Learn the basic maintenance and repair projects every homeowner needs to know.
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Outdoor Projects

Apply a heavy coat of deck stripper to the deck boards. Usually a garden sprayer works for this job. But you can also use a paint roller with a long nap roller to spread the stripper.


Retrieve the broken corner, then clean it and the mating surface with a wire brush. Apply latex bonding agent to both surfaces. If you do not have the broken piece, you can rebuild the corner with patching compound.


Exterior Maintenance
Inspect your gutters frequently. They should be cleaned in the autumn after all leaves have fallen and again in the spring. If you have heavy rains and lots of trees in your area, you’ll want to clean them more frequently.


How To Rebuild A Broken Step
Make a cut in the stair tread just outside the damaged area, using a circular saw with a masonry-cutting blade. Make the cut so it angles toward the back of the step. Make a horizontal cut on the riser below the damaged area, and then chisel out the area in between the two cuts.


Prep & Exterior Painting
Wash your siding with an inexpensive hose- mounted brush, such as a car-washing brush. Work from the top of the wall to the bottom. Use household detergent on tough spots and rinse all soapy areas thoroughly.


How to clean & repair clogged gutters

Clean dense debris from gutters using a putty knife or a narrow drywall knife. Put the debris in a bucket instead of dropping it on the ground.


How to fix a sliding screen door

You can’t remove the screen door until you release the tension on the roller wheels. Back off the adjustment screws, then lift the door out of the channel that holds it captive.


How to fix a broken window pane

Wearing heavy leather gloves, remove the broken pieces of glass. Then, soften the old glazing compound using a heat gun or a hair dryer. Don’t hold the heat gun too long in one place because it can be hot enough to scorch the wood.


How to fix a concrete chip-out and concrete crack

Drive a form board next to the sidewalk and undercut the broken section with a cold chisel and hammer. This will create a modest keyway that will give the patch something extra to grip.


How to install landscape lighting

Install your transformer or transformers. If you are installing one in a garage, mount it on a wall within 24” of the CFCI receptacle and at least 12” off the floor. If you are using an outdoor receptacle on a wall or a post, mount the transformer on the same post or an adjacent post at least 12” off the ground and not more than 24” inches from the receptacle. Do not use an extension cord.


How to install vinyl gutters

Mark a point at the high end of each gutter run, 1” from the top of the fascia. Snap chalk lines that slope toward downspouts. For runs longer than 35 ft., mark a slope from a high point in the center toward downspouts at each end.


How to pressure wash a house

If using detergents, cover the plants around your house with tarps or plastic sheeting. Leave the cover on only when you are working. If it stays on for long periods during hot weather, the plants can die from exposure to too much heat.


How to tune-up a garage door - Page 1 2 3 4

Begin the tune-up by lubricating the door tracks, pulleys and rollers. Use a lightweight oil, not grease, for this job. The grease catches too much dust and dirt.


How to install a lockset

Remove the old lockset. The knob on the inside of the door is usually held in place with a small clip. This is located on the side of the sleeve that extends from the knob to the flange on the door surface. To release this clip, just push it into the flange with a screwdriver or an awl. Then pull off the knob.


How to install locksets and deadbolts

Many doors sold today come with holes for the lockset predrilled. Some also are predrilled for a deadbolt, but very often you’ll need to drill holes for the actual dead-bolt you purchase. To assist in this, manufacturers provide a template that you tape to the door for reference. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, tape the hole template to the door (make sure you’ve oriented the template to correspond to the actual thickness of your door) and mark the center point of each hole, including the bolt hole in the edge of the door. The deadbolt is usually located 7" or 8" above the lockset.


How to install a storm door (Pages 1 2 3 4)

Test fit the door in the opening. If it is loose, add a shim to the hinge side of the door. Cut the piece with a circular saw and nail it to the side of the jamb, flush with the front of the casing.


How to tune up double-hung windows

Loosen a stuck window sash by forcing a putty knife between the sash and the window stop or parting strip. If hand pressure isn't enough to push in the blade, tap the handle with a hammer. Loosen both sides of the sash.


Common sports for caulking

Exterior light fixtures rarely fit tightly to the siding. To block the air infiltration, apply a bead of caulk all the way around the base. Smooth the bead with a wet finger.


How to pestproof your house

If your chimney flue doesn’t have a cap, you are inviting birds, bats, and squirrels into the flue, especially if you never use the fireplace. A chimney cap with screening or mesh on the sides will keep all these pests out.


How to patch stucco

Remove loose material from the repair area, using a wire brush. If the underlying metal lath has any rust, brush this away, too.






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