Innovative leveller sytem stabilizes wobbly and unsafe ladders

Base Mate Professional Ladder Stabilizer

The Base Mate Professional Ladder Stabilizer is a “revolutionary” solution to unstable and unsafe ladders for both do-it-yourselfers and home improvement professionals.

The Basemate Ladder Leveller … is an ingenious arc of hardened steel that cuts the risk of falls by allowing ladders to remain stable on uneven ground.

Opposing locks on each side of the arc replace the feet of a standard ladder. As the locks are released, the arc slides over until its rubber treads are firmly on the ground while the ladder stays plumb.
- Vancouver Sun

It looks easier to use than traditional ladder levellers. To see just how easy, watch the video available at the Base Mate website. You lean your ladder, tap-release the lock with your foot, and start climbing. Pretty cool!

The Base Mate Professional Ladder Stabilizer has been tested, used and now endorsed by Mike Holmes who calls it “the smartest foot system of any ladder leveler on the market”.

Some Specs & Features:

  • wider base which gives added support / stability to extension ladders
  • strong enough for the heaviest construction ladders
  • exceeds Grade 1 CDN and type 1A USA ladder requirements by 20%
  • made of hardened steel
  • insured by Lloyds of London
  • patented triple action locking system with one foot operation
  • installation to most fiberglass, aluminum and wood extension ladders (12” to 20” rung width)
  • weight tested to 1,200 pounds

Check it out at the Base Mate website. The Base Mate Professional Ladder Stabilizer is available in Canada and the UK. Hopefully US distribution will be coming soon; the distributor plans to launch in the US after finding success in other markets.

Note: The system was originally developed in 2001 by home improvement contractor Martin Dennis (Surrey’s Precision Gutters). It received the “most innovative product” award at the Canadian Hardware and Building Materials Show the same year but hasn’t been professionally marketed until recently. Just goes to show you that brilliant ideas do not go out of style.

Sound Proof Drywall: a high performance, low cost soundproofing alternative

Have a home theatre room that needs soundproofing? Want more privacy for (or from) mancave powertool experiments? Have kids with rock’n'roll dreams you can’t wait for them to outgrow? You can have it all and your peace and quiet too. The answer lies in using soundproof drywall where needed in your home.

Traditional soundproofing methods have been labor-intensive, lengthy processes requiring specialized knowledge. Soundproof drywall, such as QuietSolution’s QR-525 product is a significant leap forward in ease of use both for DIYers and home improvement / construction professionals. The benefits …

Ease of Use with Low Cost

QuietSolution soundproof drywall is “score, snap and hang” – no special training, tools or equipment required to install. Accessible for DIYers, an efficiency gain for professionals.

High Performance

A single layer of QuietRock QR-525 offers the same sound protection as 8 layers of standard drywall with a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating of up to 72. QuietRock’s patented technology uses 3 layers of viscoelastic, ceramic and gypsum material but still manages to be “eco friendly” and fire-rated.

An Award Winner …

I’m thinking along the lines of QuietRock QR-525 soundproof drywall – a Hanley Wood Most Valuable Product award winner.

“Each of these products will make a strong impact on the way builders and remodelers do their job,” says Jean Dimeo, Editorial Director, ebuild and BUILDING PRODUCTS. “From improving efficiency to cost-savings, the winning products represent the best new products to enter the housing industry over the previous year.”

With High Profile Press

QuietSolution soundproof drywall has been featured on Holmes on Homes (video snip from QuietSolution website), the CBS Early Show, and HGTV’s I Want That.

Check it out. See complete QuietRock drywall product specs & information on the QR website.

Mike Holmes Green Building Initiative

Mike Holmes, the crusading contractor / star of Holmes on Homes is in talks with home builders about forming a new building company to construct “eco-friendly homes that meet standards above the building code basics” across Canada.

If you’ve watched his show (on the Discovery Home channel in the US and HGTV in Canada), you know he likes to rail about the declining quality of new homes and the shoddy workmanship he finds. Now he’s trying to do something about it. And going green to boot.

“We’re in negotiations and talks now about building communities,” Holmes said. “We’ll start out West and then move right across the country.”

The concept is to build homes that are designed and inspected by Holmes, using eco-products that have the Holmes seal of approval.

Can it get any better??

Read more: Holmes to build with eco-friendly edge.

Mike Holmes, Marketplace & Max Pies – How not to get nailed by bad contractors

While researching hiring home improvement contractors, I stumbled on this insightful online video featuring Mike Holmes of Holmes on Homes on CBC Marketplace, a Canadian consumer affairs / investigative journalism show.

How not to get nailed … No one sees more renovation ripoffs than Mike Holmes. Marketplace uses hidden cameras to expose a contractor responsible for the latest disaster he’s fixing.

Marketplace sets the Sting

“The real deal on Home Contractors … Home Improvement Horrors … Hidden Camera Job Quotes … Who to trust … One very questionable character.” Oh boy, I can’t wait.

The show seemed to have 2 goals. First to set up a “test” to illustrate to viewers how to weed out the good from the bad contractors, what to look for. And second, to “bait a trap” for one particularly bad contractor (Leo Dos Reis of Max Pies Home Improvements), who crops up time and time again in complaint email to Mike Holmes from disillusioned homeowners.

The contractors job quote and interview segment is instructive and revealing but not terribly surprising. None of them quite measured up to Mike Holmes’ wish list … but then his standards are pretty high.

The Max Pies expose and sting operation, however, is brutal. Mike Holmes investigates the job and points out how the home is now unsafe, how the room built for the family baby could endanger her health, and how the house doesn’t meet building code.

Wendy Mesley of Marketplace interviews unhappy homeowners. And investigates the misleading Max Pies web site which is revealed to use photos of work by other contractors without their permission. How one contractor has tried repeatedly to have his photos removed even to the point of engaging a lawyer, without success.

A Very Questionable Character Caught in the Act

Leo Dos Reis, the owner of Max Pies Home Improvements, is the “very questionable character” mentioned in the teaser. FYI, Max Pies Home Improvements in Canada is not affiliated with the similarly named US flooring company.

Leo Dos Reis - Are you licensed?

The piece de resistance is the video sting of Dos Reis in action – the sales pitch, the misleading actions and statements about his license and qualifications, the customers he claims to have worked for who’ve never heard of him, the protestations about his reputation, the over-priced estimate, and the high pressure sales tactics.

Turns out Mr. Dos Reis has been charged with 14 counts of fraud. Marketplace tried to meet with him but he beat a hasty retreat when he saw the cameras. Apparently, he was supposed to be in court again last week. I checked out the local home improvement rating & reviews site and he has a solid 3 Star Rating in spite of the above. Interesting. Very interesting indeed.

Summary Judgment

Five Star piece of reporting by Marketplace, irrespective of the city you live in; highly recommended viewing if you are considering hiring a home improvement contractor.

The episode originally aired in January but you can see all the videos on the Marketplace site – including a March update on the story. Apparently Dos Reis is now running Platinum Home Renovations – with the same photos and content. He is still also going to court. All of which makes him Canada’s poster boy for bad home improvement contractors. You can find out more about the charges by searching the Consumer Beware database for “Max Pies” then clicking on DOS REIS, LEONARDO. Searching for “leo dos reis” won’t bring anything up, due to the way the search is designed.

DOS REIS, LEONARDO
CRIMINAL CODE – CCC – FRAUD, 13 CHARGES ON 2006/05/03
CRIMINAL CODE – CCC – ATTEMPT FRAUD, 1 CHARGE ON 2006/05/03
CRIMINAL CODE – CCC – FRAUD, 1 CHARGE ON 2007/04/04

For more info about crusading contractor Mike Holmes check out the Mike Holmes -Wikipedia entry and the Holmes on Homes website. Holmes on Homes airs on the Discovery Home channel in the US and HGTV in Canada.

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