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Choosing The Right Floor Stain

Floor stains come in a variety of colors, and it can be difficult to know how a particular stain will look in your room based on a photograph. Just like wall paint, you can purchase small containers of stains and do a swatch test. This will give you a better idea on...

A Time To Reset

As the owner of a small business I am busy and my time is often controlled by a punch list of responsibilities. It is fantastic to be busy, but it is also important for me to have balance in my life. I have a wonderful son who grows older every year. Activities that I...

A Tricky First Step

A customer contracted me to remodel most of their first floor. This project included replacing their old stair railing with one more consistent with the remodel's new style. Replacing a railing is normally a multi-step job, and this time it included an extra step (pun...

The 80/20 Painting Rule

One of the final jobs completed when remodeling is painting. Customers often ask me why our painting is so perfect, and the answer is simple-the 80/20 rule. Most non-professional want to buy the paint and start painting. Some may do a little prep work or they may buy...
Choosing The Right Floor Stain

Choosing The Right Floor Stain

Floor stains come in a variety of colors, and it can be difficult to know how a particular stain will look in your room based on a photograph. Just like wall paint, you can purchase small containers of stains and do a swatch test. This will give you a better idea on...

A Time To Reset

A Time To Reset

As the owner of a small business I am busy and my time is often controlled by a punch list of responsibilities. It is fantastic to be busy, but it is also important for me to have balance in my life. I have a wonderful son who grows older every year. Activities that I...

A Tricky First Step

A Tricky First Step

A customer contracted me to remodel most of their first floor. This project included replacing their old stair railing with one more consistent with the remodel's new style. Replacing a railing is normally a multi-step job, and this time it included an extra step (pun...

The 80/20 Painting Rule

The 80/20 Painting Rule

One of the final jobs completed when remodeling is painting. Customers often ask me why our painting is so perfect, and the answer is simple-the 80/20 rule. Most non-professional want to buy the paint and start painting. Some may do a little prep work or they may buy...

Trim Makes The Difference

Trim Makes The Difference

A customer wanted to upgrade the interior look of their home and chose to change the trim around their windows. Upgrading trim often happens when someone is changing out their windows, but it is less common when the original windows stay, as in this case. However, it...

How To Replace Linoleum Tile With Ceramic or Porcelain Tiles

How To Replace Linoleum Tile With Ceramic or Porcelain Tiles

Many homes built in the 70s and 80s sported linoleum tile which was touted as being economical and easy to install. However, fashion changes and for many years ceramic and porcelain tiles have been the go-to choice for home owners. These tiles are more durable...

Instant Hot Water, Part II

Instant Hot Water, Part II

In my last post I illustrated a circulating system to provide residential instant hot water. I thought I would give you a close up view of a water heater with this set up. See the photos below for more details and descriptions. The pump recirculates the hot water. It...

Recirculating hot water

Recirculating hot water

When remodeling a large home I have to face hot water supply issues. The run from the water heater to the kitchen and baths can be long, and it can take some time for the tap to run until the water becomes hot. There are a number of solutions to this problem, but one...

A Novel Way To Test An Added Waste Water Run

A Novel Way To Test An Added Waste Water Run

A client is adding a new bathroom and laundry room to his home. This involved running water and drainage to that area of the house. Naturally, an inspector came out to evaluate the job before giving his OK. My plumber isolated the new leg using a pipe plug which is...

Plumbing Perfect

Plumbing Perfect

I'm working on a house where the owner wants to move their laundry facility into their basement. This involved quite a bit of plumbing work. However, the outcome was outstanding. By building everything into the wall the owner can push their stackable washer and dryer...

Replacing A Base Plate

Replacing A Base Plate

A customer had significant water damage/rot to the base plate in his garage and he wanted me to repair it. See the photos below for my step-by-step process. Here you can see the severe degradation of the base plate due to water rot. A piece of the base plate removed...

Brackets for PVC pipes

Brackets for PVC pipes

A customer wanted to move their laundry room into their basement. This involved quite a bit of new plumbing work. When installing new pipes it is coming to build a wall to mount and support the them. However there is another way to accomplish this goal by using wall...

Converting A Baseboard Vent Into A Floor Vent

Converting A Baseboard Vent Into A Floor Vent

A customer wanted us to convert a baseboard heating vent into a floor vent. No problem, I said. See the photos below. The original baseboard heating vent. Crimping new ductwork. Duct ready to accept boot. Floor boot added. All done!

A Better Way To Remove Insulation

A Better Way To Remove Insulation

When doing a major remodeling job there are always additional jobs that need to be done. These can be very time consuming, and can delay your progress. I'm remodeling a bath and laundry room. Both the plumber and the electrician need access to the ceiling which was...

Repairing A Damaged Hardwood Floor

Repairing A Damaged Hardwood Floor

Hardwood floors are popular because they add both style and warmth. However, sometimes a section can get damaged to the point that it can't be easily repaired. Additionally, floors are added after other structures in a room have been established leading to gaps. In...

There She Blows!

There She Blows!

Insulating the attic can be an effective way to reduce energy costs. There are several ways to accomplish this, and the customer has to determine what is best for them based on costs vs. benefits. In prior posts I discussed foam insulation which has an excellent R...

A Foamy Situation

A Foamy Situation

Most kitchens have at least one outside wall which needs to be insulated. In many kitchen the standard has always been to use fiberglass batts, which give a R15 insulation value (the higher the R the better). Naturally, this is an imperfect solution, but it is cheap...

Making Stringer Covers

Making Stringer Covers

It is often the finishing touches that define the character of a room. A customer was remodeling their basement and they wanted a better look for the builder's basement stairs. I suggested adding stringer covers. The stringers are a structural member installed on...

Furnace Filter Chaos

Furnace Filter Chaos

I recently purchased a furnace filter off of Amazon. Its dimensions were correct in the description but when I tried to install it I was immediately aware that it was the wrong size. On closer inspection I discovered that it was one-quarter inch smaller in all...

Don’t Look In The Attic

Don’t Look In The Attic

A customer wanted me to improve the insulation in their attic. The first step in the process was to asses the situation, and I was very surprised at what I saw. He had bought the house over a year earlier and had the home inspected by a licensed home inspector....

A Quick Router Tip

A Quick Router Tip

A friend of mine has a camper van the he and I built. It has a boot box that he converted into a power station, and he is now upgrading that battery bank. He needed the front opening to be larger to accommodate his new gear, and he asked me for help. There are several...

Hidden Surprises

Hidden Surprises

The physical first stage of any remodel is demolition. This simple process can be full of surprises, as in the following case. I am remodeling the first floor of a very nice home. I was surprised to discover significant problems with the HVAC ducts below the floor. It...

A Custom Glass Door

A Custom Glass Door

I'm just about finished with the completion of a music room. The room is in the lower level of my home and it is open to the rest of the house via a large doorway. The doorway looks good, but it is transparent to my son's guitar practice. I wanted a way to preserve...

A Hairy Situation

A Hairy Situation

Life can be full of little annoyances, and one of them is a slow moving drain. There are many solutions to this issue, and some work better than others for a given problem. Naturally, the best way to have an open drain is to treat it with respect. Don't dump grease...

It’s Your Responsibility

It’s Your Responsibility

You may think that anything that is attached to a utility is the responsibility of that utility. However, that is not always the case. For instance, the gas pipes behind your gas meter are your responsibly to maintain. I noticed that the pipes connected to my meter...

Removing Stucco So I Could Replace The Wall to Roof Flashing

Removing Stucco So I Could Replace The Wall to Roof Flashing

I replaced a roof that suffered storm damage. The home has a stucco facade, and this had to be cut out so that I could replace the wall to roof flashing. I had to call upon my stucco expert who cut out part of the 2nd floor wall and then replace the stucco. I also had...

Putting in a sump pump drainage pipe.

Putting in a sump pump drainage pipe.

Most homes with basements have a sump pump. Most sump pumps dump their water directly onto the lawn. However, I want to place a patio in that space, and I want to keep that area dry. In addition, standing water on a patio during a Chicago winter is a recipe for...

Modernizing A Fireplace

Modernizing A Fireplace

A fireplace has always been the center of a room, and the focus of many homes. However, as technology has progressed it has gone from a source of heat, to a focal point, to an entertainment center. Homes that were built 10 years ago didn't have power outlets on...

LVT-Luxury Vinyl Tile

LVT-Luxury Vinyl Tile

Flooring trends come and go, and what was old becomes new and improved. Vinyl flooring has been around for a long time, but it was supplanted by ceramic, then porcelain, then wood flooring. Vinyl flooring is back, but it is very much improved from the stick-on tiles...

Removing A Mantel From A Brick Fireplace

Removing A Mantel From A Brick Fireplace

A customer wanted to remove the mantel from his fireplace. The problem was that there were support bricks that were placed when the first masons originally bricked the fireplace. One option would be to remove all of the bricks and to replace them. This would be both...

A Sink Install That Was Not DIY Friendly

A Sink Install That Was Not DIY Friendly

There are many projects that the home DIYer can accomplish with a little reading, or by watching some YouTube videos. However, there are other projects that are best left to professionals. A customer wanted me to install a bathroom sink. This was a free standing sink...

Tiling Basics For Walls

Tiling Basics For Walls

Tiling a wall can be challenging, but it is possible if you follow a few steps. Make sure that you have a flat, straight, and clean surface.Make sure you know your tile layout before you start to install your tiles.Measure the tile and the wall section to figure out...

From Tree To Planks

From Tree To Planks

An oak's life is normally from 150-300 years. Trees don't live forever and they eventually die; most of them become mulch or firewood unless they are specifically harvested to be used for lumber. This seems to be a waste, as many local trees are beautiful hardwoods. I...

In Construction Their May Be Surprises

In Construction Their May Be Surprises

I do my best to accurately estimate a job. However, I don't have X-Ray vision. Sometimes you discover things when you demolish an old kitchen, which is what happened on a current job. After we removed a wall we discovered water pipes right where a new door was going....

A DYI Guitar Display Wall

A DYI Guitar Display Wall

My 13 year old son is an avid guitar player, and I wanted him to have a place to display some of his classic guitars. I decided to create a shiplap wall for that purpose. You can buy shiplap, but I made my own because I wanted one out of oak. My friend, Mike and I...

Sentinel-Cement Foam Board, Great!

Sentinel-Cement Foam Board, Great!

You have to use the right type of wall board when installing it in a shower area. I have always used Durock in these situations. Durock works well, but it is heavy, hard to work with, and very dusty when cut. Recently, I switched to Sentinel board. This is a...

The Counter Top-Final

The Counter Top-Final

This is the third of three posts on the natural countertop that I am installing in my townhome. See the photos below for the sink install. I cut out a sink hole using a hole saw for the corners and my Festool circular saw. Measure twice, cut once! The sink fits...

Making A Custom Countertop, Phase II

Making A Custom Countertop, Phase II

This is the second post on the countertop that I'm creating for my townhome. See the photos below for its progress. Gaps and cracks were filled with an epoxy resin. I used some masking tape to contain the resin. After the resin hardened I used a orbital sander to...

Making A Custom Countertop, Phase I

Making A Custom Countertop, Phase I

As you may recall I harvested logs that I turned into planking that was used for the floors in my townhouse. In addition, I had a large Tamarack log that was flat sawn into 2 1/4 inch slabs. I intended to use this wood for a kitchen countertop. See the photos below...

The Schluter Shower Base

The Schluter Shower Base

When you think of a shower base you probably visualize those fiberglass ones that you can buy at big box stores. They work, but they also look pretty generic. If you want to have a custom and classy look in your bathroom you are going to have to pay an expert to pour...

Dry Wall Quick Tip

Dry Wall Quick Tip

There are times when you need to remove drywall to fix the infrastructure beneath it. I had to do some plumbing work that was behind drywall. Normally, I would use a saw and cut an opening. However, the opening would be uneven and rough. A drywall circular cutter...

A New Custom Railing

A New Custom Railing

I needed to install a railing on the loft that I created in the townhouse that I'm remodeling. It is possible to buy commercially fabricated railings, but they tend to be of a generic styles that are popular at that moment in time. I'm styling this townhome to have a...

A Fancy Range Hood

A Fancy Range Hood

You may recall that I created a custom anchor to secure a box/cement board for a vent hood so it would hold some granite pieces that had a total weight of around 400 pounds. I thought you may like to see the finished product. The box that I made which will serve as a...

Creating A Barn Door-DIY Project

Creating A Barn Door-DIY Project

If you have been following my posts you know that my friend and I harvested a number of hardwood trees last year. These were fallen trees that were slated to be ground into pulp. Many of them were white oaks, and so I decided to give them a new life by processing them...

Adding A Focal Point To A Room

Adding A Focal Point To A Room

Focal points add interest and texture to a room. Common focal points include fireplaces and built-in bookcases. However, both of these structures take up room space. That is OK when a room has the volume to accommodate them. However, when you are trying to maximize a...

The Humble Level

The Humble Level

An essential tool for any home is the level, which is a device that allows you to confirm that something is level to the ground. If you hang pictures on the wall your job will be more efficient and your outcome will be better if you use a level. However, a level is...

How To Turn Off Your Home’s Natural Gas

How To Turn Off Your Home’s Natural Gas

By municipal code, all gas lines have shut-offs located by the appliance that they are connected to. Of course, this makes sense. When I'm doing a kitchen remodel one of the first things that I do is to turn off these lines and then cap them. However, there are times...

A Room Transformation

A Room Transformation

Most people remodel a room to update it. Commonly, this is done to modernize an aging kitchen or bathroom. At other times an owner may want to open up a room, or to turn an unused space, like a basement, into a living space. However, on occasion, a customer will want...

An Economical Kitchen Refresh

An Economical Kitchen Refresh

I'm working on a project in a nice suburb of Chicago. The previous owners remodeled their small kitchen in the 1990s. The new owners moved into the house a few years ago, but they felt that the kitchen's appointments were too overwhelming and busy for such a small...

Install A TV Antenna For Free TV

Install A TV Antenna For Free TV

Over the last few decades Americans abandoned over-the-air (OTA) television in favor of cable and satellite TV. Initially, this seemed like a wonderful idea as consumers could watch dozens of crystal clear offerings. However, over time the novelty of subscription...

Modern Condo Reveals Construction Issues

Modern Condo Reveals Construction Issues

I'm doing some remodeling/renovating work on a condo in Chicago's River West district. This location is just outside downtown Chicago and it is considered to be a very desirable. This condo is in a 4 flat that was constructed in 2003, and further the entire interior...

How To Install A Toilet

How To Install A Toilet

Most DIYers will never have to install a new toilet. However, it is possible that they will have to remove one and then reinstall it at a later date. For instance, when replacing a floor. It is simple to reinstall a toilet, as long as you follow some rules. See the...

A Range Hood Disaster

A Range Hood Disaster

A customer moved into a luxury condo 3 months ago. It was a new build with all of the nicest amenities. She elected to have an enclosed range hood with a facade of heavy granite. A beautiful idea. When the granite installers came in to install the granite they...

A Kitchen Remodel

A Kitchen Remodel

A customer wanted to refresh their kitchen. They decided to keep its basic layout, but they wanted to change out the cabinets to higher quality ones and arranged them in a way that was more compatible with their needs. They didn't want to change the stain color or...

The Schluter Shower System

The Schluter Shower System

The usual way to tile a custom shower base is to install a liner and adjustable drain, and then pour a concrete shower base. After the concrete drys you tile the floor. This process is slow and time consuming, but yields a good result when you use an experienced tile...

A New Twist On Clamps

A New Twist On Clamps

There are many varieties of the humble clamp, but they all do the same thing-they firmly hold an object or objects. A very common use for a clamp is to hold two or more pieces of wood so they can be precisely bound together. Naturally, there are many ways to bind wood...

Color Temperature Adjustable LED lights

Practical electric lights are a fairly new invention. In the early 1800s, researchers developed lights that were powered by electricity, but they were impractical for home use. In the late 1800s, Thomas Edison developed the first practical home electric lightbulb that...

Your Main Water Shutoff

Your Main Water Shutoff

Admittedly, this is not an exciting post. However, it is an important one if you own a home, townhome, or condo. By code, many municipalities require that plumbing fixtures, such as sinks and toilets, have water supply valves. It is important to locate these valves so...

Using A Laser System To Measure A Counter Top

Using A Laser System To Measure A Counter Top

I have been a sub-contractor and a contractor for over 30 years, and because of this I have gained a lot of construction skills. I often use sub-contractors as they are not only expert, but they are also very efficient in doing their particular job. With that said I...

An Industrial Look For A Basement

An Industrial Look For A Basement

I'm remodeling a basement and turning it into a guitar-centric music room. My original plan was to spray paint the basement ceiling a satin black to give the room an industrial look. Unfortunately, some of the music room was directly below the master bedroom and it...

A Can Of Spray Paint For A Totally New Look

A Can Of Spray Paint For A Totally New Look

It is easy to repurpose hardware and building materials if you combine a little skill, time, and creativity. I had three commercial gooseneck lamp fixtures that I had used to light an old outdoor business sign. They were in surprisingly good shape for being in a harsh...

The Amazing Festool Domino Joiner

The Amazing Festool Domino Joiner

There are multiple ways to join two pieces of wood that range from butt joints to rabbet joints. Most of these connections connect two perpendicular boards, for instance the sides of a drawer. However, many applications require boards to be parallel to each other,...

A Fun Window Frame

A Fun Window Frame

As many of you know I harvested much of the wood that I used in my townhouse renovation project. Such a process yields beautiful planks, but there are also many scrap pieces that most would discard. However, I see the beauty in these unique pieces, and so I decided to...

What A Difference Some Trim Makes.

What A Difference Some Trim Makes.

Most people don't give a lot of thought to the trim around their interior doors and windows. However, with a little work you can trim out those structures and give them their own unique look. Arranging simple trim pieces like 1 x 4s, 1 x 6s, and door stops can give...

A Honest Concrete Contractor/Replacing a Rim Joist and Sill Plate

A Honest Concrete Contractor/Replacing a Rim Joist and Sill Plate

A homeowner was adding a new patio and new stoop to his home. The concrete contractor came out and inspected the job and reported to the owner that the rim joist under the door was rotted. He said that it needed to be repaired before he could correctly pour his job....

A Finish For A New Floor

A Finish For A New Floor

There are many stain options that you can use to personalize your wood flooring. However, in the case of the townhouse that I'm remodeling I wanted to go with a natural finish. I had harvested the oak logs myself, and I wanted to show off the imperfect beauty of the...

Cutting Vent Holes

Cutting Vent Holes

I'm installing a new wood floor in the townhouse that I'm renovating. Initially, I used a hole saw to make some rough openings for the heating system. However, they were crude and temporary. Using a template and several routers gave me a professional cut. See photos...

Installing A Tricky Floor

Installing A Tricky Floor

As some of you may recall I harvested white oak trees and turned them into the floor planks for the townhouse that I'm renovating. This process involved cutting rough planks from logs and then drying them using a vacuum kiln. The dried wood was further processed using...

Building A Custom Shower Base

Building A Custom Shower Base

It is easy to go to a big box store and purchase a preformed fiberglass shower base. While functional, these bases come only in predetermined sizes. In addition, they lack the style of a tiled base, which yields a custom home look. If you decide to build your own base...

A Random Floor

A Random Floor

As you may recall I sourced my own wood from logs for the floors of the townhouse that I'm renovating. Some of the wood planks were pristine in quality, while others had knots, insect holes, and other imperfections. I had quite a bit of flooring planks that were...

The Mighty Oscillating Tool

The Mighty Oscillating Tool

An oscillating tool can be a useful gadget for making precision cuts. I needed to place a flooring plank next to an existing door jam. The normal practice would be to measure and cut the plank to fit around the jam. However, it is possible to take the opposite...

Working With Insurance Companies

Working With Insurance Companies

We have insurance to cover unforeseen events. Most of us expect that our insurance company will be there for us when we need it, but that isn't always the case. In general, I have found that the initial estimate that insurance companies give their clients are too low...

The Mighty Speed Square

The Mighty Speed Square

If you are a DIYer you should buy this inexpensive gadget. The speed square consists of a triangle that has a lip (also called a fence) on one of its edges. It is a tool that allows you to create a straight line on a board that you can use as a guide. In addition, you...

Creating a tongue and grove in flooring.

Creating a tongue and grove in flooring.

You may recall that I harvested oak trees to make my own white oak flooring for the townhouse that I'm renovating. This has been a long process that involved many steps, the final one being the fabrication of wood flooring from rough wood planks. Part of that process...

Using A Cardboard Template

Using A Cardboard Template

There are times when you need to cut or fill an area that doesn't consist of nice squares or rectangles. I faced such a situation when I was installing radiant floor heating in the townhome that I'm renovating. In that situation I had to create a subfloor out of...

Choosing Cordless Power Tools

Choosing Cordless Power Tools

If you are a homeowner, or a DIYer, you will need some basic tools. If you do more than the most simple repairs you will benefit from power tools, and cordless power tools are generally the most convenient to use. However, there are so many different brands, models,...

The Golden Age Of Tools

The Golden Age Of Tools

The mass manufacturing of household items started well over 100 years ago when products started to be made in factories. Mass production heralded the birth of a new profession, the industrial designer. An industrial designer’s job is to conceptualize and design a...

New Siding!

New Siding!

The townhouse that I'm renovating was built in the 1970s, and its siding was old and tired. I had to remove it to accommodate the new doors and windows that I installed on the house last fall. The unit was clad only in Tyvek vapor barrier last winter, which kept the...

Details Count!

Details Count!

Projects can be done quickly, or they can be done correctly. I think that the details of any project matter. I replaced the siding on the townhouse that I'm renovating. The front porch will have a coach light that resides in a frame. AZEK is a PVC material that can be...

Using AZEK For An Outdoor Post

Using AZEK For An Outdoor Post

Door building materials have to be durable and weather resistant. AZEK is a synthetic building material that is both. In addition to being weather resistant, it is mold, rot, and stain-resistant. AZEK is the product name for carpentry materials made from PVC...

Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant Floor Heating

Most modern homes use forced air heating. This type of heating works well, and the same duct work can be used for cooling making it a cost effective solution. However, there are other ways to heat a home, as many who lives in an older house or apartment can attest to....

Grinding Cement

Grinding Cement

Part of the renovation of my townhome involves replacing the old ceramic floors with wood ones. The old floors were cemented to the concrete slab and when they were removed they left quite a bit of residue mortar. The most reasonable way to get that mortar off was to...

Spray Painting Primer.

Spray Painting Primer.

The townhouse that I'm renovating has a two story ceiling with many angles. Now that the wallboard is in place it is time to prime them. Naturally, this could be done with a traditional brush or roller, but that would be very time consuming. I'm fortunate to have a...

Sound Proofing With Insulation

Sound Proofing With Insulation

When you live in a small space you have to adapt that space to meet the needs of the individual residents. The townhouse that I'm renovating has a music room in the basement area. Unfortunately, the master bedroom is directly above that space. It is impossible to make...

Drywall!

Drywall!

If you are unfamiliar with construction you may assume that you put up drywall as soon as you have framed-out your rooms. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The spaces between your studs house the infrastructure that makes your home habitable. Electric,...

Adding Value To A Flip House

Adding Value To A Flip House

A long-time customer is flipping homes, and he is using my company for some of the renovation work. He is currently remodeling a home in a very nice part of Naperville. The home was build in the 1980s, and its architecture is consistent with that era. The master...

More Foam Insulation

More Foam Insulation

In a recent post I chronicled adding foam insulation to a garage. In this post I'll share some photos of adding foam insulation to the townhouse that I'm renovating. Several weeks ago my foam installers used closed cell foam to insulate the outside walls and rafters...

From Raw Planks To Flooring, And More.

From Raw Planks To Flooring, And More.

You may recall that I harvested white oak trees with the intention of turning them into flooring, stairs, and other trim. This has been a very long process. Recently, I picked up wood that I had vacuum dried and transported it to an Amish woodworker. His job was to...

Insulating A Garage

Insulating A Garage

You may recall that I installed a heater in my garage. There is nothing like getting into a warm car on a cold day! However, the garage was uninsulated, and I was losing a lot of heat to the outside. Naturally, I needed to insulate the space. There are many types of...

Demo Days

Demo Days

There is a an old adage that says, "You have to break some eggs to make an omelette." The same rule applies to a remodel. You have to destroy an area so you can rebuild it. Naturally, destroy is too strong of a word because it is important to preserve items that are...

A Standin Furnace

A Standin Furnace

I'm replacing the entire heating system in the townhome that I'm renovating. Early on in the demolition I removed and disposed of the home's very old furnace. Unfortunately, this meant that the interior of the house is freezing cold this winter. Such an environment...

A New Gutter Color

A New Gutter Color

The vast majority of customers want white gutters. In fact, if you drive around any neighborhood you would be surprised if you saw gutters the were any other color. However, gutters are available in a variety of colors. I replaced the gutters for a customer in Villa...

Using A Drywall Template

Using A Drywall Template

Drywall sheets are heavy and awkward to move. Their unwieldily nature can be especially difficult when they need to be mounted in confined areas. I had a garage heater installed in the townhouse that I'm renovating. The heater was suspended using rods that were...

A Roof With Problems

A Roof With Problems

I'm doing a roof job for a customer in Naperville who just bought a home. The current roof has two layers of shingles on the roof deck. In cases like this the old shingles have to be removed as a third layers would add too much weight to the existing structure. A...

Adding A Garage Heater

Adding A Garage Heater

I added a garage heater at my townhouse project and I thought I would share some ideas with you about the pros and cons of various heater types. Gas heaters use either natural gas (which is mostly methane) or propane. These gases can burn very cleanly and in a perfect...

Adding A Limestone Chimney Cap

Adding A Limestone Chimney Cap

I am working on a home that suffered storm damage. This damage involved the the home's roof, siding, and chimney. The chimney had its cement cap and upper portion knocked off. We replaced the cap with one made of limestone. Limestone not only looks better, but it is...

Installing A Shower Base

Installing A Shower Base

A primary part of any free-standing shower is the shower base. In many homes this structure consists of a prefabricated fiberglass pan. This is an inexpensive option, but it limits the owner to several prefabricated sizes. In addition, a fiberglass base isn't very...

From Window To Door

From Window To Door

The townhouse that I'm renovating had a living space that consisted of three blocked off rooms, the kitchen, the dining room, and the living room. I wanted to open all of these rooms into one great room. The old dining room had a bay window, and I felt that that space...

Turning Trees Into Boards

Turning Trees Into Boards

You may recall from previous posts that I decided to use fallen oak trees for the wood in the townhome that I'm renovating. Most of these trees would have been ground to pulp if I had not used them. This is the first time that I had used actual trees as a building...

Radiant Heat For A Basement

Radiant Heat For A Basement

You may recall that I'm doing a total remodel on a townhome in Naperville. Part of that process included lowering the basement by one foot. This has been a very arduous task. However, I feel that the end results will justify the means. Since I had to remove the...

Adding A New Support Post

Adding A New Support Post

I'm renovating a 100 year old house in Downers Grove. The owner wanted to open up the first floor, which involved removing a first floor wall.. This wall added to the structural integrity of the home. Typically, it is necessary to add a new support beam in the ceiling...

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