Get Help With Your Next DIY Project!

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 get on 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. Read More

Faux Painting Glaze Recipe

diagram of a color wheel with primary, secondary, and intermediate colors

Use a ratio of 1 part paint to 4 parts glaze to make a basic formula for most faux painting processes. You can use flat or glossy paint and have the color mixed by your paint supplier, or you can mix your own colors using the techniques described in the next section. While 1:4 is the basic ratio, some finishes like comb dragging may require a longer working time to blend the finish together properly before it dries. To slow drying in a case like this, add a bit more glaze to the mix, but don't go more than about a 1:6 ratio or the finish will not be as durable as needed to withstand normal traffic. Read More

Install Framing for a New Ceiling Fan

diagram of wall framing and wiring

Working in the unfinished attic space above the new fixture location, measure the distance between the two nearest ceiling joists. Cut a 2x4 to this length and attach a new, fan-rated outlet box to the midpoint using deck screws.

If no access is available from above you can work through the outlet hole to install a specially made, adjustable fan support. Using this method, it can be difficult to secure the support and set the outlet box at the proper finished level. An easier way to be sure of proper placement is to use the method here to install a wood frame. The ceiling must be cut to do this, after which the damage can be patched and/or covered with a decorative medallion. Read More

How to Caulk Trim and Walls

photo demonstrating how to caulk a crack between a baseboard and a wall

If you want to improve the overall appearance of a paint job, it's a good idea to caulk between the walls and trim moldings to fill any gaps before applying the finish paint.

Take care when choosing your caulk to use a paint-able acrylic latex or silicone enhanced acrylic. Don't use pure silicone for painting, it tends to repel both latex and oil-based coatings causing them to separate while wet and to peel when dry. Pure silicone should only be used for non-painted surfaces like tubs, showers, and tile or for weather-proofing to block drafts. Read More

Types of Wall Anchors

drawing demonstrating installation of an expansion anchor in a hollow wall

The load capacities for the wall anchors in these charts are approximate. Be sure anchors are installed correctly and firmly for full benefit. As a general rule, hollow walls like drywall and paneling will hold less weight than solid walls like concrete and some plasters using the same anchor. The type of installation will also have a bearing on load capacity. For instance, a shelf support may tend to pull out on the hanger while a mirror will pull straight down, making a shelf less secure than a mirror of the same weight. Read More

How to Frame a Window Opening

wall and window frame diagram

To build a new window frame in an existing wall, first remove the interior wall covering and any insulation to expose the studs. Decide which studs will have to be cut to install the new frame and which can be kept to use again. Take the jamb size and sill height into consideration when planning the placement. We use a 30 inch sill here, but you may want to measure the height of the other windows in your house and set the new one the same. It may be necessary to remove the apron trim to accurately measure the existing sill height.

With exterior walls, it's best to leave as much of the existing framing in place as possible to preserve the exterior siding. To accomplish this, choose the studs you will use for the king studs and then cut any others that fall in the center to form the top and bottom cripples. Read More

How to Frame a Ceiling for Drywall

drawing demonstrating a homemade tee supporting ceiling drywall sheets

Using a homemade tee for support will make hanging a drywall ceiling much easier. After a sheet of drywall has been lifted into place, wedge the tee under it to support the weight while adjusting the position and driving the screws.

Make the top of the tee about 3 feet long and the leg a bit longer than the new ceiling height. Because this support only needs to hold the weight temporarily, it doesn't have to be perfectly straight up and down. A quarter inch extra length is usually sufficient to get a tight wedge against the drywall but if the height varies more than that, it may be too short in some places. Shifting the tee placement will usually solve this problem but if the variance is extreme, a longer leg will help compensate for larger differences. 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 around bare spots which will be sticking up when painted encouraging future peeling. Read More