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There are different types of textured ceilings to choose from.   One is called a popcorn texture; it looks like little Styrofoam balls stuck to the ceiling.  Another type is a swirl pattern; it looks just like it sounds.  The one I use is called a stomp texture; it looks more like a honey comb type pattern that is pulled away from the ceiling. The popcorn texture is applied with a spray gun. You will have to purchase the material and rent the sprayer, and make sure you spray an even pattern or you will have thick or thin spots on your ceiling. I personally don’t like the look of that texture, even if it’s done professionally. The swirl pattern is joint compound applied to the ceiling, then using a thin long bristled brush you turn the brush one quarter or one half a turn to get the swirl look. You have to stay in a straight line across the entire length of the ceiling. I really like the way this texture looks when it is done right, but it is very difficult to do. The stomp pattern is the easiest for the do-it-yourself person to do. You have a lot more room for error with this technique. I think this texture gives a room a more modern look.
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The tools you will need are tarps, a large stir paddle, drill, ladder, 6 inch joint (putty) knife, stomp brush, 2 painter poles or push broom handles, a paint roller with a 3/8 nap roller cover, and a large tub to mix in. The material is called lightweight joint compound in 5 gallon buckets. One bucket should do a small bedroom; you should always buy two for a larger room. Remember, it is always better to have too much than not enough on this type of job, you can return what you don’t open.

It is best to move all furniture out of the room and tarp off the entire floor. The first thing I do is use a wide masking tape to cover the top of the walls where they meet the ceiling. I also buy a roll of plain brown paper from the paint department that is 12 inches wide to go under the bottom half of the tape to protect the wall.

Set your tub in the middle of the room. Use your joint knife to pull your mud (joint compound) into the tub, leaving some in the bucket in case you have to thicken your mix. Mix some water into the mud until it is thin enough to stick to your roller head without running off the roller. It will not stick to the ceiling well if too thick and will be a mess to work with if too thin. You will start rolling the mud on the edge of the ceiling. The best way to get the mud on the edge is to roll on a little more mud on the end of your roller and keep rolling over it until it is the same thickness as the rest of the ceiling. When you apply the mud you will want it to be about 1/8th of an inch thick and to where it looks like a solid coverage. You can test how the texture is going to look by hitting it with your stomp brush. If it looks too long you can roll over it to thin it out (keep in mind a long texture will be hard to paint over if you ever need to).
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It is easiest to have one person roll while the other person stomps the ceiling. You should roll a 5ft by 5ft area at a time and make sure you follow close to each other until the entire ceiling is done. When you stomp, you push the brush flat against the ceiling and pull straight down, that gives you your texture. The next hit should cover the edge of the first texture and the next should cover the edge of the first two. Continue to do that for the entire job. It should not look like a straight line pattern anywhere on the ceiling. The person doing the stomping needs to let the person rolling know if the texture is looking even and have them add or roll the area thinner. Any adjustment like that can be made before the mud starts to dry. This is why you do small sections at a time and work together. Once the mud starts to dry it starts turning white and can not be worked anymore. To do the corners it’s easier if you take the brush off of the pole and use your hand to get the bristles in the corner. If your roller didn’t get mud in the corner you can use your putty knife to get some in it.

As soon as you are done you can remove your tape and paper border. If you have mud left over I suggest to throw it out if you will not be using it soon because after it is mixed with water it doesn’t take very long for it to start to mold.
Good luck with this project. Until next time, do something kind for someone who needs it.

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I haven’t written for a while because I have been working on installing my first residential metal roof.  I’ve worked with metal roofs on pole barns and storage buildings, but metal roofing on a house is a whole different world.  The biggest difference on a barn or an out building is that you screw the metal down to the boards that make up the roof.  If you are installing metal roofing on a house you are usually going over shingles.  I try to get as much information, from as many different sources as possible, on any job that I haven’t done before.  But trying to get info on this topic is completely ridiculous.

Usually I can get a lot of good information from YouTube or the internet, or by asking people that know about construction.  Not in this case.  When I asked about one thing I would get several different answers on how to do it.  For instance, if you are going over shingles I’ve heard that you can lay the metal directly on the shingles, that you should NEVER lay it directly on the shingles because it will form to the shape of the shingles, that you need an underlayment of some type (ply foil, fanfold or 30# felt paper depending on who you ask), or you can use furring strips (with or without additional insulation or underlayment, again, depending on who you ask).

The next question was how to fasten the metal to the roof.  On all of the buildings that I’ve done before, we’ve always put the screws on top of the ribs.  This makes the most sense to me because the water sheds off of the ribs on to the flat section of the metal sheeting .  If the screws are on the flat part, they are more likely to leak.  But, the majority of the houses with metal roofs in my area have the screws in the flat sections and many internet sources say to ONLY do it that way.  One hardware store tells customers to screw the entire panel on the ribs except for the bottom of the sheet which should be screwed in the flat section.  So who knows what the right way is.

The whole point of this is that I think that residential metal roofing is such a new fad that no one knows the best way to do it yet.  The company we purchased the metal from will void the warranty if it is not screwed in the ribs only.  We also cannot cut the metal with a reciprocating saw or circular saw for the same reason.  There are several different ways that you can void your warranty if you don’t follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions (by the way, we did not receive a single paper with any instructions with our $5000 worth of materials).  So you should always check with the company that you are getting your metal from to be sure you are following proper installation procedure so as not to void your warranty.  The moral of the story is, dimensional asphalt shingles, in my opinion, are the way to go.

Until next time, don’t try this at home.

I used to work with a friend of mine and his dad when I was fairly young.  The dad’s name was Earl and my friend’s name was Brian.  Earl was a passive, soft spoken, good ol’ boy from Kentucky that used to be a bit wild.  We would sit around the job site on our lunch break and Earl would tell stories about his younger days, always with a sheepish grin on his face, making us all laugh while at the same time he was teaching us what not to do with our youth.  He was the type of person you could really enjoy working for.

Brian was the complete opposite of his dad.  He was very loud, aggressive, and at times he seemed like a bull in a china shop.  He also had a good quality in him, he must have inherited from Earl, that few people knew about.  I guess that’s why we were friends.

Brian had been working with his dad since he was a small boy, small enough that he had to use a step stool to get tools out of the boxes from the side of the truck.  They were both very good carpenters but in completely different ways.  The best way to describe their work style is old school and modern carpentry.  Even though they did a lot of things differently, they would still end up with the same end result. 

I believe the reason that I worked so well with them is that my personality is right in between theirs; just aggressive enough to be friends with Brian and passive enough to relate to Earl.  Since I was the happy medium on the job site, when they would butt heads on how to do the job they both knew they could vent to me and I would just listen and not take sides.  Looking back on it now, I guess Earl wasn’t just my friend’s father but he and I were also friends. 

I didn’t only learn how to do carpentry from this father and son team, I also learned how to be a craftsman and a modern thinker when it comes to any job I take on.  And just because you might do a job different than someone else, it doesn’t mean either of you are doing it the wrong way.

I now work with my son and I see that he does things much differently than I do.  Sometimes it’s really hard to let him do a job his way since I taught him how to do it, but I’m starting to understand that his way is also the right way.  I guess the reason I decided to write this story was to share a little more about where I come from.  And to say, with any job you decide to take on, you should ask several different people for their advice and go with the one that makes the most sense to you.

Until next time, do it your way.

I feel that it’s important to not only know how to do your own repairs, but also to know some tips and tricks to make it easier.  So here are a few things that I have learned over the years.

Residential gas line does not have a lot of pressure so if you have a leak you usually won’t hear it but will smell it.  A way to trace down where the leak is coming from is to mix dishsoap and water in a spray bottle and spray around the fittings.  Look for a cluster of small bubbles to find where the gas is leaking.

The National Electric Code (NEC) requires that most receptacles (outlets) located outdoors, in garages, unfinished basements, bathrooms or within 6 feet of a sink are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI’s).  A GFCI looks like an outlet with a red reset switch on the front of it.
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If you have a board that you need to cut to an exact length, the trick to making a perfectly measured cut is to measure the width of your saw blade (smaller blades are usually 1/16 of an inch and larger blades are 1/8 of an inch) and add that to the measurement that you need.  Mark your board (measurement plus blade width) and cut your pencil mark out.  You should end up with the exact length that you needed.

A good way to prevent a board from splitting when using nails or screws is to spit on the tip of the nail/screw.  You can also use a wax toilet bowl ring and stick all of your nail/screw tips in it.  It will not only lubricate the nail/screw tips but will also hold them for you while you are working.  The best way to prevent splitting is to drill a pilot hole with a drill bit a little smaller than your nail/screw.  Keep your nails/screws about 1 inch in from the edge of the board.
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If you need to remove a nail, but don’t want to damage the board you are removing it from, you should place a thin board under your pry bar or hammer.

To repair a stripped out screw hole in wood you can fill the hole with small pieces of shim or wood (a piece of a wooden matchstick works as well).  Drive the wood in the a hammer to fill the hole then cut off any excess wood that is still sticking out.  Replace the screw back in the hole.

Here are three ways to break loose a rusty nut and bolt.  First, you can use a wire brush to clean off as much rust as you can then spray it with penetrating oil.  If that doesn’t work, try tapping the nut with a hammer.  If it still won’t come loose, you can try heating it up with a torch.  Just make sure that you clean off any excess oil first.

An easy way to remove a post or stake from the ground is with a chain and an 8 foot board.  First, use a spade to dig around the post to loosen the ground around it.  Next, fasten the chain around the base of the post (right above the ground) by wrapping it over and under itself so that it cinches when pulled.  Lay the 8 foot board on the ground with one end of the board about 2 feet to one side of the post.Secure the chain to the board where it touches the post.  If you are using a 2×4 to pry with, make sure it is laying on it’s edge instead of flat so the board won’t bow or break.  Lift the board that you’re prying with from the long end (the side farthest from the post).  This should lift the post out of the ground.
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Thanks for reading my blog.  Until next time, figure it out.

I was reading an article that said clothes dryer are responsible for 15,000 house fires every year.  Growing up I don’t remember my parents ever cleaning out anything except for the lint screen.  I guess we were lucky we never had a fire according to the stats.  I will now tell you how I clean out my electric dryer.

You should always unplug the power cord before you start cleaning.  You can clean the inside of the dryer housing, as well as the lint trap.  To keep this as simple as possible, I will not be explaining how to clean inside the housing.  I will just be talking about cleaning the lint trap and the exhaust duct work.

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The picture is of a lint cleaning brush kit.  You can purchase this at most hardware stores.  First, you use the long soft bristle lint brush by pushing it down the lint trap, pulling out as much lint as you can.  Next, you use the black plastic piece; it attaches to your vacuum hose.  It is flat enough to fit down in the lint trap and will remove lint that the soft bristled lint brush doesn’t get.

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After you’re done with cleaning from the top, you will remove the dryer hose from the back side of the dryer and clean the inside of the dryer exhaust and duct with your vacuum cleaner or shop vac.  You can push the vacuum hose as far as you can in the vent pipe to clean it out.  This is where you would use the round bristled brush from the kit.  You should have a rigid or semi-rigid vent pipe running from the dryer hose to the outside of the house (if you have a thin foil or plastic pipe it is considered a fire hazard).  You will want to check where the exhaust is vented out of the house to make sure the vent door is opening and closing freely.  Make sure that there isn’t a buildup of lint around the outside vent door.

Thanks for reading my blog.  Until next time, stay safe.

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One job around the house that almost everybody hates to do is cleaning their windows.  I’m going to tell you how I do this job, to make it as simple as possible.  I’ve seen people use rags, paper towel, newspaper, and old clothes.  In my experience the easiest way to clean windows it to purchase a squeegee. It makes the job go so much faster.

The two squeegees in the picture are 8 inches and 16 inches.  You can purchase them at any hardware store, they’re worth the small investment.  If you have small window panes make sure you buy a small enough squeegee to fit them.  I also recommend buying an applicator, with the plastic head that it fits on, and a pole for the squeegee head.  The last thing to buy is a bottle of window cleaner. You should buy professional grade cleaner, it evaporates and does not leave any streaks.  You will want to have a large towel for excess water when cleaning the windows inside of the house, and a small towel for drying off the squeegee and window frame.  Place the larger towel on the windowsill to catch the water.

Now that you have all the tools, you are ready to clean.  If you have any cobwebs, use a broom to remove them.  If your windows have a lot of dirt on them you should wipe them with a damp cloth.  This will keep your applicator clean.  The professional window cleaning solution is concentrated so it takes very little.  Mix cleaner with water in a spray bottle (read directions for how to mix).  Use a short handle for the squeegee and a longer handle for the applicator.  Spray the cleaner on the window and use the applicator to spread it on the glass.Start at the top of the window and move from left to right, working your way down the window.  Use your small towel to dry off the squeegee blade and the edges of the glass.  Another way that you can use the squeegee is to start at the top of the window and pull straight down.
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If you have any debris that will not wash off with water and a towel you can use a razor blade to remove it. Make sure the glass is wet when using the razor blade. It is also a good idea to wash windows when they are not in direct sunlight.

Thank you for checking out my blog. Until next time, help someone in need.

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Today we are going to the hardware store to purchase some lumber for a project around the house.  You wouldn’t think it would be that big of a task, but then you arrive there and you see endless rows of lumber, all different sizes of thickness, length, and width.  Then you have to decide if you want treated lumber, pine, cedar, CDX, or OSB.  And you thought you were just going to pick up some lumber.  Well, here are a few things I have learned while searching through the lumber department.

Any time you are using wood that is going to be exposed to the weather, or part of it will be in the ground, you will want to use pressure treated lumber.  P.T. wood is dipped in a liquid until the wood absorbs the treatment, helping to keep it from rotting out.  Cedar is also good for outdoor use.

The most common wood used is pine; it is soft and easy to cut.  The boards you will usually be buying are 1×4, 1×6, 1×8, 2×4, 2×6, and 2×8.  The first number is how thick the board is, the second number is the width.  The most common lengths are 6, 8, 10, and 12 feet.  The dimensions of the boards are somewhat deceiving.  A 1x board is actually only 3/4 of an inch thick and 2x’s are 1 1/2 inches thick.  All widths are 1/2 of an inch narrower than their labeled dimensions (ex: a 1×6 is really 3/4 x 5 1/2 and a 2×4 is
1 1/2 x 3 1/2).  A note on selecting boards: make sure to check each board for bows and twists.  To do this, set one end of the board on the ground and look down the edge of the board like you’re looking down a rifle barrel.  You will be able to see if the board has a bend or is twisted.  Also, make sure that there aren’t any cracks, especially at the end of the board.
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If you’re shopping for plywood, you have a few choices.  They have OSB, which is a chip board, and is good for interior use but swells if it is in contact with moisture.  Chips of wood are glued and pressed together to make it.  It is the cheapest option but not as durable.  Next is CDX plywood.  It is thin sheets of wood glued together.  CDX is stronger, and will stand up to moisture better, than OSB but is a little more expensive.  It is probably the most common type of plywood used.  There is also a higher grade plywood that has been sanded and has less knots but it’s much more expensive (it is usually used for finish work).  Plywood comes in thicknesses of 1/4 in, 1/2 in, and 3/4 in.  Most come in 4ft x 8ft sheets but you can purchase precut sections in smaller sizes (2ft x 4ft and 4ft x 4ft) for small projects.  Just keep in mind that you’ll probably spend almost as much on the smaller sized pieces as you would on a full size sheet. 
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This should be enough information to get you through buying wood for any basic home project.  Good luck!