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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Deck Collapses

Deck Collapses in Atlanta during a Birthday party, Good thing nobody got seriously hurt.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Doing Tile with Bondera

Bondera Tile-mat is a self-bonding sheet membrane that eliminates thinset mortar or mastic when doing tile work. It is very easy to use, all you have to do is peel the plastic shield on the back side and press it down, it bonds immediately to almost any surface. Then you apply tile to the surface by simply peeling the protective plastic on the front starting from the corner, and apply the tile, once tile is aligned, press harder for the stronger bond. The product is still new, not many contractors used it yet, but for DIY project is a nice try, especially when doing a smaller area like a back splash,etc.

You can obtain more information at Tiling with Bondera

Friday, October 8, 2010

New House Construction Update

It's been a few busy weeks, I didn't have time to make an update about New Home Construction. Things been progressing nicely considering the Holidays and rains we had during which the work was stopped. But now it's back on the roll and moving. Here is a few more updates.

Rough framing is completed. Today roof is being delivered to the job. They will start the roofing installation on Monday and they should complete the job the same day. Windows already waiting to be delivered, stairs will be delivered the beginning of next week. Tuesday basement and garage slab will be prepped for inspection and on Wednesday if it stay dry concrete slabs will be poured. So it looks like I will have a busy week.
Enjoy the weekend and I will keep this updated.

Stainless Steel Sinks with PermaDrain

This week we remodeled a kitchen, and we used a new sink with PermaDrain. This is a new new stainless steel sink made by Lenova company. They included PermaClean Drain System in to theirs sink design. The drain its self is a removable splash guards which is can be washed in the dishwasher dishwasher and it has a  strainer basket that seals to the drain fitting and the garbage disposal. Real neat design and the sink has a neat design and it makes a nice addition to any kitchen.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Deck Resurface

Another deck resurface job was completed end of this summer. Decking is Trex, Madeira color.
Old decking and railing was removed and disposed.
New decking material being properly spaced and installed.

The previous deck did not have access from the deck on to the lawn, so the new steps where installed with the gate and a concrete landing.

Decking job is complete

New Home Construction

I hope everyone had a good Summer, it was a nice and busy Summer for me, and I just started the construction of a New Home. I will keep it updated as I go along, so far I am into the 4th week of Construction.
Weather been good, no lost days, except for a few 1/2 days due to extreme heat conditions....So in two weeks excavation was done, footings poured and foundation work was completed.

The black stuff around the foundation is the Waterproof membrain I have been using on all my homes. First time I used this material, I was very happy with its performance, the home I built was located in the high seasonal water table area and during heavy rains and the last major flood we had, the foundation wall remained dry and the dranage around foundation walls was superb.

Week 3 the backfill was done, lumber was delivered on the job and framing stage of the job started.

The second floor deck was just completed on Wednesday, the job was stopped due to the Jewish Holiday in the area, Monday the second floor walls will  be up. and I will post another update on Monday or Tuesday. Have a great weekend everyone.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Trex Transcend Decking

Trex Transcend Decking is an upgrade to Trex Accents brand. Trex Transcend decking came out this winter, and it combines a finish that resists stains, scratches and mold. The boards are thicker and heavier then the other brands of Trex decking and they come in two profile options... square and grooved. Grooved comes with the hidden fastener system. Square profile is screwed through the surface like the other brands. They also added to this brand a high-definition wood grain pattern which is more visible. It is like the rest of the Trex products, it won’t rot, warp,crack or splinter. They state that they added protective shell which will defend surface against fading,stain,mold and scratches.The entire Transcend decking collection is also backed by a 25-year Limited Fade and Stain warranty. In the warranty, they note light fading is possible but not as much as other brands.

I just used it on the first job and I like the outcome of it and so is the homeowner, who said the job came out better then they thought it would, after we added something  extra without additional charge to the homeowner and enclosed the entire surface under the bench as a little surprise. Here is a few samples of the deck before and after refacing job was completed.

The existing wood decking was removed because it was split and deteriorated on the surface. Existing original framing was in a very good shape and no signs of deterioration, so no additional work was required other then adding a few metal joist angles to reinforce some of the joist.

Bellow are the pictures after the job was completed using Trex Transcend Decking. Deck color in the pictures is Gravel Path.

If additional information needed, please visit Trex Decking Website or you can drop me a note at any time, I am a certified installation contractor for the Trex Decking Manufacturer.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lead Poisoning Risk

I spoke to my painting contractor who just took EPA's lead safety class, and I would advise Homeowners to test your windows for lead paint if your home was built in 1978 and prior. If you detect lead during testing, I would advise to replace your windows and sill's, because they are one of the biggest causes of lead poisoning. By opening the window's, lead dust is created and the room becomes contaminated. This is the major concern, because it effects small kids and pregnant women if they live in the house.

I wrote in the past that EPA's Lead Poisoning rule went into effect in 22 of April. Any contractor who is doing work on the home built in 1978 or prior, must have EPA's lead certification.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Zodiaq Quartz Surfaces by DuPont

Zodiaq  is the perfect blend of nature and science.
It is an advanced composite material made of 93% quartz and it is a long-lasting and virtually maintenance-free material.
Sparkling crystals within its surface give a stunning light-play and a mesmerizing depth, while the surface's inherent sheen adds to this reflective effect.
 It gives the impression of natural stone yet without natural stone's imperfections. It draws you in and begs you to stay; it makes an inviting table, or an exotic bar.

Zodiaq Quartz is:

•Non-porous and carefree: No sealant, polish or reconditioning necessary
•Made from 93% natural quartz crystal, one of nature's strongest materials
•45 colors
•Stain resistant
•NSF/ANSI Standard 51 Certified for food contact and Class I(A) fire rated
•Durable: Made from an extremely hard mineral, quartz crystal
•Scratch resistant
•Easy to clean: When properly cleaned, Zodiaq® is mold and mildew resistant
•GREENGUARD Certified® as a low-emitting material

For more information visit DuPont Zodiaq 

Monday, May 3, 2010

Home Safety

Preparing your Play Area for Summer Fun, because the time for outdoors and time to let your kids run, climb and play til they drop... so before you open the doors, be sure the play area at your home is safe and childproof.
Here is some general things to do before the summer starts

1.Garages and storage sheds

•Be sure all buckets and large containers are kept out of children’s reach. If filled with water, a container as small as 5-gallon capacity can be a source of drowning.
•Store all garden tools and sharp objects out of reach, as well as pesticides and herbicides, gasoline, and motor oil.
•Keep all ladders out of children’s reach.

2. Playground equipment

•Check all swings, slides, playhouses and other structures for sharp objects, rusty metal pieces, breaks, or weakened support pieces,rotted wood where swings or play towers meet the ground.
•On metal swing sets, be sure to cap all open tube pieces. They’re a popular nesting place for bees, wasps and hornets during hot weather arrives, check under chairs, tables, umbrellas for nests.
•Put wood chips, mulch, sand or another soft substance under all swing sets and back yard play equipment.
•Check sandboxes for leaves, bugs and other undesirables. To be safe best way is to get rid of old sand and replace it with new playground sand.

3. Wooden decks

•Check the deck floor and handrails for splintered wood, rotted wood. A splinter of treated wood can cause serious infection and cause serious problems.
•Inspect all connections and fasteners to make sure nothing is lose and everything is stable.
•Inspect stairs,especially stringers and railings to make sure nothing is broken,cracked or lose... Check spindles on railing, this is the first thing kids grab when walking down the stairs.

Some safety rules to impose:

•No Kids Near the Grill. When hot, even after it’s been shut off, a metal barbecue grill can cause burns.
•No Walking on the Wooden Deck in Bare Feet. Splinters are serious stuff.
•No Walking Near the Swing Sets. A child wandering too near the front or back of a swing set can be knocked down by someone swinging and get seriously hurt and it only takes a split second.
•No Swimming without an adults being present. If you have a swimming pool, even a small one, set a rule that requires all children to get out of the pool if the adult leaves, even for a moment. And if you have a pool, add no yelling help unless you need help and no running near the Pool.
•If you got Trampoline make sure kids use it one at a Time...I know its never the case,but one wrong jump and you got some serious problem on your hands, serious injury and everything else that happen on this things.

Enjoy and have a great summer!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Home Remodeling - Homeowner best return on investment

How much can a Homeowner expect to recoup from theirs home improvement investment incase they decide to sell theirs home?

According to the 2009 / 2010 survey published by Remodeling magazine, here's how it breaks down:
For a mid-range priced home, you can expect the average cost and recoup for the following projects:

Average Cost vs Expected Return on your investment

Bathroom Remodel $19,000
Recoup 60% of your costs

Bathroom Addition $48,000
Recoup 56% of your costs

Garage Addition $72,000
Recoup 63% of your costs

Convert a Bedroom to a Home Office $32,000
Recoup 47% of your costs

Major Kitchen Remodel $65,000
Recoup 72% of your costs

Minor Kitchen Remodel $24,000
Recoup 76% of your costs

Window Replacement (vinyl) $13,000
Recoup 74% of your costs

Backup Power Generator $17,000
Recoup 75% of your costs

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sprinkler Head or PVC Pipe Repair

If sprinkler head is damaged, or there is a crack in PVC pipe, it is very easy to replace. (This PVC pipe repair tip can be used on any PVC material)  Most sprinkler heads screw on and off. To make a Sprinkler head replacement, take the head off and take the broken head to the store that sell them and get the same one. Before you install the new head, turn the water on to flush out the line, in case some dirt got inside and install the new sprinkler head. If there is dirt remaining in the pipe, and there is a loss of pressure, the head will not work.
If the sprinkler head does not screw on and off and attached directly to the pipe, then the end piece of pipe needs to be replaced, which is also a very simple repair. If pipe is cracked, you will need another person to turn the water on, while you look where the leak is. After you find the leak, turn the water off and locate the pipe.  Dig the dirt and expose the pipe. Find the crack or break in it, cut the section of the pipe and take it to the store so you can get the right pipe size. Purchase a section of pipe long enough to replace the broken section of pipe, you will need a few couplings and if  pipe is cracked near the end, where the sprinkler head is located, the end piece which is threaded must be replaced and must be the same size of you sprinkler head thread. You will also need  PVC cleaner and PVC cement, Box stores like HD or Lowe's sell small a set that contains 2 small bottles of each.

PVC Coupling image:

How to repair PVC pipe.

After PVC pipe is cut, remove any small pieces left on the edges from when you cut the pipe. You can do this with a rag or some sandpaper. Use PVC cleaner that came with the set you purchased, it will be purple color,be sure to use that on both sections of the pipe,i.e. new and old. Next open second bottle which is clear, the bottle also has a brush inside as the other one... Use the brush on both pipes new and old and apply PVC cement about 1 inch on the outside and also inside the coupling, then push the new pipe into the coupling and give it a half of turn. Do the same thing on the end piece on the inside of the screw adapter and push them together. Give a few minutes and screw on the sprinkler head. After you done test the head and make sure it works properly and after everything is ok, cover the pipe with dirt.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wood Decks.

Great news...Wood is coming back into our backyards for our enjoyment.
Yes, the real wood is back and thanks to a unique combination of science and nature, it is real wood and it only got better.

Process is 100% free of added chemicals and metals... Non-toxic ... no health, disposal or environmental issues...Resists rot and decay...Performance enhanced with factory-applied, premium sealant...The result is a real wood product. Excellent dimensional stability... 25-year transferable warranty.

The Thermally Modified Wood Decking begins as natural, renewable lumber. Then it undergoes a unique heat-based, chemical-free process that changes compounds in the wood. Then is further enhanced with a factory-applied, premium sealant specifically designed for thermally modified wood.
No matter how you cut it, sand it, stain it, or anything else you do with it... wood is real wood with unreal performance, and not only can you use wood like regular wood in construction, you can mulch it, burn it as fuel, even recycle it. It’s as pure as nature itself, so disposal is as easy as yard-work.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Kitchen Cabinet Installation Tips for DIY

If you purchase your cabinets directly from HD or Lowe's first thing you should do is check everything when kitchen arrives, to make sure that they match your order, make sure cabinets are not damaged and everything is there.

First is the measurement stage. Before you mark the wall, try to find the "high spot" on the floor where the kitchen cabinets will go. Some floors in older homes are not level and cabinets must be adjusted to the condition of your home. Check walls for plumb and square, because even in new construction they could be out.

Next mark out your studs. Use a stud finder to locate all the studs and mark them with a pencil. Take a small nail and double check to make sure your mark location right on the center of the stud.
Wall cabinets always installed starting in a corner, and working them outward according to kitchen layout and cabinet sizes marked on the plan. When cabinet is being installed,check to make sure it is level,plumb,and square.

The base kitchen cabinets before installation, they should be lined up against the wall and connected to the wall and one another. They should be clamped together so they aligned perfectly and then connected through the sides by screws. Be sure you use proper screw sizes so they will not penetrate the surface of another cabinet.

You will need a bundle of shims because shimming will be necessary, if something need to be aligned properly or leveled.

In some cases hanging rails must be used, they get screwed to the studs and you will be provided with a cabinet material to cover the gaps between the cabinet and the wall.

After everything is installed and leveled, you install your toe kicks that will come with the cabinets, they can be brad nailed or glued in place, crown and scribe moldings for finishing touches.

To install kitchen cabinets you will need a helper, 18 or 23 gage brad nailer,air compressor,miter-saw, screw gun, drill bits, level, square, screws, glue, shims and other various basic carpentry tools. It is good to have advanced carpentry skills doing this type of work.

Good luck

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Chinese Dry Wall

About 3,000 homeowners, mostly in Florida, Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, have reported problems with the Chinese-made drywall, which was imported in large quantities during the housing boom and after a string of Gulf Coast hurricanes.

The drywall has been linked to corrosion of wiring, air conditioning units, computers, doorknobs and jewelry, along with possible health effects. Tenenbaum said some samples of the Chinese-made product emit 100 times as much hydrogen sulfide as drywall made elsewhere.

The agency continues to investigate possible health effects, but preliminary studies have found a possible link between throat, nose and lung irritation and high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas emitted from the wallboard, coupled with formaldehyde, which is commonly found in new houses.

Now is the question who will pick up the tab to replace all that Drywall...Southern members of Congress have sought to make it easier to sue Chinese manufacturers and to get the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help homeowners pay for costs not covered by insurance. They also say the U.S. needs to pressure the Chinese government, which allegedly ran some of the companies that made defective drywall.

About 2000 homeowners already  filed suit in federal court in New Orleans against Chinese manufacturers and some of  U.S. companies who sold the drywall.
There is seperate claims by thousands more homeowners against Chinese manufacturers are pending, said Jordan Chaikin, a Florida lawyer whose firm represents about 1,000 homeowners.

They are ''continuing to live in their homes with Chinese drywall, patiently waiting for this thing to be resolved so they can move on with their lives,'' Chaikin said. ''We're not waiting for the government to move quicker than we are in the courts.''
In some cases, homebuilders have paid to gut and rewire homes. In others, homeowners who can afford it have paid for the work themselves.

On Friday, Knauf Plasterboard agreed that high hydrogen sulfide levels appeared to be the main concern, but it noted the commission's studies were preliminary and may not reflect conditions inside a home. The company said its studies have shown that drywall should be removed, but that plumbing and wiring do not need to go.
Daniel Becnel, a New Orleans lawyer representing Chinese drywall plaintiffs, including Sean Payton, the head coach of the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, said the government guidelines issued Friday were ''word for word what our experts said.''
He also said Congress should give homeowners grants to cover the cost of home gutting.

''Get these people out of this environment,'' he said. ''You're making these people sicker and sicker and sicker. You will have long-term effects.''

In Cape Coral, Fla., Joyce Dowdy, 71, and her husband Sonny, 63, plan to move out of their $150,000, 1,600-square-foot home while it is gutted to get rid of tainted Chinese drywall.
Joyce Dowdy said she suffers from nose bleeds and her husband has a persistent cough. They blame the drywall.
''We can't live like this anymore,'' Dowdy said.
They're borrowing money to do the gutting, which means that instead of a mortgage-free retirement they will be paying monthly bills cover the costs of repair.
''It's costing us as much as we paid for the house,'' Joyce Dowdy said. ''But we can't just walk away ... Our house is worth nothing at the moment.''
But Randy Noel, past president of the Louisiana Home Builders Association, said the Chinese drywall problem has been exaggerated. He called the new guidelines ''overkill.''

''Nobody has come up with a house yet that has caught on fire from the Chinese drywall, no one has come up yet with a house that leaks water or gas because of Chinese drywall,'' he said.
He has examined numerous homes containing Chinese drywall and found minor problems, he said.
''It's a black soot on top of the copper, brass and silver,'' he said. ''You wipe the stuff off and it looks as good as new.''

Click Here for more information about this.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Trex Deck Construction

Just finished a small deck. Trex decking is the most used material on the market today. Here is a few pictures of completed Deck project.

Home Owner Nightmare

Improper made opening created a structural disaster for a Home Owner. After the heavy snow,  concentrated point load cracked the header on the first floor,creating a dip in the floor.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Things and Myth's About Granite

A few things to know about common myths and misconceptions about granite countertops. Some of these myths are spread by people trying to sell granite, and some by people trying to sell competing products and trying to put down things about granite.

The following are some of the most common myths about granite:

“Granite is heat resistant, so it is perfectly okay to place hot pots on a granite countertop.” While this is true that granite is pretty much resistant to hot temperatures you would have in the kitchen, excessive heat can damage or discolor some types of granite sealers. Constant heating can also generate internal stresses that could cause a crack at a weak spot, such as a natural flaw or calcium in the stone. An easy way to eliminate problems is by using a trivet with feet.

“Granite countertops should be resealed once or twice a year.”
This is a generalization. Many different types of stone sold commercially as “granite.” Some are inherently resistant to staining without applying any sealer, and applying sealers to these stones can actually cause other problems i.e high-quality black stones usually do not need sealers. On the other hand, some stones sold as “granite” are so porous that their shortcomings can’t be solved by even the best sealers. There is no single recommendation that can be made about use of sealers on granite. The answer is specific to each individual type of stone.

“Granite countertops won’t chip, crack or stain.”
High-quality types of granite are very resistant to such damage, but any stone will chip if a hard, heavy object hits a square outside corner. Cracking may result from natural flaws in the stone or errors in fabrication or installation. Some stones sold as “granite” will absorb cooking oils, which darkens those areas significantly. These stains can be very difficult to remove as the only way to do so is by using a poultice. Other stones containing calcium can be etched and whitened by acidic liquids such as citrus juices or vinegar, and these stones are sometimes marketed as “granite,” although true granites are not subject to acid etching. Some sealers themselves can also be damaged by exposure to acidic liquids.

“Granite is second only to diamonds in hardness, so nothing but a diamond can scratch granite.” Granite is very scratch resistant, but it’s not scratch proof. There are many substances harder than granite. Mineral hardness is rated by the Mohs scale, with soft minerals like talc rated as 1 and diamond rated at 10. Due to their high quartz content, most commercial granites are rated about 7 on the Mohs scale. Abrasive substances sometimes found in cleaning products can cause dull spots or tiny scratches on granite if misused. Some stones sold as granite are significantly softer than true granites and are therefore more prone to scratching. Natural stone should be cleaned only with pH neutral, non-abrasive stone cleaning products.

“Granite countertops emit cancer-causing radon and therefore are dangerous” and “Granite countertops are not radioactive, and therefore are perfectly safe.” Both statements are exaggerated. Much of the information found online about radon and granite is not neutral, and has been put out by companies that profit either from selling granite or from selling products that compete with granite.
Radon exposure is a genuine public health problem, as it is considered the second most common cause of lung cancer after smoking cigarettes.
Here is what the EPA says about radon and granite countertops: “Some types of granite may emit gamma radiation above typical background levels. However, at this time, EPA believes that the existing data is insufficient to conclude that the types of granite commonly used in countertops are significantly increasing indoor radon levels. While radiation levels are not typically high, measurement of specific samples may reveal higher than expected levels on a case-by-case basis.”

There are many other potential sources of radon gas within the home. By far the most significant source of radon is the soil beneath the home itself. Foundations and basements can be properly ventilated to disperse excessive levels of radon gas, and this would be preferable in most cases to removing granite countertops. No one should be concerned unless radon testing identifies a problem in a specific home. Despite the relatively low risk from granite, it’s our opinion that the granite industry should screen for high radon emitting stones, and eliminate them from the marketplace.

“Absolute Black granite is the best countertop money can buy.”
Better quality stones sold as Absolute Black granite are outstanding performers. But caution is in order. Stones sold as Absolute Black are quarried in many countries. Originally, the label was applied to a very high quality diabase quarried in Sweden, and later to stones from South Africa. Now stones from many other countries are sold as Absolute Black, including Zimbabwe, Angola, Canada, India and China. Many of the Indian and Chinese stones are of excellent quality, but some unscrupulous companies sell lower-quality stones that may be dyed from grey to black, have excessive flaws, or not be able to be polished to a consistently glossy finish. Knowing that a stone is marketed under the trade name Absolute Black granite is not enough to make an informed decision.

Testing the Granite before you buy.

It would be nice if everyone who sold granite was ethical, truthful and fully informed about types of stone they sell. Unfortunately, thousands of different types of stones are on the market today, and obtaining reliable information about each is difficult.
There is a simple test procedure that can give an accurate picture of a stone’s performance as a countertop. Take a sample of the stone home and before applying any sealer, put teaspoon of water on the stone and observe for darkening and absorption. If the stone starts to darken immediately, it’s very porous, and not a good candidate for a kitchen countertop. If it takes several minutes to darken, the stone will be an adequate performer if properly sealed. If the stone does not darken after 30 minutes, it’s an excellent performer and may not need sealing at all.

Next, take half a lemon, squeeze out some juice and leave the cut lemon and juice on the stone for 30 minutes. Drip vegetable oil onto the stone as well, and let it sit for half an hour. Any signs of acidic etching or oil staining will indicate that this particular stone is not an outstanding performer as a kitchen countertop.

The final test is specially for black granites. Pour a puddle of acetone onto the stone, and wipe the surface thoroughly with a clean rag. If the rag shows black or grey coloration, then the stone has been doctored with an applied dye or wax, and should not be used for a kitchen countertop.

Good luck

Monday, March 15, 2010

To All My Readers

I hope everyone recovered from this weekend's nightmare weather without any damages and hopefully our Mother Nature will keep quiet for sometime.

Prevent Concrete from Cracking

Common question always being asked is " Why concrete cracks"

Here is some information and a few common reasons to explain why concrete cracks.
One of the reasons is, in residential concrete application to much water is added to the concrete on the job site. This water is added to make the concrete easier to install.Concrete does not require much water to get its strength, but when to much water is added, it reduces the strength of the concrete.
In addition, shrinkage is the main reason for cracking. When concrete dries it shrinks, because all the water is evaporate. The wetter the concrete,the more shrinkage will be. When concrete shrinks it pulls the slab apart and you see the cracks as a result of it.
Another reason for cracks, is fast drying. There is a chemical reaction, that makes concrete to go from mix form to solid form and this chemical reaction, continues to occur for days and weeks after the placement of concrete, so watering and keeping the concrete wet after it becomes hard will help make concrete stronger and prevent cracking.
Few more important factors, is having the proper concrete strength mix. Sometimes, some people like to cut corners and they order improper mix and it will crack.

Very important factor is having a proper placement of expansion joints. They help concrete crack where you want it to crack. The joints should be of the depth of the slab and no more than 2 or 3 times in feet of the thickness of the concrete in inches. Let's use a sidewalk as an example. The sidewalk is usually 4" thick so expansion joint placement should be around 8/12' apart.

There is other factors that are being neglected during installation i,e. ground should be hard and compacted,grade must be done to meet to soil conditions. Sometimes you need 6"of stone base and rebar,etc.

I hope you find this helpful and use some of the information for when you hire a Contractor to replace your sidewalks, patio or a driveway.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Credit Card Law

Credit card holders can circle February 22 on their calendar as the day when new consumer protections laid out in the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 kick in.
Following are just a few of the new credit card regulations and consumer protections as a result of the Credit CARD Act:
More Notice for New Interest Rate Changes. Card issuers must give card holders 45-days advance notice in the event of an interest rate change. Additionally, promotional rates must apply for at least six months and, unless disclosed up front, card holders cannot have their rate increased in the first year.

Cardholder Opt-Out. If there are significant changes made to the terms of the account, card holders can choose to reject those changes and will have five years to pay off the balance under the original terms.

Older Age Restrictions Added. Card issuers are no longer allowed to issue a credit card to anyone under 21 unless they can prove they have the means to repay debt or if an adult over 21 co-signs on the account. Credit card companies also face new restrictions on how they can promote cards to college students and can no longer offer free gifts as enticements on campuses.

New Rules for Monthly Statements. In response to complaints that bill due dates were being moved up—and leading to increased late fees—monthly statements must now be mailed or delivered 21 days prior to the due date. Additionally, card issuers can no longer set a payment deadline before 5 p.m. and cannot charge card holders if they pay online, over the phone or by mail—unless the payment is made over the phone either on the due date or the previous day.

Overpayments Go Toward Highest Interest Balances. If the card holder has varied interest rates for different services or accounts, any overpayments must be applied to the account that is incurring the highest interest rate.

Over the Limit Opt-In. Card holders must opt-in to be able to exceed their credit limit—and subsequently be charged an over-limit fee by the issuer. If a card holder chooses not to opt-in, then he or she will not be able to exceed their credit limit and incur any resultant fees.

Increased Disclosure on Minimum Payments. Card issuers must disclose how long it will take the card holder to pay off their bill if they only pay the minimum monthly payment as well as how much the card hold would need to pay every month to pay off the balance in 36 months.

Say Goodbye to Double-Billing Cycles. When calculating finance charges, card issuers can no longer employ two-cycle or double billing—a method that causes cardholders to pay interest on previously paid balances.

To learn more about the new consumer protections, Creditcards.com has a comprehensive breakdown of the Credit CARD Act of 2009.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Leak Under Tiled Shower Pan

A few people asked me about fixing leaks under the tiled shower pans.Detecting such leaks is a task in itself, because they are very hard to detect, and there are many reasons why they could  leak. When opening the ceiling bellow, you will not see the waterproofing membrane. The waterproofing membrane located between the mud-pan under the tiled floor and the plywood sub-floor.
Leak could be caused by a rubber membrane or in some cases, instead of rubber... Fiberglass coating is used, which cracks over time due to a constant expansion and contraction of the building during seasonal changes. Another reason could be a shower floor has a hole in it someplace, or rubber membrane has separated from the drain, etc. In some instances the tiled pan is old, so wear and tear took its toll and more investigation need to be done.
To pin point the leak, you must open the ceiling bellow and try to pinpoint the location where water penetrating the sub-floor from bellow by running a few tests. When the ceiling is open and you can see a large area of water staining, you could have a serious problem. Best thing to do is to call a licensed plumber or a professional contractor to find the problem.
If you like to attempt finding the leak yourself, the best way to do it is to run a few tests yourself. You will need an inflation device (HRDWR store might have it, if not try a plumbing store) you insert the device in to the drain and fill it with air to block the water from being drained. Fill the pan with water 2” inches below the shower pan-curb and check bellow if you see any signs of water, if not, leave it over night and check in the morning.( make sure you know what you doing, because if the device falls in to the drain, you will have another problem). If you see water, the problem is in the drain, or the tile is lose or cracked along perimeter of the drain or the pan itself, or membrane separated from the pipe on the drain. If there is no water, hold the device by the chain and let the water out.
Next test is to run the water on the side walls of the shower but not the wall where the diverter is or shower fixtures, and check for water. If there is no signs of water, run the water on the shower wall where diverter is and check again. Many leaks occur due to the fixture covers become lose or have not been caulked properly or maintained and they allow the water enter the wall cavity, causing the leak. Other place to look for damage is along the threshold itself. With constant activity, there could be bad door trim or deteriorated tile grout, or caulk which can cause a leak. Check the area real good, because the minute water enters this area of the shower, it will cause the damage real quick.
Other signs to look for are small horizontal cracks or grout breaks/voids in the tile across the wall, the pan, and the corners which are very common and they need to be maintained.
If you cannot find a leak and the problem is not the tiles, call a licensed contractor.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New EPA RRP Rule Takes Effect April 2010

Starting April 2010 any work done on Homes built prior to 1978,where work involves disturbance to painted/varnished surfaces. i.e. scraping, sanding,removing,etc... any Contractors doing work on your project, will have to be CERTIFIED in the new lead based paint regulation.

Artisan Kitchen Sinks

Artisan Sinks...

Thinking to remodel your kitchen, or change existing counter-top to Granite? Or just upgrade your sink, worth to take a look at Artisan Sinks Manufacturer. Since the sink area is the busiest spot in a kitchen or a bathroom, these are heavy gage sinks will add style and durability just where it's needed.

Artisan's Premium 16 gauger stainless steel sinks offer quality features like extra thickness for dimensional stability, V-Therm insulation to keep water hot and 304 stainless steel for exceptional durability and stain resistance. Thicker Is Better.

They also have the 18 gauger Manhattan Series, a full line of Faucets, Handcrafted Copper and Brass Vessels, Copper Kitchen Sinks and NEW Vitreous China Bathroom Sinks.
For more information, visit ArtisanSinks.com


I'm not sure how this works yet, but I will give it a try. First, let me say I appreciate you taking the time viewing my blog. I hope you find it helpful and educating. Over the many years that I have been in the construction industry, I have learned more about the value of quality work and good workmanship. I hope you post your questions, and I will answer them as promptly as I can, and I will post new tips and useful information about home improvement projects.
Take care and have a great day.