You’re about to remodel, renovate, fix up, DIY or call a pro, and you’ve got questions! Get answers from design-build expert Mason Hearn, owner of Central Virginia’s HomeMasons.
Category >> DIY

Jan 05

Fun with Refinishing Cabinets

Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: kitchens, DIY

  Dear Mason,

I am updating my kitchen, but want to avoid replacing the cabinets for cost reasons.  The present cabinets are in pretty good shape, but I don't like the appearance.  They're 1960's or 70's knotty pine.  I would like to paint them white.

One painter that we had look at the job told me that the paint might not stick to the old cabinets and that the knots will show through the paint job.  I have heard of painting old wood cabinets before; how should it be correctly done?

Debbie K.  Madison, WI



Cabinet refurbishment often includes partial replacement with factory-finished doors

Sep 02

Barnwood Restoration

Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: repairs, renovation, preservation, millwork, kitchens, DIY

Question for Mason:

We are finally after 4 years re insulating our kitchen walls. The drywall has been removed as well as a layer of old barnboards.  We have reinsulated and the vapor barrier is in place.  I like the idea of putting the barnboards back and having a rustic looking kitchen wall.  My question is how would you refinish barnboard? (this board is really old and has a rough dark colour to it).  And what would I use to fill the gaps between boards? 

-Tracy H



Wow!  This sounds like an exciting project with the prospect of adding a very unique finish to your kitchen walls.  I love

Aug 11

Recycling Cedar for Flooring

Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: renovation, hardwood, green, floors, DIY

We are buying a 1922 stick built home.  In the back two bedrooms the walls are tongue and groove cedar planks.  My question is if we can remove the planks and reuse them as flooring else where in the house??
Thank you



I certainly encourage all forms of recycling.  We should strive to make the most of our limited resources, and avoid waste wherever we can.

Generally, the most common forms of cedar, such as Eastern Red Cedar, may be used as flooring material.  Its color variation and grain patterns make it an interesting finish choice.

You should consider a few things regarding such

May 05

Kitchen Flooring - Stick a Cork in It!

Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: value, renovation, remodeling, kitchens, green, floors, DIY


Would you recommend cork flooring for a kitchen?

Brenda G. Dallas, TX

Dang, Brenda, I didn’t know our blog went all the way to the Lone Star State! Welcome, and know that I love your question!

There are SO many choices for flooring these days. Kitchens, obviously, have some very special needs in terms of durability, maintenance, clean-up, comfort, and of course, STYLE! The “best” floor for your kitchen should be based on which of these considerations you personally find most important. Porcelain tile is durable and sanitary, but not so comfortable for long periods of standing. Wood is

May 04


Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: DIY

So last Saturday... I find myself flat on my back in the yard, seeing stars like Wiley Coyote.  Trusty (Acme) power washer overturned by my side.

The remainder of the week, I sported a most-impressive shiner.  I made up as many stories responding-to the "how and why" as there were inquiries; but suffice to say, it was indeed a badge of DIY ummm... haste and stupidity.

Think Safety, intrepid DIYers.  And thank you, gods of Home Improvement, that it wasn't my new chainsaw!

If any of our readers have interesting DIY "war stories", I encourage you to post comments

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