Q&A / 

May 6, 2014 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips

I survived the lashing rain driving to and from Lynn's house last week. She was the Grand Prize winner in the Treasure Hunt.

If you live in the Southeast and East Coast, you know that last week was epic. As I drove from Maryland after visiting Lynn, I ran into heavy pelting rain in Delaware and New Jersey. There was significant flooding in New Jersey that I drove through on Thursday of last week.

I'm working on editing the videos we shot at Lynn's house. I did get to shoot a very nice video on Lynn's front porch showing her how to mix up cement stucco to repair damaged concrete block. You can use this same recipe to repair stucco, small blowouts on concrete walks and driveways, etc. I'll have that video done later today.

The weather limited what we could do. Watch this video of the journey to Lynn's house! You'll see rain and lots of it!


After going to Lynn's, I stopped at Art's house on the Jersey shore. I felt like I was in London. It was COLD. It was RAINY. It was FOGGY. It was May 1st for goodness sake! I should have been on the beach in shorts basking in sun and 75 F weather by now!

I looked at Art's house just blocks from the Atlantic Ocean and he asked me what I would do with his weather-abused cedar shake home. It's a quintessential beach home that's nearly 100 years old and coated with countless layers of paint. We discussed several options including fiber cement siding and cedar-shake vinyl siding.

But I was thinking about something Art said while driving home and I came up with what may be the best solution. Art remarked how he and his wife LOVE the look of the unpainted shakes on his three-season room that used to be the front porch.

BOOM! The best solution may be to just remove the old cedar shakes and put up new ones that can weather to the gray that so many beach homeowners cherish.

Art, what do you think? The cost to do this may be less than the other two alternatives and you get no maintenance to boot! Just remember to use the best hot-dipped galvanized nails or stainless steel. Read my column about the best nails to use outdoors. https://www.askthebuilder.com/rustproof-wood-siding-nails/

Art was kind enough to make dinner for my son and I. We ate some chicken, salad and some tasty pork and beans. We added some zest to the beans with ketchup, mustard and brown sugar. Yummy!

Tim tasting baked beans from a can



Tip of the Week - Help Save the Bees!

We need bees. They pollinate plants we need for food.

For nearly a decade bees have been in decline. I remember reading a story about this a while ago in National Geographic magazine. The story focused on professional beekeepers that have large flatbed trucks full of bee hives. They travel the nation going from state to state in the growing season releasing their bees to fly around a farm to help pollinate the plants.

I saw this story today about bees and a pesticide and feel you MUST read it.

I'll tell you upfront now I don't have the time to verify the source and I don't know anything about this website. It's up to you to do your due diligence checking MULTIPLE sources about this announcement. Remember, hidden agendas exist everywhere on both sides of an issue.

DDT was banned years ago because of its secondary effects in the food chain. Chlordane was banned years ago as well while I was still in the day-to-day building business. Chlordane worked too well against termites. It has a long half-life.

Pesticides you might be using around your home could be bad for you, bees and other things in the circle of life.

When you go to reach for a bottle or box of chemical pesticide keep in mind what the ghost knight said in Raiders of the Lost Ark - Temple of Doom movie as Harrison Ford was getting ready to reach for the real Holy Grail,

"Choose wisely."

Perhaps your choice will be to AVOID synthetic pesticides.


Home Automation Clutter

Are you a home technology freak? Each month there's a new thing at your home you can control from your smartphone.

But is your phone getting CLOGGED with different apps to control all the gadgets, doors, thermostats, locks, lights, etc.?

Then you might be interested in the new Revolv Hub.


Snow Be Gone Contest WINNER

Well, the snow and ice finally melted here at my house. Holy BeGeebers did it take its time!

You can see a video I taped of the SMALL pile left on Sunday afternoon May 4, 2014. It's the top video on the Snow Be Gone page at my website.


The official All-Gone time was May 5, 2014 about 11:45 am ET. Fourteen people picked May 5th! Were you one of the fourteen?

  • Lou LaValle
  • Tom Jacobs
  • Curtis Williams
  • Allyssa
  • Frank Holby
  • Gary Burnett
  • Harvey Pillersdorf
  • John Sliger
  • Kathleen Schwartz
  • Meg Stein
  • Steve Mulry
  • Larry Place
  • Steve Pembleton
  • D. Morone

I wrote their names on separate small pieces of paper, shook them up well in a DVD platter cover and then picked one at random with my eyes closed.

Congratulations to our winner - Steve Mulry!

BE SURE you PLAY games here in the newsletter. Why? Real people, like YOU, win prizes. It's not make believe.


New Tips for You - Latest Columns

Here are some columns loaded to my website that can really help you.

How to Install A Deck Post

Septic Tanks and Oxygen Bleach

How to Drill Lockset Holes


Stain Solver Sale

Over a month ago, I said I'd devote an entire newsletter to Stain Solver and the HUNDREDS of things it can clean.

Are you about to clean and seal your deck? Stain Solver is the BEST cleaner to use hands down.

Each day we get more and more questions about what Stain Solver can do and what it's done. It's all good.

Quick Stain Solver FACTS:

  • Kathy and I started Stain Solver in 1995.
  • The two ingredients are Made in the USA - product is packaged in Chicago.
  • It's a true cottage small business.
  • Stain Solver is made with a Certified Organic active ingredient. Pure soda ash, the only other ingredient, is also added to boost cleaning power.

Order now and get 15% off. I've also marked down the small sample size for you to $9.25.

Use this promo code:



The sale is only for ONE WEEK - It ends on SUNDAY. Order NOW. Don't put it off.

Quantities ARE LIMITED. It's possible we can run out. I'm not making that up. There's only so much at the warehouse. It takes a month to initiate and complete a production run.

Use this promo code: SNOWGONE

Are you still a Doubting Thomas about Stain Solver? You feel it's too good to be true?

It really works. It's NOT hype. Here are Before and After photos.

Look at all these pages to see just PART of what Stain Solver can clean:

How to Clean Brick Walls

Spa Cover Cleaned

How to Clean Vinyl Siding

How to Help Your Septic Tank

House Siding Restored

How to Clean a Vinyl Tile Floor and Prevent Streaks

How to Clean a Yellowed Fiberglass Tub / Shower

How to Clean Terrazzo Floors

How to Clean Oak Tree Stains on Stucco Walls

How to Clean Bluestone Landings

How to Clean Mildew From Vinyl Boat Cushions

How to Clean Baked-On Grease From a Teflon Pan


More Tips and News Next Week!


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