October 10, 2012 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips
This is going to be a fairly short newsletter because I got some expected, but bad news yesterday. A very close childhood friend of mine, Mike Wilson, had to be sent back to Heaven early yesterday morning. I've spent the last 24 hours in a semi-fog flooded with a mixture of great sadness, fond memories of us in our younger days and reflecting on my own mortality. Mike was one year older than me, but way too young to check out.
Here's a photo of Mike and me taken back in 1971 or 1972. He's got his arm on my shoulder. We were bursting full of testosterone that day!
Eleven months ago, he was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. It's a very long story, but his oncologist believes his disease was directly related to his prostate cancer struggle from eight years ago. If I have the story right, he was getting regular scans after his prostate treatment, but the person reading the scans six or seven years ago *missed* the onset of the new colon cancer.
Bottom Line: If you or a loved one is undergoing follow-up scans for cancer treatments, *always* get a second opinion on the scans. I'm no doctor and I'm most definitely not a image expert, but I might not be typing all this right now if Mike had thought to not put all his eggs in one basket. Rest in Peace Mike. You'll be sorely missed.
I want to thank you in advance if you reply to me with condolences. I'll not be able to reply to you individually as I'm in a horrible rush to get things done in advance of my trip to his memorial service.
Fantastic DIY Gutter Guards
Over ten years ago I started a quest to locate the best gutter guard. I've tested just about every gutter guard known to man in the past fifteen years. For years and years all the gutter guards I tested FAILED.
They never failed in the fall, as they all did a marvelous job of keeping leaves from the gutters. They failed over the winter and in the spring when either the gutter guard got clogged over time with tiny organic debris, or the guards would allow tiny debris to get into the gutter.
One day while cruising the aisles at the National Builders Show, I saw a fascinating gutter guard. I turned around and walked back to the booth. What I saw was an amazing technology that I knew was the Holy Grail of Gutter Guards. This product had a stainless-steel micro-mesh screen that reminded me of Kathy's pantyhose. You know how tightly knit the nylon is in panty hose!
I knew immediately that no debris would get into the gutter. I started to test the different brands of the micro mesh and even got to meet Alex, the inventor of the micro-mesh gutter guard technology. In a side-by-side test of the two leading micro-mesh products years ago, I discovered that MasterShield was the better product in *my* opinion in a real-world real-conditions test at my home.
Looking at the micro-mesh gutter guard I like, you'd swear that water would just run over the top and onto the ground as it seemed impossible for water to pass through the tightly woven mesh. But Alex devised a way for water to actually be pulled through the tiny spaces between the threads of stainless steel!
Realize that not all micro-mesh gutter guard products are the same. Some of the impostors out there can't handle large volumes of water. In heavy rains, water can run across the inferior products. Some fail after a few years because the micro mesh gets fouled by the oil leaching from the asphalt shingles. In torrential downpours at my house, the water never ran over the gutter guards onto the ground.
My biggest beef with the Mastershield product was you could not buy it as a DIY product. You had to have it dealer installed. I begged the owners of Mastershield to come up with a DIY product as tens of thousands of people would want to install it themselves.
Please understand that my interest in gutter guards was based on the 300+ feet of gutter I had at my last home. It was a nightmare cleaning the gutters multiple times a year. I had to have a product that worked well and needed no ongoing maintenance.
Fast forward several years and I'm bursting with excitement that you can now buy a new DIY version of the amazing micro-mesh gutter guard! It's designed by the original patent holder for this technology! Alex and his team, after years of me pestering them, have announced a DIY micro-mesh gutter guard called Clean Gutter.
You've got plenty of time to get this product installed before the snow flies at your house. Clean out your gutters perfectly one last time as soon as most of the leaves fall at your house, and then install the Clean Gutter guards. It should be the last time you have to deal with your gutters! Go ahead and order some now.
If you do decide to purchase these affordable DIY gutter guards, you need to know that I get a very small commission. But as with all situations like this, I only do this with products I own or use on my own home. If a product passes that ultimate test, you know it'll work well for you too. Let me know what you think after you get it installed! If you don't want to install it yourself, a local handyman can do it easily for you.
Tip of the Week - Getting the BEST New or Replacement Windows or Doors
Years ago, while doing research about windows and doors, I discovered a well-kept secret about how to find the best ones. As you well know, the people selling windows or doors try to play Jedi mind tricks on you with fancy talk and features trying to convince you they have the best products.
Guess what? What if I told you that an independent association with the highest integrity can point you to the best windows and doors? I'm not talking the folks at that magazine that begins with a "C". They don't even come close to what I'm talking about.
I talk in great detail about this mystical association in a video I just taped. The link to it is at the end of this column. You MUST watch this video, but for now continue to read the rest of my story.
I guarantee you'll be amazed at what you discover. My guess is you'll head off to two websites after you watch the video: AsktheBuilder.com to read more about AAMA (the mystical association) and Simonton.com (see below).
I built my shed this summer and wanted two windows in it to provide a view to the lake, fresh air and lots of daylight. Energy efficiency and quality construction were of paramount importance to me too.
I chose to use Simonton windows because they sport the exclusive gold AAMA label. Just a handful of window and door products have passed the rigorous testing standards that allow them to display the prestigious gold label. You'll see the actual label in the video below.
Realize that Simonton makes windows for both new construction and replacement. If you're in need of new windows, take a hard look at Simonton.
Simonton was a sponsor to my shed project, but I only chose to use their product at my own home because I feel you can't beat their quality. Evidently AAMA feels the same way since they allow their gold label to be place on the windows!
Watch this video. It'll all make sense.