Remodeling Your Basement

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Plumbing, Remodeling    by: ITC

The basement always seems to be the number one home improvement that everyone seems to want to do but they just do not seem to know where to start. What might be a shock to many of these people is that it can be actually one of the easiest as well as one of the most affordable ways to add value to their home.

If you are a beginner to the home improvement world you may be better off to hire a professional for certain aspects of your basement home improvement. But one thing that you will soon discover is that with a little planning and preparation remodeling your basement can actually become a very simple project overall.

The first thing that you will need to consider in your basement home improvement project would be the plumbing and patching. If you are looking at a place to entertain your family and friends you will need to definitely need to make sure that you have adequate plumbing. You need to make sure that you have all the pipes that you are going to need installed before you even begin your remodeling project. After you have finished your entire plumbing project you will then want to make sure that you patch up all of the cracks in your floor and walls patched.

The next thing that you will want to do in your basement home improvement project would be to work on the electrical portion of the project. It is important that you make sure that you install enough outlets to fit all of your needs.

After you have made sure that you have all of your plumbing, walls patched and electrical finished you are then ready to begin on the drywall. This is one of the easiest methods that you can use to form a tight seal between the cement and your new wall. You need to be sure that you use an industry grade cement sealer to be sure that the drywall adheres to the wall correctly. While you are working on the drywall you will also want to take the time to drop your ceilings as well. When you are looking at the variety of different ceiling tiles that are available the acoustical tiles have been the most popular choice. They are both appealing to the eye and also gives the household easy access to certain utilities.

The final thing you need to consider on your basement home improvement project would be the flooring. Due to the fact that the floors of basements are most generally cold it is a very good idea to add a subfloor. This will provide you with more warmth as well as a dryer environment for your basement space.

As you can see undergoing a basement remodel as your home improvement is not a difficult task. It can be a very rewarding project when you reach the finish project and you know you did it all by yourself.

Replacing Skirting & Architraves

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

Standard features of all houses, however plain. Although each performs a specific job, they also provide ornamentation and a chance to vary decoration.

As the years pass, they’re bound to come in for a few knocks – and will most likely be covered in several layers of paint, which not only get chipped but also eventually clog up their profiles. Skirting boards, in particular, are also prone to rot if walls or floors are damp. However, since wood trim is in no way part of the house’s structure, repairs and even replacement should create no major problems.

Slight dents and cracks can often be repaired with cellulose filler – or perhaps glass fibre repair paste for larger or more accident-prone areas. In most cases you’ll have difficulty blending in the filler by hand with an ordinary filling knife. Instead, you can use a template cut to the profile of the molding from plastic sheet (a large plastic ice-cream container is ideal), or hardboard or cardboard; run it along to smooth the surface after applying the filler.

If the damage is more serious, you may be able to saw and/or chisel out the bad part to leave clean edges, and glue and pin in a small piece or pieces of prepared molding, or else plain timber shaped to fit.

If patching and filling won’t work, you need a completely new piece. This, however, can be a snag if your existing molding is one of the scores of obsolete types, because you won’t be able to match it off the shelf.

You may occasionally be able to buy something suitable – on site where an old house is being demolished or renovated, or perhaps from a demolition contractor who stocks secondhand timber. Otherwise, many joinery firms will cut a molding specially if you take in a sample of the pattern; but that’s likely to prove very expensive.

Your next option is to substitute a readily available pattern of molding throughout the room. But that’s a pity – not to say a lot of trouble – if most of it is sound. A third possibility, probably the most attractive if you only need a small piece, is to make it yourself. You can mold the shape with a power router, or perhaps a plough plane, combination plane or scratch stock.

A scratch stock consists of a piece of steel (for example part of a hacksaw blade) ground and/or filed to the profile you want. It is then clamped with screws between two pieces of hardwood in an improvised stock, and scraped along the timber till the desired shape emerges.

Externally curved moldings, such as plain chamfered skirting and architrave, can of course usually be formed with an ordinary bench plane and glasspaper. Lastly, it’s sometimes possible to make the molding up in sections from smaller ones, glued together and filled where necessary.

Torn wall coverings

Filed Under: Crafts, Do it yourself, Home repair, Redecorating    by: ITC

Torn wallpaper in the home can usually be patched fairly simply. With other wall coverings like hessian, vinyl or grass cloths you should match the pattern with care. Placing a spare piece over the tear and checking the design.

Cut a piece slightly largely than the damaged area, and then place it over the hole, again making sure that the pattern matches. Cut through both layers with a sharp knife to a square or oblong shape (unless there is a definite motif in the pattern, in which case you should follow the shape of this). Peel away the old wall covering, and using a suitable adhesive stick the new piece carefully in place. Roll the patch lightly with a steam roller and leave it to dry.

Many vinyl wall coverings have a paper backing. You should not leave the backing of the old wall covering in place; cut right through it and strip it back to the wall surface before fixing the new piece.

If your walls are coming apart at the seams this sometimes happens because of condensation. Or it may be that the wall coverings have been overlapped instead of butt-joined you can easily stick them back down again. It the wall covering is vinyl you will have to use a latex adhesive to secure it.

Blisters sometimes occur if wallpaper is incorrectly pasted or if heavy paper is hung too soon, before it has absorbed enough paste; they can also be caused by a poor wall surface of condensation. One method of dealing with this is to half-fill a syringe with a suitable paste and injects the paste into the centre of the blister.

Allow the paste to penetrate the back of the paper (it should take about five minutes) and then flatten the blister firmly with your fingers. Wipe away any surplus paste and then go over the area lightly with a roller until the paper lies completely flat. If you cannot get hold of a syringe, make a cross-shaped cut and peel back the tongues before using an artist’s brush to push paste underneath them.

Blisters, or cracks and chips in paintwork can be repaired. Knots in wood can sometimes cause very bad discoloration on woodwork, appearing as a brown stain under the paint film. You can sand or scrape away the paint, seal the knot with proprietary knotting and allow it to dry before you prime, sand, fill as necessary and repaint.

You can remove and replace a damaged wall tile. If you don’t have a spare tile and cannot obtain one, you could either replace a panel of tiles with new ones so as to create a definite design, or replace just a few tiles with random patterned ones. It’s also possible to tile on top of cracked or crazed tiles, using new slim universal.

Repairing an Old Ceiling

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Remodeling    by: ITC

There are two types of ceiling construction, depending on their age. Early ceilings were made by nailing thin strips of wood (laths) to the joists so that there were narrow gaps between them. Plaster, often reinforced with animal hair, was then spread over the laths and forced through the gaps in between. The ridges so formed are called “nibs” and these hold the ceiling together.

The more modern method of constructing a ceiling is to nail sheets of gypsum board to the joists and cover them with a thin skim coat of plaster.

Cracks are the most common form of damage found in a ceiling and if they are only fine they can be filled with a filler compound. However, if they are wide and cover a large area of the ceiling the structure will be dangerously weak and should be replaced.

If a plasterboard ceiling sags it is probably because the fixing nails have loosened. Refix the affected area by renailing with 2in drywall nails spaced 6in apart.

If plaster has fallen away from the laths but they appear to be in good condition, replaster them after cutting back the original plaster to make a regular shape and reach sound plaster. Undercut the edges of the plaster and make sure there is no old plaster left between the laths. Then treat the area with an adhesive.

When plastering always work across the laths, spreading on a thin coat of bonding plaster first and keying it with a scratch comb made by knocking a row of nails into the edge of a short batten. Apply another coat of bonding plaster and key this with a devilling float, pressing it down to allow for two thin finishing coats. Polish these when hard with a wetted steel trowel.