Archive for November, 2009

Fixing Leaky Faucets

Monday, November 30th, 2009

The most common home plumbing problem is a leaky faucet. The leaks happen when the washers, O-rings, or seals inside the faucet get dirty or worn out. It’s not hard to fix a leak, but the techniques vary depending on the type of faucet you have. Determine the faucet design and the  replacement parts before you begin your work.

There are four basic designs: ball-type, cartridge, disc, and compression. Many can be identified easily just by their outer appearance, but there are some that you have to take apart before it can recognized.

Many double-handled faucets use the compression design. From time to time you have to replace the washers or seals in the compression faucets.  These are very easy to make, and the replacement parts are not expensive.

The ball-type, cartridge, and disc faucets are known as washerless faucets.  Many of the washerless faucets have a single handle, but some do have two handles.  These faucets will make less trouble for you than the compression faucets will, and they are designed for quick repair.

Make sure the replacement parts match the original parts before you install them. The replacement parts for the more popular washerless faucets are identified by their brand name and model number. Bring the worn parts with you when you go to the store to get ones. It will help you identify the parts you need.

DIY Sunroom Kits: Pros and Cons

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Expanding your home can be an expensive proposition. Custom built sunrooms are generally priced from 10k to 70k dollars. However, this type of home addition increases the value of your property and provides an area where you can conveniently entertain guests. The outdoor experience of this indoor space creates a feeling of openness to the natural world around you. Folks who have a sunroom built usually believe it was worth the investment.

The DIY Option

There is, of course, an alternative to having a sunroom professionally built. A DIY kit allows you to pick from several different designs and cuts the cost substantially. Kits for sunrooms range in price from 2-20 grand depending on the size and materials you select. For best results, choose a simple patio or porch enclosure. That’s as much complexity as the average DIY homeowner can handle.

The instruction manual and/or video included with your kit will be designed to make the building process as straightforward as possible. However, there are always some safety concerns when untrained friends or relatives help you with a construction project. In addition, you may still need licenses or building permits before getting started. Each community has its own building codes that require strict adherence. A local installer can help you navigate the permitting system and ensure proper safety protocols are followed throughout the project.

Additional Concerns

Prefab sunrooms aren’t guaranteed to fit perfectly into the space you have selected. If you go with the cheapest materials, you can also expect a great deal of energy loss. There could be drainage problems or leaks that need to be fixed by a professional. However, if you are handy with home improvement projects, you may enjoy both the initial installation and ongoing upkeep involved in creating your own sunroom.

Patching Holes In Drywall

Friday, November 27th, 2009

This is a task that is easily handled.  You only need a few supplies and a little bit of time.  If you have any small holes in your walls that have been bothering you-here’s how you handle them:

Get yourself over to the home improvement store in your neighborhood, pick up a 1″ knife, and a 3′ putty knife.  You will also need some lightweight spackle.  If you have textured walls you may want to get some spray texture as well.This is what I used the last time I did this project.  You will need a sanding block, I prefer to use “fine” grade. You may also want to get a mouth and nose covering of some sort to avoid the dust you’ll create when sanding.

When you get home be sure to move any valueables out of the way, you won’t want to get them covered in the dust from the spackle nor would you want to drop any spackle on them. 

Begin by sanding down the area around the hole to make it as close to smooth as possible as well as removing any chipped or peeling paint.

Put a generous amount of the spackle on the big putty knife, using the small knife to get it out of the bucket.  I like to drip just a tad of water onto the pile of putty, mix it in with the small knife.  Once you have a nice soft paste apply that to the area around the hole and get some in the hole as well, the types of holes I am talking about are no bigger than a quarter, for example, maybe the door knob slammed into the wall in the bathroom and created an indent and a partial hole, well this is a place that you would be able to use this technique.

Once you have coated the area make sure and smooth it out using the large putty knife.  Once smoothed, allow to dry, I like to wait overnite but usually you can start sanding in as little as a couple of hours, just follow the guidelines on the spackle that you purchased. 

Once dry, sand the spackled area down as smooth as possible then re-apply another coat of the spackle, allow this coat to dry.

Apply the spray texture as appropriate, most residential walls that use texture use a “knock down” method of application.  What this means is that once you have sprayed the texture on the wall you will use your large putty knife to “knock down” the texture by lightly running the knife’s flat edge over the texture.  I suggest you practice this outside on a piece of old cardboard to get the right texture pattern down that will match your walls.

Now, once you have double coated and textured the wall, you are ready to paint it, get the paint matched to your current color and cover the entire area, I would suggest two coats of paint as well, now voila! You’re finished!

Having New Carpet Installed

Friday, November 27th, 2009

It’s a costly decision to make when it comes to new carpet. There are many styles to choose from, Berber, Loop-Pile, and Frieze just to name a few. Not to mention all of the brands there are available; Aladdin, Armstrong, Coronet, HollyTex, Mohawk, Philadelphia,
Stainmaster and Sutton. Don’t forget about all of the textures that are available, plush, saxony, and textured carpets. After all is said and done, you will probably find yourself rather tired due to the many choices.
Make sure and verify the length of time the company has been in business when you do finally decide to go with a particular company. You can visit their showroom and get an idea of what you may be intersted in as far as price, style etc. In order to choose the color though, I would suggest getting a swatch that you can take home and see if it goes well with your current decor. Make sure to cover with the dealer what type of pad will be used. I would suggest nothing less than the 8lb pad. If you have allergies you may want to see if they offer a hypo-allergenic pad. These usually can run a few hundred dollars more but if you are allergy sensitive and this is a concern for you, the additional cost is well worth the peace of mind.
Also, consider the usage the carpet will recieve, are you planning on selling this home? Or staying in it for many years to come? Do you have pets? Kids? These are all things to consider and discuss with the dealer before making a purchasing decision. Remeber, this is most likely going to cost thousands of dollars so you will want to have all of your bases covered.
Be sure to inquire as to the installers and their tenure with this company, are they just fly by the night guys that have no care or are they long-time employees that are skilled in customer service, care and satisfaction?
Lastly, take your time. Just because the salesman wants to sell you the carpet TODAY wait a week or a month, really mull it over and decide if you still like the color or texture or price you were willing to settle on a month ago. If not, you may want to rethink some of your choices. Afterall, this is a decision that you may have to live with for a while, so you may as well make it a great one!

Fixing Brick & Block Walls

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Tuck-pointing is the most common brick and block wall repair. It is the process of replacing failed mortar joints with fresh mortar. Tuck-pointing is a really good repair technique for homeowners. It can be used to repair all sorts of things such as: walls, chimneys, brick veneer, or any other structure that the bricks or blocks are bonded with mortar.

To fix minor repairs you can always use caulk or repair compound when patching popouts or chips. Before attempting any major repair always consult a professional.

Basement walls are a big trouble area for homeowners. There’s constant moisture and stress created by contact with the ground. Also, contact with the ground will cause leaks, bowing, and plant failure. Small leaks and cracks can be fixed with hydraulic cement. You can use masonry-based waterproofing products to give deteriorated walls a fresh look.