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.

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

Jul 25

Is it a Leaky Shower or Centerpiece-Watering Opportunity?

Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: repairs, handyman, contractors, bathrooms


It appears that we have a leak from an upstairs shower, right over our dining room table below. Is this a job for a plumber or a handyman service, or what?

Bob S., Glen Allen, VA


Most know that the works of Frank Lloyd Wright were fraught with technical problems.  I recall the story of an angry letter from Edgar Kaufmann (owner of the famous Fallingwater house) to Mr. Wright, complaining of a roof leak over his dining room table.  Wright's flip response:  "What a perfect place for a bowl!".

Seriously, though, let's first get familiar with the particulars of your shower, toward

Jul 21

Safe Fireplaces

Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: select contractor, repairs


My family is purchasing a 1950's home, and our home inspector noted a concern about the poor condition of the "caps" on the chimneys, as well as some of the bricks and mortar directly below.  He could not inspect the entire inside of the chimney (although he did note alot of creosote inside, when he opened the damper at the fireplaces).  The seller is having a masonry contractor come out for another look.  How concerned should we be?

Assuming that we might be concerned, I have seen stainless chimney liners advertised and at home shows.  Is this a good solution?

Jim L, Cleveland, OH




Jul 18

Porch on Piers Better than a Porsche with Beers

Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: design, decks


I just purchased a home in the Bon Air area.  It has a nice screened porch on the back which I simply love.  My only concern is that it is built on piers.  It appears to be structurally sound but it concerns me that it does not have a complete-solid foundation.  Am I over-reacting or is this something I should be concerned about? 

- BP, Chesterfield, VA 


Congratulations on your new home!  It is so exciting to make a move!

One question:  When you refer-to "piers", are you talking about something like pressure-treated 4x4's? 



No-they are brick piers.  B


Dear BP:

There is nothing

Jul 18

Earth-Friendly Systems Sources

Posted by C. Mason Hearn | Tags: select contractor, renovation, remodeling, HVAC, green, contractors


We are remodeling a home in Midlothian and we are trying to come up with very efficient and eco-friendly technology to integrate into the home including, solar panels, radiant heating, water recycling, geo thermal heating, heat recovery systems and smart technology.

 Is there anyone out there selling these services in Central Virginia for one stop shopping that could provide a plan to achieve the highest efficiencies based on what is available.  We moved from England and it is much easier to find these services in London as they seem to be further advanced in eco-technology. 

 Let me

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