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.

DIY Ideas And Tips – How to Get Started

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

If you are like many people today you are looking at ways to save money on your home improvement needs. Although this is a great way for you to go to fix up your home you do have the chance to run into a few problems along the way.

If you are looking into to taking on a home improvement yourself you need to make sure that you will be able to complete the project. There are a lot of home owners today that begin the home improvement project and end up not finishing it because they discover that they do not have the skills or the proper tools to finish the overall project.

The best way that you can avoid running into this pitfall is to make sure that you do some careful research on the project you are looking into before you even begin. Another great way is to chart out all the steps that will be involved in finishing the overall project. Doing the both of these together will help you decide if you will be able to finish the whole project as well as if you have the skills and tools available.
Another pitfall that many do it yourself home improvements is that the person does not take the time to completely think through the entire project from start to finish. In order to avoid this pitfall you need to make sure that you make a careful plan of each and every stage of the project. Make sure to include into that plan the type of tools as well as supplies. The more time you take to think and chart the project through the better off you will be in the end.
The third pitfall that many people tend to run into is that they do not take the time to consider any problems that they may run into. You need to take careful consideration to this aspect. Take for example if you are looking at replacing existing drywall you may want to set some extra money aside just in case you need to replace the wiring as well.
The final pitfall that many run into is that they do not consider the amount of disruption time to their family. If you are only able to work on a project on the weekends due to other commitments during the week then you need to be sure that your family is aware that it will take a while to finish the overall project.

A do it yourself home improvement project can be simple and a great way to save money if you take the time to avoid the pitfalls. The more careful consideration and the more you research the better your home improvement project will be in the end.

DIY: Home Improvements that you might leave to a professional

Filed Under: Home repair, Remodeling, Services    by: ITC

Some DIY work is fun and easy. However, through the years we see people trying to do things that might be better left to a professional. If you have a DIY project and know what you are doing, just go for it. But, in some cases, just take care because it can be really daunting to start working on it by yourself. Check these examples of DIY home improvement project that are too difficult for most laymen.

Brick Paths

You might think that using some bricks to form a road is a landscaping idea that will bring harmony to your lawn. While this might be the case for a professionally made brick structure, it is not for everyone. It is difficult for an amateur to create a perfectly flat surface on which to lay the bricks, and if you are not careful, you might wind up with an uneven row of bricks that go up and down.

Instead of buying lots of bricks to create a path, why not lay uneven stones, which do not have to be perfectly flat, and fill the joints with cement?

Removing Wallpaper

Unless you have removed wallpaper before and know how to do it professionally, there is a good chance that you will destroy the drywall. Wallpaper removal is a tedious and difficult process. It can take several weeks for a single room and there’s no turning back.

However, painting over the wallpaper is not that terrible an idea. The wallpaper will give texture to the result and it may well be aesthetically appealing.


A drywall patching can be difficult. It is often better to leave it for a professional instead of doing it as a DIY home improvement project. It does not cost much if you provide the materials and you’ll love it when your walls are completely smooth.

Deck Building

Perhaps you think your backyard deserves a deck. If this is the case, it might be necessary to hire a professional. Regarding DIY and home improvements, this is much harder than it seems. Many decks are attached to the roof to create more stability, but an amateur can indeed destroy the house structure.

For all other projects, no matter how simple they are, carefully plan what you’re going to do and have clear instructions at hand so you can proceed step-by-step.

Constructing Archways

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Remodeling    by: ITC

One of the problems with taking out a wall between two rooms to make a through-room is that the beam and its supporting piers remain as clear evidence of what has been done. The same applies if you remove a door and frame from their opening to make an open plan access point between two rooms. These functional pieces of the structure can be disguised and made to look more decorative by forming them into curved archways.

There are many ways in which you can construct archways from scratch, using a basic framework of sawn wood clad with hardboard, plywood, drywall or imitation bricks, but probably the easiest is to use prefabricated galvanized steel mesh arch formers. These are fixed in place at the top of the opening and plastered to match the adjoining walls.

Mesh arch formers usually come in four pieces, each piece being half of the face of one side of the arch and half of the associated area of soffit. In this way they can be trimmed down to fit narrow walls, or widened by the addition of extra soffit strips. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes for spans of up to 10ft. Some one-piece versions are also available.

The faces of the prefabricated mesh panels are usually extended at the edges to form mounting flanges which sit flat against the face of the wall. The formers are

secured by driving galvanized masonry nails through the flanges into the wall or by pushing the flanges into dabs of plaster.

If you intend to disguise a newly fitted beam with arch formers, they should be installed before you plaster either the beam or the piers. If you want to improve the look of an existing opening, you will have to cut – away a margin of plaster so that the mounting flanges of the formers will sit back flush against the wall.

Instead of using Bonding plaster for the floating coat, the mesh arch formers should be given a backing coat of Metal Lathing plaster. This hardens to leave a rough finish ready for the application of thin layers of Finish plaster. Rule the finish layer level with any surrounding original plaster.

Plastering Wallboard

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Remodeling    by: ITC

You need only apply two very thin finishing coats directly over the drywall.

The plaster needed for the job is sold ready mixed or in a powder form requiring only the addition of water. It is mixed in the same way as other plasters and has a creamy texture.

Because you are only applying a finishing coat to the drywall board there is no need for thickness guides, except at any external corners.

It is a good idea to practice scooping the plaster from the hawk on to the trowel first, using a spare piece of drywall to try your hand at spreading the plaster and making it stick to the board_ The technique is to hold the hawk in your left hand (or right if you are left handed) so the top is level and set the trowel blade on edge, so it is at right angles to the top of the hawk. Use the trowel to push some plaster towards the edge of the hawk, scooping it off at the same time as tilting the hawk towards you. The whole is done in one smooth movement.

The first job is to seal the joints between the individual panels of gypsum board, reinforcing them with perforated paper tape or nylon tape to prevent the plaster cracking. The standard paper tape is available in 2in wide rolls of 50-500 feet.

Cut strips of tape to run the length of each joint, including any horizontal ones, before you begin plastering. They must be exactly the right length and should not overlap or be folded, otherwise the plaster will not grip the wall properly.

To seal the joint, spread a thin layer of plaster, about 4in wide, along it from bottom to-top. Hold the trowel so that the blade is at an angle of about 30° to the wall, reducing it as you move up the joint and the plaster on the trowel thins.

While the plaster is still wet, press the tape into it. The easiest way to do this is by draping one end over the blade of the trowel and pressing this into the plaster at the ceiling. Then gently slide the trowel down the plaster, positioning the tape with your other hand. Once the tape is in place, run the trowel carefully up the plaster to make sure it is bedded properly. Treat all the other joints between the panels in the same way.

When the taped joints have dried — which should take about 11/2 hours — fill in the areas between them with more plaster. Work upwards from the floor, spreading the plaster in thin vertical strips and being careful not to build up ridges at the joint positions. Stop just short of the ceiling and work downwards from there to get a clean, sharp angle.

Unless you are working on a very small area, by the time you have finished putting on the first coat, the area you started on will be ready for the second coat. This should be about 1/sin thick and applied with long, sweeping strokes to eliminate ridges. Start at the bottom corner of the wall and work upwards and along to make one continuous coating.

Allow the plaster to set slightly and then go back over it with a clean trowel to smooth off the surface. Finally, when it has hardened fully, “polish” the surface by splashing clean water on to it with a paintbrush (about 4in wide) then sweep the trowel back and forth lightly. This will give a smooth, matt finish ready for decoration.

Fitting Services in a Partition Wall

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

Careful planning is essential when arranging a partition — this extends to working out cable and pipe runs and installing them as you build.

The time to put either cables or pipes into a stud partition is when the framework is finished.

Whenever installing cables or pipes in any kind of wall, remember that they must always run vertically or horizontally directly to or from each fitting.

To run cable through the framework of a stud partition, bore a 3/4in hole through either the head plate or sole plate into the ceiling or floor void as appropriate and, depending on the direction from which the cable is to come, drill similar holes through the centers of any bracing that cross the cable route.

Feed in the cable. leaving plenty of excess. Cut a hole in the drywall for the fitting and feed the end of the cable through this as you fit the drywall in place.

Working in the same way. make sure the holes you drill through the framework are larger than the diameter of the pipe. This will make maneuvering them into place easier and allow them to expand and contract as the temperature fluctuates. Keep the number of joints inside the partition to the bare minimum and make sure you test any plumbing system before you finish the cladding; if there is a leaking joint you will be able to rectify it. If the pipes are to drop down from the ceiling you could remove a floorboard in the room above and feed them down through the partition from there.

Alternatively, pipes can be clipped into notches cut in the edges of the bracing and studs. Using a back saw and bevel- edge chisel, cut notches wide enough to accept a pipe clip of the right size and deep enough so that the pipe does not touch the drywall cladding.

Electrical cables can be run across the surface of the blocks in pipes and held in place with clips.

For pipes, use a hammer and bricklayer’s chisel to cut out a channel across the face of the blocks, making it wide enough to accept the appropriate size of pipe clip and deep enough so that the pipe will be flush with the surface.

Should you want to bury a hot water pipe, it is best to run it through another pipe of the next size up, which will act as a sleeve and allow for expansion.

Building a Stud Partition

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

The easiest form of partition to build is the wood frame variety — it is ideal for dividing one bedroom into two, making an extra powder room or bathroom, or splitting a dining area from a kitchen or living room. The wood frame is simply nailed together and faced with drywall on each side; it is easily adapted for doorways, pass through or windows. Being essentially hollow, it can also be used to conceal electrical wiring and water pipes.

The framework comprises a number of uprights called “studs” fitted between lengths of wood spanning the width of the ceiling and floor. These are called the “head plate” and “sole plate” respectively. Short horizontal lengths of wood are fixed between the uprights to brace them and support the cladding. In most cases 2 x 3in rough sawn softwood is ideal for the studs and bracing, with 11/2 x 3in for the head and sole plates. If the partition is to carry a lot of weight such as shelves or cupboards, a larger size should be used, say 2 x 4in.

Planning the partition

Deciding where to put the partition is the first thing to do so that you end up with two usable rooms. If possible arrange things so that each new room gets the benefit of a window, but do not be tempted to set the partition so that it divides a window in two. Not only does this look dreadful, but in some cases it is also illegal. If you cannot provide a window for each room, glaze the upper portion of the partition so that you can “borrow” some natural light from the room with the window. Similarly, if you cannot provide an opening window for each new room, you will be required to install a form of mechanical ventilation.

Important considerations are the layouts of floor and ceiling joists since the head and sole plates will be attached to these. Ideally, the partition should run at right angles to the joists so that its weight is spread across them. If this is not possible, it must be directly above a joist. With a solid floor, there is no problem.

If the head plate does not span the ceiling joists and does not come below a single joist because the ceiling joists do not line up with the floor joists, you should nail lengths of 2in sq blocking between the ceiling joists and attach the head plate to these.

Before you begin work, check under the floor and above the ceiling for any cables or pipes that might be damaged by nails or screws. It is also a good idea to check with your local Building Code before carrying out any structural work.

Erecting the framework by cutting the head and sole plates to length; whenever possible buy wood long enough so that you can span the room with one piece. Nail the sole plate to the joists through the floorboards using 4in long common nails or fix it to a concrete floor with 4in long No.10 woodscrews and wall plugs or with masonry anchors or masonry nails. Screw the head plate to the ceiling joists.

Cut the studs for each end of the partition, leaving them a fraction over-length so that they will be a tight fit between the head and sole plates, and screw them to the wall. Use 4in long No.10 screw and wall plugs.

Then mark off the positions of the other studs along the sole plate, making sure their centers are 16in or no more than 24in apart. They should be positioned so that the edges of the cladding material will meet along their center lines (standard sheets of drywall are 4ft wide). If the partition is to have a door in it, the stud positions on each side of the opening must be adjusted to allow for the door width and the thickness of the lining.

Measure and cut each stud individually as there is no guarantee that head and sole plates will be parallel.

Set each stud in place, making sure it is vertical with a spirit level, and fix it by driving 3 or 4in common nails at an angle through the side of the stud into the head and sole plate (known as toe-nails).

Home Repair Tips – Improving The Appearance of Your Home

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

There are many ways to improve the appearance and value of a home. With the widespread use of drywall two of the most common improvements are:

• Wall trim

• Paneling

Wall trim includes molding and baseboards. Molding comes in various styles and covers the places where wall and floor and where wall and ceiling meet. It is used to cover the rough edges at the ceiling and floor when walls are paneled_ Molding may also cover joints or nails where paneling meets.

Baseboards are high moldings that run along the wall at floor level are often damaged by vacuum cleaners, shoes, toys, and similar objects. Baseboards are usually nailed down lightly so they can be easily removed or replaced.

Paneling comes in 4′ x 8′ sheets and is made of wood, plastic, rock, cork, or some other material. Several years ago paneling was nailed in place. Today much of the new paneling is glued.

Sometimes a panel will come loose. If the loose part is over a stud or joist, it can be nailed down with a colored finishing nail. When the loose section is not over a stud or joist, panel cement can be forced behind the loose panel. Pound the area with a mallet and padded block while the glue is drying to push it tightly against the wall.

The best way to repair a damaged panel is to replace the entire panel. This may be difficult to do if the panel has been glued and nailed. First carefully remove the molding and baseboard. Then use a thin chisel to pry a corner of the panel loose in order to break the panel free from the glue.

Use the old piece as a pattern for cutting the new piece. Remove old glue from the studs or drywall. Apply new panel cement and press the new panel into place. Pound the panel with a mallet and padded block. Drive several small nails into the panel to hold it down while the glue dries. Afterwards, set the nails with a nail set and cover the holes with a putty stick. Large pieces of old paneling may be kept for patchwork.

Baseboards are a type of molding that run along the bottom of a wall next to the floor. They protect the walls and are not difficult to remove or replace.

Adhesives for gluing panels come in tubes and are applied with a calking gun. Move a cloth-covered block over the face of the panel while striking the block with a mallet. This spreads the glue.

Wood trim is used around the ceiling and around the floor especially where wall paneling has been installed.

Modern buildings need continual upkeep and repair. Roofs must withstand harsh weather and keep the inside of the house dry. Doors and windows are subject to frequent use, and they wear out or break. If not kept in good repair, these things can become a nuisance or a more serious problem.