Make Weekend Projects Easy

Three quick fixes for weekend warriors

When you make weekend projects easy, it can mean a big difference for your home and add up to big savings for you. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure...in other words, make that fix now before it gets worse! Take a look at the quick fixes we came up with for common household failures. With a little help, you could make all three weekend projects easy and finish in time for a great cookout!

Restoring a Floor Under Carpet:  Sometimes the best part about renovating a room is finding a surprise. For example, you decide to pull up the old carpeting in your foyer and find a beautiful ceramic tile mosaic underneath. A great hidden treasure, but how do you restore that tile to its original glory? Start this easy weekend project and great transformation by getting rid of the glue that secured the carpeting to the tile. Avoid using chemical solvents or strippers, and make sure to wear gloves during the removal. If you use dry ice to freeze the glue, it should pop right off with a putty knife. A heat gun, available at your local crafts or hardware store, will soften the glue without melting it. If you find painted tile underneath carpeting, strip the paint from it with a homemade paste.  Mix one part TSP (trisodium phosphate) with two parts calcium carbonate (sometimes called whiting), and add water until the mixture reaches the consistency of a thick paste. Using a putty knife, apply the paste to the tile, about 3/8 inches thick. Let the paste sit on the tile for half an hour for best results, then scrape off the residue with a plastic putty knife. Rinse the tile immediately and thoroughly with warm water. And remember to wear gloves, use eye protection, and make sure to open the doors and windows!

Make Weekend Projects EasyRepair Split Drywall Tape: This is a very common, albeit annoying, problem in many homes. To fix unsightly drywall tape, use a sharp knife and make a clean break at the edges, then carefully pull away the loose tape. Brush away any dust or loose material. Apply joint compound and position new fiberglass mesh tape, then press the tape into the compound. Apply more compound over the tape using a taping knife. Use gentle strokes to smooth the surface with the compound.  If you are using ready-mix or "easy sand" compound, mound the compound up a bit. If you use regular dry-mix compound, level it with the knife. Let it dry, then apply one and perhaps two more coats, feathering the edges. The finished patch should look and feel even with the surrounding wall. Sand, prime, and paint, and this easy weekend project is complete!

Repair a Damaged Wood Floor: Hardwood flooring is a great look that many homeowners are opting for these days. Older homes sometimes have hidden hardwoods under wall-to-wall carpeting, but they may need to be repaired. To fix a hardwood floor, you must first remove the damaged section. Using a spade bit, bore holes across the ends and middle of the old boards. Use a wood chisel to split the boards lengthwise between the holes, and slip a pry bar into a split and carefully remove the damaged board. Using a claw hammer, pull out old nails in the subfloor. Carefully cut the new boards for a tight fit. Slip the groove of each new piece into the tongue of the adjacent board, and secure the new boards and nail through the tongues on all but the last piece. Use glue on the subfloor, tongue and half-groove of the last piece, then tap it into place. Use a block to protect the wood surface ot make this weekend project easy.