Tag Archives: home improvement

DeWalt 18/20V MAX Cordless/Corded Wet Dry Vacuum

DeWalt 18/20V MAX Cordless/Corded Wet Dry Vacuum

The DeWalt Cordless/Corded Wet Dry Vacuum model DCV581H uses a DeWalt 18 or 20 volt battery or the cord for powering the handy portable vacuum.

Ease of Use/Performance: 3/5
Convenience/Storage 4/5
Appearance/Design 4/5
How much I enjoy 4/5

Recommendation: 4/5

DeWalt Corded/Cordless Vacuum

The DeWalt 18/20V Wet-Dry Vacuum is a handheld corded or cordless vacuum but you do need to purchase a battery for cordless operation. The DeWalt DCV581H comes with the vacuum, hose, two attachments, filter assembly and manual but is not sold with a battery or charger.

The DeWalt DCV581H uses a decently powered motor to provide suction and has the really nice feature of being able to use either batteries or 120 volt wall power. The DCV581H can use either 18 volt or 20 volt DeWalt batteries with the 18 volt being either NiCad or lithium ion battery.

The 20 volt MAX batteries are only lithium ion so are a bit more expensive with batteries starting at about $90 for a pair of the 18 volt NiCad. I did not receive a battery or charger with the vacuum so I am not reviewing the power of the vacuum using a battery.

Whats in the Box

I checked out the functions and features of the DeWalt portable vacuum using the 120 volt corded operation and found the vacuum works very well. The ball on the inside of the tank prevents water or liquids from getting into the motor so you do need to hold the body of the vacuum somewhat level when using.

The DeWalt DCV581H has a five foot hose that attaches to both the intake and exhaust ports for both vacuum and blower use and is a common 1 1/4 inch size. The DCV581H comes with a crevice and wide nozzle tool but you can buy other tools in this common 1 1/4 inch size at stores like Menards, Home Depot and Lowes.

The DeWalt vacuum has the removable filter that can be washed for easy cleaning while a new filter will cost about $25 which is pretty common for these types of filters. The filter does a great job of keeping dust and fine particles out of the motor but you can buy new ones when it gets beyond the point of using.

Battery Connections

The DeWalt vacuum has enough power to pick up wood chips, sawdust and other smaller debris but balks at things like bolts and larger nuts. I had no problem getting up hair and dirt from a spilled plant but could not get up some of the rocks also in the plant.

The DeWalt vacuum has enough power for shop jobs like broken pieces of glass or sawdust which is what it’s made for but for larger jobs like rocks or pieces of concrete you may need to step up to a more powerful vacuum. The DeWalt vacuum does a great job around the house and in the shop for lightweight work just like my other handheld vacuums from DeWalt and Milwaukee in this same category.

The vacuum does a great job for dust bunnies and hair around the house and with its battery operation would make a great home vacuum for quick cleanups. The tank is easy to empty using the two side latches and the plastic makes it easy to wash and scrub out when really dirty.

Filter & Tank

The tank can be washed out with soapy water if you get it dirty with more than simple dirt or liquids which is a common use for a wet-dry vacuum. You can vacuum up water or other liquids but you should clean out the tank immediately to prevent the tank from getting rank or funky.

The filter also needs washing after cleaning up liquids but the fiber material used in the tank is pretty tough and can take repeated washing and vacuuming up liquids. After cleaning up liquids and rinsing or washing the filter you should let the filter and rest of the tank dry completely before reassembling the vacuum.

I really enjoy using a cordless vacuum for quick cleanups around the house and when I work on projects for a quick and easy way to keep things tidy. I was a bit disappointed when I did not receive a battery but the DeWalt vacuum works really well even when using it with a cord.

Cleaning Up Around the House

The DeWalt Wet-Dry vacuum worked well while I was trying it out for a new project building a kitchen countertop and for odds jobs all around the house. I highly recommend the DeWalt vacuum for a great corded and cordless vacuum that gives you the versatility of deciding how it’s powered.

DeWalt DCV581H @ DeWalt

DeWalt DCV581H @ Amazon


Quick and easy wet or dry pickup
Corded or cordless operation
Blower and vacuum function
Comes with common sized tools

Not as powerful as it could be
Batteries can be expensive

ZoomBuilt Solar IQ Retractable Light Solar Light System

ZoomBuilt Solar Light System

The ZoomBuilt Solar light system is a great way to light your landscape, path, sidewalk, deck or patio with a retractable light powered by the sun.

Ease of Use, Performance:  4/5
Look & Feel:  4/5
Features:  4/5
How much I enjoy:  4/5

Recommendation:  4/5 Stars

ZoomBuilt Solar IQ Solar Light System

The ZoomBuilt Solar IQ Retractable Landscape Light is a great way to light your landscape with a solar powered light that is easy to install. The ZoomBuilt Solar IQ light has a solar powered or transformer powered version with lights that retract for easy use with bad weather or for landscape.

The ZoomBuilt solar light system has a simple installation with either cutting a hole in decks or simply digging a hole in your yard or along your path. The light sits flush with less than an inch above the ground for easy lawn maintenance but I would be careful if trying to mow over them.

ZoomBuilt Solar Light System Working

You should make sure the light sits down and stays down but you can work around them easily or install them with rocks or other protective material that you will not be mowing. The light works by a simple 30 minute period of darkness then slowly raises about six inches.

When light hits the sensor in the morning for 30 minutes the light will retract until another 30 minute period of darkness sends it out to light your way. The lights use a small AA size 3.7 volt rechargeable battery for power and this battery recharges all day while the light is retracted.

Installing ZoomBuilt Solar Light System

To start the light a small switch by the battery compartment turns the light on and the light will shine briefly to show it started. The battery compartment is waterproof with a small rubber seal on the compartment.

After installing I have only had a few times when the light failed to raise or retract fully due to water but after the unit dried it did work without any problems or me doing anything. The light has been working for a month in my front yard and I really think it is going to be fine during the winter after seeing it work for over a month.

ZoomBuilt Solar Light System

I will revisit this when I know more about how the light works when covered with snow and in freezing weather so stay tuned for more information. For now the ZoomBuilt Solar IQ solar light system has been a great addition to my front yard landscaping and well worth a purchase.

ZoomBuilt Solar Light System at Night


Easy to Use

Easy to Install

Works well even in bad weather


Have not used in Winter yet

ZoomBuilt Website

ZoomBuilt Light @ Amazon

Delta Shower Head: In2ition Two-In-One Shower Arm Mounted Shower

Delta Shower Head: In2ition

The Delta In2ition shower is a shower arm mounted shower head that includes a hand shower that separates from the mounted Delta shower head for continuous showering even while getting those hard to reach places.

Ease of Use/Performance: 4/5
Convenience/Storage 5/5
Appearance/Design 5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Recommendation: 5/5

Delta Shower Head: In2ition

The Delta In2ition Two-In-One Shower Arm Mounted Shower is a hand shower for getting those hard to reach places and a mounted shower head with the separating shower arm. This two in one design is great when showering on colder days so you don’t have to stop that relaxing downpour over your body while using the hand shower.

The In2ition line of Delta shower heads includes eleven round and square shower head designs with all of the models including the removable arm that makes up part of the shower head. This unique design allows you to continue showering while also using the shower arm to get at other parts of your body to fully enjoy your shower.

The Contemporary model I received is model number 58470 and is a square shower head that has a bent hand shower arm with four square holes and one round ring of holes. The rest of the mounted shower head has six holes on the head for the continuous use but a lever on the shower head allows you to change the shower from full hand use or a combination of shower head and mounted shower head sprays.

Delta Shower Head Whats in the Box

The unique square design is a stylish look and does give a wider spray pattern while in the shower so this type of shower head needs a wider tub or one with a good curtain. After I installed the Delta shower head the wider spray meant making sure the shower curtain was well over the rounded sides of the tub to keep water from sneaking around the curtain.

A few times some water went out of the shower when using the Delta shower head but a simple check when entering the shower and tub to make sure my curtain is stretched to cover the corners is all that is needed. The wider spray really makes for an enjoyable shower especially on the current cold days when a hot shower is much more relaxing and enjoyable.

The wider spray and the continuous shower being on when using both the shower head and the hand shower makes for a convenient and enjoyable shower as well. The shower spray adjusts easily with the side lever for adjusting the main shower head while a push button on the arm adjusts the spray out of the handheld arm.

In2ition Push Button and Lever

Pushing the button turns the four squares and the round spray off or turns either set on and then both on for full adjustment of the handheld shower head. The lever on the side of the shower adjusts the main shower heads spray through the six holes or in combination with the handheld shower head.

Delta calls their new shower technology from their Delta shower heads H2Okinetic that provides the feeling of more water by pulsating the water in various directions. Inside the shower head chambers make the water oscillate as it comes out to create larger droplets that help to retain the heat of the water as well as spread those larger droplets out to make it feel like you’re getting more water.

It does work well and I do get the feeling of a larger area being covered by a shower head no larger than previous showerheads I have used. The Delta In2ition showerhead works well and is easy to install with a simple wrench and the included parts with washers for sealing against the shower arm pipe.

Delta In2ition with Long Hose

You may have to use a wrench to tighten down the shower head but Hand tightening was sufficient for my installation on the pipe while the shower hose for the handheld shower does not require any tool to install. The hose is about 60 inches long and does stretch a little by pulling but I am hesitant to stretch it out the full length that the company claims of 82 inches.

The Contemporary In2ition shower comes with in a Chrome, Champagne Bronze, Venetian Bronze and Stainless finish so you have a good choice to match the design of your bathroom. The hose is a steel covering and the finish on the shower head is all metal and resists corrosion as well as spots well for an easy to clean and nice Delta shower head.

The handheld arm docks in the shower head with a magnetic as well as snap lock that Delta calls MagnaTite Docking which does an excellent job of keeping the handheld shower in place when not in use as a handheld shower. I have never knocked the handheld shower head out of the main shower even when showering with another person and yes it was my wife.

The Delta Contemporary In2ition does come with Delta’s Lifetime Faucet and Finish Warranty that states the shower parts and materials are warranted to be free of defects for as long as the original purchaser owns their home. Faucets and other plumbing fixtures from the top companies usually come with a great warranty and Delta is no different in theirs with a lifetime warranty.

I really enjoy the Contemporary design of the In2ition Delta shower head and have enjoyed using it with the larger spray area and seemingly more water to my shower while still using the same amount. The Delta Contemporary In2ition will cost about $150 with other models costing about the same or slightly less and can be found at many home improvement stores or Sears.

I really enjoy the Delta Contemporary In2ition shower and highly recommend the new line of In2ition shower heads by Delta for a new shower experience as well as a stylish look to your bathroom.

Contemporary In2ition @ Delta

House Paint Finished Tips Tricks & Brands Used

House Painting

I’m finished painting my home and the Sherwin Williams Duration and Benjamin Moore Aura house paint I used have held up really well over the first year and have been a dream to work with for a professional looking job that gets plenty of compliments.

House Painting Finished

The ladders are back in the garage, the paint buckets are sitting on the shelf and all the house paint is either up on the walls or stored in the basement, yes I put leftover paint in my basement but more on that in a minute. I have finished painting my home and am very happy with the results even though it took two years to complete because I ran out of good weather.

I finished three walls outside in 2011 around November and wrote up my review but I still had another side of the house to finish painting which is now done before the winter of 2012 and snow flew. Over the winter I stored the paint in my basement which never gets below about 60 degrees, you should never allow paint of any kind to freeze or it will get ruined.

Store all your paint from gallon and 5 gallon buckets to those little cans of spray paint, lubricants and even foam sealant in the basement or another place but never let them freeze or you risk ruining the actual ingredients or having cans of spray burst. I have seen more cans of paint go into the dumpster, well maybe recycled at the local recycling center because the cans were left to freeze over the winter instead of keeping them at least above freezing.

I had a lot of planning for my painting and this was key in several areas including how much paint to use, how to get at all the parts of the house and what equipment I would need. I used two main paints for the house along with a cheaper primer I got from Menards, the main color house paint is an olive green Sherwin Williams Duration Exterior Acrylic Latex while the light tan is Benjamin Moore’s Aura Waterborne Exterior Paint for trim.

Can't Tell Which was Painted a Year Ago

I used a lot of primer as the existing paint was very worn and needed a good coat of primer before working on the top coat which went on extremely well. Primer is also done before caulking as the primer will help the caulk to adhere but make sure you buy paintable caulk for outdoor use.

Like in many things you do get what you pay for and paint is no exception to that time worn saying with good paint like Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore being both very good paints. The Sherwin Williams Duration was an excellent exterior house paint to work with and its lasts well over the harsh winters here in Minnesota.

Likewise the Benjamin Moore Aura paint I used for the trim around windows and doors went on smooth and for the most part in one coat and has topped off a great paint job. Like any paint job the preparation is key to having a good looking and long lasting paint but having the right tools and paint is also just as key.

I spent at least as much time on preparation as I did on painting with filling holes, fixing shingles and caulking around windows, along the soffits and such. I did not do any major wood work on the soffit but I did use about three quarters of a box of shingles as replacements for ones too damaged to keep or for ones missing as well as a door removal.

On one side of my house there was a door that led right out on to my driveway but the door was poorly installed and the bottom concrete of the frame moved when freezing temperatures hit. The door was unusable during the winter so I decided instead of trying to fix it and weatherize it to get rid of it and fill in the hole.

You can kind of see where it was if you look but the shingles are matching and I did try to get the same random pattern of varying width shingles placed next to each other. The house now looks great and I have received many compliments from neighbors and strangers just passing by on how good it looks but its more the paint than my work.

New and Year Old Paint

Both the Sherwin Williams Duration and the Benjamin Moore Aura house paints are excellent and are highly recommended by both home owners and professional painters as top of the line paints for your home. If you’re looking to paint your home wait for the sales and then buy just a bit more than you figure you’re going to need, you can always get more at the next sale after all.

The Sherwin Williams Duration house paint is an excellent choice for a main paint and goes on looking like a plastic coating when viewed up close to really seal in the house. The Benjamin Moore is more like a traditional house paint with the flat trim I received and has had no problems at all over the last year.

I have inspected the previous years’ work and cannot find any problems and did not need to patch any spots or fill any places that did not get enough paint. I can easily see both paints lasting a good ten years just on the performance of the past year and really inspecting the paint after a full year and the harsh winter that Minnesota has to offer.

The company does warranty their product for life but if you read the label it is about product and manufacturing like many typical warranties. When applying paints over old paint the warranty will not apply because the company cannot ensure the same adhesion and quality over such a varied surface for all the homes out there and the huge variety of situations.

No matter what you will be repainting your home even with the most expensive paint but this should last a lot longer than cheaper paints and both companies do stand behind their products. I am very pleased with the result and can easily recommend both the Sherwin William’s Duration and Benjamin Moore Aura paints as top of the line house paints that are well worth the cost even at full price.

Sherwin Williams Website

Benjamin Moore Website

My House Painting Article

Benjamin Moore Article

Toilet Tattoos Watercolor Tattoos for your Toilet

Toilet Tattoos Toilet Lid Decals Watercolor Tattoo for your Toilet

Toilet Tattoos are removable appliqués that fit on standard toilet lids made from electrostatic vinyl film in a variety of decorative and even whimsical styles for any occasion, like a watercolor tattoo for your toilet.

Ease of Use/Performance: 4.5/5
Convenience/Storage 4/5
Appearance/Design 4.5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Total: 4.5/5

Toilet Tattoos Watercolor Tattoo for your Toilet

Getting ready for company like the relatives at Christmas dinner usually means cleaning the house from top to bottom and setting out the holiday decorations. Now you can even decorate in the bathroom and I’m not talking candles and drapes, toilet lids can now get their own decorations that look like a watercolor tattoo for your toilet.

You’re not limited to just holiday decorations for your porcelain throne as Toilet Tattoos come in a wide range of styles such as artistic, whimsical and even monograms. Your toilet lid can now sport kids themes, pet warnings and rubber ducks or simple designs like a rainbow or cartoon animals.

Your throne can be adorned with artistic designs like wallpaper and rug patterns or a whole page of choices from wildlife like a bear, fish or a selection of dogs. The company offers a truly wide selection but you can even get the holiday and seasonal decorations that you would expect but I truly like the oddball and everyday ones.

Unlike real watercolor tattoos, Toilet Tattoos are an easy to install applique for your toilet seat lid that is made from electrostatic vinyl for easy application and even removal and reapplying to the same or other lids. Toilet Tattoos are easy to apply with the vinyl film that sticks to smooth toilet seat lids whether its wood, plastic or even those inexpensive particle wood types and adheres very well that looks like a watercolor tattoo on your toilet.

Watercolor OuthouseWatercolor Tattoo for your Toilet

I received, with helpful recommendations from my wife, the rubber ducks on a blue wave background and the classic outhouse for my downstairs guest bathroom which my wife is having outhouses as its theme. The rubber ducky’s fit real well into our own master bathroom and the other rubber duck items my wife is adorning our bathroom with.

The vinyl appliques are easy to install and come with a larger backing that is handy to keep around in case you get more Toilet Tattoos and need a temporary place to stick one. I have checked out fancier toilet lids at stores like Menards and Lowes with eye opening prices of about $50 for designs that cover the lid and the seat.

A few simple designs have just a single flower but these lids and seats costs about $20 but with the toilet tattoos you can adorn the design you choose. Looking at adorning your toilet lid you can even go the shag cover or other covers for toilet lids that simply snug onto a lid but prices for just a simple cover are at least $5.

Toilet Tattoos are available from the website at $9.95 for the predesigned ones and prices of about $25 and up for custom designs like monograms. When you install the Toilet Tattoo you should clean the lid well, the whole toilet could use a cleaning as well so you don’t track dirt and unclean stuff from other parts of the toilet to the new applique.

Rubber Ducky Blue Watercolor Tattoo for your Toilet

Simply peel and place the Toilet Tattoo in place on the lid and if you need to reposition it simply peel it off and try again. The electrostatic vinyl does not use an adhesive but simply sticks to smooth surfaces and works just like those decorations you stick to windows.

I had no problems installing both a round and oblong applique for my two toilets and they both have adhered well and withstood the normal use a family puts their commodes through. If the toilet gets dirty you can simply wipe off the tattoo while it’s on the lid or easily remove the Toilet Tattoos from the lid temporarily which is not like a real watercolor tattoo.

Do not use harsh chemical cleaners on the Toilet Tattoo but gentle cleaners work very well or remove the applique when cleaning with cleaners that contain bleach or other harsh chemicals to prevent damage to the vinyl. I have had no problems using and cleaning the Toilet Tattoos on my two toilet lids and have enjoyed adorning my toilets.

I highly recommend Toilet Tattoos as a low cost and easy to apply decoration that can be a year round applique or you can buy ones for special occasions.

Toilet Tattoos Website

A little update, Wal-Mart seems to be cleaning out of the Toilet Tattoo market, you can buy them for around $2.50 last time I saw them in the clearance aisle.