Cover image of The Handyguys Podcast
(27)
Arts
Education
Design

The Handyguys Podcast

Updated 2 days ago

Arts
Education
Design
Read more

The Handyguys are two avid DIYers sharing their experiences working around the house. Our weekly video and audio podcasts feature answers to your questions, head-to-head tool tests and other DIY and home improvement topics. If you have a question regarding your home, let us know using the contact tab on our site or call us at (818) 804-8665. We respond to all questions and may use your question on-the-air in a future broadcast. We look forward to answering your questions and helping you around the home!

Read more

The Handyguys are two avid DIYers sharing their experiences working around the house. Our weekly video and audio podcasts feature answers to your questions, head-to-head tool tests and other DIY and home improvement topics. If you have a question regarding your home, let us know using the contact tab on our site or call us at (818) 804-8665. We respond to all questions and may use your question on-the-air in a future broadcast. We look forward to answering your questions and helping you around the home!

iTunes Ratings

27 Ratings
Average Ratings
21
3
0
1
2

the perfect DIY home improvement podcast

By koolnashvillekat - Aug 18 2011
Read more
great show , very informative , could be better sound quaility , but who cares right ?

Great podcast

By cpdwld - Mar 03 2010
Read more
I wish I would've found this podcast earlier. Great practical information for a homeowner.

iTunes Ratings

27 Ratings
Average Ratings
21
3
0
1
2

the perfect DIY home improvement podcast

By koolnashvillekat - Aug 18 2011
Read more
great show , very informative , could be better sound quaility , but who cares right ?

Great podcast

By cpdwld - Mar 03 2010
Read more
I wish I would've found this podcast earlier. Great practical information for a homeowner.
Cover image of The Handyguys Podcast

The Handyguys Podcast

Latest release on Aug 21, 2012

Read more

The Handyguys are two avid DIYers sharing their experiences working around the house. Our weekly video and audio podcasts feature answers to your questions, head-to-head tool tests and other DIY and home improvement topics. If you have a question regarding your home, let us know using the contact tab on our site or call us at (818) 804-8665. We respond to all questions and may use your question on-the-air in a future broadcast. We look forward to answering your questions and helping you around the home!

Rank #1: Repairing Plaster Walls and Attaching Things to Plaster Walls

Podcast cover
Read more

Repairing plaster walls and attaching things to plaster walls are discussed in this audio episode of The Handyguys Podcast.

The Handyguys received this question from a listener:

Would you please talk in detail about homes with plaster walls? I have never lived in a home with plaster walls until now and have only heard horror stories about putting things/pictures, etc, up on the walls. Can curtain rods be hung on plaster? Is it best to live with and/or “enhance” the cracks as a feature, or can they be fixed for a reasonable amount of $$? LOVE YOU GUYS! Thanks!

No horror stories here. Some cracks might be inevitable but we discuss in the show doing repairs and hanging things on your plaster walls.

Types of plaster walls

Traditional plaster are often made by installing strips of wood lath to the framing and then multiple coasts of plaster are spread over the lath. The plaster can contain pig hair or horse hair for strength. This may also be applied, in some instances, over a masonry, brick or stone wall.

Modern plaster, also called veneer plaster, is installed over a substrate board, similar to drywall.

Hanging things on plaster walls

Paul had good results with what he calls “tempered picture hanging nails” or also called hardened steel picture hook nails. You can get these at your local True Value hardware stores. Make sure you read the package for how much weight the particular hook can hold.

You can also use a screw into the lath or a stud. A trim head screw would be ideal but other screws could be used as well.

How about curtain rods? YES, you may be able to install the curtain rods with the hardware provided. If you are installing heavy curtains you will want to use a longer screw than may come with the curtain rods and then make sure you screw through the plaster and into the framing around the window.

If you are attaching heavy things like shelves, and you can’t screw into a stud, you may want to use a Toggle Bolt. These expand behind the wall to provide good holding power but will need a larger hole to install them.

All of these attachment methods assume your plaster walls are in good shape. What if they are not? Then you may have to repair the plaster before attaching anything to it.

Repairing plaster walls

There are a few types of common repairs; cracks, missing pieces or separated lath and plaster.  The repair method will vary depending on what type of plaster you have and how it was originally installed.

Repairing plaster separated from lath

If the plaster has separated from the wood lath its likely because the “keys”, where the plaster connects to the lath, have broken off. You need to re-attach the plaster to the lath. This can be done with drywall screws but a better solution would be to use “plaster washers”. These washers are either metal or plastic. They are about 1 1/2″ wide, a screw is inserted through the washer and driven into the wood lath. The washer pulls the plaster tight against the lath. You will need these washers every foot or so (or every few inches depending on how bad the plaster is detached) to secure the plaster. Once the washers are installed, and the plaster is stabilized, you then skim a coat of new plaster over the washers to hide them.

Repairing cracks in plaster walls

It seems that cracks in plaster are sometimes unavoidable in old homes. These homes will move with the seasons and cracks will re-appear over time.  A traditional approach to repairing cracks involves removing any loose plaster and then filling the crack with new plaster, also using some paper or fiberglass joint tape if the crack is large will help. If the house does move a lot then there may be little that can be done to keep the crack from re-occurring.

If the crack is small, Paul suggests just using a flexible, paintable, caulk in the crack. The flexibility of the caulk gives you a better chance that it will stay put and the crack will not re-appear. If that fails then you can try the more traditional method down the road.

Repairing holes in plaster walls.

For repairing a hole in a plaster wall Paul recommends “Patching Plaster”. It’s a fast drying plaster than comes in small containers for small repairs. Check it out and follow the directions on the package.

Tools for plaster repair

You will only need some basic tools and supplies for repairing plaster. You will need a 6″ wide putty knife and a 12″ wide knife, your plaster washers, a utility knife, some paper repair tape and a container to mix the plaster in. These can all be found at your local True Value.

We were one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. We have been compensated for our time commitment to the program as well as our writing about our experience. We have also been compensated for the materials needed for our DIY project. However, our opinions are entirely our own and we have not been paid to publish positive comments.

The post Repairing Plaster Walls and Attaching Things to Plaster Walls appeared first on The Handyguys.

Aug 15 2011

26mins

Play

Rank #2: Mower maintenance and tips for a better lawn

Podcast cover
Read more

The Handyguys interview Mike Ballou,  product Manager for John Deere, and discuss Mower maintenance and the best way to care for your lawn.

Mower maintenance

Proper mower maintenance is critical for having a healthy green  lawn.  Do not begin this new mowing season without changing the oil, sharpening your blades, lubing the joints and checking filters and spark plugs.  Your mower manual will provide all the details you need for proper mower maintenance.

Mike provides detailed instructions on:

  • Mowing height
  • blade sharpening and extra blades
  • removing a deck from your lawn tractor
  • Mulching vs bagging
  • mulching blades vs bagging blades vs all-purpose blades
  • adjusting the mower deck wheels on your riding mower deck for best cut (this is very interesting)

There is some good material here that the Handyguys have not covered previously. Check out the full podcast and start your lawn off on the right track this mowing season.

Mowing height

Mike’s suggestion to mow your grass is a good one. Set the height to one of the highest settings. This will help prevent disease, crowd out weeds, reduce watering and your lawn will look fuller all season long.

Blade sharpening and extra blades

We have been longtime advocates of using sharp blades. Mike provides another great tip. Buy an extra set of blades. If you have your blades professionally sharpened you can just swap on your sharp blades while you wait for your dealer to sharpened the dull ones.

Mulching vs bagging

Mulching is always preferable to bagging. The clippings add water and nutrients back into your lawn. The only time you shouldn’t mulch is if you have waited too long between mows and have extra tall grass.

When to mow

You should only remove about 1/3 of your blade height at one time. This will allow the mulching to work properly and will not stress your grass too much.

Blade Sharpening Video

You may also want to check out the video we did a while back on how to sharpen and balance your mower blade.

The post Mower maintenance and tips for a better lawn appeared first on The Handyguys.

Apr 19 2012

27mins

Play

Rank #3: Preventing wood rot on door jambs and deck posts

Podcast cover
Read more

On this episode, Handyguy Paul brings two topics to the podcast pertaining preventing wood rot and to wood and ground contact.

Preventing Wood Rot on Door Jambs

Paul asks Handyguy Brian about the best way to deal with rotting door jambs and in particular the garage door jambs.  Brian discusses this problem in general as it relates to any exterior door. Exterior jams should be primed and painted on their end grain before installing to help prevent the absorption of moisture. The wood end grain acts as straws, soaking up moisture  over time. Once rot sets in, the best repair is normally a replacement of the entire jam. Paul talks about the complications of having the garage door track structurally attached to the jam.

This door jamb is in the beginning stages of wood rot. The paint is peeling but the wood is still stable. To repair this and prevent damage to the jamb, scrape all loose paint, sand smooth, caulk, prime and paint.

Preventing Wood Rot on Deck Posts

In the second half of this episode, the Handyguys discuss the pros and cons of having deck support posts in the ground verses on top of concrete piers. Decks builders often insert deck posts into the ground which can add stability but may lead to excessive rot over time. Listen to the podcast for more details.

This deck post is on a concrete footer using a post base to prevent the post from touching the concrete. The pressure treated post is rated for ground contact and the cut end was treated with preservative during installation.

This post was set in the ground, it is unknown if the cut end was treated, it is unknown if the pressure treatment is rated for ground contact. This pressure treated post is showing signs of deterioration after 6 years.

Thanks for checking us out. If you enjoyed this audio podcast don’t forget to subscribe. You can listen to these shows on your smartphone, iPod, iPhone or other media player.

The post Preventing wood rot on door jambs and deck posts appeared first on The Handyguys.

Jun 15 2012

21mins

Play

Rank #4: Mailbox post choices

Podcast cover
Read more

The Handyguys, Paul and Brian, discuss your mailbox post options in this podcast. Before you dig a hole in your lawn, or get a chinook helicopter to remove your old post (as Handyguy Paul playfully suggests), it’s best to know what choices you have when it comes to choosing a Mailbox Posts.

Basically, you want to match your mailbox post to the style of house that you have. In some cases, a neighborhood has the same type of posts and you want to blend in by building one that looks the same as your neighbors’. But if you don’t have any limits to the kind of post you’re building, here are some of your choices:

Wood mailbox posts

You can choose from a variety of woods when creating a mailbox. The most common are cedar and redwood. You can also opt for pressure treated lumber. Take note that one disadvantage of wood is it rots easily. This means you may have to replace your mailbox post often.

Cast Iron mailbox posts

From your mailbox post options, cast iron posts are probably the most durable. The only problem is it can easily develop rust, which will then cause damage to your post. Make sure you keep it painted if you’re choosing an iron cast mailbox post. Powder coated posts are also available in the market, which lengthens the life of your cast iron post.

Plastic mailbox posts

One advantage of using plastic is it doesn’t rust or rot. Plus, today’s plastic posts come in different molds. Some are made to look like stones, which can be perfect for the style of house that you have.

Spindigger mailbox posts

Spindigger is a new product that your Handyguys have recently tried out and is a good addition to your mailbox post options. Spindigger’s mailbox posts are made of rust proof cast aluminum and require no digging. Handyguy Brian says that it basically has an auger-type device, which screws your post to the ground. To find out more about Spindigger’s mailbox posts, go to www.spindigger.com You can also check out this brief video The Handyguys made installing a SpinDigger. Listen to the podcast for the full discussion.

The post Mailbox post choices appeared first on The Handyguys.

May 21 2012

12mins

Play

Rank #5: Dust Collection and Resiential Sprinkler Systems

Podcast cover
Read more

How should the do-it-yourselfer handle dust?

When the handyman moves inside to cut and sand wood, a major hazard exists with all the dust that is accumulated in the air and potentially in your lungs.  The Handyguys talk about how to control dust from ruining your day and potentially your life.

In order to protect yourself from dust, consider these strategies:

  • Take into account the dust created by a tool before you use it.
  • Purchase tools which incorporate dust collection as part of the tool design.
  • Install a dedicated dust collector and an air cleaner.
  • Work outside
  • Wear respirator

The Handyguys discuss these tips and their own dust collection and mitigation strategies in this episode.

Residential Sprinkler Systems

The Handyguys discuss a somewhat controversial issue regarding residential fire suppression systems or sprinkler systems. The controversy isn’t regarding the benefits of such a system, yes, they do save lives and property. The controversy is if governments should require them to be installed in new construction or major remodels.

Handyguy Brian thinks it should be an individuals choice and such an expensive option should not be mandated. Pennsylvania recently repealed the requirement after only a few months in effect. In times when builders are hurting for business and customers are trying to save every dollar they can, it’s not wise to put additional costs on the industry. Listen to the discussion.

Typical utility room configuration from a residential sprinkler system install

Oh, and please no nasty emails if you don’t agree with us. Disagreeing comments are welcome if they are respectful and tasteful.

The post Dust Collection and Resiential Sprinkler Systems appeared first on The Handyguys.

Jul 28 2011

14mins

Play

Rank #6: Hardscaping Options – Concrete, pavers or stamped concrete

Podcast cover
Read more

Hardscaping options

The Handyguys discuss some hardscaping options under consideration for Brian’s fathers house – concrete, stamped concrete and pavers.

Concrete Ideas and Tips

Plain old concrete is the cheapest and fastest option for a front stoop. A small stoop can be done in a day with the following day to remove forms and clean up any dirt around the area. Brian’s fathers project (front patio, walkway, side walkway and rear patio slab) came in at about $3500 for plain concrete.

Image thanks to http://www.landbergconcrete.com

Stamped Concrete and Hardscaping Help

Stamped concrete is the process where a texture is places in the concrete to emulate the look of stone or brick. Stamped concrete also is typically colored. It’s a less expensive option than pavers, installs quickly and has a nice look. Brian’s fathers project (front patio, walkway, side walkway and rear patio slab) came in at about $4500 for plain concrete.

Thanks to http://www.morrisonscustomconcrete.com/ for the image.

Pavers or Stamped Concrete

Pavers are bricks made from concrete. They come in many different shapes and colors that can be mixed and matched to come up with an interesting and unique look. They are usually more costly than concrete. Pavers also require much more attention to detail in terms of preparation and they are more labor intensive to install. The entire job takes longer than concrete. Brian’s fathers project (front patio, walkway, side walkway and rear patio slab) came in at about $9000 for pavers.

Image thanks to http://www.ephenry.com/

Listen to the podcast for a full discussion on each of the options.

The post Hardscaping Options – Concrete, pavers or stamped concrete appeared first on The Handyguys.

Nov 15 2011

19mins

Play

Rank #7: Battery String Trimmer opinions and a Contest

Podcast cover
Read more

In this audio episode of The Handyguys Podcast we discuss our impressions of a battery-powered string trimmer and announce a contest to give one away!

Sponsor: Protect your Home with ADT Security Services! Call 1-866-778-3127

Battery Operated String Trimmer

Paul and Brian were a bit skeptical when they were presented with the opportunity to evaluate battery operated string trimmers from Black & Decker. The trimmer is the Black & Decker LST220 12-Inch 20-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless GrassHog Trimmer/Edger
Oh, did we mention it’s an edger too? Listen to the podcast for our honest impressions. Hint – we will continue to use it.

Contest

How can you get one of these cordless trimmers for free? Enter the contest! Maybe we made it tooooo complicated. Hopefully not.

Do any one of these things, all of these things, only one of these things and you are entered into our contest! The more times you do these the more entries you get! We will pick a winner the first week of July.

  1. Tweet about The Handygys with our twitter name @handyguys and a link to our home page or a specific show. (one entry per tweet)
  2. Post about us or one of our shows, with a link to our site or one of our shows, on facebook. (one entry per post)
  3. Blog about us – Write up a blog post about The Handyguys Podcast (FOUR entries per post)

The post Battery String Trimmer opinions and a Contest appeared first on The Handyguys.

Jun 17 2011

23mins

Play

Rank #8: Gas can Safety and Square foot gardening

Podcast cover
Read more

The Handyguys discuss the dangers of an empty can of fuel. In addition, we discuss how easy it is to create a square foot garden.

Sponsor: Protect your Home with ADT Security Services! Call 1-866-778-3127

Handyguy Fact – Gas can safety

Did you know an empty or near empty gas can is more dangerous than a full can? The gas vapors are more flammable and dangerous than the gas itself. The Handyguys discuss in this podcast.

Square foot gardening

Handyguy Paul introduces Brian to Square foot gardening. Listen to the discussion on the advantages of this method of gardening! Below are some resources and additional reading.
Paul’s wife’s blog posts on Square Foot Gardening

The post Gas can Safety and Square foot gardening appeared first on The Handyguys.

Jun 03 2011

24mins

Play

Rank #9: Generator Transfer Switches Interlock Devices

Podcast cover
Read more

The Handyguys continued a discussion from an earlier episode on generators. Paul wanted to followup with the methods for connecting a generator to your electrical system. Generator Transfer Switches and manual generator interlock devices are discussed on the show.

Generator Transfer Switches

Manual transfer switches

Manual generator transfer switches are best suited for use with portable generators. Essentially you just throw the switch, plug in your generator and start it up.

Automatic transfer switches

An automatic generator transfer switch is usually used for stand by generators that switch on automatically. They are also the most expensive type of transfer switch and the most complicated to install. They are usually installed by the electrician who installs the standby generator.

Interlock devices

A manual Interlock is the cheapest method of switching over from the utility grid to your generator power. This Interlock from http://www.interlockkit.com is available in many states and they have versions that fit the most common electrical panels.

There is discussion of the pros and cons of using the cheaper interlock method instead of the more typical generator transfer switches. Listen to the podcast for details.

Brian’s paint color dilemma

The Handyguys wrap up by changing the subject to discussing picking paint colors. Brian asks listeners to send @handyguys a tweet with a color for his master bedroom. The first color suggested on twitter may be used when Brian paints his bedroom. Yikes!

The post Generator Transfer Switches Interlock Devices appeared first on The Handyguys.

Apr 13 2012

15mins

Play

Rank #10: Renting a Lawn Aerator and avoiding weeds

Podcast cover
Read more

Okay – here is a quick tip, not a full show.

Lawn Aerating

Fall and Spring are a great time to aerate your lawn. An aerator will break up hard compacted soil and allow water and nutrients to better reach the roots of your grass. We all know that, that’s not the quick tip. The tip has to do with when you rent an Aerator.

Lawn Aerating Problems

When you rent an aerator there is often the previous users bits of dirt and grass embedded in the plugs inside tines. Those plugs can contain weeds, weed seeds, other varieties of grass, etc. When you run the aerator over your lawn you essentially will plant whatever the previous user had in their lawn in your lawn. Not good.

Lawn Aerating Best Practice

Avoid spreading of weeds and take a moment to hose off the tines before you begin aerating your lawn.

The post Renting a Lawn Aerator and avoiding weeds appeared first on The Handyguys.

Feb 24 2012

1min

Play

Drought Lawn Care

Podcast cover
Read more

Over 70% of the country has been classified as abnormally dry, or worse. What about the oasis in your own backyard?

Lawn Care Do’s and Don’ts During a Drought

DON’T Water your lawn at night.

Grass left wet overnight, or for long periods of time, can encourage fungal diseases that cause discoloration. Water in the early morning so your lawn isn’t damp for long periods, but the sun isn’t high enough to evaporate the water before it penetrates the soil.

DO Raise your mower deck.

Cut at the maximum height to enhance stress tolerance. Mowing on the high side encourages roots to grow deeper into the soil, absorbing water from the insulated soil. As a rule of thumb, remove only about 1/3 of the grass blade each time you mow. If you cut too much at one time, the long clippings can cause stress on the grass, inhibiting healthy growth.

DON’T Water a little bit every day.

The water will not be able to penetrate deep enough into the soil to maintain moisture and promote greater root depth. This will also encourage weed growth and spread of disease. Instead, water infrequently, but deeply, to encourage a strong root system. Aim to apply about an inch of water to the soil each week – but always be mindful of local watering restrictions if in place.

DO Let it go dormant.

During drought, always follow local water restrictions when applicable. It is ok to let your lawn go dormant, as most turf species can tolerate some periods oftime without water from rainfall or irrigation. Most species will recover relatively quickly when water is applied from rain or irrigation. During any period of dormancy caused by drought, monitor the turf to ensure that it shows some sign of green color, though it may be faint. During this period, waterless frequently for longer periods of time, as possible and as allowed by any local watering restrictions. If you have questions about your type of grass or its drought tolerance, the local university extension service or landscaper are great resources.

DON’T Fertilize your grass.

Though it may seem like it needs more nutrients at this time of year, putting fertilizer down on dry soil can actually burn the grass. Improper fertilization can also help promote disease, so always follow proper fertilization practices for your area and the time of year.

DO Plan for next year.

In the fall however, one of the best practices to follow is proper fertilization. If you have a cool season lawn that is breaking dormancy from the summer stress, fall is a great time to prepare it for the potential stresses of next summer. Similarly, early fall is also a good time for a final fertilizer application on warm season grasses for the same reason. Regardless of your turf type, be sure to follow recommended fertilization practices for your specific grass and climate to provide the best possible benefit. If needed, your local garden center can be a good source of advice on how fall fertilization can promote root growth and dense turf coverage to help it withstand any potential stress in the coming year.

Thanks to our friends at John Deere for these  lawn care tips during a drought!

The post Drought Lawn Care appeared first on The Handyguys.

Aug 21 2012

15mins

Play

Building an Azek Cellular PVC Deck

Podcast cover
Read more

In this audio podcast The Handyguys discuss Building an Azek Cellular PVC Deck. The Handyguys discuss when to DIY and when not to DIY, design considerations, choosing a contractor and materials selection.

To DIY or not to DIY a Cellular PVC Deck

Handyguy Paul decided not to DIY this Cellular PVC Deck. Listen to the podcast for why.

Design Considerations

Think about how you will use your new deck. Plan for the space. Think about furniture and traffic flow. Materials such as Cellular PVC are a great, low maintenance choice.

Choosing a contractor for a Cellular PVC Deck

Handyguy Paul picked a contractor that was highly respected in his area. He was able to inspect several decks built by his contractor up close. When he met with the designer he was able to see pictures of almost exactly what he had in mind. Listen to the podcast for more on the contractor, Decks-R-Us, and what set them apart from other builders.

Materials Selection

Handyguy Paul went with an Azek Cellular PVC Deck. The material is low maintenance and was also what his contractor was most familiar with.

The post Building an Azek Cellular PVC Deck appeared first on The Handyguys.

Aug 16 2012

23mins

Play

When to prime before painting

Podcast cover
Read more

A Primer on When to Prime

Much of the cost of a paint job actually comes from the labor, that is why it is important to know when to prime. When having a repainting job done, it involves scraping the old paint, priming – spot priming or priming the entire surface – and then painting. So, when a contractor specifies re-priming the entire house for a painting job, that also means having to double your budget.

In this audio podcast, Handyguys Paul and Brian respond to a question sent in by one of their listeners via e-mail about the importance of priming, what and how much you prime and when to prime the entire house.

Mike writes:

I have a question about painting and when to prime. I’m having the exterior of our house painted. The house is already painted (11 years ago) and it doesn’t have any real paint issues, like cracking and peeling (some but not much). I’ve gotten a couple of bids and each contractor has a different approach to painting. One will scrape and spot prime, then paint the house. The other says they will scrape and prime the whole house, then paint.

The question is do you need need to prime the whole house, if the existing paint is still in “good” shape?

Peeling paint, in this case, was cause by improper preparation and lack of primer. The person painting this wall should have removed any joint compound dust and then applied a primer before painting.

When to prime is a great question Mike.

The Handyguys share these tips on when to prime when repainting your home:

When you are doing a major color change

Basically, a primer helps you get the correct color that you want, especially if you are shifting from one “wild” color to another. Handyguy Brian explains that the old color can bleed through to the new paint if not first primed.

Changing from one kind of paint to another

Handyguy Paul suggests against changing from a latex-based paint to a oil paint as this can ruin the quality of the finished paint job. Doing it the other way around, from oil to latex-based paint, should be okay, but it does require you to prime the surface you’re going to paint.

Painting over a glossy paint

To help the new paint adhere to the surface well, Handyguy Brian advises to prime when painting over a glossy paint. Although the traditional way is to de-gloss by sanding priming is an easy way to put down a low gloss base before you paint.

Bare wood

You always prime bare wood, new wood and areas where old paint has been scraped off.

If you have additional questions about when to prime or anything else for The Handyguys, simply go to the Contact Us tab of www.handyguyspodcast.com. Additionally, you can view some of our videos in our YouTube channel and subscribe to the show in iTunes.

The post When to prime before painting appeared first on The Handyguys.

Aug 07 2012

11mins

Play

Energy Efficient Air Conditioning

Podcast cover
Read more

Handyguys Brian and Paul bring in HVAC (Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning) expert and the co-owner of Interstate Air Conditioning and Heating, Raymond Kishk, to talk about energy efficient air conditioning systems.

This information will help you choose an energy efficient air conditioning system and keep your current unit running efficiently.

Invest in Energy Efficient Air Conditioning with Higher SEER Rating

SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) simply indicates how much energy is required to run the unit. Many appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators have SEER ratings. The higher the SEER rating the more efficiently your appliance runs. According to Raymond, the lowest SEER rating is about 8; but some states require a SEER rating of at least 12 or 13.

He adds that although two different brands may have the same SEER rating, you may want to compare the features that each has to offer. An air conditioner with a timer, for example, also contributes in saving energy.

Consider an Energy Efficient Air Conditioning unit with VRV system

Air condition units with VRV (Variable Refrigerant Volume) system are especially advantageous if you’re looking to provide air conditioning to several rooms in one house or building.

Raymond explains that this system has one condensing unit and allows you to set up 10 to 15 blowers for different rooms, which lets you adjust the temperature individually. Plus, if one blower breaks down, the air conditioning in the other rooms will not be affected.

Maintain, maintain, maintain for Energy Efficient Air Conditioning

No matter how high the SEER rating of your air conditioning unit, failing to perform proper maintenance will still add expenses. Raymond mentions that a dirty filter adds at least five dollars a month to your bills. A dirty coil makes your air condition work 30% harder.

The good news about the new energy efficient air conditions we have today is that maintenance is not any more difficult than old units despite the new technology that it has. With proper maintenance, you can keep your costs at a minimum.

Hopefully Raymond  has shown you that it is cost-effective to purchase an air conditioner with a high SEER rating.

The post Energy Efficient Air Conditioning appeared first on The Handyguys.

Jul 30 2012

17mins

Play

Chainsaw Safety

Podcast cover
Read more

The Handyguys discuss chainsaw safety in this audio podcast.

If you rent, borrow or buy a chainsaw you will still need to be aware of proper chainsaw safety. In the summer many areas are effected by thunderstorms, in the late summer and fall some contend with hurricanes, others tornadoes and may need to put a chainsaw to use for cleanup of debris. Others people may be cutting and splitting wood for heat, some people are clearing their property. Regardless of how and when you use a chainsaw safety must always come first.

We can’t cover every aspect of chainsaw safety in this show. Please read, understand and follow all the safety precautions outlined by the manufacturer of your chainsaw. Use common sense. Do not push yourself or your chainsaw beyond what you can handle.

WARNING! A chain saw is a dangerous tool if used carelessly or incorrectly and can cause serious, even fatal injuries. It is very important that you read and understand the contents of your operator’s manual.

Here are the basics of chainsaw safety:

Common sense

  • It is not possible to cover every conceivable chainsaw safety situation you can face when using a chain saw.
  • Always exercise care and use your common sense.
  • Avoid all situations which you consider to be beyond your capability.

Personal protective equipment for chainsaw safety

  • Approved protective helmet
  • Hearing protection
  • Protective goggles or a visor
  • Gloves with saw protection
  • Trousers with saw protection
  • Boots with saw protection, steel toe-cap and non-slip sole
  • Always have a first aid kit nearby

Machine’s chainsaw safety equipment

Your saw will have several chainsaw safety devices built into the design. These will vary by manufacturer. Ensure they are properly attached and operational.

  • Anti-kickback features, bar tip, safety chain
  • Throttle lockout
  • Chain catcher
  • Hand guards

 Fuel handling

  • Do not smoke and do not place any hot objects in the vicinity of fuel.
  • Never refuel the machine while the engine is running
  • Always stop the engine and let it cool for a few minutes before refuelling.
  • When refuelling, open the fuel cap slowly so that any excess pressure is released gently.
  • Tighten the fuel cap carefully after refuelling.
  • Always move the machine away from the refuelling area before starting.

Starting and stopping a chainsaw safely

  • Never start a chain saw unless the bar, chain and all covers are fitted correctly
  • The chain brake should be activated when starting
  • Never start the machine indoors
  • Observe your surroundings and make sure that there is no risk of people or animals coming into contact with the cutting equipment.
  • Always hold the saw with both hands.
  • Start the saw on the ground. Grip the front handle with your left hand. Hold the chain saw on the ground by placing your right foot through the rear handle. Pull the starter handle

Chainsaw safety working techniques

  • Look around you, and above you. Ensure nothing in the area will affect your control of the saw.
  • Do not use the saw in bad weather
  • Make sure you can move and stand safely
  • Take great care when cutting a tree that is under tension
  • Understand the causes of kickback so you can avoid it
  • Two hands, always
  • Never use the saw above your shoulders
  • Always cut with a sharp blade, properly fitted for your particular saw
The chainsaw safety information in this post and in the podcast is never a substitute for professional skills and experience. If you get into a situation where you feel unsafe, stop and seek expert advice.

Here are some helpful links to manuals containing chainsaw safety information.

Most manufacturers will have their manuals online. If you do not have a manual you should find one.

Husqvarna

http://www.husqvarna.com/us/forest/support/download-manuals/
http://www.husqvarna.com/us/support/how-to-videos/chain-saw-videos-how-to-use/

Stihl

http://www.stihlusa.com/manuals/product-instruction-manuals/

Craftsman

http://www.searspartsdirect.com/ (good luck, I had trouble finding manuals online)

Echo

http://www.echo-usa.com/Support-Help/Technical-Documents?sm=true

The post Chainsaw Safety appeared first on The Handyguys.

Jul 09 2012

22mins

Play

Planting Grass Seed, Strategies for Success

Podcast cover
Read more

While planting and growing grass is not difficult–I once heard that it could be planted on concrete–there are strategies for successfully planting grass seed to ensure the most success. Listen to this audio podcast to hear the discussion about all these topics.

When planting grass, you have several decisions to make:

When is the best time for planting grass seed?

Fall – The best time for planting grass seed is fall. Early enough so it becomes established before the first frost bot not too early that the heat will hinder growth.

What variety to seed to plant?

Plant what grows best for your part of the country and the site conditions. Your local seed supplier will carry what you need. Companies like Pennington Seed ship different varieties to different parts of the country.

What brand of seed to plant?

Yes, brand does matter. You want a quality seed that will have a deep root system and look nice.

Do grass mixtures matter when planting grass seed?

Yes, a blend of varieties will offer multiple benefits. Some grasses take a long time to germinate, others germinate quickly. Some spread and some are bunch grasses. Using a blend when planting grass seed gives you benefits of multiple varieties.

How much fertilizer do you need?

As little as possible. Deep roots from quality seed will lower the need for fertilizers.

How often to water when planting grass seed?

As needed, follow the instructions for the variety you plant and keep well watered until the grass seed is established.

Handyguy Brian discussed some of the things he learned about Pennington Grass. He visited Pennington’s R&D facility in Oregon earlier this year and has some interesting insight into seed varieties.

Pennington® Smart Seed Hands-On Experiment

At Pennington’s “Seed for Yourself” Summit, Handyguy Brian was given the opportunity to try planting grass seed in a small plot using Pennington® Smart Seed to learn about the benefits of using a high-quality, pure seed product. Seed products are most appropriate for use when planting grass seed for a new lawn or re-seeding large areas.

Every bag of Pennington® Smart Seed contains pure seed and no filler. The seed varieties used in Pennington® Smart Seed are some of the most advanced varieties available and have been developed for their drought tolerance. At least 60 percent of the seed in every bag of Pennington® Smart Seed has been qualified by the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance (TWCA) for its drought tolerance. Pennington Seed is one of the three founding members of the TWCA, which works with state university systems and private research enterprises to develop turfgrasses that use less water.

In addition to using only the most advanced varieties, each seed is further enhanced with Pennington’s exclusive MYCO Advantage seed technology, which helps to introduce beneficial micro-organisms that attach themselves to the emerging seed roots for a denser, deeper root system.

After minimal soil tilling, Brian evenly spread fertilizer and Pennington® Smart Seed across his plots. Over the next several weeks, each plot received regular watering as appropriate.*

DAY 1

*Watering requirements can vary dramatically between germination, establishment and ongoing maintenance. During germination, homeowners should water to keep the soil moist. Following the first two weeks, homeowners should then water their lawn every third day for 15-20 minutes until established. As part of ongoing maintenance, watering should occur every fourth day for 20-30 minutes. At this stage, the main goal is to maintain a healthy lawn. This can be primarily accomplished by monitoring for color changes. A lawn does not need water until the color falls by 50 percent, at which time one inch of water should be added. To determine the length of irrigation, place plastic cups or small tins to observe waterfall in a given area.

 DAY 14 AND DAY 28

During the first days of planting grass seed , the seed absorbs water but has not swelled to the point of bursting open. Depending on the variety of grass, germination is not typically visible until at least 8 days, with some varieties taking well over 14 days.

At 14 days, germination is visible with a number of seeds having sprouted. Germination progresses over the next few weeks.

DAY 35 AND DAY 49

Through day 35-49, the grass continues to thicken across the seeded area. While full establishment for Pennington® Smart Seed takes longer than Pennington® 1-Step Complete, the grass grows beautiful and thick.

Pennington offers specialized variety blends or mixes of Pennington® Smart Seed. Pennington® Smart Seed comes in both traditional variety blends/mixes (Perennial Ryegrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Tall Fescue and Fescue/Bluegrass), as well as specialized mixes that are customized to specific regional climates – taking the guesswork out of selection. Varieties include: Sun & Shade, Dense Shade, Northeast, Midwest, Pacific Northwest and Pennsylvania State.

The post Planting Grass Seed, Strategies for Success appeared first on The Handyguys.

Jun 25 2012

23mins

Play

Preventing wood rot on door jambs and deck posts

Podcast cover
Read more

On this episode, Handyguy Paul brings two topics to the podcast pertaining preventing wood rot and to wood and ground contact.

Preventing Wood Rot on Door Jambs

Paul asks Handyguy Brian about the best way to deal with rotting door jambs and in particular the garage door jambs.  Brian discusses this problem in general as it relates to any exterior door. Exterior jams should be primed and painted on their end grain before installing to help prevent the absorption of moisture. The wood end grain acts as straws, soaking up moisture  over time. Once rot sets in, the best repair is normally a replacement of the entire jam. Paul talks about the complications of having the garage door track structurally attached to the jam.

This door jamb is in the beginning stages of wood rot. The paint is peeling but the wood is still stable. To repair this and prevent damage to the jamb, scrape all loose paint, sand smooth, caulk, prime and paint.

Preventing Wood Rot on Deck Posts

In the second half of this episode, the Handyguys discuss the pros and cons of having deck support posts in the ground verses on top of concrete piers. Decks builders often insert deck posts into the ground which can add stability but may lead to excessive rot over time. Listen to the podcast for more details.

This deck post is on a concrete footer using a post base to prevent the post from touching the concrete. The pressure treated post is rated for ground contact and the cut end was treated with preservative during installation.

This post was set in the ground, it is unknown if the cut end was treated, it is unknown if the pressure treatment is rated for ground contact. This pressure treated post is showing signs of deterioration after 6 years.

Thanks for checking us out. If you enjoyed this audio podcast don’t forget to subscribe. You can listen to these shows on your smartphone, iPod, iPhone or other media player.

The post Preventing wood rot on door jambs and deck posts appeared first on The Handyguys.

Jun 15 2012

21mins

Play

Mailbox post choices

Podcast cover
Read more

The Handyguys, Paul and Brian, discuss your mailbox post options in this podcast. Before you dig a hole in your lawn, or get a chinook helicopter to remove your old post (as Handyguy Paul playfully suggests), it’s best to know what choices you have when it comes to choosing a Mailbox Posts.

Basically, you want to match your mailbox post to the style of house that you have. In some cases, a neighborhood has the same type of posts and you want to blend in by building one that looks the same as your neighbors’. But if you don’t have any limits to the kind of post you’re building, here are some of your choices:

Wood mailbox posts

You can choose from a variety of woods when creating a mailbox. The most common are cedar and redwood. You can also opt for pressure treated lumber. Take note that one disadvantage of wood is it rots easily. This means you may have to replace your mailbox post often.

Cast Iron mailbox posts

From your mailbox post options, cast iron posts are probably the most durable. The only problem is it can easily develop rust, which will then cause damage to your post. Make sure you keep it painted if you’re choosing an iron cast mailbox post. Powder coated posts are also available in the market, which lengthens the life of your cast iron post.

Plastic mailbox posts

One advantage of using plastic is it doesn’t rust or rot. Plus, today’s plastic posts come in different molds. Some are made to look like stones, which can be perfect for the style of house that you have.

Spindigger mailbox posts

Spindigger is a new product that your Handyguys have recently tried out and is a good addition to your mailbox post options. Spindigger’s mailbox posts are made of rust proof cast aluminum and require no digging. Handyguy Brian says that it basically has an auger-type device, which screws your post to the ground. To find out more about Spindigger’s mailbox posts, go to www.spindigger.com You can also check out this brief video The Handyguys made installing a SpinDigger. Listen to the podcast for the full discussion.

The post Mailbox post choices appeared first on The Handyguys.

May 21 2012

12mins

Play

Mower maintenance and tips for a better lawn

Podcast cover
Read more

The Handyguys interview Mike Ballou,  product Manager for John Deere, and discuss Mower maintenance and the best way to care for your lawn.

Mower maintenance

Proper mower maintenance is critical for having a healthy green  lawn.  Do not begin this new mowing season without changing the oil, sharpening your blades, lubing the joints and checking filters and spark plugs.  Your mower manual will provide all the details you need for proper mower maintenance.

Mike provides detailed instructions on:

  • Mowing height
  • blade sharpening and extra blades
  • removing a deck from your lawn tractor
  • Mulching vs bagging
  • mulching blades vs bagging blades vs all-purpose blades
  • adjusting the mower deck wheels on your riding mower deck for best cut (this is very interesting)

There is some good material here that the Handyguys have not covered previously. Check out the full podcast and start your lawn off on the right track this mowing season.

Mowing height

Mike’s suggestion to mow your grass is a good one. Set the height to one of the highest settings. This will help prevent disease, crowd out weeds, reduce watering and your lawn will look fuller all season long.

Blade sharpening and extra blades

We have been longtime advocates of using sharp blades. Mike provides another great tip. Buy an extra set of blades. If you have your blades professionally sharpened you can just swap on your sharp blades while you wait for your dealer to sharpened the dull ones.

Mulching vs bagging

Mulching is always preferable to bagging. The clippings add water and nutrients back into your lawn. The only time you shouldn’t mulch is if you have waited too long between mows and have extra tall grass.

When to mow

You should only remove about 1/3 of your blade height at one time. This will allow the mulching to work properly and will not stress your grass too much.

Blade Sharpening Video

You may also want to check out the video we did a while back on how to sharpen and balance your mower blade.

The post Mower maintenance and tips for a better lawn appeared first on The Handyguys.

Apr 19 2012

27mins

Play

Generator Transfer Switches Interlock Devices

Podcast cover
Read more

The Handyguys continued a discussion from an earlier episode on generators. Paul wanted to followup with the methods for connecting a generator to your electrical system. Generator Transfer Switches and manual generator interlock devices are discussed on the show.

Generator Transfer Switches

Manual transfer switches

Manual generator transfer switches are best suited for use with portable generators. Essentially you just throw the switch, plug in your generator and start it up.

Automatic transfer switches

An automatic generator transfer switch is usually used for stand by generators that switch on automatically. They are also the most expensive type of transfer switch and the most complicated to install. They are usually installed by the electrician who installs the standby generator.

Interlock devices

A manual Interlock is the cheapest method of switching over from the utility grid to your generator power. This Interlock from http://www.interlockkit.com is available in many states and they have versions that fit the most common electrical panels.

There is discussion of the pros and cons of using the cheaper interlock method instead of the more typical generator transfer switches. Listen to the podcast for details.

Brian’s paint color dilemma

The Handyguys wrap up by changing the subject to discussing picking paint colors. Brian asks listeners to send @handyguys a tweet with a color for his master bedroom. The first color suggested on twitter may be used when Brian paints his bedroom. Yikes!

The post Generator Transfer Switches Interlock Devices appeared first on The Handyguys.

Apr 13 2012

15mins

Play

Renting a Lawn Aerator and avoiding weeds

Podcast cover
Read more

Okay – here is a quick tip, not a full show.

Lawn Aerating

Fall and Spring are a great time to aerate your lawn. An aerator will break up hard compacted soil and allow water and nutrients to better reach the roots of your grass. We all know that, that’s not the quick tip. The tip has to do with when you rent an Aerator.

Lawn Aerating Problems

When you rent an aerator there is often the previous users bits of dirt and grass embedded in the plugs inside tines. Those plugs can contain weeds, weed seeds, other varieties of grass, etc. When you run the aerator over your lawn you essentially will plant whatever the previous user had in their lawn in your lawn. Not good.

Lawn Aerating Best Practice

Avoid spreading of weeds and take a moment to hose off the tines before you begin aerating your lawn.

The post Renting a Lawn Aerator and avoiding weeds appeared first on The Handyguys.

Feb 24 2012

1min

Play

GE Refrigerator Not Cooling Troubleshooting and Repair

Podcast cover
Read more

The Handyguys discuss modern refrigerator troubleshooting. Many of these tips apply regardless of who makes your refrigerator.

Paul’s GE side by side refrigerator is not cooling correctly (model gss25tsre.ss). In this audio podcast The Handyguys discuss how to track down the issues.

Some common problems with modern refrigerators include:

  • Ice maker does not work
  • Water line for ice dispenser freezes up
  • Water line or water tank leaks
  • Water valve unit on back of refrigerator can go bad
  • The main control board can go bad or just do dumb things.

Paul’s GE refrigerator not cooling was a big issue. His freezer temperature rose a little above freezing and his refrigerator was not keeping the milk cool. Paul looked to the back inside wall of his freezer for a solution. A panel can be removed to expose the evaporator coil. When his refrigerator was not working well he noticed that these coils were frozen which prevents the fan properly cooling the freezer (and therefore the refrigerator as well).

The initial fix was to melt the ice on the evaporator coil to allow the unit to operate. This fix lasted about a month before it froze up again. The reason the defrost unit fails is usually the result of a bad defrost heater, defrost thermostat or thermistor. Some older models also have a defrost timer but this feature is handled by the main control board on his model (at least he thinks it is…he’s just a handyguy!).

Paul tested the heater for continuity and it appeared to be working fine. He also tested and replaced his thermistor. He has a new thermostat if needed but could not wait for this problem to occur again so he just went ahead and replaced the entire control board. Time will tell if this fix worked (it has been about 3 weeks).

Paul highly recommends the forums at http://www.applianceblog.com/mainforums/ for advice and feedback on your appliance repairs.

Listen to the podcast for all the gory details.

Please keep in mind, The Handyguys are NOT appliance repairmen, we don’t have schematics for your appliance, and we can’t come out and repair your fridge. We just share what we know with out listeners. Good luck on your repair.

The post GE Refrigerator Not Cooling Troubleshooting and Repair appeared first on The Handyguys.

Feb 02 2012

24mins

Play

Selecting a Portable Generator

Podcast cover
Read more

Portable Generator Selection Checklist

The Handyguys do not own generators but with all the power outages in the news they are certainly thinking about adding this “power tool” to their arsenal. Portable generators are easy to pick up at your local True Value store and you can be up and running quickly with some limitations. Without modifications to your electrical system, you can only connect household items that reach with an extension cord and which are no hard wired (e.g. a furnace blower). If you want the system to integrate with your electrical system for powering items such as the blower on your furnace you will need to have an electrician install a bypass switch. Here are issues to consider before buying that generator:

  1. Power. How many watts do you need for your required power equipment in the house. Put a buffer in those calculations to help out a neighbor with their refrigerator!
  2. Fuel. Determine how much gasoline you will keep on hand to power the generator. Fuel requires stabilizer or must be replaced on a regular schedule. Most residential codes allow only a small amount of gasoline storage in your garage (generally less then 15 gallons).
  3. Noise. Consider how much noise the generator will make. If this is important to you, look for reviews of models that are quieter.
  4. Maintenance. The engine will require maintenance and regular running to keep it in good shape. Check out the
  5. Run-time. Look at the length of run-time of the generator.
  6. Weight. Will you be moving the generator a lot? Does it have wheels? Can you lift it into a truck or trunk?
  7. Plan ahead. Research and purchase before a disaster strikes!

Have a great new year!

We were one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. We have been compensated for our time commitment to the program as well as our writing about our experience. We have also been compensated for the materials needed for our DIY project. However, our opinions are entirely our own and we have not been paid to publish positive comments.

The post Selecting a Portable Generator appeared first on The Handyguys.

Dec 30 2011

24mins

Play

Lightbulb bans, government intervention and personal choice

Podcast cover
Read more

The Handyguys discuss the government involvement in banning traditional light bulbs.

Yup – The government has ‘outlawed’ the tried and true light bulb. Even after this podcast was recorded some representatives in congress have attempted to delay the enforcement of the ban. Despite their efforts it seems the ‘ban’ will be move forward.

Its not really a ban on incandescent – Its a requirement that by certain dates, certain types of bulbs need to meet certain energy efficiency standards. January 2010 will be 100 watt bulbs and other to follow after that.

The edison base incandescent may soon become a piece of history.

Listen to the podcast as The Handyguys discuss the alternatives, pros and cons as well as discuss personal freedoms and its relationship to community stewardship.

Bottom line – CFLs can save you money in the long run and the newest breed of CFL bulbs have nice color, turn on to full brightness much faster and may also last longer. You can find every type, size and style of the CFL bulbs over at your local True Value hardware store.

We were one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. We have been compensated for our time commitment to the program as well as our writing about our experience. We have also been compensated for the materials needed for our DIY project. However, our opinions are entirely our own and we have not been paid to publish positive comments.

The post Lightbulb bans, government intervention and personal choice appeared first on The Handyguys.

Dec 19 2011

25mins

Play

Last Minute Christmas List ideas

Podcast cover
Read more

The Handyguys did a bit of virtual perusing of the isles of our local True Value. Each of us made a Christmas shopping list and then compared our choices in this entertaining podcast.  We selected some excellent practical gift ideas for the handyguy, handygirl or anyone else. You must listen to the full podcast for our  explanation of why these items belong on your Christmas list.  And Merry Christmas!

  • Alan wrench set
  • Leatherman
  • LED Christmas lights
  • Porter Cable Oscillating Multitool
  • Frost King electric heat cable
  • Grill/Smoker/Fryer
  • Lodge Cookware
  • screwdrivers/all in one screw driver
  • Fire pit
  • Mouse traps
  • Carbon-monoxide  detector

Listen to the podcast for all the discussion and why we selected these items.

We were one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. We have been compensated for our time commitment to the program as well as our writing about our experience. We have also been compensated for the materials needed for our DIY project. However, our opinions are entirely our own and we have not been paid to publish positive comments.

The post Last Minute Christmas List ideas appeared first on The Handyguys.

Dec 16 2011

26mins

Play

LED Christmas Lights for Energy Savings

Podcast cover
Read more

Can you save some money using LED Christmas Lights? The Handyguys discuss LED, mini-incandescent and C9 and C7 Christmas lights.

LED Energy Savings

This podcast was inspired by an article Handyguy Brian read on the Fox News Website entitled Good Return on Investment: LED Holiday Lights. Are they really a good investment? Perhaps, perhaps not! Do the Handyguys dare to disagree with Fox New reporting? In the name of fair and balanced the Handyguys discuss the energy savings of LED Christmas lights.

Yes – LED Christmas lights save energy. According to the article you will save about 71.4 cents per 100 light string per season.

How about return on investment? You Decide. Handyguy Brian went by the True Value and picked up a 300 light set for $39. That is a projected savings of $2.14 per season. Assuming Brian needed to buy new incandescent strings every 3 years due to failure, assuming $15 each time, and assuming that the LEDs lasted the advertised 20,000 hours (129 years at 155 hours per season), the ROI would 5 years. If ROI was calculated only on energy savings the ROI would be more like 18 years!

Bottom line, buy quality, name brand, LED lights with a warranty. Save the info about how to file a warranty claim for your LEDs.

The Colored and the Whites

What about white lights versus colored lights? The Handyguys discuss an old article by a radio talk show host Michael Smerconish. Michael has said

White lights are boring.
White lights are sedate.
White lights are pretentious.
White lights are for fakers
White lights are un-Christmas.

Wow Michael, tell us how you really feel! Read Micheal’s articles Enough with the white Christmas, already! and The Coloreds and The Whites

Also discussed are the older style C9 and C7 lights.

Listen to the podcast for all the lively discussion.

We were one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. We have been compensated for our time commitment to the program as well as our writing about our experience. We have also been compensated for the materials needed for our DIY project. However, our opinions are entirely our own and we have not been paid to publish positive comments.

The post LED Christmas Lights for Energy Savings appeared first on The Handyguys.

Dec 09 2011

21mins

Play

Hardscaping Options – Concrete, pavers or stamped concrete

Podcast cover
Read more

Hardscaping options

The Handyguys discuss some hardscaping options under consideration for Brian’s fathers house – concrete, stamped concrete and pavers.

Concrete Ideas and Tips

Plain old concrete is the cheapest and fastest option for a front stoop. A small stoop can be done in a day with the following day to remove forms and clean up any dirt around the area. Brian’s fathers project (front patio, walkway, side walkway and rear patio slab) came in at about $3500 for plain concrete.

Image thanks to http://www.landbergconcrete.com

Stamped Concrete and Hardscaping Help

Stamped concrete is the process where a texture is places in the concrete to emulate the look of stone or brick. Stamped concrete also is typically colored. It’s a less expensive option than pavers, installs quickly and has a nice look. Brian’s fathers project (front patio, walkway, side walkway and rear patio slab) came in at about $4500 for plain concrete.

Thanks to http://www.morrisonscustomconcrete.com/ for the image.

Pavers or Stamped Concrete

Pavers are bricks made from concrete. They come in many different shapes and colors that can be mixed and matched to come up with an interesting and unique look. They are usually more costly than concrete. Pavers also require much more attention to detail in terms of preparation and they are more labor intensive to install. The entire job takes longer than concrete. Brian’s fathers project (front patio, walkway, side walkway and rear patio slab) came in at about $9000 for pavers.

Image thanks to http://www.ephenry.com/

Listen to the podcast for a full discussion on each of the options.

The post Hardscaping Options – Concrete, pavers or stamped concrete appeared first on The Handyguys.

Nov 15 2011

19mins

Play

Stink Bug Prevention, Control, Removal and Elimination

Podcast cover
Read more

Stink Bugs! Perhaps we wouldn’t hate them sooooo much if they had a better name. Perhaps if Stink Bugs were called Smiley Bugs, Fun Bugs, Sweet Bugs or something else it would make them a bit more likeable. Unfortunately, Stink Bugs are a real issue. Stink bugs come into our houses when the weather cools off, they also can devastate certain crops.

Stink Bugs are yet another invasive species that are currently impacting 33 states in the US.

Stink Bug invasion in the USA. Thanks to http://www.rescue.com for letting us use their info-graphic.

Preventing, Controlling and Eliminating Stink Bugs

Stink Bug traps can be effective inside or outside the house to control and eliminate infestations. Prevention is another good approach to keep them out of the house.  A Key preventative measure for keeping Stink Bugs out of the house is to caulk and seal up cracks around your doors and windows. Leave your porch lights off so when you come inside you wont let as many Stink Bugs in with you.

Bottom line for Stink Bug Control – Trap them before they get inside, Trap them if they do get inside and seal up the house so ones that the traps don’t get can’t get inside.

In this audio podcast The Handyguys discuss the Stink Bug and how to eliminate them from your home. We discuss the Rescue! trap that is available at True Value.

We were one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. We have been compensated for our time commitment to the program as well as our writing about our experience. We have also been compensated for the materials needed for our DIY project. However, our opinions are entirely our own and we have not been paid to publish positive comments.

The post Stink Bug Prevention, Control, Removal and Elimination appeared first on The Handyguys.

Oct 05 2011

18mins

Play

Wasp Killer – eliminate wasps around your home

Podcast cover
Read more

How to kill wasps around the home

Our neighborhood has a lot of wasps. They build small nests and find their way into all the protective hideouts provided by vinyl siding, drip edges, gutters and flashing. I don’t usually pay a lot of attention to the wasps unless they are building a nest very close to people such as on my deck or front porch. While two of my children were stung last year, the wasps are generally not aggressive and stay out of our way. They are also supposed to eat other insects which is a good thing.

This is a dead wasp that fell from the roof onto this flower

Perhaps my permissive “live and let live” policy went a little  far. These creatures began building more nests around the home and bothering my wife and kids who were trying to enjoy the outdoors. It was time to address the  problem and eliminate the  nests.

First, I used binoculars to observed the swarming wasps during the day when they are most active so I could see them flying in of out of their disguised homes. I then crept out one of our second story windows during the evening to get a closer look and access to their nests. This method can be very dangerous if you have a steep roof. You can either slip off the roof on your own or with the aid of angry wasps.

While on the roof, I used an Ortho Home Defense product which I purchased at True Value Hardware.  It works great and does not seem to stain the siding. It has the ability to spray at areas that are 12-15 feet away and its foam prevents the wasps from making a counter attack.

I identified nests in many areas including those shown here:

The largest nest was in the rain downspout. I could not believe Wasps could survive the water runoff but the nest was cleverly built on the inside of the spout away from the water which washes down the outside of the spout. If you look closely you can see the nest in the down spout:

When I was at the True Value store I picked up a Rescue WHY trap for wasps, hornets and yellow jackets. I was a little nervous about using the chemical spray in first floor areas outside where people like to hang out so I hung up this trap above the porch. After about a week of it being ignored, the Wasps finally started climbing in (perhaps because they no longer had other homes to return to…). I am going to keep using the Rescue trap and see if it continues to eliminate the remaining Wasps.

We were one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. We have been compensated for our time commitment to the program as well as our writing about our experience. We have also been compensated for the materials needed for our DIY project. However, our opinions are entirely our own and we have not been paid to publish positive comments.

The post Wasp Killer – eliminate wasps around your home appeared first on The Handyguys.

Sep 05 2011

19mins

Play

Repairing Plaster Walls and Attaching Things to Plaster Walls

Podcast cover
Read more

Repairing plaster walls and attaching things to plaster walls are discussed in this audio episode of The Handyguys Podcast.

The Handyguys received this question from a listener:

Would you please talk in detail about homes with plaster walls? I have never lived in a home with plaster walls until now and have only heard horror stories about putting things/pictures, etc, up on the walls. Can curtain rods be hung on plaster? Is it best to live with and/or “enhance” the cracks as a feature, or can they be fixed for a reasonable amount of $$? LOVE YOU GUYS! Thanks!

No horror stories here. Some cracks might be inevitable but we discuss in the show doing repairs and hanging things on your plaster walls.

Types of plaster walls

Traditional plaster are often made by installing strips of wood lath to the framing and then multiple coasts of plaster are spread over the lath. The plaster can contain pig hair or horse hair for strength. This may also be applied, in some instances, over a masonry, brick or stone wall.

Modern plaster, also called veneer plaster, is installed over a substrate board, similar to drywall.

Hanging things on plaster walls

Paul had good results with what he calls “tempered picture hanging nails” or also called hardened steel picture hook nails. You can get these at your local True Value hardware stores. Make sure you read the package for how much weight the particular hook can hold.

You can also use a screw into the lath or a stud. A trim head screw would be ideal but other screws could be used as well.

How about curtain rods? YES, you may be able to install the curtain rods with the hardware provided. If you are installing heavy curtains you will want to use a longer screw than may come with the curtain rods and then make sure you screw through the plaster and into the framing around the window.

If you are attaching heavy things like shelves, and you can’t screw into a stud, you may want to use a Toggle Bolt. These expand behind the wall to provide good holding power but will need a larger hole to install them.

All of these attachment methods assume your plaster walls are in good shape. What if they are not? Then you may have to repair the plaster before attaching anything to it.

Repairing plaster walls

There are a few types of common repairs; cracks, missing pieces or separated lath and plaster.  The repair method will vary depending on what type of plaster you have and how it was originally installed.

Repairing plaster separated from lath

If the plaster has separated from the wood lath its likely because the “keys”, where the plaster connects to the lath, have broken off. You need to re-attach the plaster to the lath. This can be done with drywall screws but a better solution would be to use “plaster washers”. These washers are either metal or plastic. They are about 1 1/2″ wide, a screw is inserted through the washer and driven into the wood lath. The washer pulls the plaster tight against the lath. You will need these washers every foot or so (or every few inches depending on how bad the plaster is detached) to secure the plaster. Once the washers are installed, and the plaster is stabilized, you then skim a coat of new plaster over the washers to hide them.

Repairing cracks in plaster walls

It seems that cracks in plaster are sometimes unavoidable in old homes. These homes will move with the seasons and cracks will re-appear over time.  A traditional approach to repairing cracks involves removing any loose plaster and then filling the crack with new plaster, also using some paper or fiberglass joint tape if the crack is large will help. If the house does move a lot then there may be little that can be done to keep the crack from re-occurring.

If the crack is small, Paul suggests just using a flexible, paintable, caulk in the crack. The flexibility of the caulk gives you a better chance that it will stay put and the crack will not re-appear. If that fails then you can try the more traditional method down the road.

Repairing holes in plaster walls.

For repairing a hole in a plaster wall Paul recommends “Patching Plaster”. It’s a fast drying plaster than comes in small containers for small repairs. Check it out and follow the directions on the package.

Tools for plaster repair

You will only need some basic tools and supplies for repairing plaster. You will need a 6″ wide putty knife and a 12″ wide knife, your plaster washers, a utility knife, some paper repair tape and a container to mix the plaster in. These can all be found at your local True Value.

We were one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. We have been compensated for our time commitment to the program as well as our writing about our experience. We have also been compensated for the materials needed for our DIY project. However, our opinions are entirely our own and we have not been paid to publish positive comments.

The post Repairing Plaster Walls and Attaching Things to Plaster Walls appeared first on The Handyguys.

Aug 15 2011

26mins

Play

iTunes Ratings

27 Ratings
Average Ratings
21
3
0
1
2

the perfect DIY home improvement podcast

By koolnashvillekat - Aug 18 2011
Read more
great show , very informative , could be better sound quaility , but who cares right ?

Great podcast

By cpdwld - Mar 03 2010
Read more
I wish I would've found this podcast earlier. Great practical information for a homeowner.