Q&A / 

DEAR TIM: I’m about to build a new home with both an attached garage and a separate free-standing three-bay garage. The house I grew up in had floor drains in the garage and they were wonderful. My builder has never heard of garage floor drains and insists on sloping the concrete floor so all liquids […]

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DEAR TIM: I’m about to have a new concrete driveway installed as well as some sidewalks. I asked the bidding contractors how long I might expect the concrete to last. The range given was from twenty to thirty years. That seems like a long time but I thought it could last much longer. How long […]

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Outdoor Sink Restoration QUESTION #1: I’m in the process of restoring a grand natural stone outdoor sink. It’s made from some type of natural stone. Locals tell me it’s soapstone. Once restored, it’s going to be used as a beverage serving station for outdoor parties. Someone painted it years ago and after stripping the paint, […]

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Don't Underestimate Concrete Installation QUESTION #1: I plan to install a concrete patio during my vacation. It’s going to measure 14 feet by 30 feet. I’ve watched lots of online videos and paid attention to cable-TV shows and now feel emboldened. What can go wrong and how much help do you think I’ll need. I’ve […]

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Smoking Fireplaces QUESTION #1: Oh Tim, I need your help. I’ve got a masonry fireplace that puffs smoke into the room when a fire is burning. It gets worse as the fire dies down. I’ve spoken with three different bricklayers who build fireplaces and have received three different answers. Confusion reigns at my home and […]

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New Concrete on Old Question #1: Tim, I desperately need your help. The concrete sidewalk and driveway at my house are falling apart. The top surface is crumbling yet just below the surface the concrete is as solid as rock. It’s only a few years old. What’s causing this? Contractors have told me I need […]

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Concrete in a Bag Question #1: Hello Tim. This summer I’ve got a few outdoor projects that involve pouring small amounts of concrete. I looked into having a ready-mix truck do it, but the cost is so expensive. I’ve seen the bags of concrete in stores. Is it any good? Have you used it? Can […]

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Steel in Concrete Question #1: Tim, my builder is telling me to forget about using reinforcing steel or mesh is my concrete driveway and patio. He says he’ll just add an inch of thickness and that’s good enough. What’s your feeling? Would you go to the effort and expense to install reinforcing steel in outdoor […]

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Salt Damage to Concrete - Don't Blame the Salt Salt is often blamed for damaging concrete. The top surface of concrete sidewalks, driveways and patios may spall or scale off after you broadcast salt on it to melt snow and ice. The salt is indirectly responsible only because it helps promote more freeze and thaw […]

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