Roofing part 3: the tools

At the beginning of July, with the help of friends and family, I replaced the roof on my house. It was hard work, with a lot of planning, and we needed all that help to get it done as quickly as we did. I’m really glad I did it myself, and would make the same decision to do it again in a heartbeat. I was fortunate to receive an insurance claim for hail damage that covered the costs (and then some). Here’s how it all went down.

Part 1 was about the knowing and the planning and part 2 was about materials.  This post will talk about the tools and other miscellaneous things needed for replacing your asphalt shingle roof.  I got many of these tools from Menard’s or Amazon.  I’ll leave some links to the exact item I used (or a very close substitute).

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Replacing my roof part 2: materials

At the beginning of July, with the help of friends and family, I replaced the roof on my house. It was hard work, with a lot of planning, and we needed all that help to get it done as quickly as we did. I’m really glad I did it myself, and would make the same decision to do it again in a heartbeat. I was fortunate to receive an insurance claim for hail damage that covered the costs (and then some). Here’s how it all went down.

Part 1 was about the knowing and the planning, this part is about materials.

Materials

There are a lot of roofing brands out there, and most of them are comparable.  Since I was doing it myself, I wanted the best shingles I could afford.  This meant standard asphalt shingles.  When doing my research, I used a combination of YouTube reviews, Reddit posts, and some ratings websites to help figure out the best option.  That research pointed me toward rubber polymer based impact resistant (Class 4) shingles.  These rubber polymer shingles resist hail impact, are more flexible, and tend to be more durable than standard shingles.

The other thing I was looking at was warranty. Most companies don’t give great warranties unless it is installed by a contractor who has a certification/partnership with the manufacturer.  This makes it hard for a homeowner to get much more than a 10 year warranty.

Finally, cost was a small factor, but it ended up not mattering in the end, due to the amount of insurance money I got from my hail claim.  After considering my options, I wanted the best shingles I could buy and the best warranty.  Cost would only be a tie breaker, but the choice was pretty clear in the end. Continue reading


How I replaced the roof on my house, part 1: the knowing is half the battle

At the beginning of July, with the help of friends and family, I replaced the roof on my house.  It was hard work, with a lot of planning, and we needed all that help to get it done as quickly as we did.  I’m really glad I did it myself, and would make the same decision to do it again in a heartbeat.  I was fortunate to receive an insurance claim for hail damage that covered the costs (and then some).  Here’s how it all went down.

The planning

There are a few major things that go into planning a project like this: timing, knowledge, materials, tools.  In this post I’ll talk about the timing and knowledge aspects.

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First Look: Tentsile UNA “tree tent”

I sometimes get free camping-related gear to review from The Dyrt. This time I got to review the Tentsile UNA (2.0) tree tent.

I had great hopes for this unique tent.  When Tentsile first started making tents I was always intrigued.  It looks like a great concept and solves some of the problems of a traditional hammock for people who can’t sleep well in a hammock position.  In practice, however, the Tentsile UNA is very limited in it’s use, it is too heavy for backpacking, and cumbersome to setup.  It is relatively comfortable, but as a 6’5″ man, it was somewhat cramped.

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How cheap is too cheap (when it comes to tools)?

“You get what you pay for” is an adage I don’t live by.  I’m very frugal, so I’m always watch for great deals or just buying cheaper stuff.  Many times you are paying for a brand or a “lifestyle”.  This applies to nearly everything you can buy, but today I want to talk about tools.

Background: My old miter saw

Last spring I built a chicken coop.  Everything went really well until my miter saw stopped working.  I’m a big DIYer and love to learn new things, but in this case I wasn’t interested it fixing it.  I probably needed a new switch, which would require taking it apart, finding a part, installing that part, and putting it back together.  I’ve never worked with this type of electronics before, and I didn’t have the time or interest right now to learn right then and there, especially being in the middle of this project. Continue reading


My New Tent: Wenzel Ivanhoe 6

We’ve been using the same Cabela’s Westwind tent for 8+ years and it has been great.  However, as a “Ranger” for The Dyrt, I get to test camping products.  This time the company was Wenzel, a company that make tents in the budget price range.

For the Ranger review program, we typically get a coupon code to use and I rarely spend more than the total amount (typically $100), but this time I decided it would be worth it.  There wasn’t anything I found cheaper from Wenzel that would be really useful for my family at this point, plus I love tents.  I picked the Ivanhoe 6 since our only real issue with the Westwind is the setup time/effort.

The Ivanhoe has a simple setup with a single walled design. It is definitely smaller than the Westwind Deluxe, but my oldest son James is now in is own small Coleman dome tent, so we don’t need it to be as big.  We plan to use the Ivanhoe in good weather mostly, since we love the weather proofing and vestibule from the Westwind (though the Ivanhoe performed admirably in the rain).

Here’s my video review of the Wenzel Ivanhoe 6 tent:

You can buy it from Walmart if you want your own.


Spring Planting Planner

My office recently hosted a “Hack-a-thon”, where we could build whatever we wanted to build.  I spend some time on the first day learning some new technology from some co-workers, but the second day I started to build an app that I had wanted to build for a while: a spring planting planner scheduler.  Basically, the concept is it tells you when to start seeds indoors or outdoors based on your local last frost date, which is critical because a miscalculation could kill your plants.

Inspiration and Data: Patrick at One Yard Revolution

There are similar apps out there, but the data from mine is from a YouTube gardener named Patrick Dolan.  His channel is called One Yard Revolution and he’s my favorite YouTube gardener due to his philosophy of using free, local resources and using the least amount of effort for maximum yields.  Patrick is willing to change his practices based on his own trials and peer reviewed research and he shares his success and failures on his channel.  He transformed his backyard into a yearlong garden with raised beds, low tunnels, and a hoop house.  That’s impressive since he lives in a suburb of Chicago.

A few years ago he released a similar tool, but it is build in Excel/Google Sheets and isn’t the most user friendly if you aren’t comfortable in Excel.  It was supremely valuable to me, and was the main inspiration for my app.

For the location-based frost-date data, I’m using the Farmsense API data to get the nearest NOAA station and then the average last spring frost date.  I’m going with the date that has 30% probability at 32 degrees.

The app

This app was a labor of love, but if you want to support me and my efforts, you buy one of my garden tool recommendations or just send me some money via PayPal.

https://jimmypautz.com/plants/

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Why I stopped using Gutenberg

I’ve always been a fan of WordPress and what they do.  WordPress is free, open source, and really powerful.  It is also really easy to use and to setup.  There is a huge community behind it and it is my preferred choice of CMS for the websites I manage.  Many people criticize/look down upon WordPress, and I agree that it isn’t perfect, but it also doesn’t deserve the hate…even for GutenbergGutenberg is the next generation editing experience for WordPress.  It was released in late 2018, and is very (overly) “block”-focused and built in modern JavaScript.  It also is far from ready to be in production for millions of users.

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REVIEW: CeilingLink ceiling grid system

You know I’m working on my basement and I wanted to share my thoughts on the product I’m using for the ceiling grid, CeilingLink. Generally, they have been very positive and I’d recommend it if you are in a similar situation.

What is it and who is it for?

CeilingLink is a direct-mount grid system for ceiling tiles. My basement has 7’2″ ceilings from floor to joist, so I needed something that would give me as much headroom as possible, being that I’m 6’5″. Classic drop ceiling was out of the question. I wasn’t interested in drywall for a variety of reasons: effort, cost, and access. With ceiling tiles, I can remove a few to access whatever I need to access that’s up in the ceiling. Plus, I’m not convinced that drywall looks much better than tiles.  The other benefit is sound reduction, as ceiling tiles can help absorb some between the basement and the main floor upstairs.  Finally, a lot of people leave the basement ceiling exposed.  The primary reason we didn’t want to do this is spiders.  There are a decent amount of spiderwebs in those joists and it feels warmer and cleaner having a real ceiling.

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