Monday, February 28, 2011

Grout Chipping Out?

Is the grout cracking and chipping out on your bathroom or kitchen floor. There are two basic causes for this. One is easy and inexpensive to repair and the other is not.

The one reason, and most common, is that the installer watered the grout down too much. He must have thought that it was easier to apply, which it was. But it made for weal grout and now it is cracking and chipping out and you have gaps in your tile floor. This is an easy fix. Go to the tile store and get a diamond shaped grout remover. Also, get a linoleum knife. The linoleum knife is used to chip out the deep grout and the grout remover will clean up the edges.

Once the grout is removed, mix and install new grout. Closely follow the instructions on the package. You just repaired your own grout for very few dollars.

If your grout is cracking and chipping out for the other reason, you will have to remove your tile and retile. This time make sure there is quarter inch thick cement fiber backer board laid under your tile. You might want to call a professional.

Happy tiling!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Repair Your Butcher Block

Do you have one of those large butcher blocks that is about two inches thick? To prevent warpage these are always made of laminated strips of wood that often delaminate over time and with use. Dry climates are especially hard on these. If yours is broken, don't throw it away, repair it. It is quick and easy.

Tools and materials you will need are: 2 medium duty bar clamps, 2 slats of wood the same length or a little longer than your butcher block, wood glue, and a sanding block (or vibrating sander.

1) Match up the pieces of your butcher block.
2) Lay it on a large flat surface.
3) Apply wood glue to one side of the break and spread evenly.
4) Set the broken surfaces together and make sure that the top side is flush.
5) Place the slats of wood at opposite outer edge surfaces.
6) Set the bar clamps, evenly applying pressure until the gap between broken surfaces is gone
7) Wipe off the excess glue and allow to dry overnight
8) Remove the clamps and sand top and bottom surfaces.
9) The entire process should take no more than one hour of work time.
10) Now, keep it oiled so it doesn't dry out and crack.

Oh, and one more thing..... go buy yourself a cup of coffee with the money you saved.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Painting Tips

Painting can either be easy or hard! It's really up to you. It can take you a long time to paint a room or a small amount of time. That, also, is up to you.

1) Cutting the inside corners. Cutting the corner up against another color or at the ceiling can be challenging, especially if your walls are textured. It can be really difficult to get that nice clean and straight transitional cut..... or, it can be easy. Here's what you do: Use painter's blue tape and run it with one edge exactly on the corner. Next, take white painter caulking (the cheapest kind) and run a very fine bead exactly in the corner and smooth it out with you finger. Now cut in your paint along that edge painting over the edge of the tape as well. Before paint dries, pull the tape. Wallah! you have a sharp cut in edge.

2) Don't use cheap paint. But also don't use expensive paint. Use a good premium paint like Valspar, or Behr. But if you are using Behr, don't fall for that expensive stuff with the primer already in it.... you are wasting your money. Their regular paint actually paints up better.

3) Don't try to stretch the paint by using a dry roller. A roller with plenty of paint on it and applied liberally ensures better coverage, a more even paint job, and in the end may take less time and paint. If you use too little paint on your roller I can guarantee a lot of breakthrough.

4) Use a quality roller such as those expensive white ones at Home Depot. They leave less lint on your wall.

5) Use a quality brush and the right brush for the job. The 1.5" and 2" angle brushes work well. I have found nothing that compares to Purdy.

6) Clean up: Purdy brushes are worth saving. Spray a little orange oil on them and let them sit for a few minutes. Now they will easily clean under luke warm water. The roller covers? Throw them. They are actually pretty cheap and a new roller cover will do a better job on your next painting project.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Recently I made our ice cold garage a little warmer. Actually it stays above freezing now. What did I do? I insulated.

First, I insulated the metal garage door by stuffing the panels with glass insulation then covering that with a moisture resistant plywood about three-sixteenths of an inch thick. It was actually underlayment for vinyl floors. You can buy it at Home Depot. This was installed with sheet metal screws. Then I adjusted the door opener for more weight.

Then I insulated the garage attic with R-19 unfaced glass insulation which I bought at Home Depot for 22 cents per square foot. I sealed off the ends of the cells between ceiling joists by placing insulation between the joists. After that I laid the insulation across the joists butting it firmly batten to batten. The result was a much warmer garage.

The total cost for materials was $190. Now my garage will serve as a warm shop in the winter and will be much cooler in the summer. I'd say this is a good investment.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Having Toilet Problems?

Are you having toilet problems? Well, let me reword that..... "is your toilet having problems?" Maybe you are getting tired of using that plunger. I hate clogged toilets. How about you?

Ever since government regulations went into effect for water conservation, many of the newer models have had issues flushing. Frustrating! But now there is hope. Many of the newer toilet designs have greatly improved the flush. And, it won't cost you an arm and a leg to replace your old toilet. That is, if you do it yourself. And many of you can do it.

Remove the old toilet. Make sure you turn the water supply valve to off. Then flush to remove water in the tank and in the bowl. Then disconnect the water supply line. Then unbolt the toilet from the floor. Now lift it off and discard. Remove the old wax at the flange where the toilet sits.

Now install a new wax ring before you forget. I like the type with the rubber flange and extra wax. Before you set the toilet bowl on the wax ring, bolt the tank into place and make sure it is firm but not overly tight. Make sure the flange bolts are securely lined up with the slots at the base of the toilet. Now set the bowl on the wax ring so that the bolts come up through the slots. Press the bowl down on the wax ring until the base touches the floor. Now put the base to the bolt cover on, then the washers, then the nut.

Now you are ready to hook up the water supply line. Allow a little water into the tank and check for leaks. If there are no leaks, turn the water on and let the tank fill. Most manufacturers have pre-set the water lever for the tank. Flush. If everything works okay install the tank top.

Now, to finish off the project you may have to trim the tops of the anchor bolts. Score the anchor bolts with a hack saw or side cutters about 1/4 inch above the nuts. Then with a pliers, snap the bolt tops off. Now install the bolt covers.

Don't forget to install the seat! Caulk around the base if you wish.

Wallah! Your project cost you about $150. But you saved about $200. $200 can buy a lot of starbucks!