Magnetic Lights Simplify Christmas Decorating

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Jacques Delettrez

Subject: Magnetic Christmas light attachment.

What kind of B.S. is this? Magnets attach to iron and I do not have a single iron part in the exterior of my house. Aluminum, yes, a plenty, but I'm afraid them magnets won't stick to it. I think the ad and accompanying article should mention that limitation.

Marvin Ivey

Subject: Magnetic lights

Magnets don't stick to aluminum. In coastal areas most soffit. fascia and flashing is made of aluminum. That's why we discarded the idea many years ago.

Bill Puckett

Subject: Magnetic Christmas Lights

Sounds like two very good and creative products (incorporating magnets into light sets or clips), however I really wish you would mention in such articles where the products are made. For many Americans, it makes a difference knowing if they are Made in the USA or not. Just because a company is in Lubbock does not mean the product is made in the USA.

Vicki Isleman

Subject: Magnetic lights in areas with heavy wind, snow and winters

I live in a beautiful little city called Joseph in NE Oregon and I've tried every kind of "clip" or attachment device (including magnetic lights on the 3 mental posts our in front).

The biggest problem living in the Wallowa Mountains at approx 4100' is the wind, snow and even heavy rain. The magnets won't stay in place and they fly over to the nearest metal object (usually a horse trailer or metal roof (we only have 2 within blowing distance) and the bulbs break, and the magnetic piece quickly rusts. Our gutters around here, if they have any, are not metal and both residences and businesses lose money and end up with problems retrieving the lights.

The clips work only slightly better, but getting close enough to a home that has 4 feet of snow all around to place the hooks is difficult to say the least. I've used gutter hooks, although we just got enclosed gutters that they won't work on, 3' posts where the lights are on top and every other gizmo I've found but the winds and heavy snow make it difficult at best.

One of the company's mentioned in your article is in Washington, but I would be willing to bet that they are more towards the west where the weather is a bit milder and away from the Cascade Mtns. The only thing that really works, holds the lights in place and don't really show are screwing in small "coffee cup" hooks and attaching the light with a twist tie to keep them up and not let the snow build up weight them down. But after repainting, I didn't want to put them in the wood of the house again.

The best we seem to do is put them outside on any fences, posts or evergreen trees we have in our yards that are 6' of so. And that goes for ever other outdoor decoration I've tried that I brought out from Portland, OR. If you have gutters that are metal, those magnetic light strings may work, if you have open gutters, the clips work, other than that I would welcome something that would work in more severe climate and a more open rural area where the wind can destroy anything in it's path.


Subject: alternative way to magnetically hang lights

I bought these things called Magnesavers on eBay designed for oil filters on cars. The thing about them, that makes them work great, is that they are atrong, curved magnet. I just put one Magnesaver where the string of lights (I am using LED strings) begins, and then about 10 feet away, I put another Magnesaver, after pulling the string a bit taught. The point of the curve for Christmas lights, is that it is able to bridge over the wire, holding it firmly, but nor crushing or pinching it. So, a fifty foot string, took just 6 Magnesavers, (might be able to use fewer). That is much faster that the magnetic lights featured in the article, since with those, each light is mounted one at a time. Also, have been able to drive zinc plated roofing nails into wood facia boards, to attach the Magnesavers there, where I have no metal rain gutters.
What I really like, is that the rest of the year, I can use the Magnsavers for their intended purpose, of making engine oil last longer, and go farther between filter changes, while reducing engine wear. Even if I did not use the Magnesavers for that, I use them to hang tools and other useful purposes.
The down side. Magnesavers are not cheap normally, but the seller I found on ebay, often has second quality available, that are very reasonable. The Magnesavers are VERY strong, and it you are careless, can pinch your fingers, something to be aware of. The final thing worth thinking about, is that in the case of LED lights, the voltages are low, so safety is increased, but if higher voltage/higher current light strings are used, one might be wise to install rubber washers or something, to sandwich the string wires, so that the insulation does not wear through, causing a short. If there was strong an persitant winds it seems like if might be possible that wires could get chafed between the metal of the gutters and the Magnesavers.

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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.