Home Tips and Tricks from The Pros
Getting projects done around your home can be a daunting task if you are not sure where to start. With over 20 years in business, Handyman Matters has compiled our expertise and developed this list of tips and tricks to help get your projects completed on time and on budget.
Cutting Crown Moulding
When cutting crown moulding, place the moulding on the miter saw fence at the same angle it is to be installed, but turn it upside down so that the ceiling edge is on the miter saw's base and the wall edge is resting on the saws fence; and then cope the inside corners.
Silent Screen Door
If your door slams shut with a bang, you can place a couple of short beads of clear silicone caulk along the jamb at a few of the contact points. This will soften the blow. Be sure to prop the door open for a couple of hours after application, to let the bead of silicone dry completely.
Tack an empty tissue box to the inside of a cabinet door and stuff your empty plastic grocery bags into the box. This will hold them secure, organized and also make for a convenient dispenser.
Chalk that Won't Stain
While working on the interior of your house, anything that can eliminate as much of a mess as possible is always a plus. So, when using a chalk line to mark surfaces, such as walls and flooring, use a white color. Red and blue will permanently stain.
Cheapest Tile Spacers
When laying tile, use pennies as spacers instead of store bought plastic ones. Pennies are easier to handle, more uniform and cheaper.
Clean Belt Sanders
Use the sole of a shoe to clean the sanding belt when it gets clogged. Do this by clamping the sander upside down, turning it on and gradually applying the sole of the shoe to the belt, watch it clean right up.
When digging up sod that is going to be replaced, skin the sod off in large sections about 3-4 inches thick- peel back. Do not cut into little chunks. This will make replacement and re-rooting clean and effective.
Effective Fence Stringers
Instead of using 2x4s use 2x6s and cut them in half lengthwise at a 45-degree angle. This will result in 2 stringers per 2×6 that when installed with the angled edge on top, will do two things: First, it allows the stringers to weather and last much longer since rain and snow will slip off. Second, it creates a more secure fence, since it removes the possibility of a step for climbing potential.
Fixing Rotting Fence Posts
If you have a fence post that is rotted out and the concrete the post is set in is not broken, you can simply pull the wood out, pound a new post in its place, and trim the top flush with the other posts.
Garden ID Tags
Take old or unneeded Venetian blind slats and cut them into 8-inch strips. Cut a point on one end for pushing into the dirt. These are rigid, waterproof and great for writing the name of each particular flower or vegetables on.
Handling Copper Joints
When sweating copper joints, clean and flux both copper fittings.
Always try to remember to bring your handyman cool drinks when it is warm, and warm drinks when it is cool!
Higher Window Wells
Raise your window well for increased volume for landscaping material, by driving heavy-duty lawn edging down between the edge of the old metal well and the ground. Drive it as far as needed to accommodate the required height.
Installing Ceiling Fans
There is a hook on most ceiling fan boxes that will hold the ceiling fan up near the ceiling while you are doing the wiring.
Installing Wooden Floor Moulding
When installing wooden floor moulding, remember that all outside corners can be cut at a 45-degree angle, but all inside corners must be coped. Coping is done by hand.
Push a straight pin into the bottom two corners of the picture on the backside, and then clip off the heads of the pins leaving about 3/8 of an inch sticking out of the frame. Hang the picture using a level, when set in place, gently push the section of the picture frame with the pins behind it into the drywall to secure the positioning of the picture.
Reusable Cardboard Boxes
Are you using a cardboard box to store items and have to re-tape it each time you close the box? Next time try covering the top flaps completely with packaging tape, then tape onto the layer of packaging tape. This will allow secure closing and easy opening again and again.
Scratch Free Lumber Rack
Wrap sections of foam pipe insulation around your vehicles luggage rack to protect them.
Shutting Off Gas and Water
Know where and how to shut off gas and water to your house.
Store Open Paint
Glass jars are great because they are less likely to allow the paint to dry out and you can always tell the color of the paint inside. To ensure the paint doesn't seal the lid on and to further the air tight seal, run a couple layers of Teflon tape around the jars threads before putting the lid on.
An electric razor can be a just as effective as an electronic stud finder. Turn it on and drag it along the drywall, you will notice a change in the vibration as you cross a stud with it.
Temporary Fix for Dripping Water
If you are having difficulty with a copper joint due to a trickle of water that won't stop, push a ball of bread up the pipe to stop the stream of water. We at Handyman Matters would prefer wheat - if you have it.
Tree Trimming in the Spring
Don't trim trees in the budding season (late March or early April) because it adds additional trauma to the tree.
Creating Stronger Products Using Staggered Joints
In many phases of construction, the staggered joint produces a stronger finished product.
Horizontal Example: While installing a hardwood floor, the ends of the boards should never line up in consecutive rows. Instead, it is recommended that several rows be installed before boards line up.
Vertical Example: Boarded siding needs to be staggered in a similar way to a hardwood floor- except on a vertical surface.