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Garden Border Ideas

scallop brick yard border

There are lots of choices for making borders and edges around flower beds, gardens, and other areas of your yard. Anything from rocks to logs will work. However, creating a tasteful, attractive border may take some searching and a bit of an investment.

Take a look at any home store website or flyer in the summertime and you will likely see a number of choices for garden borders. Landscape timbers are a ubiquitous option and can make a quick, easy border without a lot of expense. Contoured bricks are a popular and relatively inexpensive option...Read More

How to Repair Rotted Wood Trim

epoxy filler in rotted wood windowsill

Wood, especially exterior wood trim molding, can become saturated with water and rot in isolated spots making it necessary to replace the whole thing to restore the trim. However, in many cases to save the cost and work of replacement, this damage can be repaired with an epoxy wood filler.

Several manufacturers make a kit for repairing rotted wood like this that includes a stabilizer to harden the surrounding wood and a two-part putty which, when mixed, will set to a rock-hard patch that can be sanded and painted just like real wood. It can also be drilled, cut, and shaped with the same tools used to work wood. Before you start, make sure the area is completely dry and then... Read More

How to Sand Drywall Without Dust

photo of a shop vac sanding block

When it comes to sanding dry joint compound, you're going to have a lot of dust. And because it's so light, the dust will float through the air and settle onto every exposed surface. This can be the most difficult part of doing wall repairs or hanging new drywall for some people.

The good news is there is a way to greatly reduce the dust produced from sanding joint compound. The bad news is, you may need to buy a new tool or two to do it. If you already have a good shop vac, you're halfway there. If not, you may be able to rent one, or you can use an old house vacuum, if you don't mind getting it dirty or possibly damaging the motor. With your vacuum ready, the second part of this system is an attachment that allows... Read More

House Painting Preparation

photo scraping peeling paint off house wood siding

Start your exterior painting preparation by scraping all loose and peeling paint, putty, and caulk from the surface. Slip a putty knife under to lift off loose material and use a pull-type paint scraper to remove paint, etc. that looks loose but doesn't come free easily.

Lightly sand the edges of any bare spots created by the scraping with 120 grit sandpaper for latex paint, and 80 grit for harder, oil/alkyd-based paints. To determine the type of paint you're working with, try sanding it lightly with 120 paper. If you create dust by sanding the paint, it's oil or alkyd-based. If the paint balls up or flakes come away from the surface, it's latex paint. Because of this tearing away of the paint coat, don't sand too hard on latex paint. It will create a rough edge that will protrude when painted and encourage future peeling. In addition to sanding to remove debris, you should also rough up any shiny paint... Read More

Circular Saw Jig Plans

illustration of a circular saw rip jig

Cutting wood with a circular saw requires a steady hand. Carpentry demands perfectly straight, square boards if you hope to produce acceptable results with your woodworking projects, so using a circular saw freehand can present a problem in this endeavor.

To make truly straight, square cuts with a circular saw you really need to use a fence of some kind to keep the blade steady and on course throughout the stroke. This is especially true when ripping boards. A fence is easy to fashion with clamps and scrap wood, but measuring and setting a jig every time you need to cut some boards can be time consuming and you always run the risk of less-than-perfect alignment and unsatisfactory results. Having a pre-made jig to easily snap into place makes it simple to get accurate cuts with a circular saw every time. This page contains plans for a few simple circular saw jigs... Read More

How to Touch Up Wall Paint

paint brush touching up ceiling paint

Touching up walls and ceilings painted long ago can sometimes create a more unsightly finish than the old paint itself. To avoid this problem, it's important to use the original paint, and only the original paint, for retouching small areas in the middle of walls and ceilings.

It's also important to realize that any white paint will not match any white paint. There are hundreds of shades of white available from dozens of manufacturers using completely different formulas, making it impossible that any of these colors will match each other. And what about different finishes like semi-gloss, eggshell, high-gloss, oil-based paints, etc.? Can these finishes be retouched successfully? Unfortunately, as a general rule, only flat paint can be retouched without "flashing" in the new finish. But all is not lost. Any old paint finish can be improved using a paint from break-to-break technique to avoid this flashing problem. Flashing is a term used by professionals to describe the obvious difference in a finish... Read More

How to Paint High Ceilings

diagram of improvised stairwell scaffolding

If you need to paint high walls and ceilings in a stairwell or a great room, you'll need to use an extension ladder and maybe build scaffolding to reach some of the farthest points. On this page are a few tips and techniques for working in stairwells and building quick, improvised scaffolding with dimension lumber.

If you don't want to deal with ladders at all, another method for painting a high ceiling while standing on the floor is also described here. This requires attaching a brush to an extension pole and using the same color paint on both the ceiling and walls... Read More

How to Repair Torn Drywall Paper

photo coating torn drywall paper with a sealer

Drywall paper can be damaged when a wall is gouged while moving furniture or other common household activities. Water can also damage drywall paper, causing the surface to pucker and ripple. This can happen when removing wallpaper with a liquid stripper or when a leaking pipe or roof allow water to damage walls and ceilings.

The most important part of repairing damage like this is sealing it so it doesn't absorb any moisture from the repair compound and touch-up paint. If you don't seal the surface, the repair process will cause the undamaged layers of paper to bubble and ripple again and no amount of sanding will fix the problem. Use the following procedure for a trouble free repair of torn drywall paper... Read More