Building Materials

September 8, 2012

Rhino Shelter...a tale of customer service...


So with the renovation rumbling on and me about to clear out the basement for a full gut down there and me looking for a way to relieve some of the storage pressure that has built up in the garage and me needing long-term storage for the tractor, I decided it was time to get one of those portable garages.

Why do this and not smash together a shed in a weekend? Well basically because I can put it wherever I want to and I don't have to pay any taxes on it. There. Done.

So anyway, before the purchase, I did my research and it came down to Rhino Shelter and ShelterLogic as the two premier companies in the arena. I went with Rhino Shelter and I'll tell you why....then I'll tell you what happened once I placed the order....

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

March 24, 2011

Scotch Tough Duct Tape - Special Forces Unit

Heavy Duty All-Weather 1.jpg

Yes, we all know that duct tape is one of the essentials. Blah, blah, blah, it's like the Force from Star Wars....blah, blah, it has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together...we know...we know...please, stop with the quirky little fortune cookie sayings about duct tape. So anyway, beyond all that, Scotch has recently released a bunch of new types of duct tape, each for a particular use. Some of them pretty cool. Hopefully they won't spawn more annoying sayings about duct tape...

From our friends at Scotch:

Scotch® Tough Duct Tape - Heavy Duty All-Weather
is designed for long-term or permanent exterior repairs and resists drying, cracking and peeling caused by tough outdoor elements like cold and moisture - making it ideal for tough outdoor repairs in extreme conditions. Use it to:
  • Repair outdoor items
  • Secure plastic coverings to outdoor furniture for protection during the winter months

Scotch® Tough Duct Tape - Extreme Hold features rugged woven material and a double-thick adhesive layer - making it ideal for demanding repairs. Its waterproof barrier helps it adhere securely under the most extreme winter weather conditions for tough projects and repairs. Use it to:

  • Bundle loads of wood during the winter months

Scotch® Tough Duct Tape - Outdoor Painter's Clean Removal sticks to rough surfaces like brick and stucco. It features a waterproof backing and removes cleanly for up to 14 days from most surfaces. Use it to:

  • Moisture-proof doors & windows
  • Seal a variety of exterior surfaces during the winter months - including glass, vinyl, metal, concrete and finished wood

The one we're most interested in is the Heavy-Duty All-Weather. Do you think it's possible to wrap our entire house in it? Might take a while, but if it prevents ice dam leakage, it could be worth it...

More information at Scotch and a big selection is available at

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

February 8, 2011

Bagster + Snow = Snagster

Thumbnail image for bagster_hero.JPG

Check out the video that accompanies this news story. Snagsters in action...

Our review of the Bagster is here.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

January 21, 2011

Bagster - Review


An inevitable byproduct of tinkering around on your house is something known in English as 'trash.' Scraps of sheet rock, cut-offs, demo'd materials, etc. For the big jobs, you go and get a dumpster, for the small ones, you cut everything up into small pieces and use contractor bags. But what about those mid-sized projects like a big set of built-ins or relocating a wall? The answer used to be: "find a friend with a pickup truck who lives in a town with a lax dump policy," but now, the answer may very well be, 'get a Bagster." Waste Management, who runs the Bagster program, was nice enough to let us fill one up for a review and here's what we found...

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (7) | social bookmarking

September 30, 2010

Zircon Leak Alert

Zircon_leak_alert.jpgWhile we were poking around the Zircon website looking for information on their water level, we stumbled onto this helpful (and inexpensive little item). The Zircon Leak Alert is just that, a little gizmo that alerts you when conditions get, well, wet.

We've built houses with souped up water bugs that are tied into the house alarm system, but why go through all that trouble if you can just get a three pack of these things for $25 (well, one reason is that an alarm company will call you when you're out of town...but that's what you get for $25).

Might as well get a few and drop them in the basement here and there.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 14, 2010

DAP EnergySaver High Performance Air Leak & Gap Sealant - Review


A while back, DAP sent us a tube of their new EnergySaver Air Leak & Gap Sealant. It's been sitting on the desk for a while because, well, who cares about sealing their house in the middle of July? Not us, we've got mowing to do. But the seasons do change and here we are. So last week we cut open the tube, prepped a few window casings, and checked out the label to see if there are any specific instructions that go along with the product. Which is exactly where problems started...

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

August 11, 2009

Instant Switch

instant_switch.jpgInstant Switch is a way to activate (and deactivate) any outlet from a remote location. To use it, all you have to do is plug a little gizmo in any outlet and then plug in your light, computer, etc. into the gizmo. Now, place the switch anywhere you want to (within 60 feet) and it now controls the light via a wireless signal. The switch has a dimmer on it as well.

We're not big fans of overhead lighting, so we tend to have lamps all over the place. The only problem is that we spend quite a lot of time wandering around dark rooms feeling for the switches (and stepping on the cats). That said, something like this might be nice to have.

Instant Switch costs just over $20.

At ThinkGeek and

Via ThinkGeek

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

June 18, 2009

Big Ass Fans Survive Big Ass Tornado

big_ass_fan.jpgIf you haven't heard of Big Ass Fans, they're a company that makes the very small fans used to cool down computer micro-processors. We're kidding. They actually make the largest freaking fans you've ever seen. They're so big they look like they fell off the top of a Blackhawk helicopter.

Anyway, not only are they very cool and very massive, they're also very durable. The above picture was taken at a shoe factory in Missouri after a tornado ripped through and took the ceiling off (click the pic to enlarge and get all the details). It's impressive, you'd think the fans would be the first things to go.

big_ass_fans_2.jpgBig Ass Fans aren't just for industrial use though. It seems that they're catching on in the residential market as well. They're really a low energy way to move air around the house. It looks like they also help with LEED accreditation. Not to mention that Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips has one in his living room.

To learn more, check out the Big Ass Fans website here.

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 28, 2009

Marvin Ultimate Push Out Casement

marvin_push_out.jpgLast year, we were impressed with Marvin's Ultimate Replacement Casement and it looks like now they've released another window in the line, this time, it's the Ultimate Push Out Casement.

It appears to have the same innovative 'flip around' functionality as the Replacement Casement, making it a snap to clean, but with this window, Marvin has removed the crank hardware and made it so you simply push it open and lock it into position with a sash limiter. Not having the crank handle is a nice option and there's no question it cleans up the aesthetic of the window sill. But the lack of crank and the manual operation poses a problem for having screens, which Marvin gets around by making the screen swing inward with a little knob.

This looks like a nice addition to an innovative line of windows from Marvin.

More info over at Marvin

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 25, 2008

Rainwater Pillow

rain-water-pillow.jpgThe Rainwater Pillow is a new and fairly strange rainwater collection and storage system capable of holding thousands of gallons of water, as opposed to the 50 that a rain barrel can hold. Because of its giant pillow shape, it is designed to fit in a crawl space or under a deck, so there is no digging or drilling necessary like there would be for a cistern. This feature and its sheer water holding capabilities move the product toward establishing a convenient, long-term water source (unfortunately, not one for drinking). This is a far cry from the small-time "water a flower bed" action that a rain barrel can provide.

The pillows are available in kits which come with the pillow, filter, pump, fittings, and other necessary items. The 1000 gallon pillow kit costs $2500, the 2000 gallon kit costs $3500, and the 3000 gallon kit costs $4200.

More info at

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 10, 2008

Marvin Ultimate Replacement Casement

marvin_replacement.jpgCasement windows are great until it comes to cleaning time. Unless you have an extra elbow in your arm, there is simply no way to clean the outside of the window without getting the ladder out and trampling the rose bushes. A leading window manufacturer, Marvin, has just released a product that solves this problem. With the use of a clever hinge, their Ultimate Replacement Casement is capable of opening up and then swinging back on itself, exposing the outer face to someone standing inside. An amazing window can look like junk if it's not clean, and with this interesting hinge solution, it looks like Marvin has solved a complaint that has been around for as long as the casement.

Watch the window in action here (you don't see the hinge until about 3/4 of the way through).

Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 3, 2007

The Bagster

bagster.jpgOur good buddy Ed recently gave us the heads up on a cool new item for those of you who live in Connecticut, Massachusetts, or Rhode Island. It’s a thing called The Bagster and it looks like a great idea for anyone thinking about starting a small to medium sized project. The Bagster is a small, portable dumpster over 8’ long, 4’ wide and 2’ high. It’s made of plastic and can hold about three yards of material. It’s not your average kitchen bag either; the Bagster is strong enough to hold 3,300 pounds.

But the best part is that once you fill the thing up, all you have to do is make a phone call and Bagster comes and picks it up. That’s it.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking

May 9, 2007

Velux Sun Tunnel Skylights

velux_sun_tunnel.jpgIf you’ve ever wished you could brighten up your upstairs hallway or bring some natural light into a walk-in closet, you should spend some time looking at Velux’s line of Sun Tunnel Skylights. They're a great alternative to electrical lights, are easy to install, and once they are in, they require virtually no upkeep.

The principal is very simple. Light enters the tunnel through a little bubble that sits on your roof, it travels through the tunnel, and is dispersed at the other end through a frosted diffuser that looks like a recessed light. Now your dark, dank hallway looks as fresh and airy as Martha Stewart's rose garden

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

April 4, 2007


pole_wrap.jpgIf you’re looking for a quick 1/2 day project to do around the house, how about covering up that Lally column in the finished part of your basement? Instead of boxing it out with regular flat stock, which sounds to us like one of those 2 hour projects that ends up taking all month, a small company called Pole-Wrap has a faster, easier solution. Their product, Pole-Wrap (who knew?), is a flexible sheet of 1/2” red oak panels that, you guessed it, wrap around the Lally column, making it look not so much like a stripper’s pole and more like a piece of intentional architecture.

The installation looks pretty simple. Just cut the 8’ bundle to length, glue up the pole, fit the wrap around it, and tape it in place until the glue has time to set. After that, just install the cap and base and, aside from painting (or staining), you’re done.

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Doug Mahoney at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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