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Ethan Biederman

Pro

Owner (17 years experience)

Specialties:
Carpentry,
General Contracting,
Interior Design,
Painting

Advice

  • (49 Contributions,
  • 2 Best Answers,
  • 14 Helpful)

Contributions are sorted newest to oldest.

How to remove mildew in the tiled shower pan?

Answer

Nwhome.us  is pretty much on the money here.  Bleach is very effective at killing mildew but it should be diluted to no more than 50%.  Keep the surface wet with the bleach solution for about 10 minutes and then rinse it well.  You will usually see mildew turn from black to a medium brown color as it dies.  If the bleach doesn't kill the mildew then it is INSIDE the caulk and you must remove the caulk and replace it with a mildew-resistant caulk.  I recommend treating the area with bleach solution and let it dry for 24 hours before applying new caulk.  Mildew is spore based so the more you remove the slower it will reappear.Finally, consider why the mildew is appearing.  Usually the poor ventilation in bathrooms is the major culprit which can be solved by installing or upgrading your exhaust fan.  With a shower pan you may have a problem with standing water.I hope this helps,Ethan 

  (0)
House Improvement Estimate Costs

Answer

Hi,  It isn't possible to estimate the cost of renovation without very specific information and, for a project of your size, a walkthrough of the property.  Any numbers we could provide you with would be just plain guesswork and could be off by 50% or more.  There is no substitute for properly planning a project before getting price information as the choices you make will be one of the key factors in determining the price.  I recommend selecting a contractor or architect and designing the project while talking about rough prices.  Don't expect a free estimate from a contractor if they are helping with the design.  A good contractor wouldn't(and shouldn't) dedicate the necessary time to properly design a large project without compensation.I hope this helps,Ethan 

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If it is 99 degrees outside and u have your ac in the house set on 74 degrees, what temp can u expec

Answer

Hi Joyce,  What you are describing is common but not "normal".  It sounds like your air conditioning system is either undersized or in need of maintenance.  I am assuming that the unit is running non-stop to provide you with the 79 degree temperature which means that it is running at full capacity and is not sufficient for the job.Air conditioning systems need to be designed to fit the space which they are conditioning.  HVAC contractors will perform a heat loss/gain analysis to determine what the requirements will be given the size of the space, the insulation, the average high/low temperature for your area, etc..I hope this helps,Ethan 

  (0)
Kitchen Remodeling

Response

Hi Joe,   A kitchen remodel can be the most exciting and worthwhile renovation you can perform on your home.  It can also be the most expensive, frustrating, and time consuming.  A good general contractor, whether it be a kitchen and bathroom company or an individual, is a must.  In my opinion the safest way to find such a company is through referrals and background checks.   Companies like Service Magic merely charges the contractor for a listing.  There really isn't any background check.  I've been solicited by them several times and it's a straightforward "pay for leads" service.  Angieslist.com is a more customer driven site but there are certain manipulations that can be performed on their data as well.  You could say I am a reluctant Angieslist member.   Through google and bing's local listing searches you can frequentlyfind reviews of a company but a few reviews doesn't speak for all of their customers.  Ask around among people whose opinion you trust for referrals of reputable companies and ask for recent(1 year or less) referrals from other customers.  It is difficult to solicit comparable bids from contractors who are not working with the same design so my advice is to secure a design first and then solicit estimates.  I recommend that you place more value on your comfort level with the contractor than with the final price because communication is essential to a smooth and change order free project.I hope this helps,Ethan

  (0)
Can anyone tell me of the negatives around using tripolyer injection foam for ain nsulation retrofit

Answer

I don't believe you can blow insulation into a vertical cavity(wall) that already has batts in it.  The batts will stop the foam from filling the cavity.  You will need to remove at least some of the drywall to remove the FG batts before the new insulation can be blown in.There is a risk of foam expansion causing damage to the walls with some types of foam but any reputable company knows how to avoid that.I looked up the brand "Tripolymer" and it appears to be a phenolic foam insulation which, to my understanding, isn't usually a great option.  It's been around quite a while and the two main negative comments involve shrinking and a low r-value per inch.  Obviously there is a much larger environmental impact than with cementitious foam or cellulose.I think a good site visit with a couple reputable professionals would be in order.  Make sure that they offer a variety of solutions and aren't just pushing a "one size fits all" product.I hope this helps,Ethan

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Can anyone tell me of the negatives around using tripolyer injection foam for ain nsulation retrofit

Answer

Hi Bluebird,   I think we're going to need a little more info from you.  I assume you meant "tripolymer" which is still a bit vague as that is more of a branding name than a common designation.  The most common foams used for retro-fit application are: cementitious, phenolic, polyisocyanurate and polyurethane.  Each of these has it's pros and cons but we'll need to know the application before we can get really specific.  What are you insulating? Please be specific.Sincerely,Ethan  

  (0)
stained or painted baseboards and doors - mixed medium in a house?

Response

  I can't advise on the resale value but transitioning from stained trim to painted trim will look fine depending on the design of the house.  If there is a door dividing the basement from the rest of the house then just make that the transition point.  My preference is to keep the trim the same throughout IF the basement is similar in construction and quality to the rest of the house.  If, for example, the house has high ceilings and lots of windows while the basement is low and dark then there is such a noticeable transition that the trim difference won't matter.I hope this helps,Ethan  

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Old roof is still in the attic space

Response

Some general advice for you is to hire a reputable architect or engineer to consult on the feasibility of adding a second floor and to advise you on the appropriate construction of the new roof.  They may seem expensive but many contractors will do their best to design a structure for you when they really don't understand the engineering behind it.  Having planned specifics also speeds up the bidding process and makes sure that you are soliciting bids for identical designs.I would not assume that just raising the roof would be enough to allow the attic space to be used for storage.  The load bearing capacity of the joists is unlikely to be sufficient.I hope this helps,Ethan

  (0)
Basement waterproofing

Answer

I'd recommend using a product like Drylok because it's fairly easy and cheap and there's really no going back after the walls are built.  If you have any active leaks or weeping in the walls make sure you address this BEFORE you frame the walls because replacing walls and floors is expensive and mold can be very dangerous.  I also recommend applying extruded polystyrene foam insulation to the walls rather than using fiberglass batts in the framed walls.  The bulk of basement remodels that I encounter are improperly insulated which makes them prime mold habitat.  The biggest culprit is when builders either install the vapor barrier in the wrong place(hint:it should be between the insulation and the foundation wall) or install two vapor barriers.  Even with a proper barrier there are techniques to improve the airflow inside the stud walls that I recommend in for fiberglass insulation in a basement.  Long story short, if you are uncertain then use XPS foam and save yourself a headache.I hope this helps,Ethan

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New shower design with no door, do you like it?

Answer

If you have the extra space, about 2-3 feet, to make the shower long enough for a walk-in then they are a great option.  I find that they are a little bit more drafty and I like a hot shower so they aren't my favorite design.  Another negative is inquisitive pets and kids if you have them.  On the plus side I think they allow for a little more creativity with the design and you don't have to clean glass.I hope this helps,Ethan

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