dcsimg

DIY remodeling newbie? How do you start?

Posted by Iris Price ~ December 19, 2014

Some people think DIY remodeling -- do-it-yourself -- is fun. Others think it builds character. Still others just look at TV, youtube, and pictures of completed DIY projects on Pinterest and wonder: What's it like to do that without hiring a professional or buying something already made?

Like camping, if you've never done it, you may envy everyone who does, but until you pitch your tent and sleep in it, you just don't know how much -- or how little -- you like it, do you?

How to begin DIY remodeling

Let's say you've found a project to DIY.

It looks easy enough. If you came across it on the web -- through Pinterest, or one of the many blogs and remodeling websites that feature DIY projects and videos -- it could be a bit like getting the recipe for a dish you like at your favorite restaurant. The chef always leaves out some key ingredient or step. After all, if they gave away all their secrets, you'd never come back for what they're selling.

Be prepared to find out after you're fully engaged in your DIY project that there is a vital piece of information you need that you will have to figure out for yourself. If you're good at solving puzzles or have the mind of an engineer or other creative type, you'll manage, and your project can turn out at least passable, even spectacular. Keep in mind, however, if it's wiring, plumbing, or structural, that's a bit more serious. Seek professional input or involvement.

Tools of the trade

Every project can require specialty equipment and supplies, but here are the basic tools you need for most remodeling jobs:

  • ladders
  • claw hammer
  • demolition bars
  • drill and drill bits
  • selection of pliers
  • tarp and drop cloths
  • heavy duty extension cords
  • duct tape and masking tape
  • measuring tape, straight edge, and level
  • marking implements like Sharpies and pencils
  • shop vacuum, exterior-grade push broom, dust pan
  • safety goggles, dust mask, and/or cartridge respirator
  • electric saws (circular, jigsaw, and reciprocating) and blades

If this is your first foray into DIY, you might want to rent whatever you can until you're sure it's going to become habit-forming.

Expert advice

For those who are willing to take advice from the experts, or who have tried, failed, and want to try again, sign up and attend how-to classes offered by such retailers as The Home Depot, university extension services, or continuing education offered locally. If you're just too embarrassed to admit your lack of expertise, the Internet has plenty of blogs and forums where beginners and seasoned pros alike share their stories, both pitfalls to avoid and best practices to employ. Just google "DIY blog," "DIY remodeling classes," or "DIY remodeling forum."

Take lessons, take your time, and take safety precautions. Soldier on. Even first time campers who forget the insect repellent or can't figure out how to open the tent have been known to go on to have more satisfying adventures. Everyone has to start someplace.

Frozen pipes: Are your water lines ready for frigid temperatures?

Posted by Jeffrey Anderson ~ February 7, 2014

Dealing with unusually frigid temperatures isn't much fun -- normally reliable car batteries may not have enough juice to turn engines over and regardless of how much clothing you wear, it's almost impossible to feel warm. But those could be the least of your worries if your home's water lines don't have adequate protection. Insulation that's normally fine may not be up to the challenge when the mercury plummets. The good news is that there are additional steps that can be taken to protect your home.

3 methods for adding protection to your home's susceptible water lines

Where are the water lines in your home? There's a pretty good chance that most are inside interior walls where they're safe from freezing unless your heating system happens to fail. However, in some houses there may be one or two lines in locations that could be susceptible. Any located in attics or crawl spaces are prime candidates for freezing if temperatures get unusually cold and even those in close proximity to exterior walls could be in danger if they're inside cabinets that reduce heat circulation. If you have any water pipes in locations that might make them conducive to freezing, give one of these methods that can supplement their insulation a try:

  • Pipe insulation: This material is specifically designed for insulating water lines. It's made out of foam and normally available in six foot lengths. The material is sliced lengthwise to make it easy to slip over most piping. Interior opening sizes vary and usually run from ½ inch up to 1 inch to fit most residential water lines. Once the pipe insulation is in place, any construction type tape can be used to keep it secure. Pipe insulation can be a good choice for water lines inside sink or vanity cabinets on exterior walls and piping in attics or crawl spaces that may need additional protection.
  • Tenting - This is a method where standard backed fiberglass insulation batts are used to create a "tent" over water lines susceptible to freezing. The insulation can be 15 or 23 inches wide and in any thickness or R-value you desire. A 5 ½ inch batt that provides an R-value of 21 can be a good choice for most applications. Tenting can be a good method to use when water lines in an attic might be above most of the blown-in insulation on the floor. It can also be used in unfinished attics that have insulation in the rafters or crawl spaces insulated at the perimeter when additional protection may be needed. Simply lay the insulation over the piping and staple the edges to adjacent framing.
  • Heat cable - This product is a way to heat water lines to prevent freezing. The cable or tape is wrapped around the pipe that needs protection and the cord is then plugged into a GFI outlet. The thermostat that comes with the cable automatically turns heat on when the water in the pipe falls below a set temperature. Heat cable doesn't work with all types of water lines so ensure the material your piping is made of is compatible. Heat cable can be an ideal method for keeping water lines in garages unfrozen in cold climates.

You have enough to worry about when temperatures dip to dangerous levels - make sure your home's water lines are adequately protected.

Try these cures for the cold room blues this winter

Posted by Jeffrey Anderson ~ December 9, 2013

There's nothing quite like being snug and warm in your home when the temperatures dip below freezing outside. Add snow coming down just beyond your windows and the scene may be ideal. However, the picture might not be quite as perfect if rooms in your home are so cold that even the pets are shivering.

As winter arrives, what can be done with rooms that just never seem to be warm? In many cases, there may be an easy and often inexpensive fix.

Warming up that room that always seems to be cold

How is it possible that some rooms in your home are cold when it's warm everywhere else?It's actually not that unusual. Here are a few things that could need attention:

  • Supply registers - Are the heat supply vents open in the room? While this may seem like common sense, a register that's partially or totally closed during air-conditioning season might need to be opened when it's time to turn on the furnace.
  • Drafty windows - Are there windows in your cold rooms? If so, rub your hand around the frames and sashes on a windy day. Do you feel any air coming in? As windows age and especially if they're opened and closed a lot, weather-stripping can wear out and small gaps may appear. You may be able to stop the air intrusion with caulk, but installing new weather-stripping or doing some adjustments is usually the best solution for drafty windows. If the draft is around the frames, removing the interior trim and installing batt or spray foam insulation may cure the problem.
  • Unbalanced HVAC system - At some point in time, an HVAC contractor probably balanced your heating and cooling system, but it may have been done before you occupied the home. Balancing the HVAC system consists of adjusting the air flow to rooms based on their sizes and expected usage. However, your family's lifestyle may require a little tweaking of the various lines. Getting a system balanced usually doesn't take very long and costs very little. Depending on the age of your home, it may even be covered by the warranty.
  • Fireplace damper - Again, it may seem like a common sense item, but if the room has a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed when the unit isn't being used. An open damper can allow a lot of cold air inside.
  • Leaky electrical outlets - Place your hand over electrical outlets on exterior walls - do you feel any air coming through? On a windy day, air can sometimes get past the exterior sheathing on your home. While it may not be felt during the summer, when the temperatures turn frigid, it can become very obvious. Removing the covers and installing some insulation around the outlet often takes care of the issue, but be careful not to disturb any of the wiring. Installing childproof covers on the outlets may also help.

There's no sense in your family and pets shivering this winter. Try one or more of these easy fixes to cure your home's cold room blues.

Autumn home maintenance: Keeping critters out of your home

Posted by Jeffrey Anderson ~ November 5, 2013

As temperatures begin to cool, you're probably starting to dig out sweaters and schedule a check-up for your home's heating system. Once you're warm and snug, you can relax knowing there's nothing like a toasty shelter when it's freezing outside and forecasters are predicting a winter storm. But guess what? You're not alone in that sentiment. There are some critters in your neighborhood that would like nothing better than to share your house this winter.

Tips for autumn critter prevention

Whether your home is way out in the country or where grass is considered a rare commodity, critters will be looking for a way inside, and they can make a mess in your house and could even be carrying a disease. Here are just a few of the critters that would love a warm place to spend the winter:

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Spiders
  • Bugs

If you live a rural area, raccoons or opossums might even be a problem. So what's the answer? Well, you may want to add these critter prevention items to your fall home maintenance list:

  • Sealing - Supposedly a mouse can squeeze through an opening as small as a dime, and everyone knows that bugs may find holes that no one else can see. Invest in a caulk gun and a few tubes of silicone caulk to seal up any holes or cracks you find on your home's exterior. Closing them all off is best but if you don't have a ladder, at least get those within a few feet of the ground.
  • Vents - Dryer, bath, and hood fan vents should all have flaps to prevent unwelcome guests from entering your home. Ensure the flaps are there and that they close completely. If any are missing, a piece of wire mesh may provide a temporary fix.
  • Flues - Squirrels often think that a fireplace or woodstove flue is the ideal spot for building a nest. Not only can the critters gain access to your home when the damper or woodstove door is open, their nests can become fire hazards when hot ash is going up the flue. All flues and chimneys should have a cap installed that prevents animals and birds from entering. If your home is missing a cap or has one that's broken, climbing up there yourself is probably not a good idea. Hire a contractor to do the new installation.

Forest and backyard critters are fun to watch in their natural habitat, but perhaps not so much in your kitchen. Add these items to your fall home maintenance list and enjoy the winter secure in the knowledge that all the critters and pests are outside where they belong.

Construction specs: taking the guesswork out of remodeling

Posted by Jeffrey Anderson ~ October 9, 2013

Remodeling jobs that involve contractors - especially big jobs like finishing a basement, adding a garage, or finally tackling a kitchen remodel - need every detail mapped out so you can get an accurate price. Architects' drawings usually show enough of the basic design and engineering details to get a building permit, but what about everything else the job entails?

Construction specs allow you to compare apples to apples

Just about every decent sized remodeling project has a lot of details that usually aren't shown on the architect's drawings. You know exactly how the improvement should look when completed, but what about the contractors bidding the job? They may be good at framing or hanging Sheetrock - but mindreading, not so much.

Owners often take the guesswork out of commercial projects by providing specification books to each contractor bidding the job. The specification books, or construction specs as they're often called, ensure that the contractors are pricing what the owners and architect have envisioned. Since each contractor is using the same specs to provide their estimate, when you go to look at the competing bids, you know you'll be comparing apples to apples.

Most home remodeling projects aren't large enough to warrant hiring an architect to put together an official spec book. However, taking a little time to jot down important details goes a long way toward ending up with the exact home remodel you have in mind. Here are a few items contractors pricing your project may need to know:

  • Finished basement -- Do you want solid interior doors to reduce noise transmission or will hollow core suffice? You should also consider the style of doors you want. Should they be six-panel like the rest of the home or do you want to set the basement apart by using flush doors? And finally, don't forget about hardware. You may remember to pick out doorknobs, but do you need privacy locks?
  • Garage addition - What type of finish do you want on the interior of the garage? Will taped Sheetrock be enough or do you want the walls to be skimmed and sanded with two coats of paint applied? If it has a walkway door, should it be solid to provide security or would you rather have a door with lites (glass) that can brighten up the interior of the space?
  • Kitchen remodel - You probably know to talk to bidding contractors about the make and style of cabinets you want, but what about the hardware? There are numerous configurations and types of materials to choose from and some can have a significant impact on your price. Also consider kind of sink you'd like. Whether it's drop-in or undermount can make a big difference in the kitchen's appearance and could affect countertop costs.

If you're concerned you may be leaving out details, the architect or draftsperson doing your drawings may be able to help. You can also plan to sit down with the first contractor you meet with to prepare a list of specs that everyone then uses to price the job,

Fireplace maintenance: don't let your autumn go up in smoke

Posted by Jeffrey Anderson ~ September 26, 2013

Imagine enjoying the crackling flames of your fireplace as you kick back in the recliner and watch your favorite show on TV. Sounds pretty nice, doesn't it? Now imagine that in the middle of this idyllic scene, dark smoke starts billowing out from the wall or down from the second floor. That's the sort of scenario that puts a damper on the entire year. Unfortunately, it could happen if you aren't conscientious about your wood stove and fireplace maintenance.

Many chimney fires can be prevented by proper fireplace maintenance

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that from 2008 to 2010, there was an average of 25,900 residential fires each year that could be directly attributed to chimneys, chimney connectors, or fireplaces. Their statistics show that those fires caused an average of about $135.8 million dollars in property damage annually.

What's sad is that many of those chimney fires could easily have been prevented. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, here are a few recommendations from the U.S. Fire Administration:

  • Inspections - Have your wood stove, fireplace, and/or chimney inspected by a certified chimney specialist each year. You may be a skilled DIYer, but unless one of your ancestors roamed the streets of London or New York working as a chimney sweep, you probably don't have the right tools to properly inspect and clean your flue.
  • Hearth - Keep the area around the fireplace hearth clean and free of any flammable materials.
  • Screens - If your fireplace has a retractable screen that can be pulled across its face, first make sure it's operable, then use it whenever a fire is burning to prevent the escape of popping embers. If your fireplace doesn't have a built-in screen, purchase and use a portable unit.

Now a special word of advice directed toward anyone who recently purchased an older home constructed during or before the early 1900s: do not use its chimney(s) until they have been inspected by a certified contractor.

Many parts of the country did not have building codes back then, and if they did, the codes weren't always enforced. It's not at all unusual for an older house to have an unlined chimney, and that can be a fire waiting to happen. As mortar ages, it often dries out or becomes brittle and may fall out from between the bricks used to build your fireplace chimney. If the masonry is exposed, it's usually easy to spot these potential trouble areas. However, if portions of the chimney are hidden behind walls, the missing mortar can go unnoticed and cause big problems.

When a fireplace burns, the draft created pulls hot ash up through the chimney. Where there is missing mortar, that ash can escape the confines of the chimney and come into contact with the aged and very flammable lumber used to build the home. If your old house has a damaged liner or is missing one altogether, a chimney contractor can often install a stainless steel unit that makes the fireplace safe to use. While these stainless steel liners aren't cheap, they can keep you and your home from becoming a fire statistic.

Geothermal heat pump systems: The future of home heating?

Posted by Jeffrey Anderson ~ September 6, 2013

Depending on where you live, it may soon be time to get reacquainted with an old friend: your home's heating system. While your unit might be in a little better shape than the old coal furnace featured in "A Christmas Story," there's still a good chance it could be getting a bit dated.

If your heating bills seem to be increasing every year, why not upgrade to a system so efficient it may be able to cut your annual utility costs by up to 70 percent? How does it do it? A geothermal heat pump system uses the earth's temperature to help condition your home.

What you should know about geothermal heat pumps

Imagine a heating system designed to keep your home toasty on the coldest winter nights that can operate at a 300 to 600 percent efficiency rating. While it might sound like something that could be possible in the distant future, the technology has actually been in existence since the 1940s.

The air-source heat pumps found on many modern homes use the outside temperature to assist in conditioning the air being circulated throughout the structure's interior. A geothermal heat pump takes the process one step further by using the earth's core temperature. The advantage: the temperature of the earth several feet below the surface remains much more constant than what may be going on in the atmosphere at ground level.

On hot days, the soil is usually much cooler a few feet under the finish grade and the reverse is true during the winter. Anyone who has ever had to dig a hole in frozen soil knows that the shoveling gets a little easier when they get down past the frost line. A geothermal system uses this temperature difference to condition a home by utilizing a ground heat exchanger. There are a number of different types of geothermal heat pump systems, but here are three that might be best suited for residential use:

  • Horizontal - This is a closed loop system that involves having two pipes buried in your yard. The pipes are normally installed at least four feet below the finished grade and may be installed side-by-side or one over the top of the other with soil separation in the same trench.
  • Pond - If you have a pond on your property that meets minimum depth, volume, and quality requirements, this may be the most budget-friendly type of geothermal heat pump installation. A pipe is run from the outdoor unit to the pond where it is coiled at least eight feet below the surface and then returned to the home.
  • Open loop system - This installation uses two separate pipes: one that supplies ground water to the heat pump and another that returns the used water to the soil. There must be a sufficient supply of clean water for this system to work. Local codes regarding groundwater discharge may also determine whether this system can be installed in your area.

So what's the downside? Well, a geothermal heat pump system installation can cost several times more than that of a conventional air-source unit. However, the Department of Energy estimates that the total price difference should be returned to homeowners in the form of utility cost savings within 5 to 10 years of the installation. And if you need another reason to install a geothermal unit, you could be eligible for a federal energy tax credit of up to 30 percent of the system's cost if the unit is put in by December 31, 2016.

Fall Home Maintenance Tasks: Getting to know your gutters

Posted by Jeffrey Anderson ~ August 29, 2013

As much as everyone eagerly awaits summer's warm weather, they're often just as happy when the cooler days of autumn finally arrive. There are many activities associated with the season such, as visiting pumpkin patches, shopping for apple cider, or just taking a relaxing drive through the countryside to enjoy the colorful landscape.

However, if you own a house, don't forget to allow a little time for fall home maintenance tasks when making out your schedule. And perhaps one of the most important autumn chores: ensuring your gutters are ready for winter's severe weather.

What every homeowner should know about their gutters

How much do you know about your gutters and their function? While many people choose their windows, doors, and siding to create a certain look or make a statement, very few are concerned about their gutters other than wanting them to be as unobtrusive as much as possible.

However, just like the exterior components that receive a little more publicity, your gutters play a big part in protecting your home during inclement weather. Gutters provide a drainage system that prevents water running off your roof from landing next to the foundation where it could cause basement leaks or even structural damage. Every homeowner should perform a gutter inspection as one of their fall home maintenance tasks. Here's what to look for:

  • Blockages - If you live in a wooded area, there's a pretty good chance that some of autumn's falling leaves are going to end up in your gutters. And for some reason, the colors aren't quite as pretty when you're cleaning them out. All gutters and downspouts should be emptied of leaves, twigs, and any other debris before winter's arrival. Homeowners who live in an area with an abundance of trees may want to think about installing gutter guards.
  • Sagging - Gutters with joints or seams may sag in an area where tree branches or other heavy debris landed during a summer thunderstorm. This can cause water to pool which could lead to ice damming during the winter months. A sag may be able to be corrected by reattaching or replacing a hanger, but more times than not, a gutter repair is required.
  • Proper slope - Ensuring your gutters have proper slope or fall is very important when doing an inspection. The slope determines the direction and speed of water flowing through the drainage system. Gutters should slope ¼ inch per 10 feet in the direction of the downspout. A long run of guttering may have the downspout in the center so the slope should be from the ends toward the middle. The grade slope where the downspout discharges should also be checked to prevent ponding at the foundation. In most cases, the drainage fall should be from 3 to 6 inches per 10 feet away from the house.

Is doing a gutter inspection a DIY project? Well, that depends on the height of your house and how comfortable you are on a ladder. If your home is over one story high, it might be a good idea to hire a contractor.

The housing recovery: Good for home remodeling?

Posted by Jeffrey Anderson ~ August 26, 2013

It would appear that the long awaited housing recovery could finally be underway. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo builders' confidence report indicates growing optimism among residential builders with August's index level reaching a high not seen since 2005. According to a report on DailyFinance.com, housing starts are expected to exceed one million this year.

So what might this mean to homeowners planning a remodeling project during the remaining months of this year or the beginning of 2014? Well, the news is both good and bad.

How the housing recovery may affect your remodeling project

Depending on your location, you may already be seeing something that hasn't occurred in quite some time: activity on new home construction sites. Basements are being dug, foundations poured, and framing is being done in housing developments across the country. While it's great to see the residential construction industry rebounding, how might this sudden burst of activity affect your upcoming home improvement project?

The good news is that, at least for the moment, the supply of new and existing homes for sale doesn't seem to be enough to meet customer demand -- something that didn't seem possible just several years ago. During the time of the Great Recession, a house could languish on the market for months before being sold.

As anyone who took Economics 101 knows, when supply can't meet demand for an item, its value often starts to rise. This is beginning to be seen in many areas of the country where housing values and prices are finally inching up. And when they go up, the return on investment in any improvement done on the home usually does as well.

That means that you may get back a little more of the money spent on a kitchen remodeling project or new siding installation when your house is sold. Now the bad news: here are two reasons why the recovery could have an adverse effect on your home improvement project:

  • Scarcity of contractors -- As housing starts increase, builders are finding out there aren't enough qualified contractors to keep up. According to an article on CNNMoney.com, the NAHB is reporting that many of its members are unable to keep construction schedules due to a lack of skilled workers. You may be planning your remodeling around the availability of contractors.
  • Cost -- Just as housing values are increasing due to a lack of inventory, so may the cost to hire a contractor. A job that might have been about $300 several years ago when construction professionals were looking for work could soon cost quite a bit more.

The recovery should be good for the economy and the thousands of workers and vendors who were affected by the industry downturn. If house values continue to rise, the rebound should benefit just about any owner contemplating an improvement to their home as well. However, just remember that you may soon be paying a little more for a qualified contractor's services -- that is, if you can find one.

Home remodeling: Beat the heat this summer

Posted by Jeffrey Anderson ~ August 14, 2013

Whether it's global warming or just a normal weather cycle, there's no getting around the fact that summer temperatures have been scorching in recent years. It doesn't really matter where you live as just about every part of the country has been affected. If you happen to live in a house that lacks air-conditioning, what can be done to battle the brutal temperatures other than waiting for autumn's arrival?

2 tips for cooling your home this summer

It wasn't all that long ago that having home air-conditioning was considered a luxury. Large shade trees and sleeping porches were how many homeowners escaped high temperatures. Unless of course you were one of the lucky few who had a summer home in the mountains or along the seashore.

Those days are long gone along with ten cent sodas and nickel candy bars. And even if they weren't, a little bit of shade and a screened porch probably aren't going to provide much relief when daytime temperatures are consistently in the 100s. Other than installing a walk-in freezer, are there any methods for remodeling your home to beat the summer heat? Here are two to consider:

  1. Ceiling fans -- Installing a ceiling fan in a room is one of the easiest and most budget-friendly ways to get a little air circulation. If you already have a ceiling light, putting up the fan is a project that just about any DIYer should be able to handle. Two words of caution: make sure the existing ceiling electrical box is mounted securely enough to handle a fan's weight and that you cut power to the light at the breaker box before touching any wiring. Most home improvement stores sell ceiling boxes specifically designed for fans that can be installed without any sheetrock repair.
  2. Split system air-conditioners -- The catchphrase for these small air-conditioning systems could be, "No ductwork? No problem." If you live in a home that is heated by hot water radiators, electric baseboard units, or a wood stove, more than likely there isn't any ductwork behind the walls. You may have thought that adding central air-conditioning would mean footing the bill for some major remodeling. Rooms might need to be rebuilt as ductwork was placed in the attic and basement and extended through walls, floors, and ceilings. Not so with a split system air-conditioner -- the primary unit sits outside your home and one or more supply boxes are mounted inside on exterior walls. Installation usually doesn't disturb the inside of your house at all, but must be done by a qualified contractor. Most split systems can also be used to supply heat during the winter.

Of course you could just sit and perspire. The good news is that if it isn't global warming, a typical weather cycle may only last several thousand years.

ELSEWHERE @ RELIABLE REMODELER

{Remodeling Ideas}

{Ask the Contractor}

  • How can I restore peeling cabinets?

    My kitchen cabinets are oak/particle board. The two lower cabinets by the sink are peeling and the finish has peeled away. Is there a way to fix this? I am afraid if I go to the effort to refinish them, they won't match the cabinets on the top.

    -AM

  • How do I get rid of black mold?

    My home doesn't have a foundation - it has a concrete floor. The outside of my home has siding. I am starting to get a lot of black mold inside my home on almost all my walls from the bottom of the wall up to about two feet high. What materials do I need to eliminate this problem?

    -Alek

  • What's the average cost to build a tunnel?

    If I were to build a tunnel made primarily out of wood that is about 7 feet tall and 8 feet long and 4-5 feet wide, how much would it cost?

    -Zoe

  • How can I fix a leaning staircase?

    My staircase is leaning at a dangerous angle. It is an old home with a crawl space instead of a basement. What can cause this and what is approximate cost of the fix? Can this be DIY? Help!

    -Bill

  • Does keeping an appliance in storage hurt it?

    We bought a Kenmore water softener and my husband left it in the garage for at least five years before he installed it. It was subjected to extreme weather conditions. After installing it, it never worked right. Is there any way to fix it? Did this storage cause the problem?

    -Maureen

  • How do I fix my leaking French doors?

    I have French doors and they are leaking water into my house during bad weather. They are brand new. I had French doors that opened outward before and they never leaked. The current contractor says I need to take the doors out and replace them with a single door. I do not want to do this. Can French doors be put back in that won't leak if they open outwards again?

    -Tanya

  • Remodeling a room with termite damage

    I own a home that was built in 1890. At some point, someone added on a small back room. They built it right on the ground. I had to tear out the entire floor, so now have the walls, the roof, and rafters. In places, the sill plate is totally gone along with portions of the wall studs. I think it's termites. They ate about a foot of the wall studs. I want to put in a foundation and save as much of the existing walls as I can. What should I do?

  • How do we level our floor?

    We are going to have laminate flooring installed upstairs. Our wood hallway up there has a downward slope at the end where the house has settled. It's about a 3/8" drop. How do we resolve this issue?

    -Rebecca