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Archive for October, 2008

One of my neighbors recently replaced the 8″x8″ white ceramic tile & carpet throughout their home with beautiful solid oak floors.  They were ecstatic with not only how they came out but the great price they got on the wood floors themselves.

They actually picked up their floors via a deal I came across in my Real Estate dealings.  A client was selling them for a steal as he needed the boxes out of his garage.  He had 1,000 square feet of Mohawk solid oak wood floors that he only wanted $1 a square for – I posted it to my client and friends in an email and my neighbors snapped them up.  But you can look for similar deals using CraigsList where you can always find bargains.

We don’t have before pictures but the after photos show you how great they came out.  They did the work all on their own and it was a back breaking undertaking but by doing so saved about $700 just in removing the old tile.  To lay the floors would have cost at least a couple thousand dollars so between materials and labor this job would have been in the $8-10,000 range when you take in to account the cost of materials, demo and lobor. 

It’s a messy job so they had plastic draping off the other rooms in the house, wore respirator masks and did a clean-up at the end of each day to contain the mess and keep it from tracking all over the house.  The entire project took them about two solid weeks but you’ll see it was well worth it.  Their new floors gleam!

This room was carpeted before

This room was carpeted before

Lessons learned were pretty minimal as the project went well for them.  They started with a chisel and hammer breaking out the tile but finally resorted to renting the equivalent of a jack hammer with a special blade to remove the rest of it.  They said they wish they’d done that earlier because it cut the demo time down to a fraction of the hammer and chisel route.  They also underestimated just how pervasive the dust is when you break out the tile so they probably would have bagged and sealed more of their personal items, cupboards and furniture.

Foyer - you can see a glimpse of the old white tile

Foyer - you can see a glimpse of the old white tile in the kitchen

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The Saguaro that got too much water

The Saguaro seems to be doing fine since we cut off much of the water supply around it and removed a few of its heavy arms that were contributing to it leaning toward one side. It was a fairly easy process that we did on our own and now that it’s been a few weeks we feel comfortable it will be fine.  It even straightened up a bit!

So again, here’s what we did based on David’s (from Gardener’s World) suggestions:

  • Using a limb pruner we removed three of the heavy arms that were all on one side of the cactus, leaving one on that side.  the limb pruner was great because you can telescope the handle for reaching high places.  Here’s a pic of it:
Telescoping limb pruner

Telescoping limb pruner

  • Next we tossed a rope up and over the arm to be cut so we could pull it away from the house as it fell.  We were also keeping an arm below those that were being cut so it was important to make sure the other arms didn’t hit it on the way down.  To toss the rope we tied it to a whiffle ball to give it a little weight as we threw in up and over the arm.  That way it came back down to us without getting snagged on the arm itself.  Worked perfectly.
  • Dave cut the arm while I held the rope.  As soon as it started to give I pulled the rope to guide the arm down to the ground.
Fallen Saguaro arms

Fallen Saguaro arms

  • Next we mixed up the soil acidifier that David had given us.  It’s the consistency of tiny gravel and the goal is to turn in to a paste to roll on to the Saguaro where the arms were removed.  He told us this would protect the newly exposed portion of the cactus from the elements. It takes a good 24 hours or more for it to break down so we mixed it up the afternoon before and by the time we needed it, it was  properly diluted.
  • The final step was to roll the past over the areas where the arms were removed.  Luckily the Saguaro is close enough to the house that we were able to lean the ladder up against so we could reach the upper portion of the cactus.  We used a mini paint roller that I found in the garage and it worked perfectly.
Rolling on soil acidifier

Rolling on soil acidifier

That was it!  The Saguaro is looking MUCH better than about a month ago and we’re confident it will make it now that we’ve addressed the too much water issue and removed a few of its weighty arms.  A little research on this problem ended up saving us about $600-800 which were the estimates all the specialists gave us to correct the problems.

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