Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WORX SD Semiautomatic Driver Screw Gun Product Review

WORX SD Semiautomatic Driver - Perfect for the Home or Apartment

By Mark J. Donovan

Check out this cool new driver tool from WORX. It looks like a pistol but in reality it's a small screw driver gun. The SD Semiautomatic driver can carry up to 6 different hex-shanked driver bits at any one time. So not only does it allow you to drive various screw head types, it also provides an integrated carrying case for the driver bits.

It's an excellent screw gun for small projects around the home or apartment. Whether you need to hang up a picture, assemble a new piece of furniture, tighten up screws on a kitchen or bathroom cabinet, or do some light electrical/plumbing work, the WORX SD Semiautomatic driver is perfect for the job.

The WORX Semiautomatic driver is lightweight and easy to use. Simply pull back the magazine cover and rotate the cartridge to the desired driver bit, close the magazine cover and it's ready to drive screws.

It runs off a built-in rechargeable 4V Lithium-ion battery so there is no dangling wire to worry about when using it.

The WORX WX254L SD Semi-Automatic Power Screw Driver with 12 Driving Bits costs $49.99 and you can find it at and at

Friday, November 09, 2012

New Home Construction and Room Addition Bid Sheets on Sale at

New Home Construction and Home Remodeling Checklist Guides that Will Save You Time, Money and Hassles

By Mark J. Donovan

Before kicking off your new home construction or room addition project make sure to check out my home construction and remodeling checklist guides at The “New Home Construction Bid Sheet” and “Room Addition Bid Sheet” will help to ensure you hire the right general contractor for your home construction project. In addition, they’ll help you through the planning process of your new home construction project. Moreover they’ll help you accurately estimate your new home construction costs or room addition costs so that you’ll know how much your construction project will really cost you. Having accurate construction costs up front will help with your project planning and financing efforts.

One of the key components in the  “New Home Construction Bid Sheet” and “Room Addition Bid Sheet” is an extensive questionnaire that you provide to prospective general contractors to fill out. Once completed, you can make easy apples-to-apples comparisons of contractor quotes so that you can make a more informed and better decision on which general contractor to hire.

The second major component in the “New Home Construction Bid Sheet” and “Room Addition Bid Sheet” is estimated home construction costs on a cost per square foot basis. It includes cost breakouts for all the various phases of the home construction or room addition project.

Lastly the “New Home Construction Bid Sheet” and “Room Addition Bid Sheet” each contain a detailed section for the homeowner on how to interpret the general contractor questionnaire responses and the reasons for asking the questions.

In addition to the “New Home Construction Bid Sheet” and “Room Addition Bid Sheet”, separate construction cost estimate Excel spreadsheets are provided to allow you to track predicted versus actual new home construction costs or room addition costs.

So make sure to purchase the “New Home Construction Bid Sheet” or “Room Addition Bid Sheet" for your particular home construction project. I guarantee you they’ll save you time, hassles, and a small fortune in money. Also check out many of the other types of home remodeling and construction bid sheets at

Monday, October 29, 2012

Preparing your Home for Hurricane Sandy

7 Tips for Preparing and Protecting Your Family and Home from Hurricane Sandy

By Mark J. Donovan

With hurricane Sandy bearing down upon the eastern coast of the United States there are a number of things people can do to protect their homes and family from danger and disaster.

Stock the Cupboards with Food and Water

Make sure you have sufficient food and water to last up to 2 weeks. It may take that long to get electricity restored to your home if you lose power. Try to stock up on foods that don’t require cooking and are not perishable for at least a couple of weeks. Wash out your tubs and sinks and then fill them with fresh water. You may want to use a plastic liner in the tubs and sinks to hold the water.

Have Fresh Batteries, Flashlights, Candles, and AM/FM Radio Ready

Make sure you’ve stocked up on fresh batteries and that you’ve replaced the old batteries in your flashlights and AM/FM radios. Also keep candles and a lighter nearby.

Fuel Up

Make sure you have your grilles propane tank filled as you may have to resort to cooking on your gas grille. Also make sure to have your portable gas tanks full if you’re lucky enough to own a generator. Similarly, fill up your automobiles’ gas tanks.

Pick up Loose Items in the Yard

Pick up and store away in garages or sheds any children’s toys, patio furniture, and other yard items that could be blown away or destroyed by hurricane Sandy. You may also want to remove the grille cover and store it away as well.

Charge Up Cell Phones

Make sure your cell phones are fully charged prior to the onslaught of hurricane Sandy, as your cell phones maybe your only form of communication to the outside world if the land lines get taken down by hurricane Sandy’s high winds.

Check the Generator

If you own a generator check the oil and gasoline in it and start it up. If it doesn’t start or runs rough clean the spark plug and try again. Also have the generator wiring handy so that you can easily access it in the dark. Also, always make sure to operate the generator outside and at least 30 feet away from your home.

Have Cash on Hand

Often during natural disasters banks and ATM machines are not open or not operational. Consequently it’s a wise idea to have some cash on hand to make emergency purchases.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Purpose of Ice and Water Shield

By Mark J. Donovan

I often get asked what exactly is Ice and Water Shield. When I first started receiving this question I was somewhat shocked that people were unaware of this roofing product. Ice and water shield has been a godsend in the housing industry for years now. It is used for protecting homes and roofs from water and ice damage and every responsible builder and roofer uses it today.

So what is ice and water shield? Simply put, it is a flexible and sticky membrane that is
placed on the roof sheathing prior to installing the shingles. This membrane seals up
leak-tight around roofing nails that puncture it. It is used mainly along the roof
edges and in the valleys, and along walls or chimneys to protect against ice dams and water seeping underneath flashing.

Ice and water shield is commonly sold in 3 foot width rolls. Typically one or two courses of it is installed along the roof eaves to achieve 3 to 6 feet of coverage. In the roof valleys it is usually positioned so that there is about 18 inches of coverage on either side of the valley. Where a roof abuts a wall the ice and water shield is typically installed up the wall 6 to 18 inches. House siding is then installed over it.

So if you are having your roof reshingled make sure that the roofing contractor includes the installation of ice and water shield in the quote.

Installation of a Fiberon Composite Deck Railing System

Replacing My Deck’s old Pressure Treated Railing System with a new Composite Deck Railing System from Fiberon

By Mark J. Donovan

This weekend I visited a home improvement center looking for a new deck railing system for my home’s deck. After checking out several deck railing systems I’ve decided to use Fiberon’s composite deck railing system. The composite railing system pieces are constructed using a PVC core with a very hard PVC finish that resists scratching and fading. I plan to install the Fiberon deck railing system in the next few weeks, while the particular home improvement center is offering a 10% sale on all decking materials. This is the time of the year to get deck material discounts, so if you have a deck project in mind you may want to find out if you can get similar price saving deals at your local home improvement center for your deck project.

The composite deck railing kits from Fiberon come in a couple of different standard lengths, e.g. 6 and 8 feet. Each kit comes with top and bottom rails, balusters, and the hardware to assemble them. You can also trim the standard lengths to the required widths. They also have a special railing kit for stairs. In addition, I needed to buy post sleeves, cap, and skirts. For a 12x10 deck I calculated the total cost of the Fiberon deck rail system to be about $550.

I’ll be sure to write about the project when I complete it, as well as take plenty of pictures and a video or two during the deck construction. So check back to see how the project went and to see the finished look.

Fall is the Perfect Time for Window Replacement

Keep Your Home Warmer this Winter by Installing Replacement Windows

By Mark J. Donovan

If you’re home has drafty windows the fall season is the perfect time of the year to have them replaced. Though you’ll have to outlay some serious money for installing replacement windows, the energy costs savings are significant. Based on the rising trend in energy costs you should be able to recoup your costs within a reasonably short period of time. In addition, if you plan to sell your home at some point down the road, the replacement windows will significantly help your cause and most likely enable you to sell the home for a higher price.

So stay warmer this winter by investing in your home and replacing your old and drafty windows.

For free window replacement contractor quotes just fill out the Window Replacement Quote form at

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Home Remodeling Contractor Hiring Guides on Sale at

By Mark J. Donovan Home Remodeling Bid Sheets are a Must Have prior to Hiring a Home Remodeling Contractor and Starting a Home Construction Project

I just dramatically lowered's Contractor Hiring Guides and Home Remodeling Bid Sheets. Prices slashed by over 40% on many of them. Don't hire a contractor without first buying one of my home remodeling contractor hiring guides! You'll save yourself a bundle in money, time and headaches. See

If you have plans for any of the following home improvement projects and plan to hire a contractor make sure to purchase the appropriate bid sheet / contractor hiring guide from first! You won't regret it!!

Monday, October 08, 2012

The Deluxe FreezeAlarm is Perfect for Monitoring the Temperature and Power at Your Home

Remotely Control the Temperature of your Home via a Phone Call with a Deluxe FreezeAlarm

By Mark J. Donovan

I installed a Deluxe FreezeAlarm this weekend at my vacation home. I installed another one several years ago on another home and loved it. This neat little box calls you if it detects the temperature in your home is too cold or hot, if there is a power outage, or if the backup battery is too low. In addition, it can support a couple of additional sensors, e.g. water, motion and contact sensors that can trigger it to call you. It can be programmed to call up to three phone calls in the event of an alarm condition. You can also call it to get a temperature and power status of your home.

What I really like most about the Deluxe FreezeAlarm is that it can be used to remotely control the temperature of your vacation home or cabin via a simple phone call. The Deluxe FreezeAlarm can accept two thermostat inputs and output a signal to activate the heating furnace. Consequently you tie your existing thermostat into it and wire up a secondary thermostat that feeds it as well. You then set the existing, or primary thermostat, to say 70oF, and the secondary thermostat to say 50oF. When you’re not at the home for an extended period of time you set the Deluxe FreezeAlarm to operate off of the secondary thermostat so that the home stays at a cool 50oF. Then, an hour before you get home, you simply make a phone call to the box, which has a phone jack that plugs into the back of it, and tell it to switch to the primary thermostat. When you arrive at your home, your house is toasty 70oF warm.

At the time of this writing the Deluxe FreezeAlarm costs under $200. Consequently it pays for itself in very short order, compared to what you’d pay for with a monthly home monitoring service. It’s also simple to plug in and install. All you need is a power outlet and a phone jack nearby. If you want to wire up the device to control the temperature of your home, then you’ll also need to feed it two thermostat signals and connect up a signal wire between the box and the heating furnace.

The Deluxe FreezeAlarm is manufactured by Control Products Inc., and can be found at various home improvement centers and online stores.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Removing Vacation Home Dock and Winterizing of Lake Home

With Fall in Full Swing I’ve begun Preparing My Lake Home For the Onslaught of Winter

By Mark J. Donovan

I started pulling out the dock this past weekend up at my new lake home. Surprisingly I think it can be a one man project, and I may not even have to get wet in the process! I was able to remove two 4’x8’ sections of the dock by simply lifting up the top surface panels, removing a couple of bolts from each frame, and then lifting the frames out of the water and walking them down the remaining dock to shore. In 15 minutes I had removed the two sections. Only another dozen sections to go. Within the next week the lake home will be dock free and prepared for the ensuing winter.
Also for winterizing my lake home I turned off water to the detached garage, via the shut-off valve in the main home. I do plan to keep heat and water running in the main home this winter, however I am installing a piece of electronics that will allow me to control the temperature in the home via my phone. With one phone call I’ll be able to switch the control of the heating system between two thermostats. One thermostat will be set for 50 degrees and the other to 70 degrees. Normally I’ll keep the home set at 50 degrees when we’re not there, and then call ahead to switch it to the 70 degree set thermostat when we plan to come up. This way the home will be toasty warm when we need it and have overall lower heating costs throughout the winter. Stay tuned for a video on the installation of this piece of electronics equipment in the next couple of weeks.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Garage Door Installation and Garage Door Seals

How to Ensure your Garage Stays Dry and Warm This Winter

By Mark J. Donovan

Going up to our lake home tonight to inspect the new garage door that I had recently installed on our detached garage. With the new garage door installed, and the new gutters that I recently installed along the roof eaves, I expect I will now have a water tight and critter free garage.

Before winter hits, you too may want to inspect your garage door for proper operation and a tight bottom seal. Make sure the bottom seal is not ripped or damaged in any way. If it is, replace it to ensure an air tight and water resistant seal. Installing a garage door bottom seal is easy to do and cost less than $20.

Also make sure the sides and top of the garage door fit snugly up against the garage door trim. There is weatherstripping that you can buy and easily install around the exterior perimeter of the garage door to ensure an air tight seal.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Types of Window Styles

Check Out All the Types of Windows to Choose From Before Deciding Upon One for Your Home Construction Project

By Mark J. Donovan

Though the double hung window maybe arguably the most popular window style today there are still many other window styles you should consider when building your new home or home addition.

Double Hung Window
A double hung window consists of two vertical panels that both can be moved up or down. The double hung window is one of the most popular windows installed today due to its flexibility in window panel opening.

Single Hung Window
The single hung window is akin to the double hung window, however only the bottom panel moves. The top window panel is fixed.

Casement Windows
Casement windows are still fairly popular. They normally come in either single or pairs, and one or both panels are hinged and can be opened via a crank located most commonly near the bottom of the window.

Fixed Windows
Fixed windows come in all shapes and sizes including circles, squares, triangles, and trapezoids. They are ideal for letting in natural light without the hardware concerns common with other windows. They are often used as accent pieces for both the inside and outside of the home.

Bay Windows
Bay windows are still very popular in homes today. They are often used in large rooms such as in family rooms, dining rooms, and living rooms. Due to their large size and two dimensional shape, they allow much more light to enter a home all throughout the day. Often bay windows have a fixed panel in the center and either double or single hung windows on the sides.

Bow Windows
Bow windows are akin to bay windows in the sense that they let much more light in throughout the entire day. They typically utilize more glass panels to achieve the curved or bow look.

Jalousie Windows
Jalousie windows consist of many thin strips of glass stacked vertically upon one another and that are louvered. They can be cranked opened or closed, similar to a venetian blind. Often they are used in three season rooms or porches.

Awning Windows
Awning widows are single panel windows that are hinged at the top of the window frame. The window can be pushed or cranked open at its base. They are ideal for allowing air to enter a home even on rainy days. Due to the fact that they are hinged at the top of the window, no rain can enter into the home.

Sliding Sash Windows

With sliding sash windows the window panels slide open horizontally. One or more panels can be designed to slide along a track. They are ideal for smaller rooms or in kitchens where it may difficult to open another window type.

So before choosing the ubiquitous double hung window for your new custom home or home addition project take a closer look at all the other window types out there on the market.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Promote Your Home Furnishing Products for Free at

Calling all home decor artisans and custom home furniture makers. Visit and begin promoting your services and products for free. Registration is fast and easy, and again there is ZERO cost for this service.

Homeowners and consumers - Check out to find the artisan or furniture maker who can realize your home furnishing dreams. is a free online marketplace service for connecting consumers and custom home themed artisans.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Find Custom Home Furnishing Artisans at’s HouseSight

Find Custom Home Artisans at
HouseSight is an on Online Community for Finding and Commissioning Custom Home Furniture Makers and Home Décor Artisans

By Mark J. Donovan

As a consumer, at’s “HouseSight” you can view all types of home furnishing and home décor products handcrafted by custom home furnishing artisans. As an artisan, or a consumer/homeowner, you can post as many of your own custom designed and crafted projects as you like. Best of all there’s no cost to using HouseSight.

To post home related projects on HouseSight, simply register, enter your profile information, and begin posting projects. With each project posting you can upload an unlimited number of pictures, write a description, and even imbed a video of the project. That’s it! No hassles or costs whatsoever.

As a HouseSight member you can take advantage of messaging members who’ve posted projects. In addition, you can rank projects and go directly to the artisan’s web page if they so choose to post a link to it on HouseSight. In addition, you can leave reviews on items purchased from an artisan whose posted projects on HouseSight.

So whether you’re a homeowner or renter check out HouseSight today to find the right custom artisan that can realize your home furnishing dreams. And if you’re an artisan, be it a furniture maker or home décor accessory craftsperson, begin posting your projects and promoting your business for free at HouseSight.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Finally Closed on New Lake Home

We’re Moved in and the Home Improvement Projects on our new Lake Home are Under Way
By Mark J. Donovan

Last week we closed on our new lake house on Lake Winnipesaukee and moved in. We love the new home and property as it is very spacious and bright. In particular we love the new property and waterfront. The property has 124 feet of water frontage and goes back approximately 335 feet. The waterfront views are spectacular. The home was built in 1999 so it is still quite modern.
Since moving in I’ve already stained the deck and the back of the home to address some rust stains caused by a rusted out chimney cap. In addition, I had to fix a small plumbing leak associated with the master bathroom Jacuzzi tub. Other than those couple of issues, and needing a little TLC cleaning, the house is in impeccable order. Stay tuned for more information and home improvement projects associated with this home.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Free Roofing Shingle Cost Estimates

Use’s “Asphalt Shingle Cost Estimator Tool” for Estimating Roofing Costs
By Mark J. Donovan

Now is the perfect time of the year to replace your old roof shingles. With the cold weather season behind us, late spring / early summer is the ideal time for re-shingling your roof. Re-shingling a roof, however, can be expensive. Worse yet, if it is not done right you could end up with a leaky roof and water damage to the interior of your home. So make sure to hire the right roofing contractor. See my “Asphalt Shingle Roofing Bid Sheet” to help in this process.

Also, for a quick and free roofing shingle cost estimate see my “Asphalt Shingle Roofing Cost Estimator” at It includes features that allow you to select shingle types and various roofing options, such as installing ice and water shield, drip flashing, and ridge and soffit vents. Simply fill out the form, and instantly you’ll get an accurate roofing cost estimate. In, addition, the “Asphalt Shingle Roofing Cost Estimator” results page also includes an online form you can fill out to get free roofing shingle cost estimates from contractors in your local area. Again there is no cost to you to use the online roofing contractor form, nor any commitment to use any of the roofing contractors that contact you.

So before the cold weather sets in again, get a free roofing shingle cost estimate and have your roof replaced by a quality roofing contractor.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Advertise Your Home Remodeling Contractor Business for Free at

By Mark J. Donovan

Join Today!
Grow your home remodeling contractor business for free by signing up and advertising your business on today. Connect with homeowners in your local area who are actively looking for contractors. registration is fast and simple, and it’s easy to use. Best of all its free. Simply upload your company’s profile information, including business website, and post a recently completed project. It’s that simple.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Should I expand my Home Outwards or Upwards

Deciding upon Building a Room Addition versus a Second Story Addition

By Mark J. Donovan

Question: Mark, I have a one story home with a basement but want to expand my home outwards but not sure if it can be done and if its cheaper for me to build out or up....would love to have some ideas of what to do..thanks

Answer: Tony, To expand your home outwards first check to see if you have the space, making sure you meet all required setbacks from property lines and easements. Your best bet is to go speak with your local building inspector to see what the property issues may be to expand outwards. For example, if you have waterfront property on a lake you can only use a certain percentage of the land for building surfaces, e.g. 25%.

Building outwards often allows you to continue to live in the home while construction occurs. Building up is not always the case. Often you need to move out for several weeks if you plan to build up. Also, if building up, the roof of the house has to come off, which means added expenses. Also, you need to see if the existing single story frame is strong enough to support a second story, e.g. 2x4 walls vs 2x6 walls. Often the ceiling joists need to be beefed up by sistering larger sized lumber to the existing ceiling joists.

I have a number of articles on building additions, and building second story additions. See:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review of Master Mechanic's Rotary and Oscillating Tools

By Mark J. Donovan

Over the weekend I got to try out Master Mechanic's new Rotary Tool and Oscillating Tool. Both tools are perfect for the workshop or toolbox. They are also ideal for small crafts projects.

They are light weight and easy to hold. Changing bits is also a snap. Each tool comes with a host of accessory bits, blades and sanding materials.

Look for them at True Value Stores starting on Fathers Day weekend. They can be purchased separately or as a combo pair. For a complete written and video review, see my article titled "Master Mechanic's Rotary and Oscillating Tools Review".

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lower Level Remodel vs Building a Room Addition

Does it Make More Sense to Remodel your Lower Level than Building a Room Addition

By Mark J. Donovan

It depends. Remodeling your lower level to create a finished basement living space is typically less expensive to do than building a room addition off the side or back of your home. However, if you have major water issues around your home’s foundation then it could become quite costly to have to excavate and install a perimeter drain around the entire house foundation.

If your basement is truly dry then a lower level remodel is the way to go for creating more finished living space, albeit there are some disadvantages. With a room addition, you typically can achieve more natural lighting for example. In addition, adding living spaces that include plumbing is also traditionally easier with building a room addition than finishing a lower level.

Remodeling a lower level is also easier to do from an inconvenience standpoint. Finishing a basement can be a diy project that can be done at a comfortable pace without disturbing the home and family that much. Building a room addition, however, is like building a new home with the exception that the construction is going on right in your home. Consequently when building a room addition expect many inconveniences such as experiencing a lot of dirt and dust, loud noises, and people constantly walking around and through your home during the construction.

Room additions are also typically much more expensive simply due to the fact that you’re effectively building a new home and attaching it to your existing one.

So if you’re looking for more finished living space in your home, consider these trade-offs before deciding upon either a lower level remodel or a room addition. 

See my Home Addition Bid Sheets to help find a reliable remodeling contractor and to manage your home construction project.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

How to Find a Good Bathroom Remodeling Contractor

Finding the Right Bathroom Remodeling Contractor is Key for a Successful Bathroom Renovation Project

 By Mark J. Donovan

 If you’re planning a bathroom renovation project, and you don’t plan on doing the work yourself, it’s important you find the right bathroom remodeling contractor for the job. Hire the wrong one and you could find yourself living through a nightmare. Common problems when hiring the wrong bathroom remodeling contractor include cost overruns, poor craftsmanship, schedule slips, extended interruptions to your home and family due to the schedule slips, and many sleepless nights.  

Finding a good bathroom remodeling contractor isn’t that hard to do. If you simply do your upfront homework by thoroughly screening prospective bathroom remodeling contractors for your project, you should have an excellent chance of finding a professional bathroom remodeling contractor that does quality work and is easy to work with. Hiring a good bathroom remodeling contractor starts with finding strong prospective contractors for the project. There are several companies out there that have national databases of contractors, including bathroom remodeling contractors, that they have thoroughly screened and done background checks on. There is no cost to you to use these services. Simply fill out one of the companies forms describing your bathroom remodeling project, and up to 3 or 4 contractors local to your area will get in touch with you. You have no obligation to use them and there is no cost to you for having them quote your bathroom remodeling project. If you’re interested in using this type of service just go here and fill out their form.

You may also want to consider purchasing my bathroom remodeling contractor hiring guide, or bid sheet.
It is the perfect tool for locating and hiring the right bathroom remodeling contractor for your bathroom renovation project. It will help to ensure you hire a good bathroom remodeling contractor so that you mitigate the risks of a bad bathroom renovation project. As for the thousands of homeowners who’ve already purchased my bid sheets can attest to, the cost for the bathroom remodeling bid sheet is worth every penny. See my Bathroom Remodeling Bid Sheet at and order it today.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Finding a Reliable Kitchen Remodeling Contractor

How to Find a Kitchen Remodeling Contractor that You Can Count On

By Mark J. Donovan

If you’re planning a kitchen remodeling project and you don’t want to get taken for an emotional and economical ride, it’s imperative that you hire a kitchen remodeling contractor that is truly professional and ethical. Here’s how you screen for a reliable kitchen remodeling contractor.
Make sure any kitchen remodeling contractor you interview is a licensed contractor in the state you live in, and confirm that they have proper insurance. Second, check with your local better business bureau or local consumer protection agency to see if there are any issues with the prospective kitchen remodeling contractor. They should also be able to confirm that the contract is indeed properly licensed in the state. Alternatively you can use a national contractor screening company to find qualified kitchen remodeling contractors in your local area. These types of companies have large national databases of contractors that they have screened for licensing, insurance and consistent quality work.
Lastly interview multiple kitchen remodeling contractors for your project and make sure to check prospective contractors’ references. Ideally you should check 3 or 4 references for each contractor.
There are certainly both good and bad kitchen remodeling contractors out there. You just need to do your homework to make sure you find the right ones that are professional, skilled and easy to work with to achieve your new kitchen.
My Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet can also help in finding the right kitchen remodeling contractor. The kitchen remodeling bid sheet is effectively a hiring guide questionnaire that you present to prospective kitchen remodeling contractors to fill out. With the questionnaire you can compare completed questionnaires / bids between prospective kitchen remodeling contractors to get an apples to apples comparison.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Be Wary when Hiring a Deck Installation Contractor in the Spring

Spring time is Peak Demand for Hiring Decking Contractors

By Mark J. Donovan

Finding and hiring a decking contractor in the spring time can be quite the challenge. Homeowners are anxious to start enjoying their decks again, and deck contractors have had all winter to book their spring schedules. Consequently spring time is the most important time of the year to be vigilant about whom you hire for installing a deck. Many guys that can barely use a hammer, saw, and carpenters square often jump into the deck construction business because the barrier of entry is so low. For the naive homeowner that hires this type of decking contractor he/she quickly learns that the only real skill the decking contractor had was the gift of gab.

Deck construction done improperly can lead to many problems down the road. For example, if the deck is not properly attached to the home, water damage and rot can quickly occur where the deck attaches to the home. Also, with many new composite decking materials, joists need to be spaced on 12 inch centers. Deck installation contractors inexperienced with installing composite decking boards, or who are simply trying to save money for themselves, will space the joists at 16 or 24 inches on center. The net effect to you the homeowner is a deck that that has permanently sagging decking boards between deck joists.

My deck installation hiring guide, or bid sheet, is the perfect tool for locating and hiring the right decking contractor for your deck construction project. It will help to ensure you hire the right decking contractor so that you dramatically mitigate the risks of cost overruns, schedule slips and major frustrations. As for the thousands of homeowners who’ve already purchased the deck installation bid sheet can attest to, the cost for this product is a mere pittance to the money they know they’ve saved by screening out and not hiring a shady decking contractor. So order my Deck Installation Bid Sheet today from, a home improvement website that has been helping millions of homeowners since 2005.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Master Mechanic Rotary Tool and Oscillating Tool Combo

By Mark J. Donovan

I just received in the mail yesterday Master Mechanic's Rotary Tool and Oscillating Tool Combo. I can't wait to try out this new tool set. Just the sight of it looks pretty cool. Stay tuned and look for my product review on this newly released product in the next couple of weeks!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Installation of a Fiberon Composite Deck Railing System

Replacing My Deck’s old Pressure Treated Railing System with a new Composite Deck Railing System from Fiberon

By Mark J. Donovan

This weekend I visited a home improvement center looking for a new deck railing system for my home’s deck. After checking out several deck railing systems I’ve decided to use Fiberon’s composite deck railing system. The composite railing system pieces are constructed using a PVC core with a very hard PVC finish that resists scratching and fading. I plan to install the Fiberon deck railing system in the next few weeks, while the particular home improvement center is offering a 10% sale on all decking materials. This is the time of the year to get deck material discounts, so if you have a deck project in mind you may want to find out if you can get similar price saving deals at your local home improvement center for your deck project.

The composite deck railing kits from Fiberon come in a couple of different standard lengths, e.g. 6 and 8 feet. Each kit comes with top and bottom rails, balusters, and the hardware to assemble them. You can also trim the standard lengths to the required widths. They also have a special railing kit for stairs. In addition, I needed to buy post sleeves, cap, and skirts. For a 12x10 deck I calculated the total cost of the Fiberon deck rail system to be about $550.

I’ll be sure to write about the project when I complete it, as well as take plenty of pictures and a video or two during the deck construction. So check back to see how the project went and to see the finished look.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Daylight Savings Time Starts Tonight and Home Maintenance Checks

Use Switching to Daylight Savings Time as a Trigger for Doing Small Home Maintenance Checks

By Mark J. Donovan

At 2:00am Sunday morning you should officially move your clocks forward one hour as the country goes on Daylights Savings Time. Get ready for some darker mornings :(

As you move your clocks forward this evening or tomorrow morning you may also want to think about replacing smoke detector batteries. The shift to daylight savings time or standard time are always good points in the year to replace smoke detector batteries and to trigger other periodic home maintenance checks such as changing air filters, batteries in wall thermostats, and even water filters.

So don't let your shorter weekend be a total bust. Make the best out of it by doing some easy diy maintenance activities

Friday, March 09, 2012

Repairing Leaking Shower Pan

How to Fix a Leaking Shower Pan

By Mark J. Donovan

A leaking mortar shower pan can cost thousands of dollars of damage to your home and can be extremely expensive to repair. The best advice I can give you is to install a mortar shower pan properly the first time, versus having to think about repairing a leaking shower pan later. To prevent from having to repair a leaking shower pan I highly suggest you take a look at my “Shower Pan Membrane Liner Installation Ebook”. This Ebook provides detailed instructions, along with dozens of instructional pictures, on how to properly install a mortar shower pan. By following the instructions in this ebook you will build a leak free shower pan.

If you do find yourself in a position of repairing a leaking shower pan, the first step is to remove the shower floor tiles. You’ll also need to remove the wall tiles from the bottom 12 inches of the interior shower walls. After removing the shower floor and wall tiles, vacuum up all of the rubble and dust. Then, using a cold chisel and large hammer, break up the mortar shower pan. In the process remove the existing shower pan liner. If there was a pre-slope mortar layer below the mortar shower pan, which there should be, remove that as well, again using the cold chisel and hammer. Note: If you find that the pre-slope has a good pitch to the drain, using a spirit level, and it has a smooth surface then you can forgo having to remove the pre-slope mortar layer.

After cleaning up the shower floor area with a broom and vacuum, you can then begin the process of installing a leak free mortar shower pan. If there was no pre-slope mortar layer, or you had to remove the existing one, pour the pre-slope mortar layer making sure you have a proper pitch to the drain. Next install the flexible shower pan membrane liner. Finally, pour the final base mortar layer over the membrane liner. Again, I highly recommend buying my “Shower Pan Membrane Liner Installation Ebook” to learn all the specifics of how to install the mortar shower pan properly. After the base mortar layer has cured you can then retile the shower floor and surrounding shower walls to complete the shower pan leak repair.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" Reviewed

Atlas Shrugged - An Absolute Page Turner that I Could Not Put Down

By Mark J. Donovan

Today I finally finished reading Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” magnum opus. It was an incredible book, albeit at 1,069 pages and size 3 font it was a bit tough on the eyes. The book was written in 1957, however the similarities of the characters and the “people’s state” of the United States and world, with today’s present political environment, is frighteningly familiar and uncanny. The basic premise of “Atlas Shrugged” is based around Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. Objectivism is a viewpoint in which the individual thinking man acting solely upon himself to produce products and services, and resulting in achieving personal gain, is better overall for a society than a society mentally coerced and effectively physically enslaved to the concept of self-sacrifice for others.

As I read the book and watched the “Head of State” and his political self-sacrificing thinking political cronies develop new federal programs and initiatives to unsuccessfully pull a country out of its economic death spiral, I began to jot down just a few of the similar federal programs, plans, and acts our current political leadership has recently initiated, all in the name of fairness and to help the U.S. out of its economic and moral decay. Again, the similarities are uncanny…..

  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

  • American Jobs Act

  • Mortgage Relief Plan

  • Making Home Affordable Initiative

  • Choice Neighborhoods Program

  • Promise Neighborhoods Program

  • Byrne Criminal Justice Initiative

  • Buffet Rule (Tax Fairness Act)

  • Shovel Ready Projects

  • Unilateral Disarmament

If you really view yourself as a thinking and objective man or woman, I highly recommend reading this book. It’s a page turner both from a riveting story line and from an intellectual enlightenment perspective. After reading this book, I can’t imagine how anyone could not feel changed in some way. I know I’ve been and I hope you’ll read this book…. “Who is John Galt?”