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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Thursday, October 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Stories tagged: ask the builder


Ask the Builder: Should a shed look like the house?

I want to build a deluxe shed. I’ve just retired and have plenty of time on my hands. I want to stop paying the outrageous offsite storage fees. First and …


Ask the Builder: Artificial stone is not waterproof

This will not be a usual column. I’m sitting in my man cave writing it several hours before I talk to a reader named Amanda on the phone. She lives …


Ask the Builder: You can repair cracked stucco and have fun doing it

I’ve got a mess at my home that’s driving me crazy. My 3-foot tall concrete block foundation was coated years ago with a thin coat of cement stucco. There are …


Ask the Builder: How hard can drywall be? Very hard

I’m building a new home. Because of the booming economy and shortage of great help, I might be forced to hang and finish the drywall myself. I’ve done a few …


Ask the Builder: Restoring rusty tools and paraphernalia

Q. What can you tell me about painting rusty metal? I want a fast and easy method to repaint an assortment of things in my garage and shed. Do you …


Ask the Builder: Are flushable wipes flushable? I did a test

A few months ago, I wrote a column about how “flushable” wipes clog sewers. I received hundreds of responses from readers who shared their expensive horror stories about how flushable …


Ask the Builder: How we used to stay cool

You may be one of the tens of millions of people who suffered in the blistering heatwave that gripped the Eastern USA in July. I happen to live in central …


Ask the Builder: Installing drywall requires more muscle and skill than you might think

Lots of books have been written about the craft of drywall installation and finishing. One of the best is “The Gypsum Construction Handbook” published by USG Corp., one of the …


Ask the Builder: Modern construction methods may not always be best

I’ve been aghast in the past few decades at a growing trend in the residential construction industry that is burying hard-earned, tried-and-true construction methods that were developed and used by …


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.