Home Improvement Tips…

Rick Sheppard
Published on August 23, 2016

Home Improvement Tips…

Below you’ll find a variety of home improvement tips to help keep your home in tip top shape.

Peeling Wallpaper…

With a knife, smear wallpaper paste onto a piece of writing paper, then rub the paper against the underside of the peeling section. Press the wallpaper against the wall. Slide the writing paper out and smooth away bubbles with a clean cloth.

Clogged Drains…

Alka-seltzer works well on humans but it can also get the job done on clogged drains in your home. Take three Alka-seltzer tablets and drop them into the drain with a cup of white vinegar. Let the two components work its magic for fifteen minutes then add boiling water to the clogged drain and the drain will rid itself of clogged up hair, grease, and other stuff. Be sure to wait a few days to do this if you first tried a commercial drain cleaner product.

Small bathroom – Consider a wine rack above the toilet to hold your towels. You’ll find examples on Amazon.

Hands-Free Door Trick – Need to go in and out a bunch of times? Loop a rubber band around one doorknob or handle, then twist it once and loop it around the other knob.

Fix a broken phone charger – If the insulation is cracked but the copper wire inside is still intact, try covering the crack with a couple of layers of liquid electrical tape ($5-$10 per bottle). Don’t let the cable touch anything until the liquid tape dries completely.

How do you know whether a finishing product (paint, varnish, etc.) is oil or water based? Read the cleanup instructions. If the product cleans up with soap and water, it’s water based; if it requires mineral spirits, it’s oil-based.

Stained Tub…

Combine equal amounts of baking soda and cream of tartar with enough lemon juice to make a paste.  Rub the mixture into the stain with your fingers or a soft cloth.  Let sit for a half hour, then rinse well with water.

Hard-to-Remove Lightbulb…

Press the center of a foot-long strip of duct tape onto the middle of the bulb.  Fold each loose end in half so it sticks to itself.  Then grip each end between your thumb and index finger and give a counterclockwise twist to loosen the bulb.

Scuffed Linoleum…

 Rub the spot with white toothpaste and a dry cloth or with an eraser.  You can also spray WD-40 on a towel and rub lightly, making sure to degrease the area afterward with liquid dishwashing soap and water.

Shim a hinge…

When a door won’t close or won’t align with a catch, placing a shim behind one of it’s hinges might solve the problem.  The shim will kick

out the upper or lower half of the door, depending on which hinge you choose.  Make the shim from one or more playing cards.  Remove the hinge, then cut the cards to fit into the hinge’s recess.  Place each piece in the recess and punch screw holes in it using an awl or a small Phillips screwdriver.  Remount the hinge with the original screws.

Buy better dust masks…

Dust isn’t just a sneeze-inducing nuisance.  Heavy repeated exposure can lead to severe allergic reactions and even harm your lungs.  You can buy a dust mask for as little as 50 cents, but don’t.  Instead, spend a few bucks on one with an “N95” certification.  You’ll get a mask that’s more comfortable and truly effective at keeping dust out of your lungs.

Is it a bearing wall?

  1. The outside walls are supporting the roof, so they’re bearing walls.
  2. A beam directly under a wall usually means that it’s a bearing wall, whether the beam is in a crawl space, basement or on the main floor.
  3. Ceiling joists that meet over the wall indicate that it’s a bearing wall. It is carrying the weight of the ceiling.

In some cases, you may not be able to tell for sure whether a wall is bearing.  If you’re not sure, hire a contractor or structural engineer to help you figure it out.  I work with a number of contractors.  Contact me for a list of contractors to help your home improvement tips.

Ceiling fans…

Don’t hang a fan from a standard electrical box.  Be sure to use a special “ceiling fan brace” designed to take a fan’s weight. This will ensure the fan doesn’t come crashing down and possibly harm someone.

paint brush Stripping Furniture…

A piece of carpet on a work bench makes a great surface for stripping furniture. The soft carpet protects wood from nicks and scratches and also absorbs drips.

Garage Doors…

Most doors use torsion springs, which help your door go up easily and come down slowly. Standard springs are rated for about 10,000 cycles. If you open and close your door 6 times a day (about average), you’ll reach 10,000 in less than 5 years. An extra $50 spent on home improvement will buy you a spring rated for 20,000 cycles, twice the life for a few extra bucks!

Cell Phone Shield…

When you’re painting or gardening, keep your cell phone clean and dry by sealing it inside a zip-top bag. You can still work the buttons right through the bag.

Rinse your Lawn Spreader…

Chemicals from fertilizers speed up corrosion of the metal parts of your spreader, so rinse it out every time you use it. After it dries, coat all the moving parts with a light lubricant spray like WD-40.

Store Paint Cans Upside Down…

When a paint can is stored upside down, the paint creates an absolutely airtight seal, which will make the paint last longer. The obvious caveat to this tip is to make sure the lids are sealed tightly!

 Garbage Lid Hinge…

Tired of losing your garbage can lid? “Hinge” it to the barrel with cable ties. Drill ¼ inch holes for the ties and double them for extra strength. The lid will flip open and stay attached to the barrel. You’ll never have to search for your lid again!

Toilet tip…

Toilets can leak between the wax ring and the toilet flange. If all you do is scrape off the old wax ring without cleaning the flange, residue can keep the new wax ring from sealing. Just turn on a blow dryer to melt the old wax. Then wipe the flange clean with a paper towel or rag to get the best possible seal with the new wax ring.

Sewer clog prevention…

One of the worst things you can pour down your drain is grease. Warm grease will run down your drain until it cools in the pipe, where it congeals and starts forming a clog. Other stuff can then get stuck to the grease and eventually you’ll end up with a serious clog. When cooking, keep a jar handy to collect the grease and throw it in the trash each week or whenever the jar gets full. Grease can’t clog your sewer line if it’s not in your sewer line!

Save those old eye glasses…

When doing demolition work, painting (especially ceilings) or working in tight places like a crawl space, wear your old glasses, not the new ones you just bought for several hundred dollars. Better to bang up or splatter paint on the old glasses than your new ones!

Home Repair Tips

Home Improvement tips

Tighten coax connections…

Finger-tight coax connections often don’t provide a solid path for the signal and can loosen over time. So after tightening with your fingers, give the nut an extra quarter- turn with a wrench.

Tub and shower makeover…

When tub or shower fixtures grow old and ugly, most people go shopping for a new faucet, then call a plumber. But you can skip that expense by leaving the faucet valve in the wall and replacing the visible parts only. Tub and shower “trim kits” come in a range of styles; some are available at home centers and many more online. Just make sure the kit you buy will work with the brand and model of your existing faucet.

Seal out grout stains…

Grout is hard to keep clean because it’s porous. So when you finally get grout clean, your next step should be to seal it. Grout sealer plugs tiny pores, repels future stains and makes regular cleaning easier. The life span of sealer depends on its location and quality. On a kitchen backsplash, a good sealer will repel stains for a few years. In a shower that gets daily use, you may need to reseal every year.

Ball valves are better…

Whenever you replace a valve – whether it’s a shutoff under the sink or the isolation valve on your water heater – upgrade to a ball valve. Also called “quarter-turn” valves, ball valves have a simple ball inside rather than a screw mechanism and rubber seals. That simplicity means reliability; ball valves almost always work when you need them!

Do you have home improvement tipa that others may find useful?  Contact us and we’ll be happy to post your tip.

by Rick Sheppard Collegville Real Estate Agent

 

 

Home Improvement Tips…
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