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April 20, 2010 AsktheBuilder News And Tips

What's in This Issue?

Latest News
Campbell Hausfeld Pressure Washer
Painting a Tile Backsplash
Humorous & Embarrassing Home-Improvement Moments
Stains on Siding from Nails
Grumblings About Sales
Applications for Smart Phones
Latest Columns

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Latest News

I've been on the road the past two weeks. It was a combination business/pleasure trip. The first week I spent with two great friends, Steve and Rusty, as we drove from Los Angeles, CA to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and then on to Albuquerque, NM. Steve, Rusty and I are members of a secret Internet entrepreneur group that meets twice a year. Our Spring meeting this year was at the Hyatt Tamaya Resort in Albuquerque, NM.

We also stopped and hiked through a slot canyon near the Glen Canyon Dam that forms Lake Powell. It was the Lower Antelope Slot Canyon near Page, AZ. The slot canyon was absolutely amazing. Here are links to a few Google Picasa photo albums of the first five days of the trip. Thanks Google for this great service!

But one of the best highlights of the entire trip happened this past Saturday at the end of the trip. You know that old saying, "Save the best for last." I did just that by planning a visit with one of my oldest subscribers, Ms. Patricia Allen. What I mean by oldest is the length of time Pat has been a subscriber. We tried to set the exact date, but couldn't. However, we know for a fact that Pat subscribed around 1998 or possibly 1997. That's just after I started this newsletter.

I truly enjoy visiting subscribers and try to go out of my way to have these meetings. Thanks Pat for allowing me to spend the afternoon and evening with you! My friend Rusty and his wife Ann were also at dinner with us.

Campbell Hausfeld Pressure Washer

A month ago I got to test a wonderful pressure washer made by Campbell Hausfeld. It was model opens in a new windowPW2770. I found it easy to use and it started with ease. I did have to fill the engine with oil before I started it, but that was no big deal. Be sure you always check the oil level before you start any equipment that has an engine.

The machine comes with five different tips from 0 degrees all the way up to 40 degrees. It produced 2,750 PSI of pressure which can really blast away algae and dirt from masonry surfaces. I used the machine to clean my brick patios. I loved the easy way to connect the hose to the machine as well as the cleaning wand.

My only complaint was the design of the handle. It seems to me that it was on the wrong side of the machine. To move the pressure washer from point to point, you have to lift up on the handle like a wheelbarrow. I found that to be very awkward. I tested another Campbell Hausfeld pressure washer a few years back, and the handle design was completely opposite. You just had to tilt the handle back like a two-wheeled hand cart to move the machine. I found that older design much more user friendly.

All in all, I give this pressure washer two hammers up! It's a great buy and well made.

Painting a Tile Backsplash

Nicole from Teaneck, NJ emailed me asking:

"I would like to paint over the ceramic tile that makes up my kitchen back splash. The previous owners never grouted the tile so I'm wondering if I should apply the grout before I paint the tiles or after? I'd like to apply it after so I don't have to worry about painting the grout lines separately but I'm not sure if the process will scratch the newly applied paint. Please help. Thanks!"

Nicole, I would paint the tile first then grout it. Paint is very soft, especially if it's not cured. To protect the paint from the grouting process, I would apply two or three coats of water-based clear urethane before grouting. Allow the paint to dry for three days before you apply the first coat of urethane. Then allow the urethane to cure for at least a week before grouting. If you scratch the urethane while grouting, you should be able to touch it up with a small brush and not see the scuff mark.

Humorous and Embarrassing Home-Improvement Moments

I'm starting a new project. I want to collect hundreds or thousands of funny and embarrassing home-improvement moments. I don't know about you, but with the stress of everyday life getting worse, I feel we need more laughter each week. I'll share one of these stories each week with you in this newsletter and package all of them to share in different volumes as time goes on. I can't do this alone! I need your stories. opens in a new windowSubmit one here.

I'll start it off with this true story. Yes, even I have had my share of embarrassing moments.

When I first started my tiny remodeling company just after getting out of college in 1974, I was hired to do my first crown molding job in a tiny breakfast nook. How hard could that be I thought. It was obvious that you just cut the wood trim at 45-degree angles and nail it up.

Well, no matter how I put it in the saw and cut it at a 45-degree angle, the gaps where two pieces met in a corner were so big you could taxi a 747 jet airliner through them. Here's a photo of what one of the joints looked like. Ugh!! (Note: Photo to come. Link not available.)

After two hours of frustration, the woman who hired me politely asked me to pack up my tools and go home. I was mortified. Instead of going home with my tail between my legs, I went directly to the public library. In about ten minutes, I discovered exactly what I was doing wrong.

That event was the seed from which my opens in a new windowCrown Molding Ebook grew, as I knew other people would make the same mistake I made that morning.

I would be honored if you would send me your stories of your embarrassing or funny moments. All I need is the story, but if you also have photographs of these funny or embarrassing situations, that's all the better! opens in a new windowShare your story and any photos or videos. Thanks!

Stains on Siding From Nails

Speaking of photographs, I recently solved a problem for a visitor to my website in about five seconds. I was able to do this because he sent me a close-up photo of stains on his wood siding. This gentleman thought the stains were from the caulk or spackle used to cover the nails.

The photos clearly showed the stains were caused by rusting nails. If you want to use the best nails for exterior siding, invest in stainless steel nails. At the very least, use double hot-dipped hot galvanized nails. Here are links to a few past columns where I discuss the difference between galvanized and stainless-steel nails.

Grumblings About Sales

Over the past two weeks, I received several gripes about the extra emails I've been sending concerning the checklist sales and Stain Solver sales. While at my secret conference, I discovered one of my very close friends wrote a column at his website to explain why he has ads and such on his site and newsletter. It was one of those V8 moments, and I slapped myself on the head. Duh! So I opens in a new windowwrote this column answering Dan, one of my subscribers. I'd be very interested in your feedback.

Before you respond, know that there were a grand total of four complaints about the excessive emails and there were thousands of people who took advantage of the promotions. If you want to know my opinion, that tells me all I need to know.

Applications for Smart Phones

Last week I received an email from Marvin Windows about their new application for iPhones. It's called Window Shopping. Here's what it said in their press release about the software:

The Window Shopping app is a tool to help homeowners plan basic designs for windows and doors, inside and outside the house. After taking a photo of an interior or exterior space that could use an upgrade, the app user can choose from nearly 50 resizable photos of Marvin windows and doors, arrange them over the photo, and save or send the photo to share with friends, family or a local Marvin dealer.

I downloaded it with ease on my iPhone. But I was in a hotel room in Phoenix and not able to aim it at one of my house windows.

Speaking of apps, I'm getting ready to develop some AsktheBuilder ones. Once again I could use your help. What applications for your phone would be helpful? Let me know.

Latest Columns

You may have some questions about opens in a new windowWindow Coverings. This column may help you.

Can you imagine opening a tub of premixed sanded grout? That's opens in a new windowUrethane Grout!



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