Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Quick Tip #17 – Caulking the Wide Open Spaces

June 13th, 2014

M009 - Caulking TechniquesSo you filled that wide gap in the exterior trim with the best caulk you could buy, and the next year it had pulled away from one surface, leaving a large gap. Or you tried to fill a wider gap, and the caulk just fell in the hole. What went wrong? No backer rod.

Before professionals fill a large gap with caulk, they bridge the wide opening with a stiff foam backer rod. The backer rod is wide enough so friction holds it just below the gap’s surface. The rod supports the caulk applied in an hourglass shape with a height-to-width ratio of about 1:2.

Why? Caulk needs to expand and contract as surfaces move. The hourglass shape allows the caulk to bond to only two surfaces; the narrower section easily expands and contracts with movement. Caulk should never completely fill a space. It should never be applied to three sides or an unbridgeably wide gap, or it will quickly fail. Caulk can’t expand and contract when it is pulled in three directions or when the cross-section is too thick.

You will find backer rods in larger paint and hardware stores. It is sold in lengths like rope, and it comes in various diameters. Choose a diameter that is wider than the gap to be filled, and force the rod into place with a blunt tool or putty knife.

Quick Tip #15 – Garage Door Safety

May 29th, 2014

D009 - Garage Door Operator Control ButtonWhat is the largest, heaviest moving object in your home? You got it – the garage door. So it makes sense to do frequent safety checks on the door.

First, look for a safety label near the control button or the overhead door. It will tell you how to safely operate the door and test the reverse mechanism.

Second, make sure the control button is mounted at least five feet above the floor or any step. This prevents small children from playing with the door operator.

Third, never allow children to play with the door or the operator.

You should test your operator for reverse and door balance once per month. Follow the specific instructions on your door’s safety label. If you don’t understand these instructions or you don’t have specific instructions for your door, contact a professional door service company.

Several times per year, check the door hardware for tightness. Consult your owner’s manual for the proper lubricant, and apply it to rollers, tracks and other mechanical parts. Have the door serviced by a professional if there is any sign of problems.

By Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It

Water-based Polyurethane Over Oil-based?

June 21st, 2011

Question:

Is it OK to use a water-based polyurethane such as Minwax Polycrylic over an interior door surface that had previously been finished with oil-based? Minwax says it’s OK, but the lady at the home improvement store said no. Could you please break the tie?

-Mary

Answer:

In most cases, it is OK to use a water-based polyurethane over an oil-based finish in good condition. You should remove grease, dirt and wax by scrubbing the surface with a wood prep/cleaner/de-glosser, or mineral spirits and synthetic steel wool. Then “roughen” the surface finish lightly with medium or fine-grit sandpaper in the direction of the grain. You want to remove the gloss from the finish. Remove all the dust with a vacuum or tack rag.

Apply the new water-based finish per label directions. The application is typically done with a lint-free cloth and several coats are recommended. The advantage of the water-based finish is ease of use, quick drying, no odor, and easy cleanup.

Zar-ULTRA-MAX-Wood-StainOne word of caution – read the label carefully and follow the specific instructions. Some of these water-based finishes are not for use over lacquer or shellac. Spray lacquer is commonly used on new furniture and in new construction. A great finish to try is ZAR brand ULTRA Max – a waterborne oil modified polyurethane.

Leaky Basement – Test the Tile?

January 11th, 2010

Question:

How do I go about having drain tile examined?

Steve

Answer:

Take a look at my free article – Keep Your Basement Dry. This will explain basement drainage systems in detail with illustrations, how to review a leaking basement, correcting problems, and doing a drain tile test.

Tom