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 →

Is Your Siding…Vegan?

is your siding vegan?

Vegan is all the rage these days along with gluten-free everything. I remember as a kid the strangest diet I every heard of was a vegetarian which I could understand, but knew wasn’t for me. Today things are very different. The complexities with which people decide which food they will eat is baffling to me especially in the vegan world. I don’t have the energy or time to scrutinize all the details of where it was sourced from and […] 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)


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 →

Finding The Best Wood Glue


What’s the best wood glue? That depends. Maybe you’re building mortise and tenon joints. Maybe you’re repairing a small chipped piece of wood or gluing-up a table top. I’ll help you find the best wood glue for your project in this post by showing you 4 of my favorites and when to use them. So, how do you know which glue to use? There are dozens of brands and formulas. All have their time and place and the important […] Read on →

The Easy Way to Make Mortises


Last week I talked about How To Cut Tenons on a Table Saw, but a tenon isn’t much good without a mortise to fit into. So this week I’ll show you the easy way to make mortises. Like all things in woodworking there are several ways to do this, but in my opinion this technique is by far the easiest and most consistent. My whole purpose in writing this post is so that when or if you start wondering […] Read on →

Why Old-Growth Wood is Better

old-growth wood

There is no better wood to use when repairing an old house than old-growth lumber. Though it is hard to come by (it’s not on the shelves at Home Depot) it is the most appropriate and best performing options especially for exterior wood repairs. In this post I’ll explain the differences and tell you some of the main benefits of using old-growth wood. I’ll also tell you some ways to find it in your local area.   What […] Read on →