenging.


Ask the Builder: Caulking doesn’t have to be hard

The good news is that crappy caulk jobs can be repaired with relative ease.


Ask the Builder: Building a shed? Get size and access right

Based on the email that I get, I’d say the biggest mistake you might make when building or buying a pre-built shed is that it’s going to be too small.


Ask the Builder: Both poured and concrete block foundations can last … if they’re built right

No matter which type of concrete foundation you use, make sure it’s reinforced with steel.


Ask the builder: Deck piers distribute load and prevent frost heave damage

Nonetheless, any contractor who says you need deck piers for your new deck or to expand an existing one is giving you great advice. Deck piers are the foundation for …