Thursday, June 23, 2005

Home Improvement Project: Upgrading your Mouldings

Do you have old dingy mouldings that have been painted so many times that you aren't sure where the moulding stops and the wall begins? Well, if you live in a really old house you might find that characteristic of your house charming, but if you are like me, you would rather update the mouldings for a fresh and clean new look.

Replacing your mouldings is not that hard, it's more time consuming than anything. But hey, most home improvement projects are, right? I've done a single room with just a handsaw and box, but I would recommend purchasing a miter saw if you plan on doing any more than one room because it can get to be a little much.

The tools you will need to change your mouldings are: an exacto knife, moulding of your choice at least as tall as the existing moulding, trim paint and roller or brush (I recommend at least a semi-gloss because it is much easier to clean), handsaw with miter box or electric miter saw, crow bar, tape measure, pencil, finish nails, and caulk (honestly, caulk is my best home improvement bud - it will make any job you do look professional). I know this seems like a lot of tools, but you probably have most of them already in your garage. The biggest expense will be the moulding, but it is fairly inexpensive as long as you install it yourself.

The first step is to take your exacto knife and cut along the top of the moulding as deeply as you can. What this does is separate the moulding from the wall. If you skip this step you may run into many more projects you didn't want to do because part of the wall will come off as you pull off the existing moulding.

Once you get the moulding off, measure the length needed for the new moulding by going from wall to wall. Make sure you cut your inside corners at a 45 degree angle so the longest part is at the back of the moulding. for inside corners, make your cut go out so the angle sticks out further than your measurement. Once you get it cut the right length, use finish nails to anchor it to the wall. Repeat this step for each wall.

To finish everything off, caulk the gap between the wall and the moulding and use touch up paint anywhere that got dinged while you were working with the moulding.

For more information or more great advice for you next home improvement project, check out this home improvement site. If you've gotten stuck on a project, get advice from an experienced carpenter in this home improvement forum.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Home Improvement Project: Replacing door hardware

Having a secure lock on all of your doors is extremely important. Your door hardware should be in good working order and protecting you and your family at all times. A very simple home improvement project is to replace your door hardware with new and more secure fixtures.

The only tool you will need for this project is a screwdriver, but before you remove your old hardware, pick out a new set at your local home improvement store like Lowes or Home Depot. Make sure you pick a lock or set of locks that will easily replace the old set. Keep in mind which ones need deadbolts and which ones need key locking mechanisms.

Once you have your new door hardware in hand, go ahead and unscrew the existing hardware. The screws should be located on the inside and in the door jam.

Installation is so easy. All you have to do is screw in the new hardware, just like your old locks were screwed in.

Once you have it up and running, you will not only have a nicer looking set of hardware, but you will have a better sense of home security than ever before.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Home Improvement Project: Ceiling Fan

A ceiling fan is not just any light fixture, but it's an energy saving tool to use in both summer and winter. A well placed ceiling fan will help reduce heating and cooling bills by recirculating the hot or cold air already in the home.

My husband and I recently dove into a home improvement project and updated a ceiling fan in our family room and we were more than pleased with the results. It really updated the look of the room and it also helped keep the room cooler in the heat of summer. The new fan had bigger more efficent blades and a clean smoother running motor. The old fan's motor had just about had it from all the dust and overuse, it had really been neglected for a long time.

If you already have a ceiling light fixture, installing a new ceiling fan is really easy. The hardest part is lifting it up to the ceiling while connecting it but as not as you have two people, it's a piece of cake.

As with any electrical project, the first thing you want to do is turn off the power. If you have a well marked electrical box, you should be able to just turn the circuit off, but if you have ANY doubt, turn everything off.

Once you are sure the electric is off, you'll want to take down the old light fixture or ceiling fan. You should just be looking at a few twists of the screwdriver to get it off. Carefully disconnect the wires and keep them separated.

Bring the new ceiling fan in and connect the wires and cap them off. Don't let the fan dangle from the wires! After that, you'll want to attach the fan to the ceiling with screws. You are basically done!

It's important to follow the manufacturers instructions because every fan may be installed slightly different. The important thing to remember when replacing light fixtures or with any home improvement project is that you can do it, it's not that hard, and you're going to be so proud of the results!

Now that you have your new ceiling fan up, you may want to consider installing a dimmer faulty switch to help regulate the speed of the fan without having to mess with the cords.

If you run into any questions, check out this home improvement forum where you can browse other's advice and questions or post a question of your own.

Happy home improvement!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Home Improvement Project: Repairing Drywall

Repairing drywall professionally is not as difficult as you might think. The first time I tried it, I actually used drywall repair to patch a latham plaster wall (FYI - you can't fix latham plaster with drywall!) so it didn't turn out so well, but I got some good practice on how to use drywall and drywall mud. So the next time I did this type of home improvement project, I did it on an existing drywall wall and did a great job!

The steps for this home improvement project are relatively easy. The best way I've found to do drywall repairs is with a "hat patch." The first thing you need to do is make the hole a clean cut, whether it be a circle or a square, it doesn't really matter.

Next, cut a piece of drywall that is slightly bigger than the existing hole. (About 1/2 inch all the way around should do.)

Then, very carefully, cut partway through the drywall (also known as gypsum board) along the true hole measurements and fold it over until it's only attached by the paper on one side. Gently peel the gypsum off of the paper to leave the paper attached to the inner cutout shape that will fit in the hole. Do this all the way around the cut out shape. Then you'll want to put some mud on the wall where the paper back will be placed, just a thin layer will do. Press the cutout shape into the hole leaving the paper to grab the wall and press firmly so it grabs the mud.

Then you will want to spread some mud around the edges of the patch and smooth it out until the line of the patch disappears. Wait until it dries and sand lightly to smooth it out. Apply more mud if neccessary and repeat. Once completely dry and sanded, paint the area and you're finished with your first drywall repair project!