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Volume 7 Issue 8“Building Confidence”August 2009



Welcome to the newsletter that builds confidence. Fall is approaching quickly, with the evening temperatures dropping. It is time to get the ole homestead ready for Winter. Checkout some helpful advice taken from our website:

Seasonal 1: Fall

With the coming of winter, a homeowner should prepare a To Do List. Here are some ideas:

  1. Change the furnace filter.
  2. Seal up any leaking windows and doors with weatherstrip.
  3. Install plastic over any windows that are not thermopane.
  4. Clean out range hood and bathroom fans.
  5. Caulk up any exterior cracks in the siding or stucco where moisture can get in and do its evil deed.
  6. Any outdoor painting should be done before the temperature reaches 10° C (50° F) or below.

I won't even mention what you should do in the garden at this time of year.

Fall is a busy time of year.

Ask Away!

Not too many questions worthy of our newsletter, this month. I guess everyone is out and about with the family, which what I was doing most of August. Here are a few questions I answered last month that you may find helpful yourself:

Hi Dave, since last writing, my roof is complete, with your information.
Everything turned out great with no leaks(a bonus).
My next dilemma is an addition to my side entrance which sits on the
driveway side and has a step over height of 3 inches. We would like more
room upon entering the house. Inside the door, one has to stand on a 42"
square landing with the basement stairs straight down and kitchen up 3
steps to the left. When the oldest boy and family stop over(6 of them)
it creates a problem and a dangerous situation with the basement stairs
right there.
My driveway is asphalted tight to the house. We would like an additional
5ft out from the door and at least 8ft parallel to the wall ending at
the end of the wall to the rear.
My question is this: can I safely use 2 poured concrete piers down below
frost to support a 2 x 6 wood foundation with a header lagged to the
basement wall? I can dig these piers no problem at all, but the frost
has me spooked. I thought that I can dig around the proposed new
addition and lay down SM to abate the frost penetration and also apply
the SM to the bottom of the floor. The rest of the addition is not a
Ideally, a footing with wall would be great. However, the cost right now
is prohibitive.
Your thoughts would be most appreciated.

Hi Dennis,

Good on the roof!!

No problem with using posts and footings for the entranceway. A double 2x10 beam over the posts would do with 2x6 floor joists. The ledger on the house should also be 2x10.


Hi Dave,
Love the site. I have a 3 season room which is approximately 20x20 and
is approximately 3 feet off the ground. We were thinking of putting heat
out there and trying to insulate the room but I was wondering how would
I insulate under the floor/crawl space?

You can either insulate the floor or the walls of the crawlspace. If you insulate the floor don't bother installing any vapor barrier. Just nail or screw some strapping in place to hold the insulation up under the joists. You don't want to apply vapor barrier on the underside of the joists.

Hope this helps,


Thanks is there any particular type of insulation I should use given
it would be exposed to the outside elements?

Use the fiberglass in 4' batts either 15" or 23" wide to fit the joist spacing. Dave

Hi Dave,
I have a question about your Foreman level of membership. You mention that
"advice and online help" are available, when I try to find out what that
means, the website goes an internal error. So what exactly does that mean?
[December 2009 update: we no longer have levels of membership. ALL members
now have access to Dave directly.]

Hi Bill,

Thanks for your email. This is an example of what we mean by "advice and online help" - you being able to communicate with a real person.

I'll mention this problem to my brother and webmaster, Dan. We appreciate you telling us about this error loop, I think he calls it.

I went to the page you are referring to and clicked on the "advice" link and it took me to this page:

A better example of my advice and online help is on the Newsletters pages. Every month, as you can see, we put out a newsletter based on the answers to the questions I receive during that month. This is a free service from our website. You can have a look at these newsletters, if you like, anytime without a membership to our site. You will find links to these pages on the main index page, Home, on the left margin or at the bottom of every page.

Also checkout About Us and the other pages before you make a decision to join us. You won't be able to view the articles and plans pages, of course, until you gain access through a membership.

Thanks for the interest in our website,


I am renovating my two bathrooms my self and
would like some advice. I would like to know the safest way to
remove a wall mounted mirror 4 ft. by 3 ft. which is glued to
the sheetrock in both bathrooms.

This is a bad one. I would say the mirror is either glued with double sided foam tape or construction adhesive from a tube. You may have to cut the drywall with mirror attached right out of the wall. You can try to pry very carefully between the mirror and drywall and with the longest knife the wife has in her knife block, try to cut the adhesive or tape. Don't scratch the metallic coating off the back of the mirror or you will see it.

If you are doing a reno anyway, I would suggest the safest way is to remove the drywall around the mirror with a drywall saw and pull the drywall with mirror attached off the studs. Once this is off you can easily remove the drywall from the back side. The mirror is probably worth much more than the drywall and the time to patch up the wall. Use hidden mirror clips for re-installing the mirror to the wall.


I have a wall 1/2 cement with 3/4" foam insulation, and on top 2"x 4"
with batt ins. I want to restud the whole wall with batt insulation. I
also have a door and a window in this wall. This will make the wall
another 4" thick around the door and window. I'm worried about framing
around the door and window. Esthetically would this look weird?

Hi Stan,

In my opinion a thick wall like this is esthetically pleasing if done neatly. I've done this many times in basement suite renos.


Thanks, I wasn't sure how an extra thick window sill would look for one
thing but I guess I will look at things as I go along. Incidentally,
don't know if you remember or not but thanks for your advice on the vinyl
decking application. My friends and family have raved about how beautiful
it is and I saved myself a bundle by doing it myself. You gave me the
Thanks again.

Hi Stan,

Yes, I remember the decking question and whether you should attempt it.

Glad it turned out well for you and appreciate the update.


Well, thanks for reading this far. Hope this newsletter has helped to show you what our website is really all about.

All the best,


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