Month: July 2015

Landscaping Dallas, TX Services That You May Be Considering

When you are thinking about residential landscaping, there are a number of different more detailed services that you may be considering for your next outdoor project.

What Are Some Examples?

  • Outdoor lighting.
  • Ponds.
  • Lawn Care and laying sod.
  • Pools.
  • Patios.
  • Installing shrubs and other plants.
  • Stone work.

Other considerations that you may want to think about – especially for a new home with brand new landscaping being added. things like proper drainage, grading, etc.

Commercial Landscapes

If you own a business, you may also be looking for a commercial landscape architect to work on your business location.

We Recommend

Land Patterns Inc


Make sure to click their name and go to their site. Take a look at their project photos to see for yourself. Contact them today to get a price quote done for your project.

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We Buy Houses Investors Can Help!

You may have three choices in selling your old home,. There are there are only three difficulties with this particular notion.

House for saleOne, they can’t ensure you of when your property will get sold, so leaving a doubtful waiting time without guarantee to you. Second, in the event the home is too old and require really not that presentable and substantial repairs, your real estate broker might have trouble selling it as no one will readily get interested. Another time squandered. Third, in the event the home gets sold, a part of the sale will need to visit the agent so leaving you with less gain on the price.

Another alternative for you is to offer your home all on your own. You can post it on papers, on the web yourself, or get leads from buddies as well as families for prospective buyers. One more thing is that you sell an old, unattractive house that still wants repairs, it will probably be again challenging. Additionally, it could likewise be expensive in your portion particularly if you should have it printed on papers and so on.

Your third choice is going to be to seek the aid of “we buy houses” investors. These investors are in the company of purchasing houses as they are able to purchase the condition at an affordable cost, whatever it is for as long.

That’s how their company goes. Thus, you are able to make the most of that by simply offering them your house for a possible closure. Make the most of the chance but remember also to ensure yourself that there isn’t going to be any difficulties later on and to make your own research only to be sure your investor is on a valid company.

With these chances, you’re nearly certain that you’ve got a buyer for your house. The edge is, you get won’t should shoulder repairs and improvements to offer your home immediately, and close the deal rapidly with less time plus expense squandered.

Some Examples:

photo by:

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Strong Screws :: The Story with Simpson Strong-Tie Structural Screws

This post has been sponsored by Simpson Strong-Tie, but the thoughts within our my own.


Insufficiently Built Decks

Each year at the Remodeling Show, Simpson Strong-Tie presents their case for the importance of proper connections in deck construction. It has become, well, a thing … at the Show, Simpson Strong-Tie’s now famous “Deck Collapse.” A few weeks back and the first time for me, I caught it. With it, my intro for this post … changed.


A little further back I discussed some of the Kleenexes of, well, the building industry. And of course, you could probably throw out a few. Kleenex you know, a name brand – often supplants the more generic term “tissue.” That is – the brand name becomes simply synonymous with the item it describes.

Actually I posted that article on July 28th, 2011. It was titled “Well, Evyn, If You Can’t Duct It, . . . :: Foil Tape the Better Duct Tape” and it contained a pic of my then 8-year-old daughter, lending a hand as I hooked up a new dryer.

To quote it, I wrote: “… Few building products totally dominate a (product) niche like Nashua Foil Tape. Simpson Strong-Tie, Magna Latch, ZipWall. …” To name just a few.

Simpson_Strong_Tie_logoStrangely, I learned a little later that Simpson Strong-Tie was a fan.  :~)

I mean – it’s just one of those things. I’ve never really, and haven’t had to, put too much thought into it. When I look down at a buy list, and it reads, say, “Joist Hangers” = Simpson Strong-Tie®. Similarly, “Post Bases” = Simpson Strong-Tie® … Ties, Plates, Angles, you guessed it = Simpson Strong-Tie®. Hardware, Hot-Dipped Corrosion-Resistant Galvanized, Z-Max for added insurance and I can find a huge array of options right there on the end cap (actually on two) at my local Home Depot.

For this assignment, though, I won’t be talking about, well … any of that. Ha!

I will set instead to look solely at the Simpson Strong-Tie® fastener options. And I don’t know about you, but it was kinda news to me. I mean – beyond joist hanger (teco) nails and galvanized lags, I actually was surprised that the line was, well, way more robust and especially in the area of structural screws.

Simpson Strong-Tie Structural Screws at the 2014 Remodeling Show

This is instantly apparent on using the company’s new Fastener Finder web app. As a related overview video depicts, this app is super for exploring options. Search by the length or gauge of fastener. Search by Fastener Type (from Collated to Hand-Drive Screw) and/or by Application Type. Fasteners may also be searched (and very appropriately for screws) either by Head, Thread, Shank or Point Type. While 20 or so Materials/Coatings are available, the Stainless Steel options in this drop down quickly caught my eye. I spy SS gradings for 302, 304, 305, 316, & 410. But wait! What does that mean?


Maybe you’ve heard the old saying, “Stainless, yeah, stains less.”

Now I know that when it comes to stainless, NOT all stainless is created equal. If curious streaking on past exteriors project wasn’t enough proof, we could talk at the faint rust spots that lie there un-removable just below my frig’s water dispenser.  I mean – those who have lived with stainless steel appliances and/or stainless steel fixtures know that stainless steel isn’t always so stainless. But wait. What?!

So how exactly can stainless differ from, well, stainless? I can’t quite tell you what type of stainless was used to wrap my frig, but Wikipedia makes light of noteworthy differences in Steel Grades. Take these differences in just the few types that Simpson Strong-Tie® offers and quote that linked page:

300 Series—austenitic chromium-nickel alloys

  • Type 302—same corrosion resistance as 304, with slightly higher strength due to additional carbon.
  • Type 304—the most common grade; the classic 18/8 (18% chromium, 8% nickel) stainless steel. Outside of the US it is commonly known as “A2 stainless steel”, in accordance with ISO 3506 (not to be confused with A2 tool steel).[6]
  • (Type 305not listed but seems to have slightly less chromium and slightly more nickel than 304.)
  • Type 316—the second most common grade (after 304); for food and surgical stainless steel uses; alloy addition of molybdenum prevents specific forms of corrosion. It is also known as marine grade stainless steel due to its increased resistance to chloride corrosion compared to type 304. 316 is often used for building nuclear reprocessing plants.

400 Series—ferritic and martensitic chromium alloys

  • Type 410—martensitic (high-strength iron/chromium). Wear-resistant, but less corrosion-resistant.

Both 100 and 200 series seem to align with general purpose applications such as with furniture. The 400 Series seems to be used widely in cutlery and in kitchen applications. 500 and 600 series also exist, but are most widely found in heat-related applications. And while I know these are very over-simplified statements, I can conclude that the bulk of construction related Stainless Steel seems to be found in the 300 Series.

These same pages continue on to reveal:

SAE 304 stainless steel … is used for a variety of home and industry uses, such as screws, machinery parts, fabrics and other uses.

Marine grade stainless, or SAE 316 stainless steel … while Type 316 is not completely rust-proof, the alloy is more corrosion-resistant than other common stainless steels. Surgical steel is made from subtypes of 316 stainless steel.

One the more popular stainless screws that Simpson Strong-Tie® offers is the Deck-DriveTM DWP WOOD SS Screw in Type 316. Don’t be misled by the name, this is in fact more of a multi-purpose screw designed for decking but also working well docks, siding, trim, etc. Consistent with above, Type 316 simply outperforms Type 305 (again very similar to Type 304), which is actually known to show signs of rust.

Strong Drive DWP

The Deck-DriveTM DWP WOOD SS Screw in Type 316 is recommended instead by the company for coastal applications.  Sharp-points and a “box thread” are also said to minimize the effort required in installing them. To learn more about the full line of Deck-DriveTM screws, here.

Beyond Stainless

Okay that was my opportunity to take a good look at stainless, but Simpson Strong-Tie® has many more offerings beyond stainless fasteners and a few I’ll highlight below.

The Strong-Drive® SDWS TIMBER Screw is ideal for the ledger attachment – the essential, arguably most vital component in overall deck safety. Recommended as alternative to through-bolting and/or traditional lag screws, the Strong-Drive® SDWS TIMBER Screw  relative ease of installation is almost immediately apparent. While available too in a stainless option with a hex head (as SDWH TIMBER-HEX SS), it’s more common to find this screw with what the company calls a “double-barrier coating.”

Deck Ledger Attachment from Simpson Strong-Tie

The SDWS TIMBER Screw appears prominently in the Simpson Strong-Tie® Deck Connection and Fastening Guide (F-DECKCODE13). Check page 8 for the industry’s currently accepted ledger fastening pattern. In general, I’ll say that Simpson Strong-Tie® has always supported their products with exceptional literature. To explore more, perhaps begin in Simpson’s Deck Center. Oh! And more on the Strong-Drive® structural line, here.

Deck Connection and Fastening Guide

Before you begin to think that Simpson Strong-Tie® expertise is limited decking only, and sure, Simpson Strong-Tie® has been at the forefront, even driving best practices as well as code for many years, they have some smart offerings in interior structural screws too.

In the way of subfloors, for example, you can find the Strong-Drive® WSNTL SUBFLOOR Screw. It is said to be especially efficient when used with their Quik-Drive® PRO250 Subfloor Auto-Feed Screw Driving System. This tool is said to offer visual confirmation that you’ve hit a joint and I know I could have used that reassurance many times through the years. Ha!


QuikDrive in action

Last in this rundown, I have the Strong-Drive®SDWC TRUSS Screw. I mean how can you beat an orange screw?! (#GoBirds :~) ). As a fully threaded fastener, it provides both more options on installation, but also excellent load path while being mindful of the trades that the follow rough framing applications.


For the full of array of Simpson Strong-Tie® fasteners, available for a myriad of additional applications, again check them out here >>  Simpson Strong-Tie® Fasteners.

Some photos courtesy of Simpson Strong-Tie®.


Home Improvement | Remodeling | Home Repair || DIY & Pro :: Building Moxie is the do-it-together home improvement blog.

Holy Shit, The Garage

Okay, so there is no hope of starting this post with some clever opening line because I just can’t wait to show you guys something…



Holy. Shit.



Yeah, okay, so I’m not going to pretend that this is nearly as important to anyone else as it is to me. I haven’t often talked about or posted pictures of the full garage because it stresses me out. I mean, listen, in the three years I’ve lived here, I’ve probably only been away from the farm for, what? Fifteen days? That means there are about 1200 days of my life where I walked out the back door, or drove home from work, and saw this…




Rotted doors, rotted windows, rotted siding. Plus a lot of missing siding, or no siding, or, well, this…


That’s real. That’s what the back of the garage looked like (complete with missing garage door) when I bought this place.

If you’re wondering why the hell it took me this long to do something about it… well. Good question. I actually priced out “residing” the entire garage within the first month of living here, but the builder I talked to was going to charge me $10,000.

If your eyeballs almost fell out of your head… fair. Mine did too, especially when I was in the midst of paying for all of the plumbing to be fixed and a new roof to be put on the house. It just wasn’t financially feasible, even though it was probably a fair price for the work. (Protip: If you ever want a ballpark on what having work done on your house should cost, estimate your material cost and then double it for labor. It’s not 100% accurate–obviously any contractor will have their own way of pricing based on costs, efficiencies, and how much they want the work–but that should at least put you in the general range of what it should cost.)

Since I wasn’t going to pay $10k to re-side the garage, I did what I could. I had a new garage door installed in the shop a few years back. I did some demo myself and then begged help from one of my uncles to get the worst two sides of the garage taken care of. I painted… eventually. I definitely didn’t intend to find myself three years down the road, still staring at this shit…


There are so many things I can do without help if I don’t have the means or desire to pay for it, but it turns out that installing 10ft sheets of T1-11 is not on that list. I mean… shit. I could probably rig something up on the tractor and figure out how to get it done. It’s not impossible. It’s also probably not practical (unless I’m trying to prove a point… and honestly? It’s been a long time since anyone in my life has tried to tell me I “can’t” do something, so that’s less of a motivator these days than it has been in the past.)

So, anyway, this damn garage siding has been weighing on me for a long time, and I finally just manned-up and did that thing I hate doing…

I asked for help.

And my dad showed up with my kid brother and some of his buddies, and they helped with the demo and hauling those sheets of siding around…


Which was absolutely amazing…


And then my mom had some of her friends up to the farm last week and they helped with the painting…


And with a week off work I was able to continue to paint and get a ton of trim work done…


I love trim work.

Which brings us to this…

image(Also, someone is going to comment on the “sag” in that 100 year old corn crib roof as if the world is ending… it’s not. This building is perfectly solid, if a little settled. Everyone has the right to be uptight about their own shit, but I’m not interested in anyone pulling that Chicken Little routine about my house or outbuildings. Trust me… I’m perfectly aware of what’s going on in all of my buildings from a structural standpoint, and I’ve got this shit handled.) Anyway, the progress is amazing, even though there’s still a ton of work to do before it’s finished, including painting the back side and install all the “upper” trim, corner trim, and soffit boards. I’m also considering what to do on the peak of the roof where the octagon window was… it wasn’t feasible to move the framing for the larger rectangular window I’d hoped for, so I’m considering a false “door” or possibly commissioning some ironwork from a blacksmith friend of mine… we’ll see.  That’s no small amount of work, but I’m happy to do it, because instead of driving home from work every day and seeing this… image I’m gonna see this… image

I’m just going to say this again because it bears repeating: Holy. Shit.

How to Make Chalk Paint



Chalk paint, not to be confused with chalkboard paint, has become a popular force in the world of do-it-yourselfers for its extreme versatility. Used for a variety of projects from refinishing furniture to creating beautiful eggs for Easter time, chalk paint provides the home improvement enthusiast with an avenue for creating truly unique spaces and décor.


Able to match any design scheme, chalk paint is highly customizable, as it can be made using nearly any standard latex paint available.


It is, in fact, incredibly easy to make. Though there are many chalk paint recipes out there, here’s one that stands out from the rest.


Calcium Carbonate Chalk Paint


Items needed:


  • Calcium Carbonate — powder form. This can be difficult to find in stores, but a trip online to Amazon will grant you a large bottle of calcium carbonate for around $10.
  • Latex Paint. Any latex paint with any finish style, whether flat or satin, will work.
  • Paint Brush. The brush necessary depends on the project. Here’s a quick guide from Sherwin Williams on choosing the right paint brush.
  • Paint Stirrer. Ask your local home improvement store for a freebie.
  • Large bowl or paint pan. A standard paint pan is available for about a dollar in many home improvement stores.


Once you’ve got your items collected, measure out your ingredients:


1 part calcium carbonate


2 parts latex paint


Using the paint stirrer, combine the two ingredients in the paint pan or bowl until they have reached a smooth consistency. If necessary, add a little warm water to improve the texture. Once thoroughly combined, apply your chalk paint as instructed for the project.


And that’s it. Easy enough, right?


What to Paint?


With such a simple recipe, it will be hard to not paint everything. To encourage testing out your paint on as many projects as possible, try with objects made of metal, wood and even concrete.


After a couple coats of your paint, you may want to try distressing the piece by lightly sanding it down to create an old-world effect. Layering different colors and then sanding can be a great way to add dimension to a piece.


Some recipes encourage using a finishing wax when finished painting. However, if it is in a high traffic area you might want to consider using Polycrylic or some other type of sealer.


After you’re done with all your chalk paint projects, remember to properly dispose of your paint and wax.


Why Make Your Own?


Making your own chalk paint is incredibly easy, once the proper ingredients have been found, of course. What, then, would be the driving factor for skipping out on making your own and trying a popular version of chalk paint like the one made by Annie Sloan?


Annie Sloan’s chalk paint is popular for a reason: It gets the job done and does it well. It’s easy to find, comes in a variety of colors, and doesn’t involve searching for calcium carbonate all over the town.


However, by making your own, you may be able to save a little money, especially if you’ve got your eye on more than one project. You may also be able to more significantly customize your piece, as the color choices are endless when using the recipe above.


All of these reasons point to the satisfaction of trying out a version at home. This recipe will definitely suit the needs of the novice painter, providing a paint that is at once versatile and beautiful.




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Is Painting Stucco A Good Or Bad Idea?

As with anything, there are always advantages and disadvantages to doing this type of home improvement project.

Painting Stucco Before And After

Coming soon. We are working on some pictures of some recent projects. Have some of a cinder block wall, brick, exterior walls, a fireplace, foundation, retaining wall, etc. Our preferred paint is Benjamin Moore.


Like anything relating to home improvements, it is all going to depend on the size of the job. The best thing to do is find you local painter and get an estimate – many will provide this for free. If you are looking for a quote from a >stucco painter in Calgary, look at The Urban Painter at as our recommendation.

Should You DIY?

This all depends too. How patient are you, how much experience do you have with a paint roller, etc?

Dangers Of Painting Stucco

Some say that painting stucco on a house is not a good idea because of a few different reasons:

  • Stucco absorbs moisture which could eventually get trapped under the paint layer – causing problems.
  • It is notorious for peeling.
  • With a paint layer, it is harder for the stucco to dry out of it does abosrb any moisture.

Still Want To Paint It? Cleaning And Preparing Stucco For Painting

Take a look at this video primer with instructions:



How Often Should You Maintain The Paint?

In most climates, a good quality paint should last 5-10 years before you should need to repaint.

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