The Rocky Mountain Ace Stores are approximately 150 Ace Hardware stores throughout Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico that work together to enhance their helpful service and community involvement.
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Tips from the Experts

Helpful advice from your neighbors at Ace

Get the Right Tool for the Garden

lawn mower

Pete Moss here to talk about garden tools. Are powered garden tools really worth the money, or are they just gadgets that will cost you more money in time and maintenance? Let’s take a look:

Hedge Shears:

Powered hedge shears, whether the common electric, battery-powered or heavy-duty gas powered are a big time saver. It’s so much easier and you get such a well-groomed hedge by using these compared to manual hedge shears. Also, your forearms will really thank you for using the powered version. What’s that? You say you only have two arms, then they’ll thank you twice as much!

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The Grass is Always Greener

lawn

Hey there everyone! This is Pete Moss asking a question: What is the most common plant on this planet?

Well, technically it’s algae, but I’m thinking more along the lines of a plant with roots, stems, leaves, etc. It’s grass. If you think about it, it’s really a no brainer. Sure, there are lots of trees on the planet, plenty of flowers, but what covers vast amounts of plains, prairies, savannahs, steppes and back yards? Grass!

Now I’m not saying that it’s all Kentucky Bluegrass. There are gobs of varieties of natural grasses. Even many grains that we eat are technically a grass. It only makes sense then that wild grass was cultivated and adapted in to lawn grass that we know today. This may make you feel a little better when you’re out there mowing your lawn. You’re taking care of your very little piece of the Earth’s big yard!

This may also bring up the question: Seed or sod? Which is to say, should I grow a lawn from seed, or put down sod? In some ways that’s like asking should I get take out or make dinner from scratch. Sod is like getting an instant lawn-to-go. Seed is like preparing your lawn from scratch. Let’s look closer:

Sod obviously is an instant lawn and looks like the easy no-care solution. Well, not really. One must still prepare soil for sod, you can’t just lay it on hard, uneven, poor soil and expect good results. Sod takes watering – a LOT of watering at first. Soaking it in for the first few weeks is required to get it take hold and grow. Sod can grow patchy, even though it’s solid when first laid down. It’s also a lot of heavy, hard work to put it down. This can be hired out of course, and a good landscape company can indeed save you a lot of sweat and grunt labor, at a price.

Seed is obviously not an instant lawn. Seed take weeks to germinate and start growing to look like a lawn. Seed is relatively cheap and easy to apply. The ground prep for seed is very similar to sod, then spread the seed and water it. Seed takes far less water than sod at first. Seed just needs to be kept moist for the first two weeks or so as it germinates. This can be frequent watering, but not much water each time. Seed gives you an easy opportunity to choose just what type of grass you want, and you can easily pick from water-saving, sunny, high traffic, even curbside blends.

Patching over thin or damaged areas is easy with seed, can be tricky with sod. Patch mixtures with seed, fertilizer & mulch all-in-one, like Scotts EZ Seed, work very well, can grow grass anywhere and fill in bald spots nicely. Um, I mean the bald spots in your lawn, don’t go getting any crazy ideas here!

Come see the helpful folks at your local Ace Hardware and they can tell you more about seed vs sod. Many of our stores have sod on hand this time of year and most have a very wide selection of grass seed to choose from. They’ll also help you with weed control, starter fertilizer and any soil you may need to patch your lawn or start a new yard. Yes they can help you make the grass greener on your side of the fence!



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It's Time to Plant!

Gardening

Ready, Set, Plant!

Pete Moss here telling you, yes, it’s okay, you don’t have to wait another week, go ahead and plant flowers outside!

Well, historically it’s okay. No, I am not a weather genius and I cannot predict with certainty that we’re all done with frost and cold, but we should be. Mother’s Day weekend along the Colorado front-range has always been the kick-off weekend for planting annual flowers. By then we should be done with freezing weather. This year we hardly saw any winter weather at all, so you could have planted on St Patrick’s day. Okay – I exaggerate to make a point.

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4 Laws of Lawn Mowing

Yard

Hi! Pete Moss here with Four Laws of Lawn Mowing.

 

Yes, it’s that time of year again. Time to fire up the mower, get out and enjoy the spring air while cutting the grass. From now ‘til November, when you’re mowing up fallen leaves, it’s a weekly chore that us guys do. And like guys do, we have laws involved. These are from Vince Staten and come from his excellent book, Did Monkeys Invent the Monkey Wrench? I have adapted them a bit.

  1. The lawn mower always runs out of gas at a point equidistant from the gas can and a cold beer. And oh, that cold beer has such a gravitational pull!
  2. Grass grows in inverse proportion to how busy you are. When you have the least amount of time to mow, your lawn grows like a rain forest.
  3. Lawn mowers take as long to repair as you want them to. Need to mow next week, your mower will be done. Want to take a few weeks off from mowing, no problem, the parts are on order, it’ll be awhile!
  4. The grass is always greener when you fertilize. An old friend of mine used to say fertilizing is feeding the enemy. On a hot day in August when I’m mowing, I often think the same thing. Why do we create so much extra work for ourselves?

So why do we mow? Why is green grass that is cut evenly so attractive to us all? That is hard to wrap up here, but this practice does go back to the middle ages. Back then grass was shortened for picnic areas by pounding it down. Later, hand cutting grass with a scythe became the thing. Walking behind your mower in July a little to tiring for you? Try the scythe out, and then see how nice your mower is!

 

In 1830 Edward Budding adapted a machine designed to shear the nap off velvet to cut grass. The reel mower was born, and teenage boys immediately had to come up with excuses to get out of mowing the lawn. Reel mowers are reely a lot of work.

 

Gas powered mowers came in around the turn of the 20th century and were a big hit. By the mid 1950’s most mowers had what we now think of as normal, the horizontal rotating blade. Then came self, propelled mowers, riding mowers, and the hovering, laser-cut robo-mowers, but perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

Rest assured that your local Ace Hardware store can help you out with your mowing needs this season. We have many brands and models featuring Craftsman and Toro. We also have many electric and battery-operated models to choose from. Reely want to try out a reel mower? Ace is the place for them too.  Mowers have come a long way. No hand-operated scythes here, the new features they have are really worthwhile. 

If you’re tired of fighting with your old mower maybe you need the 5th law of lawn mowing: Ace is the place with the helpful lawn mower folks! 

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Ace is THE Place for Weber

Weber Grills Logo 

Brad Nale here again with a question for you: If I ask you to picture a charcoal grill in your head, what image comes to mind? I am willing to bet that it is an image of a Weber Kettle charcoal grill. It’s an iconic design that has been around for around sixty years now.

The original barbeque was, well, probably cavemen cooking their wooly mammoth burgers over an open flame. But let’s fast forward a few years to the sixteenth century when a structure known as a barbacoa was used to cook with fire. That term eventually became barbeque and applied to all things having to do with outdoor cooking. Fast forward a few more years and arrive in the early 1950’s where a man named George Stephen was tired of ash blowing in to his food when he was grilling.

I grew up with one of the worst charcoal grills ever. Flat, wobbly, hard to light, hard to control the heat and the wind always blew up chucks of ash on food. If only we had Stephen’s new design, the kettle grill. His new grill was created in 1952 and used the kettle-shaped bottom of the grill to improve grilling by leaps and bounds. In 1959 the Weber Brothers Metal Works was acquired by Stephen and by the1970’s the kettle grill was the grill of choice.

Jump in to the mid 1980’s when Weber introduced their Genesis line of gas grills. Just as the kettle grill revolutionized charcoal grilling, the Genesis grill turned the gas grilling world upside down. Now we had a gas grill with multiple burners, easy to adjust the heat, easy and safe to light and much more convenient to use and clean.

The Genesis line is still with us today. It has been improved on and has spun off to the Spirit and the Summit lines. All Weber gas grills are great to cook on. I have had a Weber Genesis grill now for eighteen years. We cook on it three to four times per week. It has held up well and never disappoints for its ease of cooking or for how the food turns out. I am one of those guys that never goes out to a steak house and pays $50.00 for a steak because I can grill a steak as well as the restaurant, if not better, for way less money.

Want the best Weber charcoal grill out there? Try the new summit charcoal grill. It’s a 24” kamado-style grill that is truly the summit of grilling. Come in and ask the helpful hardware folks about this awesome grill.

Looking for the grill of your dreams? Look no further than your local Ace Hardware store. Our Weber line up is second to none and we have all the accessories and parts you may need as well as the helpful folks to get you all set up and grilling. Stop in, and tell them Brad sent you!



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Ace is THE Place for Grills!

Traeger Grill

Brad Nale here reminding you that the time’s they are a changing. Yeah, some guy name Bob said that many years ago, but what I mean is that the spring-forward time changed this past weekend. Recover from that lost hour of sleep on Sunday yet?

Now some of you don’t like this. It’s tougher to wake up in the dark morning. But it does mean that sunsets are now an hour later. And you know what that means: It’s now easier to grill dinner! True, some of you, like my wife, have been digging through the snow to get to the grill all winter long. But, let’s face it, even though the food tastes great, it’s not a lot of fun grilling in the dark and cold of a Rocky Mountain winter. It’s so much easier and enjoyable to grill when it’s nice outside. Something about the time change signals that it’s time to grill more often.

So what are you waiting for? Get grilling!

What? Your grill didn’t winter over well? You’re out of propane or charcoal? You need pellets? Look to your local Ace Hardware store for the solution to all these problems. Grill burners, grates, knobs, covers, cleaners and other parts can all be found to fix up your old grill. Or, if you think your old grill has cooked its last burger, Ace is the place for new grills. If you haven’t looked for a grill in a while, you’re in for a nice surprise. There’s a whole new world of grills out there.

One of my favorites is the Traeger line of grills. These wood-fired grills are really versatile and add so much to the flavor of grilled foods so easily. They’re fired by wood pellets and the pellets come in a wide variety of hardwoods for all the flavors you want. Traeger grills can be used for direct grilling of chicken, steaks and such, for slow smoking of ribs, roasts and hams and even for pizza and other fun grilled foods. They’re super simple to use, with digital controls for heat, self-feeding pellet augers and they’re easy to clean.

Traeger grills do have one problem: They smell so good, with the oak, mesquite, apple, cherry or other pellets smoking away while your meats are slow roasting that your neighbors will come from the entire block and want to join you for dinner. So what the heck, throw on a little extra meat and have a get-together. Everyone will enjoy it so much, they’ll get themselves a Traeger grill and you con mooch off them next time!

Also at most Ace Hardware stores are Big Green Egg grills. These are the kamado-style grills, that are shaped like big eggs, and they’re green – get it! No, they’re not the cheapest grills on the planet, but wow- try them out and you’ll be hooked! The versatility, flavor and abilities of Big Green Eggs are like no other charcoal grill.

Ace is the place for charcoal as well. No longer just one flavor or type, charcoal has many awesome options now. Come in and our helpful folks will show you the differences and help you pick the charcoal that suits your grilling tastes just right. Don’t forget wood chips as well as spices, sauces, rubs and every barbeque accessory you could ever want. We even have some you didn’t know you wanted, so come to Ace today and get grilling!



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Ace Cuts Keys!

House Key

A Chip Off the Old Key Fob!

Fob. What an odd word. In all my years of working in Ace Hardware stores I always wondered just why the little, often decorative, thing that goes on your key ring was called a fob. Well, I still do. There’s not a real direct origin for this word. So I guess I’ll just keep wondering. You may say, who cares, Brad? Well, think of this: You may well use a fob multiple times each day, and not even know it. This particular fob is the one that unlocks your car doors. Oh you mean the car door remote thingy! Yes, that thingy is the fob, and chances are you’re going to want a new one someday.

If you’re like old Brad, you’ve worn off the writing on your fob. That’s okay, you know what the buttons do. But what about when you go to sell that car, or give it to your kids, or switch with your spouse? Yep, you’ll need a new fob. Great, there goes another $100+ at the car dealer. No! Just stop by your local Ace Hardware store and ask the helpful folks for a new remote fob. Yes, Ace stocks many makes and models. Cool, I can just by one and then get in to any car I want! No, not quite, you need your current fob to program the new fob so it will work with your car only. It’s easy, it’s quick and it can save you a good chunk of cash by stopping in at Ace.

You may only need a new shell to re-new your fob. Many Ace stores stock just the outer shell, with new buttons, but they use the inner electronics of your current fob. This can save you perhaps half the cost of the fob, depending on make and model of your vehicle. Of course, Ace is also the place for the button batteries that power your fob. There are many different sizes of these batteries and Ace’s helpful folks will get you set up with just the right replacement to get you back to opening you door remotely.

Isn’t it funny how it seems so odd and so much work now to insert a key and open a car door by hand, by turning a key. How quickly we all become dependent on technology!

While you’re there, get a new key made for your car. Your car key likely has an electronic chip in it if it was made in the 21st century. Ace can cut most car chip keys as well. They vary a lot in cost and complexity these days, but once again, Ace will save you a lot of money when compared to a car dealer. Did you buy a used car and only get one key? That seems to be a common problem. You’ll want to get a second key cut for certain. Losing a chip key and having a dealer install an entire new ignition is a repair that will cost you big bucks, and probably several headaches as well.

Your car doesn’t use a key – just a button on the dash. You have buttons built in to the head of your key. Yes, Ace Hardware can help you there too. Key technology has changed a lot in the past few years and Ace Hardware is changing along with it. Some models take a bit of time to program, so come in when you have 30-40 minutes, but do let our helpful folks help you out!

Don’t get all keyed-up. If the chips are down, just stop by Ace Hardware, tell them Brad Nale sent you and let them get you back on the road again!



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If You Can't Duck It...

Duct Tape

Feeling ducky about duct tape!

It’s time to get started on making your dress and your tux for prom. Huh? I thought this was an Ace Hardware blog. Of course it is. I’m talking about making your outfit from Duck Tape. Frankly, I’ve never made a dress from Duck Tape. I hope you’re saying, that’s good to know Brad, we’d be more concerned if you had made one. Anyway it’s been decades since prom for me, and certainly nobody would have thought have making clothing from old, boring gray duct tape.

Yes, duct tape. Originally it was actually used for medical purposes. It was developed in the 1930’s for use as waterproof cloth tape. During World War II this tape found its way in to the army and soldiers created many other uses for it. When air conditioning became popular in the 1950’s there was a need for duct sealing tape. That’s when the gray color and the name came around and it stuck. Stuck like duct tape it did!

Flash ahead several years and you’ll find Manco, Inc changing the name around to Duck Tape, a logical conclusion since that what it sounds like as one pronounces duct tape, especially when done quickly. The name took off like a duck to water and has stuck to the entire genre of tape ever since.

Ironically, according to many building codes, ducts are no longer a place where it’s okay to use duct tape. That may be about the only place where you can’t use Duck Tape, though. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a more iconic, common, useful item in households and car trunks today. Guys everywhere have found a zillion uses for Duck Tape. You should always have a roll in your vehicle and laying around your house. I say guys, but gals have found many uses too.

 

Several years ago Duck Tape brand started sponsoring prom contests. For pictures of last year’s winners and for this year’s contest, go to stuckatprom.com and see how you could win up to $10,000! I was really blown away by the outfits made from Duck Tape. They’re amazing and it really goes to show what fun new colors and patterns are now available. Too many to list, and they’re changing often!

If you’ve got a project that you think may be just beyond duct tape and you want a more aggressive tape, Ace Hardware has got you covered as well. We stock both Gorilla Tape and T-Rex Tape. Both of these are similar in size and look to duct tapes, but they are stronger and designed for those really tough jobs. I’ve used them both and they do work very well. They’re far from wimpy and have solved many problems for me that have lasted over time very well. However, I don’t think I’d try to make on outfit from these tapes.

 

Now you’re feeling just ducky about duct tape. Next time you’re out, stop in your local Ace Hardware store and grab another roll or two. Someday when you need it, or when you’re feeling creative, you’ll be glad you did! When you’re there, tell them Brad Nale sent you! 


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Shark Bite

Shark Bite Logo

A fitting solution to a common problem.  

Hi, Brad Nale here to talk to you about plumbing fittings. Now don’t everyone whoop it up. Try to remain calm. I know this is a terribly exciting subject, but please, read on.

I recently had to replace plumbing for a bathroom sink. Not the most fun I could have planned for a Saturday, but not that big a deal, should only take an hour or so. Yeah, well, as I cut open the wall to expose the problem, I began to think, maybe I should have called a plumber. But plumbers are outrageously priced these days, and who to call? So DIY it was.

There was one simple bright spot in this project, though; Shark Bite Fittings. Shark Bite fittings are not all that new, but I had the never used them before. I’ve seen them demonstrated and thought, wow, looks great. Now that I’ve actually used them I think WOW! They are amazing!

Here’s the situation I had: In the wall behind a bathroom vanity, I found copper and galvanized fittings had been used together. This is a horrible mistake and I cannot believe that any plumber would do this, or inspector would allow it, but there they were. The two metals had been corroding each other for many years and had allowed hardly any water to pass through, not to mention, this was a ticking water-bursting, flood the basement time-bomb just waiting for the most inconvenient opportunity to go off.

I cannot solder pipe. I never learned. I can, however push two fittings together, which is just what I did. Cut the pipes, put in a couple of elbows and a coupler. With Shark Bite fittings, it was so simple. But, wouldn’t you know it, I measured wrong and needed one pipe to be about an inch shorter. No problem, simply remove the Shark Bite fitting, cut the pipe and re-install the Shark Bite. Try that with a soldered-on fitting.

Turn the water back on at the main valve for the moment of truth. Voila! No trouble from the Shark Bite fitting at all! Amazing. All these years I have turned down some plumbing projects because I never learned to solder pipe. Those projects cost me hundreds of dollars in plumber’s fees. Not a problem any longer!

Visit your local Ace Hardware store, go to their plumbing department and check out these fittings. They really are well worth using and solve so many problems easily! The Helpful folks at Ace can show you just how to use them, how to install them and remove them. Once you try them you’ll never want to solder a pipe, or call a plumber again. 


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Got Icicles?

Snow Covered Car

Here at the Brad Nale household we do. Unfortunately. True, they’re cool to look at and some can grow quite large and interesting, but icicles hanging on your house’s gutters and eaves is not a good thing. For one, they can be quite dangerous when they fall. For two, they generally mean you have poor drainage and have or are going to have water damage to your eaves. Yeah, not good news.

What causes icicles is melting snow that does not drain in to your gutters, then down and away from you house. Water flows in between the eave and the gutter, dribbles through slowly, drips down just enough, and freezes. Expanding as it freezes it helps to make room for the next dribble of water coming down, then that freezes, and so on, until you have a large frozen spike of water hanging on the edge of your roof.

Water should melt, run down the roof, over the drip edge and cleanly in to your gutter. Then as it melts it will drain down your downspouts and away from your house. If you have icicles it can mean that your gutters are pulling away from you house and/or that you need drip edge installed.

Drip edge is a length of sheet metal, shaped to slide in under the first row of shingles and then over the edge of the gutter, securely directing drips of water well down in to the gutter, with no chance of dribbles ending up where you don’t want them.

What to do now if you have icicles? Well, knock them down if you can, before they fall on someone’s head. Have your gutters inspected or look at them yourself if they’re not too high up. See if your gutters are pulling away from the house. Many older homes have gutters that are simply nailed on with long nails. These pull out over time. There are many types of newer brackets that hang gutters more securely and can fix this. You may need to wait until it warms up a bit – okay this winter’s been plenty warm and dry – but still you’ll want a very dry and moderate temperature day to look at and maybe repair these.

Of course, this makes me think of all the Hollywood gutters that bad guys hang on and downspouts that they climb up. I am not recommending that you do this, but if you tried climbing your downspouts or hanging from your gutters, I think you’d find that they’d pull right off your house. Except in the movies, they’re simply not designed to hold the weight of a villain – or a hero! 

Most Ace Hardware stores can help you with brackets and parts to repair your gutters and downspouts if you choose to, but sometimes this is a job better left to the people who do this every day with the right tools. Besides, you don’t want your mind in the gutter any more than necessary to get rid of your icicles. I know my mind will be in the gutters this spring. I’ll let you know what happens with mine.

In the meantime, this is Brad Nale for the Helpful Hardware folks at Ace Hardware. 


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