Information & Tips

How to Fix Scratches on a Hardwood Floor

If your hardwood floors are littered with scratches, don’t fret — here are some helpful tips for fixing them good as new.

Scratches on hardwood floors can bring a certain charm to a home, but in most cases, you’ll want to fix them pronto to keep your floors looking beautiful, and your home valuable. Here’s a few tips for fixing pesky scratches for good.

Know Your Stain

The first step is to know how your floor was finished, so you can match it as closely as possible when fixing the scratch. You’ll need to find a stain that matches the color exactly, and the same type of finish on the rest of the floor. This could be an oil- or water-based polyurethane, a wax coating, or a varnish. If you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to patch test somewhere it won’t be noticeable, like the floors of your closet or underneath a piece of furniture, so you can be sure it’ll match the rest of your floor.

Clean the Area

You’ll also need to ensure that you’re working on a thoroughly cleaned surface in order for your fix to work. Use a broom and dustpan, or vacuum, to clean up as much debris as you can, then use a cleaning solution designed for hardwood floors. Just make sure that you aren’t using a cleaner with any wax or polish added — you just need to clean for this step. For extra grimy floors, an oxygenated hardwood floor cleaner might do the trick.

Try an Easy Fix, First

For very small scratches and dings, you can try a minor solution first using two household ingredients: olive oil, and apple cider vinegar. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can use regular distilled white vinegar, too. Mix equal parts of the two together and lather it on the scratch. Leave it on for a few hours, and then rub it off. If this doesn’t do the trick, move onto some heavier duty solutions.

Wax and Buff

Pick up some wood wax next: it can come clear, or in common wood colors. Rub the wax stick into the scratch, which should fill it in, and then use a plastic knife to ensure it’s going into the surface. Let it sit for a bit, then, buff out the wax using a clean cloth to ensure a smooth surface, and then refinish the floor if necessary.

Use Wood Filler

Another option to try is using a wood filler, which is great for deep scratches and gouges. Using a putty knife, press the wood filler into the scratch and smooth it down, while trying not to spread it beyond the scratched area. Wipe off any excess product, and then let it dry for a few hours. Once it’s fully dried, use some sandpaper to smooth it out (without sanding down the rest of the floor), then stain the filler using your matching wood stain and finish as needed.

Sand and Refinish

Sometimes, you might just need to sand out the scratch to buff it out before refinishing. First, use fine-grained sandpaper on the scratch, and only sand in the direction of the wood grain — going against the grain will cause further damage. Then, apply stain the same color as your floor, and finish as required.

If your floor is littered with scratches, it might be time for a full refinishing, too. You can sand down your entire floor and refinish all at once. Be careful if you have engineered wood floors as opposed to real wood, as you likely won’t be able to sand the floor down more than a couple of times in its life before needing to be fully replaced.

Photo credit: CapturePB/Shutterstock

3 Ways to Fix a Hole in the Wall

If you need to fix a hole in your wall, whether it’s small or large, you can try to fix it yourself before calling a professional: here’s how to do it.

Accidents happen, and if you find yourself with a sizeable hole in your wall, you can fix it on your own without the help of a professional. Below you’ll find instructions for how to patch up any different sized holes, whether it’s from a small nail or something larger.

How to patch small holes

Luckily, small holes are pretty easy to fix, so you don’t need to worry when using nails to hang up your frames. Some spackling paste, paint that’s the same color as your wall, and a putty knife are all you need to get the job done, just follow these steps.

  1. Put a small amount of the spackling paste on your putty knife, and carefully spread the paste over the hole in your wall.
  2. Use your putty knife to smooth out the paste, and make it look as seamless and flat as possible between the wall and putty. You may need to use a damp cloth to wipe away any excess paste around the hole.
  3. Allow the patch to dry fully.
  4. Paint over the patch, using the same color paint as your wall, so the paste won’t be noticeable.

How to patch medium holes

Golf ball sized holes can be a bit more of a challenge, but it’s still completely doable. Gather up the tools you’ll need: some fiberglass mesh tape (or sheetrock tape), joint compound, paint, a putty knife, and sandpaper, and then follow this guide.

  1. Take a piece of your fiberglass mesh tape and cover it over the hole. You could also use sheetrock tape that’s been soaked in water.
  2. Using your putty knife, apply the joint compound and spread it over the taped hole. Make sure it’s as smooth as possible.
  3. Let the first coat dry, according to manufacturer instructions, and keep applying more layers until you have a smooth, blended in surface.
  4. After completely dry, sand down the patch in any raised areas. You shouldn’t feel any seams between the wall and your fix.
  5. Prime and paint over the hole using the same color as the wall.

How to patch large holes

With a bit of time and effort, you can fix large holes in your drywall without calling in a professional. Here’s what you’ll need: a spare piece of drywall, a drywall saw, drywall knives, joint tape, two furring strips, joint compound, sandpaper, screws, a drill, paint, and a razor knife.

  1. Cut around the hole in your wall, making a neat rectangle or square.
  2. Cut out a piece of drywall the same size as the new hole.
  3. Attach your furring strips behind the left and right sides of the hole by screwing them into the wall. Make sure that the screws are in deep, beneath the drywall surface.
  4. Put your drywall piece into place, and screw it deep into the furring strips.
  5. Apply your joint tape around the edges of the patch.
  6. Grab your joint compound, and apply a thin layer over your work, making sure that the edges are as flat as possible. Let it dry (use the time recommended by the compound manufacturer) and if it’s not looking smooth, apply more coats to even it out.
  7. Sand down the surface to make it even smoother.
  8. Depending on your wall, you might want to add some texture to blend the patch in. You could use a stipple brush and plaster.
  9. Paint over the patch to match your wall color; you’ll probably need to apply a second coat once the first dries completely.

Photo credit: kilukilu/Shutterstock

Got a New Dishwasher? Here’s How to Install It

Got a new dishwasher and want to avoid pricey installation fees? Check out this guide for how to install a dishwasher and do it yourself.

Getting a new dishwasher is exciting, but if the already lofty price doesn’t include installation, you might be left wondering what to do. If you already have some light experience with plumbing and electricity, learning how to install a dishwasher is doable on your own, and you might not need a professional. Make sure you have all the tools you’ll need before starting and read the manufacturer’s instructions for information specific to your new dishwasher, then follow our guide.

Equipment You’ll Need

  • Dishwasher connector kit
  • Appliance power cord
  • Pipe joint compound
  • Wire connectors
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Pliers, or an adjustable wrench

1. Take Out Your Old Dishwasher

 

First, turn off the water supply using the shut-off valve, which is typically under your sink, and turn off the electricity going to your dishwasher at the circuit breaker.

Remove the access panel using your screwdriver, which will usually be somewhere close to the floor.

With your wrench in hand, disconnect the water supply line, and disconnect the old electrical wiring, too.

Remove the drain hose — you may want to place a bowl or some paper towel underneath first, as it’ll probably leak.

Put something down to protect your floor. This could be an old cloth, some plywood, or carboard (like the box from your new washer), then unscrew the brackets that mount the dishwasher to your counter.

Now, the dishwasher can be safely taken out and moved.

2. Prepare the Connections

Tip your new appliance onto its back, so you can access the plumbing and electrical connections easily.

Take off the access panel and follow the instructions on your dishwasher connector kit to attach the elbow onto the water valve.

Remove the old water supply line from the shut-off valve and attach the new one, but don’t hook it up to the dishwasher just yet.

Take out the old drain hose and attach your new one, without connecting it to the appliance yet.

3. Install Your Dishwasher

Tip your new appliance back upright and move it to its spot under the counter.

Now’s the time to connect all the lines: Attach the water supply line to the elbow fitting tightly, then turn your water supply back on to check if there are any leaks. Tighten further if needed.

Referring to the manufacturer instructions, connect both the drain hose and electrical connections.

Head over to your circuit breaker and turn the electricity back on. Test that the dishwasher is functional, and if it’s not, turn the electricity back off and check and adjust your connections again until it’s working properly.

Next, make sure that your dishwasher is level with the above countertop, using a level tool for accuracy. If it’s not flush, you can adjust the leveling legs until it is.

With the included brackets, secure the dishwasher in place, then put the access panel back on.

And with that, you’re done! Having someone install your new appliance for you might be easier, but if you’re looking to do it yourself, we hope that this guide helps you.

Photo credit: Bacho/Shutterstock

How to Organize Your Closet Without Spending a Fortune

For those not blessed with a walk-in closet, it can be tough to maximize your storage space — here’s a guide for how to organize and clean out your closet.

Closet space is a valuable commodity — one that many people don’t have, especially when the average person doesn’t have a walk-in closet. If yours is bursting at the seams, it might be time to reorganize, so that you can find things more easily and let go of what you don’t need anymore. With some inexpensive organizers or tools in hand, it’s easy to maximize your closet storage. Here are some tips to help you on your organization journey.

Take Everything Out and Edit Your Wardrobe

Step number one: pull everything out of your closet, so that you can take stock of what you have and what you’d like to keep. As you’re pulling, try to organize like items with like items, so that you’ll have, say, a sweater pile, and a jeans pile, and so on, which will better help you decide what to keep. Give your closet a nice cleaning and dusting while everything is out, too.

Once cleaned, go through your piles once again and sort your clothes and other items into the following categories:

  • Keep: Everything that still makes you happy, fits properly, and is worn often, should be kept in your wardrobe. Unless the item is very sentimental, it’s best to keep the item out if it isn’t fitting this description and you’re trying to downsize.
  • Donate (or recycle): Anything that’s gently worn and could still be loved by someone else should be donated, so that it makes someone else happy instead of ending up in a landfill. Some types of clothes can be recycled, too, so if you have some ripped denim, for example, find somewhere local to recycle it.
  • Sell: Particularly if you have designer items, or trendy clothes in great shape, you could sell them either online or at a consignment store. You might even be able to trade with someone, if there’s a way to swap in your city.
  • Garbage: Anything that can’t be sold, donated, or recycled should unfortunately go in the trash, or compost depending on the material.

Create Storage Zones

When it’s time to put your keep pile back into the closet, be mindful about where you’re placing things — it can help to draw up a little blueprint beforehand to help you keep track. One idea is to dedicate a section to shirts, one for shoes, one for jeans etc., so you’ll always know where to reach. You could also organize based on frequency of use. Not only will it look much cleaner, but it’ll be easier for you to find things when you’re in a rush. Don’t forget about your floor space, either — put in some baskets for shoes, or a small dresser if you’ve got one, to maximize storage.

There’s More to Vertical Storage Than Hangers

There are lots of ways to take advantage of your vertical space in your closet. You can attach shower curtain rings, for example, onto a hanger, so you have some additional room for hanging jewelry or scarves. You can also use a vertical hanging organizer, which will give you plenty of extra storage for things like shoes and folded clothing, maximizing your closet space.

When In Doubt, Vacuum Seal

If you’ve went through all the advice above and still have a stuffed closet, it might be time to invest in some vacuum storage bags. You can remove the air from most bags using a regular vacuum cleaner, and it can significantly reduce the amount of space your clothes take up. It can be a lengthy process to remove and re-store clothes this way, though, so it’s best used to store out of season clothing or stuff that you don’t wear often.

Photo credit: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Here’s How to Build a DIY Coffee Table

Coffee tables are a key piece of furniture in your living room, and why not craft your own that’s totally unique? Here are some ideas for building your own DIY coffee table.

Coffee tables, being both beautiful and functional, are an important piece of your living room setup, but some of the best ones are often overpriced, or just aren’t unique enough. Building your own can be a fun and relatively straightforward task that’s completely doable over a weekend. We’ve put together this guide to walk you through the process, and help you gather ideas, for making your very own DIY coffee table.

Remember to keep your construction abilities in mind, as you’ll need to use various heavy-duty tools. If you don’t have a ton of experience, or if this will be your first time building something, it might be a good idea to find a specific blueprint to work from so that you have detailed instructions.

Get Inspired

As with all good design, start by brainstorming and finding references for the table you want to build. Pinterest is a great place for design ideas, or you can peruse home décor magazines — even furniture stores online — for an idea to recreate. DIY coffee tables don’t necessarily need to be from scratch, either: repurposing older coffee tables, or vintage items, can be a great starting point. Below are some cool items you can repurpose into a coffee table:

  • Wine crates
  • Old wooden doors
  • Vintage suitcases or trunks
  • Tree stumps
  • Wood palettes
  • Marble slabs
  • Old fence pieces

Prep Your Tools and Materials

Once you’ve figured out your vision, it’s time to plan. Take stock of all the materials you’ll need for your table, including the proper tools, like screws, drill, or a saw, and write out a list to stay organized. Your list may look different depending on your idea, but assuming you’re constructing a basic wooden table, start with this guideline:

  • Wood pieces for the tabletop (size and length for these pieces dependent on your project!)
  • Wood pieces for the posts
  • Wood pieces to connect the top to the posts
  • Stain to color the wood
  • Wipe-on polyurethane, or varnish
  • Glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Tape measure
  • Saw
  • Safety Glasses

Once you have all your materials ready to go, cut the wood to your desired length, and make any holes (or pocket holes, which can help you drill at the proper angle) into the wood pieces that you’ll need when constructing.

Put It Together

Now comes the part that requires some skill — it’s time to assemble. These steps are going to depend on your chosen design, but here’s the basic process: Start by constructing the frame of the coffee table, first gluing the posts to the rail pieces, and then clamp together and attach using pocket screws. Make sure that the top of the frame is flush with the posts for a flat surface, and that the bottoms are even so nothing wobbles. Next, put together the tabletop, line it up properly, and both glue and screw it together with your frame.

Don’t Forget Your Finishing

If you’re building your DIY coffee table out of wood, you’ll want to apply the proper finishing to help achieve the look you want. Start by sanding down the wood to make an even surface free from nicks and scratches, and make sure to sand with the grain of the wood, not against it. Next, put on some protective gloves and apply your wood stain of choice depending on your desired look: there are lots of colors to choose from. Wait about ten minutes, then wipe off any excess stain for an even coat. Lastly, apply your wipe-on poly or varnish, using the instructions provided, and lightly buff it afterwards — you may need to apply a few coats. Finishing the table properly isn’t just for the beautiful appearance, but sealing and staining it will help protect it, too.

Photo credit: Igi Jakubiec/Shutterstock