Monday, March 26, 2007

Oil Based Paints

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Oil based Paints

By Mark J. Donovan

Oil based paint has a number of advantages. First, oil based paints are typically more resistant to low temperatures and therefore are less likely to experience shrinkage. Second, oil based paints do an excellent job of sealing stains. Oil based paints are also better for adhering to steel, metal, and dirty surface areas. Oil based paints are ideal for high traffic areas due to their durability and their ease of maintenance (ability to be cleaned).

One of the main disadvantages of oil based paints is the time require for them to dry. Oil based paints typically require longer periods to dry, up to 24 hours. Oil based paints are also known for strong odors and thus oil based paints should always be applied in well ventilated areas.

Another significant disadvantage of oil based paints is their propensity to fade and turn color (frequently to a yellowish color) over time. They also become brittle over time and begin to chalk, blister, flake and peal. Readmore »»

Monday, March 19, 2007 now Available on YouTube adds Helpful DIY Home Improvement Videos to its Collection of Home Improvement Information

Monday, March 19, 2007: announced today its move to expand its presence in the Do-it-Yourself home improvement space by now providing video content on its website. The video content will complement its existing collection of Home Improvement, Home remodeling, and home repair information., and the HomeAdditionPlus channel on YouTube, which can be seen at, is targeted to provide informative and useful video information to do-it-yourself homeowners on all aspects of home remodeling and construction. In addition to how-to advice, the sites will also include home building product reviews, and interviews with various experts in the home building trade.

Visit and make sure to subscribe to the channel. will be adding new and useful home improvement videos on a regular basis that you will not want to miss. is the home improvement resource for finding accurate and helpful information for your specific home project needs.

Contact Information:

Mark Donovan Readmore »»

Friday, March 16, 2007

Concrete vs Paver Driveway Question

By Mark J. Donovan

Question: We are building a new home in Texas and have been trying to decide on which material to use for the installation of our driveway. Our old home had an asphalt driveway and we were less than pleased with its performance and the maintenance required. The decision has come down to using either concrete or pavers. Maintenance is a big concern for us. Do you have any comparison thoughts between concrete and pavers?

Answer: Though asphalt is used in many driveways throughout the country they admittedly do require regular maintenance. They usually need to be sealed every year or two.

Regarding pavers: Pavers are more expensive than concrete, both from a unit cost and from an installation standpoint. The installation of pavers requires more up front site prep work, as the base needs to be extremely packed to prevent settling. Even with a solid base, however, inevitably some settling will occur. Also, the edges of a paver driveway will always be highly susceptible to movement. As a result, a paver based driveway will require maintenance over time.

Concrete on the other hand is easy to install, and is extremely strong, particularly when used with rebar. Concrete driveways are virtually maintenance free, however they are susceptible to staining and salt damage.

Living in Texas, your probably less likely to have to deal with salted roads so in your case salt should not be an issue.

Finally, there are techniques now employed with concrete that enable you to get a paver look (including the color) without paying the price of pavers.

My recommendation, go with concrete driveway if cost and maintenance are high concerns. Readmore »»

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Failed Mortgages will Hurt the Housing Market Further

By Mark J. Donovan

With this week’s announcement that the number of failed mortgages on the rise, particularly in the subprime mortgage sector, the housing market will probably continue to cool off.

Many of these subprime mortgages should have never been issued. The homeowners receiving them did not meet traditional basic financial standards. However, as with any sector boom there are always folks out there looking for a quick buck. Unfortunately, in this case it was fly-by night home lender institutions that quickly setup shop to take advantage of the housing market boom.

Companies such as Lowes and Home Depot will probably feel somewhat of a negative impact to their businesses as a result of these failed mortgages, as there will be a few less homeowners doing home improvement projects this year. However, spring and summer are usually strong growth periods for these companies, so the negative impact may be somewhat muted. Readmore »»

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Converting a Garage into Living Space

By Mark J. Donovan

A simple and low cost way to add living space to your home is to convert your garage into a finished room. Frequently you can gain a couple of hundred square feet of new living space by converting over a garage.

Prior to framing in garage doors and installing insulation and sheetrock, you should first check with your local building inspector to understand what you will need to do to bring the garage up to formal living space code.

Once you have spoken with your local building inspector, you should next talk to your prospective plumber if you are planning to add water into your garage. Adding drainpipes and supply lines into garage areas can be a dicey and dusty job. You can either cut out sections of the concrete floor or raise the entire garage floor to enable drainpipes to be installed.

Typically people just frame in the garage door openings when creating additional living space. You may want to build up the base of the garage openings with concrete or concrete block to the same height as the adjacent foundations walls to achieve a better curb appeal.

Typically garage floors consist of a slab of cement. Frequently they are un-insulated. Raising the entire garage floor with 2”xN floor joists can enable you to add insulation between the concrete slab and the finished floor space. Also, radiant floor heating may also be an option to consider.

Along the lines of insulation, frequently garage exterior walls are framed with 2x4s. If you live in a colder climate you may want to add furring strips to the exterior walls studs so that you can increase the insulation R-factor of your exterior walls. Readmore »»