Wood Flooring on Wood Sub Floor

Wood Flooring is probably the best looking and longest lasting flooring you can install. Granted you have to take care of it, depending on the type of wood it can scratch easy, it requires special requirements and high heels are a big no no. Mainly for adults only. It's pretty easy to install. Basically you pile the wood in the location it is to be installed and let it sit for 5 or so days. This is because you want the moisture in the wood to match the moisture level in the room it is to be installed. Without letting it sit, it could warp after the install. Once the days have passed check the wood and the subfloor moisture level with a moisture meter. Moisture for both should be around 5% or lower although we have installed around 10% before with no issues the lower the better. Various percentages are all over the internet but let say don't install over 10% just to be safe. Once levels are in check in your controlled environment lay down the moisture barrier, then underlayment pad and start laying the wood. Once all nailed together and to the floor you can begin your trim work!

Mondo Bondo

Don't care what anyone says. Bondo fixes everything... Take this trim work for example. We wanted to take a door off because sometimes you just want to see everything. 👗  All you do is unscrew the door. Take out your trusty bondo car body filler, mix up the goop and slab it on. Wait about 5 minutes and sand her down, prime and paint. BOOM, no door was ever installed there and all you have left is fancy trim work without having to rip anything out. 👍 😏

GE Geospring Pro Heatpump

Its time to test another technology out. This one is good. Real good. It's a heat pump water heater. Basically what this thing does is it efficiently pulls heat from your garage and displaces it into the water. This process is much less of a strain on energy usage than the heating elements. It's byproduct of this process is...get this...cold air and dehumidification! What? You mean I have an a/c in my garage now and no Florida humidity. MAN CAVE! Only other by product is condensation so you would need to make an exit for that. So my probably wrong calculations are below, but if you were to upgrade to this guy you would pay almost double out of pocket but estimations on payback is roughly 3-5 years. If it lasts that long it will be worth the investment, plus the perks of a cool garage at all times. You can place in hybrid which works both heat pump and elements based on usage, heat pump only, element only, and vacation mode. Awesome. Here's another idea, we have some properties that have water heaters inside a closet. If you were to place one of these in those locations you would have two appliances working to make you stay cool and they would play off each other. They also make a duct kit in which you can redirect cool air through a wall to an adjacent room. Talk about major saving!

These calculations based off standard gulf power rates and energy guide sticker on water heaters. Most likely completely off as am averaging $30 saving a month.

===Standard 80 gallon w/ no technologic cutoff===
Base Charge          $.62 per day X 365 Days =                                                  $226.30
Demand Charge    $.04.585 per kWh X 5045 estimated yearly kwh =           $231.31325
Total Per Year                                                                                                        $457.61

===Geo Spring Pro Heat Pump 80 gallon===
Base Charge          $.62 per day X 365 Days =                                                 $226.30
Demand Charge    $.04.585 per kWh X 1347 estimated yearly kwh =            $61.75995
Total Per Year                                                                                                       $288.06

Custom Molding Tip

Here's a tip if you just so happen to be making custom molding where you will have eye view of the top. This molding was pre stained on one side. To get the look we are seeking a cut needed to be made exposing the natural colors of the wood. We don't want that nor do we want to take the time to match the stain. What you can do in this situation is fill it in with a sharpie. Once nail holes (Nails and glue needed in this situation to support weight) are filled and from the angle you'd have visuals you'd never even know. Quick Tip!

Irrigation Pump Loosing Prime?

Check Valve Replacement. So there is a spring in this valve that only lets water flow one way and prevents water from moving in the other direction when no water flow occurs. Eventually this valve wears out and needs to be replaced. Usually when your irrigation system turns on but you have no water at the sprinkler heads 80% of the time this valve is the problem with well water systems. The pump is loosing its prime. You can unscrew the valve and screw a new one on but I like to cut everything apart and rebuild it all just in case there are pin hole leaks elsewhere and you should trust your own builds more so then anyone else. You can see the nastiness inside the old Valve. The nastiness build up will occur again, but a long time from now. Easy right?

Drywall Joint Repair

There are many factors that can cause drywall joints to crack. Interior Moisture (ie, No HVAC air flow), Exterior Moisture (ie, breach or failure of materials from outside), Foundation settlement or Foundation failure (If this is the issue you can forget about the sheetrock and focus elsewhere). Here's our method on repairing such issues. Cut the old tape and compound out and make sure you leave enough indention so that when you add the new tape, compound and then sand it all turns out flat. There are 3 types of drywall tape at the moment that I'm aware of. The regular paper tape, which is strong and cheap but it absorbs moisture and doesn't bond well. The second which we are using in this instructional is fiberglass mesh tape. It is not affected by moisture and becomes fully embedded into the compound. The third is known as Fibefuse tape. It basically combines the previous two. It is paper thin but is also is moisture resistant and gets fully embedded into compound. Without adding tape to this type of repair you are doing nothing to prevent the crack from reappearing. After applying tape, apply joint compound, wait 24 hours and sand with sheetrock sandpaper as flat as possible. Apply a second and third coat if necessary and keep following the previous steps until all is completely flat. Yes this is a 2-3 day job due to drying time. Don't rush this or your results will not look professional. Once flat to touch apply paint, let dry and shine a light and see if you can spot any imperfections. If none exist it will look like there was never even an issue. Cheers!

Ecobee Update (Break Even!)

Using approximations it took 1 year and 3 months for the savings of the Ecobee 3 to pay for itself in our test environment. Purchase price was $300 because of additional sensor (3 total). Our test environment is a detached one story house with building size of 2501-3000 sq. ft.. 3 bedrooms and age between 16-20 years. Depending on your structure and heating and cooling specs expect anywhere between 1-3 years for the device to pay for itself, not including rebates and other perks from energy and insurance companies. Seriously if you are still using that old stuff upgrade now to save yourself some moolah!

Corrugated Metal

Here in NWFL and much of the south humidity can take its toll on materials. Take this drywall for example. This is roughly 30 years of patch work and leaving a garage door open when it should be closed over night. Eventually the drywall will sag and mud will chip away due to moisture and temperature changes of the days and seasons. You can patch, then re patch again, but eventually it starts looking really bad. The reason for the drywall is for firewall and prevention of fire spread should something happen in the garage. I'd say double up your drywall for the wall between the garage and main house or use fire rated drywall for that and use what you want for the garage ceiling and walls. Here's an alternative for your garage ceiling. We used Corrugated metal. The cost was cheaper, the install went quicker and I think it looks better. For trim we used a roof eave trim. Personally I think this does the same job if not better for fire prevention, but there is always some inspector out there that thinks otherwise for EVERYTHING. When you buy or build your home on your property, it's yours and that's where that whole 2nd Amendment / Hell off my property Mr. Inspector or anyone that disagrees comes into play. Have Fun! :)

Water Heater Replacement

So these things breakdown anywhere between 3 and 30 years. Faulty engineering, bad materials, take your pick are the causes. This one which we forgot to take a pic of broke down after only 10 years. So we replaced with our favorite brand - Bradford White. Here's how you do it. First, you cut the breaker to make sure power is turned off. Second, cut the water off to the house or the line going into the water heater if there is a shutoff valve. Drain the tank by connecting a water hose to the bottom valve. Once water is drained cut the pipe with a pipe cutter, in this case copper. Here comes the easy part, go to the big orange store and get yourself some Shark-bite brand water heater lines. "Back-in-the-day" you would have to sweat pipe which include getting sand paper, flux, torch and solder. With these Shark-bite parts you literally push them on and that is it. Once piping is complete hook up power making sure it is off. Once connected turn the water back on and let the water heater fill up, then turn the power on. If you can move and lift a water heater you can replace them! We used 2 Shark-bite water lines and sweat the overflow valve only because we had spare parts laying around. Enjoy!

H&C Colortop

So this concrete stain is a first use for us. Used this product for trim on concrete edge. Suprisingly good finish and you can tell it will last longer than any standard concrete paint. There is a solvent based and water based version of the same product. The solvent will last longer but you can only get certain colors. If you want any color like this here mocha you'll have to go with the water based solution. Looks like it will last 5 years. Tried scrathing into it and it didn't budge. Overall great product, zero complaints!

Painting with Portland

Here's a method that has been used maybe well over 200 years that most folks simply have forgotten and now spend thousands of dollars renewing a concrete surface. Way back before anyone alive today, people used to use limestone powder. They mixed it with water to create a paint and painted everything with it. This protected wood from sun, insects and decay. Those similar methods can be used today. For some reason people pouring concrete in Florida and slackers elsewhere don't use rebar and pore at 3 inch thickness or less and then everyone wonders why their concrete driveway lasts only 10 years on top of sand. Geee...I wonder. 50's - 60's alot of driveways didn't use rebar either but the concrete mixture was much stronger and it was poured at 4-5 inches or thicker. Although a higher percentage used rebar than today. Today if you want a newer looking driveway there are multiple methods you can take to accomplish this. 1: Spend 10k-20k busting out the old and pouring in new correctly. 2: Spend roughly 1k-6k painting it which will have to be done every 5 years anyways. or 3: DIY, pressure wash, repair cracks and paint it with portland cement which is the main ingredient of concrete. This cost $300 in material and a whole lot of labor. This will have to be done roughly every 3 years but you never have to seal it and doing this every 3 years your still not going to spend as much as other methods for the life of the concrete. Granted you can only do so much patching before it will all eventually need to be ripped out anyway. Here we had a corner that was broken off that needed to be built back up so we busted out the old, dug a 2 ft piling and re-poured with fiber enforced concrete. Since its part of the corner with vehicular traffic we didn't want it to break off again which was the reason for an overkill piling and a pour at 5 inches. Once repairs and cracks are complete then all you do is mix up the portland with a bonding agent (the white stuff), water and make your paint. Brush minimum 2 coats and boom new driveway for $100-$300 for 3-5 years.  The more coats you add the more even it will look and will actually improve the strength and decrease wear time slightly. Hell, sometimes one coat looks better than original. Have fun.....breaking your back :)

Roof Repair

We've done this post many times, but it's been a while, they've been deleted, it's done every year anyways and we've got new audience members so here it is again. One of our roof's get's damaged at least once a year due to windy storms. It's on the beach and it has 3 tab shingles so they always get ripped out. Replacing shingles is pretty easy. First bring an old ripped one to your local hardware store and match the color with ones similar, then all you do is get a roof crow bar and pull the nails out loosen old shingles and pull the ripped ones. Install new by cutting to size and then add roof cement under new and old shingles which binds them together. Without adding the cement the shingles will just flap in the wind a rip off again, which we somewhat expect anyway's because we're out here doing this job over and over :). Remember to bring a hat and some knee pads, Even with all that your going to have your work cut out on this job. Think desert with hot molten shingles blaring in your face and burning your hands. Fun Times. Eventually when it comes times for replacement we'll replace with dimensional shingles which are one full piece eliminating the 3 tab flap in wind. Problem solved. Oh yeah.. DIY About $40, Hire it out...$300-$600. Ready to get your hands bloody?

Tub Drain

There's a tool for everything, but do you really need that tool if you're going to use it once or twice in your lifetime? If you're like me you must have that tool...like all of them! However, that's not going to stop us from trying that "whatever's around me I'm going to use" method. Take this tub drain for instance. Usually these things get stuck from sitting there for decades and it takes quite a bit of force to loosen one up. Here are multiple ways that usually work. 1) Big screwdriver and a wrench. Place the wrench in the cross beams of the drain, the screwdriver in the wrench and lefty loosey. This method broke the cross beams. 2) Hammer and leverage. Use the nail puller end of a hammer, place it in the drain pull up and lefty loosey. This method slipped. 3) Place a 32mm socket on a high torque hammer drill, wrap electrical tape around it, then place a drain, press down hard and left loosy. This method usually works but man this thing ain't budging! 4) Well, guess we gotta use that special tool. A drain puller has a nut on one end. You place the tool inside the hole and as you rotate the nut lefty loosy the metal grip expands inside the drain making it grip. The harder you tighten left the more the tool grabs the drain. At this point you can you usually place your 32mm socket on the nut and use it with your hammer drill but even doing that this thing wouldn't budge. In the end it was the tool and a long adjustable wrench that finally loosened this guy up. Once you've got it out. Pull the rubber seal, clean the area, replace the rubber seal, apply plumbers putty around the new drain and righty tighty! You're done!

Blinds Trick

So somewhere along the line a cat jumped up, a child pulled it down, or an adult that acts like a child bent or broke some blind blades. Here is a quick trick that works for Faux wood, aluminum or vinyl blinds that replaces the blade that has been woven into the pull strings. This saves $100's of dollars especially with the more expensive thicker blinds. You take some spare blades or if you're throwing one blind away you use it as your spare. Cut the string and pull some blades out. Cut a 45 degree slit where the pull string would go. The reason for the 45 degree cut is so when you replace the blade the string that holds the blade up has something to rest upon. Cut the old blind out without cutting the string. Insert the new blade and boom your done. There are other ways to do this that require a bit more time that don't involve cutting the blade and removing the string but this tutorial is that, "oh snap I've got like 5 min before I gotta run" fixes. Onward!

Teacher! Teacher! I built a clock! #ITTT #IOT

Ha Ha...Nahh, I'm just playin :P So you've got that electric water heater, you know that tank that stays on 24/7. There has got to be a way to save money with that thing without ripping it out and replacing it with a more efficient one right? Right you are. Gulf Power has devices such as the one provided in pics below that do similar things but you have to go through some big company to make it work and have to use their software.... Sounds like a pain in the ass to me. So basically you buy all these parts, you connect all the wires and then all of a sudden you have an app on your phone with timer and you can turn on and off your water heater while on vacation and turn it off during long hours if not in use. We basically set it to be off between the hours of 10pm and 5am, which should save us an avg of 180 hrs a month as a complete calculated guess. When starting a project like this make sure breakers are turned off. Playing with electricity is no joke. 120v could possibly kill you depending on where the electricity travels through your body. 240V will blow body parts off and lets just go ahead and say YOU WILL DIE...Don't play with it, It WILL BITE you...so make sure you have the proper precautions and tools in place before you even think about doing this yourself. We're all about DIY and don't let unwanted laws that you were born into and did not vote on breach your property line, but it has its limits. You are the limiter and its on you should you screw up. With that out of the way you can purchase all parts on Amazon and the wiring diagram is provided. The only trouble we had was with the fuse box so you might have to run to a local hardware store to get that working as the fuse box we ordered did not fit the fuses we had. As far as options on how to turn on/off the device remotely there are multiple ways. Option 1: timer, Option 2: connecting the wifi switch to your thermostat sensors using ITTT and option 3; turning on within a certain distance of your house using GPS and ITTT. Of course if you're single option 2 and option 3 could be put to use but from our testing it is delayed 10-15 minutes. If you have multiple people under one roof with the craziness that life brings option 1 might be the best bet. If you're wondering what IoT ITTT (Internet of Things / If This Then That) is I suggest you visit the site (https://ifttt.com/recipes) to learn more and see what you could do to save yourself more money and more time so you have more money and time to do whatever the hell you want....Like baby making and getting free stuff from Facebook and Microsoft and a bazillion dollars from Tax Payers for making a bom....Crap I meant clock! Cheers!

For our Residents: This will be in testing for over a year to make sure it is safe so we won't be implementing this one anytime soon. Safety First!

Ecobee 3 Review

We've reviewed smart thermostats before and have a couple installed in our properties. Specifically the digital Honeywells with vacation and timer built in but major leaps have occurred since then and none that have been connected back on wifi with sensors! The Ecobee 3 does just that. It comes with 1 sensor but we tested 3 and the unit itself. You easily install it and set it up. If you need help the #800 number is very useful and their tech support is flawless down to troubleshooting your wire runs...over the phone! Nice. Once installed you place your sensors in rooms desired and setup home, sleep and away settings. If you have a couple of rooms that are hotter or colder than others the sensors will average your home out so that no longer becomes an issue. They sense where you're at and inform the thermostat to keep your setting based on the room your in. Of course sleep mode you'd set your bedroom with no motion or a combination of sensors. It works very well and it's saving energy for the heating/cooling unit from anywhere between 15% - 25% which is huge depending on the sq footage area its covering. I believe we were only getting 10% or less 8 years ago with the Honeywells, but don't have the data hanging around and the data scenario and sq. footage was completely different. Whats really great about the device is the cloud software called Home IQ. It will spit out monthly reports informing you how well you did on effeciency compared to others in Florida and spit data out so you can change some settings to improve that rating pending your comfort level. You can even download all this data to Excel and crunch data to get highly detailed information for future changes in settings for those of you that like to cherry pick. Overall, excellent energy saver. Every year these devices are doing more and more taking a load off the grid more and more and saving the consumer more and more. MOAR!!! Lots of future potential and if anyone is asking, tell them a Nest is for birds!

For our residents:
Option 1: If you want to purchase one and replace your current thermostat go ahead. Just put the old one back when you leave. Hint take a pic of the wires before you remove and replace for reference of colors on where they go. If you break it you buy it. Thermostat and a/c unit. So if you feel uncomfortable hire it out or don't do it.

Option 2: Unit tested with 3 sensors was $300 + shipping. If you pay $150, we'll pay the rest and install it, but it stays with the property when you leave.

Let me know

Planning & Communication

When starting any project you always want to have a start to finish plan with communication to your team. Write it down on a napkin on your hand on anything, just write it down! This plan should include all individuals involved along with planning for future unknowns. The better you become at this process, the longer your projects last and potential future unknowns become lower to non existant. Sometimes...actually always, you can't play God and prevent all issues but you can do the best of your ability. In this case communication between an irrigation guy and a landscaper was low to non existant. The irrigation lines were ran and then a big palm was planted right on top of the line. It took roughly 10 years and the line broke. The line was re-plumbed around the palm bulb and sprinkler head pushed back. Not a big issue but double work doesn't need to be done with better planning. Plan well.

Rachio Review

So the whole "smart" thing seems to be trending. Considering building materials and those involved are getting "dumber" it's refreshing. Here's my good, bad and take away from the experience on the device. The rachio is an irrigation controller that hooks up to your wifi and off to the cloud. You easily install it, program zones which include spray head type, slope and soil conditions based on your area. Basically you set what you think it should be watered and with certain options enabled the rachio smart system takes over via syncing up with a local weather station. After a good 3 months of use it is saving thousands of gallons of water and trains your root system to grow deeper so your lawn is more drought resistant (with the help of yourself playing with settings). You can turn your system on/off with your wife in the yard, check stats from your phone and even turn your sprinklers on in say Japan...Freakin awesome. It adjusts how much more or less the grass needs to be watered based on seasonal changes (length of day, humidity, solar radiation, wind speed, etc.) and alerts you to those changes as well as switches off and skips run times when it rains currently and a 48 hour window. 
The Good: Excellent system, lawn looks great as long as I stop playing with the settings. Looks better than over watered. Saving thousands of gallons which means payback coming up soon. 
The Bad: It's not property specific. What if I want my data to stay on my property? What if some overlord retard woke up took a piss, looked out his window and decided it was to hot and global warming was going to kill us all and decided he was going to turn everyones sprinkler system off...
The Future: I'd like to see soil sensors that could be placed throughout the property that pinged the Rachio device to have my own cloud. This would be more accurate as moisture data would be pulled directly from property and information could be pulled from weather station keeping the "smart" data on the property. It's my data, so I say Mr. cloud...Get off my lawn!
Conclusion: Awesome device, but keep an old school backup due to future of company unknown (servers going down), which means your system goes down and sprinkler commies. Otherwise, great purchase. Buy it!