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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Tuesday, January 15, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Stories tagged: Ask the Builder


Ask the Builder: Roof popping noise has a simple fix

Diagonal bracing can quiet roof noises.


Ask the Builder: Repairing mortar with caulk not the ideal fix

My 10-year-old house developed some cosmetic cracks in the mortar. I got some bids to have tuck-pointing work done and nearly gagged when I looked at the cost.


Ask the Builder: Dealing with a bungled wall tile job

having a small bathroom remodeled. My wife and I thought we did our due diligence and hired a great contractor. I came home from work to discover the ceramic wall …


Ask the Builder: Retaining wall repair won’t cost a fortune

DEAR TIM: The retaining wall at my older home is in sad shape. A contractor told me that if I don’t tear it down immediately and replace it, my house …


Ask the Builder: Concrete mortar bed makes excellent base for laminate flooring

What’s that old saying? “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Yeah, that’s it. My friend, all I can say is you’ve been blessed. I recommend that you prance around …


Building bookcases? Make a prototype first

I live in a 100-year-old wooden house in Norway and am doing all the refurbishing and maintenance myself that the laws of my country allow. I’m making floor-to-ceiling built-in bookcases …


Building a decorative stone patio to last

DEAR TIM: On vacation in Southern California, I visited Huntington Gardens in Pasadena. There I saw the most unusual patio and sidewalk paving. Never before had I seen such beauty; …


Granite countertop span needs support

DEAR TIM: My husband and I are just about at the end of an arduous and stressful kitchen remodel. Originally, in the planning phase, the general contractor said we didn’t …


Air has many ways to leak into house; you can solve most of them

It’s very simple to stop a vast majority of air leaks in the average home during the construction process. I feel it doesn’t happen, unfortunately, because most workers don’t know …


Fixing cosmetic cracks in mortar joints

I’ve just placed an offer to purchase a two-bedroom house. It’s an older building, probably close to 70 or more years old. After placing the offer, I then took a …


Ask The Builder: Electric floor heating creates luxurious comfort

Ask the Builder column for Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016.


Ask the Builder: Before you tile your shower, do the homework

You can achieve a dazzling shower by blending marble, granite, border tile and even some regular ceramic tile in the same shower. Subtle color tones that complement one another can …


Brick is not a waterproof building material

After noticing some bubbled paint inside my home under a few windows, I did an inspection of the outside of my home and discovered holes in the mortar of my …


All you need to clean hard water stains is vinegar and time

The hard water deposits are alkaline in nature. This means they have a pH greater than 7. If you pour an acid which has a pH less than 7 onto …


Ask the Builder: Impact driver is more than just a fancy drill

My husband has been hinting about wanting an impact driver. He claims there are many uses for it around the house. I wonder if he’s trying to pull the wool …


Ask the builder: Sealing brick can help stop flaking problem

Flaking brick more often than not is a cosmetic issue, but it’s serious because it affects the look of your home. The bad news is that there’s no easy way …


Are you prepared for a disaster to strike your home?

A big disaster is going to strike where you live. It could be a hurricane, a huge flood, an epic blizzard or a terrorist attack. You do not know when …


Ask the Builder: Best to keep foundation above grade

DEAR TIM: I recently moved into a neglected house. While working on the landscaping in the front yard, I discovered that the top of the foundation was below grade. Two …


Don’t mistake caulk for an acceptable deck flashing material

In the case of decks, a flashing is often required where deck lumber contacts the side of a house. The flashing’s job is to prevent water from entering behind the …


Weep holes under patio door protect house from rot and mold

Brick walls leak water. They have always leaked water. Builders and masons from hundreds of years ago knew this and developed a set of best practices to ensure their brick …


Replacing toilet is all about having the right tools, techniques

My guess is you have an adjustable wrench, a putty knife, a 2-foot level, a screwdriver and a hacksaw. This is often all you need to replace a toilet.


Bearing wall footing is key to a house’s structural integrity

DEAR TIM: My wife and I are building our new home, and we stopped by to see the progress just after the foundation was poured. We saw a massive long …


Hiring the right builder requires time, effort on client’s part

This is a special column about trust. It was inspired by no fewer than three emails and a phone call from visitors to my website, AsktheBuilder.com, and readers of this …


Spalling concrete driveway can be repaired with cement stucco

Concrete spalling seems to be a growing epidemic if my email inbox is any sort of trusted indicator. Years ago, reports of these failures were primarily from parts of the …


Ask the Builder: Key to French door installation is good flashing

I’ve got a walkout basement garage door I want to convert to French doors. I realize I need to shrink the size of the opening to create the correct rough …


Creating a doorway in a concrete block wall

I live in a very common home here in Florida. Most are built from concrete block. Twenty years ago, a room was added to the home and the rear exterior …


Hammer drill makes removing old shower pan much easier

DEAR TIM: I’ve decided to do a major bathroom remodel job. One thing that needs to be demolished is a full ceramic tile shower with a seat and a concrete …


Before committing to a remodel, know the cost in detail

Break renovation work into its components to determine cost.


Poorly installed bath fan vents can cause serious problems

I don’t like our current exhaust bath fan and am going to install a new one. I’ve done all sorts of online research, and lots of the information is conflicting. …


House wrap may trap water if improperly installed

DEAR TIM: I have a house wrap installed on my house over plywood sheathing. No clapboards are in place yet. I’m getting moisture behind the house wrap that is of …