April 27, 2018
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Reflecting on the year’s home improvement mistakes, regrets

By Tom Gocze, BDN Staff

At the end of the year, I reflect on things I have messed up. They are not necessarily all things that have occurred in the past year, but I do obsess about some of them.

The house we live in is highly insulated. It can heat with a good mood. One thing that I regret not having done is installing some ductwork in the walls between the basement and second floor.

This would have allowed me to move air around for either ventilation or dehumidification — something that is of value down on the coast where it is always humid. If I install the ducting now, things must be torn apart.

Another “oops” moment was the one where I thought I could fill minor gaps in the pine wood trim we have throughout the house with similarly colored caulk. It was done and it looked good when I put it in. The problem is that the wood color darkens with time from sunlight exposure. I knew that but assumed that there would not be enough change to be noticeable. Well, I am now considering touching up the caulk where it shows. That will be fun.

I have been fooling around with granite tile for countertops. It is an inexpensive way to get a nice granite look for not too much money. I did not want a grout line showing and after discussion with tile people over the years, I decided that it could be done without the grout line, but the joints should be buffered with something. If not, the tile might crack. My friend Chris Hayden, the adhesives guru, suggested buttering the joints with silicone caulk, since this is what they used with “regular” granite countertops. Well, Mr. Fix-it decided that epoxy would be a more impermeable seal. Chris said the epoxy might yellow with sunlight exposure.

I said ultraviolet rays of the sun will never reach the countertops and the UV will be filtered when coming through the windows, regardless. Well, there are some yellow lines in between some of the tiles. Fortunately, I can remove enough of the epoxy to clean it up and salvage the job. Sometimes it helps to listen to the experts.

In fairness, I have done jobs more recently that came out beautiful with just the silicone. I have also softened on my view of grout lines with certain color tiles. They still should be thin, though.

I have had a lot of issues with house paint over the years. I have bought paint from many different sources, both big and small. There was one that I particularly like that I mentioned in an article a while back. Of course, someone had to take issue with that and apparently felt the brand I liked was something akin to the Black Death.

I still like it and will continue to use it. In fact, I used it in 1970 to paint a VW bus. And yes, it was flat latex paint. And it looked pretty good. It filled rust pinholes very well.

As I monkey around with a wood boiler in the basement, which I think is a hobby in addition to being part of my job, I reflect on the concept of having a small gas stove with a thermostat that uses no electricity to operate. It would heat my house and be very simple.

But then I would not be keeping Ronald, the firewood guy, as busy and I would not get the aerobic workout of going up and down the basement stairs.

Happy New Year. Let’s hope all of our problems are simple like these.

Questions for Tom Gocze should be mailed to The Home Page, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402-1329. A library of reference material and a home-project blog are at www.bangordailynews.com/thehomepage.html.

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