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Share ideas and learn about the latest in home improvement and décor from Tom and Leslie.

Money Pit Blogs

I painted my daughter's bedroom using primer and then paint. Now it has become my son's room, and there are spots where the paint just pulls off in long strips and looks like rubber. I want to repaint the room, but have no idea how to handle these areas. What can I do?Laura It's pointless to...

We are planning a kitchen remodel but not sure where to start after the kitchen is gutted out. Do we start with the cabinets or do we do the flooring first?fiveangelgirls Way before you ever wield a sledgehammer, the best place to start is with a thorough, clear-eyed assessment of your kitchen's...

Decks that are not properely built or maintained can be unsafe and now is a good time get outside and inspect your deck for signs of failure that could lead to a collapse.  According to experts at the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA), the American Society of Home Inspectors...

I have an AC condenser on the roof of my townhouse that I want to demolish to prepare for a new HVAC system. Can I simply disconnect the existing refrigerant lines and let the refrigerant dissipate into the air? The existing system was installed in the early '90s, before we owned the house, so...

I'm cleaning out my workshop and have come across several orphaned rechargeable batteries. Are these recyclable like standard batteries? DamonC 04-01-08 3:42 p.m. Yes, they are, and there's probably a drop-off location just minutes from your home. The Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation...

How do I know if I'm getting truly green, sustainable wood flooring products?1965daughtry 03-31-08 12:24 p.m. The clearest signal is a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification right on the packaging of the flooring in question. The FSC is a non-profit organization devoted to encouraging...

I'm in the market for a new room air conditioner. Got any tips on what to look for?shelaghE 04-02-08 8:11 a.m. The main thing to look for is the Energy Star label, which tells you a unit uses at least 10 percent less energy than conventional models. Energy Star qualified room air conditioners...

I'm interested in building a super environmentally friendly home.  I've seen and read about homes that claim to have energy efficient and earth friendly features, but have not seen one total example of a home that delivers both.  Are you aware of any such homes?Todd 04-02-08 10:00...

We're gearing up for a kitchen remodel, and feel pretty confident about every aspect except lighting. What should we be prepared to discuss with a kitchen lighting designer?PaulZ 03-01-08 7:18 a.m. Before you even get to the point of choosing fixture styles (and there are a lot of them), you and...

Now that the heating season is drawing to a close, I'd like to figure out how to improve my home's efficiency so that summer cooling bills don’t knock me sideways. Where should I start? kt403 03-28-08 11:19 a.m. Good thinking.  A home energy audit is the first step toward energy and dollar...

What do you get when you combine two popular rackets these days-identity theft and mortgage fraud? A totally new kind of crime: house stealing. According the the FBI, here's how it generally works: … The con artists start by picking out a house to steal-say, YOURS.  … Next, they assume your...

After last summer's high water bills, I'd like to make some changes to my landscaping that'll preserve its good looks without wasting water and costing me a bundle. Got any suggestions to get me started in my water-saving quest?  GP 3-20-08 12:33pm As you've discovered the hard way, keeping your...

A few members of my family are allergy-prone, and I'd like to add air cleaning systems to our home. Are individual units okay, or is a whole-house units a better value?Nanc521 02-29-08 12:16 p.m. When you consider that, in addition to naming indoor air pollution as one of the top five risks to...

Going green in a home lawn care program doesn't have to be a daunting task.  There are some easy, cost-effective steps homeowners can take to improve their lawns while enhancing the positive effects of lawn maintenance on the environment. A healthy lawn is not only beautiful; it provides great...

I'm about to tackle my first interior paint job, and don't want to wind up with the same rough-looking results I've seen in other DIYers' homes. What's the key to getting a great finish?firsthome08 2-29-08 6:47 p.m. When it comes to painting, preparation makes perfect. What you've probably seen...

The worn fixtures in my master bath are in need of an update, but I don't quite have the budget to replace everything at once. Is refinishing a viable option for some of the items? Basically, you need to go fixture by fixture and look at the costs involved in replacement versus refinishing. A...

I have several home improvement projects on my list for the coming year, and am wondering what the most popular categories are so that I can get on contractors' calendars in plenty of time. Also, is now too soon to plan for jobs to be done in late spring and summer? Now is actually the perfect...

My kitchen cabinets are looking pretty tired, and I'd like to give them a low-cost face lift. What kinds of finish should I use?nlvc 2-18-08 First, make sure your cabinets are eligible for DIY refinishing by examining their construction and material content. Solid wood and laminate are both good...

Consumer Reports tests show several brands should pay more attention to the product's purpose.  Latest tests of more than 60 upright and canister vacuums reveal that several brands have included innovative features in new models-including germ-killing claims-but several fell short in their...

I've lived in my 1928 DC Row/Federal Style home for over 30 years.  I would like to add a 2 or 3 story addition to the rear, as well as install Central AC, remodel the Kitchen, create a Master Bedroom, and a few other smaller projects.  I am a caregiver for both my mother and father.  Both...