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 →

How To: Cut Plaster Walls

how to cut plaster walls

Yes, there are times when you need to cut a hole in a plaster wall. And before you do it wrong and knock big chunks of plaster from your walls or ceilings I thought I’d give you some tips on how to cut plaster walls the right way. I see tragically destroyed original plaster walls all the time. Usually, the damage is courtesy of a hurried plumber or electrician who doesn’t care since they aren’t the ones patching […] Read on →

Will New Putty Bond to Old Putty?

old window putty

This week’s Ask The Craftsman question comes from Mike. “When reglazing windows do you have to remove all the old putty or will new putty bond to the old putty?” Mike, it can be a real chore removing every ounce of old putty when you restore a window and the truth is that not every little bit has be taken out. You can patch in new putty on top of old putty as long as the old stuff […] Read on →

The Absolute Worst Way to Paint a Window

the worst way to paint a window

What is the absolute worst way to paint a window? Well surprisingly it’s the way that most painters do it! I’m not talking well-meaning DIYers. I’m referring to almost all of the professional painters I see around my town and across the country as well. Driving around historic neighborhoods I’m amazed how may times I see a scene like in this picture. Tape as far as the eye can see. A sea of blue proudly sponsored by 3M. […] Read on →

What Causes Wood Rot?

what causes wood rot

Anyone who has owned an old house for more than a couple months will tell that wood rot is a major frustration. In this post I’ll show you what causes wood rot and how to stop it. Wood is an amazingly versatile building material. It can molded and shaped to almost any form. It is an excellent insulator. Its structurally abilities are incredible. Its ability to accept paint, stains and varnishes is fantastic. Its one weakness is rot. […] Read on →

Veneer Plaster: An Affordable Alternative

Veneer Plaster

This week’s Ask The Craftsman question comes from Phil. “To repair a damaged wall [drywall] seems so out of place, but hiring a plasterer to do lath and plaster is way too high a cost.  Is there an in-between solution?” There definitely is an in-between solution Phil and it’s called veneer plaster. A veneer plaster wall is like a hybrid of standard drywall and traditional lath and 3-coat plaster. It also hits the middle ground in terms of pricing. […] Read on →

How To: Repair Weathered Window Sills

How to repair weathered window sill

If you’ve got badly weathered window sills you’re not alone. Wood that has been exposed to the sun’s destructive rays for years without a protective layer of paint can begin to weather so badly that it may appear to be beyond saving. But with the magic of a good wood epoxy you can save damaged wood like this and make it look like new. For epoxy repairs there are a lot of products on the market but the […] Read on →

DIY Paint Brush Cover

diy-paint-brush-cover

This week’s Ask the Craftsman  question comes from Lorrel. “I’ve lost my paint brush cover and now the bristles get all wiry after cleaning. Any suggestions?” The paint brush cover, or husk, is an important piece of any paint brush. It helps the brush maintain it’s shape when it dries and protects it when you need to transport it to and fro. Unfortunately, these get lost or wear out quickly and soon you’re left with a good brush that […] Read on →

How To: Salvaged Wood Wall

salvaged-wood-wall

Nobody likes bare walls in their house. We spend time and money to find attractive paintings and decor to hang on the walls of our home. And a house doesn’t feel quite like a home until the walls are covered with decoration. But what if instead of putting pieces of art on your wall you could transform your whole wall into a piece of art? Covering your wall in salvaged, character-rich wood is so much more than painting […] Read on →