Home Construction Improvement http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com Expert Home Improvement Advice Mon, 25 Aug 2014 18:13:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish Previewhttp://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/minwax-ultimate-floor-finish-preview/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=minwax-ultimate-floor-finish-preview http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/minwax-ultimate-floor-finish-preview/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 18:13:51 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=12133 Professional Quality Urethane That’s Incredibly Easy To Use Over the years I’ve spent countless hours applying urethane to furniture, floors and trim work. The task was often tedious, extremely odorous and difficult to get professional looking results. Also, because traditional “clear coatings” on wood involved solvent-based polyurethanes cleanup was extremely difficult and messy. I’m happy…

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Professional Quality Urethane That’s Incredibly Easy To Use

Over the years I’ve spent countless hours applying urethane to furniture, floors and trim work. The task was often tedious, extremely odorous and difficult to get professional looking results. Also, because traditional “clear coatings” on wood involved solvent-based polyurethanes cleanup was extremely difficult and messy. I’m happy to say those days are just about over with the development of water based coatings.

I recently had the opportunity to use Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish on some Southern Yellow Pine stair treads and the results really impressed me. Many of you may not be overly excited about a water based “urethane” but I think you really should give it a shot.

Minwax Ultimate Floor Finish Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish Preview

Ultimate Floor Finish Features

The following are a few of the features and benefits from the Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish:

  • Provides a crystal clear finish – unlike more traditional urethane products, Ultimate Floor Finish is crystal clear so it won’t change the natural color of wood.
  • Self-Crosslinking technology ensures a tough floor finish.
  • Non-ambering
  • DIY Friendly
  • Recoat in only two hours allowing some projects to be completed in one day
  • Does not require sanding between coats.
  • Exceptional flow and leveling – easy application
  • Lower in odor than traditional solvent-based polyurethanes
  • Cleans up with soap and warm water

Minwax Ultimate Floor Finish Stair Treads Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish Preview

Using Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish

As I mentioned earlier I used the Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish to finish a set of basement stairs in my home. The stair treads are Southern Yellow Pine which is a very light colored wood (great for testing how clear the finish is). Applying the finish to the stairs included the following steps:

  • Light sanding of the wood treads with 220 grit sand paper.
  • Removing dust and debris with a tack cloth.
  • Applying one coat of Minwax® Sanding Sealer.
  • Applying two coats of Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish (waiting 2 hours between coats).
  • I chose to let the treads sit for a couple of day.
  • Light sanding with 320 grit sand paper.
  • Clean with tack cloth.
  • Apply final coat of Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish.

Minwax® clearly states you do not have to sand between coats as long as you do not wait longer than 24 hours. I waited longer than that so I chose to sand prior to the final coat. After applying this new product from Minwax® I had the following general thoughts:

  • In the can the product looks like a semi-transparent “milky” liquid. Don’t let that fool you because it does indeed dry crystal clear.
  • The product dries really fast. Within about 30 minutes or so the surface appeared to be dry.
  • I was really impressed with how smooth the surface was each time after applying the finish. The liquid “lays” down really flat and doesn’t show brush marks (I used foam brushes for the application).
  • I couldn’t notice any odor at all from this product.
  • Cleanup is as easy as rinsing your tools and hands in hot soapy water.

Minwax Ultimate Floor Finish Milky Appearance Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish Preview

Overall Impression of Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish

I am totally a believer in water based urethane products now. The Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish is really easy to apply, dries super fast, doesn’t smell, and it’s very easy to clean up. The finish looks amazing and so far it’s holding up very well with no signs of scratches or blemishes. This is definitely a product I’d recommend for both Professionals and DIY’ers.

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Certificate Of Occupancy | What Is It?http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/certificate-occupancy/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=certificate-occupancy http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/certificate-occupancy/#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:12:05 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=1943 Certificate Of Occupancy The final step in the permitting process for new construction is typically the Certificate Of Occupancy. The Certificate Of Occupancy (CO) is issued by the local or state government certifying that the building structure complies with current building codes and is suitable for occupancy. The CO is typically issued after a final…

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Certificate Of Occupancy

The final step in the permitting process for new construction is typically the Certificate Of Occupancy. The Certificate Of Occupancy (CO) is issued by the local or state government certifying that the building structure complies with current building codes and is suitable for occupancy.

The CO is typically issued after a final inspection of the property. The inspection focuses on applicable building code provisions and any local zoning provisions or ordinances. CO’s are sometimes issued as “Temporary” when there is significant enough progress to allow the space to be lived in, but enough items unresolved that further inspection is required. Often times this relief helps owners finalize construction loans and begin the process of moving into a new or newly renovated space.

Typical Certificate of Occupancy Inspection

Certificate Of Occupancy procedures vary from town to town but typically involve certificate of occupancy 300x300 Certificate Of Occupancy | What Is It?inspections of life safety, heating and ventilation, running water and sewer and safe working electric power. Some typical inspections that might take place include:

  • Life Safety – Proper means of egress, correct stair geometry including railings, properly functioning smoke detectors and 911 address signage for emergency responders.
  • Heating & Ventilation – Inspection of heating equipment and proper ventilation for bathrooms.
  • Water & Sewer – Inspection of water and sewer services including functioning toilets and sinks along hot water of sufficient heat.
  • Electric Power – Safe working electrical service including proper installation of ground fault circuits, arc fault circuits and properly sized circuit breakers.

It is not uncommon to have more than one inspection. Typically there will end up being a list of items that need correcting in order to receive the final Certificate Of Occupancy. Most inspectors will issue a Temporary Certificate Of Occupancy if the remaining issues are minor in nature. This allows home owners to move into the house while the remaining list of items is being corrected.

Certificates Of Occupancy are often times required by financial institutions before they release final construction loan payments or allow a home owner to close on a new house. Those kind of requirements actually benefit all parties, it pushes the builder to complete all remaining items so that the owner can get the money to pay them. The CO also provides reassurance to the owner that the new house complies with building codes and is fit for occupancy.

So if you’re building a new home be sure that you get your Certificate Of Occupancy.

Certificate of Occupancy Certificate Of Occupancy | What Is It?

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Vinyl Siding Leaks – Period!http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/vinyl-siding-leaks-period/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=vinyl-siding-leaks-period http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/vinyl-siding-leaks-period/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 09:52:41 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=9871 Understanding The Limits of Vinyl Siding Today as I was driving home for lunch I passed a new home under construction and witnessed something that really bothered me. A contractor was installing vinyl siding on a new home that was sheathed with OSB. However, there was one very crucial detail missing that really bothered me.…

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Understanding The Limits of Vinyl Siding

Today as I was driving home for lunch I passed a new home under construction and witnessed something that really bothered me. A contractor was installing vinyl siding on a new home that was sheathed with OSB. However, there was one very crucial detail missing that really bothered me. The house had absolutely no type of house wrap, rain screen or even tar paper on it, just vinyl siding attached directly to the OSB sheathing.

Colonial House with House Wrap and Vinyl Siding Vinyl Siding Leaks   Period!

All Vinyl Siding Leaks

Everyone needs to understand that vinyl siding leaks and allows water/moisture to pass through it and make contact with the house sheathing. While this may be a surprise to home owners it surely shouldn’t be a surprise to reputable contractors.

According to the Vinyl Siding Institute:

Vinyl siding has always been designed as an exterior cladding, not a water-resistive barrier. Vinyl siding is designed to allow the material underneath it to breathe; therefore, it is not a watertight covering. Because of its design and application, it provides a supplemental rain screen that enhances the water-resistive barrier system by reducing the amount of water that reaches the underlying water-resistive barrier.

So you can see why I might be a tad upset to see someone’s new home being built with no water-resistive barrier. At a very minimum a good quality house wrap or rain screen material should be installed. In addition, flashing around windows, penetrations and roofing transitions should be used. Unfortunately the house that I saw being built today will likely suffer from serious water damage in the next 5 to 10 years.

If you’re building a new home or having new siding installed be sure to insist on a proper water-resistive barrier. In the photo above you can see a house being built with vinyl siding, house wrap and proper flashing details. If you see bare wood with vinyl siding going up be sure to call a time out!

Flashing Details

The most important details when using any type of siding are the flashing details. This is even more important when using vinyl siding. I’ve included links to some of our flashing detail articles to help you understand some of the basics.

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Outdoor Fire Pit and Patiohttp://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/outdoor-fire-pit-and-patio/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=outdoor-fire-pit-and-patio http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/outdoor-fire-pit-and-patio/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2014 00:27:53 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=12134 Backyard Patio with Fire Pit and Sitting Wall Outdoor living has become an increasingly popular topic for many homeowners looking to expand and upgrade their yards. One of the most popular projects in the outdoor living arena is an outdoor fire pit and patio. An outdoor fire pit can create a central gathering place for…

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Backyard Patio with Fire Pit and Sitting Wall

Outdoor living has become an increasingly popular topic for many homeowners looking to expand and upgrade their yards. One of the most popular projects in the outdoor living arena is an outdoor fire pit and patio. An outdoor fire pit can create a central gathering place for social events including cookouts, cocktail parties or a quiet summer evening with family and friends.

Fire Pit and Sitting Wall Outdoor Fire Pit and Patio

In this article I’ll show you how this backyard patio and fire pit were built and some of the design considerations you might want to think about with a similar project. This patio and fire pit are part of a long term backyard renovation project that will include a covered pavilion and hopefully a pool.

Options Are Only Limited by Imagination

The design possibilities for backyard patios, fire pits and landscaping are endless. For our fire pit and patio we started by doing a search online and in magazines. I was stunned at the options and creativity that are available to give inspiration for amazing outdoor living areas. Some great resources for starting your search are Pinterest, Google Image Search, Houzz and home and garden magazines.

Our backyard living space project was inspired by several ideas. The fire pit started from an imagine on Google and it evolved to include the sitting wall area from a magazine that our landscaper showed us. I used each of these ideas to come up with a preliminary plan for our project before working out final details and pricing with the landscaper. I highly recommend gathering several ideas and concepts that you like before diving head first into a project like this.

backyard pavillion 2 150x150 Outdoor Fire Pit and Patio Timber Pavilion 150x150 Outdoor Fire Pit and Patio

Planning A Backyard Patio and Fire Pit

Planning is key to any project especially larger more expensive ones. The more planning you do ahead of time the more successful and rewarding the final product. There are lots of great tools to help with planning this type of project. You can do simple hand sketches, you can hire a landscape architect or you can do some more advanced planning with free tools like Sketchup. Sketchup is a free 3D drawing tool that’s wonderful for doing renderings and light drafting projects.

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Upgrade Your Hose Storagehttp://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/upgrade-hose-storage/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=upgrade-hose-storage http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/upgrade-hose-storage/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:10:47 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=12124 Hose Storage and Management Ideas Garden hoses can be a real pain to keep organized and moved around from place to place in the yard. I’ve got a huge yard and every year it seems as though my hose “miss-management” has gotten worse so I enlisted the help of the folks at AMES for some…

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Hose Storage and Management Ideas

Garden hoses can be a real pain to keep organized and moved around from place to place in the yard. I’ve got a huge yard and every year it seems as though my hose “miss-management” has gotten worse so I enlisted the help of the folks at AMES for some hose storage ideas and solutions.

hose mess Upgrade Your Hose Storage

Does your hose sit around the yard like the picture above? It looks awful and it can be quite a trip hazard for yourself and guests. If your hose is just laying around you should consider getting some hose storage. Read on to learn all about hose storage solutions and find one that suites your needs.

Types of Hose Storage

There are four basic types of hose storage that are used widely in yards (not including my coil it on the ground approach that I am finally rid of!). Hose storage types include:

  • Hose Hangers
  • Hose Reels
  • Hose Cabinets
  • Hose Carts

Hose Hangers

Hose Hangers have been around as long as hoses because they offer an inexpensive and simple solution for hanging hoses. Typically they are screwed or nailed to a wall or post near the hose spigot. They are usually made from light gauge metal or plastic. The biggest problem with them is you need to coil up the hose by hand without twisting it and creating a tangled mess. Then when you need the hose you either lift off all the hose at once or carefully lift off each loop as you pull the hose from the hanger.

Ames Wall Mounted Hose Real 550x366 Upgrade Your Hose Storage

Hose Reels

Hose Reels are very affordable and easier to use than a hose hanger. I have a hose reel mounted under my deck near one of our hose spigots. The NeverLeak® Poly Wall Mount Hose Reel from AMES pictured above holds 225 feet of 5/8″ dia. garden hose and it has a nice handle and manual guide to help keep the hose neatly wound onto the reel. Hose reels are a great solution in places that are not very visible like garages, sheds, and under decks.Ames Mobile Hose Cart Upgrade Your Hose Storage

Hose reels come in all kinds of designs and materials. From light gauge metal to heavy duty plastic. Some of the metal hose reels on the market offer a more decorative appearance if you have to install the reel in a visible area.

Hose Carts

Hose Carts are an excellent choice near gardens or for homeowners that move hose around to different areas of the yard (front yard to back yard for example). I use a NeverLeak® 250’ Hose Cart with Hose Guide from AMES to haul 100′ of hose around the backyard between our vegetable garden and flower gardens.

It acts much like a mobile staging area that’s much easier to move than pulling an extra 100′ of hose around the yard. Many hose carts come with storage options like the tray included in this version from AMES.

Hose Cabinets

Hose cabinets are another option especially if you want a clean look in visible areas like your front yard. Hose cabinets come in both metal and plastic versions and lots of different styles from rather plain to decorative designs that are sure to blend in with a nice garden.

Ames Decorator Hose Real 550x366 Upgrade Your Hose Storage

I’m using a NeverLeak® Decorative Metal Hose Cabinet from AMES in our front flower garden that’s adjacent to the main entrance to the house. It’s a metal cabinet it definitely looks better than the pile of hose that used to sit there!

 

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Design & Build A Backyard Shedhttp://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/design-build-backyard-shed/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=design-build-backyard-shed http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/design-build-backyard-shed/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:11:54 +0000 http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/?p=12112 Need Helping Designing and Building a Backyard Shed? The old saying “there’s never enough storage space” is especially true when it comes to garden tools and outdoor power equipment. I have a rather large garage but there’s simply not enough room for the riding mower, push mower, car top carrier, lawn and garden tools and…

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Need Helping Designing and Building a Backyard Shed?

The old saying “there’s never enough storage space” is especially true when it comes to garden tools and outdoor power equipment. I have a rather large garage but there’s simply not enough room for the riding mower, push mower, car top carrier, lawn and garden tools and 4 bicycles. In the near future I’ve got to build a shed so I’d like to share some information that you can use if you’re looking to design and/or build a new backyard shed.

LP Smartside 1 Design & Build A Backyard Shed

Find Your Shed Inspiration

The first step in designing or building a new shed is figuring out what you want it to look like, and how big to make it. For some people that’s an easy task but most of us need some inspiration and ideas. The folks over at LP Outdoor Building Solutions have created a shed visualizer to help you get started.

Their free visualizer lets you look at different materials and colors for an outdoor shed. It allows you to change the type of roofing, trim, and siding with the click of your mouse. You can save your designs and print them out for yourself or builder.

LP SmartSide Visualizer Design & Build A Backyard Shed

In addition to the visualizer they have a gallery full of shed ideas from small to large. I like how they show different styles including different types of roofs, siding, doors and windows. This is really important for home owners that might not be well versed in architecture and different building styles.

Not only do they have a gallery of sheds, but they also have a gallery with other outdoor structures including: dog houses, wood sheds, barns and garages. Whether you plan on building the structure yourself or hiring a contractor these ideas can be used to design the structure. You can even print the images and give them to your builder.

LP Outdoor Building Solutions Products

I’ve been using LP SmartSide siding products for several years and I’ve been very impressed with them. Two years ago we used their lap siding on a million dollar custom home after evaluating several materials including cedar and cement lap siding. We chose the LP SmartSide due to a combination of price, warranty, and long term reduced maintenance costs. I’m happy to say that after two years the house still looks like the day we finished.

My experience with LP SmartSide is why I really like their outdoor building solutions. Their outdoor building solutions site showcases several products that are a great match for sheds and garages including:

  • LP SmartSide Panels
  • LP ProStruct® Roof Sheathing with SilverTech®
  • LP ProStruct® Panel with SilverTech®
  • LP SmartSide Panels with SmartFinish®
  • LP ProStruct® Floor with SmartFinish®
  • LP SmartSide Trim and Lap Siding
LPShedInterior 0002 SmartFinishFloor SilverTechWalls 550x337 Design & Build A Backyard Shed

LP ProStruct® Floor with SmartFinish® and LP ProStruct® Panel with SilverTech®

So why is all this so important? With LP SmartSide trim and siding products, you get the beauty of wood with a much more durable product that’s been engineered to resist fungal decay and termites. If you choose the SmartFinish products you get the same fungal decay and termite resistance plus a very nice aesthetic appearance on the inside. And if you choose the SilverTech products they can help reduce radiant heat on those blistering summer days.

LPShedInterior 0004 SmartFinishFloor LPSSPanelWalls 550x337 Design & Build A Backyard Shed

LP ProStruct® Floor with SmartFinish®

The images above give you a great sense of the versatility and aesthetic value the LP SmartSide products can bring to your new shed or garage. I really like the LP SmartSide Panels with SmartFinish because it looks similar to MDO plywood and creates a much more “finished” appearance.

As a builder I can tell you that the LP SmartSide products give me an added level of confidence that the material will perform very well with not only the weather, but also the physical punishment that outdoor structures take. The warranties speak volumes to the level of commitment LP has with their products and certainly resonate with my customers and other builders I’ve spoken to.

Disclosure

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of LP® Outdoor Building Solutions for hfa. All opinions are 100% mine.

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