Friday, March 29, 2013

Through out the year's of being a New Jersey home improvement contractor I've learned quite a bit. These tips and tricks that I have used have saved me hours of frustration, time, and not to mention money. Most, if not all, were learned through trial and error. When you encounter the "Honey Do List" and think this doesn't seem so difficult, I'm here to back you up. We all have good intentions but lack the tools(knowledge & experience). So, for all you weekend warriors This Blog Is For You! Every week we will be adding a new tip.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Interior Wall Projects

When repairing interior walls or hanging pictures one thing you need to know is where the studs are located..Finding The Wall Studs can  help avoid further damage. Wall Studs of 2" x 4"'s or 2" x 6"s are usually located 16 inches apart.
If you start in the corner and measure 17 inches , you should hit the center of the stud. Just remember that wires often run through the center of the studs.
 Another way of locating stud is to use a commercial stud finder. Don't have one , a neat trick would be to use a common compass it works almost as well. When you run the compass on the wall the needle will be attracted to the drywall nails.
If you're installing wallpaper to walls ,start straight !  Don't count on room corners being plum, use a level to mark a vertical line to follow. You can also suspend a chalked weighted piece of  string from a high point on the wall. When it comes to rest , pull it taunt against the baseboard. Snap the string at the center. The mark will leave a true vertical. If you're applying wallpaper in areas of the house where dampness or steam tends to occur, like bathroom or the kitchen.  As soon as wallpaper dries, paint some clear shellac over the joints and edges. This will help prevent those areas of the paper from peeling back.

Quick Tip for painting

Don't Allow those messy runs on the side of your paint can. Stretch a rubber band vertically over the can so that it runs across the open mouth of the can. Now you can wipe your brush on the rubber band and the excess paint will fall back into the can.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Repairing Brick Steps

Repairing brick steps can seem intimidating , but with a little know how and some patients you can do it.  When properly maintained a masonry porch/steps can last for several decades and beyond.  One of the main reasons for major damage,  is cracks that appear on the surface. Not attended to immediately  this will lead to structural damage of the block. Once the block have been compromised  it usely leads to a total rebuild, costing thousands of dollars.  If you have loose brick or stone on the treads or cracks now is the time to take action.  You can go to your local hardware store or one of the home improvement chains to get supplies. Remember the tools that you need are probably only going to be used a few times, so don't spend a lot money on them.   After using  them keep them clean and dry and you'll have them for next time.
Tools & Material needed
Small tarp
Mason trowel
Brick jointer
Tape Measure
Small level
Mason line
Sponge & 5 gallon bucket
Bag of ready mix mortar type S
Click on slideshow for larger view or to view pictures individually

Caulk any remaining cracks and voids on porch with a clear sealant.
Now that you have repaired it, keep it from further damage and apply a waterproof sealant.This can be sprayed on or applied with paint roller.

Quick Tip: Never use rock salt on masonry use calcium chloride

Monday, January 21, 2013

Removing Black Soot On Fireplace Front Organically

This is a great way to remove soot build up on fireplace front. It also works great on stone and brick that have stains. Most commercial cleaners have harsh chemicals that may be harmful to you and your family. Distilled white vinegar is a natural mild acid that has been used for years by many different industries.It's main ingredient is acetic acid, giving it's natural power to clean. I have included a step by step instructions on how to remove stains. I have customers ask me all the time how to keep the hearth on the fireplace looking new and free from stains. Sealing any masonry surface with a good brick or stone sealer will prevent  stains from penetrating the surface. This makes for an easy clean up when something does get on it,usually a wet rag is all thats needed.
Tools needed
1 cup Distilled White Vinegar in spray bottle
1 cup Water in spray bottle
Hand held brush
Some elbow grease

Quick Tips: Many older homes have plaster walls,driving nails into them can cause cracks. To Eliminate this put a strip of masking tape on wall. Drive nail into tape, once set remove tape

If you need to fix small cracks on plaster walls ,Instead of mixing plaster with water,use vinegar to mix for a stronger fill

No Plaster? Try some white carpenters glue mixed with baking soda. This also works good for nail holes on drywall

Have any good tips ? Please share