Quick Tips

DIY Tips Collections #3 – July 2015

DIY Tips

Last Updated

  1. Mastic may be easier than thinset, but it isn’t meant to be exposed to large amounts of water or moisture.
  2. Check toilet leaks by placing a drop of food coloring in the tank. If any color shows up in the bowl, you have a leak.
  3. If your dehumidifier isn’t draining through the hose, try raising the dehumidifier a few inches to allow gravity to lend a hand.
  4. Check your water meter before and after a period when no water is being used. If the meter changes, you may have a leak.
  5. Paint shoe molding before installing it, to avoid time consuming masking.
  6. Use a sander or planer to “smooth” the bottom edge of a door to allow it to close better.
  7. You can drill through concrete without a hammer drill, but be sure to use a masonry bit and cool it with water every few seconds.
  8. Use a scarf joint when butting trim together. It’s more forgiving if it expands or shifts.
    scarf joint
  9. When installing hardwood flooring, start your first row against the longest, straightest wall.
  10. Eliminate trial and error when cutting crown molding by using a crown molding jig.

    crown molding jig

  11. Cut vinyl easily by reversing the blade on your circular saw, as seen in our Vinyl Lattice post.
  12. To conserve energy, your water heater should not be above 120 degrees Fahrenheit or medium setting on old models.
  13. Basements should be kept at a relative humidity level between 30% and 50% to prevent mold. Set your dehumidifier appropriately.
  14. Prevent sewer gas backup by periodically pouring a bucket of water down infrequently used drains to keep the trap full.
  15. Stinky kitchen sink drain? Grind ice cubes and orange rinds in your garbage disposal for a few seconds to cut down the odor.
  16. When curing concrete, spray it with water then cover it with a plastic sheet to slow down evaporation.
  17. Drain a couple gallons from your water heater every year to remove sediment buildup.
  18. Use a toothpick to fill a stripped screw hole.
  19. Use old newspapers to clean dirty windows. The paper and ink acts as a light abrasive to make the job easier.
  20. When sweat fitting copper, flux the pipes and piece them all together before applying any solder.
  21. Give more life to sandpaper by rinsing it in lacquer thinner to unclog it. Then, lightly scrub it with a wire brush.
  22. Use old or leftover cabinet knobs as key hooks or coat hangers.
  23. Avoid splintered edges as your saw blade exits plywood by placing masking tape on the panel’s underside, where the blade exits.
  24. Some rust spots can be removed by scrubbing them with wet aluminum foil.
  25. By reducing the pipe diameter of a fan vent, you may be increasing the noise level of the fan.
  26. You can get away without a table saw if you purchase or create a Rip Fence for your circular saw.
  27. Install a tile backsplash faster and easier with a “Countertop Tile Setting Mat
  28. Rub wood screws on a slightly wet bar of soap and they’ll turn more easily in tight holes.
  29. Space your recessed lights by dividing the height of the ceiling by 2. For example, with an 8 foot ceiling, space recessed lights 4 feet apart.
  30. Finishing nailing tip: The fastener (nail) should be twice as long as the piece you are nailing is thick. For example, if joining two 3/4″ boards, the fastener should be at least 1 1/2″ long.
  31. When you get a new drywall taping knife, file down the corners so they don’t tear the paper tape.
  32. Make sure all your water supply pipes are properly supported. Here’s a pipe support failure story that’ll convince you to check your supply pipes.plumbing fail
  33. When painting stripes, choose an orientation based on your room. Horizontal stripes make it appear more spacious; vertical stripes make the ceiling appear higher.
  34. Punch a couple small holes into the rim of a paint can to help the paint drain back into the can.
  35. Leave valves partially open when soldering (sweat fitting). Otherwise, the trapped air expands and can damage sealing components.
  36. A “textured” hammer head will reduce slip and grab the nail better. Don’t use one on finished or visible pieces though.
  37. Secure copper water lines at every connection (soldered or otherwise). This will reduce the possibility of leaks.
  38. Did your ceiling tiles sustain some water damage? Don’t replace them just yet, try this tip first:
    How to Get Water Stains Out of Ceiling Panels
  39. If using drywall screws to join hardwood, consider waxing the screw with beeswax or paraffin wax to make it easier to drive.
  40. When pre-drilling nail holes, you can often substitute a nail with it’s head snipped off in place of a pilot drill bit.
  41. When installing vinyl siding, cover as much of your foundation as possible with the starter strip.


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