Ways To Save Money On DIY Home Improvement

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Money tips, Redecorating, Remodeling, Shopping    by: ITC

There are a variety of different reasons as to why you may want to consider a home improvement project for your home. Maybe it is to add value to your home, or maybe still just to add some appeal to your homes overall look. No matter the reason you can do these home improvement ideas and save money while doing so.

Yes it is true that when you are looking at adding beauty to your home it can become costly but it doesn’t have to be. If you are like many in today’s economy and your home improvement funds are a little tight there are inexpensive do it yourself techniques that you can learn to implement. There are three general areas that you can look into saving yourself a lot of money when you are planning your next home improvement project.

The first and probably the most cost efficient savings tip would be to forgo the contractor. These are proven to be the most expensive part of any home remodel project and cost you tons of money so instead of hiring learn how to do the project on your own. The reason for their high price is because you will not only be paying for their services themselves but also for the materials that they purchase. Therefore instead of hiring a contractor for say a flooring job for example learn how to do it yourself or at least purchase the supplies that will be needed on your own. The materials for any small home improvement project are most generally fairly inexpensive if they are purchased through you. On the other hand however if you purchase these through your contractor they will inflate the cost of the supplies and in the end, in most cases, you will end up paying almost double for those supplies.

Another step that you can utilize to save money on your home improvement projects is to take full advantage of home improvement classes. These are great tools for you because they will teach you the basic techniques that you will need for almost any home improvement project that you are looking into. These will become a great advantage to you because with these basic skills in hand you will be able to forgo that costly contractor.

The final great money saving tip would be to pay special attention to the sales and clearance aisles of your local home improvement store. These will save you a lot of money versus paying full price. There are a lot of times in which if the store is really overstocked on that item that they will offer you additional discounts which is really great.

As you can see do it yourself home improvement does not have to become a costly affair. All you need is a few basic money saving tips and you will be well on your way to a great do it yourself home improvement project that will not cost you a fortune.

Home Repair Tips – Outdoor Furniture

Filed Under: DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Home repair, Outdoor    by: ITC

Outdoor furniture is usually made of metal or wood like redwood which resists rot. Common outdoor furniture repairs include:

• Refinishing wood or metal

• Repairing breaks

• Replacing canvas or webbing

Outdoor furniture needs a good protective finish. Use exterior paints or enamels. If the , metal has begun to rust, clean it thoroughly. Then prime the surface with an anti-rust primer. Use undercoating on wood surfaces.

Often a “sawbuck” chair or table will break where the legs cross. Join the pieces again with a splint glued on and reinforced with several screws. The new joint will probably be stronger than the original piece.

A director’s chair comes apart easily. While it’s apart sand and refinish it. Use the old canvas back and seat as a pattern for the new ones.

If the wood breaks on a patio chair or table, a good way to repair is to glue the piece together with a reinforcing splint over the break. Use screws to hold the splint in place.

Aluminum frame chairs can be recovered with webbing. Save the old grommets and screws. Be sure the chair is fully unfolded when rewebbing. Fold the end of the webbing over twice and puncture the end with an awl. Insert an old grommet to protect the webbing and attach it to the chair frame with a screw. Weave the webbing through to the opposite side and attach it in the same way.

Some chairs have frames wound with plastic tubing. This plastic is very durable. Cord and canvas chairs are easy to repair.

A director’s chair comes apart easily for repair. Refinish the wood parts. Cut new canvas patterned on the old pieces.

Plastic tubing or cord wrapped around an aluminum frame makes a durable, weatherproof chair.

On a webbed chair, fold over the end of each strap twice and insert a grommet before attaching the webbing to the frame with a screw. This will reinforce the hole and keep the webbing from pulling out the first time you sit down.

With cord and canvas chairs, all you have to remember is to knot the end of the cord.

Masonry Repairs

Filed Under: DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Home repair, Outdoor    by: ITC

Basic masonry repairs include:

  • Filling in dings in floors and driveways
  • Replacing a block or brick
  • Repointing mortar

To patch concrete first remove all loose material from the old concrete. Use a vacuum cleaner. Then scrub away any oil or grease with hot water and trisodium phosphate (TSP). Use a stiff brush. Protect your hands with rubber gloves.

After the concrete is clean, wet it. Fill in the patch. The best mix for patching concrete is one part Portland cement to three parts fine, clean sand. Add concrete glue to help feather out the edges of your patch and secure it to the old concrete. Leave a wet rag or gunny sack over the patch for a couple days.

Replace a broken or missing concrete block with the same mix. Chisel the old mortar away. Soak the new block in water for five minutes and wet the blocks around the hole. Trowel in mortar on all sides and set in the new block. You may have to take some mortar out little by little to make the block fit. Keep nudging the block with your trowel handle or a piece of wood. Don’t use a hammer.

Once the block is in place and aligned, tool the joint to match the rest of the wall. If the other joints are tuckpointed (grooved) make the new joint match. Wipe up any mortar spilled on the face of the block before it hardens.

Use a finishing tool to finish mortar joints after the mortar begins to harden.

When you replace a brick or block, trowel in mortar around the opening. Nudge the block in place with the handle of a trowel or a piece of wood.

To patch concrete, clean and wet the area. Fill in the area and feather the edges so the patch will stick.

Replacing a fired (red) brick is the same as a concrete block. But be very careful to match the color or your replacement will stand out..

Try not to spill mortar over the face of the brick. If you do, you can remove the stain with acid and a stiff brush. BE CAREFUL WHEN WORKING WITH ACID. Always add the acid to water. Adding water to acid can cause an explosion. Protect yourself with goggles and rubber gloves. Wear old clothing. Muriatic acid will remove clothes, eyes, and skin faster than it will remove the mortar stain.

Repointing is putting new mortar into joints when the old mortar is falling out. First clean out the crumbling mortar. You can make a tool for this by nailing through a block of wood until the point of the nail extends 1/2 inch. Slide this point along the joints and you won’t dig too deep. Then wet the bricks and flush out loose mortar with a good strong hose jet.

Mix no more mortar than you can use in one hour. If you are repointing a whole wall or chimney, use any color mortar. However, if you are patching only a section, take care to match the color of the old mortar. Don’t work with mortar when the temperature is below freezing.

You can make a tool to remove old mortar by driving a nail through a block of wood until it extends about 1/2 inch.

Home Repair Tips – Roofing Accessories

Filed Under: DIY Outdoor, Do it yourself, Hardware, Home repair, Remodeling, Tools    by: ITC

At first glance, a roof looks pretty plain. But on second look you will see many accessories that require care. Some of the most common are:

– Flashing

– Roof vents

– Gutters

– Chimney spark guards

Flashing is sheet metal bent to fill the gaps around chimneys, vent pipes, and valleys where two roof slopes come together. Remove rusted old flashing and install a new pieces.

Tuck the new flashing carefully under the edges of the roofing. Always seal it with asphalt emulsion or calking compound.

There are several kinds of vents. Small pipes, two or three inches, are usually sewer vents. Larger pipes, frequently made of asbestos, are for venting gas or oil water heaters, exhaust hoods over stoves, or bathroom fan exhausts. Vents that discharge hot air must rise four inches above the roof although local codes vary.

Inspect roof vents for rust or clogging. If the vent has a protective hood, keep that in good repair, too. Extend broken or rusted vent pipes by using a slightly larger pipe as a collar. Then add the extension pipe.

Gutters control water running Dff the roof. They should slope toward the downspout about 1/8 inch per running foot. Clean out gutters at least every six months. Screen guards and leaf strainers will help prevent clogging. Check the hangers and secure or replace them when necessary. Be sure to cover with roof cement any nails that are driven into the roof.

It is a good idea to have a chimney spark guard on every chimney. Spark guards are made of 1/8-inch mesh hardware cloth. They keep sparks from landing on the roof. Don’t use a smaller mesh or it will clog with soot.

Gutters direct water flowing from the roof. They must be kept clean and securely attached to the roof. Pay special attention to cleaning elbows and bends. A clogged downspout can be snaked out. Galvanized gutters are joined with solder; aluminum gutters are held together with mastic cement and aluminum pop rivets.

Broken or rusted vent pipes are hazardous. Leaves and debris can lodge against them and hot air from the vent could set this material on fire. It is important to keep vents long enough and hoods in good repair.

Two ways of building spark arresters from hardware cloth. Every chimney should have one.

When you are on the roof also check antennas. The wires and anchors should be secure and free from rust. Be sure the roof is solid when the anchors are set.

When checking anything attached to the roof or eaves, look for rust getting into the wood. Rust can cause a type of rot that weakens wood.

Safety Tips for Using Tools

Filed Under: Crafts, Do it yourself, Redecorating, Remodeling, Tools    by: ITC
Hammer time

Hammer time

By themselves, tools are not dangerous. Tools become dangerous only in the hands of a careless person. The best safety rules for handling tools are the simplest:

• Keep all tools in good condition

• Use the correct tool for the job

• Put away all tools when you are not using them

• Keep your working area neat and clean

• Know which end of a tool cuts, and always keep that end turned away from yourself and other people

• Use power tools that are grounded or double-insulated

• Wear eye protection when you use tools that make flying chips

• Keep power tool guards in place

People can stumble and fall on a sharp saw or chisel. They can accidentally knock a hammer off a bench on to someone’s foot. If everything is put away, all the time, accidents like these become rare.

Tools in good shape are easier and safer to work with. Dull chisels, loose hammer heads, and broken screwdrivers should be repaired or replaced.

Tools that are safely put away do not cause accidents and injury.

Everyone knows what a nail or a screw is—until a store clerk asks which kind you want. There are many to choose from. The most common fasteners are:

• Tacks, nails, and brads

• Screws

• Nuts and bolts

Tacks have large heads. Brads are small nails. Nails are sized by the “penny” (d): the bigger the penny number, the larger the nail. Some nails have extra-large heads to keep from pulling through soft material. Finish nails or casing nails have very small heads so they can be set below the surface. This is done with a nail set. The holes are then puttied over. There are even special nails to be driven into concrete.

Screws also come in many types and sizes. Their size is based on the thickness of the shank. Screw gages tell how thick the shank is. Most screws with flat heads can be driven so they are flush with the surface. This is called countersinking.

Countersinking and drilling for flathead screws. If you have to sink a large number of screws, buy a special bit that drills both size holes and countersinks all at once. A little wax rubbed on the screw thread will make it easy to drive the screw into the wood.

Nuts and bolts are also good fasteners. They come in different sizes and are used for different jobs. Nuts, bolts, and machine screws (those used for metal) have a number telling the diameter of the shank, followed by another number which tells how many threads per inch. For example a 1/4-20 bolt has a 1/4 inch shank and 20 threads per inch.


Table Saw Tips

Filed Under: Hardware, Tools    by: ITC

Table saws are an essential tool for any well-equipped workshop. There are some projects, such as mortise and tenon, where a table saw is the best tool for the job. All power tools need to be handled with caution and diligence but table saws have some special requirements.

General workshop safety tips:

1) Never wear long, loose fitting sleeves.

Long sleeves can get caught in spinning blades and lead to serious injury. They can also become snagged on boards and damage otherwise careful cutting.

2) Wear appropriate eye protection.

Bits of wood and dust can irritate and damage eyes. If you wear glasses, make sure your safety glasses can be worn over your corrective lenses. If you wear contacts, switch to your glasses when working in your workshop. Sawdust and splinters in the eye are never fun and only further complicate injuries if they become wedged under your contact lens.

3) Wear appropriate hearing protection.

Saws are loud. It is a nature of the beast. Wearing earplugs can prevent permanent hearing loss. There are headphones also available that are designed to block loud noises but can still allow conversations.

4) Avoid working alone.

Accidents will happen. If you have a helper in your workshop, you are not only sharing the joy of working with and teaching someone else but you have someone there in the event you get hurt.

Table saw specific tips:

1) The ideal height is approximately 36 inches unless you are extremely tall.

36 inches is an optimum height for maintaining control and visibility of the work space.

2) Watch out for kick-back.

Newer table saws have a mechanism that can help prevent kick-back. Do not place all your safety expectations on those mechanisms. Keep a firm hold on your boards and work slowly.

3) Watch for pull.

Sometimes towards the end of a cut, the saw will yank the board away from you. Keep a firm hold to ensure a perfect cut stays that way.

4) Do not disable the blade guard.

The blade guard is designed to reduce the risk of injuries. However, this will not prevent all of them. Some of the newer top of the line table saws come with sensors that can detect the difference between a piece of wood being cut and a piece of flesh being sundered. Some sensors are so delicate that they will be set off with food such as hotdogs, spam, meats, etc. Never, ever, disable these invaluable safety devices and use a push board when necessary.

Table saw selecting tips:

1) Size matters. The larger a table saw is, the more work space you will have. Some table saws will fold up when not in use and others are meant to be semi-permanently set up and possibly bolted to your workbench. Take a long look at your work shop and determine what size you can handle. Bigger table saws are better than smaller saws.

2) Expect to pay for quality. Although there is always variation amongst brands of tools, table saws are generally priced according to functions, size and power. The higher end ones are more accurate than the lower end ones. Once you have figured out what size you can handle, think about what your budget is and then explore the reviews and ratings on various brands.

Jig saws and circular saws are wonderful for what they are but they are not always the best tool for the project.

When you need a table saw, nothing else will do.

Essential Tools

Filed Under: Hardware, Tools    by: ITC

There are five stationary power tools that are essential in order to make your shop a useful and pleasurable place to work on your projects. Once these tools are part of your workshop, they will make your woodworking life a joy and will allow you to create quality pieces for your home or office.

The table saw is obviously the most versatile machine in any woodworking shop and should be the woodworker’s first machine purchase. A good table saw becomes the centerpiece of the workshop as the woodworker uses it to rip, square, miter, groove, shape and join pieces. A quality table saw will make completing nearly any woodworking project easier. This vital stationary tool should be positioned in the center of the room to allow the maximum area for handling and maneuvering large pieces of stock. There should be more than ten feet of clearance on either side of the table saw if possible so that large boards and sheets of stock can easily be fed over the table surface.

The next item that should be near the table saw is a sturdy router table. After the table saw, the router is one of the most practical stationary tools in the shop. A stand-alone cabinet is perhaps the most desirable arrangement for a router table. It provides storage space for extra routers, bits, bases and wrenches plus it is heavy enough to be stable. Such a unit can be custom built to suit your own height and it can be outfitted with casters or locking rollers to make better use of limited shop space.

Several very useful power tools that should be located near to one another in the shop are the radial-arm saw, a chop saw and a 14-inch band saw. If shop space is limited, the radial-arm can be used as a chop saw also. Although it takes a bit longer to set up a radial-arm saw for miter cuts, it is just as accurate and quick as the chop saw when properly used.

The band saw is another of the five basic stationary tools that are considered the foundation of the craftsperson’s workshop. The band saw is used to cut irregular shapes. The radius of a curve that can be cut on a particular saw is limited by the width of the band.

The last of the five essential tools is the power planer. The planer trims a parallel surface which is a very important step in milling stock for furniture or other pieces that will be on display in a home or office. A good planer quickly converts low-cost rough lumber into valuable finished stock. You can use it to turn out perfect picture frame molding, quarter-round, casing, tongue and groove, etc.

The table saw, router, band saw, planer and jointer comprise the basic tool complement that is required as you begin to build your shop. You will find them invaluable as you progress to larger and more sophisticated projects.

Power Tools

Filed Under: Hardware, Shopping, Tools    by: ITC

When you need a job done right, you consult the professionals. But where do the professionals go when they need the right tools for the job? If the rest of us could latch onto that secret, then any do-it-yourself renovations or redecorating would become a breeze.

The answer is surprisingly simple however, for there’s no job too big or too small for the internet. The what!?! That’s right, the internet, as many reputable power tool stockists and innovators have launched their business directly online. This means around the clock shopping and savings as these companies offer significant price reductions on power and hand tools for your home and garden.

Whatever Black & Decker tool or Trend tool you need to complete your home improvement handy work, you’re bound to find it online. Through the internet, amateur D.I.Y weekend punters and the big bosses of commercial construction sites are able to shop to their heart’s and tool shed’s are content.

Shop around until you find the price and advice that suits your anticipated project and never go wanting again! Stock up your tool shed with reputable power tools and power tool accessories, and rest assured that you are paying the lowest price for the highest quality. Forget about trying to transport bulky, heavy or unwieldy tools from the hardware store – order online securely and have your purchase delivered to your door. Ultimately it gives you an assurance of a reduced work time, and that means more time for you to plan your project, or just put your feet up and enjoy your extra leisure time!