Category: Home Improvement

Jan 25

How to Make a Bunk Bed

How To Make a Bunk Bed (courtesy of buildeazy.com)

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Oct 24

Learn How To Make Pendant Lights From Thrifty Vintage Finds

How To Make Pendant Lights out of Thrifty Vintage Finds (courtesy of RetroRenation.com)

Hi! I’m Pam Kueber from RetroRenovation.com.

Hi! I’m Susan Schneider from Shandells.com,

…and we’re here today to talk to you about how to take thrifty finds from, maybe Grandma’s attic or your local re-store – even take just unique household items – and transform them into pendant lighting that you can enjoy every day! The name of the show is, “Put A Bulb In It”.

So, what do we mean by Put A Bulb In It? Well, Pam sent me an email with these amazing pendants from all over the country, different artists and different vessels and all different things, and I said, wow, this should be something fun to do! So, I went out to our local thrift store and our local junk store to see what was around that I could put a bulb in. And this is what I came back with. Here is a before and after of a Put A Bulb In It.

This is a pair of lamps that I found. Not the favorites, but they were ok, but they were glass, they had a beautiful shape, they were fluted, they had a wonderful scallop on it. But, the best thing is, they had a hole in it. Everything is already pre-made, easy for you to take everything apart, turn it upside down and Put A Bulb In It.

Hey, Precautionary Pam here, warning you, as I often do on the site, about making sure whenever you undertake a project, that you’re using proper environmental and safety procedures. Now, with the project, we’re not really giving you the advice – the DIY advice – about how to do wiring or hanging, or even about the exact wattage that should go into these puppies. That’s because every project’s gonna be different. So, make sure, when you’re going through the actual steps of rewiring, hanging and putting in the bulbs,that you’re consulting with proper, expert, professional advice. A local electrician can be a great resource. Another place to get started with good information about lots of safety stuff in the house is Underwriter’sLaboratories.com. Again, always be sure to renovate safe!

Oh! Am I live? OK. Hey Pam! I went shopping after that wonderful email that you sent me about those pendant lamps. And look at what I found here, on the table! Oh! It’s just amazing! But, let’s start with how this all started with putting a bulb in it. It started with a Ball jar. Mason jar, canning jar, they were putting bulbs in it and hanging pendants. A company that advertises with you, Barnlight Electric, they have them right on their site. So, if you don’t want to do any of this and be creative on your own, they’re made up, ready to go from them. But, here we are today, looking at all these different things that we can put a bulb in it, and we’re gonna do it ourselves.

What we need is a vessel – a glass vessel is what we have here. And we need 2 things to be with this – we need a cap and we need a hole. This one has a cap. All we need to do is to make a hole through this. We need to trash the inside here, to break the porcelain,then put a hole in it. Then, we can electrify this, hang it as a pendant. So, that’s one that’s around all over. I went and I said, let’s do something a little bit different. Here’s some old-fashioned sugar shakers. They have a wonderful column, with all the ridges going up and down. An architectural feel. And when the light comes through this, it’s a bit of a prism. This one here has a hole as well as a cap. Very easily to be electrified. Hang the pendant in the kitchen, over a dining suite, would be perfect – Put A Bulb In It! And then, we have colored glass. Colored glass – we can have green, there’s blue, there’s amber, pink, just all different jars. All that you can find in your thrift store and your bottle shops locally. And, most of them all come with caps in it. And, you can find a box of old jar caps and match your caps to it. Here we are with green ones – all we have to do it drill, put the electrical in, and there we have green pendants to hang in the kitchen.

Then I though, oh! I found these. These were peanut butter jars. They were so adorable! They were shaped a little bit different. They were rectangle, they had embossed peanuts all around them. So I thought, wow, wouldn’t these look great! Instead of the round, normal ones, have a little bit different of a shape. They have a cap in it. You unscrew these, make a hole in it, electrify it, hang up, and there you have a pendant all to your own!

These are kind of utilitarian, kitchen vessels that are all around the house. Let’s go a little bit fancier. I found these little, tiny lamps which were ok. But the nicest part about it is they were all crystal. Crystal, and they were all pressed glass. And, the best part is, they all have holes in it – that’s what you need! Unless you want to go down the route of drilling your own glass, but, that’s up to you. These have holes in it. I took them apart, cleaned them up, hang them up all electrified together, at different heights or 3 over a dining room table, 3 over a counter in a kitchen. There, you have your pendants, unique to yourself, to Put A Bulb In It!

OK, down to the next one. These were mid-century, probably outdoor fixtures that hung outside. Now, we’re gonna reclaim them, we’re gonna re-purpose them to indoor lighting. We’re gonna make a pendant out of them. What we want for this is, we need something to hold it up. So, we need a cap to go on top. The cap will hold all your electrical on the inside, and they have little tiny screws here that screw right into this lip, to hold it in. So therefore, you can hang them on their own, together, in clusters of 3, 4 and 5. Be creative, enjoy, and see what’s out there!

And also I found these, which are great. Beehive design with an iridescent feel to them. And the same thing as the ones with the gold on top of it, you need the cap that screws onto the little lip that holds it up. Then you put the electrical inside of it, and there we have a pendant, all to its own.

Here’s the absolute best thing that I found – this wonderful crystal lamp. Look at this – I thought this was great! It had a fabulous shape to it, wonderful design. It wasn’t my favorite as a lamp. Some people might like it, but I didn’t. And I thought, wow, let’s take this apart. Because this is not one piece of crystal…this is 3. So, I took this apart, cleaned it all up, and look at this. Classical, beautiful shapes that you will electrify to make a 3-pendant ceiling fixture. There you go, Pam. Stuff I found on my trip, to Put A Bulb In It!

Pam! What did you bring me?

Ok Susan! I got so excited! I went through all of my junking areas – the attic, the basement, my office – everyone knows – looking for things that we can put a bulb in, so I want to make sure that I have the right idea now. Vintage cheese grater – can we put a bulb in it?

Absolutely. Absolutely. Put 7 of them across your counter!

You know, I knew the answer was yes, because that’s exactly what in that 70s house…That 70s Show…the kitchen, if you look carefully, it has 7 pendant lights basically made out of cheese graters. And these are great!

What about a vintage coffee cup? It’s kind of translucent. This is my Blue Heaven pattern. Can we turn this into a little light?

Yes, we can. I love the pattern, will be great. Doesn’t have a hole in it, so, what I would suggest is, take this to your local tile guy, your glass guy. They’re the ones who are gonna be able to drill through glass and tile.

Tile guy. I wouldn’t have ever thought about that – that’s a great idea.

Tile guys. The important thing about drilling glass is you need water. You need the fusion of water, because that’s what’s gonna make it…you might lose some…it might happen. It’s always the weakest link that’s gonna blow. But, you can Put A Bulb In It. Good idea, too, ’cause that’s not enough coffee for me!

Alright, so how about a pendant made out of an old cake topper?

I love it! I love the shape, because it’s wonderfully smooth…we’re gonna lose this, but you know what? If you’re gonna hang it up, you’re not gonna see this. I mean, take it off and repurpose it for something else.

You wanna put 2 lights on this one?

2 lights. I like them. You’ll get a lot more light, instead of driving down. Remember, you’re gonna have to hang it up high enough so you’re not gonna have a bulb sticking in your eyes. So, the cluster lights is gonna be an easier way to go with that one.

The other idea I had – I didn’t have one at home – but when I saw this I thought, you know, there are a lot of chipping, painted cake plate toppers that would be beautiful as pendant lights.

That’s great! There’s ones with plaid all around it, just fabulous. And those are all around.

I’m super proud of this one – this is the coffee holder for one of those big Westbend guys, and I thought, oh, that would be cute! Can we Put A Bulb In It?

Yes, we can! It would take a little bit more than just, you know, throwing some wires on this, because if you want to keep the shaft and use it to hold your pendant, then we need a welder. Epoxy is not gonna hold this together. You need this to be solidly fixed, welded. You need holes drilled into your metals, so you could put a cluster body inside there.

Ok, so a little bit more professionalism if you’re gonna keep this piece, but if you’re just gonna use this as a shade, it looks to me like you could put a bulb in this one really easily.

Absolutely. This piece can come off, this one would be a lot easier. If you want to keep this, which I think we both agree is the nicer of the 2 because of its wonderful shape here, then you need to go to your professional to help you out. Yea, get some help.

Um, ok, Susan, you’re a gluten food girl…

I know, and I don’t use one anymore!

So, can we turn this into a pendant light?

Yes, we can. We can turn it into a pendant light, and what about doing it as a ceiling light? You know…doing it the other way around, so that light seeps down this way. It’s been done, but who says it can’t be done again? Perfect to put a bulb in.

OK, I’m kinda pushing limits here, he ain’t heavy, he’s my blender. It’s pretty heavy, this one. It’s like an old Oster blender top. Can we put a bulb in it?

Yes, we can put a bulb in it. It has all of the parameters. It has a top here, it has a hole, so all we have to do is take out the spinning mechanism. You can put your electrical through here, and you can hang it up. But, this needs to go into a support stud. Because, you know, you don’t want to be drinking your morning coffee and having this hit your head.

So, you need a stud for this one?

Yes, you need a stud for this one. Love the birdcage!

The birdcage. Now, this isn’t real dear. This I just got at my – I think TJMax about 5 years ago.

But, you know what? Even thought it’s not dear, it might be the perfect thing for the room that you need. So, regardless of…what about a hallway?

And, we talked about how you could cut this out and put glass in the bottom and it would shine down – more light down as well as out. And you had another idea…

I had another great idea is to open it up, and then line the insides with rice paper…a color – you know, yellow, blue green – make it bright and fun. There’s so much to do, and you can sit/put birds in it!

So, you could decorate the inside and then Put A Bulb In It. Yes! So, this is one of my favorites. It’s an old Lennox pepper mill with the welcoming wheat. I just love the shape! I mean, once you get this idea in your head, you just start looking at these objects in a different way. So, it’s a pepper mill, and obviously there’s a mechanism running down the middle of it that you can rip out. And then, what about this? Can we save this?

Yes, we can. I mean we won’t be able to save the little top here, but what we will do is we’ll drill a bigger hole than the existing hole already in this. So, that’s an easy step. You’re not going into blank, starting from scratch. So we make this hole wider so we can drop the cord down. And I think like a round little bulb on the bottom…I think it would be so adorable with a bulb. Put A Bulb In It!

OK, last but not least, Susan’s favorite – the Good Seasons dressing bottle, which I found at an estate sale in a basement. It’s still got the packaging inside of it, so they never put…how’d you make it back in the day?

Well, exactly like it says. Add vinegar, water, oil, and then put the seasonings. That’s it – every night for dinner! And shake it up. I loved to…

So can we put a bulb in it?

No!

No?

Let’s not put a bulb in it, let’s put a bulb ON it. I mean, can you imagine, just putting a little bulb on it, a little tiny lampshade, in your kitchen, keeping all of this original right here? I think this is our next project, Pam. Let’s Put A Bulb On This.

Alright, so next time we’ll get together and talk about how to Put A Bulb ON It.

Not in it Pam, on it!

You send us your ideas! If you have any lamp bases that you want us to try to work with, challenge us! See what we can do!

I’m Pam Kueber from Retrorenovation.com,

and I’m Susan Schneider from Shandells.com,

and we want to encourage you to Put A Bulb In It!

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Oct 09

How To Repair Cane Furniture – Part II

How To Repair Cane Furniture Part II (courtesy of Wickerworks.com/au)

Step 5 is the diagonals. I’ve started by coming up in the left-hand corner – the nearest corner, this one here. Underneath the yellow golf tee, I’ve come up underneath there, and as you can see, it goes over the verticals, the corner of the verticals there…and these ones, here, the horizontals. So, I’ve gone over the horizontals and the verticals, next one over, and you just keep following that. If you do the opposite, in other words, if you go over the horizontal and under the vertical, you’ll find you get a real zig-zag sort of pattern, and it’s not gonna slide nicely.

So, I just run this bit through first. Don’t forget, keep the cane nice and wet and you’ll find it slides easily. See, a couple of the strands have been put in now. And, when I said start from the corner, you can see down in the bottom here – just drop that – that I came up that one there and did a couple over here, and now I’m coming back. The reason that we start off in the corner is so that when you do come back this way, you’ve got a choice by going over that and coming down in there, or you can come over there. But, you see how awful that would look. So, join it back in the corner, there, get a little V shape and bring that cane underneath there and up here, and off you go. Keep going back and forth. You may get to a point in over this corner where you can join the diagonals so they go both into the same hole, and you will see that in a minute. But, really, it’s just aesthetically, you’ve got to make sure that it looks really nice and keep nice, parallel widths – that’s all you need to do. There’s no law, no rules, no one’s gonna come knock on your door saying you done it wrong. Just make sure you keep a nice, parallel look and that’s it! OK, I’m gonna keep going until I finish this step.

OK, now, were progressing with Step 6. That’s the final one of the diagonals. You can see all of the other ones are in place. I’ll put this black bit underneath so you can see it a little bit better…shows it up a little easier. Once again, I’ve started in the right-hand corner this time, underneath the white peg, and I’m gonna pull it up. And this time, you go over the horizontals and under the verticals. So you do the opposite way of weaving, compared to the first diagonal. It makes a little bit more sense once I’ve woven a few more strands.

So now I’ve finished Step 6, so both of the diagonals are in, you can see that it’s nice and neatly done. I’ll leave the golf tees in for the moment. And Stage 7, Step 7 will be the edge strip that gong all the way around where the outside holes are. You’re going to put the binder cane in, and that’s where we remove the golf tees one by one and tie off underneath.

OK, first of all you need to cut up some little pegs, and these are made out of pith core, or little timber plugs. And I’m just cutting them nice and short and putting a little sharp point on the end, if you want to, in every other hole, going around the back here. So, every 2nd hole, just tuck that into the hole. You can always push them in with your finger, but every 2nd hole, just tuck them in…another one here, and follow them all around. Take this golf tee out, and continue that around.

And you need also a binder cane, which is this one here. It’s a little bit wider than the normal rattan you need for here, so that it covers the holes up. Plug that in there, and then you have the same size cane, which is what we use in the weaving – that was the 2 ml cane, and what you need to do is come out from that hole there, go over the top of it, and pull down really tight. So, you see that for a finish. Come up through the 2nd hole and re-weave that down in that same hole again so you get that nice, little edge for it. So I’m just gonna do a few strands of that to show you what it looks like. Also, start from the back. It makes it easier to finish off, and a lot neater. So, I’m just finishing off where we first started. Just going back over the top , with the binder, just go back over the top of the other a little bit and lock it in. Just pull it a bit tight, and that’s it!

Then, all you need to do is tie off all these loose fits underneath here and snip them off and you’re finished! OK, to finish off underneath, turn the chair upside down and bring some of these canes here and just tuck them up under the next area, which is tricky with one hand! Just like that! And if you want to just finish them all off and nip off the excess, and that should hold quite easily. If you’re really worried about it, I normally put a tiny bit of pba glue just to stop them from moving. That dries clear and then it’s a nice, neat job.

OK, I’ve just finished off a bit of shellacs to brighten the color up, and now you can see that the whole seat has been hand-woven. I get a great deal of satisfaction out of doing these, and
I’m sure you will too. It’s very therapeutic! Just remember to keep the rattan nice and wet when you go to do any weaving, so naturally, stop and start whenever you want to, but maintain this to be wet for weaving. And that’s about it! If this has been helpful for you, leave a comment at the bottom of the video, would be greatly appreciated, and look out for more Need A Good Caning videos. Thanks again, bye for now!

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Oct 08

How to Repair Cane Furniture Part 1

How To Repair Cane Furniture Part 1 (Wickerworks.com/au)

Here we have an antique child’s highchair, and we’re gonna put a new seat in. And, I’ve actually fixed it all up before. It was all cracked around the front area here, as you can see, but, it’s nicely glued up. And, what we’re gonna do is show you how we can hand-weave a new seat – the traditional method of caning, individually laced through all these holes.

What you’re gonna need first of all is a good-sized cane. This one is 2 ½ mil, rattan chair cane, and you can buy it at any supplier. And you also need some golf tees. I’ve got a mixture of wood and plastic golf tees in there, so you can hold the cane in place.

OK, before we get started, what you need to do is soak the cane for about a couple of minutes – 5, 10 minutes at tops – so it becomes a lot more supple, easier to weave, and you can stop and start as often as you like when you’re starting this project, as long as you ensure that the cane is wet. Obviously, if you’ve got cane in the seat partially done, soak that for a little while, and also the new strands that you start weaving, and then that way, you’re gonna find it a lot easier to slide the cane through and make a better job. Because, once it dries out , it tightens up.

Now, there’s a little tip here I want to show you. You won’t be able to see this too well on the camera film, but there’s a little node – little barbs – where the leaves come out from the rattan. It actually grows that way – outwards of course – and the leaves come out this area here. These little barbs catch on your finger, or your fingernail, as you run through there. So, it’s imperative that, when you start weaving – especially the last 2 areas – to run it so that it runs smooth against the rest of the cane. Otherwise, you’re gonna keep catching this on parts of the weave, and it will just cause a bit of a nightmare. In fact, it might even fray or split. So, there’s a little tip for you. Run your finger on the top, and if it’s nice and smooth, that’s the direction you’ve gotta weave, ok? Now, let’s get started!

OK, the very first step you want to do is to ensure that you keep a nice, straight edge from the front to the back – so it’s not sort of going over to the left or the right – by your eyes, make sure you’ve got a nice, straight side there. So you can see that’s pretty straight. You don’t want it over in that hole over there – it would look a bit silly. So, put your first strand here, have a little bit hanging down below here and golf tee in there. Make sure you have the shiny side of the cane up on top, of course, pass it through the hole that you think is dead straight, and bring it up and under next to the right or the left – whichever direction you want to take to. I’m gonna go to the right, because I’m right-handed, so it makes it a little bit easier. Bring it up through the 2nd hole. And, always ensure that you’ve got it nice and fairly tight. Pull it taught. I’m doing this with one hand and holding the camera with the other, but, I can get it fairly tight. And then, when you want to stop, just put a little tee in there, a little golf tee in there and that will hold it in place.

So then, you just keep on going through, down to this hole, run it parallel, into the next hole, crossing, and do that right on to the very end, until you get to the straight, and I’ll show you that in a sec.

So, here’s the first part done, and you can see where I’ve kept it nice and parallel, and there’s no more room for anymore. You don’t need to put any more here. And, so they’re secured by the golf tees. Now, what I’m gonna do is just carry on across the end here. And, once we’ve got all this part in, we’ll go to Stage 2, Step 2.

So, Stage 1 is done. All the strands from the front to the back of the chair are in place. And, I’ve got a fair bit left over, so I’ve brought up the other over here, and now what we’re gonna do is Stage 2 or Step 2 – come across 90° to the first step. So, as you can see – I’ll move the camera around – you’re gonna come across there and weave through those holes and then come out the other hole next to it, and then go back and forth so you’ve got a nice, square pattern.

So, you can now see how we’re forming a nice, square pattern. The cane just sits straight over the top of the first stage. And make sure it stays nice and parallel. And so you’re following every other hole that goes round – every hole that goes round. And we’ll complete that to the very end, here. There’s also a strand parallel to that one. Now, I can get one more in here. As long as it’s run parallel. So, you’ll miss another couple of holes here…so, come up, say from that hole there and run parallel to this string, and that should finish that there off. There’s a few more golf tees in here now – that’s because there’s some ends here that I haven’t tied off but you need to keep them in here, anyway. And then, be sure that you keep this rattan wet as you’re weaving away.

OK, having done Stage 2, now we’re doing Stage 3, and that’s really the same as Stage 1. I’ve come up through this little hole here, as you can see, I’m gonna run parallel to the first stage. On top, once again, and keeping it to the right of the first stage. And you’re gonna go underneath here and, I’m gonna go from left to right just to finish this little bit here off because I’ve got enough cane, and then I’m gonna start on the other area.

So now we’ve successfully done Step 2, or Stage 3, and all the parallel lines are done. And Stage 4 will be doing the same as Step 2 or Stage 2…I’m getting them mixed up here, but it doesn’t really matter there – you get the gist of it all! So, now, we’re gonna go from left to right and follow the Stage 2 ones that run parallel. But, this one is a little bit different. Just start the ball rolling by putting the cane in, and I’ll show you what I mean.

So, for Stage 4, I’ve come up out of this hole here, and if you can see close enough, I’ve gone under the first strand and over the 2nd one. And you have to do that to the next parallel one running here, too – under the first one and over the 2nd one. So, you see, there’s a nice, little square pattern forming there. I’ll just do a couple of other strands so you can see. See these little square patterns forming here? So, don’t forget, it’s under over, under over, under over – just keep on going. And don’t forget to keep the cane fairly damp. I use a little spray bottle, here, which does the trick. Just spray a little water so it slides easier, too. And don’t forget the little tip I told you before with having that running of the cane smoothly up your fingers, because as you start pulling this through, it might catch on some of the cane and break. So make sure it runs nice and smoothly. You don’t need to go right across in one go – you can do it in stages and just gently pull. See? Watch this, where it slides quite easily, and pull that nice and tight til we get to the end, here. Now, when we get to the end here, make sure you don’t get the cane twisting on anything, make sure it stays nice and straight. Keep a nice, straight square pattern here.

And there you go. So, there’s the beginning of Stage 4. So, just keep on doing that, and I’m gonna do a few more strands so you can see what it looks like. So now you can see it’s starting to form a nice square pattern there. I’m just gonna put this black fabric underneath so you can probably see it a lot easier. There you go! That’s a lot better, isn’t it? So, that’s what you’ve got to achieve – keep the squares nice and close to one another and keeping them all parallel. See? It’s looking quite good now! So, I’m gonna finish this off now and then I’ll show you what it looks like when I’ve done the whole – finished the Stage 4.

So here you can see – now, I’ve finished the 4th stage, so we’ve got a nice, square sort of pattern, and all we need to do now is the next 2 stages – these are the diagonals. (Go to How To Repair Cane Furniture Part II)

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May 17

Learn How To Do Home Repair

Top 10 Home Repairs (courtesy of Coldwell Banker and ReelProductions.tv)

Hi! We’re here with John Molke, the housing guru, and John is gonna give us the Top 10 home repair tips for homeowners. So, John, we’re gonna start with #10 – tell us what it is.

Well, one of the things that’s critical, I think, for homeowners to always understand is the location of their furnace filter. Often neglected, the furnace filter is easy to forget because it’s usually in a location that’s hard to access. So, it’s a good idea to keep it changed. It will extend the life of the furnace, and will also make the unit operate much more efficiently, making it warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

That’s perfect – that’s a good tip! Let’s move right on to #9.

Homeowners need to understand a little of the basics of caulking. Outside the house, caulking begins to break down after a year or so. It’s a good idea to understand how to do a little bit of caulking. Just look for those places to keep down the infiltration of air from the outside, and there again, making your home more comfortable.

Going onto the next one would be caulking again, on the inside of the house. Understanding bathroom caulk. Doing a little sealing so that you don’t have to worry about water penetrating the area around your bathtub, shower and so forth. Anywhere that you have cracks in the grout and so forth, can be sealed with caulk.

So, simple caulking, #8 and #9. Let’s move on to #7, then.

I would say, homeowners need to understand about leaky faucets. It’s easy today for homeowners to go to the big box stores – the home centers, and get the repair items necessary to stop a leaky faucet. The instructions are right there on the package, so many homeowners are choosing to do those themselves. You’ll not waste water and you’ll avoid the irritation of a leaky faucet!

And, we all want that! What’s #6, John?

Understanding how to unstop clogged drains. One of the things I recommend is that people pour a cup of white vinegar down their shower drain, in their bathroom sink, once a week, and that will help keep your drain clean.

What is #5?

Homeowners need to understand the location and operation of their electric panel – where those circuit breakers are located, what they control. Hopefully, they’re marked, but, if they’re not, try to work with someone to get them marked properly so that you understand how to re-set a tripped circuit breaker.

Alright, #4…

I recommend that people know how to fix a squeaky door. You can pop the hinge pin out and put a little vaseline on it. It’s a very easy repair, and you put those hinge pins back in, the squeak will be stopped – normally for a year or two.

Alright, moving on, now – we’re at the Top 3 Tips that every homeowner needs to know.

Homeowners need to know the location of their water cut-off valve. You have a cut-off valve in your water meter box outside. It’s a good idea to look at it and just understand. It requires a special key, but you can buy that key at the big box store, at the home centers. It’s a good idea to know the location of every single cut-off valve in your house, should you have a break in a plumbing pipe.

Tip #2?

You need to understand drainage. A little bit about drainage…I use what I call the basketball theory of drainage. Drop a basketball next to your foundation. If it rolls away, you have good drainage. If it rolls next to the house, you have a problem, and that can cause basement leaks, mold, mildew problems, foundation cracking, settling problems. So, it’s very important to understand all the aspects of drainage.

Alright, John, that brings us to our #1 home repair tip. What is it?

You need to keep your house from exploding. Exploding houses are not a good idea!

That’s a pretty good tip!

Your water heater has a safety valve. Many of you may have heard that, occasionally, homes
do explode because the water heater explodes. It builds up too much pressure. Some of the older houses, the pressure valve may have gone bad, or it may not even have a pressure valve! Make sure that you understand where the pressure valve is located, on top of your water heater. You can actually test it. You can lift the little lever to make sure that it’s working properly. And that drains to a line outside your house, into a visible location, so if you see water coming out of that drain, that means the pop-off valve has failed and needs to be replaced.

John, thank you so much – these are great tips! We want to thank the housing guru, John Molke, for all of the Top 10 home repair tips that every homeowner should know!

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Apr 25

Learn How To Put On A Slipcover

Learn How To Put on a Slipcover (courtesy of PotteryBarn.com)

Our loose-fit slipcovers are designed to let you re-invent your sofa, simply and affordably. Tailored from easy-to-clean, high quality fabrics, they’re easy to use.

First, take seat and back cushions off your sofa. Unfold the sofa base slipcover and locate the tag that says Back on the slipcover. Loosely drape the slipcover over the base of your sofa, using the tag as a guideline, while centering the skirt pleat at the front of the base.

Begin to customize fit by aligning the slipcover over the sofa arms, pull the slipcover snugly over the front ends and top of arms while leaving the backstraps unattached. Determine the desired length of the front and back of the slipcover. Adjust the front and back length by accumulating all excess fabric on the seat. Note: the slipcover is designed to fit a variety of
furniture styles; as a result, there may be more fabric than you need. Tuck any extra fabric into the crevasses of the sofa base, while leaving enough fabric on the front of the sofa to the desired length.

Place the seat cushions back on the covered sofa frame, and place the fitted elastic, separate seat slipcover over the cushions. Tuck any excess fabric under the seat cushions.

Face the back side of your sofa, and flip the back panel of the base slipcover down, so that you are able to replace the back seat cushions underneath the fabric. Replace the base slipcover over the sofa. Tuck in any excess fabric into the back cushions and re-adjust the fabric on the back of the sofa so it drapes to your liking.

Re-center the skirt and pleat at the front of the sofa. Locate the straps on the slipcover skirt. Wrap the skirt around the base of your furniture. Secure the straps in the back with metal D rings on the slipcover and tighten. Smooth fabric to create an attractive, finished look. Wrinkles will disappear over time, once you have fitted the slipcover. A warm iron can be run over the slipcover to smooth out wrinkles as well.

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Mar 22

Learn How To Repair Drywall

How To Repair Drywall (courtesy of Howdini.com)

Hi! I’m Lisa Birnbach of Howdini.com. You know that hole in your wall that’s driving you crazy every time you walk past it? Well, Ed DelGrande is here to tell us how to fix it! He’s the author of House Call. How are you?

I’m doing great! I may be good, but, your wall is not good! You know, a lot of people ask me, “Ed, when do you know it’s time to use a patch instead of just spackling a smaller hole?”

I would just sell the house for that hole…

No…well, here’s the rule of thumb. Matter of fact, we’re gonna use a finger, so it’s close to a thumb! When you stick your finger in a hole, that’s big enough to qualify for a patch, so we’re gonna patch this for you right now.

OK, what are patches made out of?

Well, first, you could buy this kit for under $10 – it makes it very easy. See, it comes with the spackle, you also have your putty knives, and then you do have the patches included. So, I would get one of these kits, keep it around the house – you can use it over and over!

OK! And, so, in that one kit, you have everything you need?

Everything you need! Matter fact, I opened up another kit already, and here’s the main thing you need right here, is the patch.

Which is made out of what?

It’s a mesh…and that will actually hold the spackle in place. And plus…feel that. Feel how it’s tacky? It will stick right to the wall for you. But, before you stick it on the wall, you gotta prepare the wall. That’s the pro trick! Get a knife – if you’ve got a razor knife or a sharp knife – and just get all of the loose stuff out of there. Now the patch has something to stick to.

And that was enough?

Yea! That was enough. Remember, this is tacky. You just wanna cover that hole. And use that hole for a bullseye. Put it right in the middle. And, see how it’s lookin’ better already? Then, just push that in place.

Now I can have people over for dinner!

Well yeah, good! See, you’re learning already! You just stuck that up there nice and tight!

Now Ed, you don’t have to trim the patch?

No, because remember, we’re gonna go over that with the spackle, and if you really wanna stick it down, here’s another pro trick. If you just use the putty knife itself to get it good and tight to that wall. Now, here’s the magic spackle! This is my favorite spackle. You can see it’s pink…
Radioactive Pink!

Well, no, not radioactive! But, that pink is a very important color, you know why?

Why?

When it’s wet, it’s pink. When it’s white, it means it’s dry, and you can sand it. Plus, you can see what you’re doing to the wall. Now, watch this. We just got a nice glob of it right here. Start where the hole is, and you’re gonna feather it out. Now, see what I’m doin’ here? It’ll drop – don’t worry. Use some drop cloths, it’ll come off. And this will really get in to all that mesh screen. See how I’m working it in? It takes some practice before you actually go to the wall to your fixings…

But, this is important…you’ve done this a million times! You are biologically a man. But, for people like me who’ve never done this, is is gonna be this easy?

Yes, it should be this easy. Maybe not as quick. That’s the only difference between a pro and an amateur..the pros are just a little quicker!

So, Ed, we just went to the movies – we’re back. The thing is white and dry.

Well, now you’re ready for sanding. And then, once you sand it, wipe it down with a damp cloth and then you can paint it, But, remember Lisa, the paint has to match the walls for that hole to really disappear!

Oh, right! OK! But, you really think I can do this myself?

Absolutely!

And the hole is gone…

It’s gone for good!

OK – thanks so much, Ed!

You’re welcome!

For Howdini.com, I’m Lisa Birnbach!

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Mar 08

Learn How To Remove Scratches From Hardwood Floors

How To Get Scratches From Hardwood Floors (courtesy of ExpertVillage.com)

Hi! I’m Tim Gibson, and I’m gonna talk to you about how to get scratches out of your hardwood floors. Now, whether it’s an engineered floor – hardwood floor – such as this, or a solid wood floor, the surface is pretty much the same. So, you know, if you have those instances where somebody has moved back a chair and you get a scratch, then there’s some different things you can do without having to refinish the entire floor to take care of that.

Now, first and foremost, most of your hardwood floor products come with some type of a cleaner and a cleaner buffing agent, such as this. So, in most cases, if it’s a really light scratch, you can just use this with a soft, white cloth. In most cases you can either spray it directly on, or spray it on the cloth, and you simply rub. And, this will actually clean and buff the area to get some of those scratches out.

Now, there are some other after market value products that you can put on here, that are specifically formulated to hide surface scratches. Now, if you get some deeper scratches, what you may need to do is, actually get a urethane or a shellac…actually, shellac works very well. And, what you do is, you take some shellac, you cut it with a little bit of denatured alcohol to make a real thin mixture, and then you just take an artist’s paintbrush and paint it into the crack. And then, you let that dry, and then you come back and repeat. Now, after you’ve repeated putting the shellac in there, if you can still see the scratch, then you come back and do it a third time.

Now, if you have a really, deep gouge or something like that, you can also use a product like beeswax. You melt the beeswax into it, sand it lightly and buff it. Use a buffing compound and, again, the cleaning compound, and those are some typical ways that you can take care of scratches in hardwood floors!

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Aug 13

Learn How To Tile

How To Tile A Bathroom Wall (courtesy of HomeDepot.com)

For variety and durability, tile is an excellent choice. In addition to giving your home a great look, it also helps protect the walls and floors from various kinds of damage. Tiling gives homeowners and easy, affordable way to add charm and beauty to their homes, with results that rival those of tiling professionals. The Home Depot is here to provide the products and guidance you need to achieve those professional looking results. In our first demonstration, we’ll install wainscot tile, with a cap, in a bathroom.

The first step is to measure the tile. Place 10 tiles, side by side, and measure the length of the row. Divide by 10, and use the resulting number as the tile dimensions for your layout.

Using a level, draw a top line all the way around the room. If you’re tiling only part way up the wall, this line should be where the tiles will stop. If you’re adding a row of cap tiles like we are, draw a horizontal line for those as well.

Now, measure from the floor to the top line, and mark a mid-height line halfway in between. Then, measure from the floor to the top line again, and divide by the size of the tile. If you end up with less than a full tile as your remainder, shift the mid-height line down by that amount, so, you’ll have a row of full tiles at the top and a row of partial tiles at the bottom.

Draw a new, mid-height line around the room, making sure it’s level. Measure the width of each wall, and mark the mid-point on the top line. Using a level, extend this line to the floor.

Now, measure from this line to one end of the wall, and divide by the size of the tile. If the last row of tiles will be less than a half a tile wide, shift the mid-point, so the last row of tile on both ends of the wall will be of equal width, and draw a new line.

Using a chalk line, snap additional vertical and horizontal lines to create a grid of 8 to 12 square foot rectangles on the wall. When this is done, get ready to start tiling!

Start by fastening a level 1×2 or 1×3 wooden batten, just below the mid-height line. Double-check to make sure it’s level. The batten will keep your first row of tiles straight, which will make the rest of the tiles on the wall straight, as well.

Mix your latex, modified, thin-set mortar, as instructed in the Techniques section of “Tiling 1-2-3”.

Using a square-notch trowel, apply mortar to one of the marked grids along the top of the batten, and comb it into straight, vertical ridges.

Press the first few, full tiles in place above the batten. Use a slight, twisting motion to be sure it makes good contact with the mortar. Do NOT slide the tiles!

After you’ve done 3 or 4 tiles, lift one off and check the back. The mortar should cover the entire surface. If it’s in rows, the trowel ridges on the wall aren’t thick enough. Scrape the mortar off the wall and reapply it, using a trowel with a larger notch. Work up and out, in a stair step pattern. Take your time, and work on the wall in manageable, 8-12 square foot sections. Save any tile that must be cut, last. If any mortar oozes up between the tiles, clean it up before it dries.

Continue until all but the top row of cap tiles are in place. Finish by placing the row of cap tiles along the top of the tiled area. When you’re done, let the mortar cure for at least 12 hours, and remove the batten.

Working from the middle, out and down, set the rest of the tiles. Support each tile with a piece of masking tape attached to the tile above it.

Let the mortar dry completely. Each type of mortar has a different curing time. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Grout is the material that fills the space between the tiles and supports them, almost like glue. Grouting is messy, so be sure you properly cover any areas that you don’t want to get dirty.

Before you start, remove any excess mortar with a razor blade or a putty knife. Using a margin trowel, mix the powdered grout with the liquid and apply it. Skim the excess grout off with the edge of the float. To avoid digging into the joints, move the float diagonally across the tiles.

The grout will set up in about 5 to 15 minutes, and have a putty-like consistency. When a thumbnail pressed against it doesn’t leave an impression, the grout is hard enough for the final cleaning.

With a damp sponge, wipe the tiles diagonally, to clean them. Rinse the sponge frequently in clean water. The sponging process will leave a haze on the tile. To remove it, wipe the surface with a damp rag, then with a clean, dry rag. Repeat this process, until the tile is as reflective as glass. Holding a lamp to the surface will help you check it.

Cure the grout, and let it set thoroughly before applying sealant. The curing process is very important – do not skip this step!

Once the grout is cured, apply sealer with a sponge. Sealing tile grout gives it greater water and mildew resistance, and helps keep it from getting dirty. Make sure to wipe off any drips before the sealer dries. And, if you’re using unglazed tile, seal it as well.

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Jul 06

How to Replace a Bathroom Toilet

How To Replace A Bathroom Toilet (courtesy of HomeDepot.com)

The next time you’re remodeling, or sprucing up the bathroom in your home, consider replacing your old toilet, along with the other fixtures. It’s easier than you think! And, with today’s wide range of color and design choices, there’s bound to be one that will fit your new look.

Now, before you go shopping, you need to measure the distance from the wall to the floor bolts. If it measure 12 inches, you’re in luck! You have a standard toilet. Sometimes, especially in older homes, this varies – so, know before you go! Once you’ve made your decision and brought your new toilet home, it’s time to remove the existing one.

First things first! You want to turn the water off at the supply valve, and flush the toilet to empty the tank.

Now, remove any water left in the tank or bowl with a sponge and some rags. And be sure to wear some rubber gloves to protect against bacteria.

Now, once the toilet’s dry, remove the tank bolts and disconnect the water supply line.

Now, straddle the bowl, and lift the tank UP off the bowl. And be sure you lift with your legs. These things can be pretty heavy!

With the tank removed, it’s time to work on the bowl. Remove the decorative caps that cover the floor bolts. And, use a socket or adjustable wrench to remove the nuts.

Once the bolts are off, rock the bowl back and forth, until the wax seal underneath is broken, and lift the bowl up off the floor.

Scrape away any remaining wax with a putty knife, and plug up the drain opening with a rag, so you don’t have sewer gases wafting up into your home.

OK! Now for the new toilet!

You may want to start by replacing the existing flange around the drain opening. Or, at least, replace the mounting bolts.

Then, fit a new, wax ring around the base of the toilet. Now, for the tricky part!

Lift the bowl up, and line the toilet up over the anchor bolts. Once the bolts are fed through the holes, rock the bowl back and forth, to seat the wax ring, and then hand-tighten the nuts.

Insert shingles where needed, to make the bowl level, and then tighten the bolts up with an adjustable wrench. Tighten the bolts gradually, alternating from one bolt to the other. And be sure you don’t over-tighten, and crack through the bowl.

Cover the bolts with the supplied caps, and place the tank on the bowl. Guide the tank bolts into the corresponding holes. Tighten the bolts, but don’t over-tighten.

Install the toilet valve assembly.

Reconnect the water supply.

Caulk around the base.

And, you’re all set!

So, the next time you take on a bathroom makeover, consider including a new toilet on your shopping list!

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Jun 09

How To Remove Wallpaper

How To Remove Wallpaper (courtesy of Lowes.com)

When you start to remodel a room, you don’t want anything to get in your way, especially old wallpaper. We’ll show you how to remove old wall covering so you walls and your room are ready for anything, whether it’s a fresh coat of paint or new wallpaper. Let’s get to work!

This bedroom is going to get a new look, and we’re gonna do the renovation in small steps, that will have a big impact. The first step is removing the wallpaper, which can be quite simple. All you need are a few tools and a little patience, to let those tools do their work. You will need:

A Scoring Tool
A Scraper or Broadknife
A Screwdriver
Low Tack Painter’s Tape
Wallpaper Stripper
A Paint Brush
Paint Roller
Roller Cover and Paint Tray
Drop Cloths
A Garbage Can and Bags
A Stepstool or Ladder
A Bucket and Sponge
Dishsoap or TSP Cleaner
Wallpaper Primer/Sealer or Interior Paint Primer

You can also use a wallpaper steamer. Since we’ll be working with removal strippers, we’ll need to wear eye protection and rubber gloves. You can find detailed steps and a tool list in our printable instructions at Lowes.com/videos.

Start off by prepping the space. Move any furniture away from the walls, and cover everything with drop cloths. Also, make sure you use canvas drop cloths on the floors, since plastic can get pretty slippery.

Remove all window treatments and electrical covers.

Also, turn off the power to the electrical outlets in the room, and apply low tack tape over them, or any other surface you don’t want to get stripper on. And, if you’re going to use wallpaper stripper, be sure to have adequate ventilation.

Now, score the paper. You want to start in a 3×3 test section, starting with the ceiling, and preferably along a seam. A scoring tool creates hundreds of tiny holes in the paper, which allows the wallpaper stripper to penetrate and loosen the adhesive backing.

Then, generously spray or roll on the stripper, using a paint roller to apply it to the walls. Now, here’s where your patience comes in. Allow the stripper to set on the walls according to the manufacturer’s instructions – typically about 15 minutes. And, trust me – you definitely don’t want to shortcut this step! Now, if the paper stripper starts to dry, you’ll have to reapply it, so make sure the area stays wet.

Another option is to use a steamer. Again, have patience, and keep the steamer tight against the wall. And be careful, because steam is very hot. Now, after steaming the wallpaper, use a broadknife to lift a seam, and begin pulling the paper away at a 45° angle. Now, if the wallpaper was hung using a wallpaper primer/sealer, it should peel off easily, just like this. If it does, continue scoring and applying stripper or steaming, in sections about 4 feet wide, and remove the rest of the paper. Work from top to bottom, and always put the scraps in a heavy duty garage bag.

Now, if your wallpaper isn’t cooperating, you might have to troubleshoot. And, here’s a common problem – only the paper backing remains. Now, it’s easily fixed! Just apply some more stripper, wait the recommended time, and peel away!

Now, another common problem is paper that takes bits of drywall with it. This means the wall wasn’t primed properly, prior to application, and the adhesive is working a little too well. So, re-wet the surface, and try to carefully remove the paper. You might end up repairing the drywall. If so, watch “How To Repair Drywall” at Lowes.com/videos.

Now, once all the paper has been removed, you might notice a bit of paste residue or bits of paper backing still on the wall. Apply your wallpaper stripper again, working from top to bottom, around the room. Wait the recommended time, then, wash it off with soap and water. Repeat this step until all of the residue is removed.

Once the walls are clean, you’re ready for the next step. Now, if you’re painting, you’ll need to apply an interior primer. But, if you’re applying new wallpaper, like us, you’ll need to prep the walls. So, watch “How To Measure and Prep For Wallpaper”, at Lowes.com/videos. We’ll show you the key steps to making your wallpaper job a complete success!

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May 28

How to Install Recessed Lighting

How To Install Recessed Lighting (courtesy of DIYNetwork.com)

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May 12

How to Stain a Deck

How To Stain A Deck (courtesy of AskTheBuilder.com)

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Apr 28

How to Repair Cracks in Stucco

courtesy of RonFeltonshis.com)

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Apr 15

How to Re-Grout Bathroom Tile

How To Re-Grout Bathroom Tile (courtesy of Housemaster.com)

Periodic maintenance of tile caulking and grouting is required to prevent water seepage, and consequential damage. The joint between the base of a tiled wall and the shower or bathtub is the area most likely to need attention on a regular basis.

Before beginning, it’s a good idea to add a cover over the tub or shower surface, to protect it from damage. All loose materials should be removed, and the tile cleaned and dried. Be careful, however, not to damage the tile. Use of a plastic scraper is recommended.

Grout is designed specifically for use as a filler between tiles. It should not be used at any joint where movement is possible.

For the typical repair job, a pre-mixed or tube-type is recommended. The grout should be applied liberally and forced into any gaps, using a sponge, trowel or, if suitable, your finger.

Remove any excess material.

Allow the grout to cure for the specified time, and then remove any residue, using a damp sponge or cloth.

Don’t allow the grout to fully set, as it will be difficult to remove!

Wiping at a diagonal will help maintain a uniform grout depth.

When totally dry, the tile should be polished with a dry cloth.

Caulk is a flexible sealer, intended for use at any joint between the tile and the fixture surface.

For small jobs, tube-type caulks are ideal.

The thickness of the joint to be caulked will determine the size of the bead.

In all cases, the caulk should be applied so that there is even coverage on both sides of the gap being sealed.

Hold down the tube at an angle, and lay down a continuous bead of caulk with long, steady strokes.

Depending on the particular product used, it can usually be smoothed out using either a wet finger, sponge, or special tool. Any excess caulk should be removed immediately.

Allow new caulk and grout to cure for the specified time, before using the fixture.

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Mar 17

How to Change a Furnance Filter

How To Change A Furnace Filter (courtesy of Dummies.com)

Dust, dirt, carpet fibers, pet dander…these are all of the things your furnace filter takes out of the air, to help keep your house cleaner, and help keep allergies under control. When your filter is working hard, your furnace is really efficient. And, without all that stuff in the airflow, the blower motor lasts longer. The filter also prevents the compressor coils from getting clogged. So, you’ll want to change the filter regularly.

Buy furnace filters a case at a time. It’s cheaper that way. Open the case, and label each one with the date that you plan to install it. Changing the filter is easy!

First, open or slide the door panel to get access to the furnace. You usually find the filter near where the cool air enters the furnace, in the cold air return duct, or at the entrance to the blower chamber. Or, sometimes, in both locations!

Next, slide out the old filter, and replace it with the new one. Make sure the airflow arrows on the side of the filter are pointing the right way – toward the blower, and away from the cold air.

Now, replace the panel or door.

Furnaces need attention, so you want to replace the filter every month during the heating season. And, if you have air conditioning in the system, then change the filter every month all year long.

A little preventive care increases the life of your furnace, and makes your house cleaner and fresher!

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Mar 11

How to Install a Tile Backsplash

How To Install A Tile Backsplash (courtesy of Lowes.com)

Are you looking for a contemporary, clean update for your kitchen, that won’t bust your budget? Why not install a ceramic and glass tiled back splash? Glass tiles are beautiful, and they come in a wide variety of colors to match any décor. They’re also easy to install!

Start with a clean surface that’s free of dust and grime. Protect your countertops and your appliances by covering them with paper.

To determine the amount of tiles that you need, simply multiply the width by the height. I always like to buy a little extra, so I don’t run out before I finish the project!

Now, comes the fun part – the layout of our design! We selected the beautiful, white subway tile, which makes a statement on its own. But, by adding this aqua glass tile, it’s really gonna make it pop. Now, your glass tiles are typically sold in a sheet, like a 12 x 12 sheet, and they’re all attached with this net backing. And, this is really nice because you can just cut it apart with scissors. And you can either leave it in strips, or, you can cut them out individually, depending on your design. We’re gonna use it in the strip…and, just add a row, just like that. Isn’t that great? It just really makes that pop. Nice, sleek, modern look to it.

Now, to attach our tiles to our wall, we’re using a pre-mixed adhesive and a trowel. We’re just gonna this up with our putty knife. You do want to make sure that you read your manufacture’s instructions before using your adhesive. Get a nice, fair amount on your trowel, because this trowel is really going to work for us.

You can see I’ve already started this on my wall. We’re gonna go right up against our other pieces, and just gently pull our adhesive away. Now, I’m working in 12 inch sections, and this is great, because it’s a nice, manageable section for us. We don’t want everything to set up on us before we’re ready for it!

We’re gonna turn our trowel around, and, see this combed edge here? This is what’s gonna make sure that we have the proper amount of adhesive. See how that just pulls some of that off for us? And we’re gonna work from the bottom up. And the reason why we’re doing that is ’cause we’re using the top of our countertop to keep everything nice and level.

We’re gonna put this in place, push it down to the top of our counter. We’re ready for our next piece…we’re gonna do the same thing. And, we don’t need to worry about the spacing in between, because we’re going to use these handy little discs, which are called spacers. And they just slide right in to help us keep our spacing nice and even.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to cut a piece of tile, maybe around an outlet or at the top of your cabinet, all you need to do is use a tile cutter. Let me show you how easy that is to use!

This right here is our tile cutter. Lay your piece down inside the cutter. And this part right here is actually our cutting wheel, and we’re going to push that across our tile. And listen for that score sound – here that sound? Let the feet come back down, apply a little bit of pressure and there we go. We’ve got a perfect cut! So, this is really a handy tool, especially for this job!

Allow the tiles to set completely, before you start the grouting process. Now, we’ve been working with a 3 part epoxy grout today. You don’t mix it with water, so be sure you follow the manufacture’s instructions and the safety information.

We’ve been applying our grout with a rubber grout float, and this is a really handy tool. We just put our medium right on to the float. We’re gonna go straight to our wall, and begin smoothing this on with our float. The float is something that you’ll get comfortable using. You can apply pressure, you can tilt it, and it really helps you to just get that grout into all of your spaces. Make sure that you don’t have any air bubbles. This also helps to remove some of the excess grout, as well.

It’s a good idea to work in a small, manageable space, like a 1 foot section at a time. During the process of applying your grout, you do want to come back through with a damp sponge and wipe away some of your excess grout.

We’re gonna allow our grout to set up for 15 minutes, depending on the temperature and the humidity of the room. Then, use a clean, dry sponge to remove any remaining grout residue off the surface of the tile.

You will want to apply caulk to the base, and along any exposed edges. The secret to getting a smooth caulk line is to apply a thin strip of caulk, and then smooth the line by running a wet fingertip over the caulk.

What an amazing transformation! This is an easy, affordable way to add real style to your kitchen backsplash. If you need more home improvement projects and information, visit us at LowesCreativeIdeas.com.

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Feb 26

How to Paint Cabinets

How To Paint Cabinets (courtesy of Lowes.com)

Painting your cabinets can give a quick update to your kitchen or bath. Just follow these steps to give your cabinets a fresh look!

We’ve already prepared our cabinets for painting. Now, if you haven’t done that yet, take a look at our how-to-video, How To Prep Cabinets For Painting, at Lowes.com/videos. You can also print out the complete instructions for this project, along with a tool list. So, with your cabinets prepped, it’s time to paint! You will need:

Paint
A good quality paint brush
A 5-in-1 tool
Stir sticks
Paint tray
Drop cloths
Painter’s tape
Ladder
Sawhorses and lumber, to support the cabinet doors for easy painting.
You can also use a roller frame with a high-quality, foam roller, or a very fine, mini-nap roller to apply the paint.
You might also need door bumpers or wax.

When selecting your paint, look for a semi-gloss or high-gloss finish. A glossy finish will be easier to clean. High-quality latex products are durable and allow for easy cleanup.

If you haven’t already, clear your counter tops and tape off areas where your cabinets meet the walls and floors. Protect everything with drop cloths.

Now, if space and weather allow, take your cabinet doors into a garage or a basement for painting. If you’re painting indoors, make sure you have proper ventilation. OK, our cabinet doors have already been primed, and now we’re ready to paint!

Start by thoroughly stirring the paint. Then, begin painting on the back side of a door, starting in the center, and working your way out. You only want to brush over the surface a few times, with a high-quality brush. Brush marks are normal, and as the paint dries, these will level out.

Allow the paint to dry several hours before you turn the doors over and do the other side. Paint raised or decorative elements carefully, making sure that paint doesn’t puddle.

Alright, now on your cabinet’s framework, use a paintbrush, a high-quality foam roller or a fine nap mini-roller to apply the paint and, again, roll or brush the paint on in just a few strokes.

Wait 24 hours for everything to dry. Then, reattach drawers and doors. Another great way to get a fresh look is with new hardware. New hinges, doorknobs and drawer pulls can be installed easily, and really give your entire room a facelift!

Here’s another tip…painted cabinets will continue to cure and dry over time, so to prevent doors and drawers from sticking to the frame, apply door bumpers or even a bit of car wax to the surfaces that touch.

And with that, your project is complete! And, your kitchen, or any room with cabinets, will look dramatically different. Now, if you’re searching for other ideas on how to update your home, check out our lineup of how-to projects at Lowes.com./videos.

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Feb 10

How to Install a Bathroom Fan

How To Install A Bathroom Fan (courtesy of HomeDepot.com)

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Feb 03

How to Polish Brass

How To Polish Brass (courtesy of ThinkGlink.com)

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Dec 24

How to Replace Cabinet Hardware

How To Replace Cabinet Hardware (courtesy of HomeRemodelWorkshop)

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Nov 30

How to Clean Aluminum Siding

How To Clean Aluminum Siding (courtesy of Lowes.com)

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Nov 12

How to Install a Thermostat

How To Install A Thermostat (courtesy of HomeDepot.com)

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Oct 27

How to Repair a Pop-Up Bathtub Drain

This ExpertVillage video demonstrates how to repair a pop up bathtub drain.

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Oct 12

How to Weatherstrip a Door

How To Weatherstrip A Door (courtesy of RonHazelton.com)

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Oct 06

How to Fix a Pilot Light

How To Fix A Pilot Light (courtesy of FlyRobDog)

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Sep 14

How to Patch a Hole in Drywall

Ooops! In this HomeRemodelWorkshop video tutorial, learn how to repair a hole in the wall and make it look as good as new.

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Aug 18

How to Maintain a Wood Deck

With these cleaning and treating tips from Lowes, your deck will look great and last for years.

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Aug 17

How to Repair Concrete

ThisExtremeHowTo.com video tutorial explains all the essential steps to repair concrete.

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Aug 11

How to Paint A Room

How to Paint A Room (courtesy of Home Depot)

You’ve carefully selected your products and you’ve taken the time to properly prepare your room for painting. Now comes the moment of truth…applying the paint! As with any other home improvement project, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do the job. Let’s start with the ceiling and work our way down.

First, be sure to select paint specially designed for ceilings. It has a flat sheen, so the ceiling will have an even look. It will also help diffuse light, and it’s formulated to spatter less than wall paint. And, ceilings don’t always need to be painted white! Try tinting the ceiling paint to tie in with the colors you have planned for the walls.

As you can see, this particular ceiling has what’s called the popcorn texture. Many of these textures are water soluble, so it may dissolve and come down if you apply a water-based, latex paint. To avoid this, seal the surface with a white before you apply the paint.

Alright, let’s start by cutting the edges of the ceiling with a brush. Now, before you start any painting job, you should apply a thinner to your brush – water for latex or mineral spirits for oil-based paints – and remove any excess. Dip your brush about 1/3 of the way up the bristles, so paint doesn’t accumulate all the way up to the ferrule.

Gently tap the brush to both sides of the bucket, but don’t drag or press the brush against the rim…it will remove too much paint.

Start your first brush stroke 1 width from the edge, and then return to the starting point and brush toward the edge. Then, smooth the paint with a light touch.

Reload the brush, and start the next stroke on the wet edge and apply toward the dry. Then, back-paint toward the wet and lightly feather the 2 areas together with light strokes.

Now, only cut the edge for an area you can roll off, while maintaining a wet edge – say, a 3×3 foot section. Before you apply paint with a roller, prime the roller pad with a thinner, and remove any excess.

Dip the roller into a tray and saturate it with paint. Then, remove the excess by gently rolling it
back and forth across the graded portion of the tray. Begin rolling on paint along the still wet cut- in edge, to prevent overlap marks.

Reload the roller often, and roll slowly and lightly, then back-roll to blend the paint. As you can see, we’re using a roller with a long nap, due to the rough, textured surface.

Continue working in small sections, by first cutting along the wall, then applying with a roller, rolling out the paint, then blending.

Also, be sure to vary the roller directions slightly, because perfectly straight lines are more likely to show overlap marks.

Repeat this process until the ceiling is done, and immediately wipe up any drip marks on the walls as you go.

Now, make sure you apply blue painter’s tape to any ceiling molding before applying paint to the wall. The process is similar to painting a ceiling. You want to work in small sections, and cut in only as much as you can roll off before it dries.

Begin by rolling along the vertical wet edge in one corner of the room. And then, paint a 3-foot high “W” pattern, and fill the pattern in.

Once you’ve completed enough “W” patterns to fill a floor to ceiling section,fill your roller with a light load, and blend in the sections. And, if you need to stop before completing our room, stop on either an inside or outside corner. This will help hide some of the subtle color or sheen differences you may have when you continue painting later. Continue the process of cutting and rolling until all of the walls in the room are completed.

Allow this coat to dry for at least 12 hours before applying a 2nd coat, and allow the finished walls to cure for at least 24 hours before you mask off the walls to paint trim. This way, paint won’t come off with the tape when it’s removed.

If you buy premium products, prep the surface and use the proper technique, you’ll get professional results every time!

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Jul 17

DIY Solar Panel Tutorial

How To Make Solar Panels (courtesy of GreenPowerScience)

Hello there! I’m your host, Dan Rojas.

And I’m Denise Rojas. And, today, we’re gonna make our own solar panels! This is the famous Harbor Freight Solar Panels that were used in many of our previous videos. Today, we’re gonna be using cells of a different type!

There are 3 basic types of cells used in most solar panels. The least efficient and least expensive of these cells is the Amorphous cell. Now, this what the Harbor Freight system is. The cells are deposited on glass, usually, and there are kits that come with this, they’re really tricky to work with. I pretty much don’t advise you to try to make these. The nice thing about these, because they are deposited on glass, even though they are less efficient than the other type of cells, is the fact that you can just dunk these in water. You can just pretty much do anything with them. They’re really, really durable.

There’s also Monocrystalline. Those are hexagon cells, Those are the most efficient, and the most expensive.

The cell that we’re gonna be working with today is Polycrystalline. These cells are almost a watt and a half, almost 2 watts a piece, and you can get these in lots of 100, and you can get them in just about any size. These cells, you have to tab them together. Now, one thing about these cells is they’re very fragile. And, um, you can see that it didn’t take much at all to break that. You’ve gotta be really careful when you work with these, because that was about a $2.00 break that I just did right there.

Now, one thing about these cells is, they are, like I said, about a watt and a half to 2 watts a piece, but they’re .5 volts. So, in order to get your voltage up, to say, 18 volts to 20 volts, you need to chain together 36 of these, or 40 of these, depending on what voltage you’re looking for. So, what we’re gonna be doing is tabbing these cells together today.

There’s basically 3 different things that you need for this. You need:

Tabbing wire, which is a thin wire that’s got a deposited metal on it. This actually solders to the cells.

There’s also a bus wire, which is basically the same thing as tabbing wire, but it’s a lot thicker, so it handles more amperage, and you use this to tie your strings of cells together.

There is also some silver solder, which is basically, you use to enhance the soldering joints.

You also are gonna need a soldering iron. They usually recommend that you use a 65-watt iron. We’re gonna use one a little bit less than that.

We’re gonna show you the basics for this, and, in future videos, we’re gonna show you how to add a lot of components to the solar panels.

So, we’re gonna get started! I’m gonna plug the soldering iron in. On thing that Dan forgot to mention is that he’s gonna be using this flux pen. Now, this pen, it actually smells like rubbing alcohol and, what it does is it opens up the cells, so that way it can accept a better soldering joint.

When you get your cells, they usually come in a bundle, like this. And, as I said, they are extremely fragile – this is another one that I broke! So, you want to be very careful with these, and handle them with care. I’m gonna show you a close-up of these, and explain exactly what’s going on with them.

What you’re gonna notice with these cells, is that there’s a series of small white lines, and 2 big lines. This is where you tabbing wire goes. Now, on the back side, there’s also 6 little joints where you solder the tabbing wire to. Most solar cells like this are usually negative on the front, positive on the back. So, in theory, you could take a bunch of them and stack them like batteries to build up the voltage. The problem is, only one cell would get the sunlight, so you can’t do that.

So, what you end up doing, is you end up taking tabbing wire, and you run it down the length of this, and you leave some extra. And, the next one attaches to the back of the next cell, and you go from there. So, you end up tabbing them together like this in long chains.

We’re gonna lay it flat, like that, and the you take your flux pen and you basically just go right up and down it. Now, it’s a good idea not to drink a lot of coffee on the day you do this, like I did, because, the steadier your hands are, the better off you are! You want to have your tab wires to be twice the length of the cell. Now, I went ahead and cut these in advance. You basically just measure it and double it over. It’s a good idea to do all of your tabbing wires in advance. That way, you don’t have to come back and do this step. Also, be careful with your soldering iron. I just grabbed it in the wrong spot and burned my fingers, so I’m gonna have 2 nice blisters, but, you basically try to get it started so you know where you’re gonna end. And, you hold it down, and the tin that’s on the outside of this should adhere to this. And, you can see that that locked down. Now, you’re gonna hold it the length, just like I have it. You take your soldering iron and you hold it flat like this, and you just gradually work it down the length of the cell.

Now that you have 2 of these tabs, you’re gonna take them and flip them over, and you’re gonna attach them like this. You’re gonna want to get this tabbing wire nice and flat – get it nice and straight. And, you’re gonna arrange them like this. Now, it’s a good idea to have a setup of exactly what you’re doing. Some people will build a little form, so that these are in a perfect, straight line and they don’t look like crap whenever you’re done. But, what you do is you bend the wire up, and you take your flex pen and you want to put it on every single one, like that.

Now, this is an area where the solder actually comes in, and you can actually use it for this. Basically, get yourself a little bead of solder on there, and what you’re gonna do is, get your tabbing wire positioned. I’m gonna use a little clamp to hold it down, because this wire does build up some heat. Let me get the first one in place here. We now have 2 cells that are joined together! So, we’re gonna go outside and we’re gonna see if this produces one volt real quick, because you want to test these as you go along. The time to replace a bad cell is now, versus once you’re completely done with your project.

Now, the way that you want to test these, is, you attach your negative lead to the front, which is this tabbing wire here, and then, you can touch pretty much anywhere on the back. Alright, so you basically take it and, we’re gonna test it and touch this to the back of this here. And you can see that we’re getting one volt out of this, which is, these 2 together produce the one volt. And, if I cover them up, they drop. So, these 2 panels – these 2 cells, are actually good to go.

So, what you’re gonna have to do in order to get a…something to charge 12 volt batteries – like these over here – what you’re gonna have to do is you’re gonna have to do this 36 times, total. So, you’re gonna need 36 of them to get to the 18 volts that you need.

So, this is what we did just now, I got a couple of blisters in the process! And, you can see that it’s a pretty tedious process to do, and, doing is this way comes out to be about $2.00 a watt, maybe a little bit less than that. As you can see, these are very fragile and they break easily, so you have to encase them really good. So, you need to put a glass cover over them. You need to seal this so moisture doesn’t get in there. There’s really a lot to the DIY process with this.

To encase it, does somebody improv on that, or, is there a professional case to use?

We’re gonna be doing that in future videos. We’re gonna be actually trying different ideas in order to…you basically make a frame, encase it in glass and seal it, so that moisture doesn’t get in there. Some people will seal these in resins or waxes, and that’s a good way, too. You just…it is a pretty tricky process! I personally don’t really see…I don’t really necessarily have the patience to do an entire panel…we’re gonna do it for our video.

Well, it seems a little hard to get the soldering and the strips on it just right, but, within time, it would come a lot easier. It’s definitely a practice thing. And, our soldering iron, by the way, is not a good soldering iron for this! You want to get – you wanna buy a good one that gets a really good heat buildup to it, and it will be a lot easier.

It looks great, and, so, somebody would have to get this…how many times would they have to produce this?

To charge a 12 volt battery, you would need to put 36 of them to get to 18 volts, or, if you wanted 20 volts, you would need to do 40 of these.

So, does it go in a row, or,how does that work?

What people usually do, is they’ll do 18 of these, and then 18 of these, and then tie those together, so that jumps the voltage up. And then, the bigger panels, if you want to increase the…’cause 36 of these would produce about 60 watts, 65 watts. The Harbor Freight system that we have outside is 45 watts, so if you put 36 of these together – make sure I’m doing the math – yea, if you put 36 of these together, you would have a more powerful system than the Harbor Freight out there. It would cost you probably about 100 bucks to do that with these cells, the tabbing wire. You have to take in to account that you’re gonna break some along the way. And, then you have to add the case cost to it, because sealing these…the Harbor Freight system has been out in the sun, it’s been out in the rain, it’s been dipped in water (some of the smaller panels), and they work fine. This is gonna be up to you, how well that works out.

Can it be embedded in acrylic, or is that too…

You can encase this in resin – you can definitely do that – different types of resin. You just want to make sure that the contacts all stay good together. And, it’s really important to test these as you go along in case they don’t work. You also need to add some blocking diodes to this, because you don’t want it to drain your battery. You need to make sure the voltage only goes in one direction.

This process is good for somebody who’s on a budget, who has a lot of time on their hands, and who is very patient and wants to do it yourself. If you’re not that type of person, buying a pre-manufactured system is probably gonna cost you double, or a little bit more than that, but that’s your call with it.

Well, I definitely think it’s worth completing, as many as we have, and embedding it into something, for a future video. We spent about $400 on a 150-cells, a little bit more than that, and that’s the equivalent of about 300 watts. So, if we can get one together, a 300-watt solar panel is – well, we wouldn’t do one, but, 300 watts of solar panels is pretty expensive to buy.
I think the challenge is worth the effort on it. You do get better at this, by the way. This was like the 3rd one that I did, and again, the soldering iron – crappy!

If you go to our website, we will have information on where you can buy all this stuff. There’s different people that sell it on eBay and that sort of thing. We’ll have some links to that, and you can at least buy some cells, buy some of this stuff, and see if it’s for you!

I’m your host, Dan Rojas…

and I’m Denise Rojas!

Thank you for watching, and enjoy our videos! Oh, and don’t grab the soldering iron in the wrong place – that really hurt!

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Jul 10

How-to Pool Care – Removing Algae

Watch this FireYourPoolGuy.com video to learn how to clean a green algae-ridden swimming pool.

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Jul 01

How to Change a Faucet

In this AskTheBuilder.com video, learn how to properly change a kitchen faucet.

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Jun 17

How to Repair Exterior Siding

In this easy to follow tutorial from AskMeDIY.com, learn how to replace damaged vinyl siding.

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May 28

How to Replace Baseboard Trim

Watch this step by step demonstration from HomeAdditionPlus.com and learn how to install baseboard trim.

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May 11

How to Install a Light Switch

How To Install A Light Switch (courtesy of AskTheBuilder)

Light switch wiring is easy! Hi, I’m Tim Carter from Ask The Builder.com, and wiring a light switch yourself can save you lots of money. Remember, when working with high-voltage electric, always turn off the circuit breaker to prevent electrocution. You might wonder how to wire a light switch, so, let’s take one apart while the walls are opened up in this kitchen remodeling job, so you can see how the wires are connected to the switch.

A regular wall switch has 2 screws, plus the green grounding screw. The black wire that is always hot or energized, well it connects to the one screw. And the other black wire that goes up to the light fixture – it connects to the 2nd screw. It doesn’t make any different which wire connects to which screw. Be sure to loop the wire on to the switch screw correctly. As the screw tightens, the end of the wire should close up the loop.

Connect the bare, copper grounding wire to the green grounding screw.

Switch wiring is easy! Go ahead, start wiring your light switch now! I’m Tim Carter for AskTheBuilder.com

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Apr 29

How to Unclog a Drain Without Chemicals

How To Unclog A Drain Without Chemicals (courtesy of Home RemodelWorkshop)

Hi! I’m Bob Schmidt with Home Remodel Workshop. Slow running bathroom sinks, slow running bathroom tubs, nothing can be more annoying! Backs the water up, brings the dirt and everything right up into your tub. I’ve had some luck in the past using my snake to unclog these things, but, to do that, you have to take out the drain trap, you have to take apart the pop up in the vanity. I found a new product that I think a homeowner could use that maybe would be very useful and quick, easy, safe tip where you won’t damage your stuff. Give me a couple of minutes, and I’ll show you how to use it!

And, the inexpensive product that I’m talking about using is called a Zipit. Basically what is it, is it’s a flexible plastic with these little plastic barbs on it. They are sharp – I mean, obviously, not dramatically sharp, but I wouldn’t let little kids play with this. But, the neat thing about this is that this won’t damage the metal on your tub, and it doesn’t require pulling the pop up out of your sink. Here, let me show you how to use it!

The only downside I have to making this video, is, apparently I don’t have a slow running drain! As you can see, I turn my water on, it takes the water down right quick. You can see by this hair right here, exactly what happens, though. This hair gets sucked down into that drain and then gets caught around this pop up and the armature around the pop up. Most of the time,that is what’s causing your slow flow.

Now, the nice thing about this product is, where typically for a snake, I would have to take this out, I would have to hand-direct the snake down into the hole to make sure I don’t scratch up this surface. Because this is flexible and plastic and has these little plastic barbs on it, I can actually slip it in with the pop up still in place, and basically slide it all the way down to the hilt. Now, once it’s in there, I can jiggle it around a little bit. Oh, and, as you can see, even with a slow running drain, you can still…or, with a clean running drain, it’s still pulling some dirt and debris out of there.

Now, I’m gonna go ahead and take this to some of the other sinks in my house, and I’m gonna try it in them also, just to show you, and maybe we’ll get better results from there. Maybe we’ll have some better luck in my kid’s bathroom! They don’t have a tendency to pick up the hair and be as tidy as we are. But still, as you can see, the drain – ah, it’s running a little slower than the other one, but not bad. So, basically, what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna take the Zipit, do the same thing as I did on the other one…stick it all the way down in there, move it up and down a little bit…not bad. I’m gonna go ahead and go to another side of the pop up, go ahead an shove it down there and see if I can find something on that side – oop! There we go! Oop, and there comes some more…I don’t even know what that is! But, as you can see, even with a drain that’s running clean, hair is already starting to accumulate inside there. You get too much of that hair in there, this drain slows down and then finally stops.

OK, here we are in the bathtub. I went ahead and I pulled the pop up out, although you don’t have to. This drain also is running clear, but I wanted to show you this “X” that’s here inside of this tub. That’s where most of the hair clogs are gonna get clogged up. Now, it’s pretty obvious it’s clean, but, if the pop up were on here, and I were sliding this alongside the pop up, these barbs would grab that hair and pull it back out of there. 9 times out of 10, that’s gonna be your problem.

And, here we are down in my nasty, stationary tub. Although the water seems to run fairly freely and goes down the drain, we don’t use the strainer as much as we should, or as much as most people do, so I’m sure that there’s lint and debris that gets bypassed in this drain. So, I’m gonna go ahead and send this down in there. Let’s see if I can…I’m snagging some of it up, but let’s go ahead and try a different spot. Yea, there’s some lint right there, coming out. I’m sure that, if let go too long, that it would also clog up this drain and make this a slow drain.

Now, as the date of this posting, I paid $2.15 for this. I think it’s well worth the effort if you have a slow drain in a bathtub or a shower or a vanity sink, as far as for a hair clog or, even a downstairs stationary tub for lint and stuff, to go ahead and give this a shot before, I would definitely do this before I would break out my snake or go to call a plumber. I’m Bob Schmidt with Home Remodel Workshop. I hope you like this tip, see you again real soon. Thanks!

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Apr 16

How to Lay Tile Floor

How To Lay Tile Floor (courtesy of AskTheBuilder)

Oh boy, check this out. Hi, I’m Tim Carter from AskTheBuilder.com. Thanks for joining me today! I’m in this room that we’re remodeling, and we have to extend a tile floor into this area that’s not finished. Check that out! The reason that happened is, just about 10 days ago, right where I’m standing, there used to be a wall that went all the way to the ceiling. We took it down, so that the two rooms have now become one.

The challenge is this – check this out. If you go ahead and start to lay the tile, going this direction behind me, and you think that you’ll be able to line it up with your eye, making sure that the lines are perfect – it’s not gonna happen. You’ll make a mistake every time. You actually need to create a line on this concrete slab that you will actually lay the tile to, to know that those rows are straight. And, here’s one way that I’ve done it in the past, works pretty well.

You can use just a regular chalk line. This one happens to have no chalk on it, yet. If you’re gonna use one that’s already got chalk, make sure you pull the chalk line out and snap it a couple of times, to get as much chalk off as possible. All you have to do is open up the chalk line, and you hook the chalk line right to the underside of the tile. You can see right here. I took the end of the chalk line, hooked it to the under side of this tile, pull the string tight.

And, then what I do – now, look real closely here. I go ahead right here, and I get this string lined up right with that edge of the tile. That’s exactly what I want to see, right there, so I know it’s right. Then I take the chalk line, and I come back down here. And, what I can do, first of all, is do this. I can actually use the line – the string line – and, I can see by just hovering it over the edge of this tile, that these tiles are perfectly in line. That’s exactly what we want to see!

So, now what we’ll do is, I can make a line, right here. Right underneath the string line, on the concrete slab. So, we know where that point is. We come back here, and I line up the string, looking right down the string. Put my eye right over it. And, you can see that I can swing the string left and right, until it’s right at the edge of the tile, which it is, right there. You can see it right over the edge of the tile. I put the string down here, make a mark, and if you take a heavy object, like a full paint can, I can set it on the string.

So, now the string won’t move, and I can go ahead and make marks right underneath the string, in a couple places. And then, if you want, you can take a straight edge, like a 4-foot level, connect those lines, and you’ve got your straight line to start laying your tile!

I’m Tim Carter, for AskTheBuilder.com!

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Apr 10

How to Install Hardwood Floors

Learn the basic steps to installing hardwood floors in this video tutorial from Lowes.com

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Apr 01

How To Repair A Sticking Door

How To Repair A Sticking Door (courtesy of HomeRemodelWorkshop)

Hi! I’m Bob Schmidt, from Home Remodel Workshop. Do you have that door in your house that seems to be hitting up at the top? It’s rubbing the paint off, doesn’t want to open and close, and maybe the latch doesn’t work properly? I’ll show you some of the solutions for that! Let’s get to work!

Here, we have a door that doesn’t seem to be closing properly. The lead edge of the door hits this side of the jam, it’s rubbing the paint off, it’s beating up the backside of the door. A lot of times, when people see this, the first thing they want to do is run and get their power saw, and start cutting on the door, or sanding on the door. That’s generally not a good idea. There are usually some simple adjustments that will help you take care of this.

Whenever I come across a door like this,usually, I have a quick little check to asess the problem. If I see that the door is hitting on the lead edge at the top, the first thing I like to do is push over on the top hinge. If it feels like the door moves, and then the door opens and closes easily and the latch lines up, I’m pretty sure that my issue is here at this top hinge.

When I open up the door, and I look at the top hinge, the first thing I’ll do is, I’ll lift on the door. And if I see any movement in that hinge at all, I’ll know that I have a screw issue, where the screws have come loose. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of taking a screwdriver and tightening those down, and that will take care of your problem. Also, check the screws in the door to make sure they’re secure. Sometimes, just a little quarter turn will make all the difference in the world! If I try to tighten these screws down, and, after getting it screwed all the way in, the screw continues to spin, as if it’s not gripping anything, then it’s time to add a little bit of wood in that hole to tighten up that screw.

Now, some people get real picky about what you fill these holes in with to tighten these screws. I’m not one of them! I pretty much take whatever is available. I had this old piece of baseboard, that I saved to make a profile on a job – it’s made out of yellow pine. I simply take the baseboard – I hold it on the ground, take the tip of my hammer, and I’ll break off a few pieces, til I see something that I like! Sometimes, I’ll go ahead and I’ll take a knife and I’ll whittle it down a little bit. They don’t have to be real big…it doesn’t take much to fill in a screw hole.

Before I take any hinges loose, even though this is a 3-hinge door and it’s usually pretty stable when you take the top hinge loose, I still don’t want that extra pressure binding on that 2nd hinge. So, before I take the hinge loose, I usually support the lead side of the door with some shims or a block of wood or magazines, so that it doesn’t bind that 2nd hinge upon getting the extra weight on it. In this case, I had 2 of the screws that were spinning free. When I went to tighten them down, they continued to spin.

So, you take the little blocks of wood, little pieces of wood that you made (they don’t have to be cut to any length), you stick them into the hole, tapping them in, until they’re pretty snug. And then, go ahead, gently push up and down, break it off. Usually there’s enough left on there for the 2nd one. Tap it in there, down in to the drywall until it’s real nice and tight, break him off, and you’re ready to put that hinge back on!

I went ahead and put the screw back in that had tightened down – that was tight fine to begin with, and now I’m gonna go ahead and replace these 2 screws, into the new pieces of wood that we installed in the hole. I generally like to have a hand screwdriver to do this, because if you use a cordless drill or a mechanical drill bit, you can’t always feel how much you can torque it down at the end. You want to get it tight, but, like any other screw, you can over-tighten it, you can strip the threads if you start bouncing the screw tip on it. This is just generally a safer way to do it!

After you get the hinge screws in, you can feel that this hinge is much tighter than what it used to be. You can see that the margin across the door and down the left side of the door is correct, and, if you open and close the door, the latch now operates fine. Generally, that will take care of your problem.

A common cause of door problems, other than just age and sag, is people have a tendency to like to hang things over the top of their door. Shoe racks and mirrors and things like that. Generally, that’s not a good idea. It puts a lot of extra stress on a door. But other than that, usually a simple solution is the best. Don’t be in a big hurry to take a power saw or a belt sander or anything to this door, you could just complicate your problems.

Other than that, hope you found this tip useful, and good luck on your project! We have plenty more videos, back on our Home Remodel Workshop channel, and if you like them, remember to subscribe – thanks!

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Jan 13

How to Save Money on your Energy Bill

Save money on your energy bills with these simple home improvements from Lowes.com

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Dec 22

How to Save Money on your Energy Bill

Want to save money on your energy bill this winter? Watch this video from holidaysolutions for some simple tips that can save you money and energy!

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Nov 10

Home Improvement/How To Repair Asphalt Driveway Cracks

How To Repair Asphalt Driveway Cracks (courtesy of AskTheBuilder.com)

Oh, hey! How are you doing? I’m just bringing out the last tool to start my blacktop crack repair job. Great weather today, blacktop’s dry, and that’s exactly what you need when you get ready to finish a blacktop repair job. Here’s what we’ve got. First thing we need to do before we get started, in case the safety police are watching, it’s time to get on the new, cool safety glasses. Oh, yeah – what do you think about that?

Now, what we gotta do – first thing that it says on the instructions on the caulk, or the repair sealant that we’re gonna use – you gotta clean out the crack. I always like to use a regular broom, and it works really well! Just go ahead and sweep it out, get all of that loose debris and loose sand out of the way…oh, yeah! Simple as that! Now, once again, remember the blacktop’s gotta be nice and dry.

So, let me show you what I’ve got, what we’re gonna use today. We’ve got this nice crack. And, this particular crack is kind of like a V shape. And, because it’s V shaped, it’s really pretty hard to install a backer rod, that sometimes you have to use when you install a crack sealant with blacktop. Usually, you use a backer rod when the crack is shaped more like this, where the sides of the crack are pretty parallel. And, you’ll get those cracks very frequently in a blacktop driveway, but not this particular one.

So, what we’re gonna do first is, all you have to do is start with this compound. It’s an asphalt repair – check this out, it says right here – Asphalt Repair, it’s got all the nice instructions, and it looks – it’s just like, really, caulking. And simple! All you do is go ahead and start to squeeze it out, being really careful that you don’t put too much of the material too high, because you will have a real mess on your hands. And you can see how easy that comes out! It just flows out of the tube, and one of the reasons that it flows really well is because I made sure that it wasn’t too cold out here. The outside temperature here is about 60 – 65°, and this material flows just beautifully out of this tube, and you can see that.

Now, check this out – get a little closer, I want to show you something. I’m coming up to a really big, wide area, and I want to fill that up, but not too high, and you’ll see in a minute why. And there’s another one coming up right next to it. Oh, yeah, look at this right here, you can see a big area. I kind of put the sealant in there, making sure it’s not too high.

Alright, now, here’s what I wanna show you. The next step is, I’ve got this cute, little stick – it’s actually from a piece of mulch…check this out. You can see it’s about ¼ inch wide, and I found it in the mulch, actually right next to the blacktop drive. And I just use that. Come down here close, I wanna show you something. I actually want to spread this sealant so that it smears on the blacktop on either side of the caulk, and I’m also making sure that the caulk sealant is not too high. And this makes for a really, really good bond, so that the crack sealant material will not come out, you know, this winter, when it gets really, really cold.

Now, but down here, where it’s really, really wide…before I started the job, I went around and I found some of the rocks that had actually come out of the blacktop drive. What you do is you actually put these rocks right in the sealant compound. I know it sounds crazy, but this actually helps – it helps disguise the crack, for one. And it helps make the crack sealant work a lot better, because it makes it stronger. And you just push those rocks down into the sealant, and then you push the material up against it, so that the cracks – and so that the cracks fill up with material, and it sticks well against these little rocks.

The final step in the process is to actually take some of this magic compound that I have in this can next to me…ho hooo…wait til you see this trick! A lot of people don’t do this. This is one of the secret “Ask The Builder” tricks! Before I started the job, I went to the sides of the driveway, and I found some sand. And some of this sand came from the stones and the rocks around the driveway, but actually matches perfectly, some of the rocks that are actually in the blacktop. And you go ahead and just sprinkle this sand onto the fresh compound. Look at that. Simple as that! And this sand does 2 things:

#1 – It will prevent tracking, if someone makes a mistake and walks on this material, and from it spreading onto the driveway, it does that. And that’s really important.

#2 – It’s actually gonna help disguise this crack, so that the crack looks more like the actual blacktop, on either side of the crack.

It’s that simple to patch a blacktop crack! I’m Tim Carter for AskTheBuilder.com –

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Jul 28

How to Install Laminate Floors

Watch this demonstration video from AskMeDIY and learn a few tips and tricks on how to install laminate flooring.

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Jun 11

How to Wire a Four Way Switch

Learn how to wire a 4 way switch in this how-to video demonstration from AskTheBuilder.com

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May 27

How to Fix a Gutter

Learn how to find and fix a leaky gutter in this video from AskTheBuilder.com

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May 14

How to Clean Leather

Learn how to clean a leather couch in this video from ExpertVillage.

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May 07

How to Save Money – Reducing your Energy Bill

How To Reduce Your Energy Bill (courtesy of MoneyTalksNews)

How To Reduce Your Energy Bill

If you spend about the average to keep your home cooled, heated and powered up throughout the year, then you’re spending about 1500 bucks. Now, obviously in the summer, most of that expense is going to pay your cooling bill, the average somewhere between four and five hundred dollars. If I said you could chill that bill by about 100 bucks this summer (that would be about 20 – 25%), would you be interested? Well, let’s start with the AC unit.

Clear away the debris to keep the air flowing smoothly and check the filter. And keep checking it monthly, throughout the summer. You also want to check and replace your indoor filter.

The next places you’re gonna look to cut costs are your windows and doors. Air loss can blow 15 – 25% of your energy money. So, weather strip those doors and caulk those windows.

A good ceiling fan can also save you serious money. A fan will allow you to set your thermostat at 78 degrees and make it feel like it’s 72. Not bad, considering it only costs about 15 cents to run for every ten hours it’s on.

The thermostat. Now, here’s a place where you can really save some cool cash, because every time you raise this thing just one degree, you can save, on average, about 3% on your energy bill. So, especially while you’re away, raise the temperature 5 degrees, cut your bill by 15%!

Also, do you close the vents in rooms you’re not using? Well, don’t do that! Closing more than 10% of your vents can create an air pressure imbalance that could reduce your air conditioner’s efficiency.

One more tip for staying cool and keeping costs down this summer. Avoid appliances that create heat, especially in the middle part of the day. So, when it gets hot inside and outside, make some lemonade and lay on the sofa!

For MoneyTalks, I’m Stacey Johnson…

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Apr 11

How to Install a Kitchen Facet

Watch this demonstration from AskTheBuilder 0n how to install a kitchen facet. It will make installation a breeze!

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Mar 27

Siding How-to – Painting Wood Siding

Learn how to paint your wood siding properly in this video demonstration from AskTheBuilder.com

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Mar 10

Home Repair Instruction – How-To Install an Outlet Box

Learn how to install an outlet box and how to easily wire the switch box in this home repair video from AskTheBuilder.com!

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Jan 11

How-To Feng Shui your Home

Get some great ideas on how to Feng Shui your home with this video from Domino Magazine.

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Dec 19

Plumbing How-To – Installing Drain Pipes

Learn how to install a drain system for a kitchen sink and different ways to configure it for your own plumbing situation with this video from YouTooCanDo.

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Dec 12

Paint Removal How-To

Learn some basic paint removal tips with this easy to follow how-to video from AskTheBuilder.com

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Sep 23

How to Cut Ceramic Tile

Learn how to cut ceramic tile with this video from AskTheBuilder.com

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Sep 01

How to Hang Wallpaper – Glue Activation

How To Activate Wallpaper Glue (courtesy of AskTheBuilder)

Modern wallpapers like this one often come from the factory pre-pasted. That’s ok! It’s really a good material, that paste. But, what the problem is, is remember, when you get it wet, or you use an activator to make it get wet, it starts to expand the paper! And, you need to make sure it expands on the table, not up on the wall!

Before you put the piece of paper up and even paste it, you’ve got to go ahead and cut a part off. Don’t worry about getting it perfectly straight, because you’re gonna trim the paper, once it’s up on the wall.

If the paper is pre-pasted, I get the best results from activating the glue with an activator, instead of with water. These products just brush on the paper. And, what you do, is you actually mix this product with water, wait about 30 minutes, and the final result is a really neat gel, that’s a little thicker than water, but boy, does it go on the paper easily!

This process is called “relaxing” by the professional wallpaper hangers. What’s really happening, is that once you’ve got the whole piece of paper glued, and you’ve activated that glue, the paper starts to expand, and it just needs to relax. You go ahead and fold the paper back on itself, like this. Don’t push down hard on these ends – you don’t want to make a real hard crease. That’s not a good thing.

And, then, you just sit back yourself and relax for about 5 minutes, until it’s ready to hang the paper.

I’m Tim Carter with Ask The Builder!

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Aug 04

How to Install a Faucet

Learn how to install a kitchen faucet in a few easy steps with this video from YouTooCanDo.

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Aug 04

How to Cut Cement Board

Learn how to cut cement board with this video from AskTheBuilder.com

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Aug 03

How to Upholster a Dining Seat

Learn how to upholster a dining room seat just like the pros with this video from Upholster.com

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Jul 29

How to Save on your Energy Bills

Learn a few simple ways to save money and energy with this video from MoneyTalksNews.com

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Jul 26

How to Install a Phone Jack

Save some money and learn how to install your own phone jacks with this video from AskTheBuilder.com

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Jul 13

How Upholster a Chair

Learn how to reupholster a dining room chair with this video from ReadyMadeMag.com.

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Jul 13

How to Clean Up an Oil Spill

Learn how to clean up an oil stain on your driveway or concrete with this video from AskTheBuilder.com.

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Jun 13

How to Clean Windows

Learn how to make your windows sparkle with this video from AskTheBuilder.com

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Jun 04

How to Take Care of your Lawn

Learn how to maintain your lawn and keep it looking great all year long with this video from bucslim.

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Jun 04

How to Fix a Leaky Gutter

Learn how to fix your gutter and prevent future leaks with this video from AskTheBuilder.com

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Apr 07

How to Replace a Fuse

Learn how to replace a fuse with this video from pelagiclighpictures. Please proceed with caution!

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Apr 01

How to Build Stairs in a Retaining Wall

How To Build Stairs In A Retaining Wall (courtesy of AllanBlock.com)

Whether built directly into the wall, in front of the wall, or sweeping off to the side, stairs are a great addition to almost any project!

When building stairs, choose your path wisely, and find the most natural path to maintain a comfortable rhythm to your stairway. You can break up long sets of steps with landings. Add a turn in in the landing, and break up a stair line. Or, use switch-backs or serpentines to meander up the hill. Tackle your slope by matching your stairway design to the natural grade of your slope.

On steep slopes, keep the blocks tight together. With AllenBlock, you get an 8-inch rise and a 12-inch run.

On gentle slopes, add pavers or other materials to increase the depth of the tread and the length of the run.

Landings are another way to soften a long stairway, and are an easy way to tie sets of steps together.

Stairs can be designed with flowing curves or straight lines.

Curved sidewalls create a softer look.

Straight sidewalls and corners create a crisp look, but will require more time to build.

Before you begin, you must determine how many steps you will need. Measure the total rise of your slope in inches, and divide by 8, which is the height of the blocks. Be sure to factor in any code requirements before you prep the site.

In this example, we will show you how to build stairs into a wall, using flowing curves. Remember, always begin building at the stair location, and build out.

Excavate the stairs. Once the number of steps has been determined, excavate the stair location, based on the rise and run in your approved plans.

The minimum width for a base trench is 24 inches.

The depth of the trench is determined by allowing for 6 inches of face material, plus 1 inch per foot of wall height. If organic or wet soils are still present in the base trench area, they must be removed and replaced with granular material.

Excavate the base trench to the necessary depth. Then, compact and level the base trench, making a minimum of 2 passes with a mechanical plate compactor.

Place the drain pipe at the lowest possible point, toward the back of the trench that can be vented to daylight every 50 feet.

Now that the base trench is ready, place a minimum of 6 inches of wall rock in the base trench and rake smooth. Compact the base, making a minimum of 2 passes.

Install the base course. Place the blocks toward the front of the trench, allowing for a minimum of 6 inches behind the blocks.

Then, fill in the area in front of the blocks with on site soils. This will keep the base course blocks from shifting, while filling and compacting.

Fill the hollow course – 12 inches behind the block, and the stair location – with wall rock.

Back fill and compact. Compact behind the block, in a path parallel to the wall, working from the back of the block to the back of the back fill area. Make a minimum of 2 passes with a mechanical plate compactor. Always compact in 8-inch lengths or less.

Remember to keep all heavy equipment at least 3 feet away from the back of the blocks.

Remove any excess soil from the top surface of the blocks by sweeping the blocks clean with a broom.

Use a level to scrape a stair tread area. Then, check the level from front to back and side to side, making sure the stair tread is level with the top of the first course of blocks.

Install the stair riser. Measure the distance for the next stair riser, and place the blocks, making sure to allow for 6 inches behind the block.

Measure the distance between the stairs to make sure that the blocks are parallel with the stairs in front.

Place a temporary block on top of the wall, close enough so that you can place a 4-foot level from the block to the stair riser block. This will ensure the stair riser block will be level with the rest of the wall. Then, level and adjust the rest of the stair riser block.

To continue building your wall out from the stair location, break the wings off the blocks by striking the wing with a hammer, to obtain a clean break. Then, place the blocks tight together, following the layout on the approved plans, making adjustments as necessary.

You can place a small amount of wall rock under the blocks to level them, then check again for level and make adjustments if necessary.

Place a small amount of wall rock in front of the blocks for the stair riser, to keep them from shifting during compaction.

Fill the hollow cores, 12 inches behind the block, and the next stair location with wall rock. Then, back fill any remaining area behind the wall rock with on site soils.

Run the plate compactor over the top of the blocks where there are 2 or more courses, and behind the block where there is only 1 course.

Continue compacting the wall rock behind the wall, as well as the excavated area of the next stair riser.

Screen the next stair tread area, and check for level from front to back and side to side.

Continue building. Measure the tread area to make sure it is parallel, and at the correct distance. Place the next temporary block to level the stair riser, and check for level.

Continue building the wall out from the stair location. Place some fill in front of the blocks. Fill the hollow cores and behind the blocks with wall rock. Fill in any remaining areas with on site soil. Then, run the plate compactor over the top of the blocks where there are 2 or more courses, and behind the blocks when there is only 1 course.

Continue compacting the wall rock behind the wall, as well as the excavated area of the next stair riser. Continue this process to the top of your wall.

Place the blocks for your next stair riser and measure for parallel and distance. Place a temporary block and adjust for level.

Build the wall out from the stair location.

Add fill in front of the blocks.

Fill the cores, behind the wall and the stair tread with wall rock.

Back fill any remaining areas and compact.

On the last course of the wall, you can choose to fill the block cores and the entire back fill area with plantable soils, to finish off your wall.

In this example, we’ve shown you how to build stairs into a wall. You can also build stairs in front of a wall, using curves, right angles or sweep them along the wall.

Or, let your imagination run wild, and create your own stair design! You can finish your stair treads with 1 of these options: AB capstones, AB capstones and pavers, pavers, or concrete. Choose the style that best compliments your landscape!

To enhance your project, view the other building options, or visit us at AllanBlock.com

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Apr 01

How to Use Caulk

How To Use Caulk (courtesy of Ask The Builder)

You might think that when you’re getting ready to paint the inside of a room – both the walls, the woodwork, the trim, everything else – that to get a great job instead of a good job, that the 2 most important tools are the roller and the paintbrush. Guess what? You’re wrong! The most important tool to use, before you even get started, is a caulk gun. The reason that the caulk gun is son important, is that you use this tool to fill all those troublesome gaps between the woodwork and the wall. If you don’t fill those before you paint, after you’re finished painting, it just looks really tacky!

The key to caulking is to make sure that the size of the hole where the caulk comes out of the tube is just right. So, cut off little pieces of the tube, until you start to expose the end of the tube, to get the hole just right.

You want the size of the hole at the end of the caulk tube to match the width of the crack.

You need to make sure before you actually caulk that you purchase the right caulk. Look for one that says siliconized acrylic, or paintable. And, once you’ve got the tip cut, it’s time to caulk!

Simply take the caulk gun and put it right at the crack, and start to gently squeeze the trigger until a small amount of caulk comes out. Don’t put on too much; there’s no need for a lot of caulk.

Stop the caulk gun. Then, take your finger and use it to go ahead and smooth the caulk inside the joint. But, you’re not finished yet! You take a sponge with very little water in it, and a couple of strokes down the caulk joint, and you are good to go!

Caulking is really simple, and makes a big difference on your paint project! I’m Tim Carter, with AskTheBuilder.com!

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Feb 28

How to Make Solar Panels

Learn how to make a solar panel that can power a radio or cell phone with this video from Graham Knight.

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