Our friend and colleague, Tipman Tim, provides us with ten great home improvement tips and tricks. He covers some great everyday DIY projects such as painting, managing your workshop tools, and how to avoid home flooding due to faulty washing machine hoses.
Home Improvement Tips
1. This is one of the best garage/basement storage tips I’ve ever been given. Take two scrap 2×4 pieces (about 16 inches long) and attach each piece into the side of a pair of exposed wood studs, long sides pointing out. You can now hang rakes, shovels, and other tools on them.
2. In the workshop, I like to keep my bolts, nails, and screws in glass Mason jars. You can get plastic screw-on lids for easy access. They won’t rust over time, like the metal ones. When you need to find a certain piece from a jar, pour the contents onto a Frisbee. It provides an easy spot to sort through the little pieces, and when you want to put them back, simply fold the disk in half and pour the pieces back into the jar.
3. When you get ready to hammer a nail into a wall, most people start by holding the nail between their thumb and index finger. Here’s a better method for holding the nail: Put the nail between your index and middle finger with your palm facing you. If you miss the nail, you’ll just hit the fleshy part of your fingers (and it will hurt less than holding it the other way).
4. When you’re pulling a nail out of a wall, use the brim of your hat to brace the head of your hammer, so it doesn’t make a mark on your wall.
5. Another tip for nailing in a tight or delicate place: drill a hole into a wood shim and use it to hold the nail while you hammer. If you miss the nail, you’ll dent the wood shim before you dent the wall.
6. When you’re spray painting a small item, place it inside a cardboard box to keep the overspray from going everywhere.
7. If you’re painting baseboards, sit on your kid’s skateboard and roll your way along the wall. Also, if you’re painting windows, run a fingerful of petroleum jelly (or swipe some chap stick) on the glass to keep any extra paint from sticking to it. To protect door knobs, cover them in aluminum foil.
8. I have a handful of products that will clean just about anything. Vinegar and baking soda are strong, cheap, and environmentally safe – use them either alone or together for tougher cleaning. If you have a stain that won’t budge, I suggest the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. These are great for bathroom/shower stains and for your stove.
9. I’m also a big fan of duct tape, but here’s a tip, because often people confuse electrical tape and duct tape. Electrical tape is made so that instead of burning, it will melt. Duct tape can burn, so you need to be careful how you use it. Electrical tape is also better around water, because it’s basically rubber with an adhesive added to it.
Duct tape is a good all-around adhesive when you’re working with different kinds of surfaces – think plastic, wood, metal – but in general, it’s not made for substances like water or grease.
10. For your washer, consider replacing your washing machine’s rubber water hoses with steel mesh ones. Why? Because the rubber ones wear out over time and burst, creating a flood in your house. If this happens while you’re on vacation, you’re really hosed – sorry for the bad pun! You can find the steel mesh ones at most hardware stores.