Constructing a Built-In Shelving Unit
Want a more finished look for your new shelves? Then
consider taking the time to plan and construct a built-in
shelf system. Tucked between two windows or between a wall
and a window or door, it will take on the look of custom
furniture, because you can plan it to fit exactly into
your available space.
Freeing a Sticking Door
Doors stick when the hinges sag, when the door frame
shifts, or when humidity causes the door and door frame to
swell. If the door seems to be sagging within the frame,
make sure the hinge screws are tight. Screws that are
loose may need to have their screw holes repaired.
Framing a Prehung Interior Door
If you're building a new partition wall that includes an
interior door, you'll need to frame the door opening
properly. A properly constructed door opening reinforces
the wall above and on either side of the door. You can
save yourself some potential headaches by purchasing the
prehung door unit you plan to install before beginning the
framing. That way, you can be sure the opening you build
is about 3/4 inch wider than the prehung door unit. This
allows enough room to make the necessary adjustments. In
moist basements, it's a good idea to use pressure-treated
wood for the sole plate.
Leaky Sink Strainers
strainer assembly connects the sink to the drain line.
There's a bead of putty that goes under the lip of the
strainer, and it's a very common place for leaks to
occur. Your goal is to take the assembly apart, put in
fresh putty, and tighten everything back up. Remember:
there are quite a few nuts, washers, and gaskets to
this assembly. Keep them in their
correct order when you reassemble everything. Old washers
and gaskets should be replaced – take the old ones with
you when you shop for replacements.
Finishing Inside Corners
Inside corners are a natural place for hairline cracks to
appear. This can be prevented by first applying a thin
layer of wallboard compound, followed immediately by
strips of paper or fiberglass wallboard tape pressed into
the damp compound. You will want to use fiberglass tape if
you use a quick-setting compound and paper wallboard tape
if you use a regular premixed wallboard compound.
Finishing Outside Corners
Outside corners often take quite a beating, so it is a
good idea to reinforce them with a metal corner bead. This
is nailed to the outside corner, then joint compound is
applied. Keep in mind that you should allow a day for
drying for each coat of joint compound on corner joints.
Pick a time to tackle this project when you won't mind
having a wall "under construction" for a few days.
Grouting is the process of filling the spaces between the
tiles. The filler – grout – comes in powder form in
premixed colors. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to
mix it. For a strong and colorfast grout, get the right
consistency using the least amount of water possible. Mix
thoroughly to minimize color variation. Only make as much
as you can use before it begins to set. Keep any leftover
dry grout for future repairs.
Getting Ready to Paint
As with all painting projects, the key to success is
preparation. Your first step is to clean everything
thoroughly with a solution of trisodium phosphate (TSP) or
a good phosphate-free substitute. This removes dirt and
grime that would keep new paint from adhering.
Like any wallpapering project, you're most likely to be
successful if the surfaces are clean and smooth. If you're
installing a wallpaper border over an existing paper,
you'll get the best results using a vinyl-to-vinyl
Installing Cabinet Drawer Fronts
Drawer fronts come in two types – solid and applied. Solid
drawer fronts are an integral part of the drawer. Applied
fronts are screwed to the front of a pre-made drawer box.
To replace solid fronts, you'll saw off overlapping edges
and screw the new front to the face of the old. For
applied fronts, unscrew the old fronts to remove them,
then attach the new ones.
Installing Cabinet Doors
Installing new cabinet doors isn't difficult, but plan
plenty of time so that the doors hang straight, are evenly
spaced, and operate smoothly. Attach the hardware to the
door first, then hang the door on the cabinet face frame.
You can work on the doors in your
kitchen, but protect them from scratches by using a soft
cloth or clamping them in an upright position. When
drilling pilot holes for the hinge screws, take care not
to drill all the way through the door!
Installing a Security Lock
Deadbolt locks provide extra security for entry doors.
There are two types -- single-cylinder and
double-cylinder. Single-cylinder types feature a finger
latch that can be opened from the inside. Double-cylinder
deadbolts must be opened with a key from either side of
Installing an Entry Door
Nothing spruces up the outside of your home quite like a
new entry door. An insulated steel entry door is a good
choice because it combines toughness with energy
efficiency. Entry doors come in a variety of styles and
colors and feature a baked-on enamel finish that is
especially durable. As with most doors, you can get a
steel entrance door that is pre-hung with hinges, jambs,
and brick molding included to simplify installation.
Installing Split-Jamb Interior Doors
Split-jamb, pre-hung interior doors feature jambs that are
literally split in half lengthwise. The trim casing is
already attached to each edge of the jamb. That means you
don't have to fumble around trying to make perfectly
matched mitered corners – it's already done for you.
Installing a Cable TV Jack
You've probably seen cable-TV installations where the bare
coaxial cable simply enters a room via a crude hole
drilled through the floor or a baseboard (maybe you've
seen them in your own house!). They're functional but not
too decorative. For a more finished and permanent
installation, do the job right and install a bona-fide
Installing Coaxial TV Cable
It sure would be nice to have cable TV in that spare
bedroom you've converted into an office. But before you
pay the cable guy for coming to your house and
extending your cable run, see how you can spend an hour
doing it yourself. With the money you'll save, it'll be
like getting a month or two of free cable!
Installing a Programmable Thermostat
Forget the stock market. Few hour-long home-improvement
projects will pay year-in, year-out cost-savings dividends
like replacing your old thermostat with a new programmable
- or "automatic setback" - model. Depending on the
severity of the winters where you live, you could realize
a savings of up to 35 percent on your yearly energy bills.
Who wouldn't want to do that?
Installing a Ceiling Fan
A ceiling fan will do more than just give your air
conditioner a break in the heat of summer - it'll also
take a load off your furnace in winter by recirculating
heated air that rises to the ceiling.
Installing a Dimmer Switch
A dimmer switch is one of life's little conveniences that,
once installed, you wonder how you ever got along without!
Any standard single-pole wall switch is a good candidate
for replacement with a dimmer switch – as long as there's
ample room in its electrical box and the light it's
controlling is of the incandescent persuasion.
Installing a Three-Way Switch
Three-way switches can be a little confusing because,
unlike a standard switch, they have three screw terminals
and do not have ON-OFF markings. Three-way switches are
always installed in pairs and are used to control a set of
lights from two separate locations.
Installing Specialty Switches
If you thought dimmers were about as fancy as switches
could get, think again. There's a whole world of specialty
switches out there just waiting to make your life more
convenient, and they're every bit as easy to install as an
Installing Cement Backerboard
You may be tempted to rush ahead and get to the fun part -
laying the tiles. But resist the urge. Unless you prepare
the surface under the tiles properly, you'll end up having
to retile a lot sooner than you want.
Installing Landscape Timber Edging
Landscape timbers are an excellent edging for a raised
garden bed. While a single course of 4-by or 6-by timbers
simply can be set into the ground, there isn't a lot more
involved in assembling two courses and securing them to
each other. Three courses of timbers stretches the term
"edging" and starts to qualify as a retaining wall, which
is subject to different procedures and code requirements.
Installing Plastic Edging
Because it's so flexible, plastic edging is the edging of
choice for curving beds and borders. It's the most
economical of the commercial edgings and the easiest to
work with, too. But if you're looking for sharp, crisp
corners, look elsewhere. Plastic edging can't handle it.
And be sure to anchor the edging securely with stakes to
keep it from popping out of the ground.
Installing Metal Edging
Metal edging is best suited to borders that are straight
and level. For beds that curve or slope, this edging isn't
very accommodating. Not only is the edging difficult to
curve gracefully, it is easily ruined by accidental
creases and dents. But for beds with crisp, straight
edges, metal edging is excellent. Be sure to get good
quality edging for best results.
Installing Wood Edging
Wood edging is a natural and practical choice for the
borders of most garden beds. You can create a border that
isn't obtrusive with 1-by or 2-by dimensional lumber. For
a bolder, more rustic look, go with landscape timbers.