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Repairs And Maintenance Projects

Wallcovering spot repairs

To re-cover a damaged area, align a patch piece of wall- covering with the underlying pat tern; tape it to the wall; and cut through both layers for a perfect fit.


Replacing a broken tile
The most important part of a tile repair job (especially in a shower) is to do it quickly, just as soon as you find the loose or broken tile. If not, a lot of water can get behind the tile and degrade the drywall behind. Which, of course, would make for an even bigger repair job in a very short time. You can temporarily fix a loose or broken tile by filling the grout gaps and cracks with silicone caulk. But this will only buy you a week or two. The better approach is to remove the tile.


Corner beads are the angled metal strips that are applied to the outside corners of drywall walls. Once they are covered with joint compound during the wall finishing process, they blend in and look like the rest of the drywall. They are used to protect outside corners from the damage that is inevitable when a corner juts out into the room. They work most of the time, but they arenít indestructible. If they are struck hard enough, the bead will bend the joint com pound will crack and fall out, and youíll be con fronted with a repair that is more involved than you might expect. To fix one, follow these steps.


Repairing Solid-Wood Paneling
Solid-wood paneling is a beautiful addition to any room, and it makes sense to repair it if it ever gets damaged. For surface scratches and scars, rub a small amount of stain that matches the color of the wall into the damaged fibers. Then once the stain is dry, cover the repair with a few coats of paste wax. For deeper damage, use wood filler. Buy one that has a color close to the wall color, and use it according to the directions on the product container. Once the filler is dry, sand it with 120-grit sand paper, and if the color isnít quite right, apply some stair. Cover it with a matching finish.


Repairing Plywood Paneling
Plywood paneling has been a do-it-yourself favorite for a long time. It looks good and can make short work of finishing any room, especially extra space thatís been reclaimed from an attic or basement. Minor surface repairs can be accomplished with a little stain or some colored wood filler.


Reinforcing Floor Joists
There are several ways to beef up attic floor joists so the space above can be used for a bedroom, home office, or a second family room. Usually the best approach is to double- up the existing joists. This means gluing and screwing a board of the same size to the side of the joists that are already in place. Make sure that each new joist is installed with its crown pointing up, and that itís long enough to reach from the top plate of the outside house wall to the top plate ofa bearing wall in the middle of the house.


Fixing a leaking skylight

A skylight is a great addition to just about any room, especially one that is starved for natural light. But one of these units can also be the source of water leaks that cause internal rot and ceiling stains. Typically the first sign of trouble is a faint brown ring on the ceiling. You can be sure that this indicates a roof leak, instead of just water condensation inside the attic, because the dark edge is caused by traces of asphalt from roofing shingles or

roofing cement. A leak must be repaired.


Installing attic stairs

If you want to add living space to your attic and donít have a full set of stairs going up there, you should hire a professional to make and install a staircase for you. But if you just want a better way into an attic that currently has only a small access hole, then consider installing a fold-down stairway. This job is within reach for most homeowners and can make getting up and down much easier. The starting point is buying the staircase unit at a lumberyard or home center.


Patching large hole or repairing small hole in drywall

Minor blemishes to drywall surfaces are easy to repair by just filling the spots with joint compound, letting it dry, and sanding it smooth. But larger holes require more effort. You can use one of the kits described in the box on the opposite page.


Installing a wall niche

The space between the studs on interior it walls is the greatest untapped supply of storage space in your house. In a typical wall, this space is 14Ĺ inches wide by 3Ĺ inches deep. Just about every medicine cabinet is designed to fit inside this space. And many fold- up ironing boards fit nicely between studs. But the practical storage supplied by these fixtures is not the only possibility.


Installing a door

Installing a new interior door can be easy or not, depending on the type of door you buy. While it is certainly possible to hang an individual door, these days the most popular doors are prehung units where the door panel is mounted on the jambs, holes for the lockset are pre drilled, and in some cases, molding is attached to one side of the jambs.


Installing a chair rail

Flat panel wainscotings, like the type shown on the facing page, are usually topped with a chair rail. Traditionally these boards were installed to protect walls from damage caused by chairs.


How to build a partition wall

Partition walls are constructed between load-bearing walls to divide space. They should he strong and well made, hut their main job is to house doors and to support wall coverings.


Installing a colonial door casing

Doors can be trimmed out with the same traditional components that are shown for windows or they can be trimmed with simple colonial casing boards, which is the standard approach for most new houses. The biggest difference between the two is that this system features mitered joints where the leg and head casings meet. Clam shellĒ moldings, sometimes called ďranchĒ moldings, are a common alternative to colonial trim boards. These boards are ever plainer than colonial stock and are best for modern interiors.


Installing baseboard trim

Designing a customized baseboard molding is a good way to express some of your own creativity. One simple design is shown here. It consists of three boards: a flat baseboard, topped with a stock cap molding, and a 3/4-inch shoe molding. The height of the baseboard and the profile of the cap molding and shoe can be changed easily to something you like better.


Installing a new window

If you are working on a new addition or just It adding a new window to a room, the process is the same. You have to expose the sheathing on the outside of the house so the window can rest against it. On new work, the sheathing is exposed already. But on old work, you have to re move the siding before you can proceed. Use a circular saw, with a straight guide board nailed to the house, to cut the siding boards. Set the saw depth so it cuts just through the siding; then remove the boards with a pry bar.


Installing brick facing

If you like the look of brick or stone and would like to use it inside your house, consider products called facing brick and facing stone. These materials are much thinner and lighter that the full-size versions so they can be installed just like ceramic tile, using either thinset mortar or mastic adhesive. No extra wall or floor support is required. These products are usually real brick and stone. But some manufacturers offer composite products that look like the real thing.


Installing wall frames

Preassembling wall frames, and attaching them to bare walls, is a great way to dress up any room. This is not a difficult job, but it does demand careful layout. The best approach is to create a design on graph paper before you cut any wood. This gives you a chance to experiment until you find just what you want. Keep in mind some general rules. Frames that are narrow and high tend to make the wall look shorter and the ceiling look higher. Wider and shorter frames, on the other hand, tend to make the wall look longer and the ceiling look lower.


Installing wall tile

Installing tile is not difficult, but it can be time-consuming. Because of this, be sure to read the container label on your adhesive to find out what its open timeĒ is. This refers to how long the material can be exposed to the air be fore it starts to dry out and wonít hold the tile. The best approach is to start by applying the adhesive to a small areaófor example a 2 x 2-ft. square noting how long it takes you to get the tile in place. If you are well within the open time limitations, enlarge your working area for the next stage.


How to make an opening in a stucco wall

Stucco is a multiple-layer cement product applied to metal lath. Building paper is sandwiched between the metal lath and the sheathing to create a waterproof barrier. Stucco is extremely durable due to its cement base. But if you donít do the removal carefully, ifs easy to crack the stucco past the outline for the new window or door.


Installing window trim (Pages 1 2 3 4)

Although window trim is not difficult to install, it does take time because there are so many different pieces involved. For a traditional treatment, this means one stool, one apron, two rosettes, two leg casings, and one head casing for a typical total of seven boards. And, if your existing windows jambs donít extend to the outside surface of your wall, youíll have to add three extension jambs before you do anything else. This brings the board total to 10. Take your time with each one and youíll get good results.


Making a false header

There are several ways to separate rooms. The most privacy is achieved with a door. Another option is a dropped header between rooms that divides the space without closing off the rooms visually. The last option is to simply install full partitions to separate rooms and leave an opening, from floor to ceiling, to allow passage between rooms. This last option is popular in modern design, but it isnít always attractive. Installing a dropped header is a good way to dress up this treatment.


Patching plaster

Repairing plaster damage is usually more involved than fixing drywall problems. Small cracks and gouges in plaster can all be re paired with a thin coat of drywall joint compound. But deeper and wider cracks, and damage that breaks out large pieces of plaster, require a different approach. The damaged area first has to be cleaned so itís free of dust and plaster debris. Then the hole must be filled to just below the surrounding surface with patching plaster. Once this base coat is dry, the repair can be completed with a smooth coat of joint compound.


Planning the layout for wall tiles

Ceramic tile is a great wall finish for damp or wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms. And itís a frequent choice for laundry rooms and mudrooms. When properly installed, itís impervious to water and provides another design texture that livens up just about any room. Even though tiling a wall can be time consuming, itís not difficult work. One big reason: adhesives that are formulated to hold the tiles in place while the adhesives are still wet. This means the tiles can be installed without sagging or coming loose while the adhesive dries.


Refinishing wood trim

Elaborate wood trim, especially in older houses, is a real asset because it looks great and performs the critical function of blending rooms together into a cohesive interior design. Unfortunately, itís difficult and ex pensive to replace, so most people refinish it instead. This usually involves removing old paint to expose the wood underneath, and then, applying a new finish. This job requires more elbow grease than carpentry skills. In fact, perseverance is probably the most important trait that you can bring to the job.


Reinforcing ceiling joists

Sometimes ceiling joists, particularly in up stairs bedrooms in old houses, are undersized. As a result they can sag and cause cracks in the ceiling plaster or drywall. One good way to stiffen up these ceiling joists is to install a framing member called a strong back. This is constructed of two boards; one is a 2x4 that is screwed to the top of the joists. The other is a 2x6 that is glued and screwed to the edge of the 2x4. Once the strong back is installed, the joists canít sag without bending the 2x4-and-2x6 assembly.






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