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Bob Vila Radio: A Primer on Patching Concrete

Though it's one of the most durable building materials on the planet, even concrete needs maintenance on occasion. And while the installation may last decades, patching a small area takes under an hour.

Does your concrete walkway or driveway need patching? That’s an easy fix! Here’s how to do it.

Patching Concrete

Photo: fotosearch.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON PATCHING CONCRETE or read the text below:

First, use a wire brush to dislodge any loose concrete from the area. Then, with an old paint brush, clear way what the wire brush dislodged. Once it’s clear, spray the area with your garden hose to jettison any remaining fine grit. Remove standing water with a sponge, and you’re ready to apply the patch.

Depending on the job, latex cement may be a better choice than patching compound. That’s because the former dries faster and remains somewhat pliable. Mix the latex cement to create a heavy paste, then apply it in quarter-inch layers, allowing each layer time to partially dry before you continue.

When you reach the level of the surrounding concrete, finish the job by smoothing out the patch with a trowel or float, just as you would for regular concrete. Allow at least six hours of drying time before allowing foot or vehicle traffic on the repaired area.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.


DIY Lite: Make a Wood-Slat Doormat for Almost No Money

Greet guests with a chipper "Hello!" right at the door when you adorn your entrance with this simple and sunny DIY welcome mat.

DIY Doormat - Hello! Personalized Wooden Welcome Mat

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

The entrance to your home is the first impression that strikes visitors, so why don’t you make it a friendly one with a cheery greeting? This season, as friends and family drop in for summer barbecues, welcome them at the door with a custom doormat. A little wood, stain, and paint go a long way in this DIY!

DIY Doormat - Tools and Materials

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

TOOLS & MATERIALS
- 16 feet of 1″ x 2″ lumber
- Handsaw (optional)
- Sandpaper
- Drill with 1/4″ bit
- Wood stain
- Printer
- Scissors
- Painter’s tape
- Acrylic paint
- Brushes
- Wood varnish
- Synthetic rope
- A lighter or silicone glue

 

STEP 1

DIY Doormat - Step 1

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

First, cut your wood into a total of eight equal pieces, each two feet long. You can make it easier on yourself by asking for the cuts at your local hardware store when picking up the wood.

Along the thinner side of every slat, measure three inches from each end, mark it, and drill a hole through the center. This will be where you slip a rope through to hold the mat together, so the drill bit you use should be the same thickness as the rope; we used a 1⁄4-inch bit on ours.

 

STEP 2

DIY Doormat - Step 2

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Sand down the eight pieces in order to remove any splinters around the holes.

 

STEP 3

DIY Doormat - Step 3

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Now, stain the wooden slats in a tone that best complements your outdoor features; we went with a medium brown color. Follow package instructions for dry time before continuing.

 

STEP 4

DIY Doormat - Step 4

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Print out this handy PDF pattern to help you create the speech bubble. Simply assemble the four sheets to line up the outline of the bubble, tape them together, then cut out the shape.

 

STEP 5

DIY Doormat - Step 5

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Align the wood pieces together horizontally, leaving no space between slats, and center the bubble on your wooden rectangle. Trace the shape onto the wood using a pencil.

 

STEP 6

DIY Doormat - Step 6

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Time for paint! We chose a white acrylic, but you can pick any color you like. Using a thin brush, paint a line that follows the pencil marks you made in Step 5. This will delineate the area to be painted and help you to center the letters in the space.

 

STEP 7

DIY Doormat - Step 7

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Now for the message: Spell out “HELLO” with strips of painter’s tape. Try to make your letters all the same size; if you need guidance, you can use the PDF to cut out and trace each letter.

 

STEP 8

DIY Doormat - Step 8

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Start filling in the bubble with paint, working in light coats to avoid any drips. If you’ve chosen a light color on a dark background, you will be likely to need at least three coats to achieve its brightest hue.

 

STEP 9

DIY Doormat - Step 9

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

When the paint is dry, carefully remove the painter’s tape.

 

STEP 10

DIY Doormat - Step 10

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Apply two coats of varnish on each slat so your outdoor mat will be well protected against the weather.

 

STEP 11

DIY Doormat - Step 11

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

When the varnish is dry, you’re ready to start assembling the doormat! Cut two pieces of synthetic rope, each roughly 2 feet or so long. Make a knot at the end of one, and thread the string through the bottom left hole on the mat’s bottom piece of wood. Repeat with the second rope and the other hole.

A tip to secure the knot: Use a lighter to carefully burn the end of it. The synthetic rope will melt a bit, and the knot won’t come undone.

 

STEP 12

DIY Doormat - Step 12

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Tie knots in each rope, then pass them through the holes of the next slat up. You’ll continue the pattern of knot, slat, knot, slat until you get to the last wooden piece.

 

STEP 13

DIY Doormat - Step 13

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Make the two last knots, and cut the extra rope length. If you don’t feel comfortable burning the rope ends, instead dab some silicone glue around them to secure the knots. All that’s left is to move your DIY welcome mat outside—and to put a summer get-together on the calendar so your cheerful accessory can greet your next visitors!

DIY Doormat - Outdoor Mat to Welcome Guests

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

 

 

Ama is a DIY addict and the creative mind behind Ohoh Blog. She likes home decor, lighting, and furniture projects that may involve painting, sewing, drilling…no matter the technique! Whatever she has on hand is inspiration to create and fodder for her serious addiction to upcycling.


How To: Build a Paver Patio

Nothing encourages outdoor enjoyment quite as much as a patio does. If you've been coveting the idea of a sturdy, inviting paver patio for years, take heart: Even a relatively inexperienced do-it-yourselfer can achieve professional-level results. Here's how.

How to Build a Paver Patio

Photo: quikrete.com

Patio. The very word conjures up visions of lazy, relaxing afternoons spent with friends and family. For those whose homes lack this appealing outdoor feature, however, the word stirs up the unwelcome prospect of building a new patio. Homeowners assume that constructing a patio requires either a huge expense or a similarly monumental amount of hard work. The truth is that anyone can handle the installation of all but the grandest of patios, especially if you work with DIY-friendly pavers. Indeed, with proper planning, the right tools and materials, and attention to detail, you can achieve professional-level results in a short time—even within the space of a single weekend—regardless of your skill level or previous experience. To see how surprisingly easy it can be enhance your outdoor living with a long-lasting patio, scroll down for step-by-step instructions, courtesy of QUIKRETE®.

 

MATERIALS AND TOOLS

How to Build a Paver Patio - Project Materials Shot

Photo: quikrete.com

- Stakes and string
- Shovel
- Edge restraints
- Level
- Carpenter’s square
- QUIKRETE® All-Purpose Gravel
- Tamper
- QUIKRETE® Patio Paver Base Sand
- 2×4 boards
- 1×1 boards
- Hammer and nails
- Pavers or natural stones
- Rubber mallet
- QUIKRETE® PowerLoc Jointing Sand (for joint widths up to 1/2″) or
- QUIKRETE® HardScapes Polymeric Jointing Sand (for joint widths up to 2″)
- Garden hose with spray attachment
- Push broom

 

STEP 1

How to Build a Paver Patio - Stakes and String

Photo: quikrete.com

Before you can make any real progress toward building a paver patio, you must first decide where to put it. Don’t have a specific spot in mind? Think about it this way: How do you intend to use the patio? If you would like to enjoy alfresco dinners on your patio, situate it within an easy distance of your kitchen. If, on the other hand, your patio fantasies involve a suntan, then site the installation on a part of your property with a southern exposure. Once you’ve settled on a location, mark off the perimeter with stakes and surveyor’s string. Alternatively, if your plans involve an irregularly shaped patio, outline the dimensions with a bright-colored spray paint.

 

STEP 2

How to Build a Paver Patio - Excavation

Photo: quikrete.com

The next step may be the most physically taxing part of this project. Though the finished patio surface ought to sit slightly above ground level, you must excavate to create space for the substrate—that is, the gravel and sand that will provide a stable, leveling base for the paver installation. With a shovel, excavate to a depth of seven inches below grade. This depth allows for two to four inches of gravel, one to two inches of sand, and accommodation for the height of your chosen pavers.

 

STEP 3

How to Build a Paver Patio - Edge Restraints

Photo: quikrete.com

Once the project area has been excavated to the appropriate depth, proceed to install edge restraints around the site perimeter. At your local home center, choose from a selection of ready-made edge restraints in a variety of materials, including plastic, aluminum, and wood. These simple hardscaping components perform the vital role of preventing pavers from settling and shifting over time due to foot traffic and harsh weather. Additionally, because the pavers are installed level with the edge restraints, the latter serve the secondary, though critically important, duty of ensuring that the patio allows stormwater to run off its surface. So, take care to position your edge restraints on a slight incline; professionals recommend a slope of about a quarter inch for every 12 linear feet. Direct the angle away from, not toward, the house.

 

STEP 4

How to Build a Paver Patio - Adding Gravel

Photo: quikrete.com

Next, add enough QUIKRETE® All-Purpose Gravel to fill up two to four inches of the excavated project area. The amount of gravel you can add largely depends on the height of the pavers you plan to install. For instance, if you’ve excavated to a depth of seven inches, and your pavers are each four inches tall, then there’s room for only a couple of inches of gravel. That said, there’s a direct relationship between the amount of gravel under a patio and its compression strength—in other words, its ability to endure great weight, whether from a parked car or a large group of people. Where circumstances allow, depending on how exactly you intend to use the patio, it may be wise to incorporate as much gravel as the vertical space allows. After you’ve laid the gravel, pack it down by means of a tamper.

 

STEP 5

How to Build a Paver Patio - Screeding

Photo: quikrete.com

Over the tamped-down, compacted gravel, add one to two inches of QUIKRETE® Patio Paver Base Sand. Whereas the gravel provides strength to the patio, the sand contributes precision, helping the installed pavers sit level. To function properly, the sand layer must be smooth and level. A screed board—that is, a straightedge—is the most effective way to even out an expanse of sand. You can make yours from a simple two-by-four that has been cut to equal the shortest distance across the project area. After that, cut a one-by-one into two pieces, nailing one onto each end of the larger board. These “handles” lend accuracy to the screed. With a helper manning the opposite end of the screed, push the board along the surface of the sand. As you go, periodically remove the excess sand that accumulates in front of the board. Use this excess to fill where dips appear behind the screed. Several passes may be necessary before the bed becomes level.

 

STEP 6

How to Build a Paver Patio - Rubber Mallet

Photo: quikrete.com

At last, it’s time to install the pavers. Starting in a corner, work outward as you place the pavers in the sand, tapping each into position with a rubber mallet. Note that it’s important for the gap between pavers to be the same width. To keep the gaps consistent, use a piece of plywood whose thickness corresponds to your target gap width. Keep a level handy so you’re able to confirm frequently that your paver surface conforms to a drainage-promoting incline.

 

STEP 7

How to Build a Paver Patio - Joining Sand

Photo: quikrete.com

After you’ve set all the pavers, the penultimate step is to fill the joints between pavers with sand—but not just any sand. For lasting, professional-quality results, be sure to use a sand that’s been specially manufactured to bind pavers together. For narrow joints of a half inch or less, choose QUIKRETE® PowerLoc Jointing Sand. For joints up to two inches wide (or if your pavers are natural stone), opt for QUIKRETE® HardScapes Polymeric Jointing Sand. Simply pour your chosen sand directly from its packaging into the joints. Finish up by sweeping the excess sand out of the project area. As you go, look for any unfilled joints and top them up.

 

STEP 8

How to Build a Paver Patio - Misting

Photo: quikrete.com

Finally, attach a nozzle to your garden hose and gently mist the pavers, allowing water to saturate the sand-filled joints. After the initial spray down, dampen the pavers once every 60 minutes over the next three hours. Be judicious in your spraying—avoid flooding the sand onto the paver surface. As temperature and humidity are significant (and changeable) factors, it’s difficult to estimate the dry time, but over the course of several days, you’ll notice that the joints are firming up.

By the following weekend, you’ll have nothing left to do except write up the guest list for the first barbecue on your new patio!

 

Watch the project come together in a step-by-step video, courtesy of QUIKRETE®:

For even more details on the paver patio project, visit QUIKRETE®!

How to Make a Paver Patio - Job Complete

Photo: quikrete.com

This post has been brought to you by QUIKRETE®. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


How To: Get Rid of Flies in the House

Don’t be pestered by houseflies all summer long. With some thoughtful prevention and diligent eradication, you can make your house virtually fly-free this year. Here, 5 simple tactics to try.

How to Get Rid of Flies in the House - Flyswatter

Photo: fotosearch.com

As warm weather sweeps in, so does an annual nuisance—houseflies. The small, black, buzzy critters that land on your food, pester the dog, and create incessant irritation may seem harmless, but they’re capable of carrying pathogens and disease. You certainly want to avoid an infestation! While there is no one way to get rid of flies in the house, a multipronged approach can keep them at bay. Prevent a few lingering pests from growing into a bigger problem by following these five strategies.

How to Get Rid of Flies in the House - Insects

Photo: fotosearch.com

1. Seal the Entrance
It may seem obvious, but if you don’t want flies in the house, don’t let them in. With a busy household of visitors, kids, and pets coming and going, that’s sometimes more easily said than done. But do what you can: Make sure you have screens on your windows and doors, and repair any mesh that has been damaged enough to make a fly-sized entrance. It doesn’t take much!

2. Remove the Bait
If you want to get rid of flies indoors, as with all other pests, you should do your best to remove or minimize the stuff that attracts them. Food is at the top of that list. Don’t leave any out, especially if it’s uncovered. More than that, remember to keep countertops clean of crumbs, wash dishes soon after meals rather than leaving them in the sink, and keep the door to the dishwasher closed when it’s waiting to be run.

Beyond your food, however, you’ll also want to be mindful of compost, garbage, and pet food. These are also attractive to flies and can quickly become breeding grounds. To prevent a few flies from turning into a colony, take any compost materials outside immediately. Keep the garbage covered, and carry it out regularly. Finally, cover or clean Fluffy’s bowls completely between meals—particularly if you stock up on wet food varieties.

3. Lure Them Out
If you’re suffering a large swarm of flies in the house, save yourself the cardio of whipping your flyswatter about and first see if you can get the majority of them to leave willingly. Insects are attracted to light, so start by darkening the room they’re in. Shut the blinds and drapes, and leave a small opening at the door. A number of your pesky houseguests will probably buzz toward the light and find their way out, leaving you with a smaller crowd.

4. Call In the Swat Team
Once you’ve worked through your prevention tactics, take down the flies that remain with the usual suspects: a good old-fashioned flyswatter or a rolled-up newspaper. Because a fly has almost 360-degree vision, it’s best to approach from behind and hover just above before making a final decisive and deadly flick. Pink flyswatters are certainly pretty for hanging up when the job’s done, but neutral colors are less obvious and better for stealth. To aid your efforts, you can hang flypaper—store-bought or homemade—to trap flies, and then discard and replace it when full. If you’re lucky, the bug might land on it while trying to escape your swipes.

If you have good eyesight and reflexes, you can vacuum them right out of the air mid-flight, but it’s easier to hover a few inches in front of them for 10 to 20 seconds (just as you would with a swatter) and then swoop in to nab them. Attempt this method only if your vacuum has a bag, and dispose of it immediately so they don’t find their way back out and into your home.

5. Prevent Return Visits
Flies don’t care for smoke, so burning a few citronella candles while you’re outdoors can discourage them. Indoors, use plants and essentials oils with odors that repel. Mint, lavender, and basil are all worthy houseplants to place in your windowsill. And a few drops of lavender or eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle full of water can be a first defense if sprayed around the frames of doors and windows, though you’ll need to reapply often.


The Right Way to Wash Your Car

How to Wash a Car

Photo: JNoonan

Good things come to those who wait: That may be sound advice for life in general, but if you’re a car owner, it’s best to ignore that old adage. Rather than wait around for crud to accumulate, I’ve learned that, if you want to protect the finish on your vehicle, it’s far better to clean early and often. Be aware, however, that when cleaning a car, it’s possible to do more harm than good. Poor technique or improper materials leave the clear-coat finish riddled with micro-scratches that not only compromise the longevity of the paint job, but also lessen resale value. Fortunately, cleaning your car the right way doesn’t have to call for a full afternoon of hard labor. It requires only that you work with the right equipment. In fact, I was pleased to discover that you really need only one tool for the task, so long as you’ve got the HYDE PivotPro Boat/Auto Cleaning Water Wand. With PivotPro, I did a much better job than my local car wash, and for much less money.

How to Wash a Car - Wheels

Photo: JNoonan

STEP 1
Park the car in a shady part of the driveway and begin your cleaning only after the car has cooled to the touch. Once it’s ready, grab your PivotPro. That’s right—you won’t need all those sponges and buckets today. Simply connect your PivotPro to the garden hose, then start blasting away loose dirt and debris from the roof on down to the tires. Unlike other wands in its category, the PivotPro features a patented pivoting nozzle that rotates along a radius of 135 degrees. This means that merely by pulling or pushing the slide grip on the barrel, you can adjust the spray angle. Rather than stretching or stooping to clean a hard-to-reach area, you can simply pivot the nozzle to direct the water where you want it to go. All the while, you can remain standing comfortably upright on your own two feet.

STEP 2
After rinsing the entire vehicle, proceed to cleaning what’s so often the dirtiest component: the wheels. Here, water alone may not be sufficient; the nooks and crannies of your wheels, like mine, might benefit from a scrubbing. But with PivotPro, there’s no need to go digging in the garage for a suitable brush. The tool comes with a spindle brush that’s specially designed to fit into wheel wells and other tight spots. Just lock that brush into position and, capitalizing on the tool’s 46-inch length, get into all those crevices where even hands wouldn’t fit. To give the front of the wheels an extra scrub, trade the spindle brush for the rectangular, nylon-bristled brush with a rubber bumper. For maximum cleaning power, scrub even while spraying the area with a steady stream of water.

STEP 3
Without knowing any better, some people use normal dishwashing soap or another cleaning agent borrowed from the kitchen. That’s a bad idea, it turns out, as such products strip away the protective wax coating on your car, leaving its finish vulnerable to nicks, scratches, and stains. Having learned from the error of my ways, I purchased a dedicated car-washing solution and was ready to proceed.

Whereas in the past I would have added my detergent to a bucket full of water, thanks to PivotPro’s clever soap-dispensing functionality, this time the process was remarkably hassle- (and bucket-) free. After filling the built-in mixing reservoir and setting the desired soap-to-water ratio, I sprayed down the entire car, from top to bottom, with soapy water. It must have taken me—oh, I don’t know—two minutes?

STEP 4
Next, I switched out the spindle brush in favor of another attachment included with the HYDE PivotPro Boat/Auto Cleaning Water Wand—a microfiber pad. Car aficionados recommend microfiber above all other materials, and now that I’ve used it, I understand why. As I ran it over the soaped-up car, the pad seemed to be floating away the dirt and debris, not driving them into the finish. Be careful, though: Pause your work every now and again to inspect the microfiber for anything that might leave a scratch. Another tip: Wipe vertical surfaces (e.g., doors) with a stiff-armed up-and-down motion; with horizontal surfaces (e.g., hood), use a left-to-right motion. Work in sections, and as you finish each one, toggle the switch on the PivotPro to rinse the soap off the section before it has the chance to dry.

How to Wash a Car - Microfiber

Photo: JNoonan

STEP 5
You can always let the car air-dry after a final rinse-off, but doing so runs the risk of a spotty result. To avoid streaks, dry the car with a microfiber towel by either blotting or dragging the material slowly across the surface. Even better, treat the microfiber with spray wax or instant detailer first. The lubrication from either treatment helps prevent the microfiber from marring the perfect finish you’ve managed to restore by carefully following the earlier steps.

It’s gratifying to tackle even a simple job like washing the car. But there are tangible incentives as well. For instance, sidestepping car wash fees can end up saving you some real money, especially if you’re cleaning your vehicle as often as you should. In the end, however, I was most impressed by the fact that, armed with PivotPro, doing all this myself wasn’t a chore—it was actually sort of fun!

How to Wash a Car - Hyde PivotPro

Photo: thehydeway.com

This post has been brought to you by Hyde Tools. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


Never Lose ANYTHING with Tile Tracking Tags

Don't lose your marbles over missing possessions! With the help of this small-but-mighty gadget, you can keep tabs on your keys, wallet, luggage, and other frequently mislaid items.

Tile Tracking Tags

Photo: thetileapp.com

A panicked frenzy over misplaced items as you’re rushing out the door—we’ve all been there, and the stressful search has the potential to derail an entire day. Thanks to apps like Find My iPhone and Android Device Manager, finding an errant phone isn’t a lost cause. But what happens when non-electronic possessions get lost in the shuffle—your keys, wallet, or even a pet? Enter Tile, a tracking tag that enables your smartphone to help you hunt down all your misplaced things.

Tile Tracking Tags - Keychain

Photo: thetileapp.com

As the name suggests, each Tile takes the shape of a white square chip, roughly the size of a half-dollar. You can affix one to nearly anything you’d ever want to locate. Slip a Tile onto a key ring using the handy hole punched in the top left corner, use adhesive to stick one onto the remote, or simply place a Tile into the pocket of a bag or wallet. Then, just link up the device to your account on a mobile app. If the Tiled item ever goes missing, this tiny helper will enable you to scout it out via a map on your smartphone. It’ll tell you when you’re getting warm, and you can even have the app ring your Tile so you can follow your ears to dig it up—a very useful feature when you’re trying to find buried keys or a remote control that’s fallen behind the sofa.

Rather than utilizing GPS technology to find a real-time location, each tracker tag emits a Bluetooth signal that your phone will pick up when it’s within 100 feet of the tag. Fortunately, if you’ve stepped outside of that radius, the app keeps track of the last place it “saw” your item, which could be roughly where you last walked away from it—a helpful starting point for retracing steps if you’ve spent a day running errands and don’t recall if you left your wallet at a returns counter or on the table at your coffee stop.

Perhaps the app’s most fascinating feature is its access to an extensive network of Tile users, which can be key to locating those truly lost items. If a Tiled item of yours goes missing (say, a piece of luggage at the airport), use the app to report it as lost. Then, when any other phone running the app comes within 100 feet of it, the app will notify you of its location—without alerting the other user to lost goods nearby. Whereas before if you left your bag somewhere your only recourse would have been calling around to all the places you stopped at in a day’s worth of travel, now you can rely on a larger search party of strangers to get to the bottom of the case of the missing purse.

Purchase Tile, $25 each


INFOGRAPHIC: Your Everything Guide to Painting Prep

Nothing refreshes a home like a new paint job. Read on for helpful tips, tools, and prep ideas to help you make the most of your next painting project.

Few home improvement projects are as transformative as a fresh coat of paint. In fact, painting your own house—whether indoors or out—is one of the smartest upgrades any homeowner can accomplish on their own. But for a DIY paint project that looks truly professional, it pays to prepare the space by cleaning, scraping, patching, and sealing walls and trim.  Knowing the right way to prep will give any paint job a clean, seamless look and ensure your work will last for years. So before you get to started on your next project, check out these tips from the experts at DAP.

Painting Prep Infographic DAP

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This post has been brought to you by DAP maker of caulk, patch and prep products for all of your painting needs. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


Bob Vila Radio: The Right Caulk for the Job

Rather than settle for an all-purpose product, choose a caulk specifically designed for the type of project you're tackling.

Few items in the toolbox can help you out more than a caulk gun. And one thing you may not know is that, even though lots of manufacturers offer “do it all” caulk, you’re likely to get better results with a product formulated especially for the task at hand.

Choosing the Right Caulk

Photo: fotosearch.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON CHOOSING CAULK or read the text below:

For example, caulks for kitchens and baths contain added ingredients that fight mildew, while adhesive caulks are great for joining materials. Window and door caulks, meanwhile, excel in sealing unwanted openings.

And what about concrete sealant? There’s nothing better to fill the cracks that show up in sidewalks and driveways. Still other options include asphalt sealant and gutter and flashing sealant. There’s even a specialty caulk designed to help block the spread of fire.

So next time you head to the home center to pick up some caulk, make sure you allow a little extra time to look for the product that’ll give you the best performance.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.


How To: Clean Patio Furniture

How to Clean Patio Furniture

Photo: thehydeway.com

A fixture of backyard barbecues and poolside parties, patio furniture must withstand not only the elements, but also the everyday wear and tear that occurs even in fair weather. Given your furniture’s almost constant exposure, dirt and grime inevitably accumulate over time, but with proper preparation, you can clean patio furniture fast—and with next to no hassle. The key? Insisting on the very best tools for the task at hand. Read on to discover the easy way to care for wood, metal, and plastic outdoor furniture.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- HYDE PivotPro Outdoor Cleaning Water Wand
- Garden hose
- Vacuum with hose attachments
- Sponge
- Oil-based soap, dishwashing soap, or automatic dishwashing detergent

How to Clean Patio Furniture - Table 2

Photo: thehydeway.com

STEP 1
Cleaning patio furniture the easy way hinges on HYDE PivotPro, a triple-threat tool that’s part sprayer, part soap dispenser, and part stiff-bristle brush. Swing the brush into position, then use the 46-inch tool to scrub away all the loose dirt or debris from the furniture. Before you get going in earnest, remove any cushions, setting them aside to be handled separately.

STEP 2
Different cleaning agents are best for different patio furniture materials. No matter what type of furniture you’re dealing with, however, you can usually count on having to pull out a bucket and pour in about a quarter-cup of the appropriate cleanser with about a gallon of warm water. But with PivotPro, you can skip the bucket and let the tool dispense the correct cleanser-to-water ratio.

• For wood and natural wicker furniture, opt for a nourishing oil-based soap.

• For both colored plastic and wrought-iron furniture, choose a clear, mild dishwashing soap.

• For white plastic furniture, use automatic dishwashing detergent. Because such detergents typically contain bleach, wear rubber gloves for protection. After applying, remember to let the solution stand for 15 minutes before rinsing it off.

The PivotPro comes with a built-in 16-ounce mixing reservoir. Just add the appropriate cleaner to the reservoir and set the tool to dispense precisely two ounces of soap for every one gallon of water (which is just one of several available ratios). Now attach the PivotPro directly to your garden hose.

STEP 3
Point and shoot, using the PivotPro to spray down the furniture with a steady, rapid stream of soapy water. Be sure to address every surface—top and bottom, front and back. For best results, capitalize on the patented pivoting nozzle from which the PivotPro derives its name. Simply slide the grip on the barrel of the tool, and the spray angle adjusts along a radius of 135 degrees, enabling you to clean those hard-to-reach areas, all without bending, stretching, or stooping. If you encounter any crud that refuses to budge, swing the brush back into position and scrub while simultaneously spraying. That ought to do it!

STEP 4
Disengage the soap dispenser and rinse the furniture with clear water, taking care to remove all residue left by the cleaning agent. Finally, let your furniture air-dry outside, and it’s sure to be ready in time for a relaxing, well-deserved alfresco dinner that very evening.

How to Clean Patio Furniture - Al Fresco

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Bob Vila Radio: Give Your Gas Grill a Tune-Up

For better-tasting food and longer-lasting equipment, set aside time at the start of barbecue season to give your gas grill a little tune-up.

Grilling season is back, and not a minute too soon! To avoid any unpleasant surprises on your inaugural cookout, give your grill a little TLC before you start it up.

Gas Grill Maintenance

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Listen to BOB VILA ON GAS GRILL MAINTENANCE or read the text below:

Shut off the valve on the propane tank, then carefully remove the cooking grates, gas tubing, and burner. Wash the grates and gas tubing in soapy water, then use a damp rag to wipe grime off the burner. Next, poke a toothpick into each hole in the burner to dislodge any gunk from last season. Finally, use soapy water and a stiff brush to clean the inside of the grill before reinstalling the gas tubing and burner.

Before your first cookout, fire up the grill, with the burners set on high. Let the heat burn off any grease or such that you may have missed. Doing so also provides assurance that all components of the grill are working as they should. It may be wise to keep a couple of propane tanks ready to go, as you never know when unexpected guests may show up with an appetite for one of your juicy burgers!

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free.