May 18, 2010 AsktheBuilder News And Tips
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I do product reviews frequently. Please read my Disclosure Policy to understand the relationship between me and the companies that make the products or offer the services I review.
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I got my exercise last week and it continues today! I went up and down from the garage to that attic no less than 40 times, maybe 50 as my son Tristan and I emptied the attic of years worth of clutter. It was a rainy day, and the temperature in the attic probably never got above 72 F. Just after sending this newsletter to you, I'll then start to carry up old games and 25 years worth of the Carter family life from some shelves in the basement storage room.
This is all happening here in Cincinnati as I get ready to move Kathy and Kelly up to NH later in the summer. The Victorian home here I build back in 1986 has a traditional walk-up attic that you'd expect to find in an older home, but not a modern one less than 25-years old.
I framed the attic the old-fashioned way with rafters instead of trusses. If you're building a new home or even a room addition, any rough carpenter worth his salt can frame a roof almost as fast as setting trusses. I say this assuming the roof is pretty simple.
If your builder or remodeler insists on using trusses, be aware you can get special storage trusses and even full attic trusses that allow you not to waste space up in the roof area.
My ad salesman Loren sent me a video to watch that demonstrated a cool table saw that can prevent injuries. The person being interviewed said in the USA there are about 3,000 fingers and thumbs cut off in table-saw accidents per year. That nearly ten per day.
This saw is called the SawStop. The inventor got the idea back in 1999, and it took over four years before the saws went into production.
As summer is just about here, attic temperatures will begin to soar. It can easily get to 130 F and above in an attic. Several years ago, I installed two solar-powered attic fans in my attic that were GUARANTEED to lower my attic temperature.
I urge you to read about the results here my column about solar attic fans.
A month ago, I introduced a new feature to the newsletter: Your Funny and Embarrassing Home-Improvement Stories. Here's one that was sent to me by Wendy from Centerville, OH:
Wendy, I can relate to that. About two years ago, I couldn't get my scanner to work. I hadn't used it in quite a while and the button on the front of the panel wouldn't turn the machine on. Frustrated, I was about to go buy another scanner when my teenage son Tristan asked me what was going on. Within seconds the scanner came alive. Tristan gleefully exclaimed, "Dad, all you had to do was flip on the Power switch right here on the side of the scanner." Duh............
Do you want to share your funny or embarrassing story? Share it here.
The day before I came back to Cincinnati from NH, it was a glorious spring day on Loch Winnisquam. I decided to start a real test of three wood deck/dock sealers. I had cleaned and sealed my cedar dock back in June of 2009, but the nano-technology clear sealer I used failed miserably. The wood turned gray within months.
I taped a video of the testing process. I urge you to watch it. I'll do followup videos at two-month intervals this summer until the dock comes out of the water. You'll see I had some fun taping this video. Pay attention and listen for the harp.
If you've had tremendous success with a CLEAR wood deck sealer, please email me with its name. I'm looking to test other brands this summer. I want to know if you have used a clear PENETRATING sealer that keeps the wood looking great for at least two years. Send me closeup photos of your deck wood that looks great and tell me the name of the sealer you used.
A friend remodeled his kitchen three years ago, and his sink ended up in an island cabinet. Prior to that, the sink had a standard vent line. The plumbing code allowed him to install a mechanical vent in the sink base cabinet. I've never been a fan of these vents as I always felt the spring mechanism in the vent would fail or slowly fail over time.
Sure enough, his sink has started to drain slowly because the vent is failing. You can vent an island sink with a loop vent that works well. Make sure your plumber does this in lieu of one of these inferior mechanical vents.
I'll be finishing the testing of what appears to be a magical and affordable chain-saw chain sharpening tool this weekend. I'll share those results in the next newsletter. If you use a chain saw, you'll want to read this review.