360renos - Home Improvement & Decor

How to make your home stand out when selling

We can help your house sell quickly and at a good price -- even in a slow market.

It takes a lot more than sparkling windows, scented candles and chocolate-chip cookies to sell a home in today's market.

Improvements should be made so that the property shows well, is consistent with the neighborhood and does not involve capital investments.

Beyond any doubt, the best investment you can make is new paint. Painting can make a room or an exterior fa├žade look brand-new, and totally transform the look and feel of a room or the entire residence. It is always wise to be somewhat restrained when choosing colors for a home-staging paint project. Avoid choosing colors that are too individual or flashy and favor neutral colors and schemes. This does not mean painting everything white, however.

Use subtle color schemes to accentuate the home's strengths and minimize weaknesses. Dark colors, for example, tend to make a room feel smaller, while lighter colors and pastels can make a room feel bigger.

There is another benefit to painting as well: the process of preparing the interior or exterior surfaces of a home for painting automatically allows us to go over the entire area receiving paint in great detail, and this can often expose items or areas requiring repair. It seems you always discover where the caulking has let go, where the wall is dinged.

It is always preferable that we discover and deal with these items before the real estate agent (or worse, the prospective buyer) points them out to you!

Dave - 360renos

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Choosing Glue

As 360renos owner and contractor there is a wide array of glues and adhesives available that can be daunting. Use the wrong one on a project and it may not work as intended or worse yet ruin  the materials your are fastening.

A little help form and a great article courtesy of Jon Eakes

Choosing Glue: 

Before you_buy any glue you need to consider the following questions:

Some glues are rigid after curing while others remain flexible.  No flexible glue should be used for a structural joint as it can slip.  Hence no flexible glues like silicone or contact cement for building the structure of a chair. 

All glues have upper and lower temperature limitations, read the labels. 
Some glues evaporate off solvents or water to cure -- too high humidity in the_room can slow or stop such evaporation.  Some glues have chemical reactions that cure differently with different air temperatures but humidity has no affect on the cure -- like the epoxies.  Other actually require humidity and will not cure without a minimum of humidity -- like silicone and polyurethane.  In really dry environments, like Calgary, you may have to mist the surface first or mist the glue or sealant after application to start the cure.

Some glues are able to fill gaps and still be strong, like PL Premium (Polyurethane) and epoxies -- while others require a very tight fitting joint, like white glue, contact cement and super glues. 

Only contact cement will glue leather to glass well, white glue can do it fairly.  Foam insulation will not accept any solvent based adhesive.  Check compatibility.

This is the basic difference between white and yellow woodworking glues.  If you need a lot of time to put several pieces together, use the White glue -- if you need to liberate your clamps quickly, use the Yellow glue.  Yes Yellow is stronger than White, but both are stronger than wood so strength is a non-issue.
Some glues are really instant -- like the super glues -- others have a quick grab and then a longer cure, like the thick glues for attaching molding without nails -- some are actually timed for the grab, like 5 minute or 60 minute epoxy, both of which require 24 hours for cure. 

Most glues cannot hold up to a lot of rain, but some are made for outdoor use and others even for underwater applications.

Answer all of those questions and your choice for the proper adhesive will be quickly narrowed down.  Yes there are some almost universal glues, but these never do the_job quite as well as a specialty glue made for what you want to do.

Some Important Glues: 

GrabAlthough I was showing about 20 glues at the Laval show, here are the ones that caught people's attention:

Quick Grab glue for moldings -- with "Quick Grab" or "Instant Grab" written on the container, these adhesives are specially formulated for putting on moldings with few or no nails.  They are very thick and create great suction when pushed into place.  Unlike QG taperegular construction adhesives, they do not slip or pull away, unless the wall or molding is very crooked.  Usually one or two nails, or wood supports for about an hour is all that is required to get them to hold.  Give them 24 hours to totally cure before playing with the molding.  Prior to these glues coming on the market we could only do this with contact cement, and that was touchy because you cannot reposition to get it in exactly the right place.

They even have a clean "Quick Grab" double sided tape available.
greenWater based contact cement -- Speaking of contact cement, water based contact cement is thinner than solvent based, doesn't smell (or_burn) and is actually stronger than solvent based contact cement.  It costs more per can but less per square inch because it spreads further.  For some reason people always think that the old solvent based contact cement is better -- not true.  Always prime the edge of particle board with a coat of water based contact cement several hours before trying to apply iron on tapes to the edges.  It will soak deep into the fibres and present an ideal anchored surface to the tape iron on adhesive -- never to come off again.

Wet-BondUnderwater glues -- Yes you can fix things in the rain, or inside the swimming pool.  Although some Marine epoxies are now in the stores, the best formulations I have ever found are only found on the web,www.MrStickys.com with rigid and flexible formulations that really work.  There are two important details to working underwater -- use steel wool to clean and scrape the surface first, otherwise you are trying to glue to the algae -- work the epoxy mix onto the surface, slowly pushing away the water.  At first it "skates" across the surface and then it begins to adhere because you are pushing the water out of the way.  You can see and feel when you are getting adhesion.  Without that "working in" there is water between you and the surface, and no long term adhesion.  The water won't bother the epoxy but you do need to squeeze it out of the clean joint.

PremiumPolyurethanePLPremium vs PLPolyurethane -- PLPremium adhesive (we tend to call it an adhesive not glue when we get to construction applications, but the two words are really the same) is considered the Cadillac of construction adhesives.  Waterproof when cured, it cures rock_hard so it can fill gaps or even support objects, is sandable and paintable and now comes in an "extreme" formulation 4 times stronger again!  So what is PLPolyurethane that looks the same?  This is the same basic material, but formulated to cure like a piece of flexible rubber.  Although it adheres magnificently like glue, its flexibility makes it unsuitable for any structural use -- but it is the best of the caulkings (also called sealants) when used to seal up a building gap because it can stretch with building movement without breaking loose and will last 50 years. 

Dave Bennett
phone 613.429.5000 
mobile 613.282.2124
email dbennett@360renos.ca

"Everything you can imagine is real" - Pablo Picasso

Friday, February 4, 2011

CFLs - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Starting in 2012, stores across Canada will begin phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs under the terms of a federal ban announced in 2007. The ban is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than six million tonnes a year and save homeowners about $60 annually in electricity costs.
Compact fluorescent bulbs are vastly more efficient. They use up to 75 per cent less energy than incandescent bulbs, which means reduced greenhouse gas emissions from energy plants. Fluorescent bulbs also last up to 10 times longer.
Fluorescent bulbs are extremely energy-efficient, using up to 75 per cent less energy than incandescent bulbs. Fluorescent bulbs are extremely energy-efficient, using up to 75 per cent less energy than incandescent bulbs. (Associated Press)
The effects of the ban on incandescents are being felt first in British Columbia, which is a year head of the rest of the country with its provincially mandated phaseout having begun in January 2011.
Both the federal and provincial moves dovetail with those of other jurisdictions around the world. In 2007, Australia became the first country to ban the incandescent bulb, followed shortly after by the European Union. As of Sept. 1, 2009, the EU ended the manufacture and import of 100-watt and frosted incandescent light bulbs. Clear bulbs will be banned progressively, until all traditional bulbs disappear from stores across Europe in 2012.
The reason such bans have been introducted is because of the technology used in each type of light bulb.
Incandescents work by heating a filament inside a tube until it is white hot and gives off light. But more than 90 per cent of the energy involved in that process escapes as heat.
Fluorescent bulbs, on the other hand, use only a small amount of electricity to excite the gas (mercury vapour) inside the tube. The gas then gives off invisible ultraviolet light, which bounces off the phosphor coating inside the bulb to produce visible light.
While there is no debate over the merits of fluorescent bulbs when it comes to greenhouse gas reduction, there is rising concern over their disposal because they contain mercury.

The problem with mercury

Chronic exposure to mercury — a naturally-occurring element and a known neurotoxin — can damage the brain, spinal cord, kidneys and liver.
"Mercury can impair the ability to feel, see, move and taste and can cause numbness and tunnel vision. Long-term exposure can lead to progressively worse symptoms and ultimately personality changes, stupor and in extreme cases, coma or death," according to Health Canada.
Further, Health Canada says recent research suggests that even at low levels, mercury can have adverse health impacts on the cardiovascular and immune system.
While no mercury is released when the bulbs are in use, taking precautions when throwing them out is important. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that three per cent of the total mercury in discarded fluorescent lamps is released to the atmosphere when they break during transportation to a disposal facility. Other researchers estimate emissions are as high as 17 per cent.
If a fluorescent bulb ends up in a landfill, the mercury can leech into the surrounding soil or be released into the atmosphere. If it is incinerated, the amount of mercury released into the atmosphere may be higher, according to Health Canada.
While fluorescent bulbs contain about five milligrams of mercury — less than in a watch battery, according to Natural Resources Canada — Health Canada recommends that items containing mercury be treated as hazardous waste.

Disposal varies across country

In Canada, the provinces are responsible for setting regulations around the disposal of household hazardous waste, but municipalities most often carry out the actual disposal.
Disposal programs vary from municipality to municipality, with some offering collection programs specifically for mercury-containing products, such as fluorescent bulbs, in which the mercury is captured and recycled. Other municipalities collect mercury-containing products as part of their general household hazardous waste program.
Not surprisingly, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities has said it would like manufacturers of fluorescent bulbs to assume the cost and responsibility for recycling them.
But new research suggests there may be a way to avoid the problem of mercury disposal altogether. McGill University scientists, for example, are experimenting with a new type of light bulb that uses electrodes made of carbon nanotubes, which would allow mercury to be replaced with water.

Courtesy CBC News

Dave Bennett
phone 613.429.5000 
mobile 613.282.2124
email dbennett@360renos.ca

"Everything you can imagine is real" - Pablo Picasso