Quick Tip: Joist Hangers
Joist hangers not only simplify the framing process but also strengthen the deck or floor you are building.
When hanging floor joists, use joist hangers to make building a floor deck simpler. Place hangers every 16 inches on center. Position each hanger using the tab to hold it in place. Nail one side on at a time. Use a scrap of two-by as a nailing guide for the other side. If possible, nail them to your ledger board in advance. Now properly secure the ledger boards onto your walls. Set each floor joist into place and secure them with nails. Always check with your local building inspector.
For more on framing, consider:
Quick Tip: Using Metal Studs
How To: Identify a Bearing Wall
Engineered Wood Floor Joist System (VIDEO)
How To: Make a Paint Pail
There are several good reasons not to paint directly out of a can. Instead, make a paint pail of your own within minutes.
Most professionals paint from a pail rather than a can. Painting out of a can is messy, causing rim buildup and dripping. Here’s an easy way to turn an empty paint can into a pail. Use the blade of a five-in-one putty knife to remove the can’s rim in one piece, and use the sides of the pail to remove excess paint from the brush.
For more on painting tools, consider:
Selecting the Right Painting Tools
9 Creative Uses for Old Paint Cans
Quick Tip: Avoiding Paint Spills and Spatters
Quick Tip: Protective Floor Covering
Protective floor covering products safeguard your home against the wear and tear that remodeling projects so often involve.
Even the simplest home improvement projects can be messy. Be sure to protect your floors while you work. There’s a wide variety of protective products on the market today for vinyl or tile floors, and especially for hardwood floors. Or try this shedproof and waterproof alternative. For quick trips, don’t forget shoe covers.
For more on remodeling, consider:
Sorting Waste After Remodeling
Where to Live When You Renovate
Construction Site Living: Surviving Days (and Days) of DIY
How To: Bevel a Fence Post
It may be easier than you thought to bevel fence posts for that new wooden barrier you're planning for the property.
Here’s how to dress up a fence post with a beveled cap. It’s easy to do with a radial arm saw. Set the blade at a 45-degree angle. Before cutting, always protect your eyes with safety goggles. Then make one cut pulling the saw firmly towards you. Rotate the post and make another cut. Proceed the same way with the remaining sides. When you’re finished, you’ll have a perfect 45-degree beveled fence post cap.
For more on outdoor structures, consider:
7 Top Options in Fencing Materials
Recycled Fences: 8 Ways to Put Salvage to Good Use
Quick Tip: Priming Clapboards
Priming clapboards before installing them helps to prevent the incursion of damage from the elements.
When applying clapboards as exterior siding to your home, it’s a good idea to prime both sides of the clapboards before installation. By treating the backside of the clapboards, the cut ends, and the exposed face, you’re adding a moisture barrier to all surfaces of the wood. Water damage is the chief cause of premature deterioration of your house exterior.
For more on siding, consider:
Wood Siding Options
Adding Clapboard Siding (VIDEO)
Quick Tip: Installing Clapboard Siding
- Kitchen >
- How To: Laminate Kitchen Countertops
How To: Laminate Kitchen Countertops
With the right tools and an appropriate degree of detail-mindedness, even beginning do-it-yourselfers can laminate kitchen countertops successfully.
I’ve got some tips for you on how to laminate countertops in your kitchen. Roll on contact cement and allow it to set approximately 15 minutes until it’s tacky. Now here’s the trick: Place dowels across the countertop and position the new laminate exactly where you want it. Then remove the dowels one by one, pressing the sheet of laminate down. Since the contact cement is unforgiving, the dowels allow you to perfectly position the laminate before the glue binds.
For more on countertops, consider:
Kitchen Countertops 101
Trending Now: Laminate Countertops
Bob Vila’s Guide to Kitchen Countertops
- Painting >
- Quick Tip: Exterior Painting Preparation
Quick Tip: Exterior Painting Preparation
Planning to paint your house? Don't forget that results largely depend on whether or not you take exterior paint preparation seriously.
An exterior paint job is only as good as the prep you do first. Make sure to scrape and sand the surface to remove old peeling or flaking paint. Wash off the dirt and dust using a power washer if necessary. Patch small cracks and seams with caulk and apply primer over any bare wood before you paint.
For more on painting, consider:
How To: Paint a House
Painting the House: Should You Hire a Pro?
The Do’s and Don’ts of Choosing a New House Color
How To: Cut Vinyl Flooring
Creating a paper template makes it much easier to cut vinyl flooring so that it fits into a room with irregular dimensions.
It’s easier to cut vinyl flooring to the exact shape and size of your room when you make a template first. Staple sheets of paper felt to your subflooring and trim close to the wall. This line doesn’t have to be exact. Transfer the contours of the wall onto the template using the inside of a square. Tape the template onto your new vinyl sheet goods and cut the true outline of the wall using the outside of the square. You should have a perfect fit.
For more on flooring, consider:
Quick and Easy Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl Flooring Installation (VIDEO)
8 Easy and Affordable Garage Floor Options
- Bathroom >
- What Would Bob Do? Caulking a Bathtub
What Would Bob Do? Caulking a Bathtub
If the caulk around your tub is peeling, damaged, or stained, it's time to remove it and start over. Here's how to get the job done right.
What can I use to remove caulk from around the bathtub? Also, what is the correct product to use when I caulk the tub again? Obviously, I need something waterproof, but ideally I’d like the caulk not to be plainly visible.
Removing caulk isn’t difficult, only time-consuming. The name of the game is perseverance, particularly if you are dealing with several layers that were applied in succession over time. Given the nature of the task, it’s important to arm yourself with the right tools, starting with a utility knife and a razor scraper, both fitted with new blades. If you’ll be tackling a wall-to-tub joint, opt for a church key can opener or a pointed scraper; either can be handy if you need to go digging for any stubborn remnants. Then again, you might get lucky—sometimes after loosening one end, a strand of caulk pulls away easily. Much depends on the age and quality of the installation.
Related: Top Tips for Refinishing a Bathtub
To begin, hold the utility knife so that it’s more or less perpendicular to the joint, then run the blade along the caulk joint. If the caulking proves too hard to slice, try softening it with a heat gun (do this carefully). Now remove whatever caulk you are able to cut free. Follow with a razor scraper. Wielded at a shallow angle in relation to the surface, the razor should remove any caulk bits still stuck to the tiles or tub. If you find evidence of mildew, thoroughly scrub the area with full-strength vinegar.
Compared with the hassle of removing caulk, replacing it is a cakewalk; even a complete novice can apply a fresh bead of caulk to a bathtub. Just remember to use a caulking product specially formulated for use in kitchens and baths (packages are clearly marked). Caulk comes in many colors, but if you don’t want to see it, choose a clear variety. Before you begin, steady the nozzle of the caulking tube about 1/8 inch away from the surface and at a 30-degree angle.
As you work, try to force any excess caulk into the joint; failing that, wipe the caulk onto a towel you’ve kept at the ready. Clean any caulk you misapply before it has the chance to harden. Finally, slide your wetted finger along the joint once more. Doing so eliminates any imperfections in the bead, ensuring a smooth finish.
Quick Tip: Cranes
Cranes come in very handy when home remodelers need to move heavy materials to a high floor.
When doing an attic or a third-floor renovation, consider using a crane for the heavy materials. For about $500 a day, you can rent a small crane or lift. It can easily handle heavy materials like lumber and sheetrock, not to mention hot tubs. They can boom out about 42 feet, enough to get to the top floors of most homes.
For more on remodeling, consider:
Protect Your Home from Job Site Theft
4 Ways to Reduce Your Renovation Waste
Moving Appliances Without Damaging Floors (VIDEO)