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A computer rendering of Sabre treatment. Photo courtesy of Sabre Technical Services

A Cure For Chinese Drywall?

It might be too late to spare China's embarrassment over the contaminated drywall mess, but apparently it isn't too late to right their wrong.

That's what Sabre Technical Services is doing, with their chlorine dioxide decontamination process which -- once injected into the tainted drywall -- renders the problematic reduced sulfur compounds inert.

The company claims that the process requires homeowners to vacate their home for less than a week and costs less than the "rip and rebuild" alternative, which doesn't sound like much fun at all.

What would you do: Hope this is a great fix or start from scratch with new drywall?

Photo courtesy of Oskay.

Easiest Demolition Job Ever?

After failing to find a buyer, the house built entirely out of Legos in Surrey, England, is being dismantled brick by mult-colored brick. Built by James May of the BBC's Top Gear, the home was never intended as a permanent structure and was built on a vineyard without the necessary permits. It did however feature a working toilet, shower and a "very uncomfortable bed." One visitor apparently made off with the Lego constructed cat.

Alas, the vineyard needs to grow its grapes and May had to sell or dismantle. Legoland was interested but could not afford the moving fee. So the 3.3 million Lego bricks are coming down and will be donated to charity.

What do you think: Silly waste of time or Genius tourist attraction?

Photo courtesy of Chad Johnson.

Measure Twice

Attention, demolition crews! When summoned to demolish a house, don't rely on GPS coordinates. And be sure to contact the owner. You'd think this would be standard protocol, but apparently one crew in Carroll County, Georgia did not follow this procedure and wound up leveling the wrong house. Homeowner Al Byrd lost the home, built by his father with his own hands, where he was raised with his nine brothers and sisters. It is believed the targeted house was the one across the street. Next up, the lawsuit.

Still standing. Photo courtesy of John Morton.

Quiz Time

Quick quiz: How long would your home stand if you walked away from it tomorrow? According to Alan Weisman, author of The World Without Us, a wood-framed home will stand approximately 125 years before it did not exist anymore. This animation presents how the home would be destroyed by time, the elements and insects.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons with permission under the Creative Commons license

Nail Removal Tricks

Looks like you can teach an old dog new tricks. This video from FineHomebuilding.com taught me some new ways to remove nails. Turns out you don't have to rely on brute force, a strong hammer and lots and lots of swearing, which is my personal technique. Finesse works much better. The video has some great tips on removing bent, headless and galvanized nails. Check it out before beginning your next demolition project.

What do you mean the address is wrong?

Demolition Don't

Notice to all contractors: When demolishing a house, make sure you have the right one. A Russian woman in Nizhny Novgorod returned to her home to find it leveled. "There was nothing left," she said, "not even a log." She's now taking the construction company to court, refusing the builder's offer of money.

Stress will rise when the walls come down. Stress will rise when the walls come down.

Homeowners' Stress Rises during Remodel

There’s no doubt that a remodeling, addition or new construction job brings stress to the homeowners. Just ask me. Last spring we added a new upstairs bedroom and a downstairs entryway and mudroom, losing our attic space, emptying our garage and losing a bay in the process. Where to put the stuff and how to find it again were just two of the stresses encountered. We chose to hire a project manager, so hiring of all the subs was his problem, but we stressed and sweated over every decision. In fact, most veterans of a remodeling project will tell you that the two key qualities you need to survive a home project are the ability to make decisions and spend money—fast.

If you’re indecisive or wildly controlling when it comes to finances, better take a relaxation class. Like to cook in your own kitchen and sleep in your own bed? Well, you’d better plan how you’re going to stay in your home while the work is being done and what facilities you will need to live without. One of our colleagues just moved the kitchen out to the patio for the summer. They ate off the grill and stored all refrigerated and pantry items in the garage. Their main stress was weather! So, you like your morning coffee and a chance to get the kids or yourself on the road? Forget it—during a house remodel, your schedule begins at 7 a.m. with the builders. Sick? Too bad. I had the flu and had to give up my bedroom because they were working in there. Oh, and I HAD to pick my fixtures right away, flu or no flu. Funny, that bath was a week late being installed. Why did they need my choices that day?

Remember back when you had work and a life? Well, during remodeling, the house becomes your work and your life. I’m getting stressed just writing this. Oh, did I mention the errors or “disappointments,” like the lovely golden paint color that came out some shade of Band-Aid®, the stairs that weren’t supposed to have noses, the doors that don’t block sound and the garage door that sounds like the depot downtown? Don’t like to communicate? Well, forget that. You’ll have to find as many ways to explain the layout you want as there are words for snow in Eskimo. But, in the end, whether you are your own contractor or the boss, the silence, beauty and new space are entirely worth it once it’s done. So, sign up for a yoga class, get sleep now and start planning for your remodel. At the very least, book a massage for yourself along the way.

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