Q&A / 

March 15, 2011 AsktheBuilder Tips And Newsletter

What's in This Newsletter?

Latest News
A Wet Lot
Irwin Tools World Championship
Removing Cabinet Doors
Plumbing eGuides
Using Bleach Outdoors

I do product reviews frequently. Please read my Disclosure Policy to understand the relationship that I have between the companies that make the products or offer the services I review.

PERIODIC OFFERS: This is a free newsletter filled with thousands of dollars of advice for your use and pleasure. From time to time, I do offer you some of my products to help offset the time and resources I put into this newsletter. I hope that you consider this when you see me make you an offer.


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If you have a question for me, don't hit the Reply button just yet. Go immediately to my web site and type in the keywords about your problem into my Search engine. The search box is at the top of every page of my web site. You could have your answer in seconds if you do this! Please pay attention to all links you see at my web site. The exact products and services you often need are right in front of you, and you might be ignoring them.

Latest News

Facebook - AsktheBuilderSeveral weeks ago, I launched an AsktheBuilder fan page on Facebook. Friends of mine had been pestering me to do this for well over a year, but the move from Ohio to New Hampshire stretched my time and resources way too thin.


All I can say is that I'm blown away by the engagement at Facebook. Here's why. I'm having a blast uploading photos of building and remodeling things and having you answer questions about the photo. If you're one who's taking the small amount of time to do this, it sure seems like you're enjoying it.

door hinge with stopper

What is on the Door?

Here's an example. Yesterday, I uploaded a photo of a door hinge. Within 3 minutes of uploading the photo, possibly just two minutes, I had THREE responses. Keep in mind that each of those who responded had to view the photo, study it and then type a response. Then there was the slight lag in the email that Facebook sends me telling me someone commented!

The point is, if you're not using Facebook, you might be making a mistake. I'm devoting more time to it because it seems to be a good idea. If you're not an AsktheBuilder fan, I ask you now to go there and click the Like button. Join in the fun!


A Wet Lot

Springtime brings soggy ground, leaking basements and lots of other *avoidable* problems. Here's an email I got just hours ago. Kathy Hamilton of Independence, MO wrote to me:

"My husband and I bought some land a couple of years ago and are planning to build a home with mother-in-law quarters in the full finished basement. My concern is that this piece of property is always damp and even has standing water sometimes in spring and summer. I am scared this is going to cause water problems if we build.

I know about the french drain system, but does is need to go as deep as the bottom of the basement? How do we keep the yard from having standing water? Should we reconsider and try and sell the land? Should I get a specialist out to see the land and give us his expert opinion? We have a paid off home and do not want to build a new home and sell our old one to be stuck in a moldy, wet BIG financial mistake!

Thanks, Kathy"

French DrainKathy, you need to read every column in my Drainage category.

What you'll discover when you read several of the articles, especially the ones about Linear French Drains, is that you can often transform a soggy lot into a dry one. The more fall you have across the lot, the better your results will be.

If the land slopes enough to where there is a spot on your lot LOWER than the footer for your basement foundation, you'll NEVER have a wet lot or wet basement if you follow all the advice in my Drainage articles and if you read all of my Foundation articles.

IRWIN Tools World Championship

Irwin ToolsThis coming weekend, I'll be in Bristol, TN, attending a massive IRWIN Tools media event. The schedule is full and we'll be on the go for two solid days. I'll get to witness the person who's going to be crowned World Champion of the IRWIN Tools Ultimate Tradesman Challenge at 10 am ET on Sunday. I'll be shooting a video of it and uploading it moments after it happens at my AsktheBuilder YouTube channel.

We'll also be seeing what's new with IRWIN Tools on Saturday. I'll have an opportunity to ask about different things if you want me to. Here's what I suggest. Go here and browse the IRWIN Tool line.

Let me know if you have a question that I can put to the top tool folks at IRWIN this weekend. What new tool do you want to see? What tool questions do you have?

Removing Cabinet Doors

Let's say you need to remove a kitchen or bath cabinet door. Usually this is accomplished by unscrewing one side of the hinges. If you do this wrong, you can ruin the door, hinge or both.

I've found it's always best to start at the bottom and work to the top removing the top hinge last. If you do it the other way and are not paying attention, the door can tilt so much that it rotates and bends the hinge or cracks the door. Have a helper hold large doors as you work on them.

Plumbing eGuides

I always have projects of one sort or another on the table. But recently a string of requests, one may have been from you, has caused me to create a quick survey I need you to take.

Fixing A Stripped Wood Screw Hole eGuideIt seems that you, and others, want some great, simple and affordable ($2) step-by-step photo guides. Right? That's what you're telling me. If I'm wrong, let me know. These eGuides are Instant Download and you can open them on your computer, smartphone,  iPad or other tablet and have right with you where you're working. Here's the first one I did back about seven weeks ago:


I intend to spend the entire spring and summer creating many of these. All facets of building and remodeling will be covered, but right now, let's deal with plumbing.

Hiring a plumber is really expensive. I know, because for years I've been a licensed master plumber. Why pay a plumber $75 or even $90 an hour when you can possibly do the job yourself? If you get in trouble, then call in the cavalry. Just be aware of the location of your main water shut-off valve and that it works.

Please help me. Take this quick survey and tell me, assuming you could wave a magic wand, what eGuides are of most interest to you. I plan to start on them in April. (This survey is now closed.)

Using Bleach Outdoors

I get home-improvement newsletters just like this one. One of them is from a very famous TV home-improvement celebrity. I was SHOCKED to see this in his latest email to me:

"When the weather warms up, it's time to remove that layer of mold or mildew on the outside of your home. In order to get rid of it, you have to kill it and remove the spores. On nonporous surfaces – like vinyl siding – a solution of bleach, detergent, and water will work."

ACKKKKKKK! This is really bad advice. Chlorine bleach is TOXIC to all vegetation around your home. You may have spent thousands of dollars on expensive landscaping and this person is telling you to poison it.

The safe and ORGANIC bleach to use is Oxygen Bleach. It's totally non-toxic to vegetation. In fact, it helps plants because it pumps oxygen into the soil as it soaks in. It does a superb job of cleaning mold from surfaces.

If you're planning to clean off your siding or your deck, I'll be having a MONSTER Stain Solver sale in about three weeks. Did you see the new Stain Solver website? Have you signed up for that SPECIAL newsletter?

100 Swain Rd.
Meredith, NH 03253, USA


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