February 14, 2012 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips
What's in This Newsletter?
Tip of the Week
US Government and Your Home
Video of the Week
Q&A of the Week
A week from today I'll be leaving New Hampshire and driving south to Savannah, GA, for a secret Internet entrepreneur conference. It should be a great time.
I like to drive and am getting my truck ready with a custom-made wood console that will hold my ham radio controls, my cell phone that navigates for me, and some other electronic devices. When I get it done I'll take a photo of it in use. You may like to see it.
Are you an ice skater or hockey player? If so, you should be here at my house. The lake is one giant ice skating rink. If you were here now you could easily skate miles and miles on smooth glassy ice.
This is the view looking southeast from where my dock would be in the water. It was just over my head, raised like a drawbridge, when I took the photo. You need to take docks out of the water up here or else the ice will trash them. The other option is to install a bubbler that agitates the water, preventing it from freezing. Those consume energy all winter, so I'd just rather crank mine up in the air.
You're looking over at Gunstock Mountain in the distance. If you had one of those ice-sailing boats up here today, you'd be flying down and across the lake. I know my good friend Roger wishes he were up here with one of those ice boats. A nice stiff wind was blowing when I took this photo. I'd estimate the ice to be at least a foot thick right now.
I know you've probably purchased one of my project checklists. Why? Because when we had the sale of the huge combo pack in the fall, thousands were sold.
I've now renamed them to what I should have been calling them all along.
If you've purchased one of them, would you be kind enough to write back ASAP telling me how it:
- helped relieve anxiety
- allowed you to discover the pro contractor quickly
- helped save you from getting ripped off
- helped save you time and money
Just tell me in your own words so I can share your feelings with others who need help hiring contractors. When you reply, please change the subject line to: Checklist Testimonial
Do you have a hardwood floor or a laminate floor? I've got both in my home.
Have you seen those advertisements lately on TV about the wonderful sweepers that also steam your floor at the same time?
Well guess what? Steam and wood go together like oil and water or a square peg in a round hole.
The last thing you want to do is inject water vapor - that condenses into liquid water - into a wood floor or the wood-fiber core of a laminate floor.
Pricey high-end custom room designs have always been out of reach for all us normal folk. But not anymore. You can still hire an expensive designer if you want, or you can give Meghan, my daughter, a shot at creating the room or design that best suits your taste and lifestyle.
Nine months ago she published her first book, The Meghan Method, that talks all about how to extract the design you love out of your brain.
If you want Meghan's help doing just that, she's launching a new e-decorating service where she'll custom design the room, rooms, or entire house of your dreams for you.
It's affordable and available to you no matter where you live. Next week she'll be announcing a special offer on this new service right here in my newsletter. Are you interested in this? Then you better open up next week's newsletter!
How would you like to win a deluxe Powermatic Band Saw or Drill Press? I know I would! These are amazing machines that should be a part of any garage workshop, or a larger workshop that might be in a shed or basement.
These two tools are top-of-the-line. The total retail value of them is over $2,800. If you want to see these tools, just click here. You don't have to be registered on Facebook to SEE the tools.
But to enter the contest, you need to be on Facebook. This is one good reason to consider getting on Facebook.
WARNING: The following sentence/article could very well offend you. Do NOT read this if you love government regulations and how they protect and coddle you while you eat your fruit roll up and drink from your juice box.
I'm serious. Pass over this now so we remain friends. Proceed to the Video of the Week below.
Do you have a home that was built prior to 1978? If so, there's a good chance it could have lead paint on the inside or outside.
Guess what? Your government has put into play some costly lead abatement regulations that directly impact you, your wallet, and the value of your home.
Contractors that come to work on your home have to do all sorts of costly work if they want to comply with the law. You know who pays for that don't you? Why of course, you.
These new regulations are sinister because they're causing MANY residential contractors to opt out of the market with respect to working on older homes.
That has a secondary effect on the economic law of supply and demand. If there are fewer contractors who WILL work on these homes and lots of work is out there, then the price will rise.
Ouch, you get hurt again with higher-than-normal prices. Thanks EPA, thanks so much for your help. We just couldn't do it without you.
You don't believe me that contractors are opting out of working on older homes? Here's what Todd Fratzel, a NH contractor said, "We DO NOT bid jobs on houses older than 1978 anymore. Our insurance carrier and legal counsel talked us out of it."
There's an additional unintended consequence to these regulations. If you own a pre-1978 home buyers MAY avoid it because they become aware of these vicious regulations. The smaller the pool of buyers for a home means you get less money when you go to sell it.
I bring this up because I've seen an increase in regulations of all sorts that are nickel and diming you and me to death. Some are subtle and others are rancorous like this lead regulation.
If you're bothered by regulations like this, you can get them withdrawn. All you have to do is contact your US House Representatives and your US Senators. Tell them you're sick of the government telling you how to run your life.
Here's how this lead issue could have been solved. A vast majority of homes have loans that get sold in the secondary market that gets backing by Freddie and Fannie Mac. If you have a loan that meets those regs, then at the closing the loan officer has to read a 200-word statement out loud and hand you a pamphlet about lead. The pamphlet tells you that you SHOULD do X, Y and Z when disturbing lead paint.
You then sign a paper stating you understand lead dangers, got the pamphlet, and the lead issue is now your problem. You man up and take personal responsibility for the lead and its dangers. You then decide if you want to deal with the lead responsibly or roll the dice inside the walls of your home. You shouldn't be forced to do it.
What's next? Will the government tell you how hot your water can be so you don't scald yourself? Oh yes, we've had those controls on valves for years now.
Or perhaps the government will tell you how much water you can use. Ooooops, darn it. We've had those low-flow toilets that you often have to flush TWICE (earlier models still in use) and all those low-flow shower heads in our homes for years.
Maybe it will be the size of windows - after all, you don't want too much light to come into your house with all that harmful UV radiation in it.
Have you ever wondered how one cuts ceramic tile, granite, marble, slate, or porcelain tile? Now I'm not talking about using one of those snap cutters. I'm talking about a saw. You'll love this video.
DEAR TIM: I've always wanted a powered nail gun to do rough carpentry. I realize they're expensive, but I want to treat myself and I really feel I'll get value out of it for all the projects I've got in my future. What are the pros and cons of the different tools? There are air and gas-powered tools available. It can be pretty confusing. Do you use these tools? If so, do you have any tips to share? Brian S., Buffalo, NY
DEAR BRIAN: Oh, if I had a penny for every nail I've shot with my different framing nail guns I just might give Sir Richard Branson an offer to buy his Necker Island paradise! I can tell you...
Want to continue discovering all sorts of cool stuff about framing nail guns and how one kicked my butt off a ladder? CLICK HERE.
Don't forget - Do it Right, not Over,
Founder - AsktheBuilder.com