Archive for the ‘New Products’ Category

New Product: Bissell Lift-Off Deep Cleaner / Tiling Over an Existing Ceramic Tile Floor / Chimney Leak

In New Products, Q&A on February 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm

To all my followers: Please pass along my blog address to all your friends and family. I’d appreciate it!

Bissell Lift-Off ®Deep Cleaner

 People have often told me to “suck it up”, and I finally did today, with Bissell’s new Lift-Off® deep cleaner (Model #94Y2) for carpeting, upholstery and spot removing.

I thought that my light-colored area rugs didn’t look that dirty until I used Bissell’s new machine. It really lifted out deep down dirt and made them look clean and new once again. I was amazed at how much dirt was in the carpets.

According to the Bissell fact sheet, carpeting can hold up to as much as a pound of dirt per square foot before you even notice. With an average living room of 250-square feet, could mean up to 250 pounds of dirt living in your carpet. Bissell’s Lift-Off® Deep Cleaner helps you tackle and eliminate that dirt, leaving your carpet really clean while extending its life.

Bissell’s advanced cleaning formula (recommended) works deep into the carpet fibers while the dual dirt-lifter rotating brushes loosen up the ground-in dirt and lift it up with its powerful suction.

I especially liked the portable spot cleaner that detaches from the machine with ease. If you feel like you’re getting two machines in one with this Bissell model, it’s because you are. It comes with a five-foot flexible hose and cleaning tools that work great for hard-to reach places such as stairs, small spills and even pet stains.  I have tried other home carpet cleaners, but the stairs have always been difficult to access and clean thoroughly. The detachable, portable cleaner made it effortlessly to thoroughly clean the stairs. It is also great for cleaning furniture upholstery or even your cars interior. This portable unit really does the work for you.

Make sure you check the labels on your furniture for recommended cleaning as well as carpet manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning certain types of carpeting. Some carpeting (such as wool) cannot be cleaned with rotating brushes.

There is one suggestion I would recommend to the company that could improve the Bissell Lift-Off® carpet cleaner. To install a “low-solution” light or warning when the solvent starts to run low. I ran out of solution part way through a room and had to refill the container and re-do that part of the room again.

The Bissell Lift-Off® was easy to assemble (four screws and it was ready to use). The suggested retail price for this incredible machine is $259.99 and is available at Target, Wal-Mart, Kohls and Bed Bath and Beyond. If you want to find out more information about the Bissell Lift-Off Deep Cleaner® check out their website at www.bissell.com.


I read an article you had written about putting ceramic tile over ceramic tile. I wanted to know what to use and what to do to prep the floor. It’s in a bathroom and I’d rather not bust it up.


First, make sure the existing tiles are secure and well bonded to the sub- floor.

It’s best to remove the toilet and any floor mounted fixtures. Thoroughly clean the existing tile of all dirt, soap scum, wax, etc. Scuff up the tile using a carborundum disk or 80-grit sandpaper then clean, rinse and let dry.

Apply and level the old floor with a coat of thin-set adhesive then apply your new tiles. Try not to install the new grout lines directly over the old.


I have a chimney that has water dripping down the side of the inside the chimney. I called a chimney company and they caulked the chimney flashing, patched holes in some brick and redid the wash on the chimney top. The next day the water was still dripping. They re-caulked the side window that butted up against the chimney, but water still comes in. Any suggestions?


I suspect the wash may not be properly installed or pitched away from the flue. If it is not thick enough (minimum of 2-iches) it may already have re-cracked. Also, do you have a spark-arresting screen on top of the flue that is topped with a metal hood to keep water from doing exactly what it is doing?



~ Holiday Gifts That Will Inspire Everyone~

In New Products, Uncategorized on December 19, 2011 at 3:09 pm

It’s that time of year again when you are trying to find that great new holiday gift to surprise the handyperson in your life. I found some interesting tools on the market that I think are worth checking out. I know my Christmas wish list just got a little bigger.

Skil Oscillating Multi-Tasker™
I know what you’re thinking. What the heck is a Multi-Tasker™ and why would I need or want one? It’s uncanny how I know how your mind works.

Now to answer that question: The Multi-Tasker™ is an oscillating, hand-held tool that easily (and I emphasize “easily”) cuts through wood, drywall, grout and most metals. The 2.0 amp motor is strong enough for just about any job or project you will undertake around your house.

Skil designed the Multi-Tasker with variable speeds, which I found perfect for total control, as well as when I used it for sanding. Yes, it has a sanding pad and comes with assorted sanding sheets.

Another feature I liked was the weight. It only weighs about 2.75 pounds. That makes it easy enough to hold but provides stability when using the tool.

You’ll also like the soft-grip design, which made it comfortable to hold and use. There are lots of other features you can check out at Lowes, Amazon.com or other retailers. You can also check out this $79.99 tool at Skil’s website www.skil.com.

Black and Decker’s Sure Grip™ All In One Laser Level

This new product sucks! Black and Decker’s Sure Grip™ All In One Laser Level will not only prove it, but will help you keep level. The Sure Grip™, at only $29.97 is an incredibly clever, next-generation laser level.

Why would you or the handy person on your gift list need or want the Sure Grip™? Two reasons. First, it works! Second, it works great and absolutely will not damage or scuff any wall. The only marks left on my wall were dirty hand prints pointed out to me by my dutiful wife.

The Sure Grip™ operates on two AAA batteries (included). It securely attaches by itself to a wall and can stay in place up to two hours.

It makes hanging mirrors, photos, paintings, shelving, etc. a lot easier and certainly more accurate. It is also perfect for painting or attaching graphics on walls. A couple of features I truly loved were the audio signal. It let me know when I was ‘on the mark’ even when I was working at the other end of the wall.

There is also no guessing or constant checking needed to see if the bubble is between the lines. When you are level, a color change bubble vial automatically changes from red to green. That shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re colorblind. In that case, it’s time to give up driving and spend some time looking at your four bare walls.

The Black and Decker Sure Grip™ All In One Laser Level is available at most hardware retailers.

Bora Multi-Angle™

Affinity Tool Works, LLC right here in Troy, Michigan has introduced the Bora Multi-Angle™ that would make a great stocking stuffer. It’s an adjustable square that helps you take the guesswork out of layouts of complex angles.

The precise pre-set locking positions allow for consistent measurements from project to project. It is constructed of durable materials with an extruded aluminum base and etched stainless steel ruler. It has eight locking positions, is easy to open and close and fits perfectly in a carpenter’s belt or anyone’s pocket.

I loved the Bora Multi Angle™ collapsible design, which allows for ease of use and multiple storage options. It has consistent measurements with eight pre-set positions and is engineered for everyday use by any professional contractor. It also comes with a lifetime warranty and can be purchased at Home Depot  (www.homedepot.com) and retails for approximately $45.00.

Blount Oregon® PowerNow™ 40-Volt Max Cordless Chainsaw

Another tool I’ve been hinting to my wife about is the Oregon® PowerNow™ 40-volt Max Cordless Chainsaw from Blount. Blount is no stranger since they are the world’s largest manufacturer of saw chain. I know with my treed lot, I sure could use this saw.

For the first time there’s a true alternative to noisy gas-powered chainsaws. With this saws 40V Max lithium ion battery pack there is instant start-ups with no pull cords, gas or warm-up times. It is equipped with a 14-inch bar and can power through logs as large as 10 to 12 inches. According to the manufacturer the PowerNow can cut up to 250, two to three inch branches on a single charge with the Endurance battery pack. The PowerNow™ is sold with either the Endurance or Standard battery pack (the Endurance battery pack doubles the runtime of the Standard battery pack.)

Obviously, this chainsaw is quieter than gas-powered chainsaws and is silent betweens cuts. At just under 11 pounds, the PowerNow is lightweight, easily portable and offers good ergonomic comfort.

Another feature I cannot wait to try out is the PowerSharp® built-in chain sharpening system so you’ll never cut with a dull chain again. When the chain dulls, simply pull the PowerSharp Lever for three to five seconds with the saw running and the chain will work like new.

The PowerNow™ 40V Chainsaw Kit with Standard Battery Pack comes with the chainsaw, 14-inch guide bar, Power Sharp® Chain, Standard Battery Pack and charger and sells for $399.00. The PowerNow™ 40V Max Chainsaw Kit with Endurance Pack comes with the chainsaw, 14-inch guide bar, Power Sharp® Chain, Endurance Battery Pack and charger for $499.00. You can learn more about their product by checking out their website at www.OregonPowerNowTools.com.

Craftsman™ Nextec 12-Volt Right Angle Impact Driver

Last, but definitely not least; professionals, craftsmen and anyone working on cars or equipment will absolutely want (if the don’t already have one) the Craftsman™ Nextec 12-Volt Right Angle Impact Driver.

Craftsman claims (and they are absolutely correct) that is great for working in tight spaces and the ingenious right angle design lets you handle those tough tasks that your everyday drill can’t reach or handle. It weighs just 2.2-pounds and is powered by a 12.0-volt Lithium-ion battery for enhanced performance and longer shelf life and delivers 700-pounds of torque in both forward and reverse. This powerful impact driver delivers more torque and works faster than “full sized” 18-volt drills.

The innovative impact mechanism absorbs the twisting action associated with most other drills and applies it to the work piece so your hand doesn’t twist with the tool.
The 30-minute “Quick Charger: with LED charge indicator, quickly charges the battery and shows you the status of the charge. There is also an LED Work Light that illuminates the work area for enhanced line of sight.

The kit includes the Right Angle Impact Driver, battery, charger, 4 drilling and driving accessories, storage case and comes with a 1 Year Limited Warranty. The retail price is $99.99.

When you pull out any of Craftsman Nextec tools, such as their impact driver, it’s going to bring a new meaning to “tool envy”.

Check out their website at www.craftsmantools.com.

Power Flo-Pro Paint Sprayer

In New Products on November 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm

HomeRight’s®Power Flo-Pro Paint Sprayer

Friends and readers who know me, understand my aversion to painting.

Painting to me is very tedious work if done properly. I don’t like hard work, don’t enjoy tedious and get bored easily so I’ve never been a fan of painting.

But now I can paint the town red using the new HomeRights® Power-Flo-Pro® paint sprayer and actually enjoy painting!

The Power-Flo-Pro® is a professional-grade tool priced for homeowners. It has a suggested retail price of $249.00. While that may seem pricey, it’s not. The Power –Flo-Pro® draws the paint directly from one or five-gallon paint cans and can apply those five gallons in as little as twenty minutes. According to the manufacturer, it can spray 2000 square feet in about thirty minutes.

It can do it because it has a professional quality, ½-HP piston pump airless sprayer that produces 2,800 PSI of spraying pressure. In English, that means it can handle even the thickest exterior paint.

Another feature I liked about the portable sprayer is the convenient carrying handle. The Power Pro-Flo® only weighs 19-pounds but works like a heavyweight. It comes with a 25-foot hose and is easy to maneuver. The HomeRight® Power-Flo-Pro (model #C800764) is also great for staining decks.

The other thing I didn’t like about painting was the clean up. With this unit, clean up is incredibly easy. You place the tip in a bucket of water and turn on the sprayer and in a few minutes, the water will start spraying clean. Just wipe everything off and you’re done.

The Power-Flo-Pro® is available at www.homeright.com, http://www.homedepot.com and http://www.amazon.com.

How come it always seems my walls need some touch-up painting but when I go to find the “saved” paint it’s always dried up and worthless?

The way I see it, if your house doesn’t need any painting touch-ups then it was just painted within the last three days.

I think we all know we should save extra paint for those inevitable nicks and scratches. So the next time you paint, save the extra paint, in one, or better yet, all of the following ways:
•    Save some paint in an old, empty nail polish bottle. Clean the bottle thoroughly with nail polish remover, and then with soap and water. Allow the bottles to dry and then pour extra paint in them. Label the bottles as to which room they are for and whether they’re for walls or woodwork.
•    I found saving extra paint in pickling jars (and labeling) them also prolongs the life of the paint.
•    You can, of course, leave the paint in the original can, but if it’s latex paint, don’t store it in the garage or shed where it will freeze and ruin.
•    If you leave the paint in the original can, you can buy plastic “paint savers” for around a dollar at your paint store.
•    You can also make sure the lid is on securely and store the paint can upside down. It lasts longer.

New Products (Shark Steam Mop / Skil Router / Sealing a Deck

In New Products, Q&A on October 24, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Shark Lift-Away Professional Steam Pocket Mop™

Most people spend hours each day doing many chores around the house to keep their homes looking nice, sparkling clean and fresh. If you are tired of getting down and dirty, check out this new product that I was recently introduced to. It’s called the Shark Lift-Away Professional Steam Pocket Mop™. I know it will help lift you up when it comes to doing those dreaded chores.

Using only water and no harsh chemicals or over-powering, smelly cleaners, this floor care product makes cleaning hardwood, vinyl and ceramic floors a breeze. It’s easy to use and takes up a lot less time than pulling out a mop and bucket or getting down on your hands and knees to clean or scrub those areas.

It is not recommended for use on unsealed wood, unglazed ceramic floors, no-wax floors or surfaces that have been treated with wax because the steam may remove some of the sheen. The mop has three steam settings, ‘dust’ for a quick dusting and the fastest dry time, a ‘mop’ setting for normal steam cleaning and ‘scrub’ for heavy cleaning.  When in ‘scrub’ mode and using the carpet glider attachment, you can even freshen area rugs and carpets.

The Shark Lift-Away Steam Mop™ also has another great feature; it can also become a hand-held unit with the click of a button. When using it in the hand-held mode it is only programmed with one setting for ‘above the floor’ cleaning, as well as garment steaming.

The Lift-Away comes with all the attachments you will need to attack the messes in your home and although there is some assembly required, it puts together easily.

It retails for $179.95 and can be purchased online at www.shark.com. But check them out at Wal-Mart. I have seen them there for less.


Skil™ Routers

The word “router” has a new meaning for today’s generation. They think computer link, but for old timers (like myself), woodworkers, do-it-yourselfers and hobbyists, a router is a tool used to finish edges along with cutting patterns and designs in laminates, metal and wood.

Just how did you think most of those intricate designs were cut into cabinets, picture frames, furniture, etc.?

I have an old router that I’ve have for almost forty years. It works. There’s nothing wrong with it, but Skil Power Tools, which has been making great power tools for over 85 years, recently improved the simple router.

Skil’s new line of routers has numerous features that I envy. One is the Soft Start™ Technology. It allows a smooth start-up without the kickback my old router allows. The Soft Start™ also dramatically increases the routers motor life.

I’m impressed with Skil’s attention to detail as to user-comfort and ease of use. Their routers have quick-clamp release levers. With my old router, I have to use a wrench to make bit changes and adjustments. They’ve also included quarter-inch as well as half-inch collets to tackle just about any application.

Older routers took a lot more skill to master. With Skil’s new models, half the skill is just simply plugging the cord into the wall socket. That’s how easy it is to use.

Skil has three new models all with new features, updated technology and ergonomic, comfortable designs. The models are #1817, 1827 and 1830 and range in price between $69.99 and $109.99.

Each model is worth checking out at Lowes or by visiting www.facebook.com/skil or www.skiltools.com.


I have a new deck and spoke to five different people and got five different answers on when to seal it. What’s the bottom line?


Some people say you should wait sixty days, six months or even a season. But basically you should listen to your contractor for your particular material. But, a general rule of thumb is, with redwood or cedar; apply a sealer as soon as possible, as long as it’s dry.

Pressure treated decks usually take longer to dry thoroughly and can be treated with a sealer about one month after installation.

Sealing decks reduces exposure to the elements, which can dry out and ruin them.

New Products Worth Checking Out!

In New Products on September 27, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Bissell Stomp ‘N’ Go

It works, what more can I say.  The product is called Stomp ‘N’ Go™ from Bissell.

Stomp ‘N’ Go
™ is a spot and stain-lifting pad for carpets and rugs. They are pre-moistened pads with some kind of oxy-based formula that actually absorbs tough stains.

No more sore knees from attempting to remove unsightly stains by scrubbing. No more bottles of chemicals to spill or store. You just place a pad over the stain, step on it and watch it work.

Most stains disappear in about thirty minutes. Tougher stains may take up to 24 hours.

Bissell claims their Stomp ‘N’ Go™ pads can remove tough-set stains such as red wine, food, fruit juice, coffee, tea, pet messes, blood, mud, dirt and more. The pad worked great on the couple of stains I tried it on.

There’s nothing more to say except the Bissell Stomp ‘N’ Go™ pads are available at K-Mart, select Wal-Mart and grocery stores for $4.99. Each package contains five, individually wrapped pads.

Where were these bags when I was young? It would have helped my mother immensely when trying to get my brothers, sisters and I ready in a pinch when we were little.

Trying to get yourself ready and out the door in the morning is hard enough, let alone trying to make sure your kids are ready for school, daycare or sports functions. It’s frustrating when they walk out of their room just before the school bus comes, dressed in a Halloween costume expecting that to be the appropriate attire for the day.

Organizables™ were designed by a mother/daughter team and are perfect for organizing boys and/or girls clothing. There are 5 zippered clothing bags labeled Monday through Friday that keep children’s clothes and sports uniforms wrinkle-free, neat, clean and ready to wear in a snap.

They are made of a non-toxic, lightweight material and come in either pink or blue and are ready to be personalized with your child’s name. They also have two zippered pockets on the front for holding any accessories.

This mother and daughter team also designed a set of weekend Organizables™ for the kids for that quick weekend get-a-way to Grandma’s, a sleepover at a friends house or for those parents who share custody, it comes in extremely handy having the kids clothes all ready to go in advance. The weekend Organizables™ come with two zippered clothes bags and two activity or accessory bags that fits neatly into a backpack.

The weekday set of five for either boys or girls costs $29.95 and the weekend bags including the activity bags cost $24.95 and can be ordered online at http://www.organizables.com.


For those of you who may have worked their way to the top, this new product may help ease your mind a bit when working outdoors and having to climb an extension ladder.

Ladder-Tite™ is a great, simple and smart ladder product for the do-it-yourselfer as well as professional tradesmen such as builders or roofers.

Ladder-Tite™ is a safety device that attaches easily to your extension ladder at gutter level and then hooks inside the lip of the gutter holding you and your ladder securely in place while you work on those exterior projects. It helps prevent your ladder from tipping backward or sliding.  Obviously the inventor was a real disappointment to his mother. He couldn’t keep his mind out of the gutter.

You can also use a fascia board arm attachment that will secure your ladder to the fascia board of your house.  The Ladder-Tite™ is made from high quality aluminum, stainless steel with brass thumb-sets. It is lightweight yet sturdy.

In the United States alone, there are more than 200,000 emergency room visits each year that are related to ladder accidents. Don’t become one of those statistics. Check this out by going to their website http://www.ladder-tite.com. You can also purchase it exclusively from their website for $29.95.

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