Should I Fill Cracks in Window Frame?

window cracks

This week’s Ask The Craftsman question comes from Desley. “My windows have some cracks that go from the outside right through to the inside. How should I fix that?” Desley, first let’s be sure what you are looking at is something that actually needs to be repaired. It’s a little difficult to tell from your picture, but cracks in window frames may be something you should leave alone. Let me explain. A window sash consists of two stiles (vertical pieces [...] Read on →

4 Easy Tips to Keep Your Old Home Warm This Winter

4-Easy-Tips-to-Keep-Your-Old-Home-Warm-This-Winter

Fall is here and all across the country the leaves are changing as temperatures dip from their muggy summer highs. In Florida we’ve even gotten down into the 60s already! For the rest of the country that doesn’t live in eternal summer it’s time to start buttoning things up to keep your old home warm this winter. I’m going to share 4 easy tips that can make a huge difference in your heating bill this winter. Check these [...] Read on →

The 3 Best Mistakes I’ve Ever Made

Construction-Mistakes

I’m not usually in the habit of reliving the greatest hits of my renovation follies, but just like you I’m not perfect. I don’t always do the right thing or know that answer to every question about old houses. Just like you I sometimes act too quickly with not enough information or in other cases I put a project off for years because I just can’t figure out how to do it. The latter is what I call “Renovation Paralysis” and [...] Read on →

How To: Replace Glass on Steel Windows

Steel windows

Working on steel windows is a completely different experience than restoring wood windows. Their construction is different and the techniques and tools used are different. One of the most common repairs you need to know is how to replace glass on steel windows. So, I’ll walk you through how to get it done safely and quickly. Replacing glass in steel windows often results in the glass breaking on its way out if it isn’t already broken. Steel windows [...] Read on →

How To: Remove Stain From Wood

remove stain from wood

This week’s Ask The Craftsman question comes from Douglas. “What do you recommend to remove stain from an antique mantle?” Douglas, I’m assuming that we are not talking about pets stains here. Stains from pet urine blacken wood in a way that cannot be removed without replacing the wood. Removing a stained finish from wood is another story though. Wood stain penetrates deep into the wood and can’t be removed just by using a chemical stripper and scraper [...] Read on →

How To: Fix Creaky Wood Floors

How to fix creaky wood floors

This week’s Ask The Craftsman question comes from Heidi. “How do I fix creaky wood floors?” Heidi, there are a couple quick fixes for creaky wood floors that you can do. #1 Baby Powder Sprinkle some baby powder in the area of the squeak and brush it in so it falls into the cracks between boards. Sweep up the excess and you’re done. This is a super easy fix that works a lot of the time with really [...] Read on →

What Kind of Sash Rope Should I Use?

sash rope

This week’s Ask The Craftsman question comes from Jeremy. “What kind of rope should I use to restring my windows?” There are a lot of different kinds of rope on the market, but only certain types are appropriate for your old windows. The best kind of rope for double-hung windows is cotton braided rope. Hemp rope isn’t appropriate. Full synthetic ropes tend to stretch too much and I’ve also found that they slide in the pulley tracks in [...] Read on →

How To: Lead Safe Work Practices

lead safe

Last week I talked about how to properly test for lead paint. While testing for lead paint is an important start, simply knowing if there is lead or not won’t do much to protect you. You need to know how to safely renovate in a house with lead paint. I’ll cover important principles of dust control and clean up and of course give you some tips I’ve learned along the way to make the whole process much less [...] Read on →

Ask the Craftsman: How to Fix Sagging Beadboard Ceiling

beadboard ceiling

This week’s question comes from Chris: “I have original beadboard on my porch ceiling and it’s sagging in some areas.  What is the best way to repair?” Chris, beadboard is one of the most common materials used for porch ceilings and eaves in old houses. Its tongue & groove design allows it to hold tightly together and keep bugs and the elements out. There are a couple things that might be causing the problem and the solutions for [...] Read on →

How To: Test for Lead Paint

how to test for lead paint

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about lead paint so I wanted to try to address some of those questions to make folks feel a little safer in their old homes. If you live in a house built before 1978 you need to know how to test for lead paint, especially if you have littles ones. Lead is toxic to humans. Children under 6 are especially vulnerable to it since their bodies absorb lead at a much [...] Read on →

3 Secrets to a Stress-Free Remodel

stressfreeremodel

Some renovations drag on and on and on with no end in sight. Delays, revisions, inspections they all conspire to make your project feel like it will never end. Or maybe you can’t get your project off the ground. You’ve been planning that bathroom remodel for 5 years, but you’re still not ready to start? Something is wrong! I’m going to share my 3 secrets to a stress-free remodel with you to help you either get started or [...] Read on →

Ask The Craftsman: Can I Reglaze Windows Without Removing the Glass?

reglaze windows

This week’s question comes from Amy. “Can I reglaze the outside [of my windows] without removing the panes and replacing the interior seating portion?”   Absolutely! When you reglaze windows it’s not always necessary to replace the glazing “bed” which is the putty that the pane rests on in the glazing rabbet. Replacing the bedding putty is beneficial though since it will help air seal the glass and also help to keep interior condensation from getting at the [...] Read on →

3 Reasons I Chose Indow Windows (and so should you!)

Indow Windows

You know that I’m not a big promoter of new products here, but every once in a while someone comes up with a product or technique that makes it easier and cheaper to save old houses. And when that happens I am all over it like white on rice! My company has recently become a dealer for Indow Windows. Why? Because they work! I have them in my own home and it is truly incredible how much of [...] Read on →

Ask The Craftsman: What’s the Best Finish For Wood Floors?

How to fix creaky wood floors

Don’t forget that if your question is selected for our Ask The Craftsman posts you’ll get a free copy of my eBook Living in the Past! (Now available on iTunes and in paperback & kindle on Amazon) We’ve got another great question this week from Richard in Pompano Beach, FL “What’s the best finish for the wood floors on my 1924 Bungalow?” Richard, the gold standard for refinishing wood floors today is 3 coats of oil-based polyurethane. It [...] Read on →