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

Since my new book, Old Windows Made Easy, is now available for pre-order until its big release on March 20th I thought it would be good to walk you through some of the content in the book for free right here. If you want more how to’s like this be sure to pick up your copy today before the 35% OFF sale is over! You can pre-order by clicking here!  Step 1 Remove the Stop The first thing […] 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 →

What is a Dovecote?

Dovecotes

This week’s Ask the Craftsman question comes from Jennifer. “I have these little pentagon shaped openings near my roof and I’m wondering if you can tell me what they are.” Jennifer, it sounds like you’ve got dovecotes which were a popular feature on mid-century storybook style houses. A lot of folks mistake them for attic vents and in all fairness that’s all they usually are in mid-20th century houses. Dovecotes were traditionally found in the homes of nobility […] Read on →

Why Do We Restore?

Why do we restore

I just returned from a much needed 10-day vacation visiting friends and family. Over that time I had a lot of time to slow things down and do some long overdue reading and reflecting. It wasn’t long before I knew exactly what I wanted my first post of the year to be. There was one question that kept coming to my mind and to be truthful I didn’t have a good answer. Why Do We Restore? I’m sure […] Read on →

How To: Research Your Home’s History

how to research your home's history

Most of us know little about our own home’s history, but researching your home’s history can uncover all kinds of interesting stories. For some properties that history begins with the city or county platting the area and opening it up to development. For others with very old properties it may go back far enough to include land grants from nobility. Either way it’s a lot of fun play detective to piece together decades or centuries of stories.   Making an […] Read on →