Best Flooring for a Wet Basement

Wet Basement Flooring Options

Recently, I received an email from a reader who’s having a little bit of problems with her basement flooring as the installed flooring is buckled and dark from the water that’s penetrating their room. It seems like they’ve got a drainage issue that pretty much keeps the place wet or damp most all of the time. Read her problem just below and then we’ll discuss if there is a solution for these wet floors.

“We have a basement level that is susceptible to water penetration from an exterior drainage problem. Unfortunately, we only found out about this after we installed bamboo flooring which is now buckled and dark from the moisture. (It’s really not possible to fix the exterior drainage problem.) We’re going to take out the flooring, but we’re not sure what to put in. The sub-floor seems to be a mix of concrete and plywood. We can’t put in a floating floor. I could really use some advice. Assume that the floor will be damp all the time :-( .


Well, as you can tell Jocelyn is in a little bit of a pickle here without being able to fix the drainage issue. One thing that would help would be a bit more knowledge and information around what exactly that drain problem is that’s keeping the floor wet. Not knowing is causing me a bit of a problem here as we can’t decipher where it’s coming from. The window, walls or up through the concrete. Another puzzling piece as well is how much water is actually getting in.

At any rate, you should do all that you can to at least minimize the water coming into the lower level as this could be a potentially dangerous and unhealthy situation. Whether that is having a company come in and waterproof the basement or take measures into your own hands to do so, then do the best you can. Nobody wants to end up potentially flooded. Hopefully nothing of value is down there as you certainly wouldn’t want it ruined and be out of pocket on it or worse, something not replaceable like family heirlooms.

What I wouldn’t use for flooring this room

Let’s start here first as it’s easier to say no then yes, at least for me. Wooden subfloors or any type of subfloor that maintains solid contact with your concrete floor would be out. That’s not to say that you can’t have a subfloor, as there are other types that will leave a vapor barrier in between it and the concrete so it can dry appropriately and also not rot from the water. But we don’t often do this in basement renovation in GTA. Carpet or carpet tiles would also be out. The carpet will mildew and mold and the adhesives used to stick the tiles in place typically don’t hold up to repeated soaks in water.

Engineered or laminate flooring would also not be a wise choice either. These would also likely buckle into an unsightly mess as well. I know most folks have an affinity for hardwood floors, but this basements a no-no.

You can check out this decent video of some more ideas…

Possible Wet Basement Flooring Ideas

Idea 1: Paint the floor. This could be a viable solution for many reasons. One, it’s cheaper to paint it than to install some type of flooring on it. Two, you can pretty much get any color that you’d like to have down there. Three, it won’t buckle or rot with water exposure, provided you get the right kind of paint. Finally, painting is easy. If you can paint a wall then you can paint a floor. Just don’t paint yourself into a corner. The one drawback with painted basement floor is that in a few years or so, you’ll probably have to paint it again as it will likely chip and peel in places depending on the exposure and traffic.

Idea 2: Stained floor. This is actually a growing trend. Although a little tougher than simply painting the floor, the outcome are beautiful and you can get really creative design wise with etchings and such. Plus with all the different types and colors of stains you have a wide range of choices to pick from. Look for some more from me soon on this one.

Idea 3: Tiled basement floor. This is another very viable option for wet basements. This one will take a little bit more manual labor than others as you’ll have to haul it all downstairs, but it also opens up the realm of possibilities as you’ll be able to use single patterns, multiple patterns, sizes, borders, etc. You can get very creative with using tiles and when they do get wet you just have to mop them up.

These are suggestions and to be used at your own risk. I would definitely consult a local professional to take a better look at the issue and then make a decision as to what you want to do with your basement floor.

“Best” is one of those words I don’t like to use much as it’s more of an opinion word. Not being a very opinionated type person, especially surrounding one’s home as it’s in the eye of the beholder (or homeowner in this case), I like to leave that part to you to make as to which one of these solutions would be the best flooring for a wet basement.

Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share:

An Overview of Hardwood Flooring

Is Hardwood Flooring the Best Option for Your Home?

As a major part of your overall decorating scheme, your home’s flooring can make the boldest statements regarding your personality. But flooring choices are as much practical as they are aesthetic, and hardwood floors provide the look and durability you need in a floor, with the beauty and excitement you want in your interior design.

There are three major types of solid wood flooring available:

  1. Strip Flooring – this is the most common, with strips ranging from 1-1/2 inches to 3-1/4 inches wide depending on the look you want. These are installed by nailing to the sub floor, and come in oak, maple, walnut, cherry, hickory and even bamboo.
  2. Plank Flooring – these boards are at least three inches wide, but usually larger, up to 12 inches wide. They can be nailed to the subfloor, but are typically screwed in. The screw holes are then covered with wooden plugs.
  3. Parquet Flooring – these 6” by 6” blocks come in a range of design patterns, allowing you to achieved dramatic geometric effects. Some specialty patterns are as large as 36 inches square; these can also be inlaid into more traditional wood flooring for a unique design detail.

>Wood flooring can be purchased finished or unfinished. Unfinished wood flooring must be sanded, stained and finished after installation. On the other hand, these extra steps can be avoided by using finished wood flooring, which only requires installation.

unfinished wood floor

The type of flooring you purchase is determined strictly by the look you want to achieve, although sometimes the architectural style of your home lends itself more to one type of flooring than another. But with the amount of choices today, you can pretty much achieve any custom flooring design you can imagine. In addition, the types of wood that are used, how the wood is laid out, whether it is painted or not, the color of stain, and the glossiness of the finish all effect the overall look of your room. Let’s look at some of these elements as they relate to your home.

Country & Colonial

Beginning with oldest home styles, you might own a colonial or country home, or want to achieve that look in a modern house. In these cases, wide plank flooring is your best basic choice. These planks are usually 4-12 inches wide. They can be purchased new, but because so many larger trees that would yield these wide boards have already been harvested, an entire secondary industry has arisen that salvages wide-plank flooring from older home and industrial buildings scheduled for demolition.

A colonial look would be extremely basic, with a light stain and urethane varnish. A hand-painted floor cloth is a perfect contrast to the plain wood in a colonial-style home.

With country, the stain may be a little darker, but here you have the additional design element of stenciling a border around the floor to give the look of home-spun craftsmanship. You may even wish to inlay one thin strip of darker wood as an offset to the larger planks. A different look can be achieved by painting the floor, whether solid or patterned with a checkerboard or the like. Where floors are painted, strip flooring will do in place of plank flooring.

traditional wood floor


The fun with a Victorian home is all the exciting wood patterns you can achieve using different types of strip flooring with different stains. Victorian homes are known for bright colors and bold statements, so a striped inlay flooring of contrasting colors looks great. One option is two rows of lighter maple flooring, with every third row being a darker walnut or hickory. You can also paint a Victorian floor, but use more vivid and contrasting colors than in a country home. And rather than a simple checkerboard pattern, offset it to a diamond pattern.

Arts and Crafts

This is where the whimsy of Victorian meets the sophistication of more traditional styles. An Arts & Crafts look calls for traditional strip flooring, but with inlaid borders of contrasting colors and woods. These borders can be simply smaller strips of wood, or more intricate classical motifs. A decorative wood inlay can make a spectacular statement. These inlays used to be installed by skilled craftsmen, but are now manufactured as preassembled pieces, and can be set into existing strip flooring by the handy do-it-yourselfer.

Traditional & Modern

Here is where the options are almost unlimited in the use of strip or parquet flooring. Perhaps you might opt for simple strip flooring throughout the home, but with dramatic parquet flooring in the foyer. Stains used can range from light to dark, depending on the style of your furniture and wall coverings, as well as the amount of light entering the room. Furthermore, the choice of varnish will enhance the look of the room. Use a plain or semi-floss urethane for the more casual rooms in your home, and a high gloss urethane for more formal living and entertaining rooms. Remember that your wood flooring is an extension of the interior design of the rest of your home, and it should blend with and complement that design.

The great advantage of wood flooring is that it can be bold and colorful, and yet exude a subtle warmth that welcomes guests to your home. Limited only by your imagination, the design of your wood floor is an extension of your personality and style.

Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share:

Awesome Outdoor Kitchen Tips!

Tips On Creating an Awesome Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens are perfect for sprucing up your backyard oasis and entertaining your friends and family during the warm summer months. Enjoying the fresh air along with some quality food is fun for everyone, and having an outdoor kitchen saves you from having to run back and forth constantly from your indoor kitchen to get a meal prepared and served.

If you’re planning on adding an outdoor kitchen to your backyard or garden area, there are certain aspects you need to be aware of before finalizing your plans.  You should carefully consider aspects such as location, design and materials to ensure that your outdoor kitchen is convenient, is fully equipped and can withstand all types of conditions throughout the year.

Where Should You Build Your Outdoor Kitchen?

Placement is very important when you build an outdoor kitchen because you need to ensure that you do not restrict any views, that the placement is convenient for you to use and that you locate the kitchen in an area where the weather is not going to affect it adversely. Ensure you consider all of these things when choosing your location:

  • Wind – You can’t control the elements, however you can place your grill accordingly so smoke doesn’t billow into your neighbor’s gardens or disrupt your guests. Smoke will usually blow downwind of the grill so if you can, try and make sure patios or decks upwind of the smoke. In addition, refrain from placing your outdoor kitchen near windows or doors that are downwind because then the smoke will flow inside the house.
  • Vision – Place counters in such a way so that every view is taken into account. For example, the main thing you need to think about it is whether your neighbors can see you. You will probably want some privacy when you are working and entertaining in your outdoor kitchen, so consider placing it where hedges or trees block the view to the neighbor’s house.  This will not only benefit you, but your neighbor’s privacy as well. Moreover, you must consider what your guests will be seeing when they are sitting at the counter or table, as well as what view the person has that will be cooking at the grill.
  • Keep cool – The outdoor kitchen will be used on many a warm sunny day, but to refrain from getting yourself and the appliances too hot, make sure the area around the kitchen is shaded so that it stays cool. The cheapest option is to build the kitchen under the shade of trees, as it will block out the harsh sun to prevent electrical equipment from overheating and will also keep the rays of sun out of your eyes while cooking without it costing you anything extra. If this option doesn’t work for you, or you don’t want to deal with falling leaves or acorns from overhead, then you can always purchase patio umbrellas which can provide some shade near the cooking areas and also by outdoor dining room sets, or you can build a covering or trellis overhead.   You can also install a rollup awning or motorized blinds for coverage.
  • Stay close to your house – Having a kitchen area in close proximity to your indoor kitchen is a good idea because then you only have a short distance to walk if you need additional supplies. Moreover, you will still need to store and prep the majority of the food indoors, so it makes sense to build the outdoor area near the back entrance to your home. Also, you will most likely have electric and gas lines located near the home, which is vital in order for your outdoor kitchen to run.  Not having to run these lines too far from the house will limit your installation costs.
  • outside kitchen tips

Outdoor Kitchen Design

The design of your outdoor kitchen is pretty much up to you.  However, there are three main layouts that you may want to consider adopting for your backyard kitchen.

  • Basic – This style is best suited for people that will be using the outdoor kitchen on an occasional basis rather than more regularly. It features a grill, a sink and a counter used for prepping food, as well as a small storage space.  This design leaves out many extras but is also usually the most affordable.
  • L-shaped – This layout consists of two separate units. The base of the ‘L’ shape will contain the grill along with the storage compartments, whereas the other counter will provide a preparation area as well as a small space for dining. You will be able to place stools underneath this counter to allow people to sit at the counter for dining and entertaining purposes.
  • U-shapedThis design is the most popular among those that intend to use the kitchen on a regular basis. It provides a larger dining space for a number of guests, as well as all the necessary areas for the grill, the prepping station, storage compartments and any other extras you desire. It is also the most convenient, as the chef can place all of the cooked food straight onto the dining area.

Using the Right Materials In Your Outdoor Kitchen

One of the major things you need to consider is the types of materials you are going to use to construct your outdoor kitchen. You want to make sure you have materials that are made to withstand food use in order to ensure that food will not be contaminated. Moreover, if you choose the right materials, then you can prevent too much wear and tear or corrosion throughout the year so you want to make sure the materials withstand outdoor use as well.

When it comes to outdoor kitchen materials, consider these points:

  • Ensure it’s easily manageable – There is nothing more frustrating than having to clean a surface that requires a lot of work, so make sure you use stainless steel on your units and grill. It is the most sanitary material and it is very easy to clean.  It also maintains its condition well even in various types of weather.
  • Install counters that can handle the heat – Despite shading your kitchen, it will at some point be in direct sunlight, which on a very hot day, can heat up surfaces very quickly. Make sure you find heat durable materials.  You also want to make sure that any materials near grills or other cooking surfaces are heat resistant.
  • Consider natural stone – Installing stone counters may be the best way to go, as they are easy to clean as well as looking stylish. However, keep in mind that they may need to be sealed on a regular basis, especially since they are outdoors.
  • Be aware of grease – We all know that cooked meat straight off the grill is accompanied by unsightly grease stains so make sure that any of the furniture you locate near the outdoor kitchen contains materials that don’t stain.  This is especially important for any patio cushions, stool cushions or other materials on your outdoor dining chairs.

Appliances for Your New Space

No kitchen is a “kitchen” without the right equipment. This can be anything from having some solid sharp knives around to having Japanese rice cooker or an espresso machine.  Just follow a few guidelines to make sure what you decide to include isn’t overkill or a potential hazard!

  • Outlets – Are there enough outlets for all of the appliances you’re looking to install? Running extension cords in an outdoor kitchen can be very dangerous if it starts raining or there is grease or other conductive material around. Don’t crowd the plugs you have.
  • Materials – Stainless steel may be the best option for outdoor appliances like refrigerators or slow cookers. They resist staining and rust better in an environment that will always be changing. Remember, unless you’re going to be bringing these in every time, they need to last in outdoor conditions.

Additional Items To Consider For Outdoor Kitchens

If you’re hoping to get a lot of use out of your new outdoor kitchen, then you will probably want to consider adding some extra goodies to give the outdoor space the right ambiance and design. If you’re aiming to throw a lot of parties, then music is a necessity for creating a fun and social atmosphere.  You may also want to consider amenities such as lighting and other forms of entertainment.

  • Music – There are a number of types of outdoor sound systems that you can incorporate into your outside space which can be installed so that loose wires aren’t in view and the speakers are nearly hidden. Make sure you make your decision before the outdoor kitchen is installed so you can incorporate the speaker setup into the overall outdoor kitchen design.
  • TV – You can also incorporate television sets and screens into your outdoor area if the electrical wiring allows it. However, ensure that you place the screens in an area that will not encounter direct sunlight or rain, otherwise they could overheat and become damaged and it may be difficult to see the screen.
  • Lighting – If you’re planning on using your outdoor kitchen in the evening, then having the correct lighting is vital in setting the perfect atmosphere. Consider low lighting around the dining area (LED lighting kits work great for this); however you will need a brighter light by the grill. The types of outside lighting you can use are endless, however a good idea is to purchase solar lamps that can soak up the energy throughout the day and then light up in the evening. This will save you in energy costs and from having to install additional electrical wiring, while still creating a comfortable and ambient dining experience for you and your guests.
Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share:

Building Your (Perfect) Backyard Oasis

11 Ways to Cultivate Backyard Space for Relaxation

Imagine yourself sitting on the deck of an old mansion in a rocking chair, iced tea in hand, and big bunches of purple wisteria climbing the porch columns.  Now, you are outside an ocean beach house quietly watching waves and sand flow over your toes.  And now, you are at your own back door about to step into your yard.  Which one do you want to pick as your next weekend get-away?

It’s hard to imagine a regular everyday backyard as an oasis for relaxation.  But, a place of peace and beauty doesn’t have to be exotic, or expensive.  A simple change in perspective and a little ingenuity can transform your ordinary landscape into an extraordinary personal retreat.

Take a Walk

Sometimes the most dramatic renovations start with a simple change of perspective.  In order to discover relaxing space in an ordinary place, take a slow walk and a long look at your yard.  Give the entire landscape a discerning evaluation. Try to look at the overall layout like a realtor or guest would see it.  What assets or liabilities do you see? What jumps out at you? What are the first things you notice about your property?

Create Rooms

Make a list of how you want to use your space.  Start simple.  Think of creating ‘rooms’ of activity around your yard.  Even the smallest of yards can be maximized in a way that allows personal relaxation.  Yards that are low on space simply force designing homeowners to decide what matters most in life.  How do you want to live?  If pets have overrun the lawn, consider how to best ‘share’ the space and relegate messes to one place.  If you enjoy grilling out with friends, set aside some grill, deck, or table area.  Or go big and build an outdoor kitchen. Your lifestyle will determine if you need rooms for dining, playing, sitting, gardens, or pets.  Your list of rooms should reflect your lifestyle.

Know Yourself

Examine your preferences and habits.  If you enjoy a yard full of flowers because gardening is your lifestyle, then choose to add blooming space and lawn.  If weeding means de-stressing, and you have the time, go for the gardens!

However, if the thought of weeds or mowing keeps you out of the yard, design your space for minimal landscaping  work.  Skip the perennial bed and go for self-sufficient shrubs. Choose xeriscape alternatives for low watering and resource efficiency.  Or build out a large brick patio to cover more lawn area for even less maintenance issues. Or a nice wooden deck. Consult a local do-it-yourself store for low-maintenance ideas.

Design your Dream

One important aspect of outdoor space is balance.  Work with your tastes and budget to integrate your ‘rooms’ into one flowing overall environment.

Think creatively.  Create the illusion of space by installing gently curved pathways.  Or design a winding walk to a private, tucked away oasis.  A simple bench or patio rocking chair can provide a personal get-away when placed strategically.  Whatever you choose, pull it all together by following the balance of your overall plan.

Bring the Sound

Certain sounds add a sense of calm.  Wind chimes or trickling fountains bring soft ambient noise.  A birdbath also adds a splash of wildlife sound.  And, if an iPod is always in your pocket, go high tech and install stereo speakers throughout the yard. or at least bring out a small Bluetooth speaker that doesn’t even need to be “installed”.  Whether for private down time on the patio or entertaining around the pool, music adds ambiance and enhances the mood.

Play in the Space

If friends and family bring joy, design your yard with them in mind.  Use square footage wisely in order to create areas for eating or play.  And, if kids are a priority at your house, make sure their space is open for safe, fun playtimes.  Swing sets, enclosed trampolines, slides or covered sand boxes are classic and timeless favorites that earn their keep in kid-time spent outdoors instead of in front of the television.

Outdoor fun can also include a barbecue patio, or a grill on the deck.  If grilling is your game, make sure you leave space for good eats.

Bring in Nature

Do you like to see rabbits hoping along the edges of your garden or lawn space? Maybe deer eating from the trees you have on the edge of your lawn in the backyard? Or maybe squirrels and chipmunks are your thing. Brining in nature makes for a great way to enjoy all your yard has to offer. Even if you don’t have any woods or real wild places on your property, you can always help out the birds with a nice bird feeder. Or you can help out ferral cats by providing them with an insulated feral cat house for outside. Where ever you are, there really are ways to bring nature to you, unless of course that means bugs and mosquitoes!

Light the Fire

Big flames captivate and invite a gathering.  Bring magic to an evening and distract thoughts from everyday worries with a popular clay chiminea or brass fire pit on the lawn.  A fire pit is cheap and easy to construct, and if you have the time and money, you could even build a “patio” like area around your pit for even more easy living space. Fireplaces bring people together but always use caution.  Pay close attention to child safety and local fire codes.

Inhale Aromas

Let fragrance set a soothing mood.  Intentionally plant herbs and flowers for their aroma.  Sage, basil, thyme, and mint bring their own sweet smells.   Also consider adding the heavier scents of lavender, chamomile or sandalwood in your garden or even across the grass.  Or, if the garden isn’t your thing, light scented candles or essential oils to fill the air.

Put up your Feet

Backyard furniture is a must for your relaxation space.  It means the difference between sitting or standing, engaging or observing.  Look for a comfortable, quality table and chairs.  Consider a hammock for sleeping in the sunshine. Solid wood furniture like benches and swings work well on decks and between trees.   A patio glider or rocker can be placed beside the garden for a rest spot or tucked in an alcove for reading, napping or meditating.

Come Back Again

The next time an expensive retreat beckons, open your back door.   Spend the money for travel and airline tickets on a different dream and find a personal retreat to return to, right in your own backyard, every day of the week.

Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share:

Buying a House? READ This First!

Essential House Buying Tips…

Buying a house is a monumental purchasing decision that many people only make a few times or less in their lives. Fortunately, the process does not need to be complicated or filled with unpleasant surprises. Before embarking on buying a home, remember to keep these essential tips in mind.

Financial Considerations

No matter if the housing market is up or down, homes are enormously expensive. As a result, it’s no surprise that financial considerations top the list of what you should think about before buying a house. Understanding the true costs of home ownership is chief among them.

You should examine the impacts of renting versus owning. You’re probably aware that over the long term, it costs more to rent than to own. This generally holds true. However, homeowners need to be prepared to fulfill responsibilities renters are not liable for. All utility bills, maintenance, cleaning, property taxes, as well as mortgage payments are necessities managed by the homeowner.

Zooming in on the details from this list will help you get a better picture of what your prospective house may cost beyond the closing price. Asking for a full breakdown of utility bills, for instance, lets you calculate your average monthly expenses. Request a copy of last month’s utility bills from the owner, realtor, or get an estimate from local providers. You should look at gas, electric, water, and trash costs. Don’t forget additional services you may want like internet, cable, and lawn maintenance or winter care.

Property taxes should be analyzed the same way. Don’t rely on estimates from realtors or owners. A hard look at what was actually paid out last year, and preferably the last five years, shows you what the real property taxes are, and how fast they ordinarily increase.

Figuring out a home’s structural condition may save you additional money as well. Bring inspectors to look at the home‘s foundation, wiring, roof, and other vital systems. Also, make sure you get things like a mold inspection and inspections for lead paint and radon. Property solutions in Hua Hin can help you if you’re abroad, or search your local area for the country you’re in. If the owner has done recent improvements or remodeling, verify the value with an inspector, or ask to see the construction receipts. Although many sellers are honest, there always some who try to inflate their home’s market price by overstating the value of upgrades.

Getting to Know the Neighborhood

Learning about the location of a potential home is just as important as collecting information about the house itself. Remember to take a look at statistics regarding crime, demographics, and education in the area you plan to move to. Normal climate data and potential natural disasters your property could face are worth analyzing too.

You can find out about the general state of the neighborhood by talking to residents, discovering community groups, or pulling up old news stories. Serious crimes in the area will always appear in reports by police and media, while neighbors are likely to mention nuisances, or confirm pleasant features. Visit the area during the day and night to ensure there are no odd surprises that only occur after sundown, or during daylight.

Although scrutinizing a home takes a great deal of work, it saves on potential disappointment and expenditures. Putting in your research ahead of time pays dividends for as long as you live in your home.


4 Money Moves Before Buying a Home

Remember the days when the only thing you needed to do to buy a home was to bring some I.D. and stand in line somewhere?  The days of “E-Z Lending!” and “No Money Down!” have long given way to an era loaded with banks and lenders that actually require that potential homeowners have the ability to pay for the homes they’re trying to purchase.  If you’re in the market for a home, you need to make sure that your financials can withstand an underwriter’s scrutiny.  Check out the following four money moves that you’ll need to make before even thinking about buying a home.

Raise Your Credit Score

If you’re planning on applying for a mortgage, but your credit scores are barely there, or smudged, you’ll need to put in the work to raise them to a number that lenders are comfortable with.  Borrowers with high credit scores are rewarded with lower interest rates and less money required for down payments.  Pull your reports from all three CRA’s (credit reporting agencies).  Pay down your credit card debt.  If you’re thinking of paying off old debt or charge-offs, check with the creditor in question to make sure that once you pay, they report the debt to the CRA’s as “paid in full.”  Paid charge-offs are often reported as “new,” a notation that will result in a lower credit score.  Dispute any errors on your reports directly with the CRA’s.

Pay off Debt

If you’re carrying sizable debt, it’s going to negatively affect the amount of money that a lender is willing to lend you.  If you have a lot of revolving debt, pay as much of it off as you can.  Not only will it make you more attractive to lenders, it will save you money over time since revolving debt like credit cards carries much higher interest rates than mortgages do.  Paying off that money up front will save you thousands of dollars in interest in the long-term.

Save for (or be Gifted With) a Down Payment

If you’re going for an FHA loan, the minimum down payment required is 3.5% of the purchase price, provided you have a credit score of at least 580.  If your score is lower than that, you’ll need to put down 10% (another reason to get those scores up!).   Traditional loans can require as much as a 20% or more down payment.  Figure out how much you’ll need for a down payment and aggressively go about saving for it.

You can receive familial down payment assistance in the form of a gift, but make sure that it is accompanied by a “gift letter,” which will include the amount being given, the relationship of the person giving you the money, clarification that it’s actually a gift and not a loan, the property address, and the signatures of all involved parties.

Determine a Realistic House Budget

Everyone wants to buy a dream house, but that dream house can quickly turn into a true nightmare if you bite off more than you can chew in terms of house price.  Assess all of your monthly expenditures including your monthly take-home pay, outstanding debts, home maintenance expenses, taxes, school fees, utilities, etc.  As you can see, the list is long, so when you’re figuring out what you can afford for a monthly mortgage, include all of those other expenses in your calculations.

Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share:

BIG Berkey Water Filter Review

Big Berkey water filter review

The Big Berkey water filter is an extremely efficient and powerful system that removes contaminants from water to such low levels that they are not physically or chemically detectable. Water filters are made necessary by the unfortunate fact that tap water is never perfectly clean, and may have chemical, physical or biological contaminants, depending on where you live.

Additionally, since the Big Berkey is portable, you will be able to use it in any location in which you do not trust the water supply. You can for example take the Big Berkey water filter with you when you’re camping, and you can trust it to completely purify water from lakes and rivers. This Big Berkey water filter review will describe how the Big Berkey water filter works and how it can help you to safeguard your health.

BIG Berkey stainless steelPossible water contaminants

Regardless of whether you plan to use the Big Berkey water filter at home or “on the road”, using water filters is always a wise precaution. Water is regularly found to be contaminated by physical, biological and chemical entities that pose varying degrees of risk for your health. The most dangerous chemical contaminants are volatile and synthetic organic compounds such as pesticides and industrial solvents.

This kind of chemical is extremely toxic for humans and several of them are outright carcinogenic! Physical contaminants can be sediments and rusts. Biological contaminants are organisms that can cause some very serious diseases like typhus and cholera. Additionally, tap water may have a bad taste or odors for any number of reasons.

The Berkey water filter has been shown to be incredibly efficient in the removal of all of these contaminants to the point where they are no longer chemically of physical detectable in the filtered water.

Additionally, if you plan to go camping, you should of course know that lake and river water is not regulated at all, so it is even more likely to have dangerous contaminants. The portability of the Big Berkey water filter means that you can take it with you wherever you go so that you can make almost any source of water completely drinkable and healthy!

BIG Berkey disassemblyBig Berkey water filter features

The Big Berkey unit has a capacity of 2.25 gallons (8.5 L), a height of 19.25” and a diameter of 8.5”. The Big Berkey water filter includes either two or four Black Berkey elements or ceramic filters.

The Black Berkey filter element is so efficient at filtering water that it has been shown to remove food coloring completely from water — that is an impressive water filtration efficiency! If you find this claim incredible, check out the video at the bottom of this lens and see for yourself!

The upper chamber of the Big Berkey filter has a re-cleanable ceramic Super Sterasyl filter that efficiently removes pathogens, volatile organic chemicals, synthetic organic chemicals and physical contaminants.

These ceramic water filters have two enormous advantages: firstly, they are re-cleanable, which means that you never have to dispose of them and buy new ones.

Secondly, they successfully inhibit mitosis, which is the type of cell division that unicellular organisms like bacteria use to reproduce.

This is very important, because if mitosis is not inhibited, the bacteria retained by the ceramic water filter would rapidly reproduce and clog up the filter.

Both the Black Berkey and ceramic filters in the Big Berkey water filter unit have been shown to remove synthetic organic compounds, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, sediments, turbidity, and biological pathogens such as bacteria and cysts. These ceramic water filters are exquisitely designed: they have a domed top rather than a cap, which means that leaks in the top of the filter are physically impossible.

Now that is smart design!


These are not just vacuous marketing claims — check out this impressive list of independent entities that tested the water-filtering efficiency of the Big Berkey water filter:

  • ISO-9000: 2000
  • Hyder Labs (UK)
  • Spectrum Labs (UK)
  • WRc – Mednenham (UK)
  • Clare Microbiology (UK)
  • WRc Gwent (UK)
  • Loughborough University (UK)
  • University of Arizona (USA)
  • Thresh, Beale, and Suckling (UK)

The other extremely valuable feature of this filter is the sheer length of time for which it can filter water without having to replace the filters: each water filter can purify 3000 gallons of water, which means 6000 gallons of water in total. At a rate of 10 gallons of water a week, that means that you can go for 600 weeks without replacing the filters. That means 11.5 years of water filtration! This is what we call value for money. Just look at some of the other best water softener reviews and make the comparisons.

BIG Berkey Water FiltersBig Berkey water filter warranty

The Big Berkey water filter comes with a full six-month warranty. This means that during the first six months of your ownership, Big Berkey will replace or repair any of the Big Berkey water filter’s constituent elements that are malfunctioning. They even offer appliance repair in Calgary and other Canadian provinces for those living in Canada.

Remember that companies offer warranties when they know that things are extremely unlikely to go wrong!

Additionally, the Big Berkey water filter comes with one of the following: Sport Berkey Bottles, Berkey KDF Shower Filter, Berkey PF-2 Fluoride Filters, Replacement Parts Kit or Berkey Base. How’s that for extraordinary value for money!

Big Berkey water filter review: conclusion

The Big Berkey water filters stands out among other water filters on the market for its portability. You can take it with you wherever you like, giving you the ability to purify water regardless of where you are. If you go camping, the Big Berkey water filter will give you an extremely reliable supply of safe, clean and healthy water.

If you use it to filter an average of 10 gallons a week, the Big Berkey water filter can work for 11.5 years without having to change the filter! The Big Berkey water filter also comes with a six-month warranty and an additional item of your choice free of charge.

We hope that you found this Big Berkey water filter review useful. If you own Big Berkey water filter, please consider writing your own Big Berkey water filter review in the comments below — other folks will surely find your insights useful. Thank you!

Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share:

What is Stucco? How to Mix Ingredients

What is Stucco and How to Mix the Ingredients?

What is it?

Stucco is a cement-based plaster that is often colored and used either on the interior or exterior of homes. Stucco is often used when a brick or stone appearance is needed on a building, but the cost to use the original materials is too costly.  One of the benefits of using stucco is that it lasts longer than most traditional forms of siding like vinyl or wood siding. 

Stucco Ingredients:

The materials needed for Stucco, sometimes called “portland cement plaster” are plastic cement, sand and water. If regular cement is used, hydrated lime should be purchased also to make the plaster workable. No lime is to be used with plastic cement because it is complete as formulated.

Plastic cement is a specially formulated type of cement for use in plaster and sometimes masonry. Plastic cement contains all the necessary ingredients, other than sand and water, to make a suitable mixture for troweling onto walls and ceilings. Most plasterers prefer straight plastic cement to avoid possible confusion at the mixer for the ease of application. Some plasterers use a mixture of equal parts of plastic and regular cement. Either formulation is msuitable. A few plasterers still use regular cement to which Flintkote Type S lime is added in the mixer. Unless hydrated lime is added to regular cement, the resulting plaster may be difficult to spread and will not cling well to lath on walls and soffits. No lime should be added to a half-and-half mix of plastic and regular cement.


Three general classifications of sand, by gradation, normally are available from a dry material yard. They are concrete, sand, plaster sand and masonry sand. Concrete sand, being fairly coarse, would make a good quality plaster wall but is difficult to spread because of coarseness. Masonry sand is too fine for use in the two base coats of portland cement plaster because it may induce cracks in the plaster. A typical plaster sand used by almost every contractor in the area is called Oly #2, and is mined in the Felton area of the Santa Cruz Mountains ( Oly #2. has a gradation that contributes to ease of spreading, yet is not so fine that it will induce cracking. Oly #1 is masonry sand, not to be used in the scratch and brown coats of cement plaster.

Plaster sand should be clean as well as properly graded. When sand is delivered to the job site, it should be protected against contamination from cigarette butts, scraps of gypsum board, dirt, oil and grease, paper or other harmful contaminants. One may use a cubic foot box to measure sand into the mixer or be guided by shovel count. Normally mixer operators use shovel count and add between twenty and thirty shovels of sand per bag of plastic cement or to the equivalent of a bag of half-and-half plastic and regular, or to a bag of regular plus lime.

Any water supply suitable for human consumption is satisfactory for mixing cement plaster. The most important factor is that one NEVER SHOULD ADD AN EXCESSIVE AMOUNT OF MIX!


Use only enough water to produce a spreadable mix. Any additional water will weaken the finished plaster unnecessarily and may induce cracks.


If one elects to use regular cement, bags of hydrated lime must be purchased at the same time as the other materials. When adding lime to regular cement in the mixer or whatever tools you’re using, it is customary to use about fifteen pounds of lime for each 94 pound bag of regular cement. The plasterer should be guided by Table 47-F of the Uniform Building Code in this regard.

Lime is not needed to make plastic cement more spreadable.

Mixing Stucco

The minimum volume of plaster sand per bag of cement is three cubic feet. Note that a bag of cement contains one cubic foot of material. The Uniform Building Code (UBC) has established a formula for the first (scratch) and second (brown) coats of cement plaster. That data is found in Table 47-F of the UBC. A copy of this can be found on M&M Home Exteriors website. The maximum ratio of sand to cement in the first coat is four cubic feet of sand for each cubic foot or bag of cement. In the second or brown coat, a maximum of five cubic feet of plaster sand is permitted for each bag of cement.

Check out our reviews of the best cordless drills to use when using a paddle to mix your cement.

The preferred sequence of adding ingredients to the mixer is to pour some water into the mixer, followed by part of the sand. Add the necessary amount of cement, one or two bags, depending upon the size of the mixer. Add more water as required, then the balance of the prescribed amount of sand, with additional water as needed to make a workable mix. Be very careful about adding the last bit of water because it is possible to add too much liquid and make a sloppy mix. The danger of adding excessive water is that it would lead to possible weakness in the plaster wall, plus formation of cracks or checking in the complete wall.

Allow the plaster to mix in the machine four or five minutes to gain full benefit from the air entraining agent interground with the plastic cement in the factory. Entrained air is beneficial in improving workability of plaster and reducing the water:cement ratio.


Finish Coat (often called the color coat):

The finish coat, which is the third coat of plaster normally applied by plasterers, is manufactured stucco. Stucco contains all the necessary ingredients to achieve the desired color and texture except for the addition of water at the job site. As is true of the two base coats, only enough water to achieve workability should be added; otherwise pigments may migrate, and the result will be a mottled wall.

Another problem related to excessive water in the finish coat is formation of fine check cracking.

One should be very careful when mixing colored stucco that the same amount of mix water always is added to each batch of stucco, to prevent color variation. It is important that the mixer and working tools be kept clean and free of contaminating mold, dirt, grease or other offensive materials.


The scratch coat should be the thickest of the three coats. If the amount of mix water is controlled properly, one can lay on a half-inch of scratch coat successfully. The first coat must be applied with sufficient material and pressure to solidly fill all openings in the lath. Allow the scratch coat to take up slightly before scoring the plaster lightly in the horizontal direction only. The score marks in the first coat should be shallow.

The brown coat is considered a dressing coat to help level the wall to good alignment, as well as to build the base plaster out to a thickness of three-quarters of an inch before allowing the brown coat to moist cure and then dry in preparation to receive the color coat. Please use a stable ladder when working in high areas.

The brown coat should be brought out to proper thickness; troweled, rodded and floated to a suitable surface, straight yet sufficiently rough to provide adequate bond for the finish coat. Compaction with a shingle float is beneficial. UBC requires that the brown coat be in place seven days before the finish coat is applied.

The plasterer will decorate the surface of the applied color coat with a textured finish, which may be a dash texture, sand float finish, mission texture or other attractive surface decoration. Cement plaster should not be troweled smooth, nor should it be overworked with the tools.

Minimum thickness of all three coats must be seven-eighths inch over frame construction.


Curing portland cement plaster is a matter of retaining enough water within the thickness of plaster to chemically hydrate the cement paste that provides strength and other attributes of plaster. Periodic moistening of the plaster is beneficial to keep water in the plaster membrane. Moistening should be done during the cooler periods of the day; in the morning, late afternoon and evening. If the wall is intensely hot, thermal shock with possible attendant cracking may occur when cold water strikes a hot wall.

Replacement of moisture in the wall by hosing is needed during hot weather, windy weather and during very cold weather. Moistening is necessary during very cold weather because cold air frequently is very dry air, and has the capability of drawing moisture out of the plaster at a rapid rate.

Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share:

How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs At Home

Get Rid of Bedbugs Once and For All!

Discover how to get rid of bed bugs at home effectively. Get rid of bed bugs at home permanently. Learn how to prevent a re-infestation by these tiny parasites from ever occurring again.

“Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite” is not an appropriate lullaby to kiss the kids goodnight anymore, since these parasites have made a dramatic come back as recently as the mid 90’s after they were almost completely eradicated in the 40’s. At the time DDT was legally used to exterminate cockroaches and many other pests and soon after vacuum cleaners were introduced.

Bed bugs had been confined to developing countries for the time being, but recently they spread across the developed world due to a number of factors like neglect in favor of other pest treatments, resistance to insecticides, ineffective treatment methods and traveling. Bed bugs are opportunistic parasites that will gladly hitch hike in a suitcase and follow their hosts to infest new countries and their inhabitants, hence their success.

Inspecting For Bugs

Bed Bugs are also difficult to spot at first, not until the human host has already been bitten and decided to inspect his/her surrounding to find the culprit do most people even realize what is happening. Bed bugs are oval shaped and flat for easier access to crevices and nooks, usually hiding in the tufts and seams of bedding, head rests, buttons, head boards, edges of carpets and anywhere near where the host sleeps like skirting boards, bed side tables and inside chests of drawers.

They have an ability to infiltrate under wall paper, bed frame hollows, smoke detectors and generally anywhere near their source of food big enough to hide them.

Apart from human transport, bed bugs can be also carried with birds and bats and once established they congregate near their source of food. Apart from red bite rushes anywhere on the body, clues of their presence are their molting outer skeleton shells, tiny fecal droppings and eggs.

Bed bug are attracted to their victims by carbon monoxide and heat and will congregate near them but will also wander around to other rooms in search of food sources. Their flat oval shape makes them adapted for hiding in crevices, staying there in daytime to crawl out at night to feed on their hosts.

Once you’ve completed your own home inspection and their presence has been established, you can start the 2 phase elimination process described below or find out how to get rid of bed bugs at home naturally.

Phase 1 – Remove, Clean, Tidy Up, Vacuum Thoroughly!

This phase is very important in order to remove as many nymphs, eggs and organic debris as possible.

Remove all personal items including laptops, phones, teddy bears, cushions, pillows, blankets. Then vacuum them thoroughly and seal them in plastic bags for few days to check for missed bugs or newly hatched eggs.

Empty dressers, bed side tables and chest of drawers, move them from their place and deep vacuum corners and the inside of cabinets with a nozzle. Go to your sofa and mattress, remove them and vacuum with special attention to seams, tufts, skirts and under the cushions.

Check the box springs for infestation. If there is one, you may have to dispose of the mattress. Dismantle the bed frame and check in the hollow of the metal frame or between the component edges if it is a wooden frame. Vacuum and vacuum again.

Empty your wardrobe and clean it as for the chest of drawers. Since garments cannot be treated with insecticides, machine wash them at a temperature higher than 120*F because adults, nymphs and eggs are all killed within minutes above this temperature. Repeat the process for curtains.

Once you cleaned all the individual parts of the room, furniture,mattresses, textiles, fabrics and upholstery, you can move onto the rest of the room. Vacuum the carpet religiously especially along skirting boards, along the frame of furniture, rails, corners, wall cracks and all visible surfaces and crevices where the parasites may be hiding.

Do the same in all of the rooms of your house that has carpeting or fabrics like your living room. Bedbugs don’t just live in the bedroom.

Next, seal cracks in walls and wall paper with plaster, silicone or acrylic filler to prevent future infestations. In order to expose more bed bugs from their hiding places, you may want to use a flashlight. Finally, remove the vacuum bag and seal it is a plastic bag before disposal. Thorough cleaning and vacuuming is the foundation key to get rid of bed bugs at home.

Phase 2 – Life Cycle And Treatments

life cycle of a bedbugThe life cycle of bed bugs lasts up to 1 year and is divided in 6 stages. Only the last stage is the adult reproductive stage, while the others are immature stages that start with the egg stage followed by a nymph stage with 3 successive molts before the adult stage.

Adults are 4/5 mm long and all bed bugs stages are surprisingly resistant to low and high temperatures. They can survive many days in temperatures below 0* but will die if the temperature is higher than 47 Celsius or 120 F, so anything short of prolonged freezing temperatures or heat won’t kill them.

The treatments available focus on breaking the bug life cycle and are targeted at all life cycle stages repeatedly, either by killing them directly or by interfering with IGR ( Insect Growth Regulator). It’s too bad they weren’t more like a mosquito and you could just use one of the best bug zappers on them 🙁

Chemical treatments like sprays or dust should be applied at least 3 times 10 days apart to be sure of success. In fact, bed bugs feed sparingly few weeks apart, so re-treatment is necessary for complete elimination. Unlike with fleas where foggers are successful, with bed bugs such treatment produce the opposite effect, the bugs will scatter around making it even more difficult to exterminate them.

Pyrethroid, Malathion and Dichlorvos are commonly used for mattresses, sofas, cushions and upholstery, cabinets and chests with particular attention to seams and tufts, However, some bed bug populations have developed a phenomenal resistance to these agents and there is growing concern as to how to find a more effective way to kill them.

Another solution may be an IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) based treatment.

There are also mattress cases on the market that completely seal the mattress and prevent any escape from it. They must be kept for 1 year or so to make sure to break the whole life cycle of the bed bugs by starving them and stop the infestation spreading. If the infestation is severe, you may need to dispose of the mattress, but If it is not too advanced, you may decide to use sprays and dusts to kill the unwanted guests.

Prevention After The Infestation

There is a sound and chemical free way of dealing with bed bugs. If you have already experienced the trauma of an infestation you are already in a better position NOT to underestimate the resilience and adaptability of this successful bug. Wherever and whenever you travel, be wary of where you sleep and of your luggage. Here below there is a prevention check list to help you understand howto  get rid of bed bugs in Pheonix or wherever, even at home and the trauma and disruption that these tiny creatures can do to your life.

  • Always check your hotel mattress and headboards when traveling
  • Do not drop your luggage on the floor but keep it off it
  • Keep a vigilant eye on public transport seats
  • Check for bugs in new furniture delivered from warehouses
  • Avoid buying second hand furniture or bedding
  • Carry a mini flash light to inspect the bed area
  • Back home from a trip, inspect your luggage and vacuum clean it
  • You may want to use a pocket spray can for mattresses and luggage when traveling
  • Use a sticky bed bug trap

Getting Rid of BedBugs Through Cleaning

  • Vacuum the furnishings, including mattress, box spring, headboard, couch and other possible infested areas such as wooden doors and floors every other day.
  • When you are cleaning the furniture, dismantle the bed frames and other furniture so that you can be sure that you can get to all of the bugs when cleaning.
  • You should also dry-scrub the mattress and carpets with a stiff brush to dislodge any bedbugs and their eggs that may not have been suctioned with the vacuum.
  • When you’ve finished vacuuming, immediately remove the bag from the vacuum cleaner, seal it in a plastic bag and take it out to the trash can.
  • Bedbugs sometimes hide in wood piles, paper trash bins, and other areas with debris around your house, so it’s a good idea to go around the house and remove any of these possible housing sites.
  • Remove any unnecessary clutter from around the house and keep it tidy. This will reduce their hiding spaces and increase the effectiveness of the cleaning process, making getting rid of bedbugs a lot easier.
  • Sometimes, it is a good idea to throw away mattress or box springs that are heavily infested with bedbugs.
  • An alternative to throwing away mattresses that may still be in good condition is to get a bed bug proof mattress encasement, which helps protect the mattress from infestation.

Kill Bed Bugs Using Heat

small bed bugLike many living pests, you can also get rid of bedbugs and their eggs by using heat. Most bedbugs can be killed at temperatures of 97°F to 99°F, but you get better results if you heat things up to 120°F.

Here are some ways on how you can kill bedbugs with heat:

  • To get rid of bedbugs, wash your bedding and clothing in hot water and then drying them in the dryer with the hot setting.
  • The same dryer can also be used to kill bedbugs that might be hiding in toys, stuffed animals, shoes, backpacks and other items. Place the items in the dryer and then set for 10 to 20 minutes on a medium to high heat setting.
  • For large item like luggage, try PackTite, a portable electronic heat treatment device guaranteed to kill bed bugs in all its life stages. (above 120°F)
  • Similarly, you can also take items that you suspect have bedbugs and place them into a black garbage bag, leaving them outside in direct sunlight for 2 to 3 days.
  • You can also shop for a bed bug steamer or regular steam cleaner to kill bedbugs. They are quite effective in getting rid of bedbugs, however it is advisable to use one that has dry vapor steam when steaming your mattresses otherwise you may end up with other problems such as mold or mildew growing, as well as dust mites allergies.

Getting Rid of BedBugs With Chemicals

Another way to get rid of bedbugs is to use inorganic agents like silica Aerogel or Diatomaceous Earth which dehydrates and kills the bedbugs.

There are also aerosol sprays that can be used for bedbug removal. Among the more popular brands includes Bedlam Insecticide and STERI-FAB bed bug spray which effectively get rid of bedbugs with lasting residual performance.

Exterminate BedBugs With Professional Exterminators

Getting rid of bedbugs will unquestionably be a long-winded and demanding task. If you feel that you do not have the time or the energy to execute the extermination well on your own, it is advisable to hire a bed bug exterminator who have invested in the knowledge, training and equipment to do the job well and guarantee the success of the extermination operation.

Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share:

The Best Cordless Drills – Which One Is Right For You?

When Buying The Best Cordless Drill – What Questions Should I Ask?

When it comes to browsing through the best cordless drills available today, even a knowledgeable buyer may have several questions. After all, the choices have become almost overwhelming.

I think the first cordless tool I owned was over twenty years ago. It was fat, heavy and I think 6 or 7 volts. You charged it for a few hours and could work with it for 10 minutes or so. It was a Craftsman; don’t remember the price… and I was proud of it !

Today, many of the top power tool manufacturers have cordless drills ranging from 10.8 to 36 volts. The now older battery technology is still sold, but at cheaper prices. The new technology, because it is vastly improved does come with a higher price tag.

So, we want to buy a new cordless drill. What should we think about, how do we make an informed buying decision?

Let’s discuss for a moment what type of projects you encounter.

Do you attempt extreme repairs or complicated DIY projects? Are your needs just for occasional home repairs? Do you work with soft materials such as pine, plastic or drywall? Does your “to do” list include hard, tough or brittle items such as various metals, oak, ceramics and concrete? Are you in a contracting profession where your tools are your livelihood?

Answer these questions and we are ready to take a look at the specifications of some of the cordless drills. We also want to read several written reviews pertaining to the best cordless drills that you may put on your list. Remember this point; the more reviews the better. There may be some negativity surrounding any product. I do not let this bother me unless all of the bad comments point to the same issue. Then I steer clear! We have too many good choices to fool around with sub standard equipment.

OK, let’s talk a bit about the drills.

One thing is now certain in my mind. Lithium-ion battery power is the ticket. This source of power provides easier, faster and less fatigue when drilling, screwing, grinding, polishing and any other task you may tackle. Even though these drills cost a little more they are now very affordable. They have more torque and are much lighter. The cycle life of the battery is up to 3 times longer than it’s predecessors. The advances have really been phenomenal.

If you work on soft to medium materials, do a lot of small home projects and repairs, you will probably be very happy with a 12 volt lithium-ion drill. A few of the “major brands” such as Dewalt, Makita, Milwaukee and Bosch have tough, high performance products in this voltage category. If you are an avid do-it-yourself advocate or a contractor I would skip the voltages between 12 and 18 volt drills. At this stage a ½ inch chuck is a necessity also. Some contractors, when making a list of the best cordless drills they want to consider, may set their goals somewhat higher. A 24 volt or even a 36 volt drill may be needed to conquer their projects.

Many “features” are standard on cordless drills but you may want to check different brands to see what they offer. One simple feature that has been omitted on several drills is a tool holder for your screwdriver bits. This confuses me as every drill I have ever owned (quite a few) has held the bits. That is a major “must have” in my opinion. You can buy an add-on of this feature though.

What brands provide us with the top tools today? Honestly, that is a tough one. I have studied and tested many by class (voltage) and all have performed admirably for the tasks I gave them. Some seemed to have a bit more power while others took a little longer to charge. There were a few features I liked that were not present on all drills. Make sure your pick has 2 batteries and a keyless chuck. After that most features are a preference.

The bottom line? After thinking about your projects, make you a list. After studying features, reviews and specs you are ready to make an educated choice from the best cordless drills the market has to offer.

Some Of The Best 12 Volt Cordless Drills

These 12 volt drills are small in stature but large in performance. The manufacturer”s have packed solid power and run-time into an extremely lightweight cordless drill. These are perfect for a homeowner or a craftsman that has different needs. I have multiple drills. A smaller one comes in handy, especially in tight spots or for overhead drilling.

Best 12 Volt Cordless Drills

The Most Popular Choice – The 18 Volt Cordless Drill

Why, might you ask, have the 18 volt cordless drills become so popular?

Like most items we buy, there are pros and cons to cordless drills. The 18 volt category of drills is no exception. These tools are more expensive and heavier than our previously discussed 12 volt models, some as much as 2 to 3 pounds heavier. During a long workday this may cause some fatigue. The prices are higher, but now very affordable. The upside of the larger 18 volt drills is very worthy of discussion. I have personally used several drills in this class and have talked to others that have done likewise. We all agree that the 18 volt cordless drill is one of the most versatile and important tools we own.

Good cordless drills generally last for several years. If you have not replaced an old one or are looking to be a first time buyer you will be pleasantly surprised with the new technology.

After all, if someone had told you a while back that there were cordless drills on the market that had 250% more runtime, weighed 40 to 50% less than previous models and had more power, would you believe it?

I didn’t until I tested one. I was immediately impressed and bought a new one a couple of days later. The newer technology is called Lithium-ion. You can read more about it on It is the best advancement in drills since they were invented. In this writers opinion it has made the even the larger tools usable by women and men alike. Even though we are calling them larger, they are ergonomically designed for comfort and smaller hands. They are significantly smaller than their predecessors.

At our house, we are avid cordless drill users. We use them inside and out, for automotive and home repairs. We own 4 cordless drills and make use of all of them. One, a small 12 volt, belongs to my wife. But rest assured, if she encounters a job where a little more power is needed she grabs one of the 18 volt drills and goes to work.

I came home from a job one day and she was in the basement drilling holes in the concrete wall for shelving. She had the 18 volt Makita drill and had just finished installing several anchors. I was proud of her. Actually, I love the fact that she will tackle home chores, it gives me a chance to go to the golf course!

Browsing the internet can be time consuming. I would suggest you try Amazon .com if you have an interest in any tools. They have a huge assortment and delivery is usually in just 2 days.

Bottom line? It’s nice to have a small 10.8 or 12 volt drill as an extra. But if you want to purchase one good drill then an 18 volt would be your best bet. Unless you work in tight spaces or use your drill very sparingly, the slightly larger and more powerful 18 volt cordless drill will handle all of your projects.

Top Notch 18 Volt Cordless Drills

To find the Best Cordless Drills in the 18 volt category, check these out below…

18 Volt Cordless Drills

Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share:

Top 10 Problems Home Inspectors Find

My Home Inspection Head Start Guide

When you get your home inspected, any problems that are found mean that you have to fix them and get another inspection, at a greater cost to you. You can prepare to avoid that second inspection by learning what home inspectors consider to be the ten problems they most frequently find.

A short prelude is to recognize that of the ten items, four relate directly to water and its damaging effects. It is then important that keeping water out should be at the forefront of the homeowner’s consideration when it comes to home maintenance and repair.

1) Surface Drainage

This problem is the most frequently cited problem that homeowners face. It is the back up or slower than standard drainage of surface water, and it is responsible for the number one household malady – water in the basement.

2) Electrical Wiring

This common problem is the result of insufficient overload protection, insufficient electrical supply and home wired connections, which are potentially dangerous to occupants.

3) Roof

This ailment is the result of degraded or damaged shingles, which causes roof leakage. Flashing that was improperly installed can also be a problem.

4) Heating

This category includes such items as a defective, non functioning thermostat, chimney blockage, and an unsafe venting of exhaust away from the home. Make sure you change your furnace filters before the inspection, and if time and finances allow, get it properly cleaned and looked over by a professional. Then include the receipt as “proof” of both maintenance and that there are no problems the new owner needs to worry about.

5) Overall Maintenance

This is where various areas of easy to repair items accumulate, such as makeshift fixes for wiring or plumbing, broken fixtures, cracked and peeling painted surfaces, wood flooring or carpeting that hasn’t been maintained and degraded masonry. Everything should look clean and sharp, so do some paint touch up if that’s what’s required.

6) Structural Issues

This category covers damage sustained by load bearing, structural components, such as the foundation, floor joists, rafters and trusses, support beams, headers around doors and windows, and much more.

7) Plumbing

Plumbing problems rank high when it comes to issues of the home. This includes the presence of old and outdated materials, defective or damaged fixtures, problems with the septic system or sewer lines, and so forth. Although the two main rooms these problems occur, the kitchen and bathroom, you still need to be looking through the entire property. Including the water pipes that come up to the house.

8) Exterior

Problems with the exterior of the home, such as for doors, windows and outer surfaces, allow atmospheric heat and humidity penetration, although they do not have much of an impact on the overall structure. Caulking and weather striping are the usual suspects when it comes to issues of the exterior.

9) Ventilation

It is frequently the case that individuals will over seal their home in an effort to have a more efficient air system. This results in the excessive build up of moisture, however, leading to rotting of structural elements. The most common areas are again, the basement and the attic. Make sure trusses are dry and there are no water damage stains or other problems.

10) Miscellaneous

This catchall category covers cosmetic issues that were not cited enough to gain its own category.


The results of the survey are dependent upon the age of the home and the area it is located in. Homes in the desert do not have as strict regulations on rain protection than in Chicago for example. Home inspection in Tulsa would be more strict than a smaller town like Wagoner. For the homeowner, it is important to go through the home and review various sections of the home in relation to these categories. They should avoid any self repairs if their skill level is not considered to be up to standards, especially when it comes to wiring and plumbing.

Fix what you can before the inspection, and you may avoid having to do the same procedure twice.

Read More →
Replies: 0 / Share: