How To: Make Distressed Wood Floors

how to make distressed wood floors

Usually I focus on how to restore the older elements of your house, but today I’ve got a little tutorial for making something new look old. My wife and I are just finishing our attic bedroom project (more on that soon) for our 2 boys and I have been working furiously to meet our (read: her) deadline for completion. One of the last pieces of the puzzle is installing wood floors. The rest of our 1929 house has […] Read on →

Electrical Pitfalls of an Old House

electrical-pitfalls-of-an-old-house

If the picture of this breaker box doesn’t scare the pants off you then you are one crazy, living on the edge kinda person. It doesn’t take a professional to know that this is not a well designed electrical system. My wife and I are finally turning our unfinished attic into a kid’s bedroom this year to make room for our growing family (our 2nd boy was just born!). I’ll be doing a few posts on the process […] Read on →

3 Steps to a Stunning Front Door

3-steps-to-a-stunning-front-door

The front door is perhaps the most prominent feature on your house. If you think of your house as a painting, the landscaping is the background, the siding the body, the windows are the details that add interest but the front door is the subject. It’s the face of the person you are talking to in a conversation. Sure you notice their clothes and their gestures but when you’re having a one-on-one conversation with someone you looking at […] 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 →

How To: Remove Window Sash

Image Copyright: Scott Sidler

In my new book, Old Windows Made Easy, I outline the complete process for restoring wood windows. Today I want to walk you through some of the content in the book for free right here and teach you how to remove window sash. If you want to learn more about restoring your wood windows you can Order Your Copy Now! Step 1 Remove the Stop The first thing you need to do in order to restore or repair […] Read on →

Old Windows Made Easy

old-windows-made-easy-3D-cover

If there is one element of an old building I get more questions on it’s windows. How do I glaze my windows? What about lead paint? How do I fix a broken rope? The questions go on and on about this often misunderstood element. There are over a dozen books on the topic of repairing historic windows available today, and I have read almost every one of them. While they are usually full of valuable information none of them […] 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: 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: 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 →