If you’ve ever had to use a pressure washer to clean off your stained concrete sidewalks and driveway, then you know how useful they can be. Nothing beats a high pressure blast of water to do some real deep cleaning. But if you’ve used your pressure washer to clean up your wood deck, asphalt shingles, soffit, vinyl siding or stucco walls, then you might be doing more harm than good. There’s an old saying that I just invented: “if ‘said product’ was designed to resist water, then why would you clean ‘said product’ with high pressure blasts of the stuff”? Catchy, isn’t it? In this article we’ll cover where, when and how to use a pressure washer and provide some some less destructive but still effective alternatives. [Read more...]
For those of us “blessed” to own an old home, it’s common knowledge that one measure of “character” is the lack of a single plumb, level or square surface in the entire house. A second indicator of character is the complete absence of identical windows. [Read more...]
It wasn’t long into home ownership that I realized how invasive remodeling activities can be. We’re talking killer bees, alien invasion, zombie apocalypse kind-of invasive. What starts off as a minor, “trivial” repair can quickly morph into a house-wide gut remodel that consumes your life and your life savings. It’s not just the scope of the job that can be invasive, it’s also the mess. Dust, debris, dirt and even hazardous substances like lead will manage to find their way into every far-reaching nook and cranny of your home. If you let them. [Read more...]
I decided to tear down a series of attached sheds during the hottest part of the heat wave this summer. Perhaps it was poor timing, but I lost about 25 pounds and now need new pants or a tighter belt; that’s looking for the silver lining! It was miserable, grubby work that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. Since no one really wanted to help me, even if I had wished it wouldn’t have mattered. It was slow progress which would later be helped along with my dad’s small tractor to knock down and clean up the mess. To give you a mental image of what I had to do, imagine a semi-normal two story house with a small shed style roof which houses a small half-bath, back entry room, and pantry. Attached to this is a small room with a rotting roof followed by a long shed. That structure is then divided up into four individual sheds, each with a special purpose and each at different levels of decay. [Read more...]
I like closets, at least in my mind, but often they get forgotten. Like mine did. Shortly after Christmas I had an issue with my hot water heater that is stored in the downstairs closet. The hot water heater definitely had to go, but once I removed the junk that our closet held, it got me looking at how awful the closet actually was. Closets in general seem to get the very least attention of any space in the house. You throw in your clothes or shoes, a random vacuum cleaner, odds and ends, the occasional tool, etc. They really are the junk drawers of the house. Because of their red-headed stepchild status, closets tend to be neglected and can fall into disrepair quickly. As I see it, there are at least three reasons why you shouldn’t neglect your closets.
If you’re a homeowner or just a human being in the United States, there’s a very good chance you’ve got a bunch of – how do I put this delicately – CRAP, that you really don’t need occupying space in your abode. You know the old saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Well, it’s true (the old saying applies to women too, by the way). Wait, that sounds bad. I just mean “One woman’s trash can be another woman’s treasure”, not “One man’s woman is another man’s treasure.” While I haven’t actually given away excrement, I’m pretty sure I could given the right strategy, photo, and description. I have given away some seemingly less than worthless things, some of which I will list in all their splendor for your entertainment. I’ll also share junk-tested, proven techniques for maximizing your success. My secret weapon in giving away things we no longer need, things that you would normally expect to pay someone to take away: the Craigslist free category. [Read more...]
Ferrowatt, a registered trademark of AAMSCO Lighting, Inc., manufactures reproduction light bulbs, replicas of Edison-Era light bulbs and lamps. They use original molds from the early 1900s and offer eight different models. Ferrowatt ‘s incandescent bulbs are ideal for use in museums and historical preservation projects because of their low wattage, (bulbs are available in 30, 40 and 60 watts) and they create an intimate ambiance for spaces like restaurant settings. [Read more...]
Recently, I refinished the hardwood floors for a friend of mine. The refinish included three bedrooms, dining room, living room, and hall. It was a big job. It would have been easier if the hardwood floors hadn’t been previously carpeted and the previous renters’ dogs had been house broken… Every room that had been carpeted had enormous ‘pet’ stains in them. It was bad. Then there were the 12,324 staples I had to remove (which in some cases were rusted). After the staples, I had to deal with the stains and warping. [Read more...]
Do you know those hand carved fleur-de-lis corner block pieces that accent your door trim? Yours, not mine – I barely have door trim let alone carved corner blocks. But if I did, I’d definitely want to know that there was a way to preserve the intricate carvings even if time and 250 coats of paint had deteriorated the fleur in the lis beyond recognition. And there is a way, thanks to Heartwood Carving Studios. [Read more...]
Back when we first purchased our house, one of my first projects was to strip several decades of paint from a door. I did what most people unfortunately do in that situation, I went to my local big box store and bought a can of typical methylene chloride paint stripper. I observed what I thought were proper precautions: long sleeves, thick gloves, eye protection and a respirator. I kinda admit it seemed like overkill at the time, until I noticed some pain on my arm. That pain turned out to be my burning flesh. It seems a drop of stripper snuck past my long leaves and decided my skin was just as suitable to dissolve as old paint. That was the last time I used methylene chloride, and I vowed to find a slightly less flesh-consuming option in the future.