Category Archives: DIY Tips

DIY Tip of the day – Moldy bathtub/shower caulk

Using a 5-in-1 tool and a plastic razor to cut, scrape, and remove all of the existing caulking. You want to remove every last piece so you can get a good seal with the new material and prevent moisture from getting back there. If you do not make a good seal mold can and most likely will form again. Once the joint is cleaned of prior caulking apply new acrylic latex caulk containing mildewcides.

Simple deck fixes

1. Before doing any work to your deck wash away all dirt and wood fibers first. This can be done with a power washer and a mild detergent if necessary, remember when working with the pressure washer to keep the pressure low enough to not gauge the wood.

2. Fix a popped nail by removing it with a cats paw and then reattaching the board with a screw longer than the nail you removed. Care should be taken when using the cats paw to not damage the wood, using a shim between the cats paw and the decking baord can help prevent any damage to the board.

3. Stain and seal your deck to protect it from moisture and the suns UV rays. Using a clear stain will allow you to not change the color of your deck, select a stain that has UV protectant in it. If you wish to add color to your deck then select a semi-transparent exterior stain in either latex or oil base. After you have stained your deck allow it to dry for 48 hours and then apply a sealant.

Hardwood Furniture Fixes

Scratches

You can rub a broken walnut, pecan, or Brazil nut over minor scratches in your wooden furniture; the oils from the nuts will darken the raw scratch.
If you have many minor scratches apply hard paste wax over the area and then rubbing with the grain use a #0000 steel wool to work it in, then buff the surface with cheesecloth or other soft cloth material.

For deep scratches pick up a wax filler stick in a shade that is closest to the furniture being repaired (These can usually be found at all hardware and big box stores, sometimes even grocery stores). Running the wax stick along the scratch with enough pressure to fill it you can then scrape off any excess with a plastic scraper or card. Once the wax has dried buff it out with a soft cloth.

While badly scratched surfaces should be refinished a couple deep scratches may be removed by finding the matching stain, applying it with an artisans brush to the raw scratch, filling with wax, and then buffing with a soft cloth.

Dings and Dents

A sharp blow to a piece of furniture can cause a ding. This “ding” usually does not affect the wood itself but instead damages only the finish.

To repair the ding start by using a sharp craft knife (like an Xacto knife) to remove any loose finish in or around the damaged area. You do not want to scratch the damaged spot while doing this so work carefully to scrape the area clean.

Next smooth out the area using #0000 steel wool you want to feather the edges of the damaged area out and away. Next you want to prep the area with a soft cloth moistened in mineral spirits. Clean the damaged area and then allow to completely dry.

Next using an artist brush apply a finish that matches the existing (enamel, varnish, shellac, lacquer etc.) and allow to dry. The spot will be fairly noticeable at first since it will be rather glossy compared to the rest, however let it dry and then buff it lightly with some #0000 steel wool.

Now you will want to wax and polish the entire piece of furniture. Once you have finished the job the “ding” should no longer be visible.

Quick Bathroom Fixes

1. Foggy mirror – Short of replacing the ventilation system for your bathroom (which should be considered if the problem is really bad) use Rain-X anti fog wipes on your mirror, they are available in the automotive section.

2.Toilet rocks – If you have tightened your toilet all the way down and it still seems loose buy some plastic shims at your local hardware store and shim it up so the toilet sits tight. If it is leaking water from the base this is a bigger problem, however it could be a worn out wax seal.

3. Giving the neighbors a free show? You can get a window treatment at most home centers and hardware stores that will provide privacy and not block natural light. The films run from about 80 dollars to 115 dollars per roll and will treat two windows. You can also buy them online by the foot (roughly 10 dollars a foot). Just Google window privacy film.

DIY Tip – Hardwood Floors

Simple hardwood floor fixes:

1. Silence a squeaky board. After locating the offending floor board press down on it and drill a 1/16 inch pilot hole into the board at an angle until you reach the sub floor (a little over 3/4″ on most floors). To avoid splitting the wood make sure you are at least 3 inches form either end and in the center of the board. Next drive a 6d finish nail and set with the appropriate nail set. Fill the divot with color matched wood putty.

2. Scratches, you can cover up scratches in your hardwood floors as the happen by using a color matched stain stick (stain filled marker) available at most hardware stores.

3. Remove stains. Moisture can cause a discoloration of the wood floor to remove this first sand off the finish in the offending area then scrub with a solution of hot water and oxalic acid powder (wood bleach). Rinse three times with plain water. It make take several applications to remove a stubborn stain however once the stain is gone wait until the floor is fully dry and refinish the area. (You can speed up the drying time with a fan)

4.Spot refinish. Tape around the trouble area and then sand with 80 grit sand paper. Next sand the area with 120 grit and then apply two coats of polyurethane. Make sure to allow the proper drying time per coat.

5. Fill gaps. You can fill gaps in wide board flooring using manila rope or no-tar oakum (a jute based fiber used by plumbing contractors).