Dirty glass at gas fireplaces

-  As soon as the glass warms up, the condensate disappears… but over time, this repeated exposure to condensation can be enough to permanently etch the glass. This is happening because the warm, moist combustion gases are coming in contact with the relatively cool glass.  Once this happens, the only repair is to have the glass replaced.  Replacement glass panels for gas fireplaces range from $200 – $400, according to Ken at Glowhearth. ..More

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Deck Ledger Attachment Methods

-  To properly attach a deck ledger using 1/2″ lag screws, 5/16″ holes need to be pre-drilled through the ledger and rim joist.   There’s no way of knowing if all of these steps were followed just by looking at a deck, but if lag screws are visible, you can feel a little better about the deck attachment to the building. Traditionally, lag screws have been the most common method of attaching decks to buildings.  After that, a 1/2″ hole should be drilled through the ledger only.   For specific spacing and installation instructions, you can turn to page 12 of the Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide. ..More

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Deck Guardrail Inspections

- The CPSC estimates that between 2003 and 2007, there have been over eleven thousand injuries caused by structural failure or collapse of guardrails at outdoor decks.  Weak guardrails are one of the most common safety issues with decks.  It’s not tough to understand why – when people have parties in the summer, everyone hangs out on the deck.  Guardrail collapse.  Throw in a keg of Busch Light, a few (ahem) ‘people’ that make the rockin’ world go ’round, and a weak guardrail… boom. ..More

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DryerFlex: A Superior Dryer Transition Duct

- POST UPDATE 2/3/16: Dryerflex is now being sold under the GE name at Home Depot for $25.  Unfortunately, nothing on the web site says “Dryerflex”, and the description does a completely inadequate job of selling this product.  Check it out here: Model # PM08X10085DS.  The Q&A section on their web site even includes a comically unhelpful answer from The Home Depot explaining why this product is so much more expensive than other dryer transition ducts. ..More

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Improper Shingle Nailing

- One of the most common defects I find with asphalt shingles is improper nailing.  The manufacturers of asphalt shingles give specific instructions on how to fasten shingles, and they’re all pretty much the same.  The two most common nailing defects that I find with shingles are overdriven nails and improperly located nails.  Unfortunately, following those instructions seems to be a difficult thing to do for a lot of roofers in Minnesota. ..More

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