In This Issue...

Sponsored By:

Grabber Construction Products
Grabber Construction Products

Great Stuff Foam Sealants
Great Stuff Foam Sealants

Johns Manville
Johns Manville


Mag Manufacturing
Mag Manufacturing

PLŪ Adhesives & Sealants
PLŪ Adhesives & Sealants

Scotts Lawn Care
Scotts Lawn Care


Other Ideas...

Visit our forum for helpful tips and advice from other do-it-yourselfers! Click here.

Have an idea for our next newsletter? Send it our way!

Would you like to advertise on the On The House website or e-newsletter? Click here to tell us more!

To unsubscribe or change your subscription preferences, click here.

On The House Express
is brought to you in part by:


Wayne Dalton

Say Good-bye to the Plain Vanilla Garage Door

The new 9800 model fiberglass doors will initially be available in three panel designs that combine the maintenance and insulation benefits of steel with the realism and design flexibility of wood.

Because homeowners often complain about the noise associated with the opening and closing of garage doors, the 9800 also includes the SilentGlide. rollers with nylon tires and solid steel shafts to provide years of smooth, quiet, dependable service that is guaranteed for life.

The doors will become commercially available in the fall of 2005 through Wayne-Dalton’s 1200-member dealer network and will be priced with an approximate cost of $1300 -$1700.

The 9800 model doors are designed in various sizes that address the overwhelming majority of consumer and builder preferences, including seven and eight-foot high doors. The door widths will be available in eight, nine, sixteen and eighteen-foot sizes.

Fiberglass garage doors open up new standards for aesthetic appeal and ease of maintenance. By selecting a fiberglass door, homeowners won’t have to deal with the warping, splintering or denting risks of wood and steel doors. Once the door is painted or stained, the durability of the finish is unsurpassed.

The 9800 fiberglass doors are not only visually stunning, but also equipped with the latest technology that has made Wayne-Dalton an industry leader in safety, security and innovation.

This product introduction by Wayne-Dalton reinforces the company’s commitment to truly redefining the modern garage door system. The company has created a complete garage door system for homeowners so that they can now experience maximum benefits in design, safety and security. For additional information, visit:

New Hi-Tech Siding for the Life of Your Home

Putting it all together
Along the way, in siding’s development, foam panels were introduced which were installed on a home’s surface before siding (of any type) was to be installed.
It was both a huge leap forward in improving energy efficiency and in bettering cosmetic appearances as it added insulating properties (while helping to control moisture build-up) and leveled the surface on which the new siding was to be applied.
Siding was inching it’s way .hi-tech. and home’s exteriors were now receiving combinations of various .solutions..
Then, approaching the year 2000, one company boldly put it all together . and then some . and finally got it right. Siding went decidedly space-age.

Enter New .Solid. Thinking
Six years ago, one manufacturer decided to bring the best of all technologies together in one product and developed the CraneBoard® Solid Core System..
Engineers at Crane Performance Siding Company started by creating a vinyl face panel that truly captured the rich milled-grain wood finish of cedar. They then began re-thinking both profiles and panel configurations.
Step two was to meld them with a rigid solid core backing that turned simple siding into a .system. with amazing benefits and properties.
The result was CraneBoard, that not only .looks. like natural cedar, but that is so technologically superior and improved . in every respect . that it probably even has Mother Nature seriously considering it for her home.

So What’s Not to Love ?
While CraneBoard Solid Core System certainly looks like cedar, a myriad of not-so-apparent innovations are what truly set it apart from all others.
One, called CraneSpan., offers innovative larger panel widths that are more than twice as wide as wood, fiber cement and ordinary vinyl siding. Beautiful profiles in triple 6 (three 6. planks) or the new Double 7 (a double course of two 7. planks) provide the beauty and oversized 18-inch panel widths provide new speedier installation.
Added to this is CraneBoard’s Solid Core. backing that not only creates a rigid panel . that straightens dips and bumps in exterior walls and adds strength . it turns siding into an amazing energy-saving product as well.
CraneBoard Solid Core delivers four times the insulating power of ordinary siding with an average 4.0 R-value earning it the Energy Star® label. And solid Core edges interlock for a seamless appearance and exceptionally tight fit that reduces air infiltration (by up to 17%), quiets outside noise (by up to 45%) and is engineered to withstand hurricane-force winds (up to 130 MPH ). It is also 300 times more .impact resistant. than ordinary vinyl siding

Purple Says It’s CraneBoard
Just to be sure . that you can be sure . you’re getting .genuine. Solid Core siding, CraneBoard adds a brilliant purple hue to the back of every panel (called: Performance Purple).
And if everything mentioned so far isn’t enough, recent enhancements include new Smarttrack. channels with built-in technology that guide excess moisture out even better through .weep holes. at the bottom of every panel.
They’ve also added Perform Guard® to the Solid Core backing that helps repel termites and carpenter ants.
The result: A spectacular cedar-look siding that is smooth and flat, truly maintenance-free, tough, energy-efficient, moisture proof and insect resistant.
And if that’s not enough.there is a new .Architectural Essentials Accessories. line offering 16 matching trim components in 13 colors to complete the desired look.
But (as they say in TV infomercials), .wait there’s more!. CraneBoard Solid Core siding also offers the strongest warranty available in the industry . a non-nonsense .life of the home. warranty for (you guessed it) the life of your home!
Whether building new or re-siding, you just may want to join the over 100,000 homeowners to-date who’ve already said, . Super side me.with the CraneBoard Solid Core System!.
It’s what today’s siding should be: hi-tech, space-age and good.

Building a Proper Doghouse

Every year, when Sirius, the "Dog Star," appears in the night sky, it signals the official start of the "dog days of summer"...40 of the hottest, stickiest days of the year. They occur from July 3 through August 15.

While we humans scurry indoors for relief from the heat during this time, pets don't always get to follow suit. If you have a pooch that could use a little protection from the elements, including rain and cold, as well as sweltering heat, consider giving him a true home of his own. Here's how to construct "Chateau Bow-Wow":

As with any construction project, the more preplanning and pre-approval, the better. Be sure to check local codesand rules before you begin.

Carefully plan the location...considering things like natural shading (to reduce heat) and water runoff (to prevent flooding)...and make a drawing to work from. This blueprint of sorts should also include the number and position of framing members. As rough as it might be, this sketch will serve as a helpful planning tool and shopping list at the hardware store.

Pre-construction pointers: Style the doghouse to mirror your home's basic look and design and overbuy by at least 10 percent quantities of materials you think you'll need. If you don't, inevitably you'll be making return trips mid-project.

A typical size for a doghouse is 4-feet by 4-feet. This size allows for dividing standard lumber and panels into equal pieces, without waste. A tiny dog or massive hound will require scaling up or down, but 4X4 will suit most.

For all framing, pressure-treated lumber should be used. It resists moisture damage and insects. The 48-inch-square floor structure needs two cross support joists at 16-inch intervals. It should be both level and elevated above ground at least 2 inches on bricks or concrete blocks, and can be erected over a same-size concrete pad. The actual decking should be half-inch plywood.

For the four walls, 2X2 framing can be used without problems...again pressure-treated. Overall height and the entrance opening should be scaled specifically to your dog's size, allowing plenty of clearance for comfort.

All four walls should be assembled separately, using galvanized L-brackets, construction screws and-or nails. At this point and from now on, the help of a second person makes assembly much easier to manage. Fasten the four pre-assembled wall sections to the plywood-covered floor frame with screws (preferred) and-or nails. Tie the four wall frames to each other with more brackets, screws and nails.

The roof is the most difficult part. We suggest designing the pitch-and-gable "look" somewhat parallel to that of your home. Make one roof joist "V" and use it as a template for the remaining two. Once made, also plan some roof overhang (2- to 4 inches per side) for water runoff. Carefully measure and mark the "notches" where roof joists cross and rest atop the wall framing.

Once the three joists are constructed...which is all you should need (vs. four in the floor to support your dog's weight)...they should be tied together with a cross-member "spine" running below the peak to maintain equal spacing and notches, and attached to the wall framing with screws and-or nails.

Once the framework is complete, cover the four sidewalls and roof sections with 3/8-inch plywood. Always measure carefully before cutting your panels and...for the two tricky triangle end gable roof yourself a big measuring-and-planning headache by first making a paper or cardboard template with a perfect fit. Then transfer its shape to your wood.

Use shingles or roofing that matches that of your home. Remember, lighter colors also draw less solar heat (for your home and theirs). Basic roof application techniques for whatever you choose can be learned by asking a few questions at your source of supply.

Finishing touches can be as spartan or lavish as you wish. We suggest adding wood trim around the entrance and painting the doghouse to match that of your own home. Inside, a few strategically placed drain holes are a good idea...both for inclement weather and occasional "accidents."

Good ventilation up near the roof is necessary. If joints are tight, create a way for rising heat to escape freely. We've seen small operative windows, artificial turf carpeting and even a "porch" light. It's your call.

Dealing With Weeds

Among our least favorite chores is weeding. This likely stems from one Carey brother as a child being employed as chief gardener for an aunt with an elaborate flower garden.

While her home would be considered modest by most standards, there was nothing average about her garden. It was her passion, and was surrounded by countless large trees, plants, ornamental shrubs, decorative hanging baskets, stately hedges, four lush lawns and a "Versailles-like" rose garden. It goes without saying that a garden of this magnitude required constant care. That meant that three days each week after school, all day Saturdays and summer vacations were committed to work in her garden. A day's work might include mowing, edging, trimming, pruning, fertilizing, raking leaves, watering and the dread weeding.

There were always weeds to pull somewhere in that garden. The rose garden was most prone to weeds. It consisted of six separate beds, each of which contained a dozen or so rose bushes. The beds were symmetrically laid out, surrounded by concrete paths and set off by a multi-tiered fountain.

The weeds would become so thick at times that no soil was visible, and frequently the rose bushes would be hidden. What we didn't know then was that weeds are not simply an ugly eyesore; they battle plants, shrubs and trees for water and essential nutrients.

Today, there is a cost-effective and environmentally sound alternative to the old-fashioned way of dealing with weeds a hoe or bare hands. In fact, it's a process that professional landscapers have used for years landscape fabric.

Landscape fabric is a barrier designed to prevent the growth of weeds present in the soil. It is produced either by weaving synthetic fibers together at right angles (woven) or by bonding short or continuously spun fibers together through heat bonding, needle-punching, spin bonding or other processes (non-woven).

Most applications involve the fabric being applied directly on top of the soil and then overlaid with ground cover or other decorative coverings such as mulch, bark chips, gravel or stone. Aside from keeping weeds at bay, the fabric helps prevent the decorative covering from deteriorating by keeping them separate from the soil.

Many green-thumbers have tried plastic sheeting only to be disappointed by the results. What many have found is that plastic sheeting tears easily, disintegrates and often results in "sour soil". This is in sharp contrast to landscape fabrics which breathe, allowing air and water to pass through. This is especially important on hilly areas where, with sheet plastic, water produced by rain or sprinklers can be trapped, washing away decorative mulch or other ornamental coverings.

Landscape fabric is also good for the environment. One of the traditional ways of dealing with weeds is through the use of potentially hazardous chemical herbicides. Families with small children or pets, now more than ever, are taking steps to limit the use of products around the house and garden that contain toxic chemicals.

For many parts of the country the last decade has been one of drought which has, in many cases, resulted in water rationing. In situations such as this, more often than not, landscaping is the first element to suffer, frequently creating a wasteland. Although landscape fabric can't make rain, it can slow down the evaporation process and result in less frequent waterings. This not only saves water, in a drought it can save a garden.

Landscape fabric is affordable, easy to use and can be installed around trees, ground cover and decorative plants and shrubs. For more information about landscape fabric call Easy Gardener toll-free at 1-800-327-9462.

How Water Is Used in the Home

In this day and age of indoor toilets and aqueducts, it is hard to conceive of water rationing. One who has experienced a drought recently will tell you that water rationing at 50 gallons a day per person (and in some cases, 50 gallons per day per household), is limiting. By contrast, it would be easy for a family of four to use 1,500 gallons of water per day trying to maintain an average household and a garden.

Drought or not, water conservation makes good sense. Besides ensuring availability, you can count on reducing the water bill. And there is another plus.

Water treatment and purification is a cost that, like it or not, we can all relate to. But when water conservation is in full effect, there is another potential cost savings - sewage treatment. The water that drains away from showers, sinks and toilets all ends up in the same place - the sewage treatment plant. The more water that has to be processed at the plant, the higher the cost. For example: It costs considerably more to treat a pint of waste carried away by the flush of a 7-gallon toilet than it does to treat a pint of waste carried away by one flush of a 3.5 gallon toilet. The water generated by a toilet flush, brushing your teeth, washing your hands, showering, washing clothes and dishes all ends up at the sewage treatment plant.

As you read the following tips on how to conserve water, remember you are killing two birds with one stone. Saving water and reducing wastewater treatment costs. And don't forget the cost savings at the water heater which we'll address later.


If you are on a public water system, chances are you have a water meter somewhere on or near your property. In addition to telling you how much water you are using, it can help you detect leaks.

Water meters look a little like a speedometer. Subtract the first reading from the second to find out how many cubic feet of water you have used. A cubic foot contains 7.5 gallons of water. For example: If the first reading is 006300 and the second reading - a week later - is 006400, then your use for one week was 100 cubic feet or 750 gallons (100 cubic feet x 7.5 gallons per cubic foot = 750 gallons), an average of slightly more than 107 gallons per day. In some communities all you need to do is read your water bill to discover this information.

To use your water meter to detect a hidden leak, turn off every plumbing fixture in your house for a couple of hours. And, don't forget the built-in icemaker or the reverse-osmosis water filtration system. They turn themselves on automatically. Once everything is off, take a meter reading. If the reading changes, a leak exists.

Most water gets used in the bathroom, so that is where you have to be most careful. Don't flush conservation away. Most toilets installed before the early 1980s used 5 to 7 gallons of water per flush. Those installed between the early '80s and most recently use 3.5 gallons per flush, and today almost every state is mandating the use of 1.6-gallon toilets. If you are like most people, toilet use in your house accounts for 40 percent of your water use. Converting from a 7-gallon toilet to a 1.6-gallon one can reduce your overall water use by 25 percent or more. A leaky toilet can cost you 50 gallons of water or more per day regardless of its size. To find out if your toilet leaks, remove the tank lid and add about 7 drops of red or blue food coloring. Do not flush for about 15 to 20 minutes. If the water in the bowl becomes colored, a leak exists.

Low-flow water fixtures also save on waste, especially at the showerhead. You might have a showerhead in your home that allows a flow of 7 gallons per minute. A five-minute shower can use 35 gallons of water. A low-flow showerhead (3.5 gallons per minute) can reduce the water used in a shower by half. Multiply the savings by the persons showering each day and the number of showers taken per day by each person.

There is another hidden expense when taking a shower, and it rears its ugly head each month in your gas and electric bill. Remember the less water you use for a shower, the less hot water needed to get the job done.

And, by the way, low-flow showerheads are aerated and feel similar to a shower you might take with an old-fashioned showerhead.

The kitchen and laundry also can be big waste centers. Dishwashers and clothes washers can use 17 to 35 gallons of water per load. Be a good manager and run only full loads.

During the summer, outdoor water use can run the needle off the chart. Washing an automobile can use 100 gallons of water and washing down a sidewalk easily can consume 60 gallons or more.