4 Reasons You Should Never Pressure Wash Your House

never pressure wash your house

Everybody pressure washes their house. But few people know that the way it’s usually done is NOT good for your house. You may just be going with the crowd, but in this case the crowd is wrong, and you’re likely causing big damage you have no idea about. Pressure washing is usually the first step in getting a new paint job so I see a lot of painters doing it and doing it wrong. It’s not just unknowing […] Read on →

How To: Stop Peeling Paint on Windows

how-to-stop-peeling-paint-on-windows

Peeling paint is never a good thing, and in an old house one of the most typical places you’ll find peeling paint is on your windows. But if you knew what caused this incessant peeling you could stop it in its tracks. That’s what I’ll help you do today! The picture above is from a recent project my company is working on in Apalachicola, FL, but it’s an all too familiar scene with peeling paint along the glass […] Read on →

How To: Keep Critters Out of Your Crawlspace

how-to-keep-critters-out-of-your-crawlspace

Do you know who lives underneath your house? Do you want to know? Old houses are often home to a lot of unwanted visitors in the crawlspace and these unwanted pests can cause major damage to things like ductwork, electrical and plumbing. You need to find an attractive way to keep them out. And just for fun I’m going to see how many synonyms I can come up with for “critters” (that’s 1).   Old houses were often […] Read on →

6 Things That Can Wrong: Your Bath Remodel

6 things that can go wrong with your bath remodel

Remodeling the bathroom in an old house is an experience that turns out to be more difficult than a lot people expect. It’s not as easy as the HGTV shows make you think and it certainly doesn’t take a quick weekend to do right. After doing my fair share of bathrooms I figured I’d give you my list of things that can go terribly wrong with your bath remodel that many people never think about until it’s too […] Read on →

How To: Prep Wood For Stain

how to prep wood for stain

Whether you’re refinishing your floors, making a table, cabinets or any other project that requires finishing it’s useful to learn how to apply stain properly and make your projects really shine. Applying stain is a pretty easy process that doesn’t need more than a couple sentences to explain (which I’ll go into at the end of the post), but how to properly prep wood for stain is a whole other thing. Certain woods like pine, maple and others […] Read on →

The Wood Filler & Epoxy Test (Year 1)

wood-filler-test

One of the most popular posts on my site for the last year or so has been The 7 Best Products to Patch Wood. With over 160 comments and well over 100,000 page views I took the hint that people want to know about wood filler and how to patch wood. So, 1 year ago I made a test board of some of my most used wood fillers and epoxies to see how they faired in the Florida climate. […] Read on →

PEX, CPVC or Copper Plumbing?

PEX-CPVC-Copper-Plumbing

There are a lot of options on the market when it comes to plumbing today. Old houses can have tons of different types of pipes from remodels and repairs over the years. Sometimes these different generations of plumbing can get along together, but sometimes its like mixing vinegar and baking soda (aka things get messy!) Just like anything, your pipes have an expiration date and after 70, 80 or even 100 years your pipes may be on their last […] Read on →

How To: Glaze Wood Windows

Tool surface to a smooth 45° bevel

Continuing our focus on window restoration to mark the release of my new book Old Windows Made Easy I decided to post about putty glazing today. This skill is one of the most important and difficult to get right. Proper glazing makes for long lasting, well-sealed windows. The good news is it doesn’t need to be perfect, just done well enough so that it sheds water and seals the glass properly. The nice thing about putty glazing is […] Read on →

Vapor Barriers 101

vapor-barriers-101

When old houses were built there was no such thing as a vapor barrier. Sure there may have been felt paper or rosin paper installed under the hardwood floors or behind the siding but these pieces weren’t as much about vapor protection as they were about stopping rainwater. Improper use of vapor barriers is one of the leading causes of moisture-related issues like rot and mold in buildings today. Vapor barriers are designed to prevent wall assemblies from getting […] Read on →

4 Easy Ways to Weatherstrip Windows and Doors

spring bronze finished installation

While most of us love our original windows and doors nobody wants to be heating or cooling the neighborhood due to leaks and drafts. Before you break out the caulk gun and seal the windows shut permanently I want to tell you about several different options to weatherstrip windows and doors. These are all DIY friendly options that you can add to your own house. Some are quick, easy and inexpensive and others require more skill and money. […] Read on →

What is My Favorite Water-Based Paint?

favorite water based paint

This week’s Ask the Craftsman Question is a follow up to last week’s regarding oil-based paint choices. What is my favorite water-based paint? There are so many different applications that I use water-based paints for so picking an overall favorite is pretty much impossible. So, what I’ll do is give you a favorite in each different application. That’s being said there are a ton of excellent paints out there that I haven’t even tried so this isn’t based […] Read on →

How To: Install Blown-in Insulation

how-to-install-blown-in-insulation

There are a lot of ways to insulate a house today, and one of the easiest ways to save on your energy costs is to add blown-in installation to your attic. The wonderful thing about this type of insulation is that absolutely anyone can do it themselves. You don’t need a pro to help you, all you need is a free Saturday and you can add huge energy savings to your old house.   Types of Blown-in Insulation […] Read on →

How To: Paint In Cold Weather

how-to-paint-in-cold-weather

Painting can be a real chore in the wintertime. You’re geared up to get everything finished and then then a cold front moves in and you’re wondering “Do I really have to wait for it to warm up again?” Always ask your paint manufacturer first and use these tips to decide if you really can paint in cold weather or if you should wait till warmer days prevail. The answer may not be the one you like, but […] Read on →

How To: Remove Nails From Molding

How to remove nails from molding

This week’s Ask The Craftsman Question comes from my younger brother Daniel actually. “How do you get the nails out of crown molding without damaging it?” Daniel, asked me this question over Christmas when I was home visiting our parents. He and his wife were just moving into their first house and I was helping him get some repairs done while in town. When he asked me this I knew immediately it would be a great Ask The Craftsman […] Read on →