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Stories tagged: Ask the Builder


Ask the Builder: Retaining wall basics

You may recall that point in high school physics class when a frustrated student demanded, “Give me an example of when I’ll ever use this stuff in real life!” Well, …


Ask the Builder: Gutter guard madness

Good gutter guards aren’t worth the high price.


Ask the Builder: Do your due diligence before hiring a contractor. Yeah, it’s hard

Based on the number of emails I receive each week, I see a growing and alarming trend of people who are so busy, stressed and discombobulated that all they want …


Ask the Builder: Solar attic fan not going to be adequate for the job

Q. Can you cut through the fog of confusion about solar attic fans? Do they really work, or are they mostly hype? What does it take to really cool an …


Whole-house fans and attic fans: Two different approaches to cooling

Do whole-house fans and attic fans really work to cool an attic space?


Ask The Builder: Right tools make cutting drywall a snap

Whatever you do, don’t use a circular saw to cut drywall.


Ask the Builder: To change grout color, use stain, not paint

Changing the color of grout is possible, but it’s not easy.


Ask the builder: Making sense of drywall types

One contractor talks about green board. Another one mentions MMR board. The third contractor hasn’t heard of either of those two. Help!


Ask the builder: Curing the smelly garbage disposal

Smelly garbage disposals in kitchens are more common than you might think. A large number of homeowners reach out to me on a routine basis with the identical problem.


Ask the Builder: Even a DIY rookie can fix a broken sink stopper

Fixing a wonky sink stopper often takes less time than moving the stuff out of the way to get to it.


Ask the Builder: Low water pressure in shower may mean it’s time to clean the flow restrictor

A few decades ago, government officials enacted laws to try to conserve water. Little did they know the secondary effects of these laws would be millions of frustrated homeowners.


Ask The Builder: Cast iron drainpipes still the right choice for silent plumbing

The cast iron is dense and it’s very hard to get it to vibrate to create noise. With PVC, the cascading water from a toilet flush vibrates the pipe creating …


Ask the Builder: Don’t let contractor skip steel reinforcement in concrete driveway or patio

Tim, my builder is telling me to forget about using reinforcing steel or mesh in my concrete driveway and patio. He says he’ll just add an inch of thickness and …


Ask The Builder: Rotting windows a result of subpar wood, no roof overhangs

I’ve seen an alarming rise in wood-rot questions. Perhaps it’s happening with your wood windows, exterior house trim and wood door frames. It’s happening at my own home in New …


Ask The Builder: Rock retaining walls pit friction against gravity

Tim Carter answers questions about retaining walls, grout.


Ask the builder: Stop basement leaks with a French drain

The best way to solve leaking basements, crawlspaces and soggy soil is to install a linear French drain.


Ask The Builder: Oxygen bleach perfect for outdoor cleaning

Oxygen bleach great for outdoor cleaning


Ask The Builder: Replacing three-way switch easy as 1, 2, 3

Water on brick, cement can result in salt and mineral discoloration.


Ask The Builder: Installing border strip makes hardwood repair less conspicuous

I launched my podcast last week, and it was a blast. It’s only about 30 to 40 minutes long and the first one included two calls and a story about …


Ask the Builder: Workmanship errors can cost thousands of dollars down the road

This column was inspired by two expensive mistakes, one by a home builder and one by a home service installer. In both instances, an hour or two of extra time …


Ask The Builder: Doing due diligence is part of hiring a contractor

You should never ever hope that everything in your new home is going to be done the best possible way or to the highest level you can afford.


Ask the Builder: No cure for cracked concrete other than replacing the slab

Your questions are the fuel that keep this column vibrant and hopefully interesting. If you’ve got a question, then by all means visit the website and click the Ask Tim …


Ask the Builder: Getting help with flood-damaged floors and other home-improvement headaches

Each day, through the “Ask Tim” page at my website, I get questions from readers like you and folks that find me on the Internet.


Ask The Builder: Caulk gaps, broken water line and other reader troubles

This week you’ve hit the trifecta. I have three questions I received at my AsktheBuilder.com website. This means you get three answers for the price of one!


Ask The Builder: DIY plumbing presents unforeseen challenges

I’m not going to try to transform you into a plumber with this column, but I’d like to share some pointers that might come in handy if you decide you …


Ask The Builder: Advice for architects to be, and for those who hire them

The gentleman wanted to know the best books I’d recommend about building and construction for young architecture students. You might think my first reaction would be to provide a few …


Ask the builder: Who’s to blame for major construction mistakes?

My builder really goofed up my new home. A room at the corner of the house next to the front door had its roof installed too low. The mistake is …


Ask the Builder: Good ventilation is key to keeping attic free from mold

I’m so confused. I’ve spent hours online reading all sorts of stuff about attic ventilation. There’s all sorts of conflicting information out there.


Ask the Builder: Translucent window film adds to privacy in bathroom

I grew up in an older home that had unique pressed glass in the bathroom windows. It allowed lots of light in the room, and you didn’t have to put …


Ask the Builder: Concrete drive vs. pavers: Which stands up best?

My wife and are debating whether to replace the concrete driveway with another concrete driveway or a concrete paver driveway.