May 15, 2012 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips
This past weekend Mother Nature treated the Northeast to some delightful spring weather. Saturday and Sunday were spectacular, with Saturday one of those stunning clear days. We get fall in reverse up here.
Right now all the deciduous trees that are crimson, orange, yellow, etc. in the fall are various shades of green. The picture below does not do it justice. I should have taken the photo on Saturday when there was less haze. It's stunning to see in person.
Next weekend, I'll be volunteering for another worthy cause - The Seacoast Bike Tour. It's a two-day event put on by the Breathe New Hampshire organization. I'll be one of several ham radio operators providing communications between Portsmouth, NH and Ogunquit, ME.
We're needed all along the course in case bikers get hurt, need repairs or get lost. I'll be staying overnight in Ogunquit, ME, if you want to do a dinner meet up this Saturday. Email me and let me know. 73s to all you hams out there. W3ATB clear on your final.
100+ Step-by-Step Shed Building Videos
Would you like your own DIY dream shed? Of course you do! Would you like:
- to watch a FUNNY video of me including bloopers?
- to be part of the process creating 100 or more videos?
- to get some AsktheBuilder.com swag?
- to help me help thousands of other homeowners fulfill their shed-building dreams?
I thought so. Please click here, watch the video, read the product description and above all else pledge so we can reach the goal!
Take a SERIOUS LOOK at the $30 pledge. I doubt that you'll ever see me again give you an eBook that has tips, photos and multiple videos for only $1 each. When the finished eBooks are loaded to my shopping cart, they will be priced at $7 each. Only 300 people get the video series at this massive discount price. You'll regret not being one of those 300 people.
^ ^ ^ Go Back Up Now ^ ^ ^ Re-read the above paragraph. I'm not kidding. Read it three times if you have to.
If you have questions about this project, click Reply and ask me.
Quick Deck-Building Tips
Are you going to build a deck soon? Here are some important tips.
If you're going to attach the ledger board to the house, do it with through bolts not lag bolts. Through bolts have a washer and a nut on the one side. Lag bolts can and do fail all the time.
In case you attach the ledger board in direct contact with the house, be sure to install flashing over the top and partially down the face of the ledger so water can't get behind the board. The flashing needs to be behind the siding or trim above it.
Finally, do not install the decking tight to the house. Leave a 2-inch gap so water can flow readily to the ground below past the front of the ledger board. This gap will not be an issue because your feet are never ever that close to the wall. You can close up this gap making it about 1-inch where a doorway opens to the deck.
Your Newsletter Suggestions
You might be one of the subscribers that sends in very helpful suggestions each week. I read each one and appreciate them all. One suggestion that keeps coming up, but I've resisted implementing, is a simple button.
Connie finally convinced me to try it this past week when she emailed,
"Tim, you give us great information each week. I'd love to see special features in your newsletter, and some of your subscribers like me would like to give back since you give to us. I've emailed you several times suggesting you solicit donations, but you keep saying 'No'. Personally, I want more product and tool reviews. If you get enough donations each week, maybe you can use it to hire another writer or tool tester to help you."
DUH!!!! Connie's comment was one of those V-8 forehead slap moments. I strive to create a great newsletter, and I'd like to do more tool and product reviews, but I've just not had the resources. Most of all, I've resisted soliciting donations for all sorts of reasons.
Perhaps it's time to see if Connie is correct. Do you want more tool and product reviews or something else in the newsletter? I've got a young carpenter that's a great writer and wanting to work for me. If you contribute just a small amount of money each week or month, I could use it to give you more of what you want.
Nothing would make me happier growing the AsktheBuilder.com team to give you even BETTER information each week. Plus, I like being a job creator. We need more jobs right now!
Tool Reviews in the Queue
Connie's right, I sure want to do more tool reviews. In fact, I have two tools here now waiting for me to start testing. One is the RotoZip 5.5 amp RotoSaw. It's the Original Spiral Saw. Think of it as a hand-held tiny router that has special drill bits that have cutting edges on the SIDES of the bits.
Several days ago, I received two Ryobi ProTip Spray Painting tools. One is an 18-volt cordless tool and the other one is a corded tool. Both have great soft-sided carrying cases and lots of features. I just glanced at the reviews for this sprayer at Amazon.com, and unfortunately most of them are not 5 stars. We'll see what happens in my test.
What other tools do you want me to test? Is it a Milwaukee or Bosch power tool? I've been invited to their annual editors conferences that happen one month from this week. Tell me what you want me to look at.
Tip of the Week - Fast and Easy Flagstone Patio
Do you want to create a patio that's immune to the worst Mother Nature can dish out? Try as she may, she can't wear away flagstone quickly. Flagstone is a dense stone that usually has lots of quartz in it. Quartz is a primary mineral found in granite - need I say more?
Read this past column of mine to see how to create a patio in a day or two with a little help!
Concrete Pier Design
Are you building a deck or any other structure that needs a pier foundation? Would you like your concrete slab that's in a cold climate to be immune from frost heaving? If so, you need to read about how to properly build concrete piers that will not lift up out of the ground.
I'm using a plastic form like this for the concrete piers for my shed. You'll discover all about them in the recent column I wrote about this innovative product. This is a real time saver on the jobsite and it's perfect for you if you've never installed a concrete pier before.
If you try to do it the old way, you'll struggle for sure. This form makes it so easy. Read my concrete pier design column for all the sweet tips to help you get it done right!
How to Grout Ceramic Floor Tile
The first week of February, I uploaded How to Grout Ceramic Floor Tile to the Amazon Kindle store. I gave them a 90-day exclusive on it. Now I'm allowed to sell it from my own store as an Instant Download PDF file. It contains tips, photos and four step-by-step videos showing you how to grout ceramic floor tile.
If you're planning on installing ceramic floor tile, you really need this eBook. If you mess up the grout, you'll have a nightmare on your hands.
Cleaning Tip of the Week - Cleaning Patios
You may not own a pressure washer but need to clean a patio. Oxygen bleach does a great job, and it won't harm any plants nearby.