Faults in the door frame

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

Faults can also develop in the door frame — for example, part of it may work loose from the wall. In this case you’ll have to find the heads of the nails holding it in place — they are usually visible under the paint — and drive them deeper into their timber plugs with a hammer and punch.

However, if the plugs have split or shrunk this remedy will not work. So for a more secure repair drill through the timber and into the masonry behind with a masonry bit. Twist a plastic wall plug onto the end of a screw and insert the plug into the hole in the frame. Tap the screw head lightly with a hammer until the plug is fully home, then tighten up the screw. Fit as many screws as necessary to secure the frame.

Settlement of the building or loose joints may force the frame out the square, and then the door will not fit properly. The only answer is to reshape the door to fit — removing excess timber, adding a fillet here and there and shaping these until the door matches the opening as it should.

An easy way to do this is to cut the top of the door to match the angle of the doorframe, add an extra piece to the bottom and then reran the door. First transfer the angle of the frame to the top of the door using a small block of wood and a pencil, and then cut along this line.

It’s worth taking off a reasonable amount to make sawing easier —12mm (1/2in) would be about right. Measure the gap left at the top of the door and add a batten of wood of this thickness to the bottom. Finally, move up the hinges by the same amount so the door fits correctly, and adjust the latch striker plate too, cutting a new mortise if necessary.


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

Staircases are often taken for granted yet they are complex pieces of carpentry which give many years of trouble-free use. They rarely need replacing: just as well, since they are often tailor-made to fit. Even so you can buy ready made versions, which cater for common storey heights and these can often be easily adapted to fit exactly.

A staircase comprises a number of steps fixed between two long boards which are fixed to the joists of the floors they connect. These boards are called strings, the horizontal surfaces of the steps are called treads and sometimes they have vertical boards between them known as risers.

Strings can be in two forms: closed and cut. With the former the ends of the treads and risers are housed in shallow slots cut in the face of the string and held there by wedges driven in from behind and below. The risers are fixed to the treads below with housing joints or screws, and to the treads above by triangular blocks glued and nailed in place. The top edge of a cut string is shaped to provide horizontal ledges to which the treads are fixed. Sometimes both foul’s of string will be used in the same staircase, the closed string being fixed against a wall with the cut string on the outside.

Further support for the steps can be provided by a beam that runs below the treads and risers parallel to the strings. This is known as a carriage.

There are two basic types of staircase: the closed tread and open tread. Of the two, the former is most common, having treads and risers in a boxed-in construction. The underside of the strings are usually clad with lath and plaster or gypsum board or there may be a closet below the stairs. The latter is preferable since it allows easy inspection and repair. The open tread staircase has no risers and is completely exposed.

In a closed tread staircase the treads are about lin thick and will overhang the risers by a similar amount, their leading edges or noses being rounded off. A decorative molding is often fitted below the nose. An open tread staircase will tend to have thicker treads because they are not supported by risers, although sometimes a batten will be set on edge immediately below them to stiffen the tread.

All staircases must have at least one handrail and if wide they must have one on each side, depending on the requirements of your local code. The handrail forms part of the balustrade, the other parts of which are the newel posts and balusters.

The newel posts fit at each end of the stairs with the handrail running between them. Not only do they support the handrail but often the strings as well which will be slotted into them and fixed with wooden dowels. Further support for the handrail is provided by the balusters which fit between it and the strings.

Though straight staircases are common, where space is limited it is often necessary for the stairs to change direction on the way up. A small quarter landing is used to provide a 90° change of direction and a half landing will turn the stairs back on themselves.

If there is not room for a half or quarter landing a turn can be put into the stairs by inserting triangular treads called winders. Winders are also used in spiral staircases which can be great space savers. Unfortunately they are not very practical since carrying furniture and other bulky items up them is difficult.

Repairs to Stair Treads

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

Actual physical damage to stair treads is rare and will probably be limited purely to split or broken nosings. These can be repaired by cutting them off flush with the riser below, using a chisel, and pinning on a new molding.

A much more common problem, particularly in older houses, is creaking as a result of the treads becoming loose. The ease with which this can be fixed depends very much on whether you can get to the underside of the stairs or not. If you can, simply pin and glue 2 x 2in triangular blocks of wood between the treads and risers below, and drive screws up through the tread into the riser above. This is the only way you can fix a staircase with closed strings.

If the staircase has one or two cut strings, you can make the repair from above. First prise off the molding from below the tread nose and the molding holding the foot of the baluster in place, using an old chisel. Run a hacksaw blade along the gap between the back of the tread and upper riser. cutting through any fixings. Alternatively, cut through the riser itself with a backsaw. Drive a chisel blade between the tread nose and riser and lever it free. Then you can remove the risers if damaged.

If necessary. cut a new tread and riser from wood of the same size as the originals.

If one of the strings is closed, glue and pin supporting blocks to it for the ends of the riser and tread. Use offcuts of the tread and riser wood as positioning guides to ensure a tight fit. Then glue and pin the riser in place.

Pin and glue more blocks to the top of the lower riser and then glue the tread on top, strengthening the bond by driving screws or nails down through the ends into the cut string or strings. Do not drive any screws or nails through the leading edge of the tread as they may become exposed as the tread wears.

Refit the baluster, pinning it to the handrail and then pin the retaining molding to the end of the tread. Finally, refit the molding beneath the tread nose.

If you can reach the underside of a closed string staircase, you can replace treads or risers by removing their retaining wedges with a chisel and sliding the damaged parts out. Slot the new pieces in and fit new wedges. If a carriage runs down the centre of the stairs, however, the work is best left to a joiner or builder.

Cutting an External Doorway

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Remodeling    by: ITC

The positioning and installation of external doors is subject to the requirements of your local building code, so make the necessary applications to your local building department first.

Temporary support for the wall must be provided by Sin sq needles on top of adjustable metal props. To fit the needles, remove a whole brick from the outer layer and drill through the inner layer at the corners of the opening. Use the holes as a guide for cutting out the masonry from the inner layer. Insert the needles and tighten the props.

Draw the outline of the lintel on the inside wall and cut out the plaster and masonry from within. Drill the corners of the outer layer and remove the masonry. Fit the lintel on mortar bearings packed out with tiles or slates to set it level. Fill all round the inner portion of the lintel with mortar and rebuild any brickwork above it. Similarly rebuild the outer brickwork in the existing bond or stand the bricks on end to form a “sodier” arch.

When the mortar has set, remove the needles and brick up the holes. Then cut out the opening for the door frame — to fit the size of the frame.

Remove the bricks down to floor level, cutting through the protrud-bricks of the inner layer, on solid walls but removing whole bricks from the outer layer to give a toothed appearance. Square up the toothed outer layer by fitting cut bricks in place so that their “finished” ends are outermost.

Toe-nail the frame together before inserting it in the opening. Tack a length of flashing material to the underside of the sill, covering the nail heads with a bituminous sealant.

Fix the frame in the opening with screws and wallplugs, packing the sides to make them vertical. Fill gaps on the inside with mortar; apply caulking around the frame on the outside to keep out water.

The door sill should overhang the brickwork slightly and is best fitted with a metal weather bar, which is set in caulk. Once the frame is in place, hang the door and finish.


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

Plasterboard is a sandwich of gypsum plaster held between two layers of thick paper. You can plaster lower it, paint or paper it to match other walls. It is ideal for cladding a timber framed partition, the panels being simply nailed in place.

Always handle pasterboard carefully; it is easily broken. If you intend plasteringit, fit the gray side outermost, but if you want to paint or paper over it leave the ivory colored side showing.

Fix all the full size panels to the framework first then the smaller pieces, completing one side at a time. If the partition does not span the rppm filly, work from the outer end towards the wall.

To cut plasterboard, use a sharp knife and steel straightedge; after cutting through one side, stand the board on edge and snap it back to break the plaster. Cut through the remaining paper layer. For right-angle cuts mark both sides of the panel and cut through from both sides. Trim full panels to measure about 1 in less than the floor-to-ceiling height; this will allow you to push them up tight against the ceiling with a “footlifter” before nailing.

Fix the board to the frame, using 11/4in galvanized plasterboard nails or screws, spacing them at 6in intervals and working outwards from the center of the panel. Keep the fixings at least 11/2in from the edge of the panel to prevent them from breaking the edge. Drive the nails or screws in so that their heads come just below the surface. This is enough to allow for a thin skim of filler.

To fill the joints, apply a layer of proprietary joint filler then press in a length of paper or fiberglass jointing tape. Apply more filler up to the level of the surrounding plasterboard, feathering the edges with a damp sponge. When dry, apply one or two thin layers of joint finish, again feathering the edges.


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

The idea of an architrave is to hide the join between a door or window frame or lining and the surrounding plaster

A loose architrave can be nailed back in place to the door frame, or even screwed to the surrounding masonry if you drill right through it with a masonry bit and insert wall- plugs to take the screws. But removal and fixing are both easier than for skirting, so replacement is usually the sensible alternative to major repairs. You just lever the existing architrave off, and nail the new one on.

On a brick or block wall, you usually nail through the molding’s inner edge and into the doorframe, lining or ‘wrought grounds’ with 25 mm (1 in) oval nails; lost-head nails or panel pins can also be used. But if necessary you can nail through the middle of the molding and into the wall itself, using cut nails for medium-hard blocks if you like, and masonry nails for bricks and hard blocks. If you find that there are rough (concealed) grounds between the plaster and the frame or lining, then nail into those. On a stud wall, nail into the studs.

At the bottom, the upright pieces butt against the floor and the ends of the skirting. At the_ top the corners are mitred. A good idea is to start by cutting off three pieces of molding which are manageable but still slightly too long. Then you can mark off the heights of the two upright ones (which may of course differ a bit, depending on whether the floor is flat or level), mitre their top ends and fix them loosely to the wall.

This makes it easy to mark off the exact length of the top piece. Mitre its ends, position it, and make any adjustments – by moving the uprights slightly, and even shaving the mitred ends with a sharp chisel or block plane if necessary. Then nail all three pieces finally in place, and pin the mitres from the top as for skirting boards.

When mitring, always make quite sure you’re cutting the right way round. That sounds silly, but you’ll find it’s all too easy to waste whole pieces by mistake

Failing that, a hacksaw should do the job.

In certain places — eg, the backs of alcoves — the skirting board is held in position by the two pieces at right angles to it. So, unless you remove at least one of those first, sawing the board out is your only option. A flooring saw may work. Otherwise drill a series of holes in line dOwn the face of the skirting, and use a chisel to chop out the waste between the holes so you can prise out the two ends of the board. Pipework and other obstacles sometimes force the same solution.

If a length of skirting refuses to come away completely, you may still be able to make sawing easier by levering enough of it out to push timber wedges behind it. In all cases, it’s best to saw at an angle of 45° across the thickness. If you’re just removing a section, cut the new piece to the same angle when you come to fix that in place.

Always use 45° cuts, rather than butt joins, if you have to make up a long piece from two shorter ones. They’ll be less conspicuous, especially if you site the join near an out-of- the-way corner.

Fitting a new radiator

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

Your new radiator will probably have four holes or tappings – one at each corner -and each one will have a female screwed thread. How you connect the radiator up to your system depends on the way in which the old one was fitted. Nowadays it is usual for the flow and return connections to be made to the bottom two holes but. of course. if your system had the flow pipe at a higher level then you’ll have to reconnect it in the same way.

Fit an air-valve into one of the top tappings. First wrap PTFE thread sealing tape anticlockwise round the male thread of the valve and then use a radiator key that grips inside the body of the valve to screw it home. Unless your radiator has a top inlet the other top tapping must be plugged with a blanking off plate. This should also be wrapped with PTFE tape and screwed home in the same way as the air vent.

You’ll then have to fit tail pieces and coupling screws (either new ones, or the ones from the original radiator if you can remove then)) on to the new one. Again wrap each thread with PTFE tape before fitting them. Its a good idea to buy new wail brackets for your replacement radiator. After all. you can’t be sure the old ones will be suitable. You should drill and plug the wall and then fix the brackets in place. Fit the radiator so that the inlet end is a few millimetres higher than the outlet valve. This W make venting easier. You can now fix radiator in place and connect the coup nuts to the hand-valve and Jock-shield va and screw them up tightly.

You’ll have to open the air-valve at the tcc of the radiator so that the air in it car ze displaced as it fills with water. All you oz slowly open the hand-valve and allow 7-S. radiator to fill. When water starts to flow f rd– the air-valve you’ll know all the air has bee- displaced and you should immediately close the valve. Finally, open the lock-shield value by the same number of turns and part turns took originally to close it.

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.

Home Repair Tips – Door Hardware

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

Door problems are often caused by the door and frame. But hardware can also be the cause of doors sticking. Hardware refers to the metal parts on a door:

• Hinges

• Faceplates and latches

• Strike plates

In time, hinges loosen up and let the door sag so it no longer fits the frame. This happens when the screws pull loose. The cure is to remove the loose screw or screws. Fill the hole with wood putty or with a wooden matchstick or soft wood plug covered with white glue. Without drilling a hole, replace the screw in the plugged hole.

It is much easier to rehang a hinge than to rebuild a door frame. Often a cardboard shim behind one of the hinges will shift the door enough to prevent binding. Sometimes removing one hinge and chiseling the mortise a little deeper will correct both top and side clearances.

By plugging a loose screw hole with wood putty or soft wood like a matchstick, you can reset the screw. Sometimes you will need a longer screw as well.

Cut a piece of cardboard to place behind the side of the hinge that looks strongest. If two or more shims are needed, place them behind both sides of the hinge. If a door is sticking at the top, shim the top edge. If it is binding at the bottom, shim the bottom hinge.

To work on the hinges, remove the bottom pivot pin first. If you remove the top pin first, the weight of the door may tear the bottom hinge loose.

Squeaking doors are really squeaking hinges. Oil is really only a temporary solution. To stop the squeak, remove the hinge pivot pin. Sandpaper off any rust. Then coat the pin with paraffin, graphite lubricant, or silicon spray and replace it. Never use oil; it collects dust and becomes sticky.

Latches and faceplates also cause problems. If the screws holding them to the door are loose, the door won’t close properly. Reset the screws after plugging the original holes with wooden matchsticks or soft wood just as you did the hinge screws.

Strike plates on the door frame can also be a problem. When a door frame sags, the latch in the door may travel across the strike plate without meeting the hole in the strike plate. Remove the strike plate and place it in a vise. With a file enlarge the hole enough to accommodate the latch. If there is a bolt hole, enlarge it also. Before you replace the strike plate, chisel out the wood behind the enlarged hole.

Strike plates should not be moved. It is better to enlarge the hole so the latch will meet.

The hinge pin holds the two parts of the hinge together and lets the door swing. To remove the pin, tap it with a hammer and screwdriver. Always remove the bottom pin first.

Home Repair Tips – Window Frames

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

Many window frames are made of wood. The most common problem with window frames is sticking caused by:

• Paint

• Swelling

• Warping

• Broken sash cords

New paint is a major cause of windows sticking. Sticking of freshly painted windows can be prevented by leaving the window slightly open while painting. As soon as the paint dries, slide the window up and down. Do not wait too long because paint hardens as it ages.

If the window has been painted shut for a while, it will be difficult to open. Use a putty knife to cut through the paint seal. Never pry the window open with a chisel or pry bar.

Even if you use a piece of wood to protect the sill, the window sash will be dented.

Windows that are badly stuck may have to be removed from the frame. The sliding part of the window (sash) is held in place by two strips of wood called stops. Carefully pry up the stops. Remember, you want to use these stops again. A little patience saves buying, cutting, fitting, and painting a new piece of wood. Don’t drive the nails back out through the stop after the stop is off. Use pliers and pull the nails out through the back side of the stop. This will leave a neat little hole.

With the sash out, you may sand or scrape off the excess paint. When the weather is dry, cover any bare wood with a thin coat of paint or fast-drying sealer.

Paint protects wood frames. If moisture soaks the frame, the wood will swell. Never plane a frame that is swollen. Otherwise, when the wood dries, it will be too loose and will rattle in the wind. Instead, rub paraffin, soap, or a stick lubricant on the frame. Warped frames should be planed or sanded. If the wood is warped too much, it must be replaced.

If a sash cord breaks or the weight comes loose, the window will hang crooked, and the window won’t stay up. To fix the cord, pry off the stops. Find the sash weight door and

Usually it is held in place by one or two screws. Reach inside and take out the weight. If the sash cord is still good, the weight probably came untied. Retie it and put everything back together.

If you need a new sash cord, make sure it’s the same thickness as the old one or it won’t run through the pulley. Feed the new cord through and tie one end to the sash and the other end to the weight. The sash cord will stretch, so leave some room under the weight so it won’t hit bottom later and keep the window from opening all the way. Move the window up and down to see if you’ve tied the weight too high or too low. When you’re sure everything works, put it back together again.

When you put the stops back, ignore the old nail holes. Tap the nails in a new place, but, to avoid hammer dents, stop before you hit the frame. Finish driving the nails with a nail set. Cover the nail heads and fill in the old holes with wood putty: After several days, when the putty is dry, touch up with paint.

As a building ages, it settles..Structural settling is another cause for windows jamming. If the windows are being twisted out of line, the entire frame must be removed and reset in the wall.

Wood frame windows are often replaced by aluminum ones. Other new frames are vinyl (plastic) over a wood core.

Casement windows open with a crank that needs a yearly greasing. Because these cranks rust, you will have to keep them clean and painted. Casement windows are usually easier to care for.than wooden frame windows.

Most older houses have wooden window frames. However, most new homes have plastic or aluminum frames.

Remove the window only as a last resort. Carefully remove the stops, then pull the nails out through the back of the stop with pliers.

Painting across the moving parts of a window is a major cause of sticking. Running a putty knife between the stop and the sash will help free the window.

Lubricate all moving surfaces on the window and frame with a hard piece of soap or paraffin to help them slide better.

To repair a sash cord, remove the door in the window frame, reach in, and take out the sash weight.

Tie a knot in one end of the sash cord and fit it into the sash groove. Tie a nail to the other end for weight and feed the cord over the pulley. Raise the window and reach into the opening. Pull out the new cord. Tie it to the sash weight.

Clean casement window cranks at least once a year. Grease the track and oil the crank handle and window hinges.