John asks: My local lumberyard stocks mahogany decking at a good price. How durable is this compared to other hardwoods? How would you recommend finishing? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: Most wood decking sold in the U.S. as “mahogany” is actually dark red meranti. Meranti is in the same family as lauan, also called Philippine mahogany. Think of meranti … [Read more...] about How Durable is Mahogany Decking?
Dave asks: We are remodeling a bathroom that connects to our bedroom and shares a wall with another bedroom. What steps can we take to soundproof the bathroom walls and door? It’s rather loud in both bedrooms when the shower is running. Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: While it’s not possible to make walls 100% “soundproof,” it’s pretty easy to get significant … [Read more...] about Soundproofing a Wall
Jonathan writes: I have been finding little piles of wood shavings on my backyard deck, along the bottom of the exterior wall of the house (see photo). Does this look like a sign of carpenter ants or termites? I suspect ants as I sometimes see large, black ants in the house. What's the best way to get rid of carpenter ants? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: … [Read more...] about Do I Have Carpenter Ants?
Kevin writes: In 2013 we decided to demolish our existing home (build in 1941) and build a new home in the same place. Because our neighborhood is built on 85-foot-deep clay over a glacial lake, the old cinder block foundation had failed in the basement and we had serious moisture problems as a result. To prevent a repeat, we chose to not have a basement in the new home. Our … [Read more...] about Building New Slab Over Foundation Rubble
Karen asks: We are considering buying a property that's labeled as "gently rolling". Do we need a builder to look at it in order to tell us if a walk-out basement is possible? How much slope is required? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: Assuming an 8 ft. foundation wall, and assuming your foundation projects one foot above grade at the front of the house, you … [Read more...] about How Much Slope for Walk-Out?