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DIY Home Improvement Thread..

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You know what they say,the only dumb question is the one not asked. I would used something along the lines of a 120 grit to take the old stuff off,then use 200 or so for the final sanding in between coats of poly. It means extra work,(use a sanding block btw if you do it by hand),but you won't end up taking off a bunch of stuff you're try to keep on. Also the before mentioned scratching thing. Rub on poly is a polyurethane finish that miniwax and a few others make. Instead of spraying on the stuff,just use a sponge brush or rag to wipe it on with. It dries fairly quick and looks great imho. Oh. And don't forget to remove the dust from all the sanding. I er...oops. ;)

Edited by Park City Skins

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Anyone know where I could find directions for a fool (me) on how to replace the stop (the metal part that sits in the drain hole that is attached to the lever) for a bathroom sink?

One of the stops broke off and is no longer attached to the lever that you push down or pull up to drop/raise the stop......

Something like this?

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/0,,1631535,00.html

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I took a week's vacation after Christmas and finally finished my detached garage.

Lowes had 7/16 plywood for under $7/sheet... so I thought it would be a great opportunity. Insulated the walls with R13 and R19 in the ceiling. Finished out the entire interior with plywood... and added a few additional light fixtures.

Now my shop is insulated, which is definitely nice :). However- I had NO IDEA how much work I was getting into. Wow that was a major ass-kicking... especially the ceiling. Some of the plywood cuts I made had to go around windows and light switches and electrical outlets and fuse panel... I think I spent as much as 1 hour on a single sheet- getting it to fit just right. :doh1:

It took me every bit of an entire week... 8-10 hours / day between the insulation, wiring, and plywood.

Nice. And I do sympathize. That's what I have also done. Started to frame and insulate by brother's unfinished basement. Still have to make my sister in law her desk out of the yellow pine I got from a job a year or so ago.

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i just started my next project. i'm redoing our hardwood floors and painting the walls, ceilings and trim in our living room, dining room and hallway. i'm finishing up all the paint prep (spackling, sanding, etc) tomorrow after work. i've got the rental sanders reserved for saturday, which gives me sunday free if i need it.

painstaking it seems. sand with coarse grit, then sand with fine grit. then vacuum and wipe down with mineral spirits. i'm staining with dark walnut from here. two coats of poly (minwax fast drying), then light sand / screen and 3rd coat of poly. 3 or 4 days until i can move the furniture back.

then i get to paint. :D

i took a before picture of the living room. i'll post them all at the end.

i've never done floors before, i'm a bit nervous.

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You've already done your research,so I won't overburden you with advice on this,(things to look for when sanding floors and such). Simply take your time and you'll be fine.

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Major, if possible you ought to plan on more time. The single worst mistake people make in DIY projects is having to push to get it done in too little time.

Redoing floors is all in the prep stages. The more attention to detail you sink into the initial sanding and cleaning will yield a better result. Make sure you get absolutely all of the original finish off down to bare wood or else the stain will absorb unevenly. When you do stain, don't let any direct sunlight fall on it, draw curtains or cover windows since sunlight can effect the appearance and make the stain blotchy. It is a serious PITA to have to go back and "fill in" lighter patches. Let the poly coats dry thoroughly before the next application too.

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thanks, ld. i've got 3 guys coming to help with the sanding, i've got all day saturday set aside. i'll burn the midnight oil and stain, then work the poly coats sunday and monday. that's if everything goes smooth. i've got about 500 sq. ft.....i wanted to do 2 of our bedrooms, but i just don't have enough room to move any more stuff. i'll get those later.

and pcs, i'm all ears.

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I'm at work so have to make this quick. Will check in a bit later. Things to watch out for when doing the sanding,depending on sander,are the marks,(spiral if using a drum),that can be left at times. Nice and easy on the touch with that stuff. Also keep in mind that changing direction can do the same. Especially when/if you turn the sander off before you do so. Mind you,these can be seen only in the right light and right direction lot's of times. Just keep an eye out. Also,a belt sander is good for working these marks out for the most part. And if not,that whole light and right direction thing again comes in to play. Looks like you may have even lessen the odds a bit with the choice of stain. Which leads me to.....looks like you're leaving enough time for the poly. That's the one that can get folks. That quick drying thing can be a bit tricky. Seems like there's a bit of difference in the definition of "quick" and the actual time it takes to dry sometimes. When in doubt,leave plenty of time between coats. Especially between 2 and 3.

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thanks pcs.

one thing i saw with filling gaps was a guy took some of the sawdust and mixed it with the stain into a paste and used that to fill them? good idea or no?

what do you think of the stain? it's darker, but that's what i want...i think....

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I used to do a similar thing with raw wood. Take the dust,mix it with some glue,(making cheese),and then apply it. Took stain pretty good. Your way works pretty good as well. Probably better because the sanding process can burn the wood a bit and that shows in the dust. When it's raw. If it were me,I'd add a little white glue,(standard interior stuff will be fine),just to make sure it stays. Color is good,but you know how wood is. You apply the stain and doesn't always look like the picture. :)

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I just finished installing 13 new windows in my FL home. These meet the energy requirements for the Fed tax credit and also made with impact glass (for 140 mph winds) so that I don't have to have hurricane shutters. Last month I had a gas tankless water heater installed along with a gas clothes dryer. Electric bill is down $50 and my gas bill is $18. Last summer I built the dock and installed the 2 boat lifts. One is 15,000 lb. cradle lift and the other a 5000 lb. elevator lift. Along with that project I did a electric service change from a 100 am panel to a 225 amp panel and a 125 amp sub panel on the back of the house for dock power and to provide power for a mini spilt heat pump system for the family room addition next winter.

In 3 weeks, my trips to NC start again for building season number #7 on the mountain home. This summer goals are to finish tiling the basement apartment and install the kitchen, door, trim, 2 garage doors, and fireplace. Finish the other 2 baths upstairs (2 are already finished). Lay the hardwood flooring on the 2nd floor, carpet the upstairs master bed, install doors and trim. Install front door, finish 4 flights of stairs and install handrails and balcony railings on 2 floor loft.

Before I leave for NC, I've got to install 5 new windows in one of the rental houses. Plus make a trip to Ocala (lake george building lot) to finish the back fill (60 cu/yards) into 80' retaining wall on the canal. Lay 5 palates of sod.

Edited by DeanCollins

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man, i screwed up the last coat of poly :(

not real, real bad...i'm going to leave it for a while. my wife can't take being moved out of our house any longer. we're going away in the summer, i'll buff it and put another coat on then.

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Don't feel too bad. That's generally where many people make mistakes. Including me.

Edited by Park City Skins

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Don't feel too bad. That's generally where many people make mistakes. Including me.

funny, because it was the one thing i was confident about going in (i'm a painter).

i have roller marks. i brushed out the last coat, but i think i got a dry edge when working into the living room from the dining room. i can live with it until june, when i'll buff it and put two more coats down.

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Ah. didn't know that. I understand the frustration then. I've made a few mistakes in my place with the finish work that caused a similar reaction. Mind you,they're mistakes that most people wouldn't notice unless I pointed it out to them,but still.

Edited by Park City Skins

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Okay, I've decided to slowly but surely get into the idea of doing some things myself. I suppose I've taken too much advantage of the ability to just call someone else because it was easier. But I'll be attempting to get out of that habit.

Anyway, I'm really just dipping a toe in here, learning basic things like "How to adjust the temperature on the hot water heater" and stuff like that. And yes, I remembered to shut off the breaker first.

So my first small project is going to be stripping and re-staining an old bookshelf. It was a children's bookshelf I had as a kid. It's made of wood, dark brownish/cherry color. At thirty years old, it's got chips, nicks, and missing paint in various spots. Also, the top is coming off slightly from the back, you can see a small sliver of light.

Anyway, I want to restore this to use in my soon-to-arrive daughters room. The baby furniture we put together is all a dark cherry color. Did some quick internet searches and found this.

http://www.doityourself.com/stry/how-to-customize-your-old-bookshelf

It seems pretty straightforward. I'll be doing it at my father's/stepmothers place because they have a garage that's unused, plus they have a power sander.

Is it as straight-forward as just stripping the old paint, sanding everything, and then restaining it? Or is there anything I'm missing? I'll post pictures of it if anyone is interested so I can get tips, and then maybe some during/after pictures to see how it comes out.

Any tips advice for a guy just starting to navigate this home improvement stuff would be appreciated.

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I just finished installing 13 new windows in my FL home. These meet the energy requirements for the Fed tax credit and also made with impact glass (for 140 mph winds) so that I don't have to have hurricane shutters. Last month I had a gas tankless water heater installed along with a gas clothes dryer....

If you don't mind me asking ... how much was the unit and how much was install? Did you need several? I heard of some people doing 1 for the kitchen/dish washer, and then one for washing machine / showers etc.

What brand would you recommend? My water heater is very old and if I can lower the utility bill while I am at it ... I am thinking of doing this.

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Any tips advice for a guy just starting to navigate this home improvement stuff would be appreciated.

Forehead,

I'm not as handy as most of the guys in this thread, but I've learned over the years to take care of some of the more common problems in my 120 year old house, including plaster refinishing, masonry spot-work (tuck-pointing), refinishing/rehanging doors, replacing light fixtures and switches, etc.

Most of what I know I learned from these two books:

Home Improvement for Dummies

Home Maintenance for Dummies

I also have a buddy who has done a lot of electrical work, so I do call him from time to time if the wiring gets complicated and I need someone to keep me from electrocuting myself.

The three critical factors for me have been:

  1. Patience
  2. Giving myself plenty of time (I always underestimate)
  3. Cleaning up at the end of a session (keeps my wife very happy)

Good luck and have fun!!!

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Forehead,

I'm not as handy as most of the guys in this thread.

You think you aren't handy? Here, I'll go ahead and open myself up for scorn from the rest of the guys in this thread and detail my home improvement past. Keeping in mind that my first step is almost always to call someone.

1. I attempted to fix the toilet tank apparatus in my downstairs bathroom when it was constantly running. I replaced it with two small issues. First, when I wasn't looking, my dog ate the dye tablet that you use for testing. That was a quick trip to the 24 hour vet. Secondly, the seal on the underside of the tank started leaking, despite my best attempts to make it as tight as possible. Call Plumber.

2. I built a patio in our backyard with my brother in law. Now, by built a patio, I mean that we leveled a space in the backyard, laid down sand, and then laid stones on top, with sand in between. It actually looks really nice, the sand packed in well. Of course, he did all the leveling because he was outside working before I woke up, I mostly laid stones. We keep it swept and pick the weeds, but the patio is a little lopsided here and there from shifting sand, and I haven't bothered to fix it.

3. I attempted to grow grass in the back yard. When we bought the place, it was nothing but overgrown clover. I used one of those TV tools to rip it all out, then spread grass seed. It grew in patches, and the dogs killed them instantly with copious amounts of urine. On the plus side, what little grass does grow, I can mow with a weedwacker.

4. When I lived with friends, I got locked out of the house in the middle of winter while they were out of town, with my friend/roommates arthritic dog. I punched through one of the windows and unlocked the door. I covered the broken window with a beer box. When it was time to replace the window, I used a glass cutter and cut an exact pane of glass, ignoring the fact that there would need to be extra glass to fit into the window frame. I got around this by putting a ton of putty around the base and sides. We didn't get our security deposit back, though it was because of more things than just that.

5. I have painted a room, under the direction of my wife. She painted for a summer or two. I was not allowed to do edges or trim.

I think that's enough embarassment for now. On the other hand, I'm really good at putting together desks from IKEA or baby furniture, and I can change lightbulbs.:ols:

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2. I built a patio in our backyard with my brother in law. Now, by built a patio, I mean that we leveled a space in the backyard, laid down sand, and then laid stones on top, with sand in between. It actually looks really nice, the sand packed in well. Of course, he did all the leveling because he was outside working before I woke up, I mostly laid stones. We keep it swept and pick the weeds, but the patio is a little lopsided here and there from shifting sand, and I haven't bothered to fix it.

At least you put sand in between everything and kept it swept and weed-free. I did the same thing (though I did it on my own - talk about aches and pains afterwards!), with crappier results. After our kitchen reno destroyed our backyard we just got pros to re-do it. :)

I think that's enough embarassment for now. On the other hand, I'm really good at putting together desks from IKEA or baby furniture, and I can change lightbulbs.:ols:

You can read directions then, which is a huge deal. I have found that when I have friends who screw up projects, it's generally because they dove in without reading directions. That's fine if you've done something a bunch of times, but not if you've never done it. That's why those books kick ass - they lay it all out in steps.

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We are upgrading our countertops to Granite- while we're at it decided to purchase all new appliances.

Home Depot had an incredible price on granite if anyone is considering doing it. $39/square foot installed- never seen it anywhere near that cheap. Saving about half of what I had budgeted. It also has a 15 year warranty on the sealer.

Ended up going with Whirlpool Gold appliances. Very excited about getting delivery... the new range will be a slide-in for a custom look and the new dishwasher is only 50 decibals

Edited by zoony

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Bump...need someone to confirm everything I need for the small bookcase job.

Could be just that straight forward. Wouldn't mind seeing a pic just to make sure. Move it around at the top a little to make sure it's still pretty stable. There's a few cheap,fairly easy tricks to make sure it is. I use them with the Closetmaid,more glue than wood closet organizers and some of the cheaper furniture type things from Ikea and such.

That's a great price zoony. Almost makes me go :paranoid: And good choice in the appliances I've got the basic Whirlpool line in my place and they've worked just fine over the last 6 years. Though at only 50 decibels,you'll spend the first two weeks going back to make sure it's on.

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