- 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)
How To: Drill a Clean Hole
It's easy to drill a hole through a board. But for both sides to come out looking clean, you've got to use this technique.
Here’s how to drill a hole when you need to see both sides of your work. Drill on the front side of the board until the tip of the drill bit pierces the back. If you go all the way through, the job will look like this. Now turn your work over to the back, set the drill bit in the pierced hole, and finish drilling from this side. You’ll end up with a smooth cut on both sides.
For more on woodworking, consider:
Drill Bits for Different Jobs
10 Ways to Use Your Cordless Drill/Driver
How To: Drill Straight 90º Holes (Without a Drill Press)
Quick Tip: Door Hanging
Door hanging can be exacting. Fortunately, these handy pointers make the task a little easier to handle.
Here’s some tips for easier door hanging. For this type of door, measure five inches from the top of the door to the first hinge, ten inches from the bottom for the second, and place the third hinge centered between the two. Plough out the mortises with a wood chisel or a router. Align your jamb to the door edge, leaving a three-sixteenths-inch clearance at the top for the swing. Plumb and level the jamb and use a longer screw in each of the hinges to reach the jack stud.
For more on doors, consider:
Quick Tip: Hanging Double Doors
Toss Your Keys: 9 High-Tech Door Locks
Know Your Door Styles: 10 Popular Designs
How To: Scribe Tile
Follow these tips to scribe tile correctly and achieve professional-level results in your bathroom or kitchen flooring project.
Here’s how to scribe a floor tile to fit around an uneven edge. Set the closest full tile in place, then use another full tile to mark the overlaps with a grease pencil. Keep moving the scribe tile to transfer the outline of the wall. Cut and trim along the penciled lines, then set the cut tile into place for a perfect fit.
For more on tile, consider:
How To: Cut Tile
Bob Vila Radio: Laying Tile
Quick Tip: Circular Saw Safety
Remember these circular saw safety tips the next time you undertake a woodworking project.
Here’s some important safety tips to remember when you’re using a circular saw. Remove jewelry and loose clothing first and always wear eye protection. Before you plug in, make sure your blade is tight and sharp and never tie back the blade guard. Steady your work and stand to one side. When the blade is at full speed, push the saw forward smoothly without forcing it. And of course you should never reach underneath.
For more on power tools, consider:
How To: Saw Safely
Bob Vila Radio: Tool Tip — Circular Saws
How To: Paint Over Stain
Though it's no problem to paint over stain and other wood finishes, the key to success lies in preparing the surface properly.
You can paint over existing interior wood finishes, if you take the proper steps first. Here’s how. To paint over a stain, lightly sand all glossy surfaces until the finish is dull, then wipe it down with a damp rag dipped in de-glosser. Allow time to dry. Then with even strokes, apply a quick-dry primer-sealer to prevent bleed-through. Allow the sealer to dry, and you’re ready for your finish coat.
For more on painting, consider:
How To: Paint EVERYTHING
Paint Makeovers: An Expert Tells All
The Perfect Paintbrush—and How to Choose It