7 home fixes you must complete before selling

7 home fixes you must complete before selling

The process of getting a property ready to put on the market can seem daunting enough. There’s clearing the clutter, endless amounts of cleaning, organizing and scrutinizing your property with a fine-tooth comb. What needs attention and what can yo...
By Cara Ameer | Monday, Jul 18, 2016
Thumbnail Stucco doesn’t have to scream slapdash and cheap

Stucco doesn’t have to scream slapdash and cheap

Stucco's history is long and dignified. The ancient Greeks applied it over rough stone to get a smooth surface that could be decorated, and the Romans mixed it with marble chips to obtain a brilliant interior finish. The magnificent frescoes of...
By Arrol Gellner | Friday, Dec 28, 2012
Thumbnail Why you should never cut corners on finishes

Why you should never cut corners on finishes

A friend of mine is an expert plaster and drywall finisher with almost 50 years in the trade. Not long ago, he knocked himself out on a very labor-intensive plastering job. Instead of kudos, though, he got a complaint from the owner, who said: ...
By Arrol Gellner | Friday, Nov 16, 2012
Thumbnail Better paint for stucco: elastomeric or latex?

Better paint for stucco: elastomeric or latex?

Q: We have a stucco bungalow that we painted with Towerthon elastomeric paint in the late 1980s, and it has endured our rainy climate well here in Vancouver, Canada. However, it is time to repaint, and we have received different advice from dif...
By Bill and Kevin Burnett | Wednesday, Oct 24, 2012
Thumbnail Tips for stuccoing exterior walls

Tips for stuccoing exterior walls

Q: We have a ranch home in the San Francisco Bay Area and over the years we've replaced some of the exterior siding with plywood. When we did this work, waterproof paper was installed beneath the plywood. The exterior paint is about 8 years ...
By Bill and Kevin Burnett | Wednesday, Jan 11, 2012
Thumbnail Home design: The wood, the bad and the ugly

Home design: The wood, the bad and the ugly

The town I live in -- Berkeley, Calif. -- is the capital of shaggy wooden houses. Around here, you could get stoned for saying you don't like natural wood exteriors. So I won't say that. But what 30 years of practicing architecture have taugh...
By Arrol Gellner | Friday, Jul 1, 2011
How to avoid a flaky paint job

How to avoid a flaky paint job

Q: In 2005, we painted our 1959 stucco house in the Washington Manor area of San Leandro, Calif., with elastomeric paint. Over the course of the week, I watched the contractor power-wash, scrape, then prime and roll on the new paint. Within six mon...
By Bill and Kevin Burnett | Thursday, Jun 17, 2010
Ventilation fix for old house

Ventilation fix for old house

Q: My 900-square-foot, 1920s stucco home faces directly west and it gets unbearable during our mercifully brief heat waves. It's been suggested that an exhaust fan of some sort would help. I have 9-foot ceilings but only 2 feet or so of attic s...
By Bill and Kevin Burnett | Wednesday, Apr 21, 2010
The trick to refinishing stucco

The trick to refinishing stucco

Q: Our house has a stucco exterior that needs to be painted for the fourth time in the past 20 years. In previous paint jobs, we have done much scraping, and used primer coats and finish paints made especially for stucco. Scraping has left a number...
By Bill and Kevin Burnett | Wednesday, Feb 10, 2010
DIY fix for stained stucco

DIY fix for stained stucco

Q: My stucco house has never been painted, and from years of never being cleaned it is very dirty. I have had several power-wash companies look at the house. They have tried various chemicals and they do not seem to take this dirt or mold off. None o...
By Bill and Kevin Burnett | Wednesday, Oct 14, 2009
Building repairs don’t pay off for owner

Building repairs don’t pay off for owner

In 2003, Kristine Hennessy noticed that the stucco on her property, a commercial building, had separated from the building's wall. In 2005, the remaining stucco on the building had virtually no adhesion remaining to the building's concrete walls, exc...
By Tara-Nicholle Nelson | Wednesday, Jul 1, 2009
Eliminate heat loss through floors

Eliminate heat loss through floors

Q: We have a frame house with a stucco exterior. Part of it is over a crawl space about 3 feet high. The house is bolted to the foundation and the exterior stucco covers the walls down to the ground. On the inside of the crawl space, I can see the...
By Bill and Kevin Burnett | Wednesday, Aug 27, 2008
Do-it-yourself insulation, mildew repair

Do-it-yourself insulation, mildew repair

Q: I have a stucco house built in 1959, and there is no sheathing under the stucco, only 15-pound felt over wire laced between the studs. The stucco is in great condition, but the house, built as a summer cottage, has no insulation. Not only is it...
By Bill and Kevin Burnett | Wednesday, Jul 9, 2008
Homeowners needn’t be afraid of stucco repair

Homeowners needn’t be afraid of stucco repair

This week, the subject is stucco. One homeowner wants to know how to repair holes made during an insulation project; another wants to know how to hang a bike and a wisteria vine from her stucco wall....
By Bill and Kevin Burnett | Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Straw houses gaining acceptance despite concerns

Straw houses gaining acceptance despite concerns

When you're ready to go shopping for building materials for your next home, you may not need to go any further than the nearest hay field. Straw-bale houses are becoming increasing popular and accepted in many areas of the West and Southwest, and ...
By Paul Bianchina | Friday, May 9, 2008