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Pro Follow Articles


Every Pro-Follow is the result of shadowing an expert, general contractor on an actual job site. The years of experience in the field and tips they share are an invaluable resource for tackling home improvement projects, and some of our best Pro-Follows include How to Build a Deck and How to Build a Shed.

How to Install a Tile Floor (Complete Guide)
Ethan | November 27, 2013
How to Install a Tile Floor (Complete Guide)

This is a comprehensive guide for how to install a tile floor (ceramic or porcelain). Below you’ll find tutorials for every step of the process, with expert knowledge and tips from professional tile contractors. Read on for links to the individual articles and recommended tools for laying tile. We hope you enjoy the series! This series covers everything for installing a ceramic or porcelain tile floor, including leveling the floor, installing underlayment, marking guides, laying tile and grouting joints. Just... 

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Performing a Professional Home Energy Audit
Ethan | May 21, 2013
Performing a Professional Home Energy Audit

Recently a friend was having a professional home energy audit performed, and I asked to tag along. I was curious to learn what tools and techniques a professional uses to analyze the efficiency of a home. I also wanted to learn what actions an auditor would recommend. The audit was performed by James from Energy Services Group, a local business specializing in residential energy conservation since 1981. If you live in central Maryland, Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) is probably your energy provider. The state of Maryland requires... 

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How to Refinish Hardwood Floors
Ethan | May 7, 2013
How to Refinish Hardwood Floors

Welcome back to our latest Pro-Follow series focused on how to refinish hardwood floors. Refinishing a hardwood floor is a great way to bring new life to a floor that is showing too much wear and tear or if the finish is no longer protecting the floor. It’s also a necessary part of extending an existing hardwood floor like we showcase here. All of our Pro-Follow articles are the result of shadowing expert, professional contractors on actual job sites. There’s no better way to learn about home improvement than straight from... 

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Refinishing a Hardwood Floor, Part 2
Ethan | May 3, 2013

If you read my most recent Pro-Follow, you know that I’m working with a new-to-OPC hardwood flooring contractor named Danny Riter. Danny is the owner of Signature Hardwood Floors Inc., and he and his crew are in the process of refinishing an existing hardwood floor and extending it throughout the kitchen. You can read more about laying the new floor and weaving it in with the old here: Refinishing a Hardwood Floor, Part 1 What’s even more exciting than the new floor is seeing Danny and his crew refinish the existing hardwood... 

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Refinishing a Hardwood Floor, Part 1
Ethan | May 1, 2013
Refinishing a Hardwood Floor, Part 1

I’m excited to kick-off another Pro-Follow and to introduce you to a new pro named Danny Riter. Danny is a hardwood flooring contractor and owner of Signature Hardwood Floors Inc. Danny brings more than 20 years of experience in the industry, and he’s very knowledgable. I hope to bring you more Pro-Follows with Danny in the days to come. For this project, the homeowners have brought Danny in to replace a tile kitchen floor and refinish the existing hardwood floors to match. If your interested in learning more about installing... 

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Fred & Kim’s Basement Remodel, Flash an Existing Deck
Ethan | April 16, 2013
Fred & Kim’s Basement Remodel, Flash an Existing Deck

I’m back with another Pro-Follow update, and today’s article focuses on waterproofing a leaky deck ledger board. A few years ago, Fred and Kim had their small deck replaced with a much larger one. It’s a beautiful deck. Unfortunately, the contractor did not properly flash the ledger board, and Fred discovered a leak in the basement. If you’re a regular reader, you know that Fred and Kim have hired Joe Bianco to remodel the basement, and part of that remodel is to permanently address the leaky ledger board. When... 

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How to Grout a Tile Floor
Ethan | April 10, 2013
How to Grout a Tile Floor

Tile Subfloor, Thickness, Deflection Installing Electric Radiant Heat Pouring Self Leveling Mortar Leveling (Flattening) the Subfloor Installing Cement Board (CBU) Installing Schluter DITRA Marking Guidelines for Tile How to Lay Tile How to Grout Tile Joints Grouting tile joints is last step for installing a tile floor, and what better way to learn than from two seasoned, professional tile installers. Jim and Rich are the guys from Diamond Tile located here in Maryland, and each of them have... 

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How to Lay Tile
Ethan | April 5, 2013
How to Lay Tile

Tile Subfloor, Thickness, Deflection Installing Electric Radiant Heat Pouring Self Leveling Mortar Leveling (Flattening) the Subfloor Installing Cement Board (CBU) Installing Schluter DITRA Marking Guidelines for Tile How to Lay Tile How to Grout Tile Joints If you’re just joining us, we’ve been working through a series of articles all about installing a tile floor, and I’ve partnered Jim and Rich from Diamond Tile here in Maryland. Jim and Rich are expert tile contractors,... 

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How to Mark Guidelines for Installing Tile
Ethan | April 4, 2013
How to Mark Guidelines for Installing Tile

Tile Subfloor, Thickness, Deflection Installing Electric Radiant Heat Pouring Self Leveling Mortar Leveling (Flattening) the Subfloor Installing Cement Board (CBU) Installing Schluter DITRA Marking Guidelines for Tile How to Lay Tile How to Grout Tile Joints Welcome back to another Pro-Follow. I’ve been working with Jim and Rich from Diamond Tile as they tile Fred & Kim’s basement floor, and it’s been great to see how professional tile contractors tackle this job. The guys... 

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How to Install Cement Board (CBU) for Floor Tile
Ethan | March 29, 2013

Tile Subfloor, Thickness, Deflection Installing Electric Radiant Heat Pouring Self Leveling Mortar Leveling (Flattening) the Subfloor Installing Cement Board (CBU) Installing Schluter DITRA Marking Guidelines for Tile How to Lay Tile How to Grout Tile Joints Cement board replaces the old plaster and lathe underlayment for tile. It’s a lot easier to work with preformed cement board rather than laying a bed of mortar on the job site, and it still carries the same great qualities. Cement board... 

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