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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

Photo: fotosearch.com

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


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

Photo: fotosearch.com

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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.


5 Things to Do with… Sawdust

Don't toss your woodworking scraps yet! Give your sawdust and shavings purpose with one of these five tasks.

As an avid DIYer, chances are you have remnants from many projects lingering around the house—tools waiting to be stashed away, leftover materials, and probably a bit of mess, much to your dismay. While you might think your project scraps aren’t good for more than the trash, there is one byproduct that’s quite a valuable material in its own right: sawdust. These wood shavings have plenty of potential for household use! Read on for five reasons to save the extras from your next woodworking session.

 

FILL ANY HOLES

Uses for Sawdust - Wood Filler

Photo: fotosearch.com

When you’re in need of good wood filler, don’t look any further than some glue and sawdust. Mix the two together, and you can patch any hole or gash in your wood furniture. The sawdust helps to keep the glue from running and, if you’re lucky, will help closely match the color of the wood. Once it has dried, lightly sand the surface smooth. It will really help you out in a pinch!

 

LIGHT YOUR FIRE (FASTER)

Uses for Sawdust - Fire Starter

Photo: fotosearch.com

Getting a campfire going in less-than-perfect conditions can be challenging. When you’ve got no time to wait, enlist the help of a handy homemade fire starter. Make your own by mixing melted candle wax with a handful sawdust in an old or disposable muffin tin, then let the composition cool. You’ll end up with convenient little rounds that are ready to toss into the makings of your next summer campfire!

 

LINE A CAT BOX

Uses for Saw Dust - Litterbox Liner

Photo: instructables.com

Have you ever noticed how much money Miss Kitty’s litter is costing every month? It adds up. Fresh wood chips and sawdust can stand in as a smart alternative—cheaper and more environmentally friendly, too. The only downside is that it won’t clump like many store-bought varieties do, meaning you’ll have to change the litter more often. No cat at home? This same method will work for hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets, and bunnies—pretty much any critter with a cage that needs to be lined.

 

CLEAN UP SPILLS

Uses for Sawdust - Paint Spill

Photo: flickr.com

Accident-prone crafters, rejoice—you can use the mess from a woodworking project to clean up the mess of future DIYs! When you spill an excess oil or paint, just sprinkle some sawdust onto the sticky spot. The highly absorbent wood shavings will soak up most of it, making for an easier cleanup. (Better start keeping a bucket of sawdust on a shelf in the garage, just in case.)

 

KILL PESKY WEEDS

Uses for Sawdust - Kill Weeds

Photo: flickr.com

While most wood chips make an effective mulch for landscaping, walnut sawdust can work wonders outside the garden bed as a weed killer. It contains juglone, a chemical toxic to most plants, so sprinkling this wood’s shavings judiciously along the perimeter of the yard and over pathways will keep unwanted greenery from growing. Just make sure you don’t get too close to the flowers or plants you do want to stick around all season.


Genius! Turn Your Watermelon into a Drink Dispenser

Watermelon may be a summer staple, but we've clearly been missing out on some of what it has to offer. What if you could both enjoy the juicy flesh and make a practical party centerpiece all at once? Read on to find out how a watermelon can get a second life as a keg!

DIY Watermelon Keg - WK 1

Photo: prettyprudent.com

There’s more than one way to slice a watermelon, and more than one thing to do with it once you do! Sure, you can snack on juicy cuts any sticky summer day, but why leave it at that when you can also use the fruit to pour yourself a cool, refreshing drink? Jaime of Pretty Prudent teaches us a thing or two about using every part of the summertime staple by turning her rind into a festive drink dispenser. To re-create this fun, party-ready DIY, you’ll need nothing more than the summer essentials: a ripe watermelon, kitchen knife, ice cream scoop, spigot, and apple corer.

Start by slicing a small portion off the bottom to make a flat base so the watermelon stands up tall. Now, cut another, larger chunk off the top—remember, a large opening will make it easier to hollow out the inside. Once you’ve scooped out as much of the pink melon innards as you can, use an apple corer to create a hole for your spigot. Then, screw the spigot into place.

Just fill the fruit turned beverage dispenser with the drink of your choice, and you’re done! No matter what you pour in your watermelon keg, it’s sure to be enjoyed by all, says Jaime: “Every kid will love it, and almost every parent will love to spike it.”

FOR MORE: Pretty Prudent

DIY Watermelon Keg - WK 2

Photo: prettyprudent.com


Install Wood Paneling with Peel-and-Stick Ease

Get the look of the beautiful wood-paneled wall of your dreams without all the labor and costs involved with planking it from scratch. Stikwood's thin peel-and-stick panels get the job done in no time at all.

Stikwood - Wall Installation

Photo: stikwood.com

Want wood paneling without the hassle of nailing lumber to the walls? Meet Stikwood, the first peel-and-stick solid wood planking solution.

Stikwood planks are thin, flexible, adhesive-backed slices of real wood. The concept is reminiscent of contact paper, the old household standby that may still be lining your cabinets. Stikwood installation is similarly painless. Simply plan out your design, cut planks to fit, peel off the backings, and stick up the planks. The adhesive binds to any clean and smooth interior surface—walls, ceilings, doors, cabinets, and drawer fronts—and will last at least 10 years. Because each plank measures no thicker than three-sixteenths of an inch, installation—if you can call it that—is a snap. Indeed, Stikwood can transform an ordinary room in a matter of hours. And with 16 finishes to choose from, ranging from rustic white to a more contemporary mocha, there’s bound to be a texture and color combination suited to your taste.

Stikwood - Entertainment Center

Photo: stikwood.com

Stikwood can be purchased online in multiples of 20 square feet, with some 10-square-foot quantities available by special order. But whereas measurement would be a taxing step in a typical paneling project, Stikwood simplifies this portion of the job, too. Just plug in the measurements for the height and width of the surface you plan to panel, and the Stikwood site calculator tells you how many square feet of product you need. So really, the only “work” for you to do is in dreaming up a design.

Purchase Stikwood, $10 to $14 per square foot


Before & After: ’70s Kitchen Remodel Puts Every Inch to Work

A tiny, outdated kitchen gets a 21st century update—complete with extra storage, increased natural light, and more room to breathe. Read on for more of the story and photos of this beautiful before-and-after.

70s Kitchen Makeover

Photo: angelinthenorth.com

For Mat and Anna Nicholson, husband and wife with three houses’ worth of DIY renovation under their belts, a tiny kitchen in a not-so-dream home posed a creative challenge. First off, its tired style felt stuck in 1974. More concerning was its serious lack of space to cook, store supplies, eat in, and entertain. “The old layout left a lot of space underused,” Anna explained. “As it’s not a huge house, we wanted to make the most of what we had.” Together, she and Mat transformed the initially awkward room into a livable design by tearing down walls to open into a dining area, bricking over existing doors, and expanding windows into larger glass doors to invite in extra light. Floating shelves, a final addition, make even the most awkward corner useful and open up the tight space. Impressed by the work, we invited Anna to discuss behind-the-scenes details about designing her favorite project to date. Read on for her experience of making the best of a tiny kitchen!

How would you describe the kitchen before the makeover?
The main problem was the size—the kitchen was very small. And the layout of the downstairs was old-fashioned, with one living/dining room going from the front to back of the house and a separate kitchen, complete with 1970s serving hatch. There was also a pantry in the kitchen that took up a lot of space, which we removed in the end, and a door that we bricked up for more wall space.

What did you envision for this space?
We wanted the room to feel light, bright, and open. The layout needed to fit in with modern family life—a dining kitchen, somewhere comfortable and pleasant to cook and spend time.

70s Kitchen Makeover - Use of Space

Photo: angelinthenorth.com

You tore down walls, ripped out flooring, installed new cabinetry and subway tile—really, the finished space is barely recognizable! What was most challenging?
The biggest challenge was probably living without a proper kitchen for six months! As we did nearly all of the work ourselves alongside working full time, the process took longer. The biggest and scariest challenges were probably the structural changes—knocking down a wall and replacing a window with double doors—but they were worth it because they’ve made the biggest difference.

Do you have any helpful advice for someone embarking on a kitchen remodel?
Just make sure you get your measurements right and spend time thinking about and planning the layout of your cupboards and appliances.

70s Kitchen Makeover - Wall Removal

Photo: angelinthenorth.com

Which part of the new design are you most proud of?
We just love the overall look, and the fact that we’ve managed to get all the appliances and cupboards we need in a relatively small space!

How do you make the small kitchen feel more cozy and less cluttered?
We’ve added open shelving in awkward corners, which I think looks great and serves a practical purpose—keeping the worktop free of clutter.

70s Kitchen Makeover - Extra Storage

Photo: angelinthenorth.com

Finally, how does this makeover change how you use the space?
It’s a much bigger, brighter, and more sociable space. Now, cooking is enjoyable and it’s a room where we spend time after work preparing and eating food and chatting. Just after it was finished, we hosted a Christmas dinner for 10; seeing everyone sitting together in the room enjoying the meal was a really proud moment. The old kitchen could barely fit two people in at the same time!

See more photos of the transformation at Angel in the North.


How To: Make a Concrete Planter

To make your own mobile planter with industrial flair, you don't need any obscure tools or extraordinary skills—only some time and a bit of determination.

How to Make a Concrete Planter

Photo: quikrete.com

Everyone knows that for major construction, concrete offers unparalleled durability at low cost. What you may not have realized is that concrete also boasts remarkable versatility. It’s capable of much more than paving roads and creating public plazas. That’s partly why creative do-it-yourselfers have fallen in love with the material and have channeled its many virtues into practical and decorative projects for the home and garden. Far from requiring mixing trucks and hard hats, these small-scale DIYs need only a bag or two of QUIKRETE® concrete, some basic tools and materials, and the willingness to get your hands a little dirty.

Case in point: By following the simple steps detailed below, you can make a concrete planter like the one pictured above. Equally suited to interior and outdoor spaces, the long-and-low planter features a no-frills industrial aesthetic that celebrates the material it’s made of. Though a similar piece might sell for hundreds at a trendy retail store, DIYing your own version costs next to nothing. Scroll down now to see how easy it can be to build something truly lasting.

 

MATERIALS AND TOOLS

How to Make a Concrete Planter - Materials

Photo: quikrete.com

- 2 bags of QUIKRETE® 5000
- Rigid foam insulation
- 4 casters
- 3/4″ plywood
- Silicone caulk
- Construction adhesive
- Salvaged cabinet
- 1/2″ threaded brass pipe
- 1/2″ spigot

 

STEP 1

How to Make a Concrete Planter - Step 1

Photo: quikrete.com

For wet concrete to take on the right shape, the material must be placed into, and allowed to dry within, a form whose hollow spaces correspond to the desired design. You can build your own form out of scrap melamine or laminate, but it’s faster and easier to repurpose something you’ve already got on hand; here, an old kitchen cabinet did the trick. Of course, if you were to fill the entire cabinet interior with concrete, the material would cure into a massive block. So, in order to make way for the sides and the trough-like middle of the planter, you’re going to set rigid foam insulation into the cabinet. With a utility knife or even a circular saw, cut three equal pieces of two-inch-thick insulation in such a way that, when placed into the cabinet, they leave two inches of free space on all sides. Now, using construction adhesive, secure the initial layer of foam to the inside back wall of the cabinet (which will be the top of the planter), then proceed to adhere the additional two pieces to the first and to each other.

 

STEP 2

How to Make a Concrete Planter- Step 2

Photo: quikrete.com

To simplify the project a bit, you can skip this step. If you want the planter to serve its purpose well, however, you should add drainage—which, in this project, is provided by a spigot. Although the spigot itself is added in a later step, its accompanying half-inch brass pipe must be introduced now. Choose one of the shorter cabinet sides and measure down from the top cabinet edge to the top edge of the foam. Then mark that same distance on the outside of the cabinet and drill a half-inch hole there. Finally, fit the brass pipe through the hole you’ve drilled, cutting back the insulation to make room. Finally, duct-tape the pipe to the foam.

 

STEP 3

How to Make a Concrete Planter - Step 3

Photo: quikrete.com

Before bringing concrete into the equation, it’s important to seal any holes or cracks that you notice in the form. If your form has no imperfections, it’s at least necessary to use silicone caulk to seal the hole you drilled to accommodate the brass pipe. Also, bear in mind that once you begin shoveling concrete into the form, its sides are going to be stressed by the material’s heavy weight. For that reason, it’s wise to brace the form with L-brackets, a ratchet strap, or simply a few lengths of rope. Last, mark a line about two inches below the top edge of your form. You’ll be filling the form with concrete up to, but not beyond, that line.

 

STEP 4

How to Make a Concrete Planter - Mixing 2

Photo: quikrete.com

Now it’s time to mix the concrete—nearly two full bags of QUIKRETE® 5000. As you’re preparing the material, resist the temptation to put more water in the mix in hopes of making it more pliable. Too much water results in weak, crack-prone concrete. Hew closely to the instructions printed on the package, mixing until the concrete has the consistency of cookie dough. Once ready, transfer concrete to the form, little by little. Be sure to pack it down into all the corners and crevices, using a stick or piece of scrap wood, if necessary. Pay special attention to the area around the pipe; for satisfying final results, maneuver concrete under and around the brass. Once the concrete has filled the form up to the line you drew in the previous step, finish this particular stage of work by briskly and repeatedly hammering all sides of the form. Doing so creates vibrations that force air bubbles to the surface, helping to ensure that the finished planter will be smoother and more stable.

 

STEP 5

How to Make a Concrete Planter - Step 5

Photo: quikrete.com

Place a piece of 3/4-inch-thick plywood, cut to the same dimensions as the rigid foam insulation, directly onto the face of the wet concrete. Push the wood down so that concrete rises up around its sides, leaving a flush surface across the two materials. If the wood keeps floating back up and out of position, weight it down with a heavy object. After that, it’s a waiting game. Let the concrete cure for at least four days. Once enough time has elapsed, begin deconstructing the form, gently breaking its pieces away from the set concrete. Consider using a circular saw for the purpose, but resort to power tools only if manual attempts fail. It’s important not to crack or otherwise damage the concrete, especially now that you’re so close to completion. With the sides of the form removed, go ahead and flip the planter over. Now it’s time to remove the insulation. Use a knife or a pry bar or a combination of the two, and expect the job to require some perseverance.

 

STEP 6

How to Make a Concrete Planter - Step 6

Photo: quikrete.com

Now that you’ve removed both the outer form and the inner insulation, you may be pleasantly surprised to see that, yes, you have something that very closely resembles a planter! The final steps are easy. First, install the casters by screwing them into the plywood backing. (Note that casters are available with metal, rubber, or plastic wheels. While metal may be the most durable, rubber and plastic are kinder to floors.) Second, screw on the spigot and seal around its flange with silicone caulk.

 

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

For more even more details on the concrete planter project, visit QUIKRETE®!

How to Make a Concrete Planter - Complete

Photo: quikrete.com

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


How To: Sharpen Scissors

Never let your trusty scissors go dull again! Follow these 5 easy steps to keep both blades sharp for everyday snipping.

How To Sharpen Scissors

Photo: fotosearch.com

Used for cutting paper, cardboard, fabric, string, price tags, plastic packaging—that list goes on—those scissors in your office or kitchen drawer might be the most reliable everyday tool in your house. With such regular use, that trusty tool dulls over time. Most scissors are not prohibitively expensive, so when one pair dulls you may consider just going out and buying another—but it’s not necessary. Scissors are essentially two knives connected at a pivot point. So, not surprisingly, you can sharpen your scissors just as you would your kitchen knives, with a couple of simple tools and some practice.

TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- Scissors
- Screwdriver
- Sharpening stone
- Water or honing oil
- Towel

How To Sharpen Scissors - Orange Scissors

Photo: fotosearch.com

STEP 1
To do the job right, you need a sharpening stone (sometimes called a bench stone). You can get one at the hardware store for less than $20, and it will serve to sharpen most any blade you have, from your kitchen knives to your pruning shears. It’s worth the small investment to have one around! These stones come with a coarse side and a fine side. If your scissors are very dull, you’ll need to start with the coarse side and then move to the finer side to finish. If your scissors just need a light tune-up, you’ll use only the finer side.

Lay your sharpening stone on a towel and lubricate it with oil or water. Stores sell honing oil alongside sharpening stones, but you can use any oil, or even water, for lubrication.

STEP 2
Remove the screw that holds your scissors’ blades together in order to treat each one separately. It will be much easier to work on them.

STEP 3
As mentioned, if your scissors are particularly dull, you’ll want to turn over your stone to work first on the coarse side; if not, start working with the finer side. Place the blade onto the stone with the beveled edge facing you. Then, gripping the handle, tilt the blade toward you until the beveled edge lies flat on the stone. Now, slowly pull the blade across the stone to you, keeping that beveled edge flat against the stone. Repeat this action—carefully!—until the blade has sharpened. If you started on the coarse side of the stone, finish with a few swipes on the finer side of the stone.

Until you’re practiced, you may find it hard to judge when the edge has been completely sharpened. Here’s a tip: Before starting, run a permanent marker across the blade edge. When the marker has disappeared, you’ve sharpened the entire blade.

STEP 4
Repeat Step 3 with the second blade of the scissors.

STEP 5
Once you’ve finished with the sharpening stone, you will see a fine edge of burrs along the blade; these need to be removed. Reassemble the scissors by screwing the blades back together, and open then shut them a few times. Knock the burrs off by making a few trial cuts through a piece of material those scissors are meant for—be it fabric or paper. If you’re happy with how sharp the scissors are, you’re finished. If not, repeat the process.

 

You should practice on some old scissors until you get the hang of it—Grandma will be mad if you ruin her antique sewing scissors! But it won’t take you long to get comfortable, and then you’ll never have dull scissors in the home again. You can keep them sharp with some quick, regular maintenance every couple of months. Happy cutting!


3 Ways to Shrink Your Shopping Bag Mess

Corral the mass of crumpled plastic bags left over from countless shopping trips with three tried-and-tested tricks.

How to Store Plastic Bags - Mess

Photo: KCorlett

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of plastic shopping bags you’re harboring underneath your kitchen sink? Perhaps they’re devouring the pantry, instead. No matter the location or the number of bags, you’ll be happy to know there are ways to minimize clutter while they wait to be reused. Here, we took puffy piles of 15 bags each and condensed them for easy storage using our three favorite tricks. Try one of these methods to reduce your bags’ footprint in your own home, and your storage space won’t be overrun by plastic again.

 

STUFF ’EM

How To Store Plastic Bags - Stuff Em

Photo: KCorlett

Short on time? This storage solution is a clear winner for the quickest way to stash your plastic bags. The method is simple: There is none! Just save the last tissue box you’ve emptied, then cram as many bags as you can into it through the plastic slit in its top. (We fit 15 in a box that once held 210 tissues.) The cardboard structure will keep your mess contained when you stick it back in your pantry.

 

KNOT ’EM

How To Store Plastic Bags - Knotted

Photo: KCorlett

This next method also prevents the bags from overflowing, but this time by keeping each bag individually balled up. Hold the very bottom of a bag in your right hand, and pull the other end taut using your left. Then, bring the ends together so the bag is folded in half. Knot the six- to eight-inch length of folded bag, and toss it into a crate or bucket for use later.

 

FOLD ’EM

How To Store Plastic Bags - Fold into Triangles

Photo: KCorlett

And finally, here’s a use for the skills you honed while passing notes in junior high—this organizational trick hinges on the football fold.

First, flatten your plastic bag into a rectangular shape. Fold it in half lengthwise so that the sides meet, then fold in half again. Smooth your bag once more from the bottom to the handles in order to press out any air. Starting at the bottom, pull the left corner up and across so that the end is triangular, then fold the pointed corner (the right) up so that the bottom is squared off again. Now alternate: Pull the right corner up and across, and the left directly upward. Continue this triangular fold as far as you can, until you’re left with the handles. These you’ll tuck snugly under the top flap of the triangle you’ve just folded, and the thin folded triangle you’re left with can be stacked neatly in a basket until it’s ready for use. Check out pictures of the step-by-step at Instructables.


Bob Vila Radio: Safe Setup for Extension Ladders

Extension ladders can be more dangerous than useful, if you're not careful, so remember these rules of thumb.

For committed do-it-yourselfers, extension ladders are a must-have. When you’re using them, though, it’s important to keep a few safety pointers in mind.

How to Use an Extension Ladder

Photo: fotosearch.com

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Listen to BOB VILA ON EXTENSION LADDER SAFETY or read the text below:

First, never try to set up an extension ladder when it’s extended. Instead, position the ladder where you want it, then raise the upper half at least three feet above the roof line. Make sure the bottom of the ladder is angled out about a quarter of its height.

Don’t try shifting the position of the ladder, even slightly, while you’re standing on it. Better to make an extra trip down to move the ladder properly. And be sure you stay well clear of any overhead electrical wires when you’re moving the ladder, especially if it’s a metal ladder. Forgetting that could cost you your life.

Finally, make sure you don’t position the bottom of the ladder in front of a door that opens outward. Sure, that may seem like a no-brainer, but such mishaps send people to the hospital every year.

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.