August 24, 2008 AsktheBuilder News
What's in This Issue
In the last opens in a new windownewsletter, I had a contest to give away 5 DVDs. The challenge was to tell me what my first job was. Five subscribers had the correct answer to me within 25 minutes of me hitting the Send button in my newsletter software. To put that into perspective, it can take up to ten minutes or more to blast out the newsletter to the tens of thousands of people on the list.
Then keep in mind you have to read the newsletter, and then go hunt for the answer. The article about the DVD giveaway was not a top article, but it was mentioned in the What's in This Issue. So congrats to: Marcia, Robert, Billy, Doug and Chuck.
The correct answer was I collected paper-route money for the Cincinnati Enquirer. I was eight-years old at the time. Two years later, I got my own paper route delivering the seven-star edition of the Cincinnati Post and Times Star. That was the afternoon paper as the Enquirer is still the morning paper, well at least for the next few years. My prediction is that the Enquirer, and many daily newspapers, will fail very soon. In my opinion, the newspaper industry is on life support, and some who work within it are in denial. That is a subject for another day!
On Friday, Mikey, a pro from the East Coast, finished installing a specific gutter guard on my house here in Cincinnati. Kathy wanted the roof to be problem-free for the next two years while I am in NH and she is here holding down the fort while our youngest finishes high school.
I have been testing all sorts of gutter guards for years. There are multiple columns at my website about them. Just type opens in a new windowGutter Guard into my search engine. Virtually every one I tested failed over time, especially in the spring of the year. But within the past 21 months, I discovered at least two that held promise.
I tested these two side-by-side on my garage under the same tree. One of the gutter guards passed with flying colors. That is the one I decided to install on my home.
Three days ago, I shot a video showing the two gutter guards so you can see what I saw up on the roof. The results are crystal clear. The video will be ready for you to view in the next few weeks. I will reveal the name of the gutter guard I chose, and how to get it at that time. So relax for now and please restrain yourself from emailing me about the name. I ask for you to be patient for another few weeks. You will have plenty of time to order this fantastic gutter guard and install it before the leaves fall this season.
Several Months Into the Test
The video below is what my garage roof looked like after months of testing. It's very obvious that the way the gutter guard is installed makes a very big difference:
As you might imagine, I am approached on a regular basis by manufacturers to review and test their products. In fact, overnight I got an email from yet another gutter-guard manufacturer.
LED technology has overtaken the flashlight industry over the past few years. These electronic marvels are great as they use less electricity and there is no filament to break as you would find in a traditional light bulb.
I was sent a Duracell Daylite LED flashlight that uses two AA batteries. It is perfect for a backpack as it is just under 6 inches long. I liked everything about it but the focusing lens. I tested this in complete darkness in my basement. When you rotate the lens, the outer ring of light stays the same and the inner cone of light does get a little tighter. It didn't perform like I thought it would.
All in all it is not a bad product. But if you are looking for a flashlight that delivers a really tightly focused beam, this is not it. I am sure this flashlight will work well for me at night as I go for a walk and come up from the dock down by the lake. One thing I really liked was the on and off switch. It's located in the base of the handle.
On Monday August 25th, I will be driving with my son Tristan to New Hampshire. I was up there exactly a month ago moving into a house on the shore of Lake Winnisquam. This house is my abode for the next two years, and it will become the permanent world headquarters of AsktheBuilder.com.
My oldest daughter Meghan of opens in a new windowwww.AsktheDecorator.com fame has been living in the house since we closed a month ago. After the closing and move in, I had to scoot back to Cincinnati to relocate the Stain Solver business into its new warehouse. Wow, did that take longer than I thought. Of course, I'd never relocated a business, so I had no base line to go on.
Tristan starts school up in Burlington, VT at Champlain College in a few days, so he and I are headed up to get him settled. The point is I will soon be a Yankee as my realtor friend Fred Hoffmeister says! I am looking forward to it, and hope that you and I can cross paths if you live nearby. Let's plan on getting together for a cup of bean juice one morning.
Janice Kolesar, who lives about 40 miles north of New York City, asked me how in the world does one get the glue used to put down linoleum and vinyl tiles off hardwood flooring without ruining the hardwood.
The answer is simple. You use an adhesive remover. These products are nearly identical to paint strippers as paint is simply a form of glue or adhesive. The other method is to just sand off the glue with a drum sander. You need to be careful though in case the glue has asbestos in it. That can be determined by sending a small sample of the glue to a testing lab.
Odds are Janice is removing the vinyl flooring to revive the hardwood. If so, sanding is probably the best bet since it will be a needed step to bring the wood floor back to its original beauty.
Last week, I said I would continue the discussion about how to pay contractors. Perhaps the best way to get a discussion going is to list several of my past columns where I share stories and tips.
One thing is certain: You must never let a contractor allow you to be upside down on a job. This happens when there is more work to be completed than there is money to pay for it. Rest assured tens of thousands of homeowners have been bamboozled by this common scam.
Read these past columns and feel free to leave comments and stories at the bottom of each if you have something to share that could help someone:
Do you have a concrete sidewalk or driveway where the surface is falling apart? A opens in a new windowconcrete overlay can give it new life. This method works in all climates.
Have you dreamed of opens in a new windowframing your own home? Nicole did and it's about to become a reality. Discover what Nicole is about to experience.
Have you put off opens in a new windowpainting your house? This video may help!
Index of past newsletters.