Information & Tips

How to rehang a door and realign hinges

Rehanging a door can be a daunting prospect if you’re never worked with one before.

With that said, there’s nothing quite as infuriating as a door that sticks.

Over time a door’s hinges and level can slacken, leading to sticking at the floor or at corners. Scuffs and scrapes are the typical result. Although some might suggest cutting down the door in general, we find this to be generally unnecessary. Most door issues like this can be fixed with a simple realignment of hinges.

With that said, the first step is to diagnose what part of the door is causing the issue. There are a few possibilities here. The three general problem areas for doors are the hinge screws, the strike plate (i.e. where the door latches), or frame warping.

Equipment You’ll Need

  • Credit card or shim (hinge)
  • Pliers (hinge)
  • Wood chisel (hinge)
  • Carpenter’s glue (hinge)
  • Wood dowel (hinge)
  • Screwdriver matched to the screw type – typically Phillips (all)
  • Hammer (all)
  • Cordless drill with bits to speed installation along (all)
  • Pencil (all)
  • 2-inch or 2 ½ inch replacement screws – if replacing visible screws, we suggest using brass for a nicer finish (all)
  • Paint matching the color of the door (frame warping)

As always, we strongly recommend having all of your tools assembled at the start of a job. The expression measure twice and cut once applies to pre-work as well. Once you have everything we can get started.

Installation Guide – Hinge Issue

  1. Check the tightness of the hinge screws. Even a few quarter turns can pull the door square.
  2. Are the hinge screws loose? Most hinge screws are only 1-inch or so long. Consider replacing existing screws with 2-inch variations.
  • Note: If the screws turn freely then you’re dealing with a stripped hole. This can be partially remedied through installing 2-inch screws, but you can also use wood fill to re-prime the holes. You can also use plastic plug with a fresh thread, although these can sometimes not sit flush with the frame.
  1. If the above steps don’t work make sure to check the alignment of the central chamber that the door pin goes through. This cylindrical chamber can sometimes become seriously misaligned over time. If so, shim the space between the hinge and jamb with a credit card.
  2. Set your screwdriver at the end of the pin and carefully knock it out using your hammer.
  3. Use your pliers to re-align the hinge. The credit card or shim will act as a guide for a flush hang.
  4. Re-insert the pin and test the door for scrapping or scuffing.

Installation Guide – Strike Plate

  1. Check the screw tightness on the strike plate. If the plate is protruding it may be causing the door to catch.
  2. If the screws turn freely we suggest installing new 2-inch brass screws, as the strike plate will occasionally be visible when the door is open.
  3. Check the alignment of the strike plate with the latch. If the latch is slightly lower than the plate you can loosen the screws and use a screwdriver plus hammer to drop the plate slightly lower. Note that this tends to be a very incremental adjustment.
  4. If you need to move the strike plate further than (3) you’ll need to re-drill the holes. To do so we recommend filling the previous screw holes with either a wood fill or dowel (typically 1/8 of an inch) cut to fit.
  5. If the door is still sticking at the strike plate your final, and most labor-intensive option, is to remove the strike plate entirely.
  6. From here use a sharp wood chisel to chip out a layer of wood. Be careful here as if you go too deep the door will no longer be able to latch.
  7. Before reinstalling the strike plate make sure to sand down the chiseled surface. This is also a good moment to fill the existing screw holes as preventative maintenance.

Installation Guide – Frame Warping

  1. If you’re at your wits end then your last resort is to sand the door to create a flush fit.
  2. Uninstall the door from the hinges and set upright on a soft surface to avoid scratching – a sheet or towels will do fine.
  3. Use an electric sander to sand down the latch side only. Work in increments and check the fit regularly. Additionally, be aware of the door’s material. Hollow core doors in particular need to be managed carefully as the frame is generally made of MDF, which is more difficult to sand and can create a soft surface that’s difficult to repaint.
  4. Brush away any debris from sanding with a dry cloth.
  5. Repaint the sanded section to match the door’s color.

Tips, Tricks, and Conclusion

As you can tell, the first step to fixing something is correctly diagnosing the root problem. When it comes to anything with multiple components working together this preliminary diagnostic work is essential.

How to Install Wallpaper

How to Install Wallpaper

Installing wallpaper is a delicate task that can be tough for beginners to master. Fortunately, there are a number of tips and tricks that make the whole process significantly easier. If wallpapering an entire room expect to spend between six to eight hours at work if working alone.

Equipment You’ll Need

  • Roll of your preferred wallpaper
  • Pencil to mark seam lines
  • Measuring tape (optional, but helpful)
  • Level
  • Wall-sized primer
  • High-quality paint roller
  • Sandpaper holder
  • Plastic smoother or wallpaper brush
  • Exacto knife for trimming
  • Fresh paint nap
  • Clean paint tray
  • Sponge
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paste

As always, we strongly recommend having all of your tools assembled at the start of a job. The expression measure twice and cut once applies to pre-work as well. Once you have everything ready we can get started.

Installation Guide

Installing Wallpaper can be a finickity experience, especially for beginners. The biggest aesthetic risks for a botched wallpaper job are lumpy spots or highly visible seams between sheets. A professional job should pretty much guarantee discrete seams and an even grade across the wall – keep this in mind if hiring a contractor rather than doing the work DIY.

As always, we suggest having everything ready-to-go before starting work. Lay out your paint nap, set up your work table, and get all of your tools on hand.

  1. Use your roll to mark seam estimates (i.e. plumb lines) on the wall, starting at the highest traffic doorway in the room then working either clockwise or counter clockwise depending on if you’re right or left-handed. To do so simply place the roll abutting your starting point and mark where the first panel ends with your pencil.
  2. Using your level check that the seam estimates from (1) are perfectly vertical at a right angle. This will guarantee that the wallpaper looks square from corner to corner. Move each plumb line a ¼ inch past where the matching panel will end. This allows for the wallpaper to stretch during the smoothing process, (11) and (12).
  3. Prepare each roll for each panel. To do so, count the number of plumb lines throughout the room. We recommend overlapping the ceiling and baseboard by about 1 inch, and overlapping corners by 1/8th of an inch. Note that windows will need panels custom fit based on size, location, and type of trim.
  4. Start by prepping the wall. Remove any fixtures that would interfere with creating a level rolling surface.
  5. Using your sandpaper holder, sand any obvious imperfections with 50 grit sandpaper then re-sand the surface with 200 grit sandpaper and wipe away any debris with a dry cloth. Make sure to brush away any particulate onto the paint nap when finished.
  6. Cover the whole wall with your wall sized primer. This will stop the wallpaper from bonding directly to the wall, which makes any future alterations or renovations challenging. Never apply wallpaper directly to drywall.
  7. Apply the paste to the wallpaper using a high-quality paint roller.
  8. “Book” the wallpaper by folding each end of the wallpaper towards the middle with the edges square.
  9. Let rest for 3-5 minutes for the paste to partially set.
  10. Unfold and apply the top half of the booked wallpaper to where panel one will be installed.
  11. Working quickly, smooth the wallpaper’s edges out with a damp sponge then repeat working from the centre to each edge. Unfold the next part of the booked wallpaper and repeat for the third fold.
  12. Finally, gently pull your smoother across every inch of the wallpaper to eliminate any stubborn wrinkles.  Repeat this process for each panel, and trim away any excess paper using an exacto knife.

Tips, Tricks, and Conclusion

There are a lot of things you can do to improve the wall paper hanging experience. This guide showcases how to work with unpasted wallpaper. If working with pre-pasted wallpaper we suggest adding a bit of the same type of paste to the water to aid in adhesion.

Possibly the most difficult part of the process is “booking” the wallpaper. This step is intended to destress the paper before application. If you skip the booking step there’s a good chance that you’ll end up with the wallpaper shrinking on the wall, leading to obvious seam misalignment. This is also part of the reason we add a ¼ inch to the length of each panel. It’s better to have a touch of overlap rather than a gap.

One other important note here: the pattern of the wallpaper matters. Geometric designs tend to have the easiest seams to hide. However, wallpaper with a central image rather than a repeating vertical design should be treated slightly differently. The central image should ideally be positioned directly across from the highest traffic point of entry. In addition, the final panel seam after completing an entire room will almost always be a touch janky. As such we highly recommend trying to hide the final wallpaper seam in a low visibility area, such as above the door jamb.

Finally, always make sure to be aware of what type of paste you’re working with. Common types of paste include wheat, clay, and starch. Check with the wallpaper’s installation instructions and make sure to use the recommended type of paste.

Photo credit: Ground Picture/Shutterstock

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