Saturday, July 30, 2011

Adjusting Your Door


Doors swell and start rubbing on the jamb for various reasons. Foundations settle, wood framing members twist, bow and absorb moisture and walls rack out of plumb sometimes due to earthquakes. But the primary cause is due to the fact that the top or bottom of the door was not sealed during the painting process. This allows moisture to enter the wood frame from the inside, expanding the door and causing it to rub or even get completely stuck in extreme circumstances.
Sometimes the fix can be relatively simple. If the latch side of the door is rubbing, try this:

  1. If the top side, latch side of the door is rubbing, remove the top hinge pin. If the bottom side, latch side of the door is rubbing, remove the bottom hinge pin. Only remove one hinge pin at a time.
  2. Using a crescent wrench, tighten it around each ear of the hinge that is attached to the door. One at a time, bend each ear slightly (about 1/8”) in the direction of the lock side of the door. Be careful not to bend the ears too much as this can cause the door to become hinge bound – now rubbing on the hinge side of the jamb. After bending each ear, re-insert the hinge pin and operate the door. You may be surprised at how easy it was to fix the problem.
  3. If  the hinge side of the door is rubbing, just reverse the direction in which you are bending the hinge ears.
  4. Add a little lubricant to the hinges and you are done.

Of course sometimes the door will be rubbing at the top of the jamb. In this case, your only alternative is to plane the top of the door. If you are trying to avoid the use of power tools, you can try a sure form rasp or hand planer. Just plane the door a little at a time and then try it until it no longer rubs. Take your time. You don’t want to get in a hurry and plane too much at one time. The door may now close but the fit will look terrible.
After the problem has been resolved, don’t forget to seal the top and bottom of the door with a quality paint. Although you will have to use a drop cloth, there are many creative applicators available that will allow you to apply the sealer without having to remove the door.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Finishing Your Patch

Finishing the patch can be somewhat tedious and time consuming but certain steps just have to be followed in order to reach the final goal of completing a quality patch that blends in with the surrounding area.
Whether the patch is big or small, the first step in the finishing operation is to tape the joints. If you are in a hurry and the patch is relatively small, a fast setting compound can be used. Using a 20-minute mud for example will allow you to move on to the next step quicker and shorten the total time necessary to complete the job. Mix only what you will use up within 20 minutes. If you have the time to allow for drying between coats, an all-purpose compound works best. It will allow you to take your time without worrying about the material drying up too fast during the application process. It is also easier to sand.
The type of tape being used is also selective. There are paper tapes as well as self-sticking open mesh. The difference is cost and ease of application.
Using a 6” wide putty knife, spread the taping compound over the joint and then imbed the paper tape by applying pressure with the knife blade. Do each joint separately, overlapping the tape slightly. If using the self-sticking tape, apply it to the wall first and then apply the compound directly over the top of it. Spread the material over the tape as smoothly as possible taking special care to completely cover the tape but not too thick. Try to keep the edges of the compound flush with the surrounding area. This will help to cut down on the sanding time between coats. After all joints are coated, let the patch cure overnight. Next, lightly sand the patch being careful not to sand so deep that the tape gets torn. At this point, you can switch over to the 20-minute compound for your second and third coats or continue on with the all-purpose compound allowing 24 hours between each coat. Use a 12” putty knife for the second and third coats. Center the knife blade on the joints and feather the edges as you go. Sand between coats and apply the compound as smoothly as possible. After the final coat has dried, lightly sand the main body of the patch. Now check the edges until smooth blending into the surrounding area. Check for small imperfections as you go and touch up as needed.
Now you are ready to apply the texture. There are many different texturing tools on the market, but a favorite for small jobs has to be the
Finishing the patch can be somewhat tedious and time consuming but certain steps just have to be followed in order to reach the final goal of completing a quality patch that blends in with the surrounding area.
Whether the patch is big or small, the first step in the finishing operation is to tape the joints. If you are in a hurry and the patch is relatively small, a fast setting compound can be used. Using a 20-minute mud for example will allow you to move on to the next step quicker and shorten the total time necessary to complete the job. Mix only what you will use up within 20 minutes. If you have the time to allow for drying between coats, an all-purpose compound works best. It will allow you to take your time without worrying about the material drying up too fast during the application process. It is also easier to sand.
The type of tape being used is also selective. There are paper tapes as well as self-sticking open mesh. The difference is cost and ease of application.
Using a 6” wide putty knife, spread the taping compound over the joint and then imbed the paper tape by applying pressure with the knife blade. Do each joint separately, overlapping the tape slightly. If using the self-sticking tape, apply it to the wall first and then apply the compound directly over the top of it. Spread the material over the tape as smoothly as possible taking special care to completely cover the tape but not too thick. Try to keep the edges of the compound flush with the surrounding area. This will help to cut down on the sanding time between coats. After all joints are coated, let the patch cure overnight. Next, lightly sand the patch being careful not to sand so deep that the tape gets torn. At this point, you can switch over to the 20-minute compound for your second and third coats or continue on with the all-purpose compound allowing 24 hours between each coat. Use a 12” putty knife for the second and third coats. Center the knife blade on the joints and feather the edges as you go. Sand between coats and apply the compound as smoothly as possible. After the final coat has dried, lightly sand the main body of the patch. Now check the edges until smooth blending into the surrounding area. Check for small imperfections as you go and touch up as needed.
Now you are ready to apply the texture. There are many different texturing tools on the market, but a favorite for small jobs has to be the
Finishing the patch can be somewhat tedious and time consuming but certain steps just have to be followed in order to reach the final goal of completing a quality patch that blends in with the surrounding area.
Whether the patch is big or small, the first step in the finishing operation is to tape the joints. If you are in a hurry and the patch is relatively small, a fast setting compound can be used. Using a 20-minute mud for example will allow you to move on to the next step quicker and shorten the total time necessary to complete the job. Mix only what you will use up within 20 minutes. If you have the time to allow for drying between coats, an all-purpose compound works best. It will allow you to take your time without worrying about the material drying up too fast during the application process. It is also easier to sand.
The type of tape being used is also selective. There are paper tapes as well as self-sticking open mesh. The difference is cost and ease of application.
Using a 6” wide putty knife, spread the taping compound over the joint and then imbed the paper tape by applying pressure with the knife blade. Do each joint separately, overlapping the tape slightly. If using the self-sticking tape, apply it to the wall first and then apply the compound directly over the top of it. Spread the material over the tape as smoothly as possible taking special care to completely cover the tape but not too thick. Try to keep the edges of the compound flush with the surrounding area. This will help to cut down on the sanding time between coats. After all joints are coated, let the patch cure overnight. Next, lightly sand the patch being careful not to sand so deep that the tape gets torn. At this point, you can switch over to the 20-minute compound for your second and third coats or continue on with the all-purpose compound allowing 24 hours between each coat. Use a 12” putty knife for the second and third coats. Center the knife blade on the joints and feather the edges as you go. Sand between coats and apply the compound as smoothly as possible. After the final coat has dried, lightly sand the main body of the patch. Now check the edges until smooth blending into the surrounding area. Check for small imperfections as you go and touch up as needed.
Now you are ready to apply the texture. There are many different texturing tools on the market, but a favorite for small jobs has to be the electric texture gun.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Drywall Patching Made Easy

Drywall patching can be fairly simple. The trick is to take your time making sure each step is as close to perfect as possible. This way, you will be pleased with the final result.
Any part of the process that is ignored can cause problems with the next step finally leading to a poor outcome. Always use a drop cloth below your working area to catch any falling debris. Not only will this protect your flooring but will make cleanup alot easier too. Of course if you are not the do it yourself type, you can always hire a qualified contractor and rely on his expertise.

Small patches – Depending on the size of the patch, you may have to remove the surrounding material in order to expose a sound surface. If the patch is relatively small, you may be able to just scrape off the loose material surrounding the repair and then just fill it with a patching compound of your choice. There are many products on the market but I prefer lightweight. It is easy to use, doesn’t shrink and easy to sand. The main thing to keep in mind is to keep the patch as small as possible. This is especially important when patching holes caused by picture hanger nails or screws. If the patches are too big, you will be left with a horrible looking wall after it is painted. First remove any loose material. When left behind, fuzz, drywall paper, old spackle or paint chips can effect the final outcome. Next apply the patching compound. Remember to keep the patch as small as possible. This can be accomplished by using a very small putty knife. And now the most important part of the process. Using your thumb, wipe off the excess patching material surrounding the  hole. This will keep your patches small and less noticeable after painting.
Large patches – Using a level, outline the area with level and plumb lines. You have a couple of options. Either locate existing wood backing (studs, plates or blocks) or install your own. Next cut along the lines with a retractable knife blade. It is best to just score a line first and then make a second and even third pass in order to cut completely through the material. Remove the old material and check the thickness. Drywall comes in various thicknesses so make sure that you are replacing it with the same size material. Now clean up the edges of the cut out to insure that the new material will be flush when installed.
Mark and cut a new piece of drywall to fit your cut out. It is advisable to cut the new piece about an 1/8” smaller than the cut out to ease in the installation of the new piece.
If your cut out was made over existing wood backing, you are now ready to install. If backing is needed, you can install a floating backing. Using a 1”x 2” or similar material, simply measure the cut out and install a slightly longer piece inside the opening using drywall screws to hold it in place. Now attach the new material to the wood backing using drywall screws. Make sure that the screw heads are slightly countersunk into the drywall surface to insure a smooth patch.

Stay tuned for our next tip on finishing your patch.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ooh! Ooh! That Smell.


Is there an obnoxious odor coming from your kitchen sink that you can’t quite put your finger on? Where is it coming from and how do you get rid of it? Guests are starting to whisper and you are getting a reputation for being a bad housekeeper. Nobody wants to party at your house. Don’t panic, the solution may be fast and easy, not to mention very inexpensive. If you have a newer home, that smell is probably just left over from waste particles that have accumulated in the garbage disposal. Try this quick fix: Cut a large lemon in half and squeeze it into the garbage disposal opening. Let it work for five or ten minutes and then flush with hot water for about a minute. Repeat the same procedure again and see if that solves your problem. Surprisingly, this works most of the time. The citric acid in the lemon juice will neutralize the odor very effectively.
Now for older homes the problem could be caused by a faulty dishwasher drain hose leading from the dishwasher to the sink. This hose usually attaches to an air gap device at the underside of the sink and then wyes off with another hose to the side of the garbage disposal. Many times one or both of these hoses can become kinked causing food particles to become trapped in the hose with no way out. A sure sign that this is happening is during the drain cycle when the dishwasher will discharge water through the openings in the air gap back into the sink. This indicates that the drain hose is clogged.
You can imagine what happens to these food particles that have been lodged in the hose for a long period of time. They begin to decay creating a putrid odor. Even if you detach the hose and clear the obstruction, the foul smell will usually remain in the hose. Flushing the hose with hot water is worth a try but usually it is best to just replace the hose.
Just a note – Many homes are not equipped with an air gap device. Instead the dishwasher drain hose runs directly to the garbage disposal but the problem remains the same. Look for a kink in the hose. At this time it is also a good idea to make sure that the hose is run properly. It should be gently sloped upwards from the dishwasher to the underside of the countertop where it should be attached with a proper hose clamp. From there it should gently slope downwards to the garbage disposal. This method will help to insure that food particles do not back up in the drain hose and eventually back into the dishwasher.

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

That Dripping Faucet

Does the incessant dripping of your faucet keep you up at night? It may not need to be replaced just yet. You may be able to stop the drip and return to a peaceful nights sleep sooner than you think.
The cause may be sediment that has become trapped in the water line over a period of time. This sediment may be preventing the faucet stem washer from completely seating allowing a small amount of water to bypass and creating a drip.
The attempted fix is relatively simple and the savings over the cost of a new faucet is nice too.
Try this: First determine if the water drip is coming from the hot or cold side. To do this, simply feel the drip. Under the sink (in a bathroom the proper terminology is lav or lavatory) you will find two shutoff valves (one hot – usually on the left and one cold –usually on the right.) By the way, the proper terminology for these shutoff valves are angle stops.
Turn the handles all the way to the right to shut them off. Next, turn on both lav faucets to release any water pressure that is still in the supply lines. Remove the decorative cap located on top of the appropriate faucet handle to reveal the screw. Note – Some faucets have an allen screw located on the side of the faucet handle but this is not the norm. Using a screwdriver, remove the screw and then the faucet handle. This will expose the valve stem which will have a nut at the bottom. Using a crescent wrench, turn the nut to the left until you can remove the stem from the faucet body. Next, place a large cup upside down over the opening in the faucet body. This will help to prevent water from splashing onto the floor. Holding the cup firmly and directing it back into the lav, turn the appropriate angle stop on just enough to get a good shot of water into the cup and back out into the lav. Do this for only about 3 seconds and then shut off the angle stop. Repeat this procedure two more times. This action will remove the sediment that has been trapped in the waterline allowing the stem washer to fully seat which should stop the drip.
Now reinstall all of your parts and test the faucet. This procedure is surprisingly successful most of the time and the cost – just a little of your time. 
For more information, please visit:
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