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Do you have a question regarding home improvement projects? Ask us. Want to know what we think of a tool or product or maybe recommend some time saving tip to us. This is the place to ask us. Our staff here at EHT will do our best to answer your questions and if needed, we can go directly to the manufacturer for additional advice. Just ask your question or tip in the below area “Leave a Reply”.


  1. Norman says:

    I am about to paint some old metal on a pier and there is a lot of rust. The guy at the paint store said I could use a latex paint, but I have always heard that oil was the best coating for metals. What is the best way to protect metal, oil or latex?

  2. Jacqueline Lewis says:

    I have an existing deck that I would like to turn into a sunroom. Where can I purchase a sunroom kit?

  3. Hal says:

    There are quite a few sources of deck conversion kits available on the internet. I have not used these, so I would hesitate to recommend any in particular. The sunroom I just re-tiled, I did the actual conversion back in 1987. This may be a project you would consider. The major steps were enclosure, I used simple construction and framing, and the major obstacle was framing for the casement windows. The roofing was standard roofing installation using 3/4 plywood on 24″ centers, tarpaper(felt) and asphalt roofing to cover it with. Insulate the walls, roof and under the old decking, added heating and cooling ducts and installed the windows. I spent several weeks of after-hours working to complete the project.
    One mistake I made was not upgrading the foundation used for the old deck. Codes are much more stringent now and the 6×6 lumber set in concrete pilings would have been the solution. Also I used a high efficiency window low-e glass and those windows still perform outstanding. Several years after I built the first sundeck, mom and dad added another sunroom (professionally installed from a kit) adjoining the original and the quality of workmanship in that room falls far below what I built. The roofing on the new room is better insulated, foam backed metal roofing, however the windows supplied with the kit were single pane sliding windows that are poorly made.
    So if you go with a kit, inspect the components before purchasing. Well made kits will go together easier and last longer, providing you with the experience you want and also the equity boost a project like this should bring.
    Hal Jones
    Online Publisher
    Latitude3 Media

  4. Jacqueline Lewis says:

    Thank you very much for the information. I will surf the web to see what I can find. This is all new to me.

  5. support says:

    Norman, It depends on who you ask. The latex paint manufacturers tell me their paint will work and of course the oil based paint manufacturers tell me oil is the best. So I dug deeper. Looking at marine coatings for ships and etc., I didn’t find any latex being used. I found epoxies and other formulations being used. The toughest thing about pier renovation is the rust removal from the steel. I have used grinders, brushes and chemicals. The chemical I wanted I don’t think is appropriate for use around water, and the ones that were non-toxic didn’t perform as well as I needed.
    So what I have found to work best is the pad system by 3M and I am about to test another manufacturer’s pad. Theses pads, actually discs of woven abrasive material look like a pot scrubber with their open weave design. The open weave does not clog with old paint or rust like abrasive discs or sandpapers. I used a Wagner PaintEater with great success for rust removal. I expect the pads mounted to my grinder will also perform outstanding on prepping the surface.
    For painting I am going to use oil based RustOleum on the steel next to the water. If money were no object, I would opt for the epoxy based marine coatings. I have an area of steel on my boat slip roof that I am using ValSpar Duramax. For both of these paints I used ValSpar Oil-based primer as the undercoat. And I used two coats of primer to ensure total coverage and good adhesion by the topcoats.
    The dock juts out into the lake 175 feet so much of the area is exposed to sunlight all day, everyday. Because of dock’s length and the fact that it faces west, we also have a high wind load much of the year and water is splashed onto the metal framing when the wind comes from the west or North. I am not sure how these paints will hold up over time, but we will let you know.
    So my answer is that I intend to stick with old tried and true oil paint on the lower areas, and I am using the latex on an area that is not as exposed to water. If you can find epoxy paint for marine use at a good price, then that would probably be the best route.

  6. martin says:

    Here is a company that supplies all DIY products for Sunrooms.

  7. Steven Koehn says:

    I am adding a water softener to my house. Unfortunately the copper pipe splits in my finished basement and the outside faucets are all plummed together with the rest of the house. The water line comes into the basement in a bedroom closet. It runs into the center of the house into the area where the ducting runs. I cut an 8″x14″ hole and fished a string to the furnace room and into another unfinished room on the opposite side of the house. I can see the outside faucet in the furnace room and I will add a new one on the other side of the house. I will cut the input line where it tees and cap it. I then plan to add a tee and run the outside water into the furnace room and into the other room for the outside faucet and kitchen sink for drinking water. The issue is that I can pull PEX tubing through the ceiling but I will have a 26′ and 14′ span with no hangers. The PEX will sit on the basement ceiling in the duct area until it reached the rooms where a have access. Is this an issue? Should the PEX be wrapped?

  8. support says:

    A few things to be considered when using PEX are making sure there is slack for movement, protection from UV light and protection from physical damage. I would wrap the pipe. My concern would be condensation collecting on the cool surface. Other than that we are not talking a vertical run, so support would be provided by your ceiling material. It is very important that you not use any connectors behind enclosed walls. So far I have had no issues with PEX. I will be doing another PEX project in the next month using the PEX Xpander by Milwaukee and Uponor.
    You can Google PEX Tubing and check out the official sites and as always check your local codes to be sure your work complies. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

  9. handyman1 says:

    For those having problems locating replacement blades for the SKIL 3600 flooring saw:

    I’ve been installing 3/4″oak hardwood and have about 3/4 of our home done. I’ve done it using a table saw and compound miter saw in the garage (lots of walking from the second floor). Have just aquired the Skil Flooring Saw and am looking forward to using it. Tried unsuccessfully to find a source of Skil replacement blades as they apparently get dull fairly quickly. No luck, even on Skil’s website. All they show is a part number and that’s it, no way to order one. Have not tried the saw yet.
    Then found that Home Depot carry an exact replacement blade by Freud. It’s a thin kerf, 36 tooth, 4 and 3/8″ diameter with a 20 mm arbor (bore), and rated for 14,000 RPM. Freud calls it a trim saw blade. It is pricey here in Canada, $41.00, but likely worth it as Freud makes very good blades and it is after all a specialty blade. Won’t know how the Skil and Freud blades compare as I have not had occasion to use the saw.
    Just joined your website and did not know how or where to leave this comment. Hopefully this is the way to do it.

  10. Hal says:

    Wow, a Freud thin kerf blade on the 3600 would be sweet. I use the Freud thin kerfs on my cordless saws for extra battery life and we love them. I will contact Skil and find out where the OEM blades can be purchased.

  11. Bruce says:

    I have a asphalt/fiberglass shingled roof. It leaks in two places that I’m aware of. I can’t find the bad spots (I really don’t know what I’m looking for) and I’m such a heavy guy I don’t want to do more damage to the roof by walking on it any more than needed. Area roofing contractors are not willing to find my leaks and stop them…..They want to replace the whole roof for $10,000-$12,000. At this time I can’t afford a new roof. The current roof is approximately 14 years old with 35 year shingles on it. (No warranty if that is what you are thinking, the contractor didn’t nail them in the proper spot) Are you aware of any product I can spray on a large area of the roof, to stop my leaks for a few years while I try to save up for a new roof?

  12. Hal says:

    One thing I need to know first, is this a shallow or steep pitched roof?

  13. Bruce says:

    It can easily be walked on. It’s not a flat roof. In the attic, it goes from about 8 foot high to nothing in about 22 feet.

  14. Dave says:

    I have water stains on my ceiling from a leaky roof. If I use an oil based sealer like Killz to seal the stains can I topcoat it with waterbased ceiling paint?

  15. Hal says:

    Yes, you can use a latex paint to top-coat over Kilz.

  16. terry s. says:

    I’m wanting to cut down my bathtub walls to adapt to a walk-in tub, it is stainless steel, with porcelain. Is there a special saw, and blade to use for this project ?, Any ideas?

  17. Hal says:

    Your current walls are porcelain, stainless steel or are your removing green wall to install porcelain and stainless?
    Hal Jones

  18. terry s. says:

    the bath tub is made of stainless steel, with porcelain covering, I want to cut out a 12″ x 24″ opening, to make it a walk-in for my disabled wife. I’m not sure what kind of saw, or type of blade i should use. Can’t afford to have a walk-in tub installed right now, so I’m trying to do a DIY instead.

    Thanks for responding

    Terry S.

  19. Hal says:

    After asking our panel, the cutting answer ranged from metal saws to plasma cutters, but all were in agreement that converting a metal tub to a walk-in would present a range of problems. I think in this case it may be that adding accesibility options that would help your wife enter and exit the tub. I have seen many of the tub models that come wheelchair accesible, but truthfully we see more tubs pulled out and curbless showers replacing the traditional tubs. This may be a better option for you, but I can’t answer that. I did find a website with walk-in tubs at various price ranges and although we are unfamiliar with the company, it may be worth a look, .
    I would also look into whether your insurance might help pay for the tub if the reason is health related.
    Getting back to the question of a DIY solution to converting a current tub to a walk-in, the issues with creating the opening and then fabricating the piece that would seal the opening seems that more costs would be involved in conversion than there would be in finding one online or on sale at a local store.
    Good luck!
    Hal Jones
    Online Media Director/Editor

  20. terry s. says:


    Thanks so much for your response, Perhaps i need to reconsider my options. Sometimes trying to find a short cut, cost you more time, and money, lol.
    Thanks again for your time, and research.

    Teery S.

  21. In reference to the June 2012 Extreme-How-To Q&A on page 12. The response identifiing the retention levels of above ground vs. ground contact is incomplete and probably confusing for most home owners. There are multiple chemicals currently available with different required retention levels for the intended use. Please look at the end tag of the product for application. Retention levels include but not limited to .05,.06,.014,.015,0.23 lbs per cubic feet for various applications. Look for the wording above ground or ground contact.

  22. Troy Lundell says:

    I am researching large Pex tubing (1.25″, 1.5″ and 2″). When it comes to Crimping copper rings on the large pex, what tools are availeable and what problems do people expierence with these tools?


  23. Jeff says:

    I want to do a hardwood floor in my dining area. the only problem is that after removing the carpet and cleaning the floors there was so much shellac on the old wood that it nearly burned out a floor sander I rented for the the job. All the chemicals i got to try to clean the shellac off the floor have a strong chemical odor unsafe for the three toddlers in the house. Am I missing something or is that step really necessary to finish the job. it was a orbital sander I was trying to use and a high grit sand paper. the paper kept sticking to the shellac on the floor surface. Any advise. I hope I gave you enough information.

  24. Matt Weber says:

    Hello Jeff,

    If you’re using a handheld sander and off-the-shelf abrasive paper, the tools and paper probably don’t have the “muscle” you need to do such a big job. You might consider renting a floor sander. Here are a few step-by-step articles on how to refinish wood floors.

  25. Joe says:

    I would like to know two things:
    1- How to do a template for exterior half circle porch steps ? I would like to install 1″ thick natural stone on the porch and 2 steps . The stones have to be cut by the factory and they need a template for it.

    2- I have a steel round tube frame outside on my deck and would like to cover the top with clear polycarbonate panels . Do they handle snow on top in winter time (Canadian weather) ? Or do you have any other suggestions to cover the top except plywood and shingles ?

    Thank you for your help

  26. Matt Weber says:


    1- I don’t have enough specific information to give you exact instructions on making a template for your steps. However, as I picture a semi-circle porch from a bird’s eye view, it seems that logically you need to measure the half-round perimeter and divide that by the size of stones. This equation will depend on both the size of the stones you will have available after the mason cuts them, as well as the size of the porch itself. The perimeter should help you determine the individual outer-edge measurements of your border stones. Depending on the depth of your stones, you should then be able to plot the rear edge of the border stones in a semicircular line. Divide each of these semi-circles by the size of stones to determine the number of stones needed. Then, mark each stone location along the semicircle lines to indicate where the joints will fall between stones. Connect the joint lines with a pencil to determine the shape of the stones. Repeat the process for the second porch step. Transfer the measurements to a template (cardboard?) for the mason to use as a cutting guide. As far as the field stones of your porch, that completely depends on the pattern you want to lay.

    2- Your local building codes should provide the details for design loads that you will have to follow for your deck cover. But generally speaking, the load from accumulated snow can’t be disregarded, and both the structure as well as the polycarbonate sheet should be suitable for the extra weight. Keep in mind that a wide range of polycarbonate sheets are available and are engineered differently, some with multiple thin walls while others have a single thick wall. For example, Palram Americas, a leading manufacturer of polycarbonate sheets, recommends single-wall corrugated polycarbonate glazing for snow-bound areas. Another factor is the method of installation regarding sheet spacing, clamping and fastening. You should consult with the manufacturer rep about your chosen product’s specific snow-load recommendations. You can check out more information at Palram.

  27. has everyone at latitude 3 seen the hottest new tool that was at the remodeling show and deck expo in Chicago a week ago . I know matt weber did and loved it and so did a few other magazines . This tool really does do what it says it does saves time space and money and it does it quick and easy . sidejob cargo racks had all the contractors talking about it . After the show on Thursday we went back to our hotel and we ate and then we went to the bar at the hotel for a drink and we heard people in there talking about our racks .Since we have returned back to pa. our sales have gone up by 75%. Before we went to the show we thought we had a good product but now we know we have a great product . take a few minutes and check out our website at you will be glad you did also note our special show price is still on until Friday nov. ! -2013

  28. Carolyn says:

    We are about to replace carpeting with hardwood flooring. We have a spiral staircase, and the only thing our flooring man can offer to trim out the upper opening is a black vinyl molding. Can you recommend a better and more attractive option?

  29. Matt Weber says:

    Hello, Carolyn. Sorry for the late response. Your comment slipped through the cracks, and I just stumbled upon it this morning. I assume the reason the contractor can’t recommend a more attractive molding is because the stair opening is circular? For this type of application, we recommend using a flexible foam molding that can be bent to match the shape of the opening. You’ll find these products at and

  30. Tony Blair says:

    With all of the new screws on the market today, can I use a particular one to hang Vinyl Siding on my house? Would screws be a better choice than nails? If so, can you suggest which one to use? Thank you, Tony Blair

  31. Matt Weber says:

    Nails or screws will work, so long as the installed panels must move freely from side to side. Fasten the nails or screws in the center of the nailing slot. Do not drive the head of the fastener tightly against the siding nail hem. Allow 1/32 inch (about the thickness of a dime) clearance between the fastener head and the siding panel. Drive fasteners straight and level to prevent distortion and buckling of the panel.

    As far as screws go, a standard #6 x 1 ½” to 1 ¾” coarse thread “bugle” style or “flute” head (1/4” dia. head) zinc coated or otherwise non-corrosive screw will work. Another option are standard bright (chrome like) finish #6 x 1 ½” pan head coarse thread self-tapping screws.

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