Q&A / 

January 15, 2013 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips

Spring housecleaning time is going to be here soon. Each day here above the equator there's more daylight, so you know it's coming.

If you live in the warm and balmy south, you may just about ready to do it. as the weather down there is springlike now!

I have to do the same spring cleaning with this email list. I have to remove people that are inactive because they cause my delivery rate to go down.

Can you do me a HUGE FAVOR? You need to show me that you still want to get the newsletter. You do that two ways:

1. When the newsletter comes, you need to open it up. Don't read it in a preview window in your email software. Open it.

2. I then need you each week to click at least ONE LINK in the newsletter. You can *trust* me. Every link in this newsletter is safe. They may look odd to you, but they're completely safe.

Let's start by clicking the link in the article just below about the pocket door contest, okay? You'll have a bunch of fun, I guarantee it!

P.S. Far below is an update on the Front Door Kickstarter project. I just added a NEW Reward! Wait till you see it!



What types of doors do you think can be pocket doors? Can you think of all the different types? My money says you can't.

But I'm going to do my best to show you many of them, and we'll have some fun while we're doing it. You could win some great loot if you enter my contest!

How would you like to WIN:

  • FREE access to all the DIY Shed videos
  • FREE access to all Front Door Install videos
  • Any five of my eBooks or Contractor Hiring Guides
  • Brand new lithium-ion cordless drill / driver
  • $25 Coupon for a Hertz Car Rental (don't ask me how I got this - long story)

Will you be the sleuthful subscriber that's going to win all of that? I hope so!

All you have to do is go to the LE Johnson single pocket door gallery and hunt for a specific photo in that gallery. I provide a link below to the gallery. Read the rest of the instructions first, though.

Once you locate a certain photo at the gallery, you have to answer two questions correctly. I'll pick a random winner from those that provide the correct answers. You have to get your correct answers to me by January 20, 2013, at midnight Eastern Time. Just reply to this email and change the Subject line to: LE Johnson!

I give you a clue so you can locate the right photo just below.

When you locate the right photo, you have to tell me two things:

What material makes up the center of the pocket door and what color is the pocket door handle?

Remember, to answer correctly, you have to be looking at the correct photo! The small image below is a small part of the photo you need to study at the LE Johnson Single Pocket Door Gallery.

Yes, I realize the image is tiny. I did that so you have to work a little bit! Go locate the photo at the gallery that has this in it:

Happy Hunting! and Good Luck to you!



I'll be in Las Vegas on February 4th on business. I can do a meet up that night. Reply to this email and tell me if you want to hang out for a couple of hours.


Patrick emailed me over the weekend after he read my Workmanship WARNING piece about the declining quality standard at Fine Homebuilding magazine.

He said, "Why don't you do a video on "How to properly flash a chimney?"

I replied back to Pat, "I may make one this year. I have to determine if there's a market for it. I'll publish your comment in Tuesday's newsletter and lets see how many respond."

So tell me, if I invested the time to create a detailed step-by-step series of videos on exactly how I flash a chimney, would you invest in them?

Do you want your chimney flashing to be leak-free for decades?

If you want me to tape a series of videos on how to properly flash and SOLDER a chimney, reply to this email and change the Subject Line to: Chimney Videos Please!



Do you have concrete at your home where the top layer has peeled or popped off? You could have this happen no matter where you live. Intense power washing can cause it to happen. Cold weather can also be the culprit.

Spalling or scaling most frequently happens where the concrete is exposed to snow and ice. Deicing salts often take the blame for the problem, when in fact it has nothing at all to do with salts you may broadcast on concrete.

The scaling or spalling of the top surface can almost always be traced to poor workmanship. In almost all cases water is to blame.

The workmen who installed the concrete might have added extra water inside the ready-mix truck. This is commonly done to make the concrete flow easier. Another mistake is to trowel bleed water back into the concrete. The finishers could have sprinkled water on top of the concrete as they finished it.

All of this added water dilutes the Portland cement in the top quarter inch of concrete. Portland cement is the glue that holds the rocks and sand together in the concrete mix. If you dilute it, the concrete can't resist the freeze-thaw events that happen when water soaks into the concrete.

Water expands as it freezes. Eventually the weakened concrete mix at the top fails when the growing ice blasts it apart.

Deicing salts tend to increase the frequency of freezing and thawing of water in concrete, so that's why they get the blame.

You can repair spalled concrete fairly easily by installing a thin concrete overlay. Would you like me to do a video series on that in the spring?



Jan Murphy, a subscriber to this newsletter and Stain Solver customer, wrote to me this weekend:

"I'm sending you an unsolicited 'plug' for Stain Solver. I don't recall you commenting on this, but it's a great deodorizer. I have a 15-year-old coonhound who's absolutely the sweetest thing on four legs. As you can imagine, at her age she's slowed down a lot. Obviously, I'm dealing with dog accidents, and the "sopping-up" towels have been a real challenge to get odor-free.

Anyway, a good hit of Stain Solver, plus a trip through my washer's pre-soak cycle, does the trick with the towels every time. I don't recall you mentioning this use for the product, but I can't be the only subscriber living with an old friend, and thought this info might be useful to you. Happy New Year!"

Thanks for the V8 forehead slap Jan! Yes, Stain Solver is an incredible odor remover. It removes strong cat urine, male cat marking spray, fuel oil and other hydrocarbon odors, and even pungent skunk odors!


P.S. Do you do quilting? Did you know that Stain Solver restores old quilts? If you've used it for this can you PLEASE send me your story how it save your quilt. I'd love to see a photo of the quilt.



There are only FIVE days left before my latest project on Kickstarter closes. If you don't become a backer by then, you WILL PAY MORE for all the videos in that series when they eventually get loaded to my shopping cart in about six weeks.

That means if you go to Kickstarter NOW and back the project, you're going to save money. Do it. Go back the project. You'll never regret it.

Read what Russell Morris said about my videos:

"I just want to tell you that you have made a fantastic [DIY Shed Building] Video Series. Very well put together, and in a very good logical sequence. There are very few lingering questions about any details. Just about anyone could follow this and with almost no experience and build a pretty respectable shed. I know I will be referring to this many times in the future. Great Job!"

What am I doing in this new project? I'm going to show you in a series of videos how to take out an existing exterior door and install a new Therma-Tru pre-hung door with Fypon trim on the outside.

I'm also going to show you how to install the amazing Jamsill door flashing under the threshold. This means I'm going to show you how to take out the entire door frame and the trim and then install a new pre-hung door from the factory!

I just added a NEW reward. It's only $20. For just $20, you get access to all the videos online AND you get access to a 1-hour video where I deal with the FAQs about exterior door installation.

You can submit your exterior door installation questions to me, and there's a very good chance I'll answer them in the video. I'll crash through as many as I can in one hour. If I need more time to answer the best ones, I'll extend the video.

If you've already backed the project at a LOWER amount, you can go back to Kickstarter and upgrade to this new reward. Click here to read the instructions on how to do that.

If you've already backed the project with a reward of $25 or MORE, you'll automatically get online access to this 1-hour FAQ video. You don't have to do a thing.

Remember, the project will CLOSE in just five days. After that, you'll pay a lot more for the videos.

P.S. On the Kickstarter page I said there were going to be 12 videos in the series. I was WRONG. Last week after I saw we were going to hit our goal, I started taping videos! I've already taped TEN videos and the old door hasn't been taken out yet.

Imagine how many videos there are going to be in the complete series!


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