Q&A / 

Julie has a nice home in Quebec, Canada. But she's got a problem with some sloppy mortar around her metal fireplace. Here's what she has to say: "We have a fire place with stones all around, I am trying to find the best option to hide the cement on the fireplace. I find it really ugly and […]

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Eric Sygnatur owns a Hyattsville, MD townhouse located just outside of Washington, DC where it's very humid. He's got a strange stain on the exterior concrete block. "Tim, my townhouse is five years old. There is a stain on some of the masonry that I thought might "wash away" or fade with time, but it hasn't. Any […]

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Ines Turpin hails from Allen, Oklahoma. She wants to know about building a full-sized Lego house. Can you guess my answer? "Is it possible to build a house from stackable 2x2x12 or 6 blocks that are designed as Legos? You see this blocks used by concrete companies as retaining blocks for sand and gravel." Here's my […]

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DEAR TIM: I purchased an older stucco home that's never been painted. It's got some cracks in the stucco. Most range in width from 1/4 to 3/8-inch wide. The cracks are not getting any bigger and a structural engineer said that all is well and the cracking will not continue. What's the best way to […]

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Rick Castelli is doing some remodeling in his Falls Church, VA home. Let him give you the background about the masonry opening. "We have a 1947 Cape Cod with masonry walls.  The picture shows the old rear exterior wall where a previous owner removed a back door and window in the kitchen to open up into […]

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Troy McWhirter owns a townhouse in Ashburn VA. He's perplexed about what might be under the steps that lead up to his front door. Here's what he sent me: "I own a 1999 Toll Brothers townhouse with a brick second level walk up to front door. I want to know what is under those stairs? I […]

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Threasa Brown lives in an Irving, Texas neighborhood that has a perplexing mystery. Many houses have one sole gold brick in the front wall. Here's what Threasa says: "Most of the houses (built in the 1970's) in our neighborhood (including ours) has a single gold brick on the front exterior wall by the porch. I have […]

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Chad Ewald, who lives in Stillwater, MN - a place mentioned in  Roger Stelljes' Deadly Stillwater book, has paint pigment stains on his brick. Great read by the way! Here's what Chad sent me: "How do I remove paint from brick?  The white medallion elements on my home appear to have bled white paint onto the brick […]

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Quick Column Summary: How to remove adhesive/thinset from brick fireplace Try adhesive removers Thinset must be chiseled off Danielle Torkensen is a new homeowner in Bloomington, California. She inherited a mess where the previous homeowner, well let her tell you: "I am a recent new homeowner & the previous owners messed up our brick fireplace.  […]

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Quick Column Summary: Brick walls leak in heavy rain Can I drill weep holes into brick Do not drill bricks Coat bricks to stop water infiltration Sara, who lives in Elgin, IL, has an issue that plagues hundreds of thousands of homeowners. Let her tell you all about the water that runs down her basement […]

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