Will HEPA Really Keep You Safe?

Will HEPA really keep you safe

In the age of RRP renovation rules and a lot of fear about everything lead paint it’s important to know how to keep yourself safe. A lot of folks hear about HEPA vacuums and think that if they just use anything HEPA they are safe from lead. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Understanding how HEPA filtration works and choosing the right vacuum is only one piece of the lead safe work practices puzzle. For more about lead visit […] Read on →

How To: Glaze Windows


Some of the most commonly asked questions I get are about how to glaze windows. What’s the best practices? What tips and tricks have I learned over the years? Basically, it’s a lot of folks wondering how to do it the right way. I’ll start with saying this…it’s not complicated to glaze a window, but it’s not easy the first time. It is something that most people have never heard of. Putting putty on a window and tooling […] Read on →

How To: Cut Window Weight Access Doors

How to cut weight pocket doors

Sometimes builders installed their old wood windows without weight pocket access doors to save a couple bucks. While it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, it creates a whole lot of work for us today when a sash rope breaks. Rather than being stuck with the typical alternative of removing the window trim and leaving yourself with a lot of plaster repair here is an easier way to fix the problem for good. In this […] Read on →

Bondo is Never the Answer

how to patch wood with bondo

I was supposed to be posting on plaster textures this week but something happened this week that got me so riled up that I had to delay the plaster post. [Stands on Soapbox] Bondo. Bondo is a great product for patching damage to cars, but somewhere, sometime in the past some painter or carpenter decided that it would work just as well on wood. Let me clear…Don’t patch wood with Bondo! I could end this post there, but then […] Read on →

How To: Patch Plaster

How to patch plaster

I’ve written about repairing plaster walls before, but sometimes there are sections of plaster that have been removed or are missing and you need to fill in the gaps. I’ll show you how to easily fill in these missing sections. This repair also works on drywall for all you new house folks too. When you have an area (large or small) where you’re missing plaster, whether it’s thanks to the electrician/plumber/HVAC guy or the plaster was damaged some […] Read on →

The Window Preservation Alliance

Window Preservation Alliance

What is the Window Preservation Alliance (WPA) you ask? Well, it’s a new organization dedicated to saving old windows that I think you might want to know about. Why I think you need to know about this organization is because they are doing a lot of work to help homeowners of old houses. And any group that is focused on helping folks like you instead of some other corporate cause is alright by me. This week I had […] Read on →

6 Things I Wish Architects Knew

6 Things I Wish Architects Knew

I recently learned of yet another window project gone awry. The 1920 Lake Ave. fire station in Saratoga Springs, NY is due for an renovation. It needs some structural repairs to its floors, some framing repairs and also window repairs for its almost 100 year old windows. The architect for the job decided that the best way to handle the windows would be to keep the old jambs, trash the original sash (which only lasted 95 years) and build new […] Read on →

BoraCare: Stop Termites & Rot Forever


You may not have heard of a product called BoraCare, but if you have a wood house it’s something you should know about. The biggest threats to wood are inevitably rot and insect damage. Other than these two issues good quality old-growth wood can last almost indefinitely. But if you fall victim to termites, rot or both then it may be only months before you need repairs. BoraCare is a wood treatment that I use in my shop […] Read on →

How To: Fix Ungrounded Outlets

how to fix ungrounded outlets

A common problem found in old houses is the presence of ungrounded outlets. Either you’re stuck with old fashioned 2-prong outlets that won’t fit your 3-prong devices or someone replaced the old outlets with 3-pronged outlets that don’t have a ground wire. The 3-pronged outlets are often a sheep in wolf’s clothing since they look like modern outlets but don’t have any of the protections. Important Disclaimer: While I am a licensed contractor, I AM NOT a licensed […] Read on →

How To: Install Indow Windows (in only 5 minutes!)

how to install indow windows

If you haven’t heard of Indow Windows and you own and old house you are missing out. A couple years ago I bought some of these for my own house and was so impressed that I decided to become their Central Florida area dealer. Just like any products I mention on this site I have used them personally and think they can be a great help to folks just like you. I hate how replacement window companies all over […] Read on →

Which Glazing Putty is Right For You?

Sarco Type-M Glazing Putty

There are a lot of options when it comes to finding the right window glazing putty for you. A lot depends on the type of window and where you will be doing your gazing (outside or in a shop). So, I’ve put together this list of my six favorite window putties to help you in your search. All of these putties will help you get the job done right, it just depends on your personal preferences and situation which will be […] Read on →

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: Tell If You Have a Balloon Frame House

how to tell if you have a balloon frame house

I’ve written about the differences between timber frame, balloon frame and platform frame houses in an earlier post you can read here, but I constantly get questions about how to tell if your house has balloon framing. Why do people want to know? Well, of the three types of framing balloon frame houses have the greatest danger of catastrophic fires. To be clear there is nothing intrinsically more flammable about a balloon frame house. It wasn’t built with […] 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 →