4 Signs That it’s Time to Call for Help with Your DIY Project

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

1. Stress

Getting stressed out? Stress is a contributing factor to a lot of household injuries, and possible damages. For example, below is sign #2, –a direct contributing reason to get stressed out. Signs 3 and  4 are direct possible results of being too stressed out to do your project efficiently. So before you start freaking out, relax, and call a friend, or a professional, to lighten the load. Read more…

Screening a solid floor

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

Screening your floor gives vital protection to a new layer of damp proofing and is an essential preparation before replacing floor covering.

It can be done in two ways. If the unevenness is slight, or you want to cover the existing flooring without lifting it, the best method to use is a self-leveling flooring compound. Make sure your floor is clean, dry and dust-free. If it is at all dusty, you should treat it with a proprietary concrete sealer before applying the flooring compound.

Mix the compound with water until it has a creamy consistency, and then pours enough on the floor to cover an area just under 1 sq m (1sq yd). Using a steel float smooth it out so that nowhere is the layer thicker than 3mm (Vain).

Then move onto the next square. Remembering that the compound will level itself out, so removing float marks and producing an acceptable finish. Leave it for a week or longer before laying the flooring. A second application, to smooth out slight lumps and bumps, can be applied after two or three days, but no more than three coats should be used otherwise there will be a risk of cracking at a later date.

The second method of leveling, using a mortar screed, is slightly more arduous but it does give the damp-proof membrane greater protection. Working from the far end of the room towards the door, divide the flood into strips about 1m (3ft) wide using 50 25rnrn (2 x line) softwood battens, and use more battens around the walls. Make sure that they are level with a spirit level, and if they aren’t, pack them out with scrap wood.

It is vital that you get all the battens level because they serve to guide you when you start laying the screed. If you don’t have them level, then your screed won’t be true and that’ll cause more problems when you come to lay the final surface. Cover the floor. a section at a time, with a 1:3 cement to sharp sand mortar, mixed with the minimum of water to the consistency of brown sugar_ Using a stiff board, scrape jt level with the battens and tamp it slightly as you go, using a steel float to give it a smooth finish.

To get the best finish to your screed keep the blade damp to stop the surface from dragging, but don’t make it too wet. When you complete each section remove the guide batten furthest from you and fill in the resulting channel before tackling the next section.

If you lay a screed during a warm dry spell it’s advisable to lay a plastic sheet over it for at least three days. This stops the mortar drying out too quickly and lets it cure properly. Even in milder weather it’s still best to sprinkle water gently over it twice a day for a few days. If the mortar dries out too quickly it will be below strength and will probably crack as it dries. Finally make good the walls and replace the skirting.

The big drawback with this method is that it raises the level of the floor by 25mm (1 in). Strictly speaking you should dig out the existing floor to the required level before starting, but this carries the risk of damaging any existing damp-proof membrane. One way of accommodating the extra thickness is to trim the bottom of the doors and build up any existing external doorsteps.

Do make sure that you don’t reduce the floor/ceiling height below the Building Regulations minimum of 2.3m (7ft 6in) and remember to do something about the change in level at the door thresholds: a shallow ramp is better than a shallow step.

There is another option, and that is not to lay a membrane at all. Instead you select flooring that can be laid using cement-based flooring adhesive. The former lets the damp through. so you should choose material that won’t be harmed by it, and the latter acts as a sort of damp-proof membrane itself.

But. as it is a makeshift solution. it will not always work and there is nothing to stop the damp rising through the walls. The floor will therefore be attacked from the edges. which can be just as harmful and the result will be that the whole floor will eventually have to be replaced, not only giving you extra work but also further expense.

Repairing Furniture

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

At one time most furniture was made of wood. Today many furniture items are made of other materials such as various kinds of plastic. In any case, it is usually less expensive to repair or refinish a piece of furniture than it is to replace it. Outdoor furniture probably gets more wear and tear than indoor furnitur’e, but it is often easy to repair. Sometimes a few minutes of your time will extend the life of a chair or table.

Besides normal wear and tear, hot, dry air can cause wooden furniture to shrink and come apart. The four most common furniture problems are:

• Wood shrinkage

• Warping

• Worn seating

• Scrapes and scratches

If table or chair legs begin to come unglued, finish knocking them apart with a soft wooden block and a mallet. Remove old glue with a dull knife or hook scraper and sandpaper. Scrape glue out of the holes, too. Remove only the old glue. If you sand off any wood, the joints will be too loose.

Use white vinyl glue and reassemble the chair or table. Wipe up any spills or runs before they dry. Then, with rope or a webbed clamp, clamp the legs in place until the glue dries.

A warped table top can be straightened. Warping is caused by uneven drying. First strip off the paint and varnish. Paint remover is dangerous. Wear rubber gloves and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Next soak the wood by piling wet newspaper, wet sawdust, or wet towels on top for four or five days. When the wood is soaked through, remove the newspaper, sawdust, or towels and place weights or clamps on the warped boards. When everything is clamped or weighted down, leave it in a warm dry room for a few days. Move the clamps each day to help the wood dry evenly and prevent cracking.

As soon as the boards have dried straight, refinish BOTH SIDES to keep more moisture from entering or leaving the wood.

This method will not straighten laminated wood. Wait until the weather changes and the laminated piece will straighten by itself. When it does, glue another piece of scrap laminate on the underside. It will remain straight.

A kitchen chair seat or back is held on with only two or four screws. The cushion is usually made of foam or cotton batting covered with cloth or plastic folded over a piece of plywood. Replace old cotton batting with foam cut to size. Polyfoam is softer and lasts longer than cotton batting without getting lumpy or hard.

Cane bottom chairs can be modernized and made more comfortable by removing the cane part of the seat. Cover the seat with a cushion of plywood, polyfoam and a cover of plastic or cloth.

To fix a small scratch on furniture use a crayon-like touchup stick. They come in various shades to match different finishes. Sometimes iodine or shoe dye will work too. If the crack is deep, fill with wood putty. When it dries, rub stick shellac over the area. Stick shellac is applied with a spatula knife heated over an alcohol lamp. Finally, rub with felt or fine steel wool. Sometimes toothpaste will rub out fine scratches

Fill deeper scratches and gouges with wood putty. Cover with stick shellac. Finally rub it down with a felt pad or extra fine steel wool.

Home Repair Tips – Floor Coverings

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

Hardwood floors are usually oak or maple. Softwood floors, usually made of pine, wear better when they are covered with

• Rugs or Carpets

• Linoleum

• Tile

Carpeting is fastened down professionally. A damaged section can be cut out and a new patch sewn, glued, tacked, taped or stapled in place.

Today linoleum is made of vinyl. It is thinner and softer but more durable than the original oil cloth linoleum. If water seeps under linoleum, the edges will come loose and begin to curl. Dry out the area and work cement under the loose edges. Pile on sandbags. Some excess cement will ooze out. Clean it up before it dries.

To lay a patch, cut the new piece the exact size of the hole. Match the pattern and cut the piece with a slight bevel. Remove all of the old cement or the patch will bulge. Set in the new piece and hold it down with sandbags.

Vinyl and asphalt are the materials most often used for floor ’tiles. Vinyl is soft and pliable. Asphalt tile is thicker, harder, and tends to chip. Remove a damaged tile by heating it with a hot pressing iron over a cloth. Scrape up all the old cement while it is warm and soft.

You may have to trim the new tile. Use a knife and straightedge to trim vinyl. Asphalt tile should be placed in a vise between two wood blocks and shaved down with a rasp.

A new tile may have to be trimmed to fit. Trim vinyl tiles with a knife and straightedge. trim asphalt tiles place them in a vice between wood blocks and file them down with a rasp.

Repairing Home Appliances

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

When appliances don’t work properly, the plug is often the problem. Prongs may be broken or bent. Wires may be burnt where they attach to the prongs. The plug itself may be split or cracked.

There are two basic types of plugs:

• Clamp-on plugs

• Wired plugs

Clamp-on plugs are easiest to replace. They have no screws and require no stripping. Cut damaged plug, and separate the wires for about 1/4 inch. Open the clamp or lever on the new plug and simply insert the wire ends into the plug. Close the clamp or lever, and the plug is ready for use. Clamp-on plugs should be used only for light-duty use, such as lamp cords.

To repair a wired plug take out the cardboard or plastic cover and loosen the screws. Pull the wires farther through the plug and cut off the bad ends. Separate the two wires for about 1-1/2 inches and strip 1/2 inch of insulation off the ends. Twist the copper strands so they will not separate easily. To relieve the stress on the plug and on the copper wire, tie an “underwriters knot”.

Pull the knot back into the plug cap and wrap the bare wire ends around the screws in the direction the screw tightens. Tighten the screws and replace the cover.

If your plug has three prongs repair it the same as a two-prong plug. Make an underwriters knot with the black and white wires. Attach the third green wire to the green screw. Attach the white wire to the silver screw and black wire to the brass screw. Be sure none of the bare wires are touching each other. Replace the protective cover.

Some plugs are completely cased in rubber. If one of these plugs goes bad, unplug the appliance and cut off the bad plug.

Broken electrical plugs are often because of appliance failure. Plugs are frequently stepped on or kicked accidentally. Common damage includes bent and broken or burnt wires, and damaged plug casings.

With a two prong plug, separate the wires for about an inch and a half and strip off the insulation for about 1/2 inch. Scrape the wire until it shines and twist the copper ends so they hold together.

Tie an underwriters knot in this way. This knot puts the pull on the insulation instead of the wire. If this knot is not used, the wire may come loose in a short time, especially if the plug is removed by pulling on the cord.

After the knot is pulled into the plug cap, the stripped wire is wound around the screws in the direction that the screw will be turned to tighten. This pulls the wire in under the screw. If the wire is looped in the opposite direction it will be pushed away as the screw is tightened.