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RE: installing beadboard ceiling over plaster (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: kashka_kat on 08.28.2007 at 11:28 am in Old House Forum

I just did exactly that although I was lucky bc furring strips were already in place from acoustical tile ceiling.

Be sure furring strips attach to joists (w screws long enough to go thru plaster & lath). Check with level to make sure you ceiling is reasonably level and flat, If not shim the furing stirps to get them level so ceiling is a flat plane otherwise you might have trouble getting the beadboard in place.

You'll need more strips than just along the perimeter-- Id go every foot or so. Attach beadboard perpendicular to the furring strips. If you just have strips around perimeter and nail the beadboard at the ends it will sag over time.


clipped on: 09.08.2007 at 08:28 pm    last updated on: 02.04.2010 at 03:40 pm

RE: What would you do with this fireplace? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: lido on 06.19.2009 at 05:44 am in Old House Forum

Before you cover it up (which I wouldn't do), make a mixture of 50/50 boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits. Wipe that over all the brick. The true colors of the brick will pop out. If you do that, you'll be making a final decision from a different viewpoint.

Is the hearth longer on the right side than the left? Of is the flooring creating the impression that the hearth wraps around on the right side?

I'd look into getting a mantle that can sit on the face of the brick.


bringing out colors in brick
clipped on: 06.19.2009 at 04:02 pm    last updated on: 06.19.2009 at 04:03 pm

RE: Joanne or anyone else with upholstery exper. (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: equest17 on 03.31.2009 at 11:57 am in Home Decorating Forum

I usually cut foam with a slight bevel, making the bottom piece of the foam (the part that sits on the wood) almost exactly the same size and then angling the knife away when I cut to make the top wider all the way around. The angle depends on how thick the foam is. This way, when you pull the Dacron wrap and fabric tight, it smooths the wider top foam edge down over itself a bit and gives a nice rounded profile. Trim the Dacron wrap about an inch from the staples and feather out the edges by pulling away some excess batting layers with your fingers (the good stuff is layered in sheets, like puff pastry, so you can thin it easily). Then staple your fabric a little past the batting so it won't show on the bottom. You can buy professional dust cover material to hide it all for about $2/yrd. It doesn't ravel, so just cut the size you need to cover all the raw edges and staples and attach. You can even color the backs of the staples with black magic marker before you load them in the gun if you really want to hide all evidence!


clipped on: 05.26.2009 at 04:38 pm    last updated on: 05.26.2009 at 04:38 pm

annuals for patio deck pots in full sun

posted by: marcincon on 08.06.2006 at 07:34 am in Annuals Forum

Looking for either annunals that flower all summer or annual plants that will strive full sun (6+ hours) and tolerate dry soil most of time in large wooden barrels. I've planted geraniums and pinched dead ones but they tend to take a long time to grow back. Planted petunias and pinched dead ones but they keep growing and showing new flowers at tip and show mostly the green leaves on the bottom. Planted licorice plant but it's rather boring. Planted vinca ivy and grows too long that it crawls on the ground. I love putting my spikey long leave plant in the center for a fan fullness effect but can never find the right plants to grow underneath. What can I grow? Your forums recommend: marigolds, wax begonias, celosia, saliva, alyssum. Anything else??? Appreciate any advice.


clipped on: 05.15.2009 at 06:41 pm    last updated on: 05.15.2009 at 06:41 pm

RE: Help! What should we do with wet crawl space? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: nx122 on 05.02.2009 at 05:14 pm in Home Disasters Forum

take a look at ATMOX Crawl space systems. One they dry out the crawl and not cover it up, two it cost less , and Three you can install it yourself. It worked for our home.


clipped on: 05.04.2009 at 10:32 am    last updated on: 05.04.2009 at 10:32 am

RE: A conversation about color, and how to see and use it. (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: parma42 on 04.01.2009 at 01:04 pm in Home Decorating Forum

Funcolors is our resident color theory expert so I am hoping she sees your post and chimes in.

I am normally not a fan of blue. In the Chicago suburbs, the color holds little or no resemblance to the way it appears in Paris.



However, this pic we took of the Seine just captivated me. I blew it up a bit and placed it in a 13" x 11" frame.

I'm very sensitive to cloudy days, both physically and mentally. They didn't bother me a bit in Paris. Just seemed normal.

The other pic is of our favorite hotel there. :)


photo of built-in closet
clipped on: 04.01.2009 at 02:21 pm    last updated on: 04.01.2009 at 02:35 pm

RE: insulating, venting and sealing older house (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: fasola-shapenote on 02.15.2009 at 06:40 am in Old House Forum

I have a recommendation for whole-house fans, and that is to go with the ones made by Triangle Engineering of Arkansas (made in the USA!).

These things move more air than any other brand. As an example: the 36" belt-drive model sold at Lowes & Home Depot moves 6,900 CFM on its highest speed. The 36" one that Triangle makes moves 10,600 CFM.

I just put one of these in last week and am so taken with it that I'm evangelizing for Triangle now.

These things are much higher quality than the other brands too -- these are made with very heavy-gauge solid welded steel (as opposed to the thin, flimsy metal - often aluminum - that other brands use). They use a very solid motor made by Emerson, the best of the top three motor-making companies (the other two being Fasco and A.O. Smith). They come pre-framed on a wood frame for installation, AND they have sponge-rubber noise-dampening material between the fan and the frame, so they are much quieter than the other brands. Also, Triangle holds a patent on an automatic belt-tensioning system these things use, so you don't have to worry about getting the tension right when you install the fan (or in the years thereafter as the belt loosens up).

Also, they come in more sizes than the other companies -- from 24" all the way up to 48" blade diameter (which moves a ridiculously whopping amount of air; no one else makes one that big).

They're sold online at Southern Tool amongst other places that ship nationwide, so they're available wherever you live.

Also, Triangle re-brands some of these as a private label for Dayton, which is the "store brand" of Grainger - so if you have a Grainger store near you (check your phone book or their website), you can buy one there. I will say this, though - Grainger/Dayton makes their own shutters, and those shutters are much better than the one Triangle makes. Triangle makes great fans, but crappy shutters. Luckily, they're sold separately -- so buy a Triangle fan and Dayton shutters; money can't buy better products.

They also re-brand some for a company out in San Francisco called "Fanman" (a/k/a "Delta Breeze").

A word to the wise -- these fans move a lot of air, so make sure to install at least the recommended minimum amount of attic exhaust space (gable vents, soffit vents, roof vents, some combination thereof, whatever works for you) - if you don't have enough, the fan will operate at reduced capacity, and there will be a backpressure which will cause the shutters to rattle when the fan is in operation (any time you hear whole-house fan shutters rattling, you know there isn't enough exhaust space). Oh, and one other thing -- only buy a belt-drive whole-house fan, don't EVER buy a direct-drive model...the direct-drive models are at least five times louder, they sound like standing on an airport runway next to an old prop plane getting ready to take off.

Several of the dedicated whole-house fan installing companies have chosen to use Triangle fans; that should tell you something. These companies want satisfied customers, so they use Triangle and only Triangle.

Refer to for more info

Here is a link that might be useful: Triangle whole-house fans


whole-house fans made in arkansas
clipped on: 02.22.2009 at 11:11 am    last updated on: 02.22.2009 at 11:11 am

narrow counter depth fridge, any alternative to fisher/paykel?

posted by: jonah22 on 07.02.2008 at 11:59 pm in Kitchens Forum

im specing fridges for a galley kitchen and i am looking for a narrow counter depth fridge. ive looked at the fisher/paykel and the reviews have been mediocre. does anyone have any experience with a fisher/paykel fridge? are there any other options? thanks. jonah.


Liebherr & cheaper alternatives are discussed in this thread.
clipped on: 02.11.2009 at 10:57 pm    last updated on: 02.11.2009 at 10:58 pm

RE: Help with a 1922 bungalow kitchen with built-in (Follow-Up #19)

posted by: sombreuil_mongrel on 02.05.2009 at 05:30 pm in Old House Forum

If the radiator is hot water you can use a fan-forced toe kick heat exchanger. If steam, no such luck. You can go with a electric toe kick heater, if you have the capacity in your breaker panel. A room in an old house with a window and an outside door almost certainly needs to be tied in to the central heat system, or it will lead to convective currents that will be perceived as drafts in other rooms.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hydronic Toe Space Heaters


toe-kick space heater for use with radiator
clipped on: 02.11.2009 at 10:44 pm    last updated on: 02.11.2009 at 10:45 pm

RE: Quick, easy recipes for first-time cook (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: hostagrams on 10.02.2008 at 12:06 am in Once-a-Week Cooking Forum

I call this "World's Easiest Recipe."

2-4 thick pork chops -- I use boneless loin chops. Sprinkle them with pepper and a little sugar. Brown them well in a skillet and then put them in a casserole. I use a fairly deep Corningware one with a lid. The sugar helps make nice "brownings" in the bottom of the skillet . . .

1 c. white or rose wine
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Whisk these two together till smooth, then pour into the skillet and heat and whisk till it's brown. Pour over the chops, cover and bake at 350 for 2 hours. Ideally the chops will be covered by the gravy and will be very tender and not dried out at all. Serve with rice.

For company, I use my electric knife to slice the chops in thin diagonal slices, then fan them out on a platter and top with some of the gravy. Dress up by topping with sauted fresh mushrooms or those cute little whole button mushrooms. Looks elegant and tastes wonderful!

When I find thick loin chops on sale, I buy a lot and multiply this recipe and make a large batch, then freeze in "meals-for-two" amounts of sliced meat with gravy.



clipped on: 02.01.2009 at 08:23 pm    last updated on: 02.01.2009 at 08:23 pm

RE: I hate my house (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: kec01 on 01.05.2009 at 06:15 pm in Old House Forum

Blackcats, Two easy things that help with insulation are the foam sheets that you can put under switchplates of plugs on the outer walls of your home and under your exterior doorplates. Then I'd also get some spring bronze weatherstripping for the windows. It's fairly inexpensive and easy to install. If you can't find it at your local old fashioned hardware store, you can get it online at (no, I'm not employed by them - I've just used yards of the stuff and it works really well). Also, consider laying down more insulation in your attic. Heat rises and with more insulation, the heat will stay on the top floor and not escape through the roof - roof escaping is the biggest area of heat loss in a home.

When you do get going on decorating, I'd do one room at a time. That way you will be able to achieve completion and you'll be able to pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Alot of times, people put metal or whatever siding up so they didn't have to paint. If you have a small spot that needs to be repaired, look underneath and see what shape your wood is in. You may find it alot cheaper to remove the siding and restore the wood. Just be sure whether or not what needs replacing is asbestos or not. If it is, you'll need to follow removal requirements for it.

Take it a step at a time. You'll get the place shaped up. Just do it in steps so that you can honestly finish things. Good luck.


insulating switchplates and weatherstripping
clipped on: 01.06.2009 at 12:25 pm    last updated on: 01.06.2009 at 12:25 pm

RE: Sinking Dreams - Redoing my 1930's Kitchen (Follow-Up #22)

posted by: arlosmom on 09.25.2008 at 09:49 am in Kitchens Forum

Here's a picture of my kitchen that mom2lilenj referenced (I reorganized my photobucket account and that broke the links in my earlier post, grrrr). We built the kitchen around the giant farm sink that came with the house and tried really hard to keep the vintage look. My cabinets are new and my hardware is antique, mostly from ebay. I'm painting the cabinets myself (I ordered them primed) and so far only the upper ones are done:


If your cabinets don't function, new ones make a lot of sense. A simple shaker door would look beautiful and vintage, and I agree with the other posters that you don't need inset to get the vintage look.

Could you center the sink under the window and put a dishwasher and pullout trash on the perpendicular wall to the left of the sink? I like the idea of moving the doorway to the dining room down by a foot or so. You could add upper cabinets on the wall above the dishwasher/trash. If you find a heating solution that doesn't eat up the space next to your stove, you could add a bank of drawers there and get storage and counterspace. If it were me, I'd really try to leave the big window full sized...not only does it provide the great light, but I think it also makes the room appear larger and more spacious to have the break in the cabinetry. You could replace the hutch with another shallow cabinet like a floor to ceiling pantry that would give you great storage. Instead of pulling the fridge out from the wall (the dead space behind it doesn't make sense to me in a small kitchen), you might be able to have a small broom closet next to it instead.

I really think your space has the potential to be wonderful on a pretty small budget. By the way, I had Ikea cabinets in two previous kitchens and they functioned great.


Beautiful kitchen - order cabinets primed & paint them yourself. Cool window.
clipped on: 12.13.2008 at 05:12 pm    last updated on: 12.13.2008 at 05:15 pm

RE: Sinking Dreams - Redoing my 1930's Kitchen (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: rmkitchen on 09.24.2008 at 11:15 am in Kitchens Forum

Have you seen bayareafrancy's kitchen? I really, really think that could be a terrific inspiration for you.

I am not trying to create more work for you (honest), but I wonder if you wouldn't be happier with unfinished cabinets which you could then paint yourself. I'm not familiar with Merillat so I can't speak to their painted finish, but if you were to paint the cabinets yourself you could more likely keep with the beautiful, vintage spirit of your kitchen. (Also, check out pirula's hand-painted kitchen.)

Also, have you priced out custom cabinetmakers in your area? Before we started our kitchen reno, I (erroneously) thought custom = really expensive. Well, the local custom cabinetmaker we used was significantly (between 1/3 - 1/2 the price) less than the semi-custom line at which we'd been looking -- imagine that!

As for microwaves, we have a Sharp 1214 over-the-counter microwave (it also comes in white and black, in addition to the pictured stainless). Could that work for you? It is in our face, but only when we're at that portion of the counter -- not when we're cooking.

you can see it on the right:

I love the space with which you have to work and I really think with all the savvy people here (esp. bayareafrancy) you'll get a kitchen which works terrifically well for your husband as well as looks beautiful and authentic for you!


Beautiful kitchen
clipped on: 12.13.2008 at 05:10 pm    last updated on: 12.13.2008 at 05:10 pm

RE: What can you tell me about my house? (img heavy) (Follow-Up #25)

posted by: powermuffin on 12.11.2008 at 12:58 pm in Old House Forum

Actually, I have tried both Zinzer and Kilts, after removing wallpaper and I found that the paint peeled off of the Kilz, but did not with the Zinzer shellac-based. The same paint was used over both primers. So I am sticking with Zinzer. I think it seals the plaster walls much better. I scraped off eight layers of wallpaper, one of cardboard and one of paneling in the dining room and sitting room. It was so worth it!


which primer to use on plaster walls after removing wallpaper
clipped on: 12.13.2008 at 04:37 pm    last updated on: 12.13.2008 at 04:38 pm

RE: What can you tell me about my house? (img heavy) (Follow-Up #24)

posted by: johnmari on 12.11.2008 at 12:42 pm in Old House Forum

Nah, it's okay if you think the light fixture is hideous. I have one of those too - the ONLY original light fixture in my entire house, natch. If you want to replace it, pack it up securely (like a wooden crate or double-layered cardboard box), mark it clearly (like "original 1900s dining room chandelier") and tuck it into the attic or the top of a closet. There's no reason why you can't replace these sorts of "movables" as long as you keep the originals with the house so that a future owner can put it back. Since you know the build date of the house, a company like can help you find a period-appropriate (a word you'll hear until you want to scream LOL) fixture to replace it. Rejuv's pricey but the quality is outstanding.

Hey, I'm in NH, about 25 miles NW of Portsmouth. It's a pity about Nor'East, I wasn't too thrilled when I went there but it still sucks big time to lose all that material. There are some other salvage companies in this area that I know of although I've only visited a couple because due to illness and a back injury I have a hard time doing much driving. There's a smallish and somewhat pricey one in Exeter NH called, rather uncreatively, Architectural Salvage - I used to live in Exeter and wandered the warehouse about every other week, even though at the time I was living in a 1994 tract Cape! A tiny little Habitat for Humanity ReStore has recently opened up in Dover, NH but I haven't had the opportunity to stop in yet, I always seem to be pressed for time when I'm over there. I'm dying to get up to Old House Parts in Kennebunk ME next spring, and I hear Vermont Salvage in White River Junction (on I-91 on the NH border, near Hanover) is pretty awesome and might be worth a day trip; if you were to head up there there's a place in Rumney NH (about an hour east of WRJ) called Blue Moon Salvage but I don't know anything about it other than that it exists :-) and I have heard some major raves about Admac Salvage in Littleton NH, about an hour north of White River Junction VT and same from Concord NH. If you're south of the border, New England Demo & Salvage in New Bedford MA is enormous, as is (I hear) Restoration Resources in Boston. The Building Materials Resource Center in Roxbury MA doesn't specialize in old stuff, they're a nonprofit building materials recycler, but you never know what you'll find. Hope that might help. Don't neglect online sources for salvaged items, either - Craigslist and eBay in particular. eBay is a great source for antique lighting once you learn a bit what you should be looking for, but you can get really screwed if you don't. Remember that old lighting fixtures should always be rewired before use to avoid fire hazard.

As others have said, do try to live in the house for a year or more before you really get into tearing things up, because if you learn to listen to it the house will tell you what it needs and wants (seriously), and it will give you time to research more about the house and the period. Yes, it means that you may be stuck with less-than-optimal ;-) decor and conditions for a while, but that's okay, really, and much better than having to tear out or redo something you've put a lot of work into because it was done out of ignorance or expedience and is completely wrong for the house. You do have a truly lovely "base" there to work with, and I'm positively green with envy over all those details. I'm guessing you plan to be there for a long time, so try to have patience.


Salvage places
clipped on: 12.13.2008 at 04:36 pm    last updated on: 12.13.2008 at 04:36 pm

RE: Hardwood Floor products: Your favorites? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: newdawn1895 on 08.25.2008 at 08:34 pm in Old House Forum

I have always used Murphy's oil soap for years on my wood floors.
If you haven't tried Quite Shine by Halloway House to polish the floors you are in for a surprize. This stuff is wonderful and makes your floors beam. I remember years of putting on that paste wax (on my knees) and then buffing with a machine, never again. You can buy it here at Walmarts for under five bucks. I only do it about four times a year, it lasts and lasts.

congradulations on your new home.


clipped on: 09.07.2008 at 01:09 pm    last updated on: 09.07.2008 at 01:09 pm

RE: removing lathe and plaster, insulating, drywalling (Follow-Up #29)

posted by: jonnyp on 03.27.2008 at 12:48 pm in Old House Forum

I too participated in this foolish effort many years ago.A few things I've discovered since helped change my mind. I have, in my possession building manuals from the twenties and thirties,I come from a long line of builders but am not professionally involved. Anyhow, on insulation , dead air is number 1, an example is today's insulated windows. On an older home ex walls were constructed w/plaster & lathe, studs, sheathing, 15lb felt paper (sometimes rosen paper) and finally usually wood shingles. I would be looking outside for air infiltration, the weak link is probably the break down of the felt paper which act as a vapor barrier and a wind break. Over the years it has gone hundreds of cycles of temp and moisture changes coupled with an unstable sheathing material (softwood boards as to plywood)no doubt this protection is seriously deteriorated. I've seen it first hand, there are exceptions ie sides that do not receive a lot of weather .I have also seen plaster on the interior of sheathing, mostly on larger more expensive homes.
Skip the gut job its not worth it between the dust, disposal, replicating trim,repairing floors and yes the feel. I would find a good plasterer to make repairs,straighten out problem areas and have insulation blown in.Then turn your attention outside.
Those pictures posted by macybaby give me a sick feeling inside. Just one more opinion.


clipped on: 09.07.2008 at 01:08 pm    last updated on: 09.07.2008 at 01:08 pm

RE: Horchow new chairs (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: inna0410 on 07.21.2006 at 07:45 am in Furniture Forum

I did quite a search since my last posting. In the meantime, I ordered one chair as a sample from Horchow. I do have a permanently valid discount code for them - WELCOME for a 10% dicount and BEST for a free shipping. I received a chair (it was gorgeous - great quality). Located the label under the seat (Maitland-Smith), located Maitland Smith and after speaking to them, located the dealers in my area. Spoke to a dealer, who said that usually what M-S sell through the Horchow is the Horschow's exclusive. They would be unable to supply those chairs to me.

So, instead of the usual waiting until runs a 20% discount event (for a fear of changes in their product line), I ordered the rest of the 5 chairs with the same 10% discount code and free shipping. I realized that saving $300 on the total order (additional 10% when 20% discount applies) is not worth the risk of losing those chairs altogether. Voila. I am happy anyway.


discount codes for horchow
clipped on: 06.02.2008 at 10:46 pm    last updated on: 06.02.2008 at 10:47 pm

Furniture 101 : Q&A

posted by: dcollie on 03.07.2007 at 11:50 pm in Furniture Forum

I keep seeing repeated posts here asking how to tell quality....which brand is best, what will last the longest, etc. I thought perhaps it a good thread to address the basic things to look for, under the premise that an educated consumer can make a wise decision. So let's give this a try and not target "brand names" so much as general questions on furniture. This could be a LONG thread and make take quite a few posts to cover topics, but let's get started!

First off, my name is Duane Collie and I own a small home furnishings store in Alexandria, VA. I've been in business since 1979 and specialize in high-quality, American-made 18th century furnishings. Because of the nature of my business, I have learned hundreds of things about what makes a good piece, or a bad piece, or even a mediocre piece (just don't overpay for mediocrity).

Let's start off with something easy, the basic building block of all furniture..>WOOD<

Solid wood is preferable to veneers (which are laminates over a secondary wood) Wider boards are more expensive than narrow boards in solid woods, and more desirable. There are different grades of wood within a type. For example, there are over 200 species of pine and while Southern Yellow is not very good for furniture making, Eastern White Pine is. A cabinetmaker selects his wood based on his project and costs. If he is using an aniline dye and shellac coats, he needs a higher grade of lumber than if he is using covering stains that mask the wood flaws and mineral deposit variables.

Which wood to get? This varies by price and characteristics. Just because a wood is soft, doesn't mean its not suitable for a project. Here's a rundown of some common woods in the USA that are furniture grade:

Pine. Soft, but relatively stable. Eastern White has good, tight knots that will not fall out. Shrinkage and expansion is moderate. Dent resistance is poor. Takes stains nicely.

Poplar. Great Secondary wood (drawer bottoms, etc.) and very stable. Inexpensive. Halfway between a soft and hardwood. Takes paint well, but never stains up nicely.

Cherry. A great lumber! I personally find it more interesting to look at than most mahogany. Its a hardwood, but not as dense as maple. Takes aniline dyes beautifully and requires little or no sealer. Cherry will darken and 'ruby up' with age and exposure to sunlight. If you use it for flooring or kitchen cabinets, expect deeper and more red dish colors to develop over time nearer the windows of your home.

Mahogany. Poor Mahogany! So misunderstood! Mahogany grows in every part of the world, and varies greatly. Figured mahogany is highly desirable (aka as 'plum pudding' or 'crotch' mahogany) but you rarely see it outside of veneers due to the cost of those logs. The very best furniture grade mahogany is from Central America and Cuba, but is very hard to source. African mahogany is decent, and the stuff from China and the Philippines the least desirable. Mahogany can be done in open pore, semi-closed pore, and fully sealer finishes. Mahogany is a favorite for carvers, as it carves easily and is not prone to splitting when being handled.

Maple. Both hard and soft maple is an industry standard. Very durable, very dense, accepts many colors nicely and stains up well. Excellent for the best upholstery frames. Stable, and plentiful.

Figured Maples. Sometimes called Tiger Maple, or Curly Maple (one of my favorites). A small percentage of maple will be highly figured and is pulled off at the mill to sell to furniture makers and musical instrument makes for about 2x the price of regular maple. Tiger maple MUST be board matched and typically a single log will be used to make a project, rather than taking a board from this pile and another from another pile. Consistency is key, and you will hear the term 'bookmatched' used frequently in figured maples. Figured maples look best with aniline dye finishes and hand-scraped surfaces. Birdseye maples are in this category as well, but are so unstable that most shops only use them veneers.

Walnut: A hard wood to work with. Not many walnut forests, and most cabinentmakers loathe making walnut pieces for two reasons. First it much be bleached before it can be finished, otherwise its ugly. Secondly, it has to be filled and sanded. Very time consuming to do properly, but quite a handsome wood when done right (3/4's of all walnut pieces I see is NOT done right)

Oak: Another mainstay wood. Very durable, and dense. Not widely used in fine furniture because of the grain pattern.

There are other woods as well, but those are some of the mainstay furniture woods.

Wood has to be milled to make is usable. It is run through planers, joiners and wide belt sanders to get it to size. The larger and thicker the board, the more expensive it will be. Bed posts and pedestal bases on tables are very expensive to do as solid, non-glued-up pieces. So if you buy a bed, check to see if you see a vertical seam in the lumber which signifies a glue-up. Nothing wrong with glue-ups, just don't pay the price of solid 1-board.

Industry standard is 4/4 (pronounced four quarter) lumber, which when milled will finish out to 7/8" thickness. Anything thicker - or even thinner - requires more expensive wood or more planing time if being thinned out.

Once the wood is planed, it either goes to a wide belt sander or is hand-scraped. If hand-scraped (much more desirable) you will feel a slight ripple when you run your hand over the surface. Belt-sanded items will be perfectly smooth. Cutting the surface of the wood gives you a brighter finish over a sanded surface in a completed product.

Solid wood MOVES. The wider the board, the more it will move with the seasons. Expands in the summer, shrinks in the winter. The art of the furnituremaker is to build to allow this movement, without sacrificing joinery strength. Narrow board furniture does not move nearly as much, and plywoods and veneers don't move at all.

Joinery. The gold standard is Mortise and Tenon. That's the strongest joint where you have intersecting pieces of wood. All mortise and tenoned pieces will have one or two distinctive wood pins visible from the outside of the piece that secure that joint. Next up is Dowel joints. Not as durable as mortise and tenon, but superior to a bolt-in leg. Dowel joints look like M&T joints, but don't have the cross pins. Last choice are legs than bolt on, or are held on by screws. Plastic blocks, staples, nails, hot glue and the like are unacceptable as joinery methods.

I've reached the character limit for this post. More later. Hope you like this thread and will ask general quesions!


furniture 101
clipped on: 03.15.2007 at 05:07 pm    last updated on: 02.25.2008 at 09:05 pm

RE: need plant suggestions (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: ctnchpr on 01.06.2008 at 12:49 pm in Hummingbird Garden Forum

Cleome spinosa (Spider flower). My hummers love 'em. It grows 5-6 ft tall, loves the heat & humidity of the South, and blooms from early June until the first moderate frost. It will reseed like a weed. (I have some seeds if you want them.)



clipped on: 01.31.2008 at 02:15 pm    last updated on: 01.31.2008 at 02:15 pm

RE: need plant suggestions (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: gardengal48 on 01.06.2008 at 11:29 am in Hummingbird Garden Forum

You could consider clethra or sweetspire. This is a sweetly fragrant, summer blooming shade tolerant shrub that hummers love. Other possibilities are loropetalum, hardy fuchsias (not the foo-foo annual hanging basket kind) and Cape fuchsia, Phygelius species.


for hummingbirds in hot humid acid region
clipped on: 01.31.2008 at 02:13 pm    last updated on: 01.31.2008 at 02:14 pm

RE: Anyone ever buy/use shades that open top to bottom? (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: lynn2006 on 01.24.2008 at 11:44 pm in Home Decorating Forum

I have double Cellular blinds (Alta from Budget Blinds) in my home office and love them except I dislike the long cords that keep tangling. I also wish I had gone with Hunter Douglas to get one big light filter single cell Duet blind on my two windows with retractaible cords.

For my bedroom, I bought the Architella Duet Hunter Douglas Cellular blinds with the retractable cords in a 3/4" size. I love the bigger pleat size, I like the soft look, I love the insulating properties, and I love the top down/bottom up feature with no cords tangling and all cords staying the same length. I am just not crazy about the Linen color at night since it gets too brown for the look I wanted in my bedroom and I wish I went with the Daisy White.


clipped on: 01.28.2008 at 12:34 pm    last updated on: 01.28.2008 at 12:34 pm

RE: hanging items on 1925 plaster & lathe walls (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: brickeyee on 12.24.2007 at 10:20 am in Old House Forum

I would never rely on just plaster to hold any significant load.
It has a rather nasty habit of suddenly cracking and letting things fall.
Molly bolts can help spread the load out for more moderate weights.
Very heavy items should be fastened into the stud using at least 3 inch screws (since there is around 3/4 to 1 inch of plaster before you even get to the stud).

Any carbide tipped masonry bit will go through plaster like butter and last a long time.
The problem is they are often difficult to find in sizes below about 1/8 inch.
A plain old steel twist bit (even the cruddy soft Chinese drill bits) will for a while before the edge is shot.
They are so cheap it is almost not worth buying the carbide unless you have a number of holes to drill.
Having a 1/4 inch masonry bit for molly bolts and plastic anchors might be worth the trouble.

I have used plain old common nails (8d works well) in a drilled hole (drill slightly downward) for many years for typical light weight pictures (anything up to about 10-15 pounds).
Heavier pictures get a pair of molly bolts (be sure to get some long enough for plaster), while mirrors get fasteners into the studs.
Mirrors and other heavy objects may require a ledger strip (1x2) fastened to the studs and then hanging fasteners into the wood if the studs are not aligned at the correct location.
Note that if you use two anchors for a heavy item that is also using wire the anchors do NOT have to be centered correctly behind the object.


clipped on: 12.24.2007 at 11:50 pm    last updated on: 12.24.2007 at 11:51 pm

RE: solar exterior lights (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: solarilluminations on 03.02.2007 at 09:34 pm in Renewable Energy Forum

Some of the previous posts are misleading. The lens of the motion sensor can break down in time if exposed to the sun. However a good quality motion sensor will have a UV protected lens and therefore should last some time. As with the solar security lights solar at Solar Illuminations, one of theirs has the photocell inside the motion sensor behind the UV protected lens. Therefore there would be no problem. Their other product has the photocell facing the ground. So basically none of the problem mentioned in previous postings hold any ground and just confuse issues. Apart from a battery change every 3 years or so, there should be no real issues, based upon the solar security lights sold by Solar Illuminations. As with all such lights, facing the solar panel south gives best results, if not east or west. The motion sensor can be faced in any direction to detect a person. The floodlight can be faced in any direction. The sun has no effect on the location of the floodlight or the motion sensor in most applications. Best benefits are: no connection to the grid; can install almost anywhere; cost nothing to operate; safe and easily relocated. By the way, Solar Illuminations also offers a choice of solar floodlights and security light without a motion sensor whih turn on at dusk and off at dawn. They range from about 30 watts to about 150 watts of light output.

Here is a link that might be useful: Solar Illuminations - Solar Security Lights


clipped on: 10.29.2007 at 11:39 am    last updated on: 10.29.2007 at 11:40 am

RE: Keep original plaster or install drywall? (Follow-Up #42)

posted by: steve-va on 08.20.2007 at 11:58 pm in Old House Forum

As a high end painter there is nothing I hate to see more than an old Victorian house with beautiful woodwork.....& 3/8" or 1/4" drywall was slapped up on the walls for a quicky fix. I always spot the "non-traditional" fix instantly when I walk into a room. There will never be trim with a crisp straight paint line in that room again!

More often than not the quick fix cost just as much as the price for a good plaster guy to come in & fix the bad areas. As a painter I do plenty of plaster repair. One thing I have used in stable but cracked areas is a 36" wide fiberglass mesh. Its just like the fiberglass mesh tape but 3' wide & sticky on one side. 3 skims & it looks great. you can cut out the size you need for your repair. If I find an area where the plaster & coming off the lathe then I just knock out the bad plaster, secure lose lathe, do a base onto the lathe that is similar to concrete & then plaster over top (i forgot the name of it but its in the same area of the hardware store where they sell the dry joint compound). Genuine plaster can be hard for many to get a smooth finish & its ok to skim out imperfections with joint compound to make things easier.

Just do it right folks! You won't regret it!


In re repairing plaster.
clipped on: 09.08.2007 at 08:23 pm    last updated on: 09.08.2007 at 08:23 pm

RE: Washing stained down comforter (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: barnmom on 06.11.2007 at 08:41 pm in Cleaning Tips Forum

You can wash down with a small amount of mild detergent that doesn't contain enzymes. Woolite or Ivory Snow works. Use cold water and rinse twice. Do not use fabric softener. Dry thoroughly on low heat with two new clean tennis balls in the drier. The tennis balls keep the down from clumping. Make sure the down is completely dry, otherwise it will smell. If you have spots, go ahead and stain treat the outer fabric making sure it doesn't soak through to the down. Using a stain stick would be easiest. It's not good to wash them too often but occasional laundering is okay.


clipped on: 06.15.2007 at 08:39 pm    last updated on: 06.15.2007 at 08:39 pm

mold smell

posted by: rachela on 01.15.2007 at 12:46 am in Old House Forum

We closed on a loft in northwestern MA at the end of 2005. The building is a former textile mill, a brick structure built around 1820. There are 40 units, all new interior construction, since the building was just 4 floors of wide open space prior to 2004.

Everytime we go back to our apartment in NY, I am disturbed by the smell of mold on just about all of our belongings that were with us at the loft. DH doesn't notice it the way I do and it's bothering me. We have a new (miele) washing machine there, none in NY, so I was so happy to do laundry there. The clothes washed up there smell like mold when we get them back to NY. (No dryer, I hang the clothes to dry) I've hung them all over the loft to find a spot where they don't smell. Haven't found one. Constantly smelling the freshly washed laundry has definitely sapped the pleasure out of doing laundry. I'm embarrassed that someone will smell this on my clothes when I go to work.

Our neighbors don't smell anything and they go back and forth to Boston.

When I return to work, I smell it on the backpack that I take up there with me, and on the paperwork that's inside.

I don't know where to begin to look for the source of the smell in the loft.

Thank you!


clipped on: 05.17.2007 at 01:26 am    last updated on: 05.17.2007 at 01:26 am

RE: Question about my wooden windows (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: memorysman on 04.01.2007 at 11:12 am in Old House Forum

John Leeke is a preservation consultant in Portland, Maine, who specializes in restoration of old houses, particularly windows. His website is and is full of helpful information.

The department of the interior, in the list of publications on their website,, also has a series of preservation brief. Preservation Brief #9is on resoring your older windows


clipped on: 04.05.2007 at 09:07 pm    last updated on: 04.05.2007 at 09:08 pm

RE: tile walls in old kitchen (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: wormgirl on 03.28.2007 at 09:15 pm in Old House Forum

I just have to say wow - thanks for posting those pictures - and your kitchen is stunning. I have never seen completely tiled walls like that.

I have chartruse and maroon plastic tile as a backsplash halfway up the wall. Much of it has been removed. But I plan to replace it with black and white, esp. now that I know it would be period correct. So on the question of using it as a backsplash, I say, yeah that's what it's for!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I got an italian vapor cleaner and it cleans grout and tile better than anything else that exists. Just happened to post on another thread - you can see a picture of what I bought, and the results it produced on a very dirty floor. I cleaned up my shower grout and tile like nobody's business with it. Very handy for general housecleaning too.

Here is a link that might be useful: scroll down to see the floor I cleaned and my cleaner


for cleaner
clipped on: 04.05.2007 at 09:01 pm    last updated on: 04.05.2007 at 09:02 pm

RE: Cleaning paint splatters off an 1890 brick house? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: sombreuil_mongrel on 04.05.2007 at 06:55 pm in Old House Forum

A lye-based (caustic) stripper will remove paint and leave the brick unaffected. A solvent type stripper will dissolve the paint somewhat, but allow the pigment perhaps to penetrate the brick should it be a porous kind. Then you'll definitely need a pressure washer, and maybe steam to dis-embed it.


clipped on: 04.05.2007 at 08:10 pm    last updated on: 04.05.2007 at 08:10 pm

RE: Refrigerator size - downsizing? (Follow-Up #28)

posted by: alexr on 09.25.2006 at 02:05 am in Smaller Homes Forum

I bought a refrige similar but smaller than Tina's Liebherr, made by Summit/or Equator. It's only 24" wide and deep but 84" tall with a good sized freezer on the bottom. I like this thing alot, and I wasn't sure I would at first. The freezer is not self defrost, but amazingly hasn't needed defrosting and gets really cold. The refrige part has it's own compressor, so you can turn it off if you go on vacation and keep the freezer on or turn the freezer off to defrost and keep the stuff cold in the refrige. It's made in Denmark.

I am learning not to keep as much left overs, and things don't hide in the back, so i just feel everything is fresher. And as Martha says, That's a good thing.


clipped on: 03.28.2007 at 11:20 pm    last updated on: 03.28.2007 at 11:20 pm

RE: good brand of sofa bed? (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: mcgilh on 05.25.2005 at 04:46 pm in Furniture Forum

I am a Design Consultant at Circle Furniture in Hanover MA. We sell Norwalk, Lee, American Leather/AU sleepers. AU is the best sleeper you can get for the money. American Leather has a patent on their sleeper, which all the finer hotels in the world put in their rooms. AL only uses leather and "UltraSuede" which makes for high price. So they came us with less expensive, but excellent generic microfiber, selected a couple of their lifetime guaranteed frames, and now offer their fabulous sleeper at less expensive price. You can get a queen sleeper sofa for $1999. There are no metal bars. the mattress is made from unique foam that is very comfortable. no metal at foot of bed to bang your legs in the dark. We sell tradtional and aerobed sleepers as well, but none are as comfortable. The aerobed would not allow you to keep the bed made while in the sofa mode. For those with very limited space, the AU's Natalie is very small because of the narrow arms. You can get a queen sleeper in a 69" sofa. If anyone is interested in coming into our store, or contacting me at the store (we ship all over the world), email me at and type "Reyes" in the subject line.


clipped on: 03.15.2007 at 05:13 pm    last updated on: 03.15.2007 at 05:14 pm

RE: Grange furniture (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: agtorange on 01.15.2007 at 09:41 pm in Furniture Forum

There is also a Grange outlet on Empire Avenue in South Hackensack, NJ, not too far out of NYC.


clipped on: 03.06.2007 at 09:37 am    last updated on: 03.15.2007 at 05:02 pm

RE: Can I have a dining set without arm chairs? (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: dcollie on 02.21.2007 at 09:47 pm in Furniture Forum

Mactruck: I was the largest retailer of Dimes Chairs from 1978 through 2001 when I discontinued carrying them. They are FAR stronger than the Seely's that you own and if you want to use any of the chairs in the house as a stepladder those are the ones! They are incredibly tough. I used one with the back removed for over fifteen years as a "stepstool" in our freight trucks.

Here's a true story for you:

When Sony Studios made "The Patriot" starring Mel Gibson, they came to me for a large part of the furnishings for that movie, including the rocker you see Mel working on when the movie begins. They told me "We're going to have Mel throw the rocker against the wall and smash it, so we need thirteen of them, unfinished, because we will need several takes."

I told them "The rocker won't smash or break when you throw it, what it will do is bounce back off the wall and hit Mel in the head. Be careful."

So we did the (13) rockers and shipped them down to South Carolina where the movie set was located. Sure enough, I got a phone call from the tech guys on the set that the rockers would not break no matter how hard they threw them to the wall. We then told them to take a jigsaw and score every spindle and leg, cutting them 3/4 of the way through. That did the trick, and the chairs folded up nicely for the opening scene.

You will also find that Dimes will repair ANY chair they make (as long as the seat is not cracked) well beyond the 15 year Seely warranty. My oldest Dimes chairs in my house date from 1978 and I wouldn't hesitate to stand in the seat of any of them and jump up and down.

My email addy is This is my personal email and not my business one (again, mindful of the forum rules on businesses posting here).


clipped on: 03.05.2007 at 10:03 am    last updated on: 03.05.2007 at 10:03 am

RE: Good brand sofa $1500? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: swtpea_zone8_sc on 02.26.2007 at 01:49 pm in Furniture Forum

I purchased a lovely custom fabric hickory chair sofa last year for about $1650. The quality construction and spring down cushions are very pleasing. After receiving quotes from our local higher end stores above $2600, I order the sofa direct from Stevens Furniture in Lenior, NC. Their reps were knowledgable, courteous, and promptly answered questions, sent samples, etc. The only drawback was the long wait time for a custom sofa, about 10-12 weeks.


clipped on: 03.05.2007 at 09:48 am    last updated on: 03.05.2007 at 09:48 am

RE: Countertop material for old house (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: solferino on 02.09.2007 at 01:30 am in Old House Forum

Soapstone would be nice and I think also a good choice for your lifestyle. We recently renovated our 1920s house and almost went with a beautiful granite called Nordic Black Antique. It looked a lot like soapstone -- black with some white veining, with a satin finish rather than a glossy polish. But we ended up with Bianco Romano granite -- looks quite a bit like marble but w/o the porosity worries.

I think mixing countertop materials is a nice touch, and in your house might look like the kitchen had sort of grown organically over time. The top of our island is walnut planks, finished with Waterlox -- we have a sink on it and have had no worries at all with the water. I would suggest distressing it a bit before you seal it, though. Those first couple of scratches made us wince for days but now we don't baby it too much.

There is a thread over in the Kitchens forum called "Farmhouse kitchen fans" that you may find interesting.


clipped on: 02.16.2007 at 08:29 pm    last updated on: 02.16.2007 at 08:29 pm

RE: Painting wood floor (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: troubador on 01.08.2007 at 08:39 pm in Old House Forum

Did you try oxalic acid to bleach the stains out? You mix it from a powder with hot water, and apply it to the stained areas. Works well on oak especially.
If you want an epoxy that doesn't stink, check Porter Paints Duraglaze, it's a waterborne epoxy with a faint alcohol smell - I've used it in hospitals, nursing homes, schools etc where odor was an issue. It's an equal volume product, mix one gallon A with one gallon B, stir, let steep for 30-45 minutes and you have about 8 hours pot life before it sets up in the can. I've used it on shower floors, sinks, etc. and it's very durable over a firm substrate. It can be tinted with universal colorants to almost any color.
Clearcoating a painted finish is also a good idea; I have used Varathane Diamond Finish waterborne, same stuff used on bowling alleys because it goes on over almost any finish which hasn't been waxed.


clipped on: 02.15.2007 at 01:00 pm    last updated on: 02.15.2007 at 01:01 pm

RE: Window light changes paint color rule?? (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: funcolors on 12.26.2006 at 04:51 pm in Home Decorating Forum

Um, yeah the direction from which a room receives natural light does indeed affect how a paint color will render in a room, Natural light also matters a lot when making plans for the installation of artificial lighting.

Daylighting, sun studies, etc. get very detailed. Software programs exist that can calculate and virtually illustrate every minute of every day for an entire year how natural light will enter and travel through your home. I was taught how to do those calculations by hand using data like altitude and azimuth and I understand the numbers and the assumptions that have to be made, etc. It's not fun and when choosing wall colors, I'm not so sure it's necessary to get all that detailed and specific.

However, evaluating the natural light can help steer folks in the right wall color direction; aims them down the right path to achieving the result they have in mind and increases the odds that they will make a good wall color choice with the as few sample purchases as possible.

First thing needed is a description of what that desired result is - I like the word atmosphere. What atmosphere do we want to create with color? Then think about how we can use the light we have to work with to support that desired result.

My house faces due north. My office, living room and foyer will never be bright and sunny. So I have two choices. Play into the dimmer, cooler natural light with wall colors that are darker in value and cooler in temperature (including neutrals), or do something opposite. Like swing around to the warmer side of the color wheel and choose light to mid-tone values.

North light renders colors most accurately and more consistently than other exposures so more often than not with north light, it's a matter of gathering color swatches in the right value and intensity -- are the colors light enough, are they clear enough (as in not dulled or muted).

Common mistake made with a northern exposure is choosing colors that are too muted, too much black/gray in the mix. For north light, I gravitate to the clearer colors for sampling first. Clearer colors look scary on the chips in the store lighting and people shy away from them because they aren't thinking about what it's going to look like at home.

Southern exposures expectedly are a different story. South light is bright, clear and can be intense. Its advantage is that just about any wall color will work because the light is controllable with window treatments. When a room is generously exposed to its south light, colors wash out. The bright light does not intensify color rather itt can strip saturation. Common mistake here is that people go too light in value. I usually start sampling with colors that have a LRV in the 30's and 40's first and work from there.

Direct east and west exposures are often avoided when a home is designed/built due to glare and solar gain. Simply put, its hard to control the glare and the heat from east and west exposure. Each of those directions has specific considerations too, but this is getting long.

A few things to remember:

- Wall color will not affect the color of light, but the color of light will affect wall color. That one is tricky.

- What's outside the windows matters. The color of daylight coming thru a window will be influenced by any large surface that is highly saturated and located outside the doors and windows. Trees, especially deciduous trees, add to the challenge.

- The light decides what color on the walls will best support the desired atmosphere, not a pair of pants or a pillow. The infamous inspiration pieces are second banana.

- Artificial lighting plans don't get enough attention. In most homes today, there usually isn't enough controllable (i.e. banked and dimmers) light in a room to begin with. Change the wall color, and the wattage and number of fixtures likely needs adjusted or updated too.

- LRV is Light Reflectance Value. It is a different aspect of color than directional exposures. It can be helpful to understand what LRV is. A link below might help explain LRV a bit more.

Here is a link that might be useful: Light Reflectance Value


clipped on: 12.26.2006 at 09:43 pm    last updated on: 12.26.2006 at 09:43 pm

RE: Let's Talk About Subway Tile (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: athomein1914 on 12.15.2006 at 11:12 am in Old House Forum

A friend has original subway tile in a couple baths that is "crazed" but does not look like the tile made to look "old and damaged" on this site. My hunch is that over time the "new" crazed would draw attention to itself in negative ways -- particularly since it doesn't sound like you plan for the whole kitchen to look old. Do you plan to "distress" your new cabinets with dings & such? Probably not! In which case I'd get the demure and well-behave plain subway -- and not too white as new whites are more white than old ones. Usually the goal is to design a kitchen that fits the house in the way that it might have "originally" -- not after decades of abuse and the failure of materials. To my eye, that crazed tile would be more fun in contrast with new, hi-tech materials than masquerading as antique. And the thing is, in an old house kitchen that thought will pop up, don't you think?

It's tough blending old house aesthetics with your own budget and personal taste. We all have to wrestle with our own compromises.

Incidentally, one of my friend's baths is a tile box -- every wall & the ceiling as well! fuzzywuzzer, I'd love to see your friend's kitchen.

On a side note, my 1914 kitchen actually had an original built-in cabinet before our remodel. For technical & safety reasons we could not keep it so we measured it thoroughly and rebuilt it, complete with 100 yr old wavy glass my GC salvaged from another renovation project. If you're putting new cabinets in but want to keep the old feel, one detail to include in your new design is "no toe kicks." Won't work with standard cabinets but sometimes a local cabinetmaker is less expensive (was for us).

And as for that old vinyl floor, real linoleum is back & better than ever & might be a good consideration for your 1922 kitchen. Cork, too.

I had 2 "bibles" during my kitchen renovation -- Jane Powell's Bungalow Kitchens & "The Kitchen Book" (circa 1917) from American Bungalow. Both offered great inspiration for blending old & new sensibilities.

I hope you're having a grand time with your project.

(nice blog, BTW!!!)


see books on kitchen redo
clipped on: 12.16.2006 at 10:46 am    last updated on: 12.16.2006 at 10:47 am

RE: Trim paint turning pink (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: captain_lockheed on 12.05.2006 at 06:11 pm in Old House Forum

I run into this once in a while when repainting houses dating back to the turn of the century. The old-timers I worked with back in my early days said the bleeding was the aniline dye originally used to stain the woodwork.

I use pigmented shellac (BIN by Zinnzer seems to be ubiquitous at present) which, in my opinion, is the benchmark for stain killers.


clipped on: 12.08.2006 at 03:07 pm    last updated on: 12.08.2006 at 03:07 pm

RE: thin hairline scratches on dining table (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: cehh on 10.02.2006 at 05:59 pm in Furniture Forum

Check out Howard's Restore-A-Finish. You can google it. I also know you can find it at Ace Hardware and Home Depot. It's a great product and very very easy to use. There's a thread about it on Home Decorating, but I don't remember what the subject is.


clipped on: 10.04.2006 at 10:37 am    last updated on: 10.04.2006 at 10:38 am

RE: Seller Says Crawlspace Vapor Barrier Traps Mold (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: housekeeping on 09.24.2006 at 01:11 am in Buying and Selling Homes Forum


Glad to help, but you also bring up the question of surface water. This is usually handled by terrain shaping, ditches, drains, and of course, close in to the house by properly sized guttering with intact downspouts leading away from the house. I think guttering is a hugely overlooked factor with wet basements. It stands to reason if the exterior soil is oversaturated because of rainfall and poor surface design that more water within the soil is available to get in trouble. Often with new houses which are built using machines and workers pick-up trucks thesoil has become inadvertently compressed, adding to the problem.

here some links that I have stuck in my vapor barrier file: (This is about ventilating crawl spaces) (NB: this is a firm in Denver; I dont know anything about their work, though) (this deals with houses in the south (first on his list of top10 stupidities deals is with venting attics and crawl spaces, FWIW) (You may have to put the words "crawl space vapor barrier" into the search function on this site - there are a number of references that may help. This guy is quite big on vapor barriers!) (techinical info on active ventilation systems) (this and one below are from an indoor air quality "organization") (these people want to sell their products/system, but it's worth looking at)

AND finally here's the link to a manufacturer of highly reccommended VB's i.e. not just thick poly film; they are naturally a bit more expensive.

After slogging through all these links, you probably want to give up and move to Tahiti and buy grass shack built on stilts. But I hope they're helpful for you. I didn't review them particularly, except to make sure they were reasonably on target and still active links, so some may be duds were I should have hit the delete button but mindlessly saved them on my browser instead.



clipped on: 09.27.2006 at 05:14 pm    last updated on: 09.27.2006 at 05:14 pm

RE: sofa bed recommendation? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: mcgillicuddy on 09.23.2006 at 01:18 pm in Furniture Forum

drmeow, how are defining a "moderate" price range? It seems it might mean different things to different people?

Room and Board has sofa beds that use memory foam, which I think is more comfortable than traditional sofa bed mattresses. They also have the Comfort Sleeper line, which doesn't use bars and is very comfortable. That line is more expensive, though ($2500+).

My husband and I did extensive "in-person" research when buying our sofa bed, and liked the foam mattresses the best. We went with a Comfort Sleeper model.

Here is a link that might be useful: Room and Board sleeper sofas


clipped on: 09.26.2006 at 11:25 am    last updated on: 09.26.2006 at 11:25 am

RE: Fondued - house stinks - help! (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: summiebee on 01.03.2006 at 12:09 am in Cleaning Tips Forum

another idea in the future is to leave the house with the windows cracked for a few hours....then when you come home you can use the scented burning oils from The body Shop almost everyone likes the mandrian peel or sastuma as it is now called mixed with exotic. It will fix any cooking disaster....Don;t ask how I know this ;) Hehe


clipped on: 09.16.2006 at 10:10 pm    last updated on: 09.16.2006 at 10:10 pm

RE: waxing furniture and having problems (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: rococogurl on 09.13.2006 at 09:17 pm in Home Decorating Forum

Hamptonmeadow -- I used Briwax on my table and had same streakiness. I went over it with a miracle cloth which also helps with the cleaning and that buffed out the streaks. Michael has his techniques but I would not use steel wool on a table unless I was refinishing it. Mine is old and I don't want to lose the patina or change it.

After the Briwax I got out what Goddard calls French polish but it's not. It's just good paste wax and that went on a little easier; less streaking. It comes in oval tins.

Which wax I use actually depends on the table and how it's finished. I use the Howard's Feed n Wax, which is like a gel on another table that I scrubbed down. It's a pine table and it absorbs. The one I used the paste wax on is finished and doesn't absorb.


clipped on: 09.16.2006 at 08:57 pm    last updated on: 09.16.2006 at 08:57 pm

RE: Stinky Air Conditioning!! Help Please (Follow-Up #19)

posted by: uncledon on 06.20.2006 at 08:28 pm in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum

So there is NO return grill in the basement, correct?

This is a typical upflow furnace, right?
I would suspect air pickup right at the blower compartment. With the system running, SLOWLY run your fingers over edges of the furnace blower door panel, including the corners. Good chance you will find a loose fit somewhere there.

Another thing to check - Most upflow furnaces these days can be laid on their side and used as a horizontal furnace. As such, the "bottom" of the furnace in the upflow situation may be missing its bottom. In a horizontal mode, this is where the furnace pulls in return air. In upflow mode sitting on a solid floor, the bottom needs to be closed. Take off the door, and make sure that there is a full bottom plate on the furnace, sealed well to the end. And not just a big hole sitting on the concrete floor!


clipped on: 08.29.2006 at 11:23 pm    last updated on: 08.29.2006 at 11:24 pm

Stripping paint off hardware.

posted by: theda-blue (Guest) on 08.22.2006 at 12:03 pm in Old House Forum

Those of you who get This Old House have probbably already seen this but I wanted to share with everyone since I have found this tip to be invaluable. To strip paint from metal hardware, door knobs, hinges, sash locks, ect. Simmer overnight in a crockpot on med with water and a little liquid laundry detergent. Works wonders, the paint just falls off in one piece! I went nuts cleaning up all the ornate door plates and such when I found out they are old brass.


clipped on: 08.22.2006 at 08:19 pm    last updated on: 08.22.2006 at 08:19 pm

RE: Stinky Air Conditioning!! Help Please (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: kennurse on 06.18.2006 at 10:18 pm in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum

I own a heating and a/c business and I am an indoor air quality specialist and a registered nurse. The problem MUST be fixed at the root. The moldy smell is, of course, mold. Mold forms on wet surfaces. These wet surfaces include your evaporator coil (indoor cooling coil) or perhaps your ductwork which may be uninsulated in warm areas which causes condensation and subsequent mold formation.Unfortunately, both must be treated to erradicate the problem. You must have your entire duct system inspected to determine if unsealed areas exist (or uninsulated areas that support mold growth by condensation) Mold reproduces and "seeds" like wildfire. Therefore if the source of the moisture isn't eradicated, the problem will likely return. The absolute best way to fix the problem is to have all of your ducts cleaned thoroughly and an anti-mold agent applied. You also need your coil thoroughly cleaned. All of this can likely be done for $300 to $500 at the most. (Unless your coil has to be removed outside and cleaned if it is filthy) After this, I highly recommend you install a germicidal ultraviolet lamp. They are installed in your evaporator coil area and they stay on continuously killing mold and bacteria and it will erradicte any problem with your coils "seeding" mold to distant parts of your system. I am not trying to sell you anything. I help people with my advice for free because I like doing it. I have allergies myself (especially to mold) and I have two double bulb systems in each of my 2 HVAC units in my own home. These units are available on the internet and they are a cinch to install. You can do it yourself. Typical cost: $250 for a single bulb unit (suitable for 3 tons or smaller) or $500 for a double bulb. You might want to spring for the double bulb for "insurance". If you don't want to do it yourself--you will double the figures I quoted you (or more). If you do install it yourself, make ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN you do not puncture your coil and that you install it precisely as per the manufacturer's instructions. Basically, you drill a hole and push the the thing it and screw it in with sheet metal screws and plug it in. That's it! But you must be aware of where things are and where the coils are. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS and follow them to the letter. Installation of these units will kill existing mold on your coil, cleaning it in the process and it will prevent the mold from forming in the first place. I have dealt with Kenneth Arnold with for years. He is honest and he runs reputable business. He will sell you a double bulb aprilaire system for close to wholesale. He is very pleasant to deal with. You can tell him I referred you. email me directly if I can help you further.


clipped on: 08.17.2006 at 03:38 pm    last updated on: 08.17.2006 at 03:38 pm

AC spewing basementy smell

posted by: chris_ont on 08.08.2006 at 04:29 pm in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum

My basement has a bit of a musty basementy smell. Not mildew, exactly. I haven't figured out what it might be. Reminds me of old pipes. It's cement floor, but dry.

Anyway, the air conditioner/furnace is blowing that smell into the house. The return air is working (I can feel the draft) but the AC must also be sucking air out of the basement.

Would duct taping all of the seams help? If so, do I tape only the ducts leading INTO the furnace, or could it also be drawing up basement air along the way FROM the furnace to the upstairs?
Might be a dumb question, but what do I know about furnaces? :)


clipped on: 08.17.2006 at 03:25 pm    last updated on: 08.17.2006 at 03:26 pm

updating a 19th c, house, 1938 style

posted by: kennebunker on 08.04.2006 at 02:32 pm in Old House Forum

I found these while going through my picture discs.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


clipped on: 08.15.2006 at 11:07 pm    last updated on: 08.15.2006 at 11:07 pm