5 Things Not to Buy at Home Improvement Stores

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geno gardner

Subject: article photo of garbage disposal.

Ironic to see a picture used to illustrate "a properly installed trap" having an improperly connected dishwasher drain. As currently installed it's possible for a sink backup to drain back into the dishwasher. Sound unsanitary to you too?

Hint: The dishwasher drain should be looped up high to the underside of the counter.

The code may soon be changing to require an above the counter vacuum breaker on dishwasher wastes.

Rosemary Hughes

Subject: Double cylinder deadbolts

My father would not sell double cylinder dead bolts or window bars without inquiring why the customer felt they needed a double cylinder dead bolt. He only sold them to people who had a great deal of glass in an entry door and if they promised to attach a key on a cord or chain right next to the door with the key close to the floor. Not every lock seller is so conscientious. After three break-ins my in-laws bought a different type of glass rear door. I was concerned that they did not keep a key adjacent to the door. My mother -in-law kept her key on a shelf that they would pass on the way to the back door. I never got through to them that the air is fresher and cooler at floor level and in most cases they should plan to crawl to the door. A key on a shelf 5 ft. above the floor could quickly become dangerous to try to reach. I have a double cylinder deadbolt on my french doors and always have key dangling with in a foot of the ground.

Rick Butera

Subject: Double-keyed dealbolt

As a former licensed and bonded locksmith, per building code, we were prohibited from installing a double-keyed deadbolt on any residential properties. Main reason for this is both for fire and safety. Many people don't keep a key on the inside lock thus creating a main issue. If the house was on fire and this is your escape route, you can't open the door. You are not thinking of a key as many are more concerned with their safety, and the same happens for criminal attacks. Without the key being in the lock you have just rendered a exit useless. Instead get a good quality Weiser, Schlage or other high quality deadbolt and be sure to install the larger re-inforced strike plate. Stay away from store-named locks. They are the cheapest made locks on the market. If you are not sure which type to get, go to a locksmith and ask for their advice. We are required to stay up to date on residential and commercial building codes.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.