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Wood

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The constant traffic up and down wooden stairs in a busy household makes for heavy wear and tear on them which can translate to different forms of abuse like a worn or dull finish, loose spindles or a wobbly baluster. The longer you ignore the warning signs the worse the damage can become so find a downtime when traffic is light to remedy the wrongs and make the repairs. The work can be divided into repairing the stairs and finishing the wood doing it in that order.

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A high and dry basement is often called a bonus room because it’s untapped space under roof and is often heated. The majority of work – finishing the walls, ceiling and floor – is what’s needed to reclaim the space as a home office, family room or for whatever space you need.

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Q: Howdy, Tim. I really need your advice. I’m thinking of residing my house, and it’s time to bite the bullet about repairing a structural issue that’s been getting worse each year. The floor in my living room has sagged 2 inches! The cause has been traced to a support column in between my two garage doors. I’m terrified about what this might cost to repair, and I have no idea what’s involved. Have you ever had to do a similar repair? Who is best suited to correct the problem? What kind of column would you install so it never happens again? — Stephen L., Worcester, Mass.

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SAVE ON FURNITURE AND DECOR. Brand-new, solid wood furniture is expensive, but antiques are well-constructed and can be had for a fraction of the price. Between antique stores, estate sales and Craigslist, we spent less to score high-quality pieces.DO THE SMALL STUFF YOURSELF. When in doubt, watch a tutorial on YouTube or ask for guidance at a hardware store. I've hung art, shelving and curtain rods, and our current project is painting our guest room, which doubles as my office. We hire a handyman only for more complicated work.PLAN FOR THE BIG STUFF. "Beyond the first year, that's when you see people taking on bigger projects," Wolf says. "They've had a chance to live in their house and use the space." Begin to budget for renovations, especially if you need to hire a general contractor. Wolf recommends getting on the contractor's schedule during their low season and buying some items when they happen to be on sale, even if the installation has to wait.

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Q: Mr. Tim, last week I wasted all sorts of time and got frustrated trying to dig a simple hole in my yard. A neighbor looked over the fence and suggested I change shovels. Anyway, I figured you’ve used lots of shovels in your career and might help me start a decent collection so I won’t be frustrated ever again. Tell me all about the shovels I’d see if I came over to your house or stopped by one of your job sites. How do you store them? —Barry K., Tulsa, Okla.

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You’ve undoubtedly heard the saying, “They don’t make ’em like they used to.” Often it’s said in frustration when a newer product fails long before you think it should. If I were a teacher at a vocational school dedicated to building things, I’d divide my senior class into “old” and “new” teams and make them research the topic for a debate.

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A wooden storage shed is a handsome addition to property, whether it’s for lawn equipment, outdoor gear or just stuff you and your family accumulated. You can buy a shed ready-made and delivered, buy a kit to assemble one yourself, or take the custom route with a custom design (the priciest option). However it’s made, a wooden yard shed can solve storage problems and be a nice addition to the landscape.

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Q: I’m so frustrated. Before I clean and seal my outdoor deck, I need your advice. It’s a tremendous amount of work, and I’m discovering I need to do it every three years. I scream each spring when I see the expensive sealer I’ve used start to peel and flake. Surely there’s a better way. How would you clean and seal your outdoor wood so that maintaining it is not so much work? --Gina H., Cilleyville, N.H.

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When you’re spending more time at home, a fire pit can help turn your backyard into an oasis: a spot to roast marshmallows, a focal-point flame that draws in friends and family, warmth on a cool evening. Here’s how to choose the perfect fire pit for your backyard.

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Q: I’m going to be building a new home, and I have to make a decision about the siding. I can afford wood shakes and love the look, but I am concerned about long-term maintenance. Vinyl siding seems to have so many advantages, but it just doesn’t look like wood to me. How would you go about making this decision if you were me? What are all the things I should consider? Would you install vinyl siding on your own home? —Margo S., Nashville

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Everyone in the family needs his or her own space, and that includes your dog who needs a place to cozy up in his or her own digs; preferably outside the home to enjoy fresh air and a place to retreat. Before you think about adding a doghouse, consider its location on your property. Choose a place in a shady spot, protected from strong winds and day-long sunshine.

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Q: Every year I've got some wood or composite decking to clean outside. This year I need to clean and reseal a ramp that leads up into my outdoor shed. I also see conflicting information out on the internet about the best way to clean wood.

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If you’re hosting for the holidays, you’re probably crossing the last to-do items off your list, including stocking your bar. This bar cart is the perfect way to organize bottles, mix up drinks, and keep the party going after dinner. The eye-catching industrial style make it a perfect year round addition to your kitchen or dining room.

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From tic-tac-toe to backgammon, lots of table games come in wood. Aerin makes a fancy Jenga, the classic balancing game, with blocks made of beech, stored in a cream or brown shagreen box with brass detailing. $1,100. It also sells a French Solitaire Set that includes a circular board crafted in Italy from ashwood, with 33 brass balls. $2,750.

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