Basic Steps For Remodeling a Basement

A basement can add a lot of value to a home, it’s like having a whole additional story that’s just located underground! It’s also a great way to add some much needed space to a home that’s not quite as large as you’d like. The first step in finishing or remodeling a basement is of course to decide what you’d like to use all the extra space for!

Basements make great spaces for family or game rooms. If you’ve always wanted a pool table but never had the room, the basement is the perfect place to have one. And, if you’re basement is large enough, you could have a large family room plus a guest room. There’s just so many options when you’ve got a whole additional floor in your home.

Basements are naturally sound resistant, so it’s a great place for a home theater. And, other things like musical instruments won’t bother the neighbors as much underground. One good advantage in turning your basement into a very much used section of the home is that there is already everything you need, pipes and electrical wires are usually easy to access from the basement.

After you’ve decided exactly what you want to use the basement for, the next step is to check for any water problems and fix them. A basement that never gets used might have leakage problems without you even knowing it. If you’re only in the basement occasionally, the water could have time to dry up and you won’t be aware of a problem.

Fixing water and moisture problems before adding insulation and walls is much easier and less expensive than finding out there’s a leak after you’ve done all the work. Even if you’re going to do all the work on the basement yourself, leaks are one area that it will be worth calling in a professional.

Before you start any of the remodeling, get a plan. Take exact measurements of the basement and draw it out on paper. Mark the water and electrical sources so that you can plan where to put outlets, light fixtures or an extra bathroom. Drawing out a rough blue print can help a lot when you start making separations or adding extra walls.

Another really important consideration when finishing a basement is the air circulation. Most basements have little if any vents, good air circulation is essential to help prevent the chances of molds and mildew growing. You’ll also need to decide on the type of heating and cooling you’ll want to use. Duct work can be used to connect into the existing heat and air units that service the rest of the home.

Installing insulation is critical step in not only keeping the basement comfortable, but it can also keep it dry. Since the ground stays cool, warm air will create condensation on the walls. Insulation will block warm air from hitting the walls and creating moisture. It’s another way to reduce the chance of mold and mildew, but it can also keep the walls from eventually rotting.

If you have a basement that is partially above ground, make use of the space by adding larger windows. But, if you don’t have the advantage of natural light, make the best out of artificial lighting. Since basement ceilings are generally lower than regular ceilings, add some indirect sources of light that shine on the ceiling to make them appear higher.

Mirrors can also magnify the lighting that you do have. Light reflecting off of mirrors can really increase the light of any room. Recessed lighting fixtures are also good additions to a basement. Just remember that lighting is very important, unlike traditional rooms that have windows, a basement can still appear dark with just a few lighting sources.

How To Fix A Sticking or Rubbing Door

We’ve all had one of those stubborn doors that just won’t close without that extra shove! It’s really aggravating, but left unrepaired it will eventually destroy the doors frame.

Whether your door is rubbing the frame, the floor or your new carpeting seems to be a little too thick, you can easily remedy the problem. All it takes is a little cutting or trimming with a plane.

The first step is to figure out exactly why the door is hard to shut. The easiest place to begin is with the hinges, check to make sure that they are securely fastened to the door frame.

Over time the hinge screws can work loose and cause the door to droop! If the screws are loose and won’t tighten, they’re stripped and will have to be replaced with longer or larger ones.

You will have to make sure the screws you use have flat or recessed heads. A screw with a round head will protrude and the door still won’t shut properly.

Don’t remove all of the screws at once, replace them one at a time and tighten them as much as you can. Once you’ve replaced them all, shut the door and see if this has fixed your problem.

Another quick fix to check for is to see if the door frame has came loose. Open the door and lift it up while holding on to the knob. If the door raises up even a little, the frame may just dropped a little.

If this is the case, you can use long screws to pull the frame in tighter to the wall foundation board. I have often just taken a hammer and wrapped a towel around the head and tapped my door frames back into place!

If you’re lucky loose hinge screws or a loose frame board was the cause. But, if after checking the screws and the frame they’re all tight and secure, you’ll have to do a little more work.

Check the door edges to see where it’s scuffed. If the door has rubbed for awhile the paint will be worn off or at least scuffed, the scuff locations will give you the location of the problem!

If the door is just slightly rubbing on the top or side, you might be able to just sand off the excess without removing the whole door. Of course, if the problem is on the bottom of the door you’ll have to take the door down to get to it.

Unless you’re willing to put a lot of time and elbow grease into it, sandpaper probably won’t work. You’ll need a belt sander with a medium coarse belt to actually get anywhere in a fair amount of time!

If you’ve never used a belt sander, be very careful and patient. Slow is the key word here! If you get in a big hurry you may end up with a large gap and have to replace the door. Sand over the area a few times and check it, repeat this process until you can close the door easily.

Once you’ve sanded enough off that the door closes properly, then you can use regular sandpaper to smooth the surface by hand. For this you will need to use a fine grit sandpaper. If the spot you fixed shows, then you’ll need to repaint the area and maybe the whole door.

If the door is rubbing really bad or the new carpet is too thick, you’ll have to cut a strip off of the door with a circular saw. Measure carefully or you’ll end up with a door that’s too short!

It may take a little more work, but if you’re not sure exactly how much to cut, do it a little at a time. Cut a thin strip and then rehang the door and try it before cutting more off. Just keep cutting thin strips until the door fits!

Sometimes if the door is just slightly hanging, you can even use a plane to just shave off some of the wood. No matter what you use to remove part of the door, whether it’s a sander, a saw or a plane, just do it a little at a time. It’s better to have to cut it several times than to do it once and remove too much!

How To Replace a Broken Window Pane

You hear a crash and run to the living room to find a baseball rolling around your floor! Accidents can happen, but you don’t always need to call in a professional for repairs!

Replacing single paned windows is a pretty simple job that almost anyone can do in a few hours! If you have double or even triple paned windows, then you may not have a choice but to call someone that’s got a little more experience.

Installing a new glass pane is a lot easier if you can remove the window and lay it on a table or even the floor. Depending on the type of windows you have, there will either be some moulding strips or just glazing compound that goes around the glass and frame.

If your windows have strips be careful when removing them, you’ll need to re-use them for the new glass. After you’ve got them removed, scrape off all of the old window putty or glazing from the window bed.

If the material has became really hard, you can use a heat gun to lightly warm it and loosen it up. If you don’t have a heat gun, you can use a torch or some other type of heat, but be very careful not to scorch your window frame.

Once you’ve gotten all of the old glazing off of the frame, you will be able to see the glazing points. These are tiny metal chips, usually triangular shaped that are pushed into the wood up against the glass to hold it in place.

Remove all of the glazing points and carefully remove all of the broken pieces of glass. After you’ve taken the glass out throughly clean the channel where the glass sits and remove any remaining compound.

To make sure the area is completely clean, use a small piece of sand paper to sand the area all the way down to the bare wood. Measure the exact opening size and then subtract 1/8 of an inch from each side to get the right size glass that’s required.

You will need to apply a primer or coat of sealer to the sanded area and let it dry. When it’s dry, apply a thin coat of glazing compound all around the area where the window sets with a putty knife. About 1/16 of an inch is all that’s needed.

Insert the glass and gently press it into place, all of the edges  should come in contact with the compound. The glazing compound will seal the glass to prevent any water from leaking down  between the glass and frame when it rains.

The glazing points can easily be pushed back into the frame with the putty knife to hold the glass in place. Get them as close to the glass as you can to hold it securely against the window frame.

You should put at least two glazing points on each of the four sides of the glass. For large panes, it’s recommended to use one glazing point for every ten inches on each of the four sides of the glass.

If you’re window had strips that went around the glass, you can  replace them now. But, if there wasn’t any strips, use a small putty knife or your finger to apply more glazing compound or window putty around the entire glass.

The compound should be applied in a V-shape around the glass to make a nice smooth slope from the glass to the frame. You don’t have to wait for the compound to dry completely to paint it. As soon the surface of the compound has dried you can go ahead and paint over it.

How to Patch Cracks and Holes in Your Driveway

Over time the weather can really damage your driveway. Winter can be especially hard on both asphalt and concrete. The freezing and thawing can result in cracks that over time become holes.

Repairing your driveway doesn’t have to cost a lot, you can do it yourself and save the money for something else! It’s a pretty messy job, but it can usually be done in a few hours over a weekend!

Holes and cracks in your driveway are unsightly, but they can also be dangerous! If they’re large enough they can cause falls and injuries and should be repaired! Repairing small flaws in your driveway will also keep them from becoming larger.

The first step you need to take in repairing an asphalt driveway, is to remove all of the loose chunks and dirt. You can use almost any type of tapered tool to pry the loose asphalt out.

Once you have the hole or crack cleaned, remove any small pieces of asphalt and dirt with a stiff brush. After it is clean, use any type of grease cutting detergent and water to wash the oil away.

Getting the area as clean as you can and let it dry completely is one of the most important steps in patching. If there’s oil, grease or dirt the patching compound can’t adhere and will just come loose before long.

Cracks that are 1/4 inch or under are usually just repaired with a liquid material. You can buy it in a jug or even a tube that can be used with a caulking gun.

Fill the crack with a generous amount and use a scraper or putty knife to smooth it out and deep into the crack. If the crack is deep, you may have to repeat the process.

For larger cracks up to 1/2 inch, a thicker material is needed. This type of filler is usually in a can and needs to be mixed well before applying.

Just scoop some of the filler out and press it into the crack until it’s full and then smooth it all out. Larger cracks will have to be repaired with an asphalt cold patch that normally comes in a bag.

Over fill the crack with the cold patch material and then cover it entirely with sand. Using a scrap piece of board, a piece of 4X4 post is best, to tamp the filler down until it’s level with the rest of the driveway.

If it’s a really large crack or hole, you can fill the hole in the same matter. But, to help press it out you can lay a piece of plywood over the patch and drive your car onto the board to hold it down! Wait about 24 hours before using the area of the driveway that you patched!

To make repairs to a concrete driveway, follow the same steps as above to clean the area. The only real difference in the repair is the type of filler you’ll use.

For smaller cracks up to 1/4 inch, you can purchase a sealant that comes in a tube and apply it with a caulking gun. Larger cracks up to 1/2 inch will need to be filled with premixed mortar and cracks larger than that can be filled with premixed concrete.

Once you’ve gotten the crack or hole filled with the concrete, let it set for about an hour and then scrape away any excess with a trowel and smooth it out.

Unlike the asphalt repair, the concrete repair should be allowed to dry for several days. The slower the patch dries the stronger the concrete will be.

You can lightly mist the area with the water hose to keep it moist and keep the area covered with a sheet of plastic to extend drying time. Once it has completely dried, apply a water sealant to the area with a roller for extra protection.

Things to Consider when Buying an Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens are becoming more and more popular these days, as more and more home owners realize the benefits to putting their outdoor living areas to greater use. Not only is entertaining outdoors more fun and more simple than holding yet another party in a boring living room, but an outdoor kitchen also adds a significant amount to the value of the home. Outdoor kitchens require an investment of both time and homey, however. Here are some things to consider when buying an outdoor kitchen that could save you considerable expense in the long run.

1. How to Use Your Space
Before you start shopping, take a good look at the space you have available and determine how much of that space you want to use for your kitchen. Remember to block out room for gardens, play sets, and any other important features of your back yard.

2. How Will Your Kitchen be Oriented?
Before getting your heart set on a specific outdoor kitchen, think about how you will protect your guests from cool breezes, whether you’ll be staring into the setting sun as you cook, and how to keep your outdoor kitchen as close to your indoor kitchen as possible.

3. Check on Required Building Permits
Adding an outdoor kitchen is a much more serious undertaking than simply installing a grill. You may need building permits before you get underway. It’s a good idea to check on your local requirements before going ahead with your project.

4. How Will You Run Your Gas/Electric Lines?
If you’re going to have an outdoor kitchen, you’re going to need an easy way to manage the heat and electricity you’ll need. You should determine whether it’s possible to install the electrical or gas lines that you’ll need before getting started.

5. How Will the Plumbing Work?
Most outdoor kitchens include a working sink, which greatly eases everything from food preparation and hygiene to making drinks for guests. To accomplish a running sink, however, you’re going to need both water to the outdoor kitchen and a drain to the sewage system. This is worth considering before getting underway.

6. How Much Storage Do You Need?
At this point, you’ll probably want to consider what you’ll want to store outside, and where storage space will be located. Keeping plates, utensils, spices, and cutlery in your outdoor kitchen can save you a lot of work carrying stuff back and forth, if your storage is designed to keep your items clean and organized.

7. Fit In Counter Space
Counter space is an important aspect of cooking that is often overlooked when designing outdoor kitchens. Food preparation will be difficult if you don’t have the room to clean and slice your ingredients.

8. Choose Your Flooring Carefully
Cooking outdoors puts some special requirements on the flooring of your kitchen. The chances are even higher that you’ll be walking on the floor while it’s wet, so you should find a non-slip, non-porous surface. You’ll also want something with low glare, to prevent reflections in the sun.

By following these tips, you can have a good idea of what you’ll need from your outdoor kitchen before you go shopping, and before you make a potentially costly mistake.

Benni Jenyfari is a freelance author for Only Cookware - an unbiased guide to cookware including cookware reviews and information to assist when purchasing cookware online.

How To Make The Right Choice When Buying Caulk

The importance of caulk can’t be stressed enough! It’s a simple procedure that can be used both on newly finished projects or as preventative maintenance on your home.

Caulking is the finishing touch to a lot of do it yourself projects. Although, many things don’t need caulking, any project that involves water or air, such as bathtubs and doors do!

While caulking around your new sink or bathtub will most certainly give it a more finished appearance, it is also a necessary step! The caulk will prevent water from draining down into the wall and eventually rotting out your floors and walls!

When used around doors and windows, caulking will help keep both hot and cold air out. It can actually help save you money on heating and cooling bills and keep the temperature in your home more comfortable!

There are several different types of caulk available, but with a little knowledge choosing the right one doesn’t have to be a guessing game.

There are basically four things that you need to consider before buying caulking…..

1. Are you going to be using the caulk indoors or outside? Some       caulks are for indoor use only and will not hold up to the       elements if used outside.

2. How much moisture is going to be in the area you need to caulk?
If it’s a bathtub or sink, you’ll need caulk that is water       resistant.

3. How high or low will the temperature get? An inside project        won’t be as affected by temperature as an outside one. There       are caulks that can stand both high and low temperatures.

4. Last, but not least, you’ll need to consider how easy the caulk
is to apply. While caulking is basically a simple process, some
caulks are harder to work with.

Once, you’ve considered the area in which you’re planning to apply the caulking, you still have to choose the best type for your needs. This little guide will make the decision easier and you’ll have a completed project that will last for years!

Latex Caulk

Latex is very durable, depending on the wear to the area it’s applied, it can last up to 20 years! Another great feature of latex caulk is that you can paint over it to match the rooms decor. But, it’s not a good choice for areas that go through temperature changes, it won’t hold up.

Silicone Caulk

Silicone is a popular choice because it’s effective and durable on many different surfaces. Silicone caulk stays flexible after drying, so it won’t crack and break as easy as some caulks. It’s a perfect choice for sealing windows and doors. But, silicone caulking is harder to apply than some of the other types and it has a bad odor. If you’ve never applied caulking before, this may not be the perfect choice to learn with!

Caulking Cord

Caulking cord is virtually what the name implies! It’s caulking that comes on a roll and looks like a small cord! You just unroll it and cut it to fit the area. It’s a great way to seal off small gaps, but it will only last a few years.

Acrylic Latex Silicone Blend Caulk

As the name implies this caulk is a blend of several types. It is very easy to apply and is very durable. This caulk is good for either indoor or outdoor use and can even be used to seal cracks in stone or brick!

Asphalt Caulk

Asphalt caulk is a heavy duty caulk that is oil based. It can be used in most of the same ways that you use tar, such as sealing cracks around chimneys. It will harden very quickly and last up to four years.

Kitchen and Bath Caulk

This type of caulking should be used in any area where water and moisture are found! It’s the perfect choice for your bathtub, sink or toilet. It can usually be found in a selection of colors and is even mold and mildew resistant!

Butyl Rubber Caulk

This caulking is a great choice for sealing wide cracks and gaps. It can be used to fill in areas that are up to 1/4 inch wide. If applied correctly it will last for up to ten years and is very durable. It can also be found in a variety of colors to blend in with your homes decor.

Caulking Your Newly Finished Project Is Easy

Whether you’re caulking a newly finished project or an existing item in your home, you can do it yourself! Cualking will protect your floors and walls around sinks, bathtubs and toilets. But, it will also help lower your heating and cooling bills when used around doors and windows.

Most types of caulking is fairly inexpensive, but it can save you literally hundreds of dollars. Removing a bathtub and replacing a rotten floor is a huge undertaking!

Most caulks are applied in the same way and are actually simplier to apply than you might think. With the right kind of caulk and a little patience, you can do a professional looking job!

Caulking comes in two different types of containers, you can either purchase it in cartridges or in squeeze tubes. With a squeeze tube, you can just apply the caulking directly from the tube. But, if you purchase cartridges you will also need a caulking gun.

One of the most important things to do when caulking is to clean the area. The area can be cleaned using plain warm water, never use any type of soaps or cleaners. Remove as much of the dirt and dust as possible, these will keep the caulking from adhering.

If you’re re-caulking a area, remove all of the old caulking. You can use a utility knife or even a putty scraper to get all of the old caulking off. If there’s any residue of the old caulking left, you can use some rubbing alcohol on a rag to clean it up.

Since caulking is usually inexpensive, it’s a good idea to try doing a little caulking on a piece of carboard or newspaper first. This is especially helpful if you’ve never applied caulk before. It will give you an idea of how hard to squeeze the caulking to get the thickness of the line you desire.

Cutting the tip of the nozzle whether on a cartridge or a squeeze tube is also important. If your project requires a thin line of caulk, you’ll want to cut close to the tip of the nozzle. And, you’ll want to cut farther down if you need to fill a large gap.

To get a nice even line of caulking, use even pressure to squeeze the tube or caulking gun trigger and move the nozzle at a consistent pace. You should always hold the caulking at a 45 degree angle to apply.

After you’ve gotten all of your caulking applied, you can use a caulking smoother to press it into all of the gaps and cracks. If you don’t have a smoother, you can just wet your finger and use it to smooth the caulk into place.

The drying time depends on the type of caulking that you use. It should tell you how long it will take right on the package. It may only take several hours, but you may need to wait until the next day for it to completely set.

If the caulking was applied around a bathtub or sink, make sure it’s completely set before using them. Water can wash the caulking away and prevent it from drying completely. And, if you’re planning on painting it, the paint will prevent it from getting the air it needs to dry properly.

10 Questions You Should Ask A Contractor Before You Hire Them

You should not just hire a contractor without asking them questions. Your home is one of, if not the, prized possessions in your life and you want to make sure the best possible job is done on your home, no matter what needs to be worked on. By asking the contractor you are looking to hire pertinent questions you can be more comfortable with them being able to do the job. (more…)

The First Step in Home Remodeling – Securing Financing

Home improvements have to do with a certain method of refurbishing, repairing, and putting add-ons to a home. By doing this a homeowner can change or modify their home without having to change everything about the home. Since people that own homes want to save some cash many try to morph into Bob Villa and do these alterations themselves. But before you do it yourself or hire someone else to remodel your home you have to look into refinancing. (more…)

How To Repair a Scratch on Your Porcelain Bathtub

If your porcelain bathtub has a scratch on it can take away form the overall look of your bathroom. Many times the scratch on the bathtub is located where you enter the tub in the front and therefore it is very noticeable. A bathtub can be completely refinished and look brand new again but you can save a lot of money if you’re the scratch is small, as you can repair it yourself. (more…)