Washington, DC


Photo by PoPville flickr user Chabelamarie

“Dear PoPville,

This is our first D.C. summer with a backyard/patio on Capitol Hill. We love our small yard, but as the weather warmed up, so did the pests. Lately, we’ve been dealing with an insane number of cockroaches (both German and American) that come out at night. We’ve put out roach motels, which fill up every night, but it obviously doesn’t address the problem. Read More

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“Dear PoPville,

We are moving back into our 1914 rowhouse after a few years of tenants and want to take this opportunity to do some restoration of our beautiful cherry-inlaid parquet floors. We have some damaged boards right where the parquet pattern is that pre-date our ownership that we would like to replace, places that are worn with little or no poly left, and wear patterns to address. We have received conflicting advice on how to proceed, ranging from Read More

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Photo by PoPville flickr user John Sonderman

“Dear PoPville,

My husband and I bought a 1918 rowhouse last year, which still has the original galvanized steel (not lead) water main. Over time, galvanized steel pipes corrode and weaken, so we need to replace the line before a leak springs.

The public water main on our street has already been replaced with copper by DC Water–good news, except it means we no longer have the option to buy into DC Water’s pipe replacement program.

We’re looking for recommendations for good and reasonable plumbers/contractors to replace a private side water line, outside of DC Water’s program. Thanks!”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

“Dear PoPville,

I am the association president of a small condo building in DC. Our condo building is new construction, and the first unit was purchased in March 2017. I’ve heard that we should get a professional study done before the two-year warranty period is over to see if there are any structural defects that the developer should be responsible for repairing – but I am having trouble finding information on companies that perform these studies.

Any recommendations? Should we be looking for a structural engineer? A home inspector? Any and all advice appreciated!”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Ketzirah Lesser & Art Drauglis

“Dear PoPville,

I want to do a major yard overhaul – redoing the parking pad, walkways, front steps, putting in a retaining wall, replacing sad patchy grass with low-maintenance ground-cover plants. But I don’t even know where to start. I think I’ll need a hardscaping contractor and a landscape architect? Who do I call first? Or would one company do both services? If I have two parties, how do I manage the budget? For example, if I have a landscape architect do the design work, but then hardscaping contractors give me quotes that are way too high, will I need to pay the landscape architect all over again?

If anyone has done a similar project, how much did it cost? My yard’s not big (lot size is just under 4000 sq ft), but it’s a lot of work.

I’d also love any recommendations.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user John Cochran

“Dear PoPville,

We just bought a 1920s rowhouse in Petworth/16th St Heights that still has a lot of its original character – including its internal walls, hallelujah! The previous homeowner lived there for almost 40 years and, while it has been lovingly maintained, it hasn’t really been updated or modernized except that at some point the sleeping porches on the back on both floors were enclosed. We’re interested in re-doing those enclosures properly, including adding a full bath to the top floor, a half-bath to the ground floor, and fully enclosing the basement space underneath the sleeping porches (which was never done) to make a laundry room.

We’d love referrals for design/build firms, architects, and/or general contractors you’d recommend who will respect the historic character of the home. Most of the renovations we’ve seen in person or found via google are in flipped houses, and we absolutely do not want to create a totally open-plan ground floor! If you’ve done something similar to what we’re hoping to do or have any suggestions for professionals to contact, we’d appreciate hearing from you!”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user echaik

“Dear PoPville,

Does anyone know of any company that repairs or replaces gas lamps? My parent’s house in VA has a gas lamp at the front steps. My contractor said the mantles (the part that glows with gas flow, shaped like a light bulb) need to be replaced. But you have to turn off the gas first. Gas company said the lamp is not metered, so they do not service it. I said I can smell the gas flowing, very faintly, if you stand next to the lamp, since the gas is not being used to light the mantles, they said they will not shut off the gas. I can’t find the shut off on or near the lamp itself, the screw on the side which is supposed to control the gas flow doesn’t seem to do anything. Lighting shops say they only deal with electric lights, not gas.

The lamp seemed to be running fine for many years, it provides good light on the front steps. I think due to age the mantles just disintegrated. Would be great to be able to fix it somehow.”

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