Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Trex deck lights Shine!

Earlier this year Trex announced its new deck light system design called Lighthub, which allows the lights to be plugged in from a male end to a female end instead of wiring together.  This system makes adding lights later and installation worry free as well as a timesaver.  Trex instructions and literature for installation online was very helpful.  Along with ease of installation comes 40,000 hours per LED light.  These LED lights can easily now add atmosphere and safety to your deck with what I call "plug-and-play" installation.  Each light and component is weatherproof and salt-air resistant.  Trex also offers a five year warranty on all their lights and a three-year warranty on the transformer and timer.  As  a non-electrician I sure enjoyed installing these lights in my latest deck project. I am sure the homeowner will enjoy the ambience and safety the lights provide for years to come.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Trex shines (railing)

I have recently been working on a new deck project in which I am using Trex products.  The products have exceeded my expectations in both quality and ease of installation.  I am going to specifically write about the rail system today. I started with the online catalog of parts and pieces, and did my takeoff from there. Once the product was ordered and delivered on site, the process has already begun because all the boxes are labeled "step 3 of 5" for example. So organization of the product on site was easy.  From there I followed the trex express installation guide, which included a template for mounting the post brackets to the post, see picture to the right.  This is great for a couple of reasons. One the template requires no measuring as other brands and systems do. Secondly the template also acts as a third hand holding the brackets in place till you can pre drill and fasten them with screws, very cool!  The rest of the installation is truly as simple as following the steps marked on the boxes.  Trex also includes a few extra fasteners per bag of hardware so if you drop or lose one you don't have to immediately crawl below the deck to retrieve it.  The rails themselves are solid, strong and have a smooth finish.  Way to go Trex for designing a better way of doing things!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Transitional Fireplace Mantle

Formal Living Room side
Living Room side under construction
These are the concept drawings for a "built-in cabinet/bookshelf/mantle".  The Built-in separates one large space into the Formal Living room and the Great Room.  The room is 37' x 32" and accommodates this large Fireplace beautifully.  On the formal side the fireplace has a White Carrera tile surround and hearth inside a 6' high mantle.  The legs of the mantle boast shadow boxes with inset moldings.  The area above the mantle has been sized for a specific piece of art.  To the left and the right of the fireplace are back to back cabinets and cantilevered "wrap around" shelves above them.  The shelves make for a smooth transition from room to room as you walk around the fireplace making the millwork seem unending.  

 The great room side moldings are less traditional and offer the home a less traditional feel.  The fireplace will be surrounded with a real stone from floor to ceiling and wraping around the top of the highest header to integrate the two sides even more.  The header also will have lighting to help create a dramatic effect on the stone and ceiling.  Above the Mantle the TV will be mounted in front of the rock.
Living room (with Paint)

As this project Finishes over the next month I will post more pictures so you can follow the process, Enjoy.
Great Room side (with paint)
Stonework beginning

Great Room side

Exciting new ceiling

If you want to add detail and drama to a room adding boxed beams with crown molding will do the trick.  This kitchen had high ceilings but needed some added detail.  I split the room into thirds taking a cue from the square shape of the room. After installing the supports to the floor joists above I wrapped them with 1x mdf and routed the bottom.  I then installed crown molding inside the squares made by the false beams.  All it needs is paint and it will be complete. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Mission style oak tray

 A relatively simple design for a serving tray with soft touches 
throughout the piece.  I used quartersawn oak planed to 1/2" for the sides, 
and 2" x 2" for the corners.  I made my own Tongue and Groove base
with Red Oak planed to 5/8" with a Chamfered edge to give
 the base another demension.

Tablets in Construction

As with all areas of industry construction is finding new uses for technology, to boost productivity with efficiency and communication.  The use of cell phones changed communication on a job site forever.  Now we have smart phones with e-mail, calendars, cameras, Apps, and Internet access.  Tablets are the next natural progression. With more Apps, full connectivity to Outlook, and complete internet access to full websites and downloads.  The question I ask myself is “Do Tablets enhance customer service and productivity?”
    As a Job Supervisor I am in the field daily.  I can be in a meeting with a customer in the morning, ordering materials and supplies from a vendor, and then crawling in an attic by the afternoon.   I have the tools to take care of any issue within a house, and am constantly looking for faster better ways of completing my tasks.  Efficiency is the key to any good tradesman’s day.  Can the meetings and the ordering become more efficient and effective?  Yes with organization and communication.  One tool I use now is a smart phone.  It allows me to view and respond to e-mails wherever I am.  This allows for “streaming communication”, constant open communication with my clients.   But just communicating with them doesn’t get the project done.  We still need to be onsite working and be able to view, and change estimates, proposals, and designs.  My “smart phone” allows me to do some of these tasks efficiently but some need more interaction then my phone provides.  Tablets allow for full connectivity to Outlook and its features.  They also allow for full website viewing, which my smart phone does not always allow.  Downloads of pictures and documents is made easy and I am able to interact with many of them as well as show a customer an image, recently edited document, or help them with choices.  There are many “apps” that would also assist in communication, design, estimating and ordering.  A Tablet would allow for more Connectivity and Interaction, but would they create more work in order to use one to its full potential?  For example, in some design applications it would create some more work to design a 3D model, but having your customer understand and visualize what the project entails is invaluable.  Would a tablet be worth it, from the customers satisfaction and a business stand point?
     To prove a point to my boss that we needed tablets I decided to journal every opportunity that I had to enhance production and customer satisfaction by using a tablet.  I did this for a month and what I found at the end was surprising to me.  I found that the “need” was more of a want.  They do have a great purpose in the field, but the Tablet itself would not enhance productivity.  But rather the Person who was using it would have to be committed to using the Tablet in such a way as to save time, and enhance the Customers’ overall experience with our company.  The Tablet would allow for greater flexibility in and out of the office, while giving me access to paperless Job folders and other office files.  What I’ve found in my “Pre-Tablet” construction experience is that careful planning, communication, and thinking ahead all enhance productivity and customer service.  So would having a Tablet create a “crutch” for me in the field?  It could, but I believe that with the right focus and using Tablets as an enhancer to what we already do on a daily basis, they can boost productivity, and save time.