Friday, December 23, 2011

Painting Tips II

Use a Purdy brush (can be bought at Home Depot) and good paint (also can be bought at Home Depot).

When I say good paint, I mean Behr standard paint, not that stuff with primer already in it. I've tried that stuff and it's too thick, too sticky, does not flow well, and I still have to use two coats, and it's way too expensive. Use their standard paint. That's good stuff. Then pat yourself on the back for saving money.

Also, remember, if your interior walls have already been painted, they don't need primer except for bare spots and exceptionally soiled or stained spots.

Buy a Starbucks with the money you save.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


A few years ago we remodeled our house. Black granite went in the kitchen with the under-mount sink. That was one of the best things we have ever done for our home. In the bathroom we installed Korian with an under-mount sink. Great idea but we don't like the Korian so much.

Today was maintenance day.

The granite in the kitchen had to receive two treatments of sealer. Once that was dry a coat of car wax. They now shine like glass. Easy. Takes a little time, but easy.

The Korian was not so easy. There were dull spots where the previous finish has peeled up and the countertop looked scarred. We were scared it was scarred. (Just a little play on words). I found the remedy for this to be a couple coats of quick drying glossy floor wax. Once that was dry, I then applied a car wax. Shines like new. Actually it shines better than new. (Breaking my arm patting myself on the back now).

These countertops should be done every six months or so. Unfortunately they don't get done that often. But if they are kept up they wipe off easier and bacteria is not able to penetrate. Plus they will look great.

Nowadays they sell the granite pre-sealed. That sealer should last up to ten years. So, if you are installing granite, ask for that.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Draw To

Is your deck falling apart? I mean, literally falling apart. Many older decks experience separation of the joists from the ledger or from the main beam. Simpson joist hangers do not always do the job over the long haul. The result is the risk of your deck collapsing or at least sagging. This can be repaired by performing a "draw to."

If working from the top of the deck you may need to remove floor boards at either the rim, the ledger, or both, if separation is taking place in those areas. Next, with pole jacks you will need to jack the joists to the correct elevation and keep support under them while performing the draw to. With the deck supported where the separation is occurring. remove one joist hanger and install a heave metal angle on each side of the joist securing it tightly to the joist but allowing one-eight inch more than the separation from the ledger or the beam. Next, with strong hex heat screws tighten the angles part of the way to the ledger, the joist should move toward the ledger. Repeat this process with each joist. Once all of the joists are fixed with metal angles, go back and forth tightening the bolts until it draws all your joists flush to the ledger. Wallah! Your deck is repaired.

This method has never failed for me, even at times when I thought it might fail. I have saved my customers several thousands of dollars while making enough dollars for a good number of Starbucks coffees.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

You Can Repair Your Own Screens

How long have you put up with torn screens at your house. Any amount of time is way too long as they are cheap and easy to repair. Take your screen to a window shop for repairs and it could be $60. Do it yourself for about $20. All the materials and tools are available at The Home Depot and most other hardware stores.

How do you do it? Buy the cheap tool for rolling the spline at Home Depot ($2.50) and on the back of the carton are the instructions clearer than I can give them here. I actually did 3 windows for $20.00. I figure that saved me over $100. That's a lot of money I can spend at Starbucks.

Come on, you can do it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Weep Holes

Weep holes are those two little slots at the bottoms of your vinyl windows. When the rain beats against your window pain and you think of summer days again, these little weep holes play an important role. They allow the water that runs down your window pain to drain to the outside of your house rather than build up in the window and seep water onto your window sill.

It is important that you keep these little weep holes free from debris, and certainly don't block them with caulking and paint. It could make the difference of you sill rotting out, your drywall being damaged, your insulation saturated, your carpet getting wet, or your hardwood floor being ruined.

There are times after a driving rain against the window that the weep holes may not be able to handle all of the moisture and your sill and floor may be wet. If this happens you may want to test your window using a garden hose. Sometimes a window just has to be replaced. Don't worry, windows aren't that expensive. But do yourself a favor and hire a professional who will replace your window and exterior trims, caulk them, and paint them. It's worth the extra cash you will put out.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Want a Great Lawn

Many think that having a great lawn is a lot of work. Not true! Of course, that depends on how they define work. Here are some keys to having a great lawn.

1. In early spring apply a fertilizer with Halts in it. this will fertilize your lawn while preventing crab grass growth.

2. In early spring top your lawn (cut short dead growth) and rake up as much death grass as possible (this is the hardest part).

3. In early spring apply granulated or liquid Revive, which is a surfactant which allows the water to penetrate and green up your lawn.

4. Start watering your lawn if you live in a dry area such as Colorado. Folks, grass does not grow without water.

5. Fertilize about every three to four weeks.

6. Mow regularly, and don't mow too short!

7. When you mow, bag the clippings. Too much thatch smothers the lawn.

8. Apply weed and feed when necessary.

9. Apply and insecticide when necessary. (I only use spot weed killers)

10. Edge around your sidewalks.

Do you think this is a lot of work? It take me an average of 30 minutes a week to care for my lawn, and it looks great. Yes, I have a front yard and a back yard. The first yard cleanup in the spring takes the longest. After that, it's a breeze.

Oh, and notice I did not suggest aeration. I have never aerated and my lawn is the best in the subdivision.

Now, make a pot of coffee and sit on your deck or your porch and enjoy your yard.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rehab Your Deck

Today, with the tightness of money I am receiving a lot of requests to rehab old decks. In most cases this can be done successfully and it can save you hundreds, to thousands of dollars. It can also save you the price of a building permit because your current deck is most likely grandfathered in.

Joists, posts, floorboards, railings can all be repaired. Your deck can be sanded, power washed and stained and look quite nice and be structurally sound.

Many times my clients have thought that their deck was totally shot because of loose fitting parts, graying wood, and a few rotted components. Upon hear the price of replacing their deck there is often sticker shock. But when they realize they can repair their old deck for about a third of the price or less they usually go for it.

All that cash they save can buy a lot of Starbucks!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Grout Chipping Out?

Is the grout cracking and chipping out on your bathroom or kitchen floor. There are two basic causes for this. One is easy and inexpensive to repair and the other is not.

The one reason, and most common, is that the installer watered the grout down too much. He must have thought that it was easier to apply, which it was. But it made for weal grout and now it is cracking and chipping out and you have gaps in your tile floor. This is an easy fix. Go to the tile store and get a diamond shaped grout remover. Also, get a linoleum knife. The linoleum knife is used to chip out the deep grout and the grout remover will clean up the edges.

Once the grout is removed, mix and install new grout. Closely follow the instructions on the package. You just repaired your own grout for very few dollars.

If your grout is cracking and chipping out for the other reason, you will have to remove your tile and retile. This time make sure there is quarter inch thick cement fiber backer board laid under your tile. You might want to call a professional.

Happy tiling!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Repair Your Butcher Block

Do you have one of those large butcher blocks that is about two inches thick? To prevent warpage these are always made of laminated strips of wood that often delaminate over time and with use. Dry climates are especially hard on these. If yours is broken, don't throw it away, repair it. It is quick and easy.

Tools and materials you will need are: 2 medium duty bar clamps, 2 slats of wood the same length or a little longer than your butcher block, wood glue, and a sanding block (or vibrating sander.

1) Match up the pieces of your butcher block.
2) Lay it on a large flat surface.
3) Apply wood glue to one side of the break and spread evenly.
4) Set the broken surfaces together and make sure that the top side is flush.
5) Place the slats of wood at opposite outer edge surfaces.
6) Set the bar clamps, evenly applying pressure until the gap between broken surfaces is gone
7) Wipe off the excess glue and allow to dry overnight
8) Remove the clamps and sand top and bottom surfaces.
9) The entire process should take no more than one hour of work time.
10) Now, keep it oiled so it doesn't dry out and crack.

Oh, and one more thing..... go buy yourself a cup of coffee with the money you saved.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Painting Tips

Painting can either be easy or hard! It's really up to you. It can take you a long time to paint a room or a small amount of time. That, also, is up to you.

1) Cutting the inside corners. Cutting the corner up against another color or at the ceiling can be challenging, especially if your walls are textured. It can be really difficult to get that nice clean and straight transitional cut..... or, it can be easy. Here's what you do: Use painter's blue tape and run it with one edge exactly on the corner. Next, take white painter caulking (the cheapest kind) and run a very fine bead exactly in the corner and smooth it out with you finger. Now cut in your paint along that edge painting over the edge of the tape as well. Before paint dries, pull the tape. Wallah! you have a sharp cut in edge.

2) Don't use cheap paint. But also don't use expensive paint. Use a good premium paint like Valspar, or Behr. But if you are using Behr, don't fall for that expensive stuff with the primer already in it.... you are wasting your money. Their regular paint actually paints up better.

3) Don't try to stretch the paint by using a dry roller. A roller with plenty of paint on it and applied liberally ensures better coverage, a more even paint job, and in the end may take less time and paint. If you use too little paint on your roller I can guarantee a lot of breakthrough.

4) Use a quality roller such as those expensive white ones at Home Depot. They leave less lint on your wall.

5) Use a quality brush and the right brush for the job. The 1.5" and 2" angle brushes work well. I have found nothing that compares to Purdy.

6) Clean up: Purdy brushes are worth saving. Spray a little orange oil on them and let them sit for a few minutes. Now they will easily clean under luke warm water. The roller covers? Throw them. They are actually pretty cheap and a new roller cover will do a better job on your next painting project.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Recently I made our ice cold garage a little warmer. Actually it stays above freezing now. What did I do? I insulated.

First, I insulated the metal garage door by stuffing the panels with glass insulation then covering that with a moisture resistant plywood about three-sixteenths of an inch thick. It was actually underlayment for vinyl floors. You can buy it at Home Depot. This was installed with sheet metal screws. Then I adjusted the door opener for more weight.

Then I insulated the garage attic with R-19 unfaced glass insulation which I bought at Home Depot for 22 cents per square foot. I sealed off the ends of the cells between ceiling joists by placing insulation between the joists. After that I laid the insulation across the joists butting it firmly batten to batten. The result was a much warmer garage.

The total cost for materials was $190. Now my garage will serve as a warm shop in the winter and will be much cooler in the summer. I'd say this is a good investment.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Having Toilet Problems?

Are you having toilet problems? Well, let me reword that..... "is your toilet having problems?" Maybe you are getting tired of using that plunger. I hate clogged toilets. How about you?

Ever since government regulations went into effect for water conservation, many of the newer models have had issues flushing. Frustrating! But now there is hope. Many of the newer toilet designs have greatly improved the flush. And, it won't cost you an arm and a leg to replace your old toilet. That is, if you do it yourself. And many of you can do it.

Remove the old toilet. Make sure you turn the water supply valve to off. Then flush to remove water in the tank and in the bowl. Then disconnect the water supply line. Then unbolt the toilet from the floor. Now lift it off and discard. Remove the old wax at the flange where the toilet sits.

Now install a new wax ring before you forget. I like the type with the rubber flange and extra wax. Before you set the toilet bowl on the wax ring, bolt the tank into place and make sure it is firm but not overly tight. Make sure the flange bolts are securely lined up with the slots at the base of the toilet. Now set the bowl on the wax ring so that the bolts come up through the slots. Press the bowl down on the wax ring until the base touches the floor. Now put the base to the bolt cover on, then the washers, then the nut.

Now you are ready to hook up the water supply line. Allow a little water into the tank and check for leaks. If there are no leaks, turn the water on and let the tank fill. Most manufacturers have pre-set the water lever for the tank. Flush. If everything works okay install the tank top.

Now, to finish off the project you may have to trim the tops of the anchor bolts. Score the anchor bolts with a hack saw or side cutters about 1/4 inch above the nuts. Then with a pliers, snap the bolt tops off. Now install the bolt covers.

Don't forget to install the seat! Caulk around the base if you wish.

Wallah! Your project cost you about $150. But you saved about $200. $200 can buy a lot of starbucks!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Have Paint Going to Waste?

Most of us have many cans of paint sitting in storage going to waste. I know, I know! You think you will use it for touch up here and there. But in the end we seldom touch up and the paint spoils. So, now you have to buy hardener to harden the paint so you can dispose of it. I have a partial solution for your extra paint. Paint the interior of your garage!

Sitting in my garage I had a full gallon and a partial gallon of house paint that I had used on other houses. I knew the paint was going to just sit there and take up space until I disposed of it. The colors were mauve and white. The interior of my garage was already white. Dirty white, as in dirt on white. So I decided to clean it up with a fresh coat of paint. That led me to these left overs of paint. I decided that it was only the inside of the garage and that mauve wouldn't be too bad of a color.

Man, you should see the garage now! It looks so good that I feel like leaving the overhead door open so the neighbors can see. Not only did I clean up the garage with paint, but it also forced me to clean up my junk and organize. I guarantee you, it looks nicer than a lot of houses I've been inside of. And guess what? Zero cost.

I feel so good about it I think I'll buy myself a Starbucks! Or, maybe a new car to put in my showroom. Just don't tell Audrey these evil thoughts. Please! :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Does Your Table Rock?

One of my biggest pet peeves is a table that rocks back and forth. You know, like the ones they have at Starbucks. That is so irritating! But it just happened to be the only table available.... and for a good reason.

Well, there is a simple temporary fix. You can go get enough napkins and fold them over until they are thick enough to stuff under the table leg. I've done that. Or you can carry some small wooden shims in your purse or computer bag. One simple push and your table doesn't rock.

But speaking of rocking tables, these small round tables could be made slightly different and become more stable. Instead of four points of contact, they could have three points. There will be no rocking there. No rocking means less spilt coffee, which means fewer ruined computers. And, there will be more satisfied customers. I think that's what every business wants.