Friday, May 11, 2012

Shortening a Door

Have you ever shortened a veneered door only to discover that when you cut it at the bottom the veneer splintered and you ruined the door?  There is an easy way to avoid that.

Once you have decided how much to shorten the door, draw a straight line where the door needs to be cut.  Then clam a straight edge along that line and using a utility knife cut through the veneer along the line. Then measure your circular saw from the edge of the guide to the blade. on my saw it is 1.5 inches. Then move your straight edge that distance and clamp it to the door once again. Cut along the straight edge and you will have a clean cut. But make sure that you cut is just on the outside of the line where you cut through the veneer.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Replacing a Fence Post

Are the posts breaking on your old cedar fence? Yes, sir! They rot off right at ground level. Now you have the job of digging around it, pulling out the old concrete, and setting a new post. That can be hard work getting the old concrete caisson out. Perhaps there is an easier and neater way.

In most cases, old rotted cedar posts break off right at ground level and are punky or mushy below that level. If this is the case for you, just simply scoop the old debris out of the caisson. Once it is scooped out to a depth of 16" or more, tamp down the rest of the debris at the bottom of the hole. Since your new post may be a little wider than the hole in the caisson you may need to shave two adjacent sides of the new post. Save the pieces shaved off as these will be used to tighten the post.

Now take the shaved end of your new post and insert it into the old caisson and tap it down so it goes to the bottom of the hole. Using a level plumb the post. Once the post is plumb you can re-attach it to your fence rails. Take the wedges you shaved off from the post and tap them down along side of the post making it tight in the hole.


Now go buy yourself a Starbucks.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Painting Tips II

Use a Purdy brush (can be bought at Home Depot) and good paint (also can be bought at Home Depot).

When I say good paint, I mean Behr standard paint, not that stuff with primer already in it. I've tried that stuff and it's too thick, too sticky, does not flow well, and I still have to use two coats, and it's way too expensive. Use their standard paint. That's good stuff. Then pat yourself on the back for saving money.

Also, remember, if your interior walls have already been painted, they don't need primer except for bare spots and exceptionally soiled or stained spots.

Buy a Starbucks with the money you save.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


A few years ago we remodeled our house. Black granite went in the kitchen with the under-mount sink. That was one of the best things we have ever done for our home. In the bathroom we installed Korian with an under-mount sink. Great idea but we don't like the Korian so much.

Today was maintenance day.

The granite in the kitchen had to receive two treatments of sealer. Once that was dry a coat of car wax. They now shine like glass. Easy. Takes a little time, but easy.

The Korian was not so easy. There were dull spots where the previous finish has peeled up and the countertop looked scarred. We were scared it was scarred. (Just a little play on words). I found the remedy for this to be a couple coats of quick drying glossy floor wax. Once that was dry, I then applied a car wax. Shines like new. Actually it shines better than new. (Breaking my arm patting myself on the back now).

These countertops should be done every six months or so. Unfortunately they don't get done that often. But if they are kept up they wipe off easier and bacteria is not able to penetrate. Plus they will look great.

Nowadays they sell the granite pre-sealed. That sealer should last up to ten years. So, if you are installing granite, ask for that.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Draw To

Is your deck falling apart? I mean, literally falling apart. Many older decks experience separation of the joists from the ledger or from the main beam. Simpson joist hangers do not always do the job over the long haul. The result is the risk of your deck collapsing or at least sagging. This can be repaired by performing a "draw to."

If working from the top of the deck you may need to remove floor boards at either the rim, the ledger, or both, if separation is taking place in those areas. Next, with pole jacks you will need to jack the joists to the correct elevation and keep support under them while performing the draw to. With the deck supported where the separation is occurring. remove one joist hanger and install a heave metal angle on each side of the joist securing it tightly to the joist but allowing one-eight inch more than the separation from the ledger or the beam. Next, with strong hex heat screws tighten the angles part of the way to the ledger, the joist should move toward the ledger. Repeat this process with each joist. Once all of the joists are fixed with metal angles, go back and forth tightening the bolts until it draws all your joists flush to the ledger. Wallah! Your deck is repaired.

This method has never failed for me, even at times when I thought it might fail. I have saved my customers several thousands of dollars while making enough dollars for a good number of Starbucks coffees.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

You Can Repair Your Own Screens

How long have you put up with torn screens at your house. Any amount of time is way too long as they are cheap and easy to repair. Take your screen to a window shop for repairs and it could be $60. Do it yourself for about $20. All the materials and tools are available at The Home Depot and most other hardware stores.

How do you do it? Buy the cheap tool for rolling the spline at Home Depot ($2.50) and on the back of the carton are the instructions clearer than I can give them here. I actually did 3 windows for $20.00. I figure that saved me over $100. That's a lot of money I can spend at Starbucks.

Come on, you can do it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Weep Holes

Weep holes are those two little slots at the bottoms of your vinyl windows. When the rain beats against your window pain and you think of summer days again, these little weep holes play an important role. They allow the water that runs down your window pain to drain to the outside of your house rather than build up in the window and seep water onto your window sill.

It is important that you keep these little weep holes free from debris, and certainly don't block them with caulking and paint. It could make the difference of you sill rotting out, your drywall being damaged, your insulation saturated, your carpet getting wet, or your hardwood floor being ruined.

There are times after a driving rain against the window that the weep holes may not be able to handle all of the moisture and your sill and floor may be wet. If this happens you may want to test your window using a garden hose. Sometimes a window just has to be replaced. Don't worry, windows aren't that expensive. But do yourself a favor and hire a professional who will replace your window and exterior trims, caulk them, and paint them. It's worth the extra cash you will put out.