Water Hardness Test
Here’s how to conduct a rudimentary hard-water test: Take a clean 16-ounce water bottle, add 1/2 cup of tap water and 10 drops of liquid dish soap. Tighten the cap and vigorously shake the bottle for 30 seconds. If a thick head of lather forms on top of the water, then your water is probably not hard. If, however, the water turns cloudy with very little lather, then the water likely contains elevated mineral levels and you should have the water professionally tested at a lab.
Dust Catcher Tip
When drilling several holes in walls, catch the dust in a small paper lunch bag. Use painter’s tape to adhere the bag to the wall directly below the hole location. Drill the hole and the dust will drop into the bag. Peel the tape off the wall, move the bag down to the next hole location and repeat.
Keith in FL
We need to replace our kitchen sink and faucets from a dual-style sink to a farm-style sink. Is this something I can do myself?
George in PA
I have a leak in the basement that’s coming from the front door stoop on the first floor. The stoop protrudes about 18″ in to the basement. What type of contractor should I contact to help me?
Lisa in PA
I’m expecting guests over the holidays and am embarrassed by my dated bathroom. Do you have any suggestions for a quick remodel that won’t break the bank?
Hear the answer Straight from the Pro: Christopher Grubb, interior designer and founder and president of Arch-Interiors design group inc. in Beverly Hills, CA.
Gloria in TX
I replaced the wood siding on my two-story house on January 2009. The original siding was put up when the house was built in 1984 and it had started rotting at the bottom where it meets the roof. Now that I had the roof replaced because of Harvey I noticed that the new siding is now also rotten at the bottom about 2 inches from the roof. Is there something I can nail on to cover that gap without having to replace the whole siding again?
Carrie in OR
Our home was built in 1940 and added onto about 10 years later. It is built on a hill with clay soil. Our home shifts with the rainy and dry seasons so much that we get pretty significant cracks in our interior walls. Would a French drain help this problem?
Barry in KY
I am looking for input on concrete crack repair. Years ago, I used three highly touted crack repairs. Two were powder, just add water types and one a liquid prep. Fast forward and they started showing problems in a year. Now the cracks are as bad or maybe worse than before. I am hoping there may have been some advances in materials and there is a good product now available for concrete crack repairs. Thoughts?
Also, I recently discovered and used polymerized repair mortar to fix step and retaining wall damage. Since the repairs are right at the streetside sidewalk, I wonder if I need to use concrete sealer to protect against salt and wear. Since the mortar was polymerized is this even needed? If so, will sealers even work with this type of mortar?
Rashonda in AL
I just finished watching your episode about the outdated kitchen. I just about jumped off my sofa because I thought I was looking at a mirror image of my kitchen, minus the hang-down built-in cabinets that were removed. I’m looking to make this new home a real first home for me and my children. The issue is the house is a rental. How can I update the cabinets and countertops on an extremely small budget, without it being permanent yet look refreshing and lightened up?
Phyllis in AL
What are the pros and cons regarding applying Nichiha fiber cement board over old existing shake shingles and what is the best method for doing so? We understand house wrap will be placed over shingles, then the fiber cement board. We like the faded green cedar shake shingles, but feel our exterior improvement options are limited. More and more of the shingles are falling off, and the ones that fall away do not appear suitable to try to reattach. We decided to consider Hardie Board to cover the shingles, but have concerns about the viability of doing so. The house sits a few inches from the ground on concrete blocks. See photo below.