Archive for the 'Ask an Expert' Category

Q&A — How to remodel to protect children with allergies?

Question: My two daughters suffer from allergies and asthma. When we remodel next year, we need to end up with cleaner indoor air. What should we do? Answer: My first thought is that you should not live there during the remodel. Even with control measures, construction dust will infiltrate your house. Drywall dust is the [...]

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Think I was wrong about the butcher block? A remodeler weighs in

Just the other day, I was waxing on about the regrets people feel about their butcher block counters. In the back of my mind, I’m wondering if anyone’s having a good long-term experience with their wood counters. So today I get a comment from Bryan with T&B Construction in Howell, Mich., who says this: As a home remodeler [...]

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Hire a remodeling consultant? It’s something to consider

Sometimes the remodeling industry seems like the Wild, Wild West. It’s crazy out here! The cast of characters is huge! You’ve got your builders and general contractors and remodeling contractors and architects and designers and engineers and plumbers and roofers and tile setters and butchers and bakers and candlestick makers. Oh wait. Well, anyway, it [...]

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Hanging your own drywall? Please, I’m begging you, learn from a master

So you’re doing some remodeling and it occurs to you that, hey, you can hang the drywall yourself and save some money. How hard could it be? You just nail some paper-covered chalk board to the studs and voila! You’re an expert. Whoa! Hold on there. I want you to hear me out. I think [...]

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Protecting your kids from lead poisoning — tips from the NAHB

How do you protect your kids from lead poisoning during a remodel? Here are tips for homeowners from the National Association of Home Builders: Professional remodelers who have achieved EPA Lead-Safe Certification are trained and prepared to work in pre-1978 homes for minimizing dust and potential lead paint exposures. These workers also have certified their firms [...]

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Chip Wade from HGTV’s ‘Curb Appeal: The Block’ answers some of our questions

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What do you look for in a flea market chair?

What do you look for in flea market chairs? Kitty Bartholomew of HGTV fame shares two tips: 1) Look for chairs with a seat that can be taken off and recovered. Turn it over and see if there are screws holding the seat to the frame. If there are, the potential for recovering the seat [...]

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Ask a Contractor: Should we renovate all at once, or in steps?

Question: We want to do several upgrades to our house, including the kitchen, the master bathroom and a new deck. Should we have them all done at the same time, or would it be easier on my family to have them done one at a time? Answer: From Alon Toker, president of Mega Builders in [...]

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Ask an Expert: How can pregnant homeowner avoid remodeling hazards?

From the Contra Costa Times: Q I’m pregnant and will be remodeling my home soon. Is there anything I should be aware of (off-gassing, asbestos, glues, etc.) that could hurt my unborn baby or me? A There are two points during a remodeling project that are critical times at which to consider the impact of [...]

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Tired of heating and air conditioning your attic space?

The video below shows the hands-on basics of sealing your ducts. I like the part where this HVAC expert uses toilet paper to find leaks in the system. Then, he shows you how to seal them up. This is not just theory or book learning, folks. This is the real thing. So will you spend [...]

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Remodeling with allergies in mind

 Photo: Remodeled house in Southern California. For allergy sufferers, hardwood floor are the way to go. From the Indianapolis Star: Question: How can I make sure the materials I use in my remodeling project are safe for a family member with allergies? Answer: The best place to start is by talking with an allergist. Details [...]

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Ask Kathy: Should we remove the wall between master bedroom and bath?

Dear Kathy: My wife and I are planning several remodeling projects around the house, among them are the usual bathroom and kitchen projects. My wife would like to have a wall torn down (pending code approval of course).  She also tends to do things without proper foresight, i.e., without thinking of the consequences.  This is [...]

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Refinish or replace the bathtub?

Q: My bathtub is a mess, and a friend told me to consider refinishing. I read online that bathtub re-glazing might not be the wisest thing. I've always wanted a clawfoot bathtub, but maybe it's not too practical. To further complicate things, there is a possibility that my mother will come live with me, so [...]

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Acclaimed kitchen designer now offers phone consultations

Susan Serra, an acclaimed kitchen designer who lives and breathes kitchens, now offers one-hour phone consultations. We can't all be lucky enough to live near a kitchen designer whose work has appeared in many major magazines. But her wisdom and insight is still available: Here's what Susan posted on her blog, The Kitchen Designer: I've [...]

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Ask an expert: Keeping home, family safe during remodeling

By Michael McCutcheon for the Mercury News Q: How can I keep my home and family safe during a remodel? A: That's a great question. Clients usually dwell on price vs. quality, and the remodeling schedule, but rarely do they seriously consider the safety of their family and home during a remodel. Yet I would argue [...]

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Dear Kathy: Fix or replace my ruined doors?

Dear Kathy: I am planning a major remodeling in a 12-year-old house we just bought and I’ve been reading your blog articles for the past week. I found them very informative and inspiring. Most importantly, they are very practical and also very fun – a rare combination to find among remodeling articles nowadays! Now I [...]

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Ask an Expert: Repair or replace damaged deck?

Question: My house was built 20 years ago with a second-story redwood deck that is about 250 square feet. The deck has been stained, power-washed and decently maintained. But some of the deck joists and all four uprights have been diagnosed with dry rot/fungus and dry-wood termites. Should I replace the damaged joists and uprights [...]

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Q&A: How to paint a brick fireplace?

<p><a onclick=”window.open(this.href, ‘_blank’, ‘width=450,height=600,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false” href=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2008/06/11/sunsetfireplace.jpg”><img title=”Painted fireplace” height=”333″ alt=”Painted fireplace” src=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/pardonourdust/images/2008/06/11/sunsetfireplace.jpg” width=”250″ border=”0″ style=”FLOAT: left; MARGIN: 5px” /></a><strong>Question</strong>: I have hated my brick fireplace since day one of living in my otherwise-fabulous home. I have considered removing the brick altogether and creating a brand-new one by placing stucco over it with a mantle, [...]

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Q&A: How to paint a brick fireplace?

Question: I have hated my brick fireplace since day one of living in my otherwise-fabulous home. I have considered removing the brick altogether and creating a brand-new one by placing stucco over it with a mantle, or painting the brick white and adding a rich, dark wooden mantle on top. Actually, a Williams-Sonoma home store [...]

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Ask the Resident Builder: Can my neighbor prevent me from building a playhouse?

Question: I was recently building a children's playhouse and began to put the walls up. As I did, the neighbor who lives behind me came over and said that we were blocking her view. The view she has is of the back of our house. The playhouse would be approximately 8 to 9 inches above [...]

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