Is Your Deck Summer-Ready?: Maintenance Tips from Teche Handyman Services.

As temperatures rise and Easter nears in South Louisiana, people will undoubtedly take to the great outdoors for recreation, entertainment, and quality time with family.  Whether it be grilling steaks, boiling crawfish, or simply relaxing outside, we often enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of our own deck or patio.  Decks not only add to the aesthetics of a home, they often add value to a home as well along with providing a great area for recreation and relaxation.  As enjoyable as these structures are, I have been surprised in my work as a contractor to see how many of them go unattended in terms of maintenance which eventually renders them both unsightly and unsafe.  To help you avoid some of these mistakes I have listed a few maintenance and safety tips below that will help keep your family safe and enjoying your deck this summer.

deck collapse
photo from TODAY

According to the Director of Wood Materials and Engineering Laboratory at Washington State University Don Bender, “Decks cause more injury and loss of life than any other part of the home structure.”  The Virginia Building and Code Officials Association says that much of this is due to faulty construction methods, incorrect or unsuitable materials, and lack of maintenance.  Below are five tips that should help keep you from becoming one of those severely injured or worse.

  1. Examine support posts and beams for rot, splitting, or shifting

rotten post

2. Examine all attachment points between house and deck if attached to home

deck ledger

3. Inspect all fasteners (nails, screws, bolts, brackets, etc.) for improper use, rust, and             corrosion.

4. Inspect guards and railings to ensure they are securely attached.

5.  Use grills, heaters, fire-pits, and bbq’s cautiously and ensure safe guards are in place (such as this grill mat ) to prevent fires.

 

Regular deck inspection and maintenance is key to the longevity of your deck.  I believe that much of the degradation that decks suffer is due to the belief of homeowners that it is an outside structure made of treated wood, therefore it does not require ongoing maintenance.  The unfortunate fact of the matter is that any structure or system of your home needs regular maintenance to perform as well as it should for as long as it should.  Yes it cost a little time and money here and there to properly maintain your deck, but replacement will cost a lot of time and money at once should you neglect it..  Thanks for reading.

If you are not exactly sure what to look for when performing a deck inspection or have any questions, call Teche Handyman Services, LLC @ (337) 943-7969 for comprehensive deck assessment, maintenance, and/or repair.

Teche Handyman Services is Acadiana’s Premier Home Improvement Contractor.

Advertisements

Awesome Home Maintenance Idea Offered By Acadiana Contractor.

The old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” may be most true when referencing home maintenance.  Your home is an active, complex, and ever-changing structure comprised of numerous systems affected by many factors .  It was not until I completed a Louisiana State Board of Home Inspectors training program some years back that I realized how quickly home integrity issues can not only arrive but also affect other systems of the home ultimately leading to major repairs and their expenses.  Fortunately many of these compounding home degradation issues can be avoided with a little knowledge and pro activity

.
Teche Handyman Services, LLC would love to help you gain peace of mind and avoid costly repair bills when possible with one of our Monthly Home Maintenance and Health Assessment subscription options.  Regardless of the size, age, or condition of your home, one of our four subscription options are sure to fit your budget, decrease surprise repair bills, and provide you with more time to do things you actually want to be doing.
Below are our Monthly Subscription Plan Options along with what the homeowner gets each month.
*Subscription to any of our Monthly Plans entitles the subscribing homeowner to a 30% discount on hourly and daily labor rates on additional work performed at the customer’s home.*
BAYOU PLAN – $100/MONTH (Approx. 45min-1.25 Hours)
Replace Home A/C Filter (We provide filter)
Replace Light Bulbs
Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector Check
Fire Extinguisher Check
Plumbing/Appliance Leak Assessment
Vacuum HVAC Register Coils
Check/Repair Clogged Drains
HVAC Drain Check
Suggest Repairs
Comprehensive Interior and Exterior Home Health Assessment
RIVER PLAN – $200/MONTH (Approx. 1-1.5 Hours)
Includes all Bayou Plan Services Plus The Following
Vacuum Refrigerator Coils
GFCI Check
Water Softener Maintenance
Clean Dryer Vent
Clean Garbage Disposal
Clean Hood Range Filter
Garage Door Opener Check
Backup Generator Check
Debris Removal
Main Electrical Check
Outdoor Faucet Check
30 Minute Repair/Handyman Work
1 Roof/Gutter Cleaning Per Year (If accessible by ladder)
BASIN PLAN – $400/MONTH (Approx. 1.5-2 Hours)
Includes all Bayou and River Plan Services Plus The Following
Vacuum A/C Vents
Attic Check (roof leaks/pests)
Check/Clean Outdoor A/C Components
Attic Fan Check
Attic Light Check/Repair
Crawlspace Assessment/Maintenance
Sump Pump Check/Maintenance
Sanitize/Deodorize Indoor Trash Can
Pool Sweeping/Maintenance
1 Annual Backup Generator Oil & Filter Change
2 Roof/Gutter Cleanings Per Year (If accessible by ladder)
CUSTOM PLANS
Teche Handyman Services, LLC will gladly work with you, the homeowner, to create and customize a list of monthly services to be performed at your home.  Our custom plans allow homeowners to purchase services from all three plans that may not be included in one set plan.  Monthly plans can also be customized for multiple locations for those homeowners and landlords with camps, pool houses, rental properties, and recreational vehicles.  Whatever your need or concern, we will work with you to ensure your home maintenance needs are met.  With each custom plan differing, prices of each plan will vary as well.  Contact Teche Handyman Services, LLC today to set up an appointment for a free Custom Plan Monthly Subscription estimate!

Check out techehandyman.com to learn more about the program.
(337) 943-7969
techehandyman@yahoo.com

Take the Pecan Challenge!

pecan tree

I have accidentally become a huge fan of Pecan wood.  The majority of the spoons and kitchen utensils I make are from found Pecan limbs and branches.  Pecan is a hardwood species belonging to the hickory family of trees.  It does not seem to be overly popular for use in woodworking and I can not figure out if this is due to its geographical distribution or if it just has a bad rap in the woodworking community.

Despite its perceived lack of popularity amongst woodworkers, I have really come to rely heavily on the beautiful wood of the Pecan tree in my projects.  It is everywhere here in South Louisiana and finding large fallen limbs and branches takes little more effort than keeping your eyes open when driving down tree-lined highways.  It always amazes me how different Pecan wood can vary in appearance not only from tree to tree, but at times even from different sections of the same tree.  Milling Pecan limbs into lumber is always fun due to the fact the end product can rarely be predicted.

Below are some pictures of spoons and utensils that I have made from Pecan and a few other species of wood.  My challenge to you is to see if you can tell which pieces have been made from Pecan and which pieces are made of a different species.  If you are anything like me you will be surprised to discover how different this wood can appear.  Please let me know if you think you have all of the Pecan pieces identified and I will let you know if you are right.  Good Luck!

DSCF6277
1
DSCF6552
2
DSCF6235
3
DSCF6660
4
DSCF6670
5
DSCF6664
6
DSCF6665
7
DSCF6674
8
DSCF6668
9
DSCF6678
10
DSC_0127
11
DSC_0129
12
DSC_0134
13
DSC_0125
14
DSC_0117
15

If you are a wood identification master and think you have it all figured out please email me or message me on my Facebook page tool-school.com.  If you would like to learn how to make your own wooden spoons check out my article on how to make wooden spoons with hand tools here.

Below are a few tools that make milling lumber from small logs for a variety of projects a breeze.

Jointer

WEN Bandsaw

Carpenter’s Axe

Draw Knife

Kindling Cracker

Resaw Blade

Thanks for reading!  Please be sure to like, comment, follow, and share tool-school.com posts on social media.

Jake with tool-school.com

Today Is Earth Day 2018!

Each year since 1970 the 22nd day of April has been celebrated as Earth Day.  Each year various events are held on this day to encourage and demonstrate support for the protection of the environment.  There are numerous ways to celebrate and honor this day each year, some of which will not only benefit the health of our planet, but could benefit the health of your wallet as well.

trash pile

Over the past 6 years I have made between $3,000 and $4,000 in my spare time by selling metals to various scrap yards in my area.  I kind of got into the practice of selling “junk” for money by chance when an in-law of mine asked me to remove a bunch of old metal from his yard and take it to sell at a local scrap yard.  I agreed and was sort of astounded when I left the recycling center with over $200 cash in my pocket.  I was hooked.

 
For probably the next two years I did not pass a piece of metal on the side of the road or at the edge of someone’s yard without stopping and loading it up in the back of my truck.  I also checked the “free” section of Craigslist daily for people offering free scrap metal for its removal.  I can not count how many washers, dryers, microwaves, and refrigerators I have loaded into the back of my truck and taken to the scrap yard, but I have counted plenty of extra money from doing so.  I have even been able to buy a brand new utility trailer using money earned strictly from selling scrap.

 
As mentioned earlier selling scrap metal for extra money is not the only perk to the practice, it is also a big help to the environment.  Recycled metal requires far less processing in order to get it into a useable state than new ores of the same metal require.  This streamlined processing results in far less energy being used to achieve the same result.  According to the American Geosciences Institute, recycled iron and steel requires about 72% less energy to refine than that of the mining and processing of raw iron ore, and there is an 80% reduction in energy use with recycled lead versus newly mined and processed lead.  The AGI also states that in 2017 the amount of aluminum recycled in the United States saved enough energy to power over 7.5 million homes compared to the amount of energy that would have been used to mine and process the metal from raw aluminum ore.

DSCF6318

Pictured above are a few metals commonly sold at metal recycling centers.  These metals are aluminum, brass, iron, copper, and batteries that contain lead.  Nonferrous metals (metals that do not contain iron such as copper, brass, aluminum, and lead) are usually the bigger money makers per pound, while ferrous metals (metals containing iron) are typically paid for by the ton.  To differentiate between ferrous and nonferrous metals simply place a magnet on the metal, if the magnet sticks to it, it is ferrous, if the magnet does not stick to it, it is nonferrous.  Magnets are attracted to iron and as stated above, nonferrous metals do not contain iron.  Retractable magnets like this one are super helpful for differentiating between ferrous and nonferrous metals.  Recycling prices of different metals can fluctuate often and vary from state to state, country to country, and continent to continent, the environmental benefits from recycling metals however is consistent world wide.

For recycling locations near you click the link to access Earth911’s recycling center database, it is a very useful resource Earth 911 Recycling Center Locator.

For the best information on the internet on how to make money recycling just about anything, click this link to Mike the Scrapper’s YouTube Channel.

Below are some recycling tools and equipment that will either help make you money, save you money, or both.

Stackable Recycling Bins

Can Crusher

400 Watt Solar Panel Kit

50 Watt Solar Panel Kit

Rain Barrel

Compost Bin

Folding Limb Saw

This hand saw is awesome for salvaging downed limbs for wood working projects.

Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Wire Stripper

This wire stripper makes recycling copper and aluminum wire much quicker and easier.

Solar Powered Cell Phone Charger


Home Windmill

Scrap Metal Business Success Book

Thanks for reading!  To learn more about any of the products featured in this article simply click the product link or picture for customer reviews and additional product information.

To learn more about Earth Day and its history click this link to the EPA’s Earth Day Website.

It would be great if you would like, comment, follow, and share tool-school.com posts on social media!  Have a great week!

Turn Your Old Cooler Into A Portable Air Conditioner

A few years ago I was fixing up an older Jeep Cherokee XJ and when she was finally up and running a problem was realized.  It was June in South Louisiana and the Jeep’s a/c system was leaking Freon.  With no room in the budget for a/c repair or replacement I took to the internet to see what could be done for me to drive my baby without sweating bullets.

My first stab at staying cool was by purchasing the RoadPro 12V Tornado Fan.  Though it was pretty loud, the fan was quite strong and very impressive.  The conditions inside the Jeep were definitely improved, but I knew that I could do better.

Back to the internet I went, more specifically to YouTube, and this is where I found my second, and final temporary solution to my Jeep a/c issue.  I discovered that you can make a portable air conditioner using only a fan, a cooler, ice, and some PVC pipe.  I happened to have all three laying around so I was good to go.  Below are the tools I used to make my portable a/c and the steps involved in the build.

TOOLS

Jigsaw or Oscillating Multitool

Hole Saw

Electric Drill

Silicone Adhesive

THE BUILD

At the end of this article I have posted a link to the video that inspired my portable a/c build.  I put my own spin on the project by using different components than the one seen in the video due to the fact that it was what I already had on hand.

DSCF6648
Trace the outline of your fan onto the top of the cooler.
DSCF6637
Using a jigsaw or multi-tool cut out the hole for the fan.
DSCF6647
Using a hole saw or multi-tool cut out a place for your PVC pipe.

This is where the cool air will exit the cooler.  If this particular cooler had enough area on the lid to put a PVC 90 degree elbow on top I would have place it there, but I put the pipe on the side due to the smaller size of this cooler’s lid.  If you put your exhaust pipe on the side of your cooler do not put it too low, as the water from the melted ice could leak out through the exhaust pipe if it is too low.

DSCF6645
I used a rubber gasket and silicone to seal the exhaust pipe then added two screws for good measure.
DSCF6646
The silicone is really all that is needed to seal and hold the pipe in place.

Your new portable a/c is practically done.  Just place some ice in the cooler and the fan in its hole, plug it in, and enjoy the constant cool breeze.

DSCF6642
Your portable air conditioner is complete!

I will be the first to admit that this is not the sexiest contraption in the world,(it was not always this dirty) but it is literally a very cool project that is a lot of fun to complete.  I was skeptical at first but this thing rode in my passenger seat and worked great.  Believe it or not I actually had temperature readings in Fahrenheit ranging from the upper 40s to the lower 60s exiting the pipe.  The large variance in temperature was due to the amount of ice and type of ice used (packs vs. cubes).

Chances are you have everything you need to make your own portable a/c already laying around your house as I did, but if you do not but would still like to undertake this fun little project I have linked to some affordable components below.

48 Qt. Ice Chest

110V Fan

12V Vehicle Fan

Oscillating Multi-tool

Or you could just splurge for a store bought portable a/c unit like the Black and Decker 8000 BTU Portable A/C.

Here is the link to the YouTube video that inspired my own portable cooler a/c build.  Portable A/C Video

Thank you for reading.  Be sure to like, comment, follow tool-school.com and share this post on social media!  Have a great week!

Jake with tool-school.com

Did You Know that Amazon Can Mow your Lawn, Clean your Windows, and Mount your TV?

 

lawn mowing

I love Amazon and the convenience it offers to buy and receive pretty much anything we could want without ever having to leave the comforts of home.  From tools to produce there are only a few number of things you can not purchase through the site, and apparently that number is shrinking .  From lawn maintenance to electrical wiring, and mounting a television on the wall to computer repair,  Try Amazon Home Services offers a variety of home maintenance tasks to be purchased from their site.  They do all of the leg work in finding qualified, insured, and reputable professionals, you just order the service.

The link below will take you to a complete list of services, customer reviews, professionals in your area, and more information on the services that can be purchased through Amazon.

Try Amazon Home Services

15 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Handy Moms

I will go ahead and let you know that this is not a list of pink and purple tools for mom made by brands and companies no one has ever heard of.  This is a list of 15 legitimate tools and gadgets that any gender into DIY projects would benefit from having at their disposal.  I have bought tools for my own mother in the past that may not have been cute, but they are definitely reliable. All but one of these tools can be purchased for around $100 or less. So if your mom is not scared to get her hands dirty and tackle a project, read on.

1. Worx Cordless Hydroshot

Not as strong as gas pressure washers, but much stronger than a garden hose, the Hydroshot is a light and portable option for cleaning jobs around the house and shop.

2. Deebot Robotic Vacuum

This vacuum has made the lives of my wife and I a lot easier.  With three little ones running around our floors get abused daily, thankfully deebot shows them a little love every afternoon without either of us having to lift a finger.

3. Black and Decker 20 Volt Max Project Kit

This is a great all around tool kit to have around the house.  Complete with drill and battery, this kit has the tools needed to complete numerous home projects.

4. Aberg Best 21 MP Camera

The only thing better than a job well done is a job well done that can be shown off to your friends and family.  This camera is light, inexpensive, and has great reviews.  Before and after shots of projects are always fun to compare.

5. Worx Aerocart

The Worx Aerocart is the Swiss Army Knife of wheel barrows.  With all of the functions of a typical wheel barrow this tool also has added ergonomic and hauling capabilities that most do not.

6. Echo Dot

Get how-to and DIY information at the sound of your voice.  With all of the interactive capabilities of this little gadget you can play music, answer calls, and control your lights and thermostat without leaving the couch.  This thing is incredible.

7. Ion Tailgater

Play music, sing karaoke, listen to the radio, charge your phone, connect via blue-tooth, all things that can be done with this little speaker.  We actually have two at my house and bring them with us just about every time we go outside.

8. Black & Decker 7 1/4″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw

This is a sturdy little saw.  It can cut 2×8 lumber at 90 degrees and 2×6 lumber at 45 degrees.  It is more compact than 10″ and 12″ miter saws making it lighter and more easily transported from site to site.

9. Keter Folding Workbench

Rated to hold up to 1000lbs and folding up for easy transport and storage, the Keter workbench is a great work surface at home and on the go.  It even comes complete with compatible work clamps.

10. Tack Life 50 ft Laser Level

This level offers horizontal and vertical cross beams that will project from up to 50 feet away.  This is a must have tool for anyone hanging pictures, trim work, or baseboards.

11. Black and Decker Power Hand Saw

This is a very handy little saw that can cut anything from dimensional lumber to tree limbs and branches.  For “tweener” jobs that are in the middle of chainsaw and handsaw this tool works great.  It does not have the power of a chainsaw that may be intimidating to some, but still makes pruning and cutting a lot quicker and easier than going at it with a handsaw.

12. Keter Cool Bar

This 7.5 gallon cooler is great for outdoor gatherings and holds up to 60 cans or 40 bottles with ice.  The top is collapsible which allows for this to function as a closed cooler and there is a built in drain plug at the bottom of the cooler.  With three colors and two styles to choose from this would be a great addition to any backyard or outdoor function.

13. Bosch Compact Lazer Distance Measure

The Bosch Compact Lazer Distance Measure allows for accurate measurements without the need for a tape measure up to 65 ft (in reality it is probably more like up to 40 ft.).  The beauty of this product is that one person can get multiple measurements from one spot without the need for someone running around from point to point with the other end of the tape measure.  This tool allows measuring to be an accurate one person job.

14. Rockwell Blade Runner

If a small table saw had a baby with a jigsaw, this would be the baby.  The Blade Runner is a nice lighter duty craft and hobby saw that cuts through just about any type of material someone would want to cut.  The Blade Runner’s sub 15 lb weight allows it to be easily transported to and from different jobs and it sets up quickly and easily.

15. Husqvarna Automower

I will start by saying I believe all moms deserve this, but the ones that receive this must truly be special.  This is the only product on the list that is well above the $100 mark that I was trying to hover around and under.  This particular model is rated for about a 3/4 acre yard and is sophisticated enough to automatically cut your lawn every day of the week if you so desire.  There is some initial set up labor that is required to get this thing self sufficient, but once it is done you are golden.

For additional information, reviews, and pricing on the products listed in this article simply click the product picture or link and it will take you directly to the product on Amazon.

Thank you very much for checking out my site.  If you are a mother, have a mother, or know a mother that is a serial DIY’er I would love to hear about you/her and see some pictures of your projects.  Feel free to email me some pictures and info about your projects so I can post them on my site or contact me through my tool-school.com page on Facebook.  I hope that you all have a great Mother’s Day!

Jake

jakestoolschool@yahoo.com