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Friday, April 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Stories tagged: Ask the Builder


Ask The Builder: Paving a patio is job most do-it-yourselfers can handle

I’ve decided it’s time for a patio in my rear yard. After visiting a local business that sells a vast variety of patio pavers, I’m ready to start. Do you …


Ask The Builder: Treated wood can rot, and here’s why

I’m starting to have some rot issues with my 10-year-old deck. Not only are some of the treated wood decking boards rotting, but I’m also noticing that the tops of …


Ask The Builder: Not all driveway blacktop is the same – here’s why

We need to have a new blacktop driveway installed, and I thought it was going to be a simple process of comparing quotes. It turns out it’s somewhat confusing. I …


Ask the Builder: Miscommunication to blame for concrete problems

Use photos, videos or local spots to help explain the results you want.


Ask the Builder: Acrylic shower designs have come a long way

I’ve had it with ceramic tile in my shower. It’s hard to clean and I love the sleek look of some of the modern acrylic shower units. I want to …


Ask The Builder: Tips for building your own outdoor fire pit

It just so happens fire pits are a minor hobby of mine. I’ve built several and sat around many. Here are a few key fire pit ideas to consider.


Ask the builder: Whitewashing brick fireplace is a DIY success

True whitewash is just a mixture of hydrated lime, salt and water. When done right, it produces a brilliant white finish that bonds tenaciously to any masonry or coarse wood …


Ask the Builder: Finding the ideal rise and run for porch steps

I asked a contractor to build a set of porch steps using name-brand materials. He made a mess of it and when you step off the last step you trip …


Ask the Builder: Home maintenance requires more than a standard checklist

I’ve seen those standardized spring checklists over the years, and I sort of chuckle at many of them. I realize the authors have good intentions, but I often wonder if …


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.