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Planning and Designing Your Bathroom

Planning and Designing Your Bathroom

Step 1: Basic Considerations

Probably the greatest challenge in remodeling a bathroom is figuring out how to achieve the style and build in the features you want within the limits of what is probably the smallest room in the house. A second limiting factor is the location of existing plumbing pipes and electrical wiring. Remodeling a bathroom is relatively easy if you don't have to move them. If you make radical changes in the existing layout, you'll need to investigate whether or not you can build what you want without making structural changes.

Keep in mind that you may need a building permit, depending on the scope of your project. If so, you'll probably have to submit a detailed plan of your proposed project. Before you begin planning your new bathroom, always check with your local building department and find out what codes, specifications and requirements you'll have to meet.

There are a number of general issues you should consider before you begin designing your new bathroom. They include:

Layout. Think about the layout in your existing bathroom and decide which are the most serious problems you want to fix. If more than one person uses the bathroom at the same time, for example, is there adequate counter space, or do you need a second sink or a shower compartment for greater privacy?

Are towel racks and tissue holders located conveniently? Is there enough storage space for everyone who uses the bathroom? Do vanity doors or drawers interfere with opening and closing the bathroom door?
Mechanical systems. From the plumber's point of view, the best bathroom layout is one that has all the rough plumbing–water supply and drain-waste-vent pipes–all in one wall. A "wet wall," as it is called, not only saves materials, but makes it a lot easier to make repairs if needed.

Electrical outlets and switches are usually easier to move than plumbing pipes, provided there is reasonably easy access to the wiring. Likewise with heating ducts–if you can get to the duct, it usually isn't too much trouble to relocate the vent. Keep in mind, however, that any mechanical changes you make will cost extra.

If your current layout is livable, leaving the mechanical systems as they are will mean that much more in the budget for upgraded fixtures, and may make the difference between doing the project and waiting to save more money.

Don't neglect lighting when you redesign your bathroom. You'll need strong lighting over the mirror–a strip of eight 60-watt bulbs is not necessarily too much–but you may also want to consider pinpoint task lighting and soft ambient lights. If you plan to install a whirlpool built for two, indirect mood lighting may fit well. With incandescent lighting, you'll need at least 3-1/2 to 4 watts per square foot (e.g., 280 watts minimum in an 80-square-foot bathroom). If you use fluorescent lighting, figure 1-1/2 to 2 watts per square foot.

Maintenance. Think about the maintenance problems you have in your existing bathroom–stained grout, mildew, soap buildup, etc. Some materials look great when they're brand new, but don't weather very well in a high-moisture location. As you choose materials, make sure they are waterproof and washable–resilient vinyl flooring, for example, a fiberglass tub surround and semi-gloss enamel paint will all wear well.
Energy and water conservation. Your hot water heater is one of the largest energy hogs in the house, and the toilet uses more water than any other single fixture. Consider installing low-flow shower heads and insulating hot water pipes. The extra money you spend on an ultra-low-flush toilet will often come back in the first year in reduced water bills.

Planning a New Bathroom

Step 2: Planning a New Bathroom

The first step in planning your new design is to make a detailed sketch of your existing design (Fig. 2). Use a sheet of graph paper with four squares per inch, and draw a floor plan (in other words, a bird's eye view) to scale. Make each square represent 3", i.e., 1" equals 1', and draw in:

all wall detail, plus the locations of any doors and windows;
the width and length of your floor cabinets and bathtub;
the distance from the nearest wall to the center of the toilet and the centers of all sink drains; and
the locations of all electrical outlets, switches and fixtures.
As you make your sketch, use an architect's scale to precisely locate any components that do not fall on exact 3" increments.

FIXTURES AND COMPONENTS–It is beyond the scope of this document to provide extensive style ideas or discuss specific fixtures. We suggest that you visit your local home center's show room, contact a designer or architect and consult how-to books such as Sunset's Bathroom Remodeling Handbook.

Once you have a general idea of the style you want to incorporate into your new bathroom, the next step is to decide on the fixtures. The first place is to start is the bathtub. A standard builder's bathtub is 30" wide, 60" long and typically about 15" deep. But you can go up from there, to soaking tubs 36" deep, square or sunken tubs, whirlpools or even free-standing clawfoot tubs. Tub surrounds range from one-piece folding fiberglass units to five-piece assemblies, and doors may swing, slide or fold.

The simplest sinks are wall-hung; they are also the least expensive. Vanity sinks may be deck-mounted–in other words, set into a hole cut in the countertop–or part of an integral bowl and countertop (typically a cultured marble top). There are three types of deck-mounted sinks (Fig. 3): Self-rimming sinks have a molded lip that rests on the countertop, around the edge of the hole. They are the easiest to install, and there are a wide variety of styles available.

Flush or frame-rimmed sinks have a metal frame that is attached to the rim of the hole in the countertop. The sink is then fastened to the frame. This is an older style, typically used with laminate countertops.
Unrimmed sinks are recessed below the surface of the countertop and held in place with metal clips. They are often used with ceramic tile or synthetic marble countertops.
You may or may not have room for a small storage closet in the bathroom; if so, it can be used for towels and other accessories. Your vanity cabinets will provide the bulk of the storage, however, so it's important to choose them carefully.

There are three basic types of base cabinets. A modular (as opposed to custom-built) sink base (Fig. 4) is typically 24" to 36" wide, with false drawer fronts and doors below. A drawer base (Fig. 4) may range from 12" wide to 18" wide; it generally makes the most of the space, with three or four drawers. A standard vanity base (Fig. 5) has one drawer, with a door below, and also comes in 12" to 18" widths.

Combination units are also available (Fig. 5), with drawers on one side and a false drawer front and door on the other, to accommodate a sink. All modular vanities are about 30" high and either 19" deep or 21" deep.

The most common type of toilet is a two-piece unit–a bowl and a tank. One-piece toilets are also available, in both a standard configuration and a low-profile model. What differentiates toilets (aside from color and style) is the flush design. The most common design is called a reverse trap. A siphon jet design is more efficient–and, of course, more expensive.

Determining the Final Design

Step 3: Determining the Final Design

Once you have a rough idea of what fixtures you want, go to your supplier and measure them to get their outside dimensions. When you begin sketching out your new bathroom, cut out cardboard templates of each fixture to the same scale as your sketch. Lay the templates over the sketch of your existing bathroom and trace the walls and the locations of any components you know you will not move. Then begin planning your changes.

LAYOUT–Minimum clearances vary by local building codes, so you'll need to check with the building department before you design. There are four common types of bathroom layouts:

A one-wall bathroom has the tub, sink(s) and toilet all along one wall. This layout is generally the most economical–and generally the least interesting design.

An L-shaped bathroom (Fig. 6) usually has the vanity/sink and the toilet along one side wall, with the bathtub against the back wall. This arrangement reduces the "hallway" look, and is as cost-effective as a one-wall bathroom because the tub supply and drain lines can be located in the same wall as the other fixtures.

A corridor bathroom (Fig. 7) typically has the bathtub along one side wall and the vanity/sink and toilet along the opposite wall.

A U-shaped bathroom has fixtures on three walls; it generally gives the most spacious appearance, but also requires a relatively large, square room.

Begin your layout by positioning the bathtub. Make sure you have easy access, room to maneuver if you'll be bathing small children and nearby wall space for a towel rack. The bathtub is often placed against the back wall to keep it away from the bathroom door.

Next, locate the sink and vanity cabinet. Plan for at least 30" clear space in front of the sink, so there is room to bend down and get into the cabinet. If the sink is placed along a side wall near the door, make sure the door swings away from the sink–not into it.

Then locate the toilet, away from the door if possible. Most building codes require at least 20" clearance in front of the bowl. On each side, you'll probably need 18" to the nearest wall or 14" to the nearest cabinet (measured from the center of the bowl).

If you have space for extra storage, naturally you'll want to use it; the most important consideration in designing storage space is putting everything you need within easy reach. You'll certainly need some shelf space, but you can also make efficient use of space with wire racks, bins and drawers. If you use modular units, you'll be able to adjust your storage space later for changing needs.

Doing the Finish Work

Step 4: Doing the Finish Work

Use the following checklist to guide you through the preparation, design and construction process.

DESIGN PREPARATION

Review what you like and dislike about your existing bathroom, and decide what your priorities are in your remodeling project.

Measure your bathroom and draw a sketch to scale; if you plan to hire a professional designer, contact one.

Contact your building department to confirm minimum clearances and any other regulations that may apply.

DESIGN

Gather style ideas and make notes.
Determine the major fixtures you want in your new bathroom.
Work out a layout that meets local clearance requirements, fits your needs and makes the most efficient use of the space you have.
Determine colors, finish materials, lighting, storage details and accessories.
Draw a floorplan of your proposed bathroom. You may want to have it checked by a professional designer to get any additional ideas.

CONSTRUCTION PREPARATION

Get a building permit if you need one.
Prepare a materials list and have it priced by your supplier or suppliers.
Arrange your financing if necessary. Interview and select a contractor if you'll be using one.

CONSTRUCTION

Draw up a general outline of construction procedures, then list the materials that will be needed for each phase. Talk to your supplier(s) and find out the lead times on any special order materials.

Place special orders in advance so they will be available when you need them; allow enough extra time beyond the planned order time, so mistakes can be corrected without holding up the job.

Arrange for a building inspector to check the job whenever necessary.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Planning Your Kitchen

Planning Your Kitchen

Step 1: Consider How You Use Your Kitchen

How many people are in your household who use the kitchen? The answer to this question will determine how much use your kitchen gets, and how much traffic there is likely to be in the kitchen at any one time.

Do two or more cooks typically work at the same time? If so, you may want extra counter space and/or an extra sink.

Do you entertain frequently–and do you typically have formal or informal gatherings? If you entertain a lot, you may want to open up the kitchen/living room area into a great room that lets you be part of the party while you're working.

What other activities commonly occur in the kitchen? Some houses have a laundry closet in the kitchen. Some people want a wet bar, a breakfast bar or even a desk for writing or computer work.

Do you have any special needs? Is a user exceptionally short or tall and uncomfortable working at standard-height counters for long periods of time? Do you have a disabled or elderly household member who may have special needs?

This, obviously, is not a complete list of the general considerations in kitchen planning–the list is nearly infinite. But before you begin designing, think about who uses the kitchen and how they use it.

Think About the Features You Want

Step 2: Think about the features you want

For example:

Do you need an island (and have room for it), a peninsula or a breakfast nook?
Would you fill a pantry?
Would you rather have a stainless steel sink or enameled cast iron?
Do you use a microwave for major cooking or just to heat up cups of tea?
Do you prefer cooking with gas or electricity?
Do you want a combination oven-and-range or a cooktop with a wall oven?
Do you use enough small appliances that you could use an appliance garage to store them?

The fewer structural and mechanical changes you make, the less you'll spend. But that doesn't mean that all those changes cost a lot of money. You'll need the advice of licensed professionals to make final decisions, but you can at least get a rough idea of how much extra major changes would cost by answering the following questions:

Is the wall you want to move a load-bearing wall? Load-bearing walls support the structure of the house, and moving them is a complex job for a professional. Typically, an interior load-bearing wall runs the length of the house, at about the center of the structure.
What rooms are directly above and below the kitchen? If the rooms above and below are finished, it'll be a lot more difficult to reroute plumbing pipes, heating ducts and electrical wires.
Does your new design require that you move existing doors and/or windows? If so, this makes the job more difficult, because exterior walls are always load-bearing.

Step 3: Considering Styles

The next step–and the most fun–is to think about style. Chances are, you've seen kitchens that you like, in magazines, friends' homes, etc. The first question to ask is whether the style you like best will fit with your home. You may have loved European cabinets in the magazine, but they might not look as good in your Queen Anne Victorian.

Also, consider what kind of color changes you'd like to make–and whether your ideal colors would necessitate buying new appliances. When you choose colors, think of them in relation to surrounding rooms and try to find colors that complement the rest of the house.

Finally, consider your budget and any other remodeling that you might want to do. Sometimes, related projects are easier and cheaper when done at the same time as the kitchen.

Step 4: Most Kitchens Are Designed Around 4 Work Areas

The Cleanup Center around the sink should have at least 18" to 30" on one side, and 48" to 54" on the other, to allow enough room to stack dishes, pans and utensils. Always plan for at least 12" between the sink and the nearest corner, measured from the front of the counter.

The Cooking Center around the range requires 12" minimum on one side of the range, and 15" to 24" on the other side, again with 12" minimum to the nearest corner. Microwaves and built-in ovens should have at least 15" to 18" counter space on the right side (assuming the door is hinged on the left side).

The Storage Center around the refrigerator needs 15" to 18" on the handle side of the refrigerator, to set food.

The Mixing/Preparation Center should be handy to pans, bowls and utensils, and should consist of at least 42" to 84" of free counter space.
If space permits, some designers also include a serving center–another 36" to 84" of free counter space to set bowls and pans.

As you design, you'll also want to plan for the following minimum clearances so you'll have room to work:

There should be at least a 42" clearance from the front edge of the counter top to the nearest table or island.
Leave at least 20" from the front edge of the dishwasher door (when open) to the nearest obstruction, so you'll have room to load and unload.
Plan for at least 26" between the kitchen work area and the nearest traffic path.
Allow 36" between the nearest obstruction and an eating table, so there is room to pull a chair away from the table.

Step 5: The Work Triangle

Kitchen layouts are based on a concept called the work triangle. The work triangle consists of imaginary lines that connect the refrigerator, the range and the sink. For maximum comfort and efficiency, the three legs of the work triangle should total between 23' and 26'.

There are four basic kitchen layouts the one-wall or galley, the corridor, the L-shaped and the U-shaped. There are, of course, a nearly infinite variety of layouts, but most are based on these four.

Selecting Cabinets

Step 6: Selecting Cabinets 

Cabinets can also be divided into basic types. Assuming that you're considering modular (pre-manufactured) cabinets rather than custom, the widths will run in 3" increments from 9" up through 36". The standard height of a base cabinet is 34-1/2", and the standard depth is 24".

Wall cabinets are 12" deep (except for specialty cabinets designed to be installed over the refrigerator), and come in the same 3" increments. Standard heights are 12", 15" 18", 30", and 36". Wall cabinets are installed so the bottom of the cabinet is 54" above the floor (about 18" above the countertop). The height you select should depend on your ceiling height and how tall you are–there's no point in buying tall cabinets that reach to the ceiling if you can't get up to get items in and out of the top shelves.

There are four basic types of base cabinets:

A standard base has one drawer, with a door and shelves below.
A drawer base has three or four stacked drawers.
A sink base is open below, with a door below a single false drawer front. In some brands, the drawer front tilts out to provide storage for sponges and cleaning supplies.
A corner base fits in a corner. It may have a lazy susan inside or shelves.
Naturally, there are a wide range of variations on these four basic styles (Fig. 5).

Wall cabinets (Fig. 6) generally have doors and shelves inside, although lazy susan corner cabinets are also available, as well as a wide range of specialty cabinets that may offer built-in appliance garages, stemware holders and other features. Special wall cabinets are also made for microwave and built-in ovens, range vent hoods and other special uses.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Designing Your Kitchen

Designing Your Kitchen

Step 1:

HORIZONTAL DIMENSIONS:

1)  Each wall from corner to corner.

2) From the nearest corner to the outside edge of each door or window casing.

3) The overall width of the doors and windows, including the casing.

4) From the nearest corner to the centers of water supply lines, drain lines and gas feed lines.

5) From the nearest corner to the centers of electrical outlets and switches.

VERTICAL DIMENSIONS:

6) From the floor to the ceiling.
7) From the floor to the bottom edge of window stools or casings.
8) From the ceiling to the top edge of door and window casings.

Once you have those dimensions, you're ready to do a basic layout. First, make a few copies of your sketch, so you can play with different ideas. You can also make cardboard cutouts of your appliances, sink and basic cabinet sizes (to scale), and move them around on your sketch. Decide on the general location of each of the work centers. Make sure that the layout fits general kitchen planning guidelines, and that no structural or other considerations prevent you from building your layout

Designing Your Kitchen Appliances

Step 2:

Next, determine the rough position of the major appliances (refrigerator, range and ovens) and the sink. Double check the layout to make sure you've allowed the proper amount of counter space in each work center, as outlined above. Also, double check to make sure your work triangle is within guidelines.

Plan a sink base cabinet under the sink, then choose the types of cabinets that will go near each appliance. Work from the nearest corner to the sink and each appliance, sizing the cabinets so you are left with a gap at the end that is less than 3". You'll use a filler strip that matches the cabinet finish to fill those gaps.

Make sure each type of cabinet fits the need at that work center–mixing bowl and utensil storage near the mixing/preparation center, cooking utensils near the range, and dish storage near the sink, for example.

Finally, add up the materials you will need–cabinets, countertops, appliances, electrical, plumbing and heating supplies, light fixtures, fan and all the surface materials such as floor coverings, wallboard, wallpaper and paint.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Installing Plastic Laminate Countertops

Here are tips and suggestions on how to install plastic laminate countertops. These ideas can save you time, money and effort. Laminated plastics are available in many colors, patterns and designs. They can be used for countertops, tabletops and many other surfacing applications. The sheets are available in dull or gloss finish.

Laminated plastic is made from layers of paper that are first impregnated with resin and then bonded together under pressure and high temperature, forming a rigid sheet.

Inside this document you will find information about:

Preparing the Surface for Laminate Plastic
Cutting Laminated Plastic
Applying Laminated Plastics
Finishing Off the Job

PREPARING THE SURFACE FOR LAMINATE PLASTIC

Step 1: PREPARING THE SURFACE FOR LAMINATE PLASTIC

Laminated plastic sheets of 1/16" thickness are recommended for a flat work surface. You can use laminated plastic of 1/32" thickness on vertical surfaces.

Thoroughly sand and clean the surface where plastic laminate is to be applied (Fig. 1). Remove any paint or varnish before applying the laminated plastic.

Most manufactured countertops are made using a high-density particle board. However, regular particle board and even plywood make ideal bases for plastic laminates.

CUTTING LAMINATED PLASTIC

Step 2:  CUTTING LAMINATED PLASTIC

You can cut plastic laminate material with a circular saw, saber saw, backsaw or utility knife. The saw blade should be a fine-tooth blade (Fig. 2). A strip of masking tape placed where the cut line is to be made helps prevent chipping and makes the line easier to see.

When using a power circular saw or saber saw, cut from the back side of the laminate. These saws cut on the upstroke. Cutting from the back will help prevent chipping. On hand saws, cut from the front side at a low angle.

Important: Always cut the sheets of laminated plastic slightly oversized to allow for trimming.

Special laminate cutting blades are available to use with utility knives (Fig. 3). Use a straightedge or a steel square to guide the knife for a smooth and even cut.

Score the sheet of laminated plastic with the utility knife. Then snap it on the scored line by lifting the shorter end and applying slight pressure (Fig. 4).

You can also cut laminated plastic sheets with a fine-tooth hand saw (Fig. 5). The type of cutting tool you use depends on how big the job is.

APPLYING LAMINATED PLASTICS

Step 3:  APPLYING LAMINATED PLASTICS

Usually, you can apply laminated plastics with contact cement. Epoxy adhesives can be used, but contact cements are recommended.

Use coarse sandpaper to roughen the surface to be covered. Clean away the sanding residue with a light brush or with compressed air.

After sanding, brush the contact cement onto the counter surface (Fig. 6). Also apply a smooth and even layer of contact cement to the back of the clean laminate sheet. Let both surfaces dry. Check the contact cement label for the recommended drying time. The general rule is the cement should be dry to the touch. A weaker bond will result if you wait too long.

Use extreme care when laying the sheets. Remember, 50 percent to 75 percent of the bonding strength of contact cement is present in the first contact. Make sure the pieces are accurately positioned before the glued areas touch each other.

You may need to apply two to three coats of contact cement for the trim strips along the counter edges (Fig. 7).

You can use a regular paintbrush for applying the contact cement to both the back of the laminated sheet and the flat surfaces. However, in some cases, a handmade paddle of wood may be better for spreading the cement (Fig. 8).

After the recommended drying period, you are ready to position the sheet of laminate.

Keep the sheet of laminate and cemented base apart until they are correctly positioned. On narrow strips, lay short lengths of dowel rods about 12" apart between the two cemented pieces until they are properly positioned (Fig. 9). The dowel rods can be moved along the surface to keep the cemented pieces apart during positioning.

When laying a large sheet of laminate, use longer dowel rods (Fig. 10). Keep the 12" spacing between the dowel rods. Be sure to use dowels that are at least 1/4" in diameter. The larger the better.

When applying laminated sheets to vertical surfaces, you can usually position the glued sheets without using wooden strips or waxed paper (Fig. 11).

FINISHING OFF THE JOB

Step 4: FINISHING OFF THE JOB

When the laminate is correctly positioned, remove the dowel rods one at a time as you bond the two pieces together.

Use a roller to apply pressure to the newly laid sheets of laminated plastic (Fig. 12). Roll the entire surface thoroughly to eliminate air pockets and to be sure the plastic sheet is firmly attached to the surface at all points.

If the plastic laminate you are using is not large enough to do the entire job, you will need to make a seam. To do this, first bond the larger of the two pieces into place.

Put a narrow strip of wax paper down along the edge of the larger piece (Fig. 13). Use the dowel rods again to keep the second piece of laminate away from the cemented surface. Begin at the seam and position the second piece tightly against the first. You may want to tape this second piece to the first to help hold it in place.

After you have used your roller to firmly attach the second piece of laminate, go back and carefully lift the edge over the wax paper. Remove the wax paper and reposition the laminate. Finish by using your roller to apply pressure, working from the center of the laminate toward the seam.

You can also use a wooden block and mallet to assure good adhesion at all points on the newly laid surface. Work from the center of the surface toward the edges to work out any air bubbles that might be hidden underneath.

You may want to use special metal or plastic moldings to finish off the edges of the plastic laminate installation. Or you may want to use thin edging strips of the same material to create a neat edge.

When using the same laminate material for edging, apply two coats of cement to the edges and let it dry thoroughly (Fig. 14). Then apply one coat of cement to the back of the laminated sheet.

Place the edge strip into position carefully, using your fingers to align the sheets along the top edge as they are applied (Fig. 15).

It is usually best to start applying pressure to the edge strips in the center of each strip (Fig. 16). Work in both directions from the center on long spans. Work short spans from end to end.

If you need to trim away surplus material or cut portions of the edging strip you can use a fine-tooth backsaw, a router or a file.

Run your hand along the edge stripping (Fig. 17). It should be slightly wider than the edge it covers. However, the extra width should be at the bottom. It must be perfectly aligned at the top.

To finish the edges on your counter top, first allow the contact cement to dry according to the manufacturer's directions. If you have a small amount of finishing to do, you can use a file set at a slight angle. However, most laminate edges today are finished with routers.

There are special router blades for finishing plastic laminates. The most popular are a flush cut blade and a beveled blade. Some feel the beveled blade helps to keep the laminate from chipping along the edge. If you are laminating a large area, you may want to use a carbide router bit. A bit with a bearing makes the job even easier.

To finish your laminate edges, begin by cleaning the base of your router. Anything stuck to the base or any burrs on the base could scratch your laminate. Putting tape on the base can help take care of this.

If you are using a bit that requires a guide, set the guide carefully. The bit should cut the edge of the laminate but not the adjoining surface. It is always better to take off a little and make a second pass than to take off too much the first time.

Set the router on the laminate and use a firm steady downward pressure to hold the router in place (Fig. 18). Do not rush the router, move slowly along the edge of the laminate. Quick movements can cause the router to jump or kick, which can ruin the laminate.

Remove any surplus contact cement with a special solvent. You can use nail polish remover for this purpose.

Tool Checklist Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Replacing Sink, Bath, Shower Faucets

Here are tips and instructions on how to replace sink, bath and shower faucets. Following these and manufacturer instructions can help you save time, money and effort. It can also help you end up with a neater, more satisfactory installation. In this document you will find information about:
Purchase the Correct Faucet
Use the Correct Tools
Converting from Iron Pipe to Copper Tubing
Replacing Faucets with Soldered Ends
Installing 4" Faucet without Pop-up Drain
Installing 4" Faucet with Pop-up Drain
Installing Combination Faucet with Pop-up Drain
Installing Common Sink Faucets
Installing Bath and Shower Faucets
Lead Warning
PURCHASE THE CORRECT FAUCET

Step 1:  PURCHASE THE CORRECT FAUCET

There are many sizes, types and styles of faucets. Be sure you purchase the correct faucet when replacing an existing one since many faucets are not interchangeable.

Before purchasing a replacement faucet, take an exact measurement of the holes for the faucet, center to center (Fig. 1). Also, remove the old faucet and take it along to the store when purchasing the new fixture.

There are many different types of mixer faucets. Use care in selecting the correct one–the style is optional, but the size must be correct.

Before installing the new faucet, carefully read the manufacturer's instructions for installation. It's important to follow them exactly.

USE THE CORRECT TOOLS

Step 2:  USE THE CORRECT TOOLS

It's important to use the proper tools when removing stubborn plumbing fixtures. Fig. 2 shows the variety of wrenches designed for specific plumbing jobs.

You'll usually need two pipe wrenches (Stillson wrenches) on a plumbing job. One is used for holding, the other for turning. Use pipe wrenches only on pipes. The teeth in the jaws of pipe wrenches bite into the metal and can mar chrome-finished nuts and pipe.

Open-end wrenches and adjustable wrenches have smooth jaws and can be used for square or hex nuts. These wrenches are ideal for working with the interior parts of faucets and valves.

A closet spud wrench is a special thin wrench made to fit into tight places (Fig. 2).

You can use strap wrenches instead of a pipe wrench when working with chrome-coated pipe if a regular pipe wrench might mar the surface.

Vise grip wrenches are ideal for holding and working with pipe of small diameter.

Use basin wrenches to remove or tighten nuts and hose couplings under sinks and lavatories. Its alternate positions enable you to reach nuts that would ordinarily be inaccessible to other wrenches.

CONVERTING FROM IRON PIPE TO COPPER TUBING

Step 3: CONVERTING FROM IRON PIPE TO COPPER TUBING

In most cases, you'll want to convert from iron pipe to plastic or copper. Check your local code. Both copper and plastic require no threading.

Attach copper pipe to threaded pipe with a transition union (Fig. 3). Half of the union is threaded onto the old iron pipe. The other half is soldered to the copper pipe. The two halves are then threaded together. This type of fitting is also available for connecting iron to plastic and copper to plastic using solvent cement or mechanical connections.

REPLACING FAUCETS WITH SOLDERED ENDS

Step 4:  REPLACING FAUCETS WITH SOLDERED ENDS

To replace an ordinary faucet with a soldered end, first remove the old faucet by applying heat or cutting. Clean the end of the pipe thoroughly.

Remove the stem of the faucet to protect the seat washer (Fig. 4). Apply heat to the pipe with an ordinary propane heat torch. Then, apply solder and reassemble the faucet. Use a solder that has no lead.

You can apply an ordinary faucet of the same type to threaded pipe by applying a pipe compound or Teflon™ tape to the pipe threads and then attaching the faucet to the threads.

FAUCET WITHOUT POP-UP DRAIN

Step 5:  INSTALLING 4" FAUCET WITHOUT POP-UP DRAIN

The 4" lavatory faucet without a pop-up drain is relatively simple to install. Place plumber's putty in the groove just underneath the chrome framing to provide a tight seal (Fig. 5).

Insert the shanks of the lavatory faucet into the holes of the lavatory. Attach the locknuts and the washer to the shank and tighten them firmly into place.

Remove any excess putty from the base of the faucet. Connect the shank to the water supply and tighten.

FAUCET WITH POP-UP DRAIN

Step 6: INSTALLING 4" FAUCET WITH POP-UP DRAINInstalling the 4" lavatory faucet with pop-up drain is more challenging.

Start by carefully reading the instructions that came with the faucet.

First, remove the old faucet and pop-up drain (Fig. 6).

Insert the new faucet into position. Add putty in the groove around the base of the faucet.

Slip the washer over the shank and thread the locknut up the shank, placing the faucet loosely in position.

Insert the drain plunger into the center hole and affix the adjustment bar to the drain plunger.

Place the pop-up drain body in position and attach it to the adjustment bar. Tighten all nuts and attach the faucet to the water system. Attach the pop-up drain body to the drain system.

Place the stopper in the drain body and work the drain plunger. Make any adjustments by moving the lever assembly up or down in the holes provided.

INSTALLING COMBINATION FAUCET WITH POP-UP DRAIN

Step 7: INSTALLING COMBINATION FAUCET WITH POP-UP DRAIN

Installing the combination lavatory faucet with pop-up drain is much the same as the 4" lavatory faucet. (Fig. 7)

Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully for the step-by-step installation.

The main difference in this installation is that most models require the faucet handles, flanges and faucets to be removed. The assembly is then inserted from underneath the lavatory frame.

 INSTALLING COMMON SINK FAUCETS

Step 8: INSTALLING COMMON SINK FAUCETS

Most sink faucets are of the mixer variety, where the hot and cold water are mixed and brought into the sink through one swing spout.

The typical mixer-type faucet also comes equipped with a spray hose (Fig. 8).

Mixer faucets for kitchen sinks are usually 8", although they are also available in 6" and 4" sizes. There are two basic types–the exposed deck, shown in Fig. 8, and the concealed deck. The exposed deck has a chrome housing above the sink, while the concealed deck has only a flange exposed just below the faucet handles.

All faucets come with manufacturers' installation instructions. Read these instructions carefully and follow each step for a good installation.

If instructions are unavailable, you can follow the same basic instructions given for installing a lavatory faucet.

INSTALLING BATH AND SHOWER FAUCETSMORE INSTALLING BATH AND SHOWER FAUCETSINSTALLING BATH AND SHOWER FAUCETS 3

Step 9:  INSTALLING BATH AND SHOWER FAUCETS

The first challenge in installing bath and shower faucets is getting the faucet assemblies behind the wall.

Most home builders provide a rear access panel. By removing this panel, you can connect fittings without defacing the bathroom wall. These panels are usually located in closets in back of the tub.

The two-valve faucet assembly is the most common assembly for bathtubs. If instructions are unavailable, study Fig. 9 to help you make such an installation without too much trouble.

The two-valve shower assembly is the basic faucet arrangement used only for shower assemblies.

This arrangement is used when the faucets are installed separately and apart from the taps that supply water to the tub (Fig. 10).

The three-valve diverter with shower head and spout provides water both to the shower and to the tub.

With this assembly, the hot and cold water taps are turned to bring water into the tub. Then, when the proper mix of hot and cold is reached, the diverter valve is turned to bring the water through the shower head (Fig. 11).

There are two basic types of two-valve diverters. One has a twin ell diverter spout (Fig. 12). The water is first mixed by letting it run into the tub. It is then diverted through the shower head by the twin ell diverter spout.

Another type of two-valve diverter has a shower head and ejector tee diverter (Fig. 13). This works in basically the same way as the twin ell, but the water is diverted by means of a tee rather than by the twin ell.

Many older homes have lead pipe water systems. Many newer homes have copper pipe water systems that have been soldered together with solder containing lead.

Step 10: LEAD WARNING

Lead can leach into the drinking water system from the corrosion of materials in plumbing and distribution systems that contain lead. Exposure to lead may cause brain and nervous disorders, anemia, high blood pressure, kidney and reproductive problems, decreased red blood cells, slower reflexes and even death. The lead collects in the kidneys, liver and brain. Unlike many other chemicals, once lead enters a person's system, it cannot be removed. Exposure to even small amounts over a period of years can cause irreversible damage.

When working on a plumbing project, always use lead-free solder.

In normal use, if it has been six hours since the water system was used, turn on the water and let it run for a few minutes before drawing water to use for drinking or cooking. However, there is no need to waste this water. It may be used for such things as watering plants.

Additional information is available from the Environmental Protection Agency's Safe Drinking Water hotline at 1-800-426-4791. It can also provide information about certified laboratories that test for lead in drinking water.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Unstopping Clogged Drains, Toilets, Sewer

Step 1:  UNSTOPPING CLOGGED SINK DRAINS

If the drain is sluggish but not completely clogged, turn on the hot water tap for 5 to 10 minutes. This sometimes opens the drain.

If running hot water does not open the sluggish drain, try an environmentally safe chemical drain opener. Such cleaners are available in several forms, and they are made primarily from caustic soda with bauxite and other ingredients. Read the label on the drain cleaner and follow manufacturer's instructions.

After using any chemical cleaner, flush it from the drain pipes by allowing hot water to run for at least 10 minutes.

OPENING COMPLETELY CLOGGED DRAINS Step 2: OPENING COMPLETELY CLOGGED DRAINS

In some cases, using a simple suction cup will open a clogged sink drain.

First, remove the basket strainer from the drain (Fig. 1).

Run hot water until it stands about 2" deep in the sink.

Take a suction cup plunger and pump it up and down directly over the clogged drain. The water in the sink provides a seal. If the suction cup does not clear the drain in a few minutes, you will probably be forced to remove some of the pipes to get the job done.

If you cannot open the drain with the suction cup, set a pail underneath the sink trap and remove the cleanout plug and washer (Fig. 2). If the drain is only slightly clogged, a few quick probes with a screwdriver may solve the problem.

If the screwdriver doesn't open it, use a snake or drain auger through the pipe. A drain auger works best if you rotate it, feed it in a short distance, and then rotate it again. This enables the drain auger to be inserted deeply into the pipe.

After the drain pipe is opened, replace the cleanout plug and washer. Run scalding water through the pipe to carry away any accumulations.

UNSTOPPING CLOGGED LAVATORY DRAINS Step 3: UNSTOPPING CLOGGED LAVATORY DRAINS

If the lavatory drain is only slightly clogged, try opening it by removing the drain stopper and probing for hair and other debris with a short piece of wire.

If this doesn't work, try a plunger. Since your lavatory drain has an overflow outlet, you'll need to plug it with tape or rags before using a plunger (Fig. 3). After plugging the overflow drain, use the plunger exactly as you would in opening an ordinary sink.

If the wire and plunger treatments do not work, use a sink auger or plumber's snake. You may be able to do this without removing the sink trap (Fig. 4).

If none of these efforts works, set a pail under the lavatory and remove the trap (Fig. 5). Cover the chrome nut with tape or a rag to prevent marring by the wrench.

Loosen the thumbscrew on the plumber's snake and move the handle back about 3' (Fig. 6). Insert the snake into the drainpipe, rotate the auger, feed it in, then rotate again. This allows you to drive the snake deeply into the drainpipe.

UNSTOPPING BATHTUB DRAINSMORE UNSTOPPING BATHTUB DRAINS Step 4:  UNSTOPPING BATHTUB DRAINS

To unstop bathtub drains, try the running hot water, the plunger, or the chemical method. Remember to plug the overflow outlet before using a plunger.

If the chemical, the plunger, or the hot water treatments do not open the clogged drain, you'll need to remove the trap located under the tub. If the tub is on the first floor with crawl space or basement access to the pipes, this can be relatively easy.

In older homes this trap will be a drum trap (Fig. 7) which has a removable top. This top often becomes corroded and may be very difficult to remove. Apply penetrating oil to the top and let it set for a few minutes. Then use a large wrench to remove the top. If that fails, a hammer and punch may be necessary to do the job.

Tubs in newer homes usually have a tubular trap. The bottom portion of this trap can be removed by loosing the two large nuts that hold it in place. Prior to loosing these nuts hang a pail under the trap to catch any water that is in the trap.

After you have removed the trap or the cover check for debris in the trap itself and in the pipes leading to and from the trap. In tub drains clogs of hair and soap are quite commonplace. A pair of rubber gloves might be a good idea here.

After you have removed the clog and resealed the drain, run hot water through the drain for a few minutes. This will allow you to check the operation of the drain and to flush any remaining debris from the drain.

OPENING A CLOGGED TOILET Step 5:  OPENING A CLOGGED TOILET

In most cases you can open a clogged toilet using a force ball-type plunger (A, Fig. 9). A regular suction cup plunger will seldom do the job (B). A force ball-type plunger exerts a great deal more pressure for cleaning toilets than the regular type.

Be sure to have sufficient water in the toilet bowl when using the plunger.

If the plunger does not clear the clogged drain, use a closet auger (Fig. 10). Start the auger or snake into the bowl and continue to crank it until it becomes tight. This cranking and pulling action will usually bring up the object that is causing the stoppage.

If the closet auger is not effective, use a small snake in the same way as described for opening lavatory drains.

If neither the plunger, the closet auger, nor the snake removes the obstruction, you may need to remove the toilet from the floor, turn it upside down, and force the obstruction out from the top or bottom.

If you must remove the toilet from the floor, use either a wax preformed O-ring or fresh plumber's putty in reseating the toilet.

OPENING CLOGGED SEWERSSECOND OPENING CLOGGED SEWERSMORE OPENING CLOGGED SEWERS Step 6: OPENING CLOGGED SEWERS

In older construction there were three basic causes for clogged sewers. These were excessive mortar (Fig. 11) left at soil pipe joints, roots (Fig. 12) from trees and plants and broken pipes.

In both new and old construction, broken pipes (Fig. 13) allow foreign matter to enter the drainage system. This can often cause clogging.

Clogged sewers in newer construction are often limited to broken pipes and poor design or construction. Using the wrong fittings during construction or allowing too little slope in the drain run can cause the drain to become clogged.

To open a clogged sewer, set a container just underneath the cleanout plug (Fig. 14). Loosen the plug just enough to permit water and waste to flow into the container.

When all the water and waste have drained out, remove the plug and insert a cleanout tape.

Rotate the reel clockwise as you unroll it, and push the tape forward into the sewer pipes (Fig. 14).

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Replacing Toilets

 PREPARATION FOR THE REPLACEMENT Step 1:  PREPARATION FOR THE REPLACEMENT

Before purchasing your new toilet, measure the distance from the rearmost bowl hold-down bolts to the finished wall behind the toilet. This is called the toilet's rough-in (Fig. 2). Most toilets are designed with a 12" rough-in. Ask your retailer for help if your rough-in varies.

The first step is to turn off the toilet's water supply. Then flush the toilet to empty its tank, holding the trip-lever down to let all the water run out. Sop out any remaining water in the tank and bowl with a sponge–make sure they're both empty

REMOVING THE OLD TOILET Step 2:  REMOVING THE OLD TOILET

Use a large, adjustable open-end wrench to unthread the coupling nut between the toilet tank and its water supply. You may need to hold the fill valve with pliers from inside the tank to keep it from turning.

Now you're ready to remove the original tank. Most are held to the bowl by two long bolts. The nuts are located beneath the flange at the rear of the toilet bowl. Fig. 11 shows how to work with these.

With the bolts out, you can lift the tank clear of the bowl.

If your toilet tank mounts to the wall and feeds the bowl with a large, sweeping elbow, first remove the elbow. Use a trap wrench or water pump pliers for the slip jam nuts. Or, you can simply saw the elbow with a hacksaw.

Now you can remove the tank from the wall. As you unscrew the tank from the wall, support it so it doesn't fall.

Next, take out the toilet bowl. Typically, the bowl is fastened to the floor with two hold-down bolts and nuts beneath trim caps. Some toilet bowls have four hold-downs.

Pry off each trim cap to expose the bolts and nuts (Fig. 3).

Unscrew the nuts. If you have trouble, you can saw them off. A mini-hacksaw works best, or you can use a regular hacksaw. To protect the bowl's finish from the saw teeth, use masking tape.

Now loosen the bowl/seat unit by rocking it to break its seal with the floor and toilet flange. Once loosened, you can lift the bowl and carry it out of the house. Be sure to hold the bowl level to avoid spilling any trap-sealing water. You may need help to lift the tank and bowl together. Lift it properly with your back straight and put the weight on your legs.

Stuff rags in the toilet flange opening to keep sewer gases out of the house and debris out of the soil pipe while you work (Fig 4).

PREPARING TO INSTALL THE NEW TOILET Step 3:  PREPARING TO INSTALL THE NEW TOILET

To get ready for the new toilet, first do a complete cleanup. Remove any old putty and wax from the floor and toilet flange. You can use a screwdriver or putty knife. Clean the floor thoroughly in case the new toilet's footprint is different. Remove the old hold-down bolts–don't reuse them. You may want to clean and paint the wall behind the toilet. If you're going to replace the bathroom floorcovering, this is an excellent opportunity.

At this point, install any new water supply plumbing you plan to add. A new fixture supply valve and flexible riser tube is easy to install and offers shutoff convenience later. The valve attaches to a short length of water supply pipe coming from the wall or floor. Have the riser tube handy but out of the way of the new tank.

Also, inspect the toilet flange for sound condition. It should stick up about 1/2" from the finished bathroom floor.

Temporarily set the toilet in position on the floor over the flange to check for levelness. Check it front-to-back and side-to-side. If necessary, shim under the bowl with non-rusting metal washers.

Install a new pair of toilet hold-down bolts. If there are holes or slots for the bolts in the toilet flange, they should be inserted in the openings (Fig. 6). In a cast iron piping system, the hold-downs screw directly into the wood floor. Whatever the situation, your retailer should have them. Don't try to use ordinary bolts. Install the bolts so they are the same distance from the rear wall.

PUTTING IN THE NEW BOWLPUTTING IN THE NEW BOWL Continued Step 4:  PUTTING IN THE NEW BOWL

Toilet installation goes pretty much the reverse of removal. Handle the bowl and tank with care, since they can crack and chip easily.

Start by inverting the new bowl (or bowl/tank unit) onto a thick, protective padding of newspapers on the floor.

Seal the toilet to its soil pipe flange at the floor by placing a ready-made wax toilet ring gasket over the bowl's outlet horn (Fig. 7). The gasket should be room temperature, and the flat face should go against the bowl. If the gasket has a sleeve, it should face away from the bowl. Don't try to reuse the old gasket–install a new one.

Two kinds of wax gaskets are available: those with plastic sleeves and those without.

The bowl-to-floor joint must be sealed around the edge of the bowl's base, too. You can lay a bead of plumber's putty so it will be squeezed between the toilet and floor. Or, use about 2 lbs. of plaster. Another choice is to caulk the joint with bathtub caulk/sealant. This is probably the easiest method. Ask your retailer to recommend a good caulk for this.

Remove the rag from the toilet flange opening. Now you're ready to set the bowl.

Hold the bowl upright several inches off the floor so its outlet horn is directly above the toilet flange. Then lower it gently (Fig. 8). The hold-down bolts should pass through their openings in the bowl base, and the wax gasket and toilet flange should meet.

To set the bowl onto the floor as well as onto its gasket, rock it carefully from front to back and side to side while pushing down hard. You can rotate it a few degrees each way, too. This forces out the excess wax. As the bowl meets the floor, make sure it is level and square with the rear wall. Don't raise the bowl from the floor while making adjustments, or you'll have to go through the setting process all over again and replace the waxing.

Drop washers over the hold-down bolts and thread on the brass nuts. Tighten the nuts finger-tight only (Fig. 8). Using a wrench at this point can break the bowl. Re-check both nuts for tightness after several days of use.

If the bowl has front-mounting holes, install two toilet studs with washers and nuts into the floor for the front two holes.

INSTALLING THE TANKINSTALLING THE TANK CONTINUED Step 5: INSTALLING THE TANK

If the toilet tank hardware comes separately, install it. Remember that the trip lever nut probably has left-hand threads.

Now take the rubber spud washer, which fits between the tank and bowl, and set it squarely into the flush valve opening in the bottom of the tank. The washer goes beveled side out (Fig. 10). If there is a rubber tank cushion, set that in place on the bowl. Then pick up the tank and lower it gently into place on the back of the bowl.

Install the two long brass tank-mounting bolts from inside the tank, sliding them down through the aligned holes. Place two rubber washers against the tank and bowl (Fig. 12). Draw the washers and nuts up gently and evenly until they are snug. This finishes your bowl installation.

FINISHING UP Step 6: FINISHING UP

Connect the tank's water supply to the inlet valve on the bottom left-hand side of the tank (as you face it). You'll probably have a coupling nut for doing this. The nut threads onto the inlet and works perfectly with a flat-ended riser tube. Don't use any pipe dope on these threads.

Turn on the water and observe the toilet tank as it fills. If there are any leaks, further tightening should cure them. Check to see that the tank fills to the correct level, about 3/4" below the top of the overflow tube.

Tighten the bowl hold-down bolts one turn (no more) beyond hand-tight. Cut off the ends, if necessary, and install the trim caps. You can fill their recesses with plumber's putty (or bathtub caulk/sealant) and press them down over the bolts. Clean up any material that oozes out.

Then, smooth and clean up the excess sealant around the bowl's base.

Now you can test-flush the toilet, checking for water leaks at the floor.

Install the new toilet seat and tank cover, and your installation is complete.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Correcting Paint Problems

STAINED SPOTS FROM RUSTING NAIL HEADS Step 1:  STAINED SPOTS FROM RUSTING NAIL HEADS

Nail heads can rust and create spots on painted surfaces in your home. This problem is caused by using uncoated steel nails where excessive moisture exists under the paint (Fig. 1). The uncoated steel nails obviously cannot be removed, but you can correct the moisture problem.

Try to locate the source of excessive moisture. Check for leakage from the eaves, evaporation from nearby plumbing pipes or sweating caused by heat from a bathroom or kitchen. If you can locate the source of moisture, try eliminating the problem by shutting off the condensation that causes the moisture.

Remove any stained paint around all nail heads by sanding the area or using a wire brush. Sand clear down to the nail head, then sand the nail head itself to remove the built-up rust.

Use a nail punch to countersink all nail heads approximately 1/8" below the wood surface.

Apply one even layer of undercoat over the countersunk nail and the area around it.

After the area is primed, fill the countersunk hole with a good grade of caulking compound. Allow the compound to dry, then apply one coat of a good grade of outside house paint. After adequate drying time, apply a second coat. Use these steps to correct the problem.

Step 2:  PEELING PAINT UNDER THE OVERHANG OF A ROOF

Paint sometimes peels under the overhang of a roof or in other areas of your home that are protected from weather. Such peeling is usually caused by a build-up of "salt" deposits, which are normally washed away by rain in exposed areas.

Your first step is to remove the peeling paint by sanding the surface thoroughly.

After sanding, prepare a solution using a cleaner that leaves no film such as trisodium phosphate and water. Wash the sanded surface with this solution. Rinse the area with clear water and allow it to dry.

After the surface has dried completely, apply two coats of a good grade of undercoating paint.

When the undercoat has thoroughly dried, apply a coat of a top-quality house paint. Under some conditions, two finish coats may be required. This treatment should correct the peeling problem.

FLAKING PAINT Step 3:  FLAKING PAINT

Paint flaking is caused by moisture that collects behind the painted surface (Fig. 2). Moisture enters the wood siding from the unpainted side. The absorbing and drying of the moisture causes repeated swelling and shrinking, thus breaking the paint film and causing it to pull away from the wood surface.


The first step is locating the source of the moisture. Check the area for leakage from the gutters or eaves of the house. If the flaking paint is near a bathroom or kitchen, the pipes may be sweating or leaking, or excess heat may be causing condensation.

You may need to install attic louvers, moisture vents or exhaust fans to correct the build-up of moisture.

Scrape and sand away all flaking paint. Remove the paint as far as 12" in all directions beyond the flaking area.

Sand the surface down to the unpainted wood, and spot prime the area with a good grade of undercoat.

Protect the area against moisture by caulking all seams, holes and cracks that appear in the freshly sanded area.

After the caulking compound has thoroughly dried, apply at least one coat of a top-quality house paint according to the manufacturer's directions. You may need to apply two coats. These steps should completely resolve the problem.

SPOT PEELING Step 4:  SPOT PEELING

Spot peeling sometimes occurs on the siding of a house in areas exposed to the sun's heat (Fig. 3). Peeling is usually caused by moisture trapped in the siding that is drawn to the surface by the sun's rays. The moisture lifts the paint away from the surface.

The first step is locating the source of the trapped moisture. Check carefully for leaks in the gutters or eaves of the house. If the peeling area is near a kitchen or bathroom, you may need to install an exhaust fan to remove the moisture and sweat buildup.

Louvers placed in the overhang of the root–or wedges and vents placed in the siding–sometimes allow the trapped moisture to escape.

Remove all the old paint in the peeling area. Scrape off the paint approximately 12" beyond the peeling area.

Sand the surface down to the original wood and prime it with a good grade of wood undercoat.

Caulk all holes, cracks and seams with a good grade of caulking compound to avoid a repeat of the problem.

After the caulking compound has had time to dry thoroughly, apply at least one coat of a good grade of house paint. This should completely correct the problem.

Step 5: PEELING DOWNSPOUTS AND GUTTERS

Gutters and downspouts normally peel because they were not properly treated and primed when originally painted. Galvanized metal usually has a thin, invisible film that causes many paint problems.

Remove the loose paint from the downspouts and gutters with a wire brush, scraper or some other stiff tool. Use a power brush or power sander for big projects.

Be sure that all loose paint is removed. Otherwise, the problem will occur again after another painting. Don't take shortcuts–correct the problem now by doing the job right.

If you are using latex-based paint, clean the sanded area with a good grade of solvent. Apply a heavy coat of the solvent and allow it to evaporate. Special solvents are available for treating galvanized metal.

After the solvent has evaporated, apply the latex paint directly to the bare galvanized area. For large areas, finish the job with two top coats.

If you are using an oil-based paint, prime the sanded areas with a good grade of metal primer. After the primer has dried, apply one coat of a good grade of metal paint.

Finish the job with at least one coat of a good-quality house paint. Use two coats in extreme cases.

CRACKING OR ALLIGATORING Step 6:  CRACKING OR ALLIGATORING

Extreme cracking, sometimes known as alligatoring, is caused when a second or third coat of paint is applied before the previous coat dries completely (Fig. 4).

In some cases, cracking or alligatoring is caused when the undercoat is incompatible with the type of finish coat applied to the surface.

The only solution is to completely sand away the cracked or alligatored surface. Use power sanding or brushing equipment for large areas.

After the cracked or alligatored paint is completely removed from the surface, brush the area thoroughly to remove dust and loose paint particles. Apply one coat of a good quality undercoat paint.

Allow the undercoat paint to dry thoroughly, then apply a second coat of a top-quality house paint of the desired color. This completely corrects the problem.

Step 7:  CHECKING OF A PAINTED SURFACE

Checking usually occurs on a painted plywood surface. As the plywood veneer ages, it cracks from repeated expansion and contraction. This weathering and aging causes the painted surface to check.

When checking occurs, the entire checked area must be sanded smooth. The job will be easier with a power sander.

After the sanding is complete, prime the bare wood with one coat of good grade undercoat.

Fill all holes, cracks and seams with a good grade of caulking compound.

After the caulking compound and undercoat paint have dried thoroughly, apply one layer of a good grade of outside house paint.

In cases where the plywood is extremely aged, you may need to replace the wood completely.

If new plywood is mounted, you can prevent it from checking by sanding the surface of the new plywood smooth.

After sanding, apply one coat of a good grade of latex wood primer.

After the primer has thoroughly dried, apply one or two coats of a top-quality outside house paint.

MILDEW ON PAINT Step 8:  MILDEW ON PAINT

Mildew is caused by a combination of high humidity and high temperature that creates a growth of fungus on the paint film (Fig. 5).

Completely remove mildew from the surface. If you simply paint over it, the mildew will grow right through the new coat of paint.

Make a solution of 1/3 cup of powdered detergent and 1/2 cup of household bleach mixed in one gallon of warm water.

Scrub the entire mildewed surface thoroughly using this solution. Scrub the area vigorously, then rinse lightly with clean water.

Apply one coat of a good grade of undercoat paint, and allow it to dry.

After the undercoat layer has thoroughly dried, apply a finish coat of mildew-resistant outside paint or a top-grade of latex outside house paint. This procedure will remove the mildew problem.

BLISTERING Step 9:  BLISTERING

Blistering is caused by moisture trapped in the wood that is drawn to the surface by the sun's rays. As the moisture rises, it pulls the paint away from the surface and causes blistering (Fig. 6).

Locate the source of the excess moisture and eliminate it. Check first for leakage from the gutters or eaves of the house.

If the area is near a bathroom or kitchen, you may need to install an exhaust fan to remove the excess heat, steam and moisture.

You can also install moisture vents or wedges in the siding to permit the moisture to escape.

Scrape or sand away all the old paint in the blistered area down to the wood. Scrape the unblistered paint out about 12" beyond the blistered area.

Next, sand this area thoroughly, right down to the fresh wood. Then prime it with a good grade of undercoat paint.

Block future moisture problems by sealing all cracks, holes and seams with a good grade of caulking compound.

After the caulking compound and undercoat have dried thoroughly, apply a second coat of a good grade of outside house paint. This eliminates the problem.

CHALKING AND FLAKING ON MASONRY SURFACES

CHALKING AND FLAKING ON MASONRY SURFACES CONTINUED

Step 10: CHALKING AND FLAKING ON MASONRY SURFACES

Chalking and flaking on masonry surfaces are usually caused by inadequate preparation of the surface prior to painting. This causes the paint to flake off or powder (Fig. 7).

First, remove the chalking or flaking with a wire brush or by sandblasting. If the job is big, use power sanders or wire brushes.

Next, seal all cracks with a good grade of concrete patch or caulk. After sealing the cracks, apply masonry conditioner following the manufacturer's instructions.

After the masonry conditioner has thoroughly dried, apply one or two coats of a good grade of latex house paint or an exterior masonry paint. Your flaking problem is corrected!

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Removing Paint and Varnish

REMOVING PAINT OR VARNISH WITH CHEMICALSREMOVING PAINT OR VARNISH WITH CHEMICALS CONTINUEDREMOVING PAINT OR VARNISH WITH CHEMICALS MOREREMOVING PAINT Step 1: REMOVING PAINT OR VARNISH WITH CHEMICALS

Many home repair jobs require you to remove a coat of old paint or varnish before applying new finish.

You can remove old paint or varnish using one of three different methods. The first involves using a chemical paint or varnish remover to soften the painted surface. Then, the old paint can be scraped off or washed away with water.

Paint can also be sanded away or removed with heat. In most cases, chemical paint removers are the easiest and fastest means for removing old paint or varnish.

Chemical paint and varnish removers are available in a variety of semi-paste and liquid forms. Almost all chemical removers are referred to as "paint removers" or "paint strippers." There are several basic types of paint removers:

Liquids are primarily for clean coatings and removing one or two layers of paint. This formula dries too quickly to remove multiple layers of paint. Good for detail areas or irregular surfaces. Also good for the stubborn spots after a washable has been used.

Brushables are a thick, paste-like formula that allows the paint remover to be applied in heavy layers so that it stays wet in order to strip multiple layers (up to 10 or more) in one application. Allows remover to cling to vertical or even overhead surfaces. Some paint removers are the "wash away" or "water wash" types. These terms simply indicate that the paint remover formula includes an emulsifier that permits the chemicals to mix with water and be rinsed away with a hose.

Use care when using this type of remover on fine furniture. Too much water can cause damage to the grain in the wood.

Read the labels on all paint remover cans and follow manufacturers' instructions carefully.

When removing paint, pour part of the paint remover into a small, wide mouth metal can (Fig. 1). A can with a plastic resealable lid works especially well.

Using a good quality brush, spread the remover thickly and evenly over the surface. Brush in one direction (Fig. 2) Try not to brush over areas that are already covered with paint remover.

Sprayables are for easy application. Some removers come with a spray bottle or sprayer. These removers are thin enough to spray yet thick enough to cling. Most of these removers are "water washable."

Aerosols are the most convenient and fastest way to apply paint remover. These removers are sprayed on and create a foamy, clinging layer thick enough to remove several layers of paint. If needed, reapplication is much easier, too! These removers are perfect for smaller jobs and detail work where brush application is difficult. Aerosol paint removers are available almost everywhere conventional removers are sold.

Some newer removers contain chemicals that are more "environmentally friendly." These removers generally work slower than more conventional types, but some allow use indoors with good ventilation. These are more expensive, but for people who are sensitive toward harsh chemicals, may offer an excellent choice.

In addition, several types of specialty removers are sold to remove certain coatings or using on a specific surface. These include stain removers for surfaces such as fiberglass.

After scraping, use a suitable solvent such as ethanol or mineral spirits (or water if a "water washable" paint remover was used.)

For difficult to remove coatings, removal can be speeded up by scratching the coating with coarse sandpaper, but be careful not to deeply scratch the underlying surface. Then apply the remover and cover with plastic film to keep the remover wet.

Check the label of the paint remover to see how long you should leave the remover on the surface, usually about 20 to 30 minutes. Test the condition of the surface by rubbing the blade of a chemical-resistant scraper in a circular motion to see if the paint has been loosened (Fig. 3).

If the scraper cuts through to the surface of the wood, the paint remover has done its job. Always wear chemical-resistant gloves and work in a well-ventilated area.

Apply paint remover to a manageable area. Only cover an area that allows you to scrape or wash away the paint remover before it dries.

Lay the paint remover on thick, and do not stir it after applying it to the surface. Give the chemicals time to act.

To help keep the area clean and make clean-up easier, use a cardboard box with a heavy layer of newspaper to catch the paint and remover.

When the paint remover has done its job and the surface is softened (Fig. 3), you are ready to remove the loose paint. It is usually best to remove as much remover and paint as possible the first time. A scraper works well for this (Fig. 4).

Follow this with a medium grade of steel wool, old rags or an abrasive scouring pad (Fig. 5).

For hard-to-remove spots, you may need to apply a second coat of paint remover. Wetting the steel wool with paint remover will also work in some cases.

With a better grade of paint remover, you can wash away the old paint with a garden hose. Remember, on fine furniture don't use too much water. After removing the paint, rinse the surface clean with water. Treat any rough spots with steel wool or a scouring pad (Fig. 6).

After cleaning and allowing to dry, most surfaces will need to be lightly sanded to prepare the surface. With a better grade of remover, no sanding or swabbing is necessary. Some types of paint can be especially hard to remove. This usually requires a second coat of paint remover after you have removed the first coat of enamel (Fig. 7). If the surface has several layers of paint, it may be necessary to apply paint remover a third time.

REMOVING PAINT OR VARNISH BY SANDING Step 2:  REMOVING PAINT OR VARNISH BY SANDING

Paint or varnish can be sanded away with any type of power or hand sander (Fig. 8). For bigger sanding jobs, you'll want to use a power sander. Belt, disk or drum sanders can be used.

Although sanding removes a painted surface quickly and easily, it has one basic disadvantage–it also removes some of the wood surface underneath the paint. If you are working on a fine piece of furniture, sanding is not recommended.

When sanding old paint or varnish from the surface, use open coat, coarse sandpaper. Fine sandpaper clogs up quickly, making it ineffective as a paint remover.

As a rule, sanding is recommended only on extremely rough jobs. Chemical paint removers are much more effective and easier to use.

REMOVING PAINT FROM IRREGULAR SURFACESREMOVING PAINT FROM IRREGULAR SURFACES ContinuedREMOVING PAINT FROM IRREGULAR SURFACES MOREREMOVING PAINT Step 3: REMOVING PAINT FROM IRREGULAR SURFACES

Unfortunately, all painted surfaces are not smooth and even. For curved surfaces, cut-out areas and other hard-to-reach places, use chemical paint removers.

Paint around the spindles of a chair is especially hard to remove. Run a heavy layer of paint remover into the crack around the spindles (Fig. 9). Let it set for about 20 minutes, then scrape away the old paint and apply more remover as needed.

Apply paint remover to the legs of chairs, tables and other such round surfaces with a regular paint brush (Fig. 10). Set the legs of the chair in a small metal can or container to catch the surplus paint remover as it runs down the leg of the chair. Brush upward on the legs to reuse the surplus remover.

Use plenty of paint remover on rounded surfaces. Apply a heavy layer, let it set and remove and reapply as necessary until all the old paint or varnish is removed.

A scouring pad is excellent for removing paint or varnish from carved areas on furniture (Fig. 11). Copper scouring pads or plastic cleaning pads can be forced into the carved areas to remove the old paint or varnish after it has been softened by paint remover. You can also use steel wool to remove old paint from such areas.

Always rinse the surface of carved areas after the old paint or varnish has been removed with a scouring pad.

When a scouring pad or steel wool cannot be forced into narrow slits or grooves, try using a brass wire brush (Fig, 12). Be careful not to press too hard when using the brush. Wood softened by paint remover can be marred if you apply too much pressure.

If a wire brush cannot reach into extremely small grooves, try scraping the paint out of the grooves with a small stick of wood (Fig. 13). A splintered piece of wood from a small board can often be used as a handy tool for removing old paint from grooves.

Removing paint from turned legs on tables can be difficult (Fig. 14). Rub a twisted piece of burlap like a shoeshine cloth over the paint remover after it has set for about 20 minutes. This will usually remove the old paint quickly and easily.

Some surfaces cannot tolerate paint remover. For example, key holes or holes where cabinet hardware has been removed should be plugged with paper before you apply the paint remover (Fig. 15).

You will probably replace your cabinet hardware with new hardware after the surface is repainted. However, if you want to reuse the old hardware, dip it into paint remover for complete cleaning (Fig. 16).

Wash the hardware thoroughly after it is dipped into the remover, then spray each piece with a clear lacquer to rebrighten the surface.

REMOVING PAINT WITH HEATREMOVING PAINT WITH HEAT MORE Step 4:  REMOVING PAINT WITH HEAT

You can also remove paint with heat, which destroys the film in the old paint. This makes it easy to scrape the old paint away (Fig. 17). Special electric paint removers or heat guns use heat for paint or varnish removal.

Scrape away the paint immediately after it is heated. Use a broad paint scraper for removing the heated paint right behind the electric softener.

Remember that you should never allow the heat gun to stay in one spot long enough to burn the wood. Keep moving often to avoid browned or darkened spots on the surface from excessive heat.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Hanging Wallpaper

PREPARING THE WALL BEFORE PAPERING Step 1: PREPARING THE WALL BEFORE PAPERING

There are two important steps you should take before you begin to hang wallpaper. The first step is to read the manufacturer's instructions on the products that you will be using. The second is to properly prepare the walls to be papered. The more time you spend on preparing the walls, the more satisfactory the results will be.

Always turn off the electricity and remove any wall plates, wall fixtures, outlet plates, etc., before you begin to hang the paper (Fig. 1).

The walls must be in good condition. Any holes or cracks must be repaired.

Any mildew should be removed with a mixture of two cups of household bleach per gallon of water. After the wall is dry, it should be primed with a good quality stain killer/primer.

There are two quick tests you can perform to check the condition of painted walls. First, hold a damp sponge against the wall for about 15 seconds. Then wipe the area with a cloth vigorously. If very little paint comes off, the paint is okay. If a lot of paint comes off, the walls should be washed thoroughly with soap and water or a solution of six parts water to one part ammonia or sanded and washed to remove the paint.

The second test involves cutting three small Xs into the wall surface. Place a piece of scotch tape over the Xs. Then yank the piece of tape off the wall. Again if very little paint comes off, the paint is okay. If a lot of paint comes off, you need to sand the walls.

Scape or sand any peeling paint to provide a smooth finish. Walls painted with gloss or semi-gloss paints should be sanded to dull the surface. All sanded surfaces should be primed before hanging wallpaper.

Any stains like grease, crayons, ink, lipstick, etc., should be cleaned and primed with a stain killer/primer.

For new drywall, be sure the areas along the joints and over nail heads are thoroughly cured and sanded smooth. New drywall should be primed with an opaque or a white primer.

If you are hanging paper on a wall where old wallpaper has been removed, clean off any remaining wallpaper adhesive. The adhesive can be removed by sanding or by using an adhesive remover. Wash the wall and let it dry thoroughly. Prime the wall before hanging the wallpaper.

If the wallpaper has not been removed and is in good condition you can hang the new paper over the old. Be sure the walls are clean and dry. The most important consideration here is the type of primer to use.

With the development of wall liners, wallpaper can be placed over rough surfaces like paneling and masonry block. Use a primer that will provide good adhesion between the surface and the wallpaper. Wallpaper can be applied directly over paneling, but the grooves will need to be filled in and primed first.

DETERMINE THE AMOUNT OF PAPER REQUIRED Step 2: DETERMINE THE AMOUNT OF PAPER REQUIRED

To determine the amount of paper you'll need, first measure the height of the wall from the top of the baseboard to the ceiling or moulding. Next measure the length of each wall. Add the lengths of the walls together. Find the total number of square feet by multiplying the wall height by the total number of square feet to be covered by wallpaper.

American manufactured single rolls of wallpaper usually have about 36 square feet. Double rolls have about 72 sq. ft. Triple rolls have about 108 sq. ft. However, American rolls are being phased out and may be hard to find. Metric or Euro rolls have about 29 sq. ft. per roll. Double rolls have about 58 sq. ft. 

Use the metric single roll chart (Fig. 2). If your pattern does not repeat or if it repeats every 0" to 6", each roll yields approximately 25 sq. ft. If your pattern repeats every 7" to 12", each roll yields approximately 22 sq. ft. and so on. Divide the total number of square feet to be covered by the number that is appropriate for your pattern. This is the total number of single rolls of paper you will need for your wallpaper job.

Wallpaper is usually packaged in single or double rolls. To find the number of double rolls you need, divide the number of single rolls by two. To find the number of triple rolls you need, divide by three.

For example, suppose the ceiling is 8' high and the room is 10'x12' with two 3'x7' doors and two 3'x4' windows. This means the total wall length is 10' + 10'+ 12' + 12' or 44'. Find the total number of square feet, 44'x8' or 352 sq. ft. Find the number of sq. ft. per door, 3'x7' or 21 sq. ft. Remember there are two doors and two windows. Find the total number of sq. ft. not to be covered, 12' + 12' + 21' + 21' or 66 sq. ft. Then find the total number of sq. ft. to be covered, 352 - 66 or 286 sq. ft. 

If the pattern repeats every 8", we get 22 sq. ft. per roll. Find the number of single rolls, 286 divided by 22 or 13 single rolls. For double rolls, 13 divided by two or 6-1/2 means you should buy seven double rolls. For triple rolls, 13 divided by three or 4-1/3 means you should buy five triple rolls.

MARKING, MEASURING AND OTHER PREPATORY STEPSMARKING, MEASURING AND OTHER PREPATORY STEPS MORE

Step 3: MARKING, MEASURING AND OTHER PREPATORY STEPS

It is usually best to start hanging the first strip of wallpaper to the right of a door or window. This makes any break in the pattern of the paper less conspicuous.

Measure the width of the wallpaper and subtract 1/2". This 1/2" reduction allows for the paper to overlap the adjoining wall.

Mark the width of the wallpaper less 1/2" on the wall to the right of the door or window where you will begin (Fig. 3).

Line up a level on this mark and draw a pencil line lightly from the ceiling to the floor. You may need to reposition your level several times. Be sure to line it up carefully each time (Fig. 4)

You are now ready to mix the wallpaper paste. If you are using premixed paste or prepasted paper, this step is not necessary.

If you are using paste, read the manufacturer's instructions carefully and follow them exactly.

Always use cold water to mix paste. Mix it thoroughly to be sure it is free of lumps.

Now tie a string across the top of your paste bucket (Fig. 5). This will keep the brush clean and enable you to brush excess paste out of the brush.

CUTTING AND HANGING PAPERCUTTING AND HANGING PAPER CONTINUEDCUTTING AND HANGING PAPER MORECONTINUED CUTTING AND HANGING PAPERMORE CUTTING AND HANGING PAPERMORE HANGING PAPERMORE CUTTING PAPER Step 4:  CUTTING AND HANGING PAPER

Cut the first strip of paper 4" longer than the wall height. Be sure and allow for matching the pattern on the wallpaper.

Unroll the next strip and match the pattern before cutting the second strip. Study the pattern carefully and match it before cutting.

It is usually wise to cut no more than two or three strips of paper before applying them.

Unroll the strip of wallpaper on the work surface with the pattern side down. Brush the paste on the covering about 2/3 the length of the strip (Fig. 6). Brush the paste out evenly and not too thick.

You may want to add a few drops of food coloring to the paste to tint it slightly. This makes it easy to judge the thickness of the paste and detect any missed spots.

Fold the pasted end of the paper back about 2/3 of the length of the piece.

Put the pasted side to the pasted side, avoiding any creases.

Slide the paper forward on the work surface and apply paste to the remaining 1/3 of the piece. Fold it back over in the same manner. Allow about five minutes before using the piece. If you have to stop or will not be using the strip right away, place it in a plastic bag to keep it moist.

You can run prepasted paper through clear water (Fig. 7). Plastic and metal dip troughs for prepasted paper are available. Cut a piece of pipe or dowel rod one inch shorter than the trough. Lay it in the bottom of the trough over the paper. It will hold the paper under water as you pull it out.

Most manufacturers recommend the butt joint (Fig 8). It leaves no ridges at all, but requires a little extra care to make. The edge of one strip is butted up against the edge of an adjoining strip. If you force the two edges together too tightly, it will form a ridge. If they are not placed together tightly enough, you will leave a gap between the two edges. Use the palms of your hands when positioning the paper. Try not to pull on the edges.

Use extreme care when placing the first strip of paper on the wall, since all other strips of paper will be aligned to this first one.

It may be necessary to trim the edge of the paper to ensure a proper fit. You can trim the paper with a razor knife and a straightedge (Fig. 9).

Use extreme care when carrying long strips of pasted wallpaper. Drape the folded paper over your arm like a coat (Fig. 10). Never open the paper until it is in position to hang.

When the paper is in position for hanging, unfold the top half of the pasted sheet. Overlap the top edge of the pasted paper (Fig. 11) at the top by about 2". You'll cut away this overlap in the trimming process.

Hold the edge of the paper with one hand and pull the pasted fold apart. The pasted side of the paper should be held firmly against the wall.

Line up the right edge of the paper with the pencil line you made previously (Fig. 4). Use a smoothing brush to smooth out the top and bottom. Allow the bottom of the paper to fall of its own weight (Fig. 12). Brush it out evenly. If you trap some air behind the paper, smooth it out with the brush. If this does not work, pull the paper away from the wall.

Continue to apply each sheet of paper in this same manner. Use care to align the design in each succeeding sheet.

Trim off the surplus paper at the bottom and top of each strip. Use a metal paint edger or broad knife and a razor knife to get a clean edge (Fig. 13). Change the blade on your knife every strip for better results.

Use clean water to rinse all baseboards, casings, etc., with a damp sponge before the paste dries.

Let the paper dry about 15 to 20 minutes, then roll all seams (Fig. 14). Use a regular wallpaper roller and roll thoroughly for a neat job. Do not apply too much pressure; you may form paste ridges under the paper or force the paste out through the seam.

At the corners, measure from the last full strip of wallpaper to the corner and add 1/2". This 1/2" will allow the strip to go into the corner and onto the adjoining wall by 1/2" (Fig 16). If your walls are not running straight up and down, you may want to use 1" instead of 1/2". A small slit at the top and bottom of the piece in the corner will make it easier to go around the corner.

For the next piece, measure out the width of the wallpaper from the corner and make a pencil mark. Use your level and make another perfectly straight line from the floor to ceiling as before in Fig. 4. This piece will overlap the 1/2" strip on the wall from the previous piece installed. For vinyl wallpaper, use a vinyl-to-vinyl adhesive on these corner seams.

Be especially careful when trimming paper along the edges around fireplaces, windows, mantelpieces, etc. Sometimes the weight of the paper causes it to tear at its narrowest point.

For outside corners, measure the distance from the last full strip to the corner. Add 1" to this measurement. Measure the width of the paper and add 1/2". Measure out from the corner the width of the paper and add 1/2". Make a pencil mark on the wall. Using your level, again draw a light pencil line from the floor to the ceiling. Align your wallpaper with this line and match the pattern as closely as possible. This piece will overlap the last piece by 1/2".

For doors and windows, hang the paper over the edge. Using your razor knife cut away the excess wallpaper. Making small cuts from the corners of the doors and windows toward the center will help you position the wallpaper around these obstacles. After the paper is smoothed, use your edger and razor knife to trim around the doors and windows.

Since all the switchplates, outlet plates, etc. were removed before papering, you can apply the wallpaper right over these openings. The wallpaper can then be cut with the razor knife and straightedge (Fig. 17). Replace the fixture plates for a finished job.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Saving Money With Insulation

Here are tips and instructions on how to insulate your home. Take a few minutes to read them thoroughly. Following these instructions can save you time and effort. In this document you will find information about:
How Insulating Your Home Saves Money
Types of Insulation
How Much Insulation You Will Need
Spreading Loose-fill Insulating Materials
Applying Insulation in Blanket Form
Insulating Walls
HOW INSULATING YOUR HOME SAVES MONEY

Step 1:  HOW INSULATING YOUR HOME SAVES MONEY

Heating and cooling your home accounts for about 50 percent to 70 percent of the energy used in your home. Unless your home was built as an energy-efficient home, adding insulation will probably reduce your utility bills. Even a small amount of insulation–if properly installed–can reduce energy costs dramatically. 

You should insulate all areas of your home. Insulation priorities include your attic, including the attic access door, under floors above unheated basements or crawl spaces, and on the edges of concrete slabs. Your options for insulating existing walls are somewhat limited. However, if you are remodeling or residing your home, use the amounts of insulation recommended for new construction. Figure 1 shows you where to insulate and also contains the range of recommended R-values for each of those areas in your house. The R-value changes because of the type of heat you use and where you live. It also changes between new and existing homes. To find the recommended R-value for the area of the country you live in, contact your local electric company or gas company. You can also find the recommended R-value by zip code and heat source at the Department of Energy Web site, www.eren.doe.gov. 

It's interesting to note that the greatest energy savings come from the first inch of insulation installed. You can add more insulation to increase your savings, but a small amount of insulation is almost a must for your home to be comfortable. Keep in mind that for insulation to work properly the air spaces in the insulation must be maintained. Packing too much insulation into an area will reduce the effectiveness of the insulation.

Savings from wall insulation are almost equal to those you'll get from ceiling insulation. 

You can further increase your energy savings, up to 10 percent, by plugging any air leaks prior to insulating. Obvious air leaks can be found around doors, windows, fireplaces and chimneys. Some not-so-obvious air leaks can be found around electrical switches and outlets, pull-down attic stairs, pipes, and behind bathtub and shower stall units. These leaks are often much greater than the obvious ones. However, taking care of these leaks alone cannot do the job–you must also have insulation.

TYPES OF INSULATION MATERIAL AVAILABLE Step 2:  TYPES OF INSULATION MATERIAL AVAILABLE

Most insulating materials are available in several common forms–loose-fill or spray-applied materials, blanket rolls, batts, boards and foil-faced paper, foam, film and cardboard. Each form is ideal for specific insulating jobs.

The type of insulation material you select for any job depends on how you intend to use it, how much you want to spend, and how easy it is to install.

Figure 2 provides a summary of the qualities and suggested uses for the basic types of insulation.

Study Figure 2 carefully. Consider the advantages, disadvantages and instructions for using each type of material as outlined in the chart. This table should help you select the correct material for any insulation job.

Blanket and batt insulation is usually made from fiber glass or rock wool. It is sized to fit between studs, floor joists and ceiling joists. It comes both faced and unfaced. Faced means the batt or blanket has a cover such as paper or foil on one side. Unfaced means there is no cover. Some batts and blankets now come with a protective covering that reduces the "itchy feeling" you get when you work with insulation. 

Rigid foam insulation is widely used on basement walls and on exterior walls. If rigid foam is used inside, it must be covered with gypsum board or other building code-approved material for fire safety reasons. When it is applied on the outside, it must be covered with a weatherproof facing. When using a foil-covered rigid foam, the foil must be away from the heated side of the wall to avoid a condensation problem.

HOW MUCH INSULATION YOU WILL NEED Step 3:  HOW MUCH INSULATION YOU WILL NEED

On a new home, find out what the recommended R-value is for the type of heat you are planning to use for the location of your new home. Again, local electric and gas companies can provide this information to you or you can contact the Department of Energy.

On an existing home it is a little more complicated, but not hard. First, you need to identify what type of insulation is currently in your home. It may differ by the various locations in your home. In your attic for example, you may find batt or blanket fiber glass over the top of loose-fill cellulose. You may also find multiple layers of batt or blanket insulation. Next, you need to measure the thickness of each of these different types of insulation at the different locations. To help you with this process, take a regular sheet of notebook paper and make four columns. Label the first column "Location," the second column "Type Of Insulation," the third column "Inches Thick" and the fourth column "R-value per Inch." 

Figure 3 shows you the approximate R-value each inch of the various types of insulating materials provides. Use this chart to fill in the last column of your worksheet. One inch of fiber glass batts or blankets, for example, provides an approximate R-value of 3.2. To find the R-value of 4" of fiberglass, multiply 4 x 3.2 to get an R-value of 12.8. Repeat this process of multiplying the number of inches thick and the R-value per inch of insulation for each area in your home. If you have two different types of insulation together, like our earlier example, find the R-value for each and then add them together.

Let's use an example where we have 6" of cellulose covered by 6" of fiber glass batts in the attic. We take the R-value of cellulose, which is 3.5 and multiply it by 6 to get 21.0. We then take the R-value of fiberglass batts, which is 3.2 and multiply that by 6 to get 19.2. Since the insulation is layered one on top of the other, we add them together 21.0 + 19.2 to get 40.2.

If we live in a region where the recommended R-value is 38, we already have 40.2, so we do not need to add insulation. What happens though, if we live in a region that recommends 49–we need to add some insulation, but how much? That's easy too! Take the recommended R-value, which is 49, and subtract what we have already, which is 40.2 (49 - 40.2 to get 8.8). We need to add an R-value of 8.8. The R-value of an inch of fiber glass batts is 3.2. Divide the amount we need to add, 8.8, by the R-value per inch, 3.2, to get 2.75. Batt and blanket insulation comes in several thicknesses. One of these is 3-1/2". So one layer of 3-1/2" fiber glass batt insulation added to what we have will give us a little more than what we need. It is always ok to add more insulation than is recommended. Just remember not to pack it too tightly because packing it can reduce its effectiveness.

SPREADING LOOSE-FILL INSULATING MATERIALS Step 4: SPREADING LOOSE-FILL INSULATING MATERIALS

Loose-fill insulating materials of rock wool, fiber glass or cellulose are commonly used for insulating attics. Vermiculite is not currently used for homes, but it may be found in older homes. It is best to install these materials with a plywood rake attached to a rake handle, making spreading much easier.

To make this type of rake, cut a scrap piece of plywood to the length of the space between the joists plus 4" (Fig. 5). The extra 4" allows for an overhang on the joists.

Next decide how deep you plan to install the loose-fill material. For example, suppose you are planning to lay the loose-fill material to a depth of 3" between the attic joists (Fig. 4). Measure the depth in the space you plan to fill then saw the plywood rake as illustrated in Fig. 5. The rake should ride on the joist on either side and level the material off evenly to a depth of 3". Attach a handle, making a handy tool that will save you hours of backbreaking labor and enable you to rake the material easily and evenly into otherwise unreachable corners (Fig. 5).

APPLYING INSULATION IN BLANKET FORMAPPLYING INSULATION IN BLANKET FORM MOREAPPLYING INSULATION IN BLANKET FORM CONTINUED Step 5: APPLYING INSULATION IN BLANKET FORM

Always apply blanket-type insulation with the vapor barrier facing the interior of your home. The vapor barrier should always be toward the source of heat in the winter (Fig. 6). Never place a vapor barrier between two layers of insulation. This can lead to a condensation problem and reduce the effectiveness of the insulation. Lay the blanket as close to the joists and floor as possible. Fill any gaps with loose-fill insulation or place another layer of blanket insulation across the previous layer. 

Always place insulation on the outside of pipes or ducts (Fig. 6). This means the insulation should be between the outside wall and the pipes.

When using blanket insulation, always place the vapor barrier toward the heat source and insulation outside of any pipes.

Staple blanket insulation when laid between joists in the attic (Fig. 7). Most rolls of blanket insulation materials have flanges that can be stapled or tacked to the ceiling joists, as illustrated. Always keep the blanket as close to the joists and floor area as possible–fill any gaps with strips of insulation or loose-fill insulation.

Never allow blanket-type insulation to cut off the flow of air and stop proper ventilation in an attic (Fig. 8). Blanket insulation should never block the air movement from the eave vents into the attic.

Proper ventilation in the attic is very important in any insulation job. Make provision for air to flow in and around the eave vents and to flow out through a ridge vent roof ventilator or through a ventilator on the end of the house (Fig 9).

Blanket insulation without a vapor barrier can be wedged between existing ceiling joists (Fig. 10). Make sure the insulation comes to the top of the plate to avoid heat loss from the penetration of wind under the insulation. Failure to pay close attention to this detail can lead to a frost line forming on cold, windy days. It will form on the inside wall where the ceiling and walls come together.

There are special formed inserts made of foam or plastic designed to go up next to the roof between the rafters. They help with both the airflow and the frost line. Many of them are designed to be installed during new construction. But they can be installed in an existing roof with very little extra effort.

In some cases, it may be easier to apply the blanket between the rafters on the roof (Fig. 11). In this case, staple the blanket insulation directly to the rafters.

Repair any major tears or rips in the vapor barrier and insulation by adding additional vapor barrier and insulation to build up to the level on the normal insulation run.

Whether you apply the insulation to the attic roof or the floor, always double it back at the end for maximum efficiency (Fig. 12). Illustration A shows how the blanket of insulation material can be rolled at the end between the attic joists. Illustration B shows how the same material can be doubled back between the rafters of the roof.

INSULATING WALLS

INSULATING WALLS MORE

Step 6:  INSULATING WALLS

If possible, lay blanket-type insulating material between the studs in the wall. If you're using insulation blankets without a vapor barrier, they should be forced into the area between the studs. Then, place a polyethylene vapor barrier on the inside face of the wall. Staple the vapor barrier into place.

When building a new structure, insulate the full wall, including around the openings for doors and windows.

Use drywall with a foil back as a vapor barrier instead of polyethylene if it is more practical.

Blanket insulation material with a vapor barrier attached can be stapled into position.

When the blanket has a vapor barrier, take the time to staple or tack all sides, bottoms and tops. This increases the efficiency of the insulation.

Use scraps of insulation material to insulate all the cracks and crevices around doors and windows (Fig. 13). Then use scraps of vapor barrier to seal these areas. Staple the barrier in place.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Applying and Repairing Shingles

Whether you're replacing a few damaged shingles or starting a complete reroofing job, the following step-by-step instructions can make your project easier. Take a few minutes to read the instructions carefully before starting and you can save time, money and effort while completing a better job.

Step 1: IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER

Working on any roof can be dangerous. You should take every safety precaution possible and always use extreme care while working on the roof.

Use common sense while working on the roof. Let someone know you are up there – or better yet, work with a helper. 

Use a ladder that is high enough and strong enough for the job you are doing. Secure the ladder at the top and bottom before climbing it. 

Use extreme caution when working near power lines, conduits or TV antennas. Never touch them or allow a metal ladder to come in contact with them. 

Never start a roofing job in cold or wet weather. Also, allow early morning dew to disappear before beginning your work. 

Wear heavy, rubber-soled shoes with a non-skid tread to prevent slips and avoid wearing loose clothing.

If the roof slopes more than a 6" rise for every 12" horizontally, use roof brackets and boards to provide extra footing support. Place all tools and shingles within easy reach and where they will not slide off the roof. 

Keep the roof surface clean and free from loose nails and shingles. These can cause you to slip and fall.

Keep people away from below the area where you will be working.

Step 2:  DETERMINE THE MATERIALS NEEDED

Roofing shingles are sold in "squares." Most asphalt shingles are baled together with three or four bundles per square. 

First, measure the length and width of each area of the roof. For each area of the roof, multiply the length times the width. Then add the results for the total square feet of shingles needed. Measure all dormers and extensions. 

Divide the total square footage by 100 and purchase that many squares of shingles. 

Purchase an additional 10 percent of the number of shingles for cutting, waste and starter courses and to save one bundle for future repairs. 

You'll also need about 2-1/2 lbs. of roofing nails for each square of shingles. Use hot-dipped galvanized roofing nails, either 11- or 12-gauge with a 3/8" diameter head, or follow the shingle manufacturer's recommendation for the type of nails to be used. 

Use 1-1/4" or 1-1/2" nails for new roofs, or 1-3/4" nails for reroofing or repairs. 

If you are starting a new roofing job, or a complete reroofing project, you'll also need enough 15-lb. roofing felt to cover the entire roof area underneath the shingles. 

You'll need roofing cement for edges, flashings and ridges.

Step 3: SELECT THE SHINGLES

There are many types, styles and sizes of asphalt shingles. 

Your selection process should begin with the type and grade of asphalt shingle needed for the type of building. Some factors to consider are the purpose of the building, the slope of the roof, local weather conditions and the design, style and size of the structure. 

The exposure for each type of shingle is usually specified by the manufacturer. However, for most common shingles, a 5" exposure is standard

Step 4: BEFORE YOU BEGIN

You can successfully lay asphalt shingles over any existing roof. However, if there are more than three layers of old roofing on the structure, they must be removed completely before applying new shingles. 

Make any necessary repairs to the roof structure before beginning the reroofing project.

Drive down or remove any loose or protruding nails. 

For reroofing jobs, renail any loose shingles and replace any missing shingles with new ones. (See the upcoming repair section). 

If you're applying new shingles over old wooden shingles, nail them securely and use feathering strips for a smooth appearance.

Step 5:  HOW TO REPLACE DAMAGED SHINGLES

Making repairs to an existing asphalt shingle roof is easy when you follow these step-by-step instructions. 

Use a small pry bar to pull out the nails holding the damaged shingle. Remove both the nails and the shingle.

If you cannot reach the nails, use a sharp linoleum knife to cut away the damaged shingle. 

Always try to replace the damaged shingle with one similar in weight, size and color. 

Apply asphalt roofing cement to the back of the replacement shingle before putting it into place. 

After positioning the new shingle, nail it down with 1-3/4" roofing nails. 

Position the roofing nails so they are covered by the shingle above. For extra protection against leaks, apply a small amount of roofing cement to the nail heads.

LAYING SHINGLES IN ROOF VALLEYS Step 6: LAYING SHINGLES IN ROOF VALLEYS

A roof valley is formed where two roofs join at an angle. You must be careful when shingling in this area – an improperly laid roof valley can easily develop leaks. 

Valleys should be covered with a mineral-surfaced, roll roofing material (Fig. 1). 

First, place an 18"-wide strip or metal flashing down the center of the valley, from the eaves to the top of the ridge. 

Nail this material down on the outer edges only, making sure that it stays flat in the valley.

Place roofing cement along each edge. 

Next, lay a 36"-wide strip of the roofing material down on top of the previous strip, and nail its outer edges. 

Snap two chalk lines down the edge of the valley. Start at the ridge, with the lines centered in the valley and 6" apart. As you move down the roof, spread the lines apart, about 1/8" per foot, down to the eaves.

Now you're ready to apply shingles. Lay them down to the edge of the chalk lines, and cut them to fit (Fig. 2).

Place the end of each shingle in roofing cement to seal it before nailing it into position. 

Do not nail shingles closer than 6" to the chalk lines.

Step 7:  APPLYING NEW ASPHALT SHINGLES

 Applying new asphalt shingles on a complete roofing job or on new construction requires a layer of 15-lb. roofing felt over 5/8" plywood sheathing.

Each course of the roofing felt should overlap the preceding course by at least 2" to provide adequate weatherproofing protection. 

Staple the felt underlayment into position, starting at the edge of the eaves and extending up to the roof ridge.

STARTING THE SHINGLESSTARTING THE SHINGLES CONTINUED Step 8: STARTING THE SHINGLES

First, locate the exact center of the roof and mark it with a chalk line. 

Next, install a starter strip along the bottom edge of the roof. Many manufacturers offer a special starter strip; however, if you don't have this strip, you can cut the tabs off the shingles and use the shingles to form a starter strip. (Fig. 3). 

The starter strip should project out over the eaves and the gable end by about 5/8". 

After the starter strip is in place, again locate the exact center of the roof and mark it with a chalk line. 

Center your first shingle on the chalk line–directly on top of the starter strip–and nail it into position (Fig. 4). 

Use four nails in each shingle, located in the position shown in Fig. 5. Always drive the nails straight in and never at an angle, as they could cut the shingle and cause leaks. 

Place the nails about 5-5/8" up from the bottom of the shingle. 

Each succeeding shingle should bump up against the center shingle. Continue applying the shingles to the end of the roof in each direction (Fig. 6).

Step 9:  INSTALLING ADDITIONAL COURSES OF SHINGLES

After the first course of shingles has been laid on top of the starter strip, snap down a chalk line at the manufacturer's specified exposure, usually 5", to aid in applying shingles. 

Continue snapping down chalk lines until you reach the ridge of the roof. This simplifies the job of laying each succeeding course of shingles in a straight line. 

Start the second course of shingles on top of the first course. Place the cut-out over the center of the middle tab on the center shingle. 

Remember, a shingle cut-out must never fall directly over another cut-out in the row immediately below it. 

Continue placing shingles in the second course to the end of the roof in each direction.

Start at the center of the roof for the third course of shingles. Again, place the cut-out over the center tab on the preceding row, and continue to the end of the roof. 

Follow this procedure until you reach the ridge of the roof. Then start on the other side of the roof in the same way you started the first side

SHINGLING VENT PIPES Step 10: SHINGLING VENT PIPES

The easiest way to finish around vent pipes is to purchase a vent pipe boot that slides down over the vent pipe. It consists of a rubber gasket and metal flashing. If you do not have a vent pipe boot, follow these directions. 

Place mineral-surfaced roofing material or metal flashing around the vent pipe before laying any shingles.
Cut a square of flashing material with at least 6" of edge around the vent pipe (Fig. 7). 

Cut a hole in the center of the flashing that's large enough to fit over the vent pipe. Coat the bottom side with roofing cement, slip it over the vent pipe and nail it into position. 

Lay shingles up to the vent pipe, completely covering the edge of the flashing material. Set the ends of the shingles in roofing cement. 

Cut a hole in the shingle that goes over the vent pipe, apply roofing cement to the bottom and nail it into position (Fig. 8). 

Repeat the procedure on the next course of shingles if they, too, overlap the vent pipe.

SHINGLING AROUND CHIMNEYS Step 11:  SHINGLING AROUND CHIMNEYS

Place mineral-surfaced roofing material or aluminum flashing around the edge of a chimney before shingles are positioned. 

On older roofs, you can use the old flashings for a pattern. On new roofs, use Fig. 9 as a guide for cutting the flashing. 

Fit the new flashing around the base of the chimney, then cement and nail it into place. 

Cut flashing strips into pieces measuring 7" x 10", then bend them in half to 7" x 5". 

Place these flashing strips against the chimney, seal the edge with roofing cement and nail into place. 

Apply shingles up to the edge of the chimney, seal the edge with roofing cement and nail the shingles near the edge of the flashings (Fig. 10).

SHINGLING HIP ROOFSSHINGLING HIP ROOFS CONTINUED Step 12:   SHINGLING HIP ROOFS

Each course of shingles applied to the hip roof should be continued around the roof (Fig. 11). 

Trim each shingle to the angle of the hip ridge. 

Use regular hip shingles or cut standard shingles (three-cut)to cover the hip ridge. 

Cover the hip ridge before the main roof ridge (Fig. 12). 

Start at the eave and apply hip shingles at the same exposure as the main roof. 

Use two shingles to start the run on the hip ridge (Fig. 13). 

Use four nails per shingle and leave no nails exposed. 

When placing the last hip shingle on the main ridge, seal it with roofing cement and nail it into position.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Repairing Gutters and Downspouts

Following are tips and suggestions on how to repair and maintain downspouts and gutters. These ideas can save you a lot of trouble and expense and help you lengthen the life of your gutters and downspouts. Inside this document you will find information about:
Why You Should Maintain Downspouts and Gutters
Adjusting the Pitch of Gutters
Stopping Clogs in Gutters and Downspouts
Patching Leaks in Gutters
Maintaining Downspouts

MAINTAIN DOWNSPOUTS AND GUTTERS Step 1: WHY YOU SHOULD MAINTAIN DOWNSPOUTS AND GUTTERS

Taking the time to maintain and repair downspouts and gutters can double or even triple the life of your roof drainage system. This can save you a lot of money on repair costs.

Inspect your downspouts and gutters about twice a year. Carefully examine them in the spring just before the spring rains. Inspect them again in the fall when leaves, limbs and other debris might cause problems.

Improper drainage due to poor roof pitch is one of the biggest causes of roof drainage problems. Improper drainage causes water to accumulate in certain spots in the gutters, ultimately building up debris and accelerating rust.

Clogged gutters and downspouts can also be a big problem. Thoroughly clean all debris from the gutters and downspouts at least twice a year (Fig. 1). If there are a number of trees near your home, clean the gutters with a whisk broom even more often than twice a year.

Rust can be a big problem. Keep the gutters properly cleaned and the pitch set correctly to slow down the rusting process.

ADJUSTING THE PITCH OF GUTTERS Step 2: ADJUSTING THE PITCH OF GUTTERS

The gutters on your home should be installed so there is a drop of approximately 1/16" for each 1' of length of guttering.

You can use a chalk line and a level to take a reading and mark the slope of your gutters. Another way is to pour a bucket of water into the gutter and observe the flow. If it runs off without leaving pools of water in the gutter, the gutter is set properly. If there are low spots, the water will sit in the gutter and locate the trouble spots.

Ordinarily, the pitch of a gutter can be set in only one direction. However, gutter runs of more than 35' should slant in each direction from the center (Fig. 2). Again, the drop should be set at a rate of 1/16" of fall for each 1' of gutter.

High or low spots detected in the gutter run can often be corrected by bending the hanger than supports the gutter (Fig. 3). A slight bend up or down can often remove the low or high spot.

Some gutters are installed with spikes and sleeves, sometimes called spikes and ferrules (Fig. 4). You may need to add an additional spike or sleeve to raise or lower the fall of the gutter at any specific point.

When extra spikes or sleeves are added, use a power drill to make a hole through the gutter before inserting the spike and sleeve.

The bracket hanger is nailed or screwed to the fascia underneath the eave of the roof (Fig. 5). Either of these types of hangers can be added as needed to remove high and low spots in a run of gutter. Add braces that match those already in use.

Gutters are usually held in place with either spikes and sleeves or hangers.

There are two basic types of gutter hangers. One is the strap hanger (Fig. 5). This type of hanger supports the gutter with a wraparound strap underneath the gutter. A long strap is then affixed to the top and nailed to the sheathing under the edge of the roof. The roofing material covers the strap, making it totally inconspicuous.

STOPPING CLOGS IN GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTSSTOPPING CLOGS IN GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS CONTINUED Step 3: STOPPING CLOGS IN GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS

Clogging usually occurs in a drainage system at the elbow where the downspout connects to the gutter (Fig. 6). Since this elbow is relatively easy to remove, it is a good idea to remove it and inspect for clogging.

If the clogging is not in the elbow, check farther down the downspout.

You can usually check the downspout from the bottom. However, if the downspout is inserted in an underground tiling system, you may need to use a plumber's or electrician's snake to clean the downspout (Fig. 7). This type of metal snake can be used to penetrate the downspout for a great distance, removing any obstacles causing clogging and backup problems.

If your roof drainage system is exposed to falling leaves and debris, you should install leaf strainers in all downspout outlets (Fig. 8). These strainers insert into the downspout outlet. They permit the free passage of water but stop any leaves or other objects that can cause problems in downspout drainage.

Leaf strainers are easy to install and are relatively inexpensive.

You can solve most drainage problems by installing leaf guards over your entire gutter system (Fig. 9). There are various types of leaf guards available.

Leaf guards of metal, plastic, etc., are usually mounted in the same way. Lift the lower run of shingles and insert the leaf guard underneath. Some leaf guards clamp over the edge of the gutter.

The leaf guards hold the leaves and other falling debris on top of the guard while allowing water to flow freely through the drainage system. The leaves then dry on top of the guard and are quickly blown away.

PATCHING LEAKS IN GUTTERSPATCHING LEAKS IN GUTTERS CONTINUED Step 4:  PATCHING LEAKS IN GUTTERS

Any type of gutter will ultimately need some mending or repairing. However, aluminum and plastic gutters and downspouts last much longer than those made of galvanized steel.

When leaks occur, you may want to totally replace entire sections of the gutter rather than trying to mend them. However, small leaks and rust spots can easily be patched or mended.

The first step in repairing a rusted and leaky gutter is to scrape off all the rust (Fig. 10). Use a steel brush or a 1/4" drill and a power rotary brush.

Take time to remove as much of the rust as possible. Old rust left underneath the mending job simply starts to work again.

Next, cover the area to be repaired with either a rust treatment or rust-inhibiting paint. Allow it to dry thoroughly (Fig. 11).

For small holes, apply a 1/8" thick layer of plastic cement specially made for gutter repairs or use ordinary roof cement (Fig. 12).

For larger holes, follow this same procedure. While the cement is still wet, cover the area with strips of heavy aluminum foil or plastic (Fig. 13). Cut the patch material to fit exactly inside the repaired area.

Press the patch down tightly into the gutter with a dry cloth. Wear gloves during this part of the repair job.

When joining two pieces of patch material, overlap it in the direction of the water flow and cement the edges together securely. Be sure the overlap is in the direction of the water flow–otherwise, water may enter at the seam.

MAINTAINING DOWNSPOUTSMAINTAINING DOWNSPOUTS CONTINUEDMAINTAINING DOWNSPOUTS MORE Step 5: MAINTAINING DOWNSPOUTS

Even the best gutter system cannot function properly unless all downspouts are in working order. Take the time to examine your downspout system at the same time you are mending and repairing your gutters.

If the downspouts drain into an underground tile system, make a careful check at the point where the downspout enters the underground tiling (Fig. 14). Make sure it is cemented firmly into place and there is no backup or overflow.

You can use a plumber's or electrician's snake to clean any possible obstructions in the downspout system.

Most downspouts empty onto a splash block (Fig. 15). Be sure these splash blocks are large enough and high enough to carry the water away from the foundation of the house.

Check the splash blocks occasionally to make sure they are not broken or deteriorating. Downspouts that pour water around the foundation of the house can cause basement or crawl space water problems. Secure splash blocks remove much of this danger.

You may need to add extra downspouts to carry water completely away from the house (Fig. 16).

You can attach an extra length of downspout at the elbow to continue it as far away from the house as necessary.

Special roll-up downspout sheets are available that extend themselves when filled with water and roll up when the water is emptied. These perform the same function as an extended downspout, but they avoid the unsightliness of the downspout extended into the yard.

Add downspout simply by crimping the end of the material with a pair of pliers (Fig. 17). The new piece of downspout will slip easily into the original piece.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Laying Concrete Blocks

Here are tips and instructions on how to lay concrete blocks. Take the time to read the directions thoroughly–they can save you time and effort. They also help you end up with a neater, more satisfactory installation–with far less waste. In this document you will find information about:
Select the Right Blocks for the Job
Pouring the Footing for a Block Wall
Estimating Blocks and Mortar Needed
Preparing to Lay the Concrete Blocks
Laying the Concrete Blocks

SELECT THE RIGHT BLOCKS FOR THE JOB Step 1:  SELECT THE RIGHT BLOCKS FOR THE JOB

Fig. 1 shows a few of the many types of concrete blocks available for modern construction. Select the correct block for your job before starting the project. Your retailer will be glad to help you select the correct blocks if you need further direction.

All 8" blocks–the standard unit–are actually 7-5/8" in width. This allows for the thickness of the mortar on the finished job.

The standard unit is suitable for most projects. Half-blocks with square or rounded corners are often necessary at the end of a run.

Both single and double corner units provide a block that gives a smooth finish at the corner.

Jamb joist blocks are used around doorways.

Sash units provide an opening for casement windows, while header blocks are designed to provide a space for wooden supports or other structures at the top of a wall.

Other special blocks are available for almost any building requirement.

POURING THE FOOTING FOR A BLOCK WALL Step 2: POURING THE FOOTING FOR A BLOCK WALL

Every block wall–regardless of height or length–should be placed on a secure footing of poured concrete (Fig. 2). A block barbecue grill or outdoor fireplace requires a large concrete pad as a footing.

The footing should always be poured deep enough so that the base is below the frost line.

Always make the footing at least twice as deep as the thickness of the wall and twice as wide (Fig. 2). For example, if you are using 8" blocks, the footing should be at least 8" deep and about 16" wide. This footing will provide a 4" rim on each side of the block when laid.

The form for such footings can be made from rough 2x4s, held in place by wooden stakes driven into the ground about every 3' to 4' (Fig. 2).

For a footing poured in an area where drainage is a problem, lay a drain line along the outer edge of the form (Fig. 2). Allow for a drop of about 1" for each 20' of drain line. Backfill over the drain line with about 12" of crushed stone or gravel.

Before you pour the footing, be sure it will not prevent the natural run-off of water and will not divert the flow of water onto any neighboring property.

Allow ample time for the concrete to dry fully. If the footing is to carry an extremely heavy load, drying may require up to three days.

If gas, electric or water supply lines must pass through the footing, you must make an opening. Do this by nailing together four pieces of 2x8 and laying them in the proper position before the footing is poured. In many cases, a 4" piece of drain tile will serve the same purpose. Mark the depth and location of the utility opening on your foundation plan or with a stake so you can find it easily later on.

For large concrete foundation jobs that cannot be finished with one pouring, divide the forms into sections you can handle. Complete one before proceeding to the next.

Make sure your footing is level by placing a level across the footings about every 8'. Adjust the height of the 2x4s by raising or lowering the stakes to make the 2x4s level on each side at all points around the footing.

Fill the form to the top edge, then level the freshly poured concrete by pulling a 2x4 or some other straightedge along the top of the form (Fig. 3).

Work the straightedge back and forth–in a sawing motion–until the concrete is level. Fill in any low spots with additional concrete. Wipe away surplus concrete in the high spots.

POURING THE FOOTING FOR A BLOCK WALL Step 3:  POURING THE FOOTING FOR A BLOCK WALL

Every block wall–regardless of height or length–should be placed on a secure footing of poured concrete (Fig. 2). A block barbecue grill or outdoor fireplace requires a large concrete pad as a footing.

The footing should always be poured deep enough so that the base is below the frost line.

Always make the footing at least twice as deep as the thickness of the wall and twice as wide (Fig. 2). For example, if you are using 8" blocks, the footing should be at least 8" deep and about 16" wide. This footing will provide a 4" rim on each side of the block when laid.

The form for such footings can be made from rough 2x4s, held in place by wooden stakes driven into the ground about every 3' to 4' (Fig. 2).

For a footing poured in an area where drainage is a problem, lay a drain line along the outer edge of the form (Fig. 2). Allow for a drop of about 1" for each 20' of drain line. Backfill over the drain line with about 12" of crushed stone or gravel.

Before you pour the footing, be sure it will not prevent the natural run-off of water and will not divert the flow of water onto any neighboring property.

If gas, electric or water supply lines must pass through the footing, you must make an opening. Do this by nailing together four pieces of 2x8 and laying them in the proper position before the footing is poured. In many cases, a 4" piece of drain tile will serve the same purpose. Mark the depth and location of the utility opening on your foundation plan or with a stake so you can find it easily later on.

For large concrete foundation jobs that cannot be finished with one pouring, divide the forms into sections you can handle. Complete one before proceeding to the next.

Make sure your footing is level by placing a level across the footings about every 8'. Adjust the height of the 2x4s by raising or lowering the stakes to make the 2x4s level on each side at all points around the footing.

Fill the form to the top edge, then level the freshly poured concrete by pulling a 2x4 or some other straightedge along the top of the form (Fig. 3).

Work the straightedge back and forth–in a sawing motion–until the concrete is level. Fill in any low spots with additional concrete. Wipe away surplus concrete in the high spots.

Allow ample time for the concrete to dry fully. If the footing is to carry an extremely heavy load, drying may require up to three days.

Select the block size you will be using in the left-hand column. The right-hand column will show you the number of blocks and the amount of mortar required for the job.

You can also estimate for the number of blocks required by allowing three 8" blocks for every 4' on each course of blocks

PREPARING TO LAY THE CONCRETE BLOCKS Step 4:  PREPARING TO LAY THE CONCRETE BLOCKS

Before starting to lay the blocks, drive stakes into the ground and build a form at each corner (Fig. 5). These stakes and forms can be made from scrap pieces of wood used on the job.

Locate the exact corner by stretching lines from one corner form to the other as illustrated in Fig. 5. The exact corner will be the point at which the two lines cross.

Drop a plumb bob down from each line, both at the corner point where the lines cross and at positions about 2' out in each direction.

Determine the exact number of blocks required for the first course by laying out a course of block on the dry concrete (Fig. 6). Do not use mortar for this test run–you are merely determining the number of blocks required for the job.

Be sure to use the corner blocks where needed, and cut blocks as required.

Use scrap pieces of 3/8" plywood to fill in the mortar joint between each block. This is the thickness of the mortar when applied.

After this test run, remove the blocks and prepare for the actual laying of the first course.

LAYING THE CONCRETE BLOCKS

LAYING THE CONCRETE BLOCKS CONTINUED

LAYING THE CONCRETE BLOCKS MORE

CONCRETE BLOCKS MORE

CONCRETE BLOCKS CONTINUED

Step 5: LAYING THE CONCRETE BLOCKS

Drop plumb bobs down from the corner string and at positions about 3' out from the corner (Fig. 5). Mark the location of the corner block on the footing base as shown.

Spread the mortar out about 1" deep and 8" wide in the marked area (Fig 7). Extend this mortar out for a distance of about three or four blocks in one direction.

Put a furrow in the center of the mortar with a trowel. This furrow will force the mortar to the edge of the block when it is laid (Fig. 7).

Set the corner block first. Be sure you are using the correct block (finished end).

Check the starting corner block, both horizontally and vertically, and take time to get it positioned correctly. All other blocks will align with this starter block, so it's very important to set it exactly.

Follow this same procedure as you reach the other corners, laying the first course out about two or three blocks in each direction.

Tie a line between two bricks and stretch it between the two corner blocks on the first course.

Continue to lay the base mortar on the footing as the course continues. Apply mortar to the ends of the blocks with a trowel and place the block in position (Fig. 8).

Keep all mortar joints at about 3/8". If necessary to make spacing adjustments, fill some mortar joints 1/2" to 3/4".

If you must cut a block to fill a course, use a masonry chisel as illustrated in Fig. 9. Draw a line on both sides of the block where the cut is to be made. Strike the chisel with a bricklayer's hammer. You will soon learn to make such cuts easily.

After you've laid four or five blocks, use a long mason's level or some type of straightedge to check the alignment of the blocks (Fig. 10). Check both the tops of the blocks and the outside edge for correct alignment.

Tap the blocks into position to make any alignment corrections while the mortar is still wet. Never attempt to move a block after the concrete begins to set.

Build up the corners first. Always keep the corners about a block or two higher than other runs until you finish the job.

Keep the guidelines between the corners at all times. They will help you keep the blocks level at all points in each course. Be careful not to knock the lines out of alignment.

Always keep the guidelines tight. If one side gets bumped out of position, take a minute to level it.

Use a trowel to cut away any surplus mortar. Throw the surplus mortar back onto the mortarboard. Keep turning the mortar with your trowel throughout the project so small portions will not harden.

Use a piece of 3/4" plyboard or the bed of a wheelbarrow as a mortarboard. Always wet the board or the wheelbarrow bed before placing the mortar in it.

Never mix more mortar than you can use in about an hour and a half or two hours. On a hot day, keep the mortar covered with a piece of plastic to hold in moisture.

Use as much water as the mortar will take and still remain elastic.

Continue to stagger the blocks–working from the corners–and build the wall to the desired height.

Take time to level each course. Use a level that is at least 3' long.

Lay all blocks with the thicker end of the face shell up.

Keep a leveling string at the top of each course on each run of block.

Measure both the length and the height of the wall after every two or three runs. Also, hold your level diagonally along the block corners to check for accuracy (Fig. 11). If the blocks are being laid accurately, the corners will strike evenly along a level held in this position.

After all the blocks are laid and while the mortar can still be pressed with the fingers, take a jointer and finish the mortar joints to the appearance desired. Keep the jointer wet during this part of the job.

You may need to add reinforcing rods to walls built extremely high or in areas where ground pressures may vary.

Lay 1/4" reinforcing rods as illustrated, with the ends overlapped 2" to 3". Mortar can be placed directly over the rods.

If wood framing will be attached to the top run, set an anchor bolt every 3' to 4' in the last run (Fig. 12).

If a load-bearing wall intersects with the outside wall, it should be tied to the main wall with metal tie bars (Fig. 13). Bars as shown should be set in place on at least every other run.

Nonload-bearing walls connecting to main walls can be tied in by laying a 16" strip of 1/2" mesh galvanized hardware cloth directly on top of the block.

A strip of this cloth should be used for every other course at the tie-in point.

If the concrete blocks are being laid as a fence or barrier, the top course can be finished off by filling in the holes with fresh concrete mix and a trowel.

For a neater and more enduring finish, use patio blocks for an attractive and weatherproof finish.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Pouring Concrete

Here are tips and instructions on working with concrete. Take the time to read these directions thoroughly; following them can save you time and effort. It can also help you end up with a neater, more satisfactory installation–with far less waste. In this document you will find information about:

Determining the Type of Concrete to Use
Mixing Your Own Concrete
Estimating the Materials Needed
Building the Forms for Pouring Concrete
Pouring Concrete
Reinforcing Concrete
Different Ways to Finish Concrete
Letting the Concrete Cure

Step 1: DETERMINING THE TYPE OF CONCRETE TO USE

You can use many different types of concrete. Ready-mix concrete, which requires only the addition of water, is the simplest to use. It is ideal for small jobs but can be quite expensive for big projects.

Transit-mix concrete is delivered to the job site in revolving barrel trucks. This is the simplest and easiest way to buy concrete for large projects. However, you'll be paying for the delivery of the concrete and the convenience of premixing. Check local sources for competitive prices on transit-mix concrete.

You-Haul concrete is available in some areas. You buy the concrete and rent a You-Haul trailer mixer for transporting the concrete to the work site with your car or truck. Again, you have to pay for the premixing and the trailer rental. Check locally for prices on You-Haul concrete.

The least expensive way to purchase concrete for large projects is to buy the dry ingredients and mix them yourself at the job site. Of course, this requires a lot of work, and you must either rent or purchase the necessary mixers and other equipment.

The type of concrete you use will be based on the amount of concrete you need and local prices for the various types.

MIXING YOUR OWN CONCRETE Step 2: MIXING YOUR OWN CONCRETE

There are four basic elements in concrete: Portland cement; a fine aggregate, such as sand; a coarse aggregate, such as crushed rock or gravel; and water. 

The aggregates (sand and gravel) usually make up from 2/3 to 3/4 of the volume of any finished concrete. All aggregates should be clean and free of organic matter.

The water used for mixing concrete should be clean and free of acids, alkalies, oils and sulfates.

Although the ingredients in concrete are always the same, the finished results depend on the proper mix of the four elements.

The proper mix of ingredients is determined by the intended use of the concrete.

For foundations and retaining walls, use about 6-1/4 gallons of water for each sack of cement if the sand is damp. However, if the sand is wet, 5-1/2 gallons of water will easily do the job.

Concrete that's mixed for pouring sidewalks, stepping stones, slabs, etc., requires about 5-3/4 gallons of water per sack of cement if the sand is damp and about 5 gallons if the sand is wet.

If you are pouring heavy footings for walls where waterproofing is not a factor, mix the concrete with 1 part cement, 3 parts sand and 4 parts gravel.

For sidewalks, steps, driveways, etc., use 1 part Portland cement, 2 parts sand and 3 parts gravel.

For small jobs, you can measure the ingredients using an ordinary galvanized or plastic pail.

A wooden box measuring 12" x 12" x 12" (Fig. 1) can give you an accurate measurement for 1 cubic foot of sand or concrete.

Nail 3/4" half-round to one side of the box at carefully measured points. This will allow you to measure 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 of a cubic foot.

Always follow the mixing instructions on the bag when mixing your concrete.

ESTIMATING THE MATERIALS NEEDED Step 3: ESTIMATING THE MATERIALS NEEDED

Fig. 2 provides a table showing the number of cubic yards of concrete required to pour slabs of varying sizes and thicknesses.

To use this table, multiply the length by the width of the area you plan to cover with concrete. This gives you the square footage of the area.

Now, refer to the number of square feet and the thickness in inches of the slab you plan to pour. The figure on the appropriate line shows the number of cubic yards of concrete you'll need to do the job.

For example, if you are planning to pour a patio that's 10' x 14', you have a total of 140 square feet.

Suppose you plan to pour the patio slab 5" thick. Consult the table–you'll find that 100 square feet of a slab this thick requires 1.5 cubic yards of concrete and an additional 50 square feet would require .77 cubic yards. Therefore, you would need 2.27 cubic yards of concrete to pour the slab.

BUILDING THE FORMS FOR POURING CONCRETE Step 4:  BUILDING THE FORMS FOR POURING CONCRETE

Almost any concrete job requires some type of form. In some cases, forms are built above the ground while others require digging.

Dig down to the desired level (Fig. 3), and build forms to the shape and size needed for the concrete job you are starting.

Use temporary posts to establish the proper grade or slope of the concrete.

Nail the stakes lightly to the forms used (Fig. 3), or clamp the forms temporarily to the stakes with a "C" clamp.

Use a level to ensure that you have the proper grade or slope of the concrete form.

After the proper grade has been set, drive in permanent stakes and nail the form to the stakes.

POURING CONCRETEPOURING CONCRETE CONTINUED Step 5:  POURING CONCRETE

After the forms are set, spray the entire area lightly with a garden hose, then pour in the concrete.

After the form is filled, tamp the freshly poured concrete to compact it. Use a tamper, or put on rubber boots and walk around the poured concrete area to make sure it is compacted around the edges.

Small concrete areas can be compacted with a 2x4. For larger areas, you may want to rent roller tampers.

After the concrete in the form has been thoroughly tamped, use a straightedged 2x4 as a screed for leveling the concrete (Fig. 4).

Work the 2x4 back and forth in sawing fashion to level the concrete at all points across the form.

Purchase a magnesium concrete rake with an extension handle to level concrete in hard-to-reach places.

When the concrete has set sufficiently to support a 2x8 plank, use the plank as a straightedge to guide a groover (Fig. 5) to cut contraction joints (Fig. 6). Contraction joints are necessary to allow hardened concrete to expand and contract in extreme temperatures.

On sidewalks or other narrow concrete areas, contraction joints should be cut every 4' to 6'. 

On patios or other large concrete areas, expansion joints should be cut in each direction every 4' to 6'. Use two lengths of beveled clapboard placed in the position shown in Fig. 7 to cut these joints.

Drive a nail into the top of one board and paint both boards with motor oil. The boards should then be embedded in the concrete, as shown in Fig. 7.

After the concrete begins to set, the board with the nail in the top can be removed, leaving the second board hidden. This provides an adequate contraction joint for a large expanse of concrete.

REINFORCING CONCRETE Step 6: REINFORCING CONCRETE

In some cases, concrete needs reinforcement with steel mesh (Fig. 8). You can use regular fencing material with 2' x 4' or 2' x 6' mesh.

If the pressure on the concrete is to come from the top of the slab, the reinforcement should be laid deep near the bottom of the slab.

If the strong point of the slab is at the center and the pressure will come on either end, the reinforcement should be laid as close to the top of the slab as possible.

DIFFERENT WAYS TO FINISH CONCRETE

DIFFERENT WAYS TO FINISH CONCRETE CONTINUED

Step 7:  DIFFERENT WAYS TO FINISH CONCRETE

You can give concrete a smooth finish with a trowel and a float (Fig. 9). The float will smooth out the concrete on the first rubbing.

A trowel (Fig. 10) is used to give the concrete a finishing touch.

You can create a light, swirled pattern by holding a steel trowel flat against the surface of the slab and moving it around in a swirling motion. Do this the last time you trowel the concrete.

For a heavier swirling pattern, use a wood float instead of a trowel and do the swirling while the concrete is still fairly wet.

Create a soft pattern of parallel lines by dragging a soft brush straight across a moderately wet surface (Fig. 11).

To achieve heavy lines, drag the softbrush across while the surface is still wet.

For light-textured parallel lines, trowel the concrete and allow it to dry slightly before dragging the brush across (Fig. 11).

Use an ordinary broom to create a very attractive and practical pattern in concrete (Fig. 11). This technique provides a rough finish that makes the concrete surface much safer when wet.

You can make all brush strokes in the same direction, or each block between contraction joints can be brushed in opposite directions for a unique appearance.

Use an ordinary garage floor brush to create attractive wavy patterns in newly laid concrete. The wavy patterns enhance the appearance and make the surface safer when wet.

You can create a flagstone pattern by tooling the concrete after it has been leveled off with a darby or float. To make the flagstone pattern, use an 18" length of 1/2" or 3/4" copper pipe that is slightly bent (Fig. 12).

Trowel and brush the concrete surface lightly after the flagstone pattern has been created in the wet concrete.

There are also forms available for concrete that will create a flagstone walk. These work extremely well for smaller projects. For larger areas a relative new concrete stamping process creates the same look on driveways and patios. Contractors, due to the cost of the equipment needed, normally do this concrete stamping.

Whatever pattern you choose to create, remember, the pattern should not trap water and cause it to stand on the concrete. Standing water is one of the major causes for concrete failure.

Special colorants are available for concrete. When added to the concrete mix, these colorants can make concrete look like red brick or any number of other materials. Concrete can be colored to accent the color of your home.

 LETTING THE CONCRETE CURE Step 8:  LETTING THE CONCRETE CURE

All concrete must be given time to cure. During this period, the concrete surface should be kept wet by repeated hosing with a fine mist.

This hosing process should be done at least twice during any 24-hour period for about three days after the concrete is poured.

Concrete poured indoors can be left exposed. However, you should place a guard rail around the area to keep any child or animal from walking on the surface until it is dry.

Concrete laid in the open air or in direct sunlight should be covered with burlap, roofing felt or building paper during the curing period. Remove this protective covering before wetting the concrete.

Never attempt a big concrete job on an extremely hot day. Concrete sets extremely fast in direct sunshine. It's better to wait until mid-afternoon–even if this means you must work late into the evening.

You can improve the looks of the concrete and make it last longer by sealing the concrete after it has thoroughly cured. Sealers can either be clear or colored. Some coatings have an additive that provides better traction on the concrete surface. Be careful when choosing the coatings and sealers. Some are extremely slippery when wet and should not be used outside.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Repairing and Patching Concrete

Here are tips and suggestions on how to patch and repair concrete. Take the time to read these directions thoroughly to save time, money and effort. This will also help you end up with a neater, more satisfactory job–with far less waste. In this document you will find information about: 

Repairing Hairline Cracks
Repairing Cracks in Sidewalks
Repairing Concrete Driveways
Repairing Cracks and Holes in Concrete Walls
Patching Holes in Walks or Driveways
Repairing Broken Corners on Concrete

Step 1:  REPAIRING HAIRLINE CRACKS

You can repair hairline cracks in concrete with a grout made of Portland cement and water. Add just enough water to the cement to form a thick paste.

Moisten the old concrete along the hairline crack with water for several hours before adding the grout. Moistening the concrete prevents it from drawing the water from the grout, which will dry out the mixture. Although the old concrete should be moist, no water should be standing on the surface when the grout is applied.

After the hairline crack has been moistened and thoroughly cleaned, apply the grout with a putty knife or pointing trowel. Force the grout into the crack as much as possible. Then smooth it off so it is level with the original concrete.

Allow the patched area to dry about two hours. Then, cover the area with a piece of plastic sheeting or a board.

Keep the area covered for about five days. Lift the covering once each day and sprinkle the area with water.

REPAIRING CRACKS IN SIDEWALKS Step 2:  REPAIRING CRACKS IN SIDEWALKS

Cracks in sidewalks that are larger than hairline cracks must be enlarged before they can be satisfactorily repaired. Enlarge the crack along its entire length with a cold chisel and hammer (Fig. 1).

Make the crack wider at the bottom than at the top (Fig. 2). This is known as undercutting. It helps to bond the new concrete with the older concrete.

Undercut the crack to a minimum depth of 1". The depth of the undercutting depends on the size and depth of the crack to be repaired.

After the crack has been thoroughly undercut, remove all loose material and brush the area with a wire brush.

Use a garden hose or a tire pump to blow or wash away the dust in the crack.

The new concrete patch will hold better if a concrete adhesive is used first. There are many types of concrete adhesives. Acrylic resin–a milky fluid–is one common type. Brush the adhesive into the undercut area and allow it to dry until it becomes tacky (Fig. 3).

If you do not use a cement adhesive, thoroughly brush and soak the area to be patched. Moistening the area prevents the old concrete from absorbing all the moisture in the concrete patch. Although it should be moist, no water should be standing on the area where the patch is to be applied.

For small patching jobs, use a pre-mixed concrete patch. If you use ready-mix concrete patch, all you need to add is water.

If you mix your own concrete patch, use one part Portland cement to two-and-a-half parts of fine, clean sand. Heavier concrete patch jobs call for one part of Portland cement to two parts of sand to three parts of gravel.

Tamp the concrete patch mix tightly into the undercut area. Be sure to fill all areas completely.

When the mixture begins to set, smooth it down with either a metal trowel or a wooden float (Fig. 4). Use a metal trowel for a smooth finish. For a rough surface, use a wood float for the finishing job.

After the patch is completed, allow it to dry for about two hours. Then cover the patched area completely with plastic sheeting or boards.

Keep the area covered for about five days. Lift the cover once each day to wet down the repaired area, permitting the new concrete to cure correctly.

REPAIRING CONCRETE DRIVEWAYS Step 3:  REPAIRING CONCRETE DRIVEWAYS

 You can repair a crack in a concrete driveway in basically the same way as a crack in a concrete sidewalk. However, since the driveway must carry heavier weight loads, the repaired area must withstand much greater pressure.

Use a gravel mix, rather than a sand mix, for repairing concrete driveways. This mix is one part Portland cement, two parts sand and three parts gravel.

Thoroughly clean and then undercut the crack. Brush cement adhesive into the undercut area.

Undercut the cracked area to a greater depth and make the cracks considerably wider than when repairing a sidewalk. This extra depth and width increases the strength of the repair job.

Follow all of the steps outlined previously in repairing a crack in a sidewalk to repair a crack in a concrete driveway.

After the gravel mix has been applied, level the new patch mix off with a trowel or float, as you would do when repairing a sidewalk (Fig. 4).

Cover the patched area for five days, wetting it down once each day.

Do not drive an automobile over the patched area for at least five days. This gives the newly patched section time to dry thoroughly before it must carry the heavy load of an automobile or truck.

REPAIRING CRACKS AND HOLES IN CONCRETE WALLSREPAIRING CRACKS AND HOLES IN CONCRETE WALLS CONTINUED Step 4:  REPAIRING CRACKS AND HOLES IN CONCRETE WALLS

 Repairing a crack in a concrete wall requires basically the same steps as repairing a crack in a sidewalk or driveway.

The cracked area must first be undercut and widened in basically the same way as previously described for a sidewalk (Fig. 2).

The widening and undercutting can be done with a cold chisel and hammer (Fig. 5). The width and depth of the undercutting depends on the size and length of the crack.

After all loose material has been chipped away, thoroughly clean the undercut area around the crack with a stiff wire brush (Fig. 6). Do not brush the area enough to smooth off the edges. The rough surface created by the chiseling provides a good bond for the new concrete you'll apply.

When the enlarged area has been thoroughly cleaned, apply cement adhesive with a brush. This is the same cement adhesive used when repairing sidewalks. If you do not have a cement adhesive, prime the area with a thin, creamy mixture of Portland cement and water.

In some cases, you can make the patch by simply moistening the area thoroughly before filling the crack with concrete (Fig. 7). Although the moistening is important, a concrete adhesive or the mixture of Portland cement and water is much more desirable than moistening with water only.

You can use a ready-mix concrete patch for small cracks in cement walls. Force the mixture into the cutaway area with a pointing trowel (Fig. 8). Be sure to use enough pressure to force the patch mix into all the cutaway areas in the crack.

It may be difficult to conceal the patch, since the finish on the old concrete is difficult to duplicate. To conceal the patch, simply experiment with matching the original finish by roughing up the patched area while it is still workable. Try using an old broom, a float, or any other tool to create the desired rough finish.

You can patch holes and broken areas in concrete walls by simply clearing out the hole in the same basic way you would undercut a crack.

After the hole has been thoroughly cleaned and cut away, apply the cement adhesive and insert the patch mix into the hole with a pointing trowel (Fig. 9).

Moisten the area and cure it after the patch is applied in the same way cracks in cement driveways or sidewalks are moistened and cured

PATCHING HOLES IN WALKS OR DRIVEWAYSPATCHING HOLES IN WALKS OR DRIVEWAYS CONTINUED Step 5:  PATCHING HOLES IN WALKS OR DRIVEWAYS

 How you patch holes in sidewalks and driveways depends on the depth and the size of the hole. If the hole is extremely deep and large, you must undercut it as previously described and fill the area with a gravel mix.

Small, shallow holes in flat-surfaced concrete–such as driveways, patios or sidewalks–can easily be repaired with latex cement (Fig. 10). If the hole is small and shallow, no chipping away is required.

Small, shallow holes need only to be cleaned thoroughly before adding the latex cement.

This cleaning can usually be done with a wire brush, which removes all the small pieces of loose concrete when you rub the area thoroughly (Fig. 11).

After using the wire brush on the damaged area, use a lighter brush to remove the loose particles that were dislodged by the wire brush. Then, wash the area to be repaired with a garden hose (Fig. 12).

After the cleaning is done, you are ready to apply the latex cement. This usually comes in 5-lb. cans, with the liquid latex in a smaller can inside a larger can.

Pour the liquid latex into the larger can and thoroughly mix it with the latex cement to form a heavy paste. Apply this paste to the area to be patched in approximately 1/4" layers. Smooth each layer with a trowel and allow to partially dry before applying the next layer.

Build up the latex cement 1/4" at a time until it reaches the same level as the original concrete. Then, smooth out the area with a trowel or float as you would finish regular concrete (Fig. 13).

REPAIRING BROKEN CORNERS ON CONCRETE

REPAIRING BROKEN CORNERS ON CONCRETE MORE

Step 6:  REPAIRING BROKEN CORNERS ON CONCRETE

 You can repair broken corners on concrete with latex or epoxy cement (Fig. 14). A broken corner should be thoroughly cleaned and moistened before the mixture is applied.

After the corner has been thoroughly brushed and washed, build up the latex or epoxy cement mix 1/4" at a time, as previously described. If the area to be repaired is quite large, you may need to build a small form to hold the mix while it is drying.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Repairing and Maintaining Asphalt Driveways

Materials available for asphalt driveway maintenance include emulsified liquids, plastic fillers and solid cold-patches. For a complete driveway rejuvenation, you may need all three. Before tackling any maintenance or repair, check your driveway for these conditions:

Impressions left by car tires after the car has been parked on the drive overnight. This is an indication of poor construction.

Heaving or tilting during cold weather, or buckling or cracking with the spring thaw. These are signs of poor drainage.

To repair these troubles, you'll need a new driveway. Fortunately, such problems are not common. More likely problems are minor cracks, crumbling and chuckholes, which are relatively easy to repair.

The procedure and materials used depends on whether you're repairing cracks, filling low spots, patching or seal-coating your driveway. Your local retailer can help you select the products you need for making repairs.

REPAIRING CRACKS Step 1: REPAIRING CRACKS

You should fill any cracks in a blacktop drive as soon as possible to keep water from getting under the slab and causing more serious problems. Cracks that are 1/2" and wider are filled with asphalt cold-patch, sold in bags and cans. Narrow cracks are treated with crack-filler, which is available in cans, plastic pour bottles and handy caulking cartridges.

Use a masonry chisel, wire brush or similar tool to dig away chunks of loose and broken material from the crack (Fig. 1).

Sweep out the crack with a stiff-bristled broom (Fig. 2). Your shop vacuum will also work well.

Use a garden hose with a pressure nozzle to clean off all dust. If the area is badly soiled or covered with oil or grease drippings, scrub it with a strong commercial driveway cleaning agent. For a patch to adhere, the crack must be free of all such things. After using a cleaner, rinse the area with water.

For a deep crack, fill it to within 1/4" of the top with closed-cell plastic backer rod or sand before applying a patching compound.

Apply the crack-filler (Fig. 3).

FILLING DEPRESSED AREAS Step 2: FILLING DEPRESSED AREAS

Depressed areas, sometimes called "birdbaths," cause water puddles on the driveway. If not too deep–less than an inch–these areas can be filled so they're even with the surrounding surface. Sweep away all dirt, hose down the area and remove any oil or grease by washing with a detergent or cleaner.

The surface may be slightly damp when applying the patching material, but make sure there is no standing water.

To help the new material adhere to the old, prime the area with emulsified liquid asphalt, which is often simply called "driveway coating."

Then, use a trowel to spread asphalt cold-patching material into the depression, filling it level with the surrounding surface (Fig. 4). Smooth the patch, then tamp it with a metal tamper or a 5' to 6' length of 2x8 or 4x4 lumber. Used vertically (Fig. 5), the lumber has the surface area and weight for successful tamping.

Allow your blacktop patch to dry for 24 hours before seal-coating the entire driveway.

PATCHING CHUCKHOLES

PATCHING CHUCKHOLES CONTINUED

Step 3:  PATCHING CHUCKHOLES

For chuckholes or potholes, first dig out any loose material and dirt down to a solid base. It's best to undercut the edges slightly to provide a "key" for the patching material (Fig. 6). Make sure the edges of the asphalt around the hole are firm.

Clean all dust and debris from the hole and surrounding areas.

If the hole is very deep, fill it to within 4" of the top with gravel. Tamp this down firmly.

You don't have to work with hot-mix patchers as professionals do–cold-mix patching products do an excellent job of repairing driveways. Fluid cold-patches that come in cans may need to be stirred before use. Use a strong stick or a stirring attachment chucked into your electric drill.

You can prime the repair area by painting it with emulsified asphalt liquid. Priming helps the new material bond to the old. Then apply the cold-patch material, patting it down occasionally with a shovel or trowel to help compact it and prevent air pockets from forming (Fig. 7).

Put in a 2" depth of cold-patch and tamp it firmly or roll it with a garden roller. Add more material in 2" lifts, tamping each lift. The next-to-last lift should fill the hole to within an inch of the top. Tamp it as shown in Fig. 8.

Now add more patching material, filling the hole and mounding it slightly above the surrounding surface. Tamp it down as firmly as you can. You can tamp it by hand or by repeatedly running your car's tire over it (Fig. 9).

Fill in any low areas with more cold-patch mix. Compact it until it's even with the driveway surface.

Allow the repaired area to cure for 12 to 36 hours before driving on it, and give it two to five days to cure before seal-coating the entire driveway.

SEALING THE DRIVE

SEALING THE DRIVE CONTINUED

SEALING THE DRIVE MORE

Step 4:  SEALING THE DRIVE

Use a sealant to coat blacktop surfaces every few years. The ideal time to seal your drive is after you have completed any repairs. Sealer gives a fresh, new look to a driveway. And it does more than that–it provides protection from sun and moisture and from grease, oil and gasoline drips and spills, as well as other damaging substances. Sealer guards against everyday wear and tear. It also fills hairline cracks that aren't serious enough to require individual patching.

The blacktop surface must be clean before you apply sealer. This includes dust, dirt, grease, oil and debris. Sweep it clean. Remove grease and oil spots with detergent or cleaner. End the cleaning by rinsing the area thoroughly with water. Squeegee water from any puddled spots. It is not necessary that the surface be thoroughly dry before applying the sealer, but don't do the job when rain is forecast.

Stir the sealer to make sure its ingredients are well-blended.

Some sealers can be applied with a long-handled paint roller (Fig. 10). However, the best tool for this is a combination squeegee/broom made for the purpose and available from your retailer (Fig.11). Apply the sealer only to a small area of the driveway at a time. Pour it out and spread it around evenly with the squeegee, brush or roller. Don't spread the sealer too thin–one good coat stands up for a long time. Allow small cracks and weathered areas to drink in the sealer.

Be very careful to avoid splashing sealer onto walls, garage doors and yourself. Moreover, plan the project so you will not have to walk across the treated areas. Use care–this material can make a mess of house floors.

Improve traction on sloped areas by adding sand to the sealer mix. Stir it in thoroughly before applying, and keep the mix stirred during application.

You can sprinkle sand over a sealer surface that's still wet. Excess sand not captured by the sealer can be swept up later.

Allow the sealer to cure for 24 hours before using the driveway (products vary in the setting times, so check to see what's required by the one you use). Erect string barriers at the street end of the drive to remind family members to keep off and to discourage casual traffic from spoiling your efforts.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Installing Masonry Anchors

Masonry anchors have come a long way since the days of lead and zinc anchors. It used to be that fastening anything to concrete was a major chore, but advances in materials and design have made anchoring to concrete–well, if not easy, at least within the reach of a handy do-it-yourselfer with an average set of tools. Inside this document you will find information about:
How Masonry Anchors Work
Using Masonry Anchors

HOW MASONRY ANCHORS WORK

HOW MASONRY ANCHORS WORK CONTINUED

Step 1:  HOW MASONRY ANCHORS WORK

There are three basic types of masonry anchors: 1) mechanical, 2) powder-actuated and 3) chemical. It's unlikely that you'll need a chemical anchor unless you're building a bridge, and in many states, certification is required to use powder-actuated fasteners. This document describes how to use mechanical anchors.

Products do vary from one manufacturer to the next; if the manufacturer's installation instructions are different than the information in this document, always follow the manufacturer's instructions. One caution when installing masonry anchors–always wear eye protection and follow the manufacturer's safety instructions.

Most masonry anchors work in one of two ways–either by expanding against the sides of the hole and gripping the concrete (Fig. 1) or by friction against the sides of the hole (Fig. 2). The holding power of any anchor depends on the quality of the concrete and on where the anchor is placed. If the concrete is old and crumbly, the holding power of the fastener will be reduced.

Likewise, if the anchor is placed near the edge of the concrete–or two anchors are placed too close together–the force generated by the anchor may break the concrete. The general recommendation is that any anchor should be placed no closer than five diameters from the edge of the concrete. In other words, a 1/2" diameter anchor should be no closer than 2-1/2" (1/2" x 5) from the edge of the concrete.

Two anchors should never be placed closer than 10 diameters from each other. In other words, two 1/2" anchors should be at least 5" (1/2" x 10) apart.

The most important factor in choosing the proper anchor is the type of load it will carry. An anchor is rated for two types of loads. Shear loads are caused when the weight of the fixture exerts force parallel to the surface of the concrete (Fig. 3). Tensile loads are caused when the fixture exerts force perpendicular to the surface (Fig. 4).

Naturally, a load may exert a combination of the two. An anchor that carries a pipe hung from the ceiling is under a tensile load, while a mirror hanging from a basement wall exerts almost a purely shear load. A shelf hung from the same wall exerts a combination of the two forces, as does a floor-mounted anchor that holds a table saw in place in the garage.

Other load factors are also important. They include: 

Static loads are loads that are steady and constant–for example, the weight of the circuit breaker box fastened to your basement wall. They place the least stress on the anchors.

Dynamic or vibrating loads are loads that are constantly changing. For example, if you hang a shelf from a concrete wall in order to mount your electric grinder, the load on the anchors will be a dynamic load. The strength rating of the anchors will be reduced by the constant vibration of the load.

Impact loads are loads that change suddenly–such as a box tossed onto a shelf anchored to the basement wall.

Because of the inexact quality of concrete, the standard recommendation is that the anchor you choose should be rated for about four times the weight it will carry if it will bear a static load and eight times the weight if it will carry a dynamic or impact load.

USING MASONRY ANCHORS

USING MASONRY ANCHORS CONTINUED

USING MASONRY ANCHORS MORE

MASONRY ANCHORS

Step 2: USING MASONRY ANCHORS

When choosing anchors, remember that the total load should be divided by the number of anchors that will carry it.

Whatever type of anchor you decide to use, you'll probably want to rent a hammer drill to drill the holes for it. Masonry drill bits work by chipping concrete away (as opposed to wood bits, which cut wood away). If you use a standard electric drill, you'll find that it not only drills much more slowly, but you'll be much more likely to ream the sides of the hole and wind up with a hole much larger than you intended.

The holes have to be exact in diameter and sometimes even an exact depth in order for the anchor to work properly. Some manufacturers' anchors must be installed with special drill bits. For best results with masonry anchors, it is important to "blow out" any excess dust from the drilled holes. One of the easiest ways to do this is with a kitchen blaster.

This document covers four basic types of masonry anchors: 1) concrete screws, 2) hammer anchors, 3) one-piece expansion anchors and 4) two-step expansion anchors that are used with standard screws.

They are called "two-step" because the holes must be spotted before installation. In other words, the anchor is larger than the fastener that will go into it (Fig. 5). As a result, you'll have to position the material to be anchored and spot the locations of the holes, then set the material aside so you can drill holes and insert the anchors. Finally, you can place the material in position again and fasten it down.

One advantage to these anchors is that the screws can be removed and reinserted. Also, they are relatively inexpensive.

If you're using lag shields (Fig. 6), you'll have a choice between short or long shields. Use the short shields in hard masonry (usually older concrete) or the long shields in softer masonry. Long shields are generally about 30 percent stronger than short shields, but drilling through old, hard concrete is not an easy task.

To install a two-step anchor, drill a hole the specified diameter and depth (usually slightly deeper than the length of the anchor). You can mark the depth on your drill bit by measuring the length of the anchor, then wrapping a piece of tape around the bit at that point. Insert the anchor, tapping it lightly with a hammer to seat it. Position the material, then drive the screw into the anchor until it is snug. Do not over-tighten the screw. 

One-Piece Expansion Anchors– Two-step anchors have become a thing of the past with professional builders, however. One-piece expansion anchors not only require no hole-spotting, but, since they are steel, they provide a much stronger grip than plastic or lead anchors.

Two types of one-piece anchors are popular (Fig. 7). Sleeve anchors have a steel sleeve on the shank, split at the bottom so it can expand. The bolt has a cone-shaped plug at the base, and a nut on the top. When you place the anchor in the hole and tighten the nut, it draws the bolt upward, pulling the plug into the sleeve and expanding it against the hole.

Once installed, sleeve anchors cannot be removed. They do come with a variety of heads, however–a removable hex head, an acorn nut, or either round- or flat-head screws.

The shank of a wedge anchor is similar to a sleeve anchor–a solid shank, threaded at the top and with a cone-shaped plug at the bottom. But the shank of a wedge anchor is grooved on opposite sides. In each groove is a rectangular shank with a spade-shaped wedge on the end. As the nut on top is tightened, the washer pushes the rectangular shanks down, which spreads the wedges over the plug.

Like a sleeve anchor, a wedge anchor cannot be removed once it is installed. Wedge anchors always have a hex head with a washer so the material can be removed and reinstalled.

To install wedge or sleeve anchors, first position the material you want to anchor. Drill a hole in the masonry behind the bolt holes. Make sure the hole is the specified diameter, at least 1/4" deeper than the length of the anchor. Insert the anchor in the hole. Tighten a sleeve anchor two to three turns to expand it. Tighten a wedge anchor three to five turns. Manufacturers' instructions may specify that the anchor is tightened with a torque wrench to a certain number of foot-pounds.

As a rule, use sleeve anchors when you're working with soft concrete or installing them in the mortar joints between block or brick. Also use sleeve anchors when you suspect that the concrete may have voids in it. Sleeve anchors have a larger bearing surface than wedge anchors.

Use wedge anchors for maximum holding power in hard concrete.

Hammer Anchors– For lightweight applications such as hanging furring strips or conduit, a hammer anchor is an excellent alternative to a plastic or fiber anchor. There are a number of styles (Fig. 8).

The most common consists of a hardened steel ring-shank nail with either a nylon or zinc sleeve over the shank. Like one-step expansion anchors, hammer anchors require no hole-spotting.

To install a sleeve-type hammer anchor, simply drill a hole through the material you're anchoring, large enough to accept the sleeve but small enough that the sleeve flange won't slip through. A newer type of hammer anchor looks like a heavy nail with a short bend near the end of the shank.

To install either type of hammer anchor, set the material in position and then drill the masonry behind it. Be sure to use the size drill bit specified by the manufacturer. The hole can be any depth as long as it is deeper than the length of the anchor.

Insert the anchor through the material and into the hole, and drive it down tight with a hammer. Hammer anchors obviously don't have the strength of larger expansion anchors, but while they aren't meant to be removed, you can pry them out if necessary.

Concrete Screws– Concrete screws came onto the market in the mid-1970s and have become a staple of lightweight applications. They look like any other screw, except that they are made of hardened steel that will cut its own thread in the masonry (Fig. 9).

To install them, set the material in position and then drill the masonry behind it. Be sure to use the size drill bit specified by the manufacturer–concrete screws require a precise pilot hole with a slightly smaller diameter than the screw. The hole can be any depth as long as it is deeper than the length of the anchor.

The big advantage of concrete screws over hammer anchors is that the screw can be removed and then reinstalled. You will lose some holding power if you do so, however.

There are no hard and fast rules about which anchor to use in what situation, but the following guidelines will help:

Machinery to a concrete floor–As a rule, you'll want to use a heavy expansion anchor such as a sleeve or wedge anchor.

2" x 4" sleeper over a concrete floor– Powder-actuated fasteners (PAFs) are the most common because they are fast. If you're not certified for PAFs and only laying a small area, use hammer anchors.

2" x 4" framing around a door or window opening–Use hammer anchors.

Furring strips on a foundation wall– Again, most builders use powder-actuated fasteners for the speed. If you're not certified for PAFs, use hammer anchors or concrete screws (Fig. 10).
Shelf brackets on a foundation wall–Concrete screws are generally the best choice because they can be removed if necessary.

A deck ledger on a masonry wall–Use edge anchors on concrete or sleeve anchors into the horizontal mortar joints of a brick or block wall.

Conduit to a foundation wall–Use either hammer anchors or concrete screws.

Mudsill to foundation–Use a sleeve anchor as a substitute for an occasional missing anchor bolt. If you're starting from scratch and there are no bolts, use either sleeve anchors or wedge anchors (Fig. 11).

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Waterproofing Your Basement

Read these tips and instructions carefully on how to waterproof your basement. Following the procedures outlined in this document will help you end up with a more satisfactory job–with less waste and effort. Inside this brochure you will find information about:
Stopping Leaks and Seepage
Repairing Holes and Cracks Before Waterproofing
Closing Cracks and Holes When Water is Entering Under Pressure
Waterproofing the Wall and Floor After Making Patching and Repairs
Packing a Leaking Floor Joint

STOPPING LEAKS AND SEEPAGE Step 1:  STOPPING LEAKS AND SEEPAGE

If you're bothered with leaks or seepage through your basement floor or walls, the problem can be solved. However, it takes time and effort, and you have to do the job right. But it can be done.

There are three basic causes of seepage and cracks in basements. First, the original workmanship may be poor. Second, the house may have settled, causing cracks in either the floor or walls. Finally, water pressure from the outside may have built up and be forcing water through the walls.

Such leaks are easy to detect (Fig. 1). Moisture often begins to seep through at the area where the floor and walls joins or along cracks that may appear in the wall or floor.

REPAIRING HOLES AND CRACKS BEFORE WATERPROOFING Step 2:  REPAIRING HOLES AND CRACKS BEFORE WATERPROOFING

If there are no holes or cracks in the basement walls, you can apply a waterproofing compound directly to the walls by steps described later. However, almost all basement leaks are caused by either cracks or holes in the walls or floors that should be repaired before waterproofing is applied.

You can usually fill hairline cracks with a regular waterproofing mix. However, cracks larger than 1/8" should be cleaned out and patched before you apply the waterproof mix (Fig. 2).

You can purchase special epoxy and latex cement formulas for mortaring small repair jobs or for brushing on as a waterproof coating. However, for a large repair job, you will probably want to mix your own mortar for patching holes and cracks before you start applying the waterproofing coat.

Mortar for filling holes and cracks in cement basement walls or concrete block walls is usually made by mixing one part cement and two parts of fine sand with just enough water to make a rather stiff mortar.

If the water is merely seeping through the basement wall, force the mixture of mortar cement into the crack with an ordinary trowel or putty knife. This should correct any leakage problem.

However, if outside pressure is forcing water through the wall, the problem is often extremely difficult to correct.

If water is seeping in under pressure, you must chip out a dovetail groove for the entire length of the cracked area (Fig. 3). Use a regular chipping chisel and hammer or a cold chisel to make a dovetail groove.

Fig. 4 shows both the correct and incorrect ways to enlarge the cracked area before mending it. Use a chipping or cold chisel to create a dovetail space (Fig. 4). This provides a holding area for the new mortar.

An incorrect groove, as illustrated, causes the mortar to fall out of the repaired area when it dries. Take time to do it right–it will pay off in the long run.

Repair holes in a concrete or concrete block wall in the same manner. Chip out the faulty or broken area in dovetail fashion. The dovetail cut (Fig. 4) provides a holding edge for the new mortar.

When the faulty cement around the edge of the hole has been completely chipped away, fill the hole with the same mortar mix recommended for filling cracks (Fig. 5). This mixture is one part cement to two parts fine sand mixed with just enough water to create a stiff mortar.

Place the mortar in the newly cleaned hole, and smooth it out with an ordinary trowel. Be sure the mortar is pressed into all parts of the hole, leaving no air pockets.

CLOSING CRACKS AND HOLES Step 3:  CLOSING CRACKS AND HOLES

You may need to position a weep pipe through the wall to permit the outside water trapped against the wall under pressure to escape.

In many cases, the weep pipe need only be temporary. In other cases, it is necessary to leave it in place and drain the water away through a basement sewer trap or with a sump pump (Fig. 6).

Insert the weep pipe at the point where the wall and the floor join or at the point where the pressure is greatest.

Use regular patching mortar to fill the crack, starting at the top and working toward the bottom. This permits a more secure bonding of the new mortar.

Use an ordinary pointing trowel. Completely fill the crack with mortar to where the weep pipe is installed.

Let the mortar set until it is completely dry. If the water entering through the weep pipe has slowed to a trickle, you can probably remove the pipe, fill the hole and eliminate the problem.

However, if water is still coming through the pipe with considerable force, leave the weep pipe in place and run the water into a sewer drain with a hose.

If you decide to remove the pipe and patch the hole, treat the cracked area right down to the spot where the wall and the floor come together (Fig. 7).

Next, make a cement plug from the mortar mix. Roll the plug into a cone shape that is slightly larger than the hole (Fig. 8).

Roll the plug of cement in your hands until it begins to stiffen. Then place the small end of the cone-like plug in the hole where the pipe was removed and tamp it into place (Fig. 9). It can be tamped just like a cork in a bottle.

Hold the cement plug in place with your fingers for three-to-five minutes, allowing it time to set. Place a heavy object over the plug during this three to five minute period to give it plenty of time to dry before it is exposed to the full water pressure.

After this period, remove your hand or the object holding the plug in place. By this time, the mortar plug should be dried sufficiently to close off the hole and prevent outside water from entering.

WATERPROOFING THE WALL AND FLOOR AFTER PATCHES AND REPAIRS Step 4:  WATERPROOFING THE WALL AND FLOOR AFTER PATCHES AND REPAIRS

Fill and patch all holes and cracks according to these instructions. Then, you are ready to apply the waterproof mix.

First, moisten the basement wall with a fine spray before applying the waterproofing mix. Use a garden hose with the nozzle set to a fine spray. Although the walls should be damp when you apply the waterproof mix, no water should be standing on the wall surface.

You can purchase epoxy or latex waterproof mixes for treating basement walls and floors. Most of these mixes require you to add only water. If you use this type of mix, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

Many waterproof mixes will not adhere to painted walls. You must first remove the old paint by sanding, wire brushing or sand-blasting the surface before the waterproof mixture will adhere.

It is also important to remember that no epoxy or latex waterproof coatings will bond to wet surfaces. Apply these materials to a surface that is completely dry.

If you prefer, you can make your own wall coating mixture of plain cement and water. The mix should form a slurry–a mixture that is the consistency of cream.

Use a stiff brush and a circular motion to rub the waterproof mix into the wall. Take time to fill every pore in the wall (Fig. 10).

First apply the coating at the bottom of the wall. This is where the water pressure is likely to be greatest.

Now brush the waterproofing mix to the top, then move back to the bottom, slowly applying additional layers of the mixture.

Brush the waterproofing mix only over the area where seepage or leakage is a problem (Fig. 11). Feather the mix out at the edges until you have completely covered the area where the leakage or seepage has occurred.

When the coating has dried so that it does not rub off, spray the area completely with water. Soak it thoroughly and let it set overnight.

After the wall has dried overnight, wet it down thoroughly with a garden hose and apply a second coat of the waterproofing mixture while the wall is still wet (Fig. 12). Use the same techniques for brushing on the second coat as you did for the first coat.

Use two coats in all cases. One coat simply will not correct the problem under normal conditions.

PACKING A LEAKING FLOOR JOINT

PACKING A LEAKING FLOOR JOINT CONTINUED

Step 5:  PACKING A LEAKING FLOOR JOINT

In many cases, the leaking problem in a basement is near the joint at the floor and wall. If the leaking is not a serious problem, you may be able to correct it by troweling on a double layer of waterproof coating at the floor joint.

Use an ordinary waterproof coating mixture as previously described. Be sure the floor is clean where the mixture is applied.

If the seepage of water is heavy, cut a dovetail joint where the floor and wall join (Fig. 13).

Use a chipping chisel and a hammer or an ordinary cold chisel.

Chip along the entire floor joint area to create a dovetail groove that will retain the waterproof mix (Fig. 14).

Take time to chip this groove the complete length of the leaking area. This is one of the most important steps in the repair job.

After the dovetail groove has been completely chipped away, clean it out thoroughly and prepare to apply the waterproofing mix. Use an ordinary brush or a tire pump to brush or blow the small pieces of cement out of the chipped area.

The chipped-out area is now ready for the mortar. Use the regular mixture of one part cement to two parts fine sand plus water. You can also use ready-mix ingredients.

Apply small amounts of the cement mix into the chipped-out area and smooth it out with an ordinary trowel. Do not apply more cement than you can trowel down in two to three minutes.

Make a slight incline in the patched area, slanting it from the floor upward toward the wall. This provides extra strength to the patched area and helps drain away any moisture that might accumulate in the future

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Designing Your Deck

Inside this document you will find information about:
Deck Design Considerations
Planning Your Deck

DECK DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

DECK DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS CONTINUED

DECK DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS MORE

Step 1: DECK DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

A deck is a popular home improvement that not only adds to the value of your home, but provides a focal point for enjoying the outdoors. You'll want to carefully consider the design elements that go into your deck–it should include the features that match your lifestyle and complement the design of your house. Planning is the most important part of building a deck, because, chances are, you'll be living with your design for a long time.

There are three main considerations when planning a deck. Several questions must be answered in each topic. This document explains each topic and provides the background information you'll need to make informed choices.

How You Plan to Use Your Deck–The most important consideration in deck design is how you will use it. Do you entertain frequently, and if so, how large a group will you need space for? What kind of seating will you need–would you or your guests be more comfortable on built-in benches or patio furniture? Do you want the space arranged to accommodate conversations between small groups, or in one large common area? Will you need adequate lighting to entertain at night?

Try to imagine all the ways you'd like to use your deck, because most design elements will be based on those kinds of preferences.

Location–Chances are, the size and orientation of your property and house limit you to one or two deck locations, but within those limits, you may have more choices than you think. You may be able to add a door, build a walkway, or incorporate a privacy screen that will allow you to locate your deck so it is most convenient for your intended uses.

The climate in your area and the views you'll see are the major factors to consider when deciding where to place your deck. A northside deck will probably be the coolest location. Southern or western orientations may be too warm in the middle of the summer, unless you include an overhead screen, or build the deck around an existing shade tree.

You may be able to avoid prevailing winds by locating your deck where the house will provide some protection. Likewise, careful placement can minimize traffic noise, eliminate unwanted views, or provide additional privacy. If you plan to include a hot tub or swimming pool in your plans, privacy considerations for you and your guests may be very important.

Legal Considerations–Before you decide on a location, first check local zoning ordinances. They will limit the overall size of your deck, height of any privacy screens, and the minimum distance from your deck to your lot lines. Neighborhood or subdivision covenants may restrict the appearance of the structure, and you'll have to get approval for your design.

Also, check with the local building department to find out whether you'll be required to have a building permit, and what kind of plans you'll have to submit. Finally, be sure to check with your local utility companies to make sure you won't run afoul of utility rights-of-way, and to locate buried pipes and utility lines.

Size–You can build any size deck you want within legal limits. But even within those limits, a deck can be either too big or too small. The most important consideration (aside from cost) is use, but a huge deck can look out of place next to a small house, just as a tiny deck looks wrong with a big house. If you think your dream deck is too large for your house, break up the expanse by building smaller sections on multiple levels.

To test your ideas, measure the size you want on your lawn. Drive 4-foot stakes at the approximate corners, then tie string between them at about the height of the railings. Set your lawn furniture in the area to get an idea of how the space will work. The most common mistake people make is building a deck too small. The difference in cost between a deck that is a little too small and one that is the right size usually isn't that much.

One tip: If possible, size your deck in 2-foot or 4-foot increments. You'll have to buy standard lumber lengths anyway, and there's no point in wasting that material when you could have a larger deck for the same amount of money.

PLANNING YOUR DECK

PLANNING YOUR DECK CONTINUED

PLANNING YOUR DECK MORE

Step 2:  PLANNING YOUR DECK

Shape and Decking Patterns–A deck can be any shape you want, and in fact, simple changes like an angled corner or a 45-degree decking pattern can dress up a house with a long, plain wall. Of course, a more complicated deck is more difficult to build, and may require more materials. You can also add visual interest by wrapping the deck around a corner, adding built-in benches, integrating a fence or screen on one side, or even adding an overhead screen.

Height–Usually, the decking should come to within 2 " of the bottom of the access door from the house, with steps leading from the deck to the ground. On sloped ground, you may want to build your deck in multiple levels to follow the slope. Typically, wherever the deck is more than 48" off the ground, codes require that the posts be braced to prevent swaying and racking.

Cutouts–A spa or hot tub can be set on the deck if the structure is reinforced to carry the weight of the water, or it can be set directly on a concrete slab on the ground, with the deck built around it. Existing trees and rocks can also be integrated into the deck by framing around them; then either cap the ends of the decking or contour the decking to the shape of the obstacle. If you work around a tree, leave at least 3" on all sides to allow for growth. Around a stationary object such as a boulder, leave about 1/4" so the decking can expand and contract with temperature and moisture changes.

Railings–Railings are the most prominent visual element in a deck, and offer great opportunity to use your imagination and creativity. They may be fastened to posts that run all the way to the ground, along the sides of the rim joists, or attached to the decking itself. They may include wood, metal, or even rope–nearly anything that satisfies structural requirements.

Your railing design will be limited primarily by building code regulations that are designed to ensure safety. Typically, those codes state that support posts may be no more than 6' apart, and that the railing may have no spaces larger than 4" x 4". The durability of your railing will also be affected by the design. For example, the ends of the railing posts should be covered or cut at an angle to shed water, to minimize cracking and splitting.

Steps and Stairs–Step and stair construction is closely regulated by building codes. As a rule, steps and stairs should be at least 36" wide–60" if you want two people to be able to pass each other comfortably. The rise (vertical distance between steps) should be no more than 7-1/2" and the width of a tread at least 10". The slope should not be too steep–a 7" riser with a 10-1/2" tread is a common combination. Building codes will also govern how the stair is supported and attached, and whether or not you need a railing

Steps and Stairs

FIG. 7 - Anatomy of a deck. From the Sunset book, Deck Plans, ©Sunset Publishing Corporation. 

Structural Components–There are five basic components of a typical deck:
1) Vertical posts are set in concrete or on piers set on a concrete footing. They are typically spaced 4' to 8' apart.

2) Horizontal beams are set on the posts parallel to the decking to carry the weight of the deck.

3) Joists are run between the beams, typically 16" or 24" apart. They distribute the weight of the deck and allow you to use decking boards that wouldn't be strong enough to span the distance between the beams.

4) Decking is laid over the joists to form the "floor" of the deck.

5) Railings are usually 36" to 42" high, designed so no spaces between balusters are greater than 4".

The materials used, and the size and spacing of these components, are specified by local building codes.

Materials–Deck materials must not only be resistant to decay and insect damage, but also withstand the effects of water and sun. Standard construction lumber such as fir, pine or spruce may be treated to protect it from rot, but it won't hold up under extreme weather conditions or the ultraviolet rays in sunlight. You'll get much better durability by using pressure-treated pine, redwood, or cedar. Pressure-treated material is the least expensive, and can be stained to nearly any color you want. Redwood and cedar offer an added advantage in that they are soft, fine-grained woods that will resist splintering. If you use redwood or cedar, remember that only the heartwood–the reddish-colored portion of redwood or the dark brownish-orange part of a cedar board–is decay-resistant. The lighter-colored sapwood will deteriorate just as quickly as pine or spruce.

Once you have a rough idea of what you want, draw two sketches–one of your lot, showing the deck as part of your landscaping plan, and one of your design. Use graph paper, making each square equal a given dimension (for example, each square may equal 1' on your lot plan, or 3" on your design) to get all the components roughly to scale. Take the sketch to your local home center or lumberyard, and ask a salesperson to estimate and price the materials you'll need.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Building Outdoor Stairs

Building a stairway can be one of the most intimidating tasks any builder–amateur or professional–tackles. But an outdoor stairway is generally not a difficult project, as long as it is planned and executed carefully. This document covers building procedures for a straight-run utility stairway, typically used on porches and decks. Local building codes regulate the width and slope of a staircase, as well as how the assembly is supported and braced, how the landing is built and whether railings are required. ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR LOCAL BUILDING DEPARTMENT BEFORE DESIGNING A STAIRWAY, AND FOLLOW ALL LOCAL CODES.

The following instructions are intended as general guidelines only, and local requirements should be your primary guide.

In this document you will find information about:

Stair-Building Terms
Designing Your Stairs
Building Your Stairs

STAIR-BUILDING TERMS

STAIR-BUILDING TERMS CONTINUED

Step 1: STAIR-BUILDING TERMS

There are five basic design elements you'll need to consider when planning outdoor stairs:

The Total Run (Fig. 1) is the total horizontal distance covered by the staircase, from the edge of the upper floor (porch or deck) to the edge of the staircase where it rests on the landing.

The Total Rise (Fig. 1) is the total vertical distance from the surface of the landing to a point level with the surface of the upper floor (Note: You can't find the rise simply by measuring straight down from the upper floor because the ground directly below may not be level with the landing).

Run (Fig. 2) is the horizontal distance from the leading edge of one tread to the leading edge of the next tread.

Rise (Fig. 2) is the vertical distance from the surface of one tread to the surface of the next tread.

Passage Width (Fig. 2) is the width of the stairway.

The ratio of the total rise to total run (or rise to run) determines the slope of the stairway. As a rule, that slope should be between 30 degrees and 35 degrees; an outdoor stairway may be slightly shallower but should not be steeper. The ideal riser height is 7" with an 11" run–which also works out well with standard lumber widths–but you may have to vary the proportions somewhat to make the height of each step work out evenly between the landing and the upper floor.

The passage width can also vary, depending on how heavily you expect the stairs to be used. As a rule, 36" is the minimum; 48" is better for a single person, and you may want to go to 60" to allow room for two people to pass comfortably.

A stairway consists of four basic components:

Stringers (Fig. 2) are the sloped members that support the stairway. 2x10s are generally allowed for stairs with four treads or fewer, but 2x12s are sturdier.

In most cases, you'll need good quality material with no large knots, either pressure treated or cut from heart redwood or cedar, to resist decay. Stringers should be placed no more than 24" apart if the treads will be 5/4 material or 36" apart for 2"-thick lumber.

Treads (Fig. 2) are the horizontal members that you walk on. When building an outdoor stairway, they are typically cut from the same material as the upper floor deck or porch–5/4" pressure-treated pine or 2"-thick lumber.

Risers (Fig. 2) are the vertical members at the back of each tread. 1" surfaced boards (3/4" net thickness) are the most common material used.

The Railing Assembly (Fig. 3) consists of posts, a cap rail and vertical balusters between each post. 4x4 is the most common post material with a 2x4 handrail. Codes regulate the overall height of the railing assembly (usually 30" to 34") and may specify a maximum width for the handrail.

DESIGNING YOURS STAIRS Step 2:  DESIGNING YOURS STAIRS

To design the stairway, first find the total rise. Divide that number by 7 (the ideal riser height) to find the number of steps. You'll probably have a fractional remainder, so round your result up or down to the nearest whole number.

Then divide the total rise by that number to find the exact height of each riser. For example:1) Total rise = 40-1/2"

2) 40-1/2" divided by 7" per riser = 5.78 risers

3) Round 5.78 up to 6 risers, then 40-1/2" divided by 6 = 6.75" or 6-3/4" per riser

This document assumes that the total run is not limited, so you can make the assembly as long as you want. Use the following table to determine the width of the treads, depending on your riser height. 

MATERIAL NEEDED

To find the amount of material needed for risers, simply multiply the number of risers by the passage width. To find the amount of tread material, subtract 1 from the number of risers (you'll need one fewer tread than risers) and multiply by the passage width. Remember to double up if you'll be using two boards for each tread.

To find the length of the stringers, you'll need a calculator with a square root function. First, find the total run (number of treads multiplied by the width of each tread).

Then find the square of the total run (total run multiplied by itself) and the square of the total rise and add them together.

The square root of the result gives you the exact stringer length; round up to the nearest standard lumber length, then multiply by the number of stringers you'll need.

BUILDING YOUR STAIRS

BUILDING YOUR STAIRS CONTINUED

Step 3:  BUILDING YOUR STAIRS

To build the staircase, first notch the stringers for the treads and risers. Fasten two stair gauges to a carpenter's square at the dimensions of the rise and run (for example, at 6-1/2" on one leg and 13" on the other). Set the square on the stringer so the gauges are flush against the edge and trace the notch along the edge of the square (Fig. 5).

BUILDING YOUR STAIRS MORE

"Step" your way down the stringer, repeating the process until you have laid out the correct number of notches. Use the carpenter's square to lay out the top cut on the stringer. The height of the last riser should be less than the others by an amount equal to the thickness of the tread. That way, when you nail the last tread in place, the step down to the lower floor will be equal to the others.

You can set the stringer directly on the lower floor (typically a landing pad) and bolt it in place with a piece of angle iron, or bolt a length of pressure-treated 2x6 to the floor and nail the stringer to it.

If you plan to set the stringer on a 2x6, you may have to notch the bottom of the stringer to allow for that piece.

Once the stringer is laid out, cut the notches partway only, using a circular saw. Take care not to cut beyond the layout lines. Finish the cuts with a handsaw.

Once you have one stringer finished, set it in place to make sure it is cut correctly, then use it as a template to lay out your cuts on the other stringers.

You can hang the stringers to the rim joist with joist hangers (Fig. 6), or bolt them in place to a joist (Fig. 7). If you need to pour a concrete landing pad at the bottom of the stairway, set the stringers in place temporarily and lay out the location of the pad. Pour the pad and set anchor bolts for the angle iron or 2x6 base. Instructions for pouring concrete are in another brochure in this series.

Once the landing pad is cured, secure the stringers at the top and bottom. Rip the risers to the same width as the height of the riser cut in the stringers. Then cut them to length and nail them to the stringers with 8d galvanized nails.

Measure the distance from the face of the riser to the edge of the notch cut, then rip the treads to width so they extend 1" to 1-1/8" beyond the edge of the notch. If you're using two boards side by side as treads, rip half the dimension from each board so both will be the same width. Cut the treads to length and nail them to the stringer with 16d galvanized nails.

To build the railing, first secure 4x4 posts at the top and bottom of the stringer. Notch the posts 1-1/2" deep and bolt them to the sides of the stringers with 1/2x4-1/2 hex bolts, using a level to keep them plumb. Use decay-resistant lumber for the posts. They should be at least long enough to extend 36" above the surface of the treads. Leave them a few inches too long at the top so you can cut them after they are in place.

Measure from the bottom of the stringer up the posts to the location of the top and bottom rails. The top surface of the upper rail should be 30" to 34" above the tread; the rail should be about 6" above the tread. Lay the railing material against the posts and lay out angled cuts for any rails that will be fastened between the posts.

Cut the railings to length and toenail them with four 8d galvanized nails. If you'll be using balusters, cut them to length and nail them to the rails. Check local codes for spacing requirements on balusters.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Build a Deck

Once you have determined the basic design of your deck, the next step is to choose your materials. The most common choices are pressure-treated (P/T) lumber (usually Southern pine), redwood, or cedar. As a rule, pressure-treated lumber is the best choice for the substructure; the species you use for the visible parts of the deck will depend on your budget and the look you want. The span tables in this document will help you determine how much material you need, based on the species you choose. Although there is no such thing as an "average" deck, these instructions assume that your deck is attached to the house, is no more than 6" off the ground, and that there are no special load requirements. All design recommendations below are suggestions only, for estimating purposes. Always check local building codes before determining the final design. All illustrations in this document have been taken, with permission, from the Sunset book, Decks, © Sunset Publishing Corporation.

Inside this document you will find information about:

Choosing Materials
Preparation and Layout
Building the Substructure
Decking and Railings

Decking

Determining Joist Size

Determining Beam Size

Step 1: 

Decking–If you choose pressure-treated lumber, you'll have a choice between 5/4 x 6 decking (1x5-1/2 actual size) or 2" material (typically 2x4 through 2x8, all 1-1/2" thick). The size and species of the decking you choose will determine the spacing between your joists. Recommended spacing for common decking boards is as follows: Top Image

Determining Joist Size–2x6s through 2x10s are the most common sizes used for joists. The beams that carry them are typically 4x6 through 4x10, often "built up" from doubled 2-inch lumber. Pressure-treated lumber is generally less expensive than redwood or cedar, and can be used for the substructure even when the decking and railing will be other species.

In most cases, you'll want to determine the spacing between beams first, then use a joist size appropriate to that spacing. If the deck will be no more than 6' off the ground, a common recommendation is to space the support beams no more than 12' apart. As a rule, you'll only need one beam along the outer edge of the deck (a ledger bolted to the house supports the other end of the deck).

Middle Image

Determining Beam Size–Since support posts are often run through the decking to serve as railing posts, the specifications below are given for posts that will be spaced no more than 6' apart, with beams that are no more than 12' apart. With these spacing specifications, 4x4 posts are adequate for any deck less than 6' off the ground.

PREPARATION AND LAYOUT

PREPARATION AND LAYOUT CONTINUED

Step 2:  PREPARATION AND LAYOUT

Preparation–First, prepare the ground under the deck by removing the sod. Slope the ground away from the house a minimum of 1" every 15' to provide drainage. Once the deck is finished, the ground should be covered with 6 mil. black polyethylene to keep weeds from growing.

Measure and mark the position of the ledger along the wall. The height of the ledger should be 1" below the bottom of the door plus the thickness of the decking, plus the depth of the joists if you plan to set the joists on the ledger and beams rather than using joist hangers. It makes no difference which way you set the joists, as long as your layout is consistent.

Mount a 2x6 ledger to the wall with 1/2" lag screws. The ledger must be level, and the lag screws should be long enough to penetrate the studs at least 3". Use two lag screws at each end, and one at each wall stud (typically 16" on center) in between. Install a "Z"-shaped flashing above the ledger to shed water, or space the ledger away from the wall with washers (Fig. 1).

Layout–To establish the outside perimeter of the deck, measure out from each end of the ledger about 18" beyond the outside edge of the deck. Set up batterboards (Fig. 2) as shown, then run taut strings from each end of the ledger to the batterboards to establish the sides of the deck.

Run a third string between the batterboards to establish the outside edge of the deck. Square the layout by measuring the opposite diagonals, then adjusting the ledger-to-batterboard strings until both measurements are equal. Take care to maintain the correct distance between the strings.

BUILDING THE SUBSTRUCTUREBUILDING THE SUBSTRUCTURE CONTINUED Step 3:  BUILDING THE SUBSTRUCTURE

Footing and Piers (Fig. 3)–Use a plumb bob from the string to establish the location of the footings. The holes for the footings must be deeper than the maximum frost penetration in your area, and deep enough to rest on undisturbed soil. It's a good idea to dig 6" deeper and fill the bottom of the hole with gravel, to allow drainage.

Mix concrete and pour the footings. To find the number of 90# bags of ready-mixed concrete you'll need for each 12x12 footing, measure the depth of the footing in inches and divide by 8. As you finish each pour, set a precast pier on the footing so it extends about 6" above the ground level. Use a thin cement mix to bond the piers to the footings.

Posts–After the concrete has set, stand the posts on the piers. Use temporary braces and a level to plumb the posts. Once the posts are set, run a mason's line from the top of the ledger to each post and use a line level to mark it for cutting. The height of the post should be equal to the height of the ledger minus the depth of the beam that will be set on it.

Beams–Fasten post-to-beam connectors on top of the posts with nails and 1/2"x5-1/2" hex bolts, then set the beams into the connector. Plumb and square the assembly, then secure the beams as you did the posts. If local building codes require it, install 2x6 diagonal cross braces and secure them with 1/2"x4-1/2" lag screws (Fig. 4).

Joists (Fig. 5)–Mark the joist locations on both the beams and ledger, either 16" or 24" o.c., as per your design. Set the joists in place with the crowns up. If the deck is wide enough that you need two sets of joists (and if you set the joists over the beams rather than hanging them from joist hangers), splice the connections by overlapping each pair of joists at least 1' and nailing them together with 8d galvanized nails (fig. 6). Install blocking between the joists wherever required (Fig. 7). Blocking requirements are determined by your local building codes. Finally, nail the rim joist across the ends of the joists.

Stairs–Build any stairs you will need. Instructions for building outdoor stairs are covered in an accompanying brochure.

DECKING AND RAILINGS

DECKING AND RAILINGS MORE

Step 4:   DECKING AND RAILINGS

Decking–Deck boards should be laid with the bark side up (fig. 5), and with both ends centered over a joist. Stagger the joints of side-by-side deck boards so they don't line up. Notch the boards around posts or other obstructions, leaving 1/8" space for drainage.

2"-thick deck boards should be spaced approximately 1/8"; most builders set a 16d nail between the boards as they fasten them. 5/4"'x6" pressure-treated decking may be placed with each board flush against the next; natural shrinkage will provide the proper spacing.

Fasten the deck boards at each joist (Fig. 8). Use two fasteners per support point for decking up to 6" wide, or three fasteners for wider boards. Deck screws or clips are generally better than nails, but all fasteners must be hot-dipped galvanized, aluminum, or stainless steel (Fig. 9). If you use nails, blunt the points by tapping them with your hammer, to avoid splitting the decking. 

Let the decking run over the edge of the structure, then saw the ends off after all boards are laid.

Railings–Secure the railing posts at each corner of the deck, and on each side of the stairs. Then secure the field posts, spaced equally between the corners but no farther apart than allowed by local building codes (typically 6'). Nail the sub-railings and cap rail in place, then add the balusters.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Maintaining Lawns

Here are some ideas that will help you to have a more attractive lawn. Take the time to read them thoroughly–you can save time, money and effort. An attractive lawn can also help to increase the value of your home.

Maintaining Lawns

Maintaining Lawns Continued

Step 1:  SEEDING YOUR LAWN

It's best to seed your lawn in the fall, if possible. Of course, lawn seed can be sown at other times of the year. But fall is the ideal time for seeding to rejuvenate an existing lawn or to start a new one.

In most parts of the United States, an existing lawn should be reseeded in late August or early September. This gives the new grass seed time to grow during the cool fall days.

Before reseeding thin or bare spots, rake the lawn thoroughly with a broom rake. Use a heavy-duty broom rake with looped spring braces between the handle bar and spacer bar for this type of lawn raking. Broom rakes are available with either flat steel or wire teeth.

A multi-purpose rake – sometimes called a double-duty rake – may be ideal for removing a heavy build-up of thatch on your lawn (Fig. 1). The rake's sharp teeth on one side will easily remove the thatch. The flanged teeth on the other side make it easy to pulverize the soil in preparation for reseeding.

After the lawn has been thoroughly thatched and raked, the thin and bare spots will be more easily visible. Loosen the soil in any of the bare spots to a depth of about 1" or more with a speedy cultivator or some other type of handy soil-loosening tool (Fig. 2).

After loosening and pulverizing the soil in the bare spots, sprinkle the newly prepared area with the proper amount and type of lawn fertilizer. Then, rake it level.

If the bare spots have been compacted by heavy traffic, loosen the soil to a depth of about 6". Then, pulverize the soil and add a small amount of peat moss or gypsum to help keep it loose after the reseeding.

When the soil is thoroughly loosened and leveled, reseed with a top-quality seed. Select a grass seed mixture that is specially prepared for the type of location you are reseeding. For example, some seed mixtures work well in shady areas, while other mixtures are made for reseeding sunny areas. Ask a salesman in your local retailer's lawn and garden department to help you select the correct seed.

Reseed the bare spots by hand (Fig. 3). Reseed the area sparingly – only about six seeds per square inch will survive. Sowing the seed too thickly simply wastes seed and money. After the seeds are sown, spray the area with a light mist of water.

Your new grass will get off to a much faster start if you cover the reseeded areas with clear sheets of polyethylene plastic. This covering keeps the moisture in the soil and eliminates the need for constant sprinkling. Secure the edges of the plastic sheet with small rocks, dirt or stakes (Fig. 4).

Take care to remove the polyethylene cover when the first seedlings appear. The cover helps the seeds until they germinate, but it will kill all seeds quickly unless it is removed when you see seedlings. After removing the cover, keep the soil moist by spraying it with a light mist two or three times a day until the grass is about 1" high. Continue to water newly seeded areas about once a week until the new grass is about 3" tall.

STARTING A NEW LAWN

STARTING A NEW LAWN MORE

Step 2:  STARTING A NEW LAWN

Sometimes it's necessary to start a totally new lawn or to completely rebuild large areas of an existing lawn. In these cases, prepare the seed bed with a rotary tiller or some other type of digging equipment (Fig. 5). Take time to prepare the soil thoroughly to a depth of about 6". If the soil is compacted, mix in peat moss or gypsum to keep it loose. This will help the roots of the new grass to survive.

Prepare the seed bed by raking it thoroughly and removing all stones, sticks, etc. Break up all dirt clods so the new seed will have a good chance to grow (Fig. 6).

Reseed the area with a mechanical seed spreader (Fig. 7). Reseed at the rate recommended on the package of seed you're using. In most cases, no raking is required after seeding, although certain types of seed need a light raking.

Lightly sprinkle the reseeded area two or three times a day if the reseeding is done in hot weather (Fig. 8). Repeat this daily watering until the new seedlings are about 1" tall. After the new grass has reached this height, water it thoroughly about once each week until it's ready for the first mowing.

 PLANTING TREES AND SHRUBS

 PLANTING TREES AND SHRUBS CONTINUED

PLANTING TREES AND SHRUBS MORE

Step 3:  PLANTING TREES AND SHRUBS

Good grass is important, but it is only one element in a beautiful lawn. Grass can be enhanced by attractive trees, shrubs, flowers, etc. Although trees and shrubs are hearty plants, they must be planted correctly to survive.

The first step in planting trees and shrubs is to give them plenty of room (Fig. 9). Make the hole in which the tree or shrub is to be planted wide enough for the longest root to be laid into it without crowding. A rule of thumb is to make the hole in which the tree or shrub is to be set one-half again as large as the diameter of the roots of the plant.

You can save yourself considerable cleanup time by piling the soil dug from the hole onto canvas or plastic sheets. This also prevents the piled dirt from killing or damaging the grass around the hole.

It's a good idea to mix some peat moss into the soil when replacing it around the newly set plant or tree.

If the shrub or tree is in a container, dig the hole at least 2" deeper than the root in the container (Fig. 10). Loosen the soil below the root and add a small amount of plant food.

Remove the shrub or tree from the container and lower it into the hole. Refill the hole with thoroughly loosened soil. Then, form a mound with additional soil around the edge of the newly dug hole. This provides a basin to hold water until the plant is thoroughly rooted in the new location.

If the tree or shrub is a bare-root plant, unwrap the roots of the tree after the hole is dug and place it in position. Hold the plant upright with a spading fork while you tamp the loose dirt around the roots (Fig. 11). Always set the shrub or tree about 2" lower in the ground than it was originally set before replanting.

Use plenty of water when resetting balled or bare-root plants (Fig. 12). Fill the basin around the tree and let the water soak in thoroughly. After one complete soaking, resoak it again.

Water is essential to a new shrub or tree in the first few days after replanting. Keep the hole wet during this period. Be sure to build up a basin arrangement to keep water on the plant for several days. Water your newly planted shrub or tree every week to 10 days during a dry spell.

After replanting the tree or shrub, trim it to the shape and size desired. Pruned limbs will heal faster if you make slanting cuts just above the bud (Fig. 13). Spray pruned areas with special pruning spray immediately after trimming to deter insects and disease organisms.

Protect the new plant against injury and disease by covering the lower part of the tree trunk with a tree wrap. Start the wrap just above the roots and a little below soil level. Continue wrapping to just below the lowest limb (Fig. 14). Hold them in position with cords.

Keep the soil loosened around the new plant and give it a good start by feeding it lightly with plant food. Soak the food into the soil by watering (Fig. 15). Feed any new plant with plant food in the spring and fall until it reaches maturity.

You can create interesting clumps of trees by tying different varieties together and setting them out in bunches (Fig. 16). Hold them in position with cords. The cords will rot away quickly after they are placed in the ground. Follow all other planting instructions when trees or shrubs are planted in clumps.

PLANTING ROSE BUSHES

PLANTING ROSE BUSHES CONTINUED

PLANTING ROSE BUSHES MORE

Step 4:  PLANTING ROSE BUSHES

Plant your rose bushes in an area that receives a minimum of six hours of sunshine each day. Dig the hole for planting large enough to give the roots plenty of room (Fig. 17).

It may be wise to add peat moss or some form of compost to the dirt in the hole before planting the rose. Sand should also be added if the soil is extremely moist.

Examine the roots carefully after the plant is placed in the hole (Fig. 18). Trim back dead or broken roots with a hand pruner.

Use top soil to form a cone in the bottom of the hole where the rose bush is to be planted. Spread the rose roots evenly over this cone. Again, make sure the hole is large enough to provide adequate room for all rose roots.

Set the rose bush at the proper depth. Most healthy rose bushes have three strong shoots coming up from the root system (Fig. 19). Cover the knot just below these three shoots to a depth of 1".

Pack the soil firmly around the roots of the rose bush (Fig. 20). Fill the hole with water and allow it to soak in. Then, refill the hole again.

Prune the rose bush after planting (Fig. 21). Prune hybrid tea roses back to lengths of about 6" to 8". Trim floribundas to lengths of approximately 4" to 6". Spray all pruned areas with a special pruning paint to prevent damage from insects and disease.

Build a mound around the newly planted rose bush with loose soil of top grade.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Building Wood Fences

Here are tips and suggestions on how to build wood fences. These tips can save you time, money and effort. Read all suggestions carefully before beginning the job.

SPACING THE FENCE POSTS Step 1: SPACING THE FENCE POSTS

As a rule, you should set fence posts about 6' to 8' apart. The spacing of the posts depends on the type of fence you build, the terrain, the purpose of the fence and other such factors.

Set the corner or end post first. Then stretch a line from each corner or end post to align all the posts in between.

Drive a stake every 6' to 8' at the exact position where the post hole is to be dug (Fig. 1).

Take time to measure and position the posts accurately. The appearance and the structural strength of your fence depends a great deal on the positioning of the fence posts.

SETTING THE FENCE POSTS

SETTING THE FENCE POSTS CONTINUED

SETTING THE FENCE POSTS MORE

Step 2:  SETTING THE FENCE POSTS

Set all wood fence posts with about 1/3 of their total length buried in the ground. This is especially important on corner posts and any posts that will carry heavy weight or withstand high wind pressure.

Use a regular post hole digger to dig the post holes. Dig the holes straight to the proper depth at each stake marker.

You can anchor the posts more firmly by making the holes slightly larger at the bottom than at the top (Fig. 2). Place a large stone or two shovels full of gravel in the bottom of each hole. This provides drainage to avoid excessive moisture at the base of each post.

Use a wood preservative to treat the section of the post that will be underground. Allow the post to stand overnight in the preservative so it can become well-saturated.

You can pack the posts with either dirt or concrete. In either case, place two or three shovels full of gravel in the bottom of each hole before the post is placed into position.

Be sure the posts are in an exact, upright position (Fig. 3). You can check the alignment of each post with a regular level. You can also check the alignment of the posts in one direction by sighting from one end of the row of posts to the other.

Brace each post with stakes after it is properly aligned (Fig. 3). Keep the stakes in position until the concrete (if used) has thoroughly set. Remove the nails holding the braces and readjust the post until it is in accurate alignment.

When the post is properly aligned, tamp it thoroughly to pack the dirt (if used) around the base of the post. Be sure you do not alter the alignment of the post during the tamping process.

When the post is firmly in position, build a mound around it to help eliminate water standing at the post base (Fig. 4). Slope the concrete slightly away from the post and round it off with a trowel. Tamp the concrete lightly to eliminate any air bubbles left in the mixture that can act as water pockets.

Provide extra bracing at all corners (Fig. 5). A corner post must carry the weight of fence stretched in two directions, so it should be set in both directions.

Allow the posts to stand several days and settle firmly in position before adding the fence.

The heads of posts should be rounded, capped or slanted to help eliminate accumulating water, which can cause rotting (Fig. 6). This is well-worth the effort since it allows the posts to last.

ADDING RAILS TO FENCE POSTS

ADDING RAILS TO FENCE POSTS CONTINUED

Step 3:ADDING RAILS TO FENCE POSTS

Attach a top and bottom rail to the fence posts (Fig. 7). There are three basic ways to do this.

The center illustration shows the top rail being nailed to the top of the post. This is an ideal installation for many types of fencing structures. The top rail can always be joined to another rail in the center of a post this way.

If the rail is added on the body of the post rather than at the top, attach it with a groove, a wood block or a metal bracket.

You can attach the bottom rail to the post by either of the two outside illustrations.

Fig. 8 illustrates several other ways to attach a rail to a fence post. Study these illustrations carefully. The type of joint you use to attach the fence supports to the post depends primarily on the type of fence you are building.

The lap joint is one of the easiest to use. The grooved joint does basically the same job, but the rail is grooved into the post rather than being nailed to the post surface.

The butt joint is a little more difficult to make but is often better. The mortised joint is even neater than the butt joint, but you must cut a mortise into the post for this joint.

The slotted joint is commonly used on decorative fences. Treat all slotted joints with preservative to prevent rotting in the grooved areas.

Take time to measure from the top rail to be sure the bottom rail on each is in perfect alignment (Fig. 9). After you have measured one post, cut a measuring stick to prevent having to make an actual measurement on each post. The stick can be used to apply the same measurement to each post.

SELECTING THE FENCE STYLE

SELECTING THE FENCE STYLE CONTINUED

SELECTING THE FENCE STYLE MORE

CHOOSING THE FENCE STYLE

FENCE STYLES

Step 4: SELECTING THE FENCE STYLE

There are literally hundreds of variations in fence styles and construction materials. There is pre-assembled wood fencing sections as well as fencing materials made from recycled milk jugs. The type of fence you use depends primarily on the purpose.

Fences like the type shown in Fig. 10 are used primarily for barriers. They are easy to build and provide an adequate barrier. However, they are usually not very decorative and they provide very little, if any, privacy.

Fences like those illustrated in Fig. 11 provide barriers and are more attractive than an ordinary fence. With a little shrubbery or plants, such fences can provide very attractive barriers along property lines.

Fences such as those illustrated in Fig. 12 are primarily privacy screens. They can be built as tall as needed out of many different materials. Their primary purpose is privacy.

Consider your needs when selecting the style of your fence. If you want a simple barrier, a wire fence or a simple style fence such as illustrated in Fig. 10 will work fine.

For a barrier that enhances the appearance, consider styles similar to those illustrated in Fig. 11.

For added privacy, consider the styles illustrated in Fig. 12.

Regardless of the type of fence you plan to build, be sure you know exactly where your property line is located. If you are uncertain about the location of the line, check into it or work out an agreement on the fence location with your neighbor.

Also, check any local ordinances applying to fences before beginning construction. Call the building department of your local city hall or ask for the local government office that regulates construction to be sure you abide by city codes.

Try to keep the bottom rail of any fence at least 2" above the ground. This helps eliminate the problem of decay and makes it easier to trim grass around the base of the fence.

Fig. 13 illustrates four basic styles of easy-to-build fence. Each style has the same basic top, center and bottom rail construction. However, the fences look entirely different with the various rail treatments.

Study the designs in Fig. 13 carefully. Decide which of these styles you prefer, or use a little imagination and create your own fencing design to apply to the basic rail fencing structure.

Picket fences are very popular and easy to build. With a little ingenuity you can create attractive picket designs. Study the designs in Fig. 14. Use the designs shown in Fig. 14 or your own designs to create a distinctive picket fence.

Make sure that all the pickets are spaced by inserting a loose picket between the picket previously nailed into position and the picket to be nailed. Use this easy method throughout the entire fencing construction.

A basket weave fence is often used on a sloping terrain (Fig. 16). This style of fence allows you to raise or lower each post.

Use a good-quality board to build a basket weave fence. Boards full of knots may break easily when placed under the stress of basket weaving.

A simple board fence is easy to build and can be quite attractive (Fig. 17). You can place the boards on one side or alternate them from side to side.

The board fence provides both a barrier and privacy. It can be built as tall as needed and then stained, painted or left natural.

You can design a siding fence to match the siding on your home of this style. In fact, you can use the same siding that was used on the home to build the fence.

The siding fence can be covered on one side or both. Then, you can paint it to match or harmonize with the paint on your home.

These are only a few of the many styles of fencing available. Fences are easy to build, and the materials are readily available

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Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

Installing a Sprinkler System

An underground sprinkler system is not only a convenient way to water your lawn, it also makes the most efficient use of water. This brochure will give you an overview of the steps involved in designing and installing a sprinkler system. In this document you will find information about:

Types of Sprinkler Systems
Planning Your Sprinkler System
Installing Your Sprinkler System
Connecting PVC Pipe

TYPES OF SPRINKLER SYSTEMS Step 1:  TYPES OF SPRINKLER SYSTEMS

The water pressure in most residential systems isn't great enough to water an entire lawn at once. As a result, most systems are divided into circuits, each with its own control valve. Control valves are operated by an electronic controller that turns each circuit on and off according to the schedule you set.

The system consists of standard PVC pipe running from your existing water supply line. At each sprinkler, the pipe connects to a riser that feeds the sprinkler head. Sprinkler heads are designed to throw water in a full circle, a half circle, or a quarter circle. There are two types: rotary sprinkler heads extend above the ground permanently, and pop-up heads are designed to be flush with the ground when off, so you can mow over them.

PLANNING YOUR SPRINKLER SYSTEM Step 2:  PLANNING YOUR SPRINKLER SYSTEM

The first step in planning your system is to check with your local building department and get any permits you may need. Then make a sketch of your property, showing the locations of all structures, walkways and driveways, and trees and shrubs (Fig. 1). Call your local utility companies and have them come out and mark the location of buried gas, electrical, and telephone lines. Note those locations on your sketch.

Next, determine your water pressure and flow rate. Borrow or rent a water pressure gauge and attach it to a hose bibb. Turn the water on full (with all other water in the house off) to find the pressure. Systems vary, but you'll probably need a minimum of 20 pounds per square inch (psi) pressure to install sprinklers.

Check the flow rate by placing a one-gallon bucket under a hose bibb, turning the water on full (with all other water in the house off) and time how long it takes to fill the bucket. Divide the number of seconds by 60 to find the gallons per minute (gpm) capacity of your line. The result of this test will determine the size of each sprinkler circuit.

Then plot the locations of sprinkler heads on your sketch. Multiply the throw distance of the heads (usually 15 feet) by 1.4 to find the spacing between sprinkler heads, so the areas covered by each head overlap. In windy areas, space the sprinkler heads the same as the throw rating.

Finally, divide the system into circuits. The manufacturer's instructions will include an output chart that gives you a gpm rating for each sprinkler head. Divide the gpm capacity of your water line by the rating of each head to find the number of sprinkler heads that you can put on each circuit. Never combine different types of sprinkler heads (e.g., lawn sprinklers with low-shrub sprinklers) on the same circuit.

As a rule, you'll use 3/4" PVC pipe to lay a system with circuits that are less than 100' long, or 1" pipe for circuits over 100'. In any case, your system pipe will be no larger than the supply line you tap into.

INSTALLING YOUR SPRINKLER SYSTEM

INSTALLING YOUR SPRINKLER SYSTEM CONTINUED

INSTALLING YOUR SPRINKLER SYSTEM MORE

Step 3:  INSTALLING YOUR SPRINKLER SYSTEM

The first step in installing the system is to build a manifold. A manifold is a group of control valves connected to a length of PVC pipe, spaced 3" to 6" apart. Water comes to the manifold from the supply line, then is routed through the proper control valve to the circuit by the controller. The manifold can be mounted above ground or buried (with the control valves projecting above ground), then covered with a box. 

Next, dig V-shaped trenches at least 8" deep for the pipe. The trenches should be straight and reasonably level. To tunnel under a sidewalk, connect a piece of galvanized pipe to a garden hose and turn the water on full force to wash away the soil. Then cap a length of PVC pipe with duct tape and drive it through the hole.

Tap into the water supply line (Figs. 2, 3, 4) by installing a tee at one of three locations: 1) just past the water meter in the basement; 2) just behind an outside hose bibb; or 3) along the main supply line before it enters the house, but past the outside meter (if there is one). Install a stop-and-waste valve as an emergency shutoff and to be able to drain the system for the winter. Install the shutoff valve just past the connection to the supply line, then run pipe to the manifold. Once the PVC connections are cured, turn the water on for a minute or two to flush the system.

Install antisiphon valves onto the control valves to prevent contaminated water from getting back into your home's supply lines (Fig. 5).

Lay the pipe in the trenches, then begin making connections. Before you install each threaded riser tee, screw the riser in place temporarily. As you install the riser tees, hold a carpenter's square against the riser to make sure the tee is set so each riser will be at a 90-degree angle to the ground.

Once the pipes are assembled and the connections cured, install the risers (Fig. 6). Cut them carefully to make sure the sprinkler heads will be at the correct height. Once the risers are in place, attach the sprinkler heads (Fig. 7).

Finally, mount the controller (typically, the controller goes in the garage), and run low-voltage wires to the control valves. Set the watering controls for each circuit, then test the system by opening and shutting each circuit. Backfill the trenches, then water the soil down thoroughly to compact it. Add more soil until each trench is slightly raised, then replace the sod or reseed.

CONNECTING PVC PIPE

CONNECTING PVC PIPE CONTINUED

Step 4:  CONNECTING PVC PIPE

The type of material you use to install your sprinkler system will depend on the manufacturer's recommendations. Some systems use flexible pipe, plastic or metal inserts, and clamps. Other systems use PVC pipe and fittings. This sprinkler system requires PVC pipe. Be sure to use PVC cleaner on any PVC pipe project. Fig. 9 illustrates how to connect the PVC pipe.

Step 1–Cut the pipe to length, then remove any burrs with a pocket knife. The cut should be as square as possible to insure a leak free installation.

Step 2–Take the gloss off both ends of the connection (the end of the pipe and the inside of the fitting) with a piece of emery paper, then wipe both ends with PVC cleaner.

Step 3–If necessary (e.g., for riser tees), fit the pieces together dry and mark the alignment with a felt tip pen.

Steps 4 & 5–Finally, coat both surfaces with PVC solvent and connect the pieces together as far as you can and then give the pipe a 1/4 turn to spread the solvent. Wait two hours before running water through the pipe.

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Installing Steel or Fibreglass Entry Systems

If you're getting ready to replace your entry door, there's very little question that a steel or fiberglass entry system is a good choice. A significant part of the heat loss in a home occurs through the doors and windows, and an insulated entry system not only provides better R-values than a wood door, it can also do a better job of preventing air infiltration. This document describes the basic procedures in installing a steel or fiberglass entry system. Keep in mind that the procedures may vary for different brands of systems. Wherever those instructions differ, always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

In this document you will find information about:

Entry System Features
Installing an Entry System

ENTRY SYSTEM FEATURES

ENTRY SYSTEM FEATURES CONTINUED

Step 1:  ENTRY SYSTEM FEATURES

Steel and fiberglass entry systems are almost identical, except for the door itself. Steel and fiberglass entry systems are usually factory prehung and weatherstripped (Fig. 1). Wood entry doors may come prehung or where the door, frame, and hardware all come separately and have to be assembled. As a rule, prehanging provides a more weathertight system.


Steel and fiberglass doors are very similar, too (Fig. 2). They consist of a frame, made up of vertical stiles and horizontal rails, covered with a skin of either steel or fiberglass. The door is filled with rigid foam insulation, typically either polystyrene or polyurethane. The R-values of steel and fiberglass doors range from R-7 to R-15–compared to a 1-3/4" wood door, which is approximately R-2. They provide much better insulation value.

ENTRY SYSTEM FEATURES

The primary difference between steel and fiberglass doors is the skin. Both may be molded to simulate a real wood door, but fiberglass doors can be stained and varnished, whereas steel doors are primed and painted. If you want a wood look, fiberglass is the best choice. If you plan to paint the door, steel is probably better, if for no other reason simply because steel is typically less expensive.

A steel or fiberglass entry system has a built-in threshold-and-sill combination that may be wood or aluminum. The weatherstripping is already applied, too. It may either be compression-type foam or a vinyl bulb with a magnetic strip inside that seals the unit much like a refrigerator door. Both offer a wide range of style accessories, including brass hardware, decorative lights, and–in the case of fiberglass–a simulated woodgrain appearance.

The frame may be steel or wood; wood is most common in residential entry systems.

INSTALLING AN ENTRY SYSTEM

INSTALLING AN ENTRY SYSTEM CONTINUED

INSTALLING AN ENTRY SYSTEM MORE

Step 2:  INSTALLING AN ENTRY SYSTEM

To install a steel or fiberglass entry system, first remove the brick mold from around the door on the outside. Then remove the casing from around the door on the inside. If you remove the interior casing carefully, you may be able to reuse it.

Take the old door off its hinges, then use a reciprocating saw to cut through the nails that hold the door jamb to the wall framing. Remove the door jamb, then remove the threshold and pry up the original sill so the subfloor is exposed.

Unpack the new entry system. There may be skid boards or other framing attached to protect the system during transit. Lay the door on a pair of sawhorses and remove any protective materials. Some brands have prehanging clips that keep the door aligned and closed–if so, do not remove them.

Run beads of caulking along the floor where the threshold/sill will rest (Fig. 5). From the outside, center the bottom of the unit in the opening and tilt it up into place.

Plumb the hinge-side jamb with a level, then secure the hinge jamb to the wall framing temporarily with 3"-long drywall screws, about 2" below the top and center hinges.

Leave a space between the jamb and the wall stud. Go inside the house through another door so you can shim the unit.

Shim the hinge jamb directly behind all three hinges so it is plumb (Fig. 6). Then repeat the process on the lock-side jamb, shimming at the top, bottom, and just above and below the strike plates. Be careful not to allow the unit to be twisted; the inside edge of the jamb should be flush with the interior wall surface at all points. DO NOT SHIM BETWEEN THE HEAD JAMB AND THE WALL HEADER.

Place a carpenter's square at the corners to make sure the unit is square; if not, add shims below the threshold/sill. Go back outside and temporarily secure the latch-side jamb with 3" drywall screws at the top and bottom of the unit.

Check again to make sure the unit is plumb, square, and not twisted, and make any necessary adjustments. Drive 3" drywall screws through the hinge jamb 2" above the top and bottom hinges, and 2" above and below the center hinge.

Remove the prehanging clips (if present), and open the door to make sure it operates properly. Go inside and close the door, then check the latch side of the door to make sure the gap between the door and jamb is even all along the length of the door. If not, the unit is out of square. Remove one or both of the screws and adjust the shims to make the gap even.

From the outside, check to make sure the weatherstripping along the latch side of the jamb makes uniform contact with the door from the top to the bottom. If not, the unit is twisted. Remove one or both of the latch-side screws and adjust the jamb in the opening until it is straight. Drive two more 3" drywall screws through the latch jamb, spaced evenly between the first two screws.

Check the bottom of the door to make sure the door sweep makes even contact with the threshold across the entire width of the door. Adjust the threshold (Fig. 8).

Some entry systems come with long security screws that are driven through the hinges and jamb and into the wall framing. If so, four screws will be missing from the jamb leaf of the hinges. Predrill the jamb, then drive the security screws. Double-check the clearances all around the door; if they are not even, adjust the security screws to even the gap.

Inside the house, stuff fiberglass insulation into the gap between the door jamb and the wall framing. Make it snug, but don't stuff it too tightly. Replace the interior casing.

On the outside, caulk around the outside of the brick mold where it meets the siding. Finish the door according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Installing French and Patio Doors

Patio doors are one of the most popular features in any home. This brochure describes the basic procedures for installing prehung French and swinging patio doors, and for sliding patio doors. This is always a two-person job. Keep in mind that the procedures may vary for different brands of systems. Wherever those instructions differ, always follow the manufacturer's instructions. In this document you will find information about:

Types of French & Patio Doors
Installation

PATIO DOORS Step 1:  TYPES OF FRENCH & PATIO DOORS

There are three types of doors that often are lumped together under the category "patio door." They are:

Sliding Patio Doors (Fig. 1) may be two-, three-, or four-panels wide. They are sold "knocked down"–i.e., the frame and door panels are packaged separately, and the unit must be assembled on the job site. Available frame materials are aluminum, wood, or PVC vinyl (typically reinforced with steel or aluminum for extra strength). Aluminum patio doors are generally the least expensive, but also the least durable and energy efficient. Vinyl occupies the mid-range in both price and quality, and wood is considered top of the line.

A two-panel sliding door has one active (sliding) panel and one inactive (stationary) panel. It may be assembled with the active unit on either side. A three-panel door has one active and two inactive panels; the active panel is typically on one side or the other rather than in the center, for the added security of being able to lock to the jamb. A four-panel door typically has two active panels in the center, and two inactive panels outside.

Swinging Patio Doors (Fig. 2) are typically two or three panels wide. As a rule, the active panel is hinged to an inactive panel, with the latch at one of the side jambs, although three-panel units may have the active panel in the center.

Swinging patio doors are available in wood, PVC vinyl, or in insulated steel or fiberglass. In general, a swinging door tends to be more secure and more energy efficient than a sliding door.

French Doors (Fig. 3) are hinged at the outside of the unit and contain at least two active panels that swing in or out from the center of the unit. At one time they were considered less secure than swinging patio doors because the active panels were locked to each other rather than a permanent jamb. With the advent of three-point locking systems that secure the door to the head jamb and the sill, French door security is much improved. French doors are typically available only in wood.

INSTALLATION

INSTALLATION SERVICES

INSTALLATION CONTINUED

INSTALLATION MORE

Step 2:   INSTALLATION

To install a prehung French or patio door, first unpack the new door unit. There may be skid boards or other framing attached to protect the system during transit. Remove any protective materials; if the unit has prehanging clips to keep the door aligned and closed, do not remove them.

Swinging Patio Door (two-panel prehung unit, center hinged)–Run beads of caulking along the floor where the threshold/sill will rest. From the outside, center the bottom of the unit in the opening and tilt it up into place.

Adjust the unit so the face is plumb, then secure the inactive-side jamb to the wall framing temporarily with two 3"-long drywall screws, placed about 6" below the head jamb and above the sill.

Go inside the house and shim and check the gap along the top of the active door. It should be even along the entire width of the door from the hinge jamb to the latch jamb. If the gap is too wide above the latch jamb, drive a shim under the sill directly beneath the latch jamb until the gap is even. If the gap is too narrow above the latch jamb, drive the shim directly beneath the hinge jamb.

Once the gap is even, recheck to make sure the unit is plumb. Then shim the latch jamb, checking it with a straightedge as you work to make sure you don't drive the shims too far and bow the jamb. Shim about 6" below the top of the unit, 6" above the sill and both above and below the lock.

Be careful not to allow the unit to be twisted; the inside edge of the jamb should be flush with the interior wall surface at all points. DO NOT SHIM ABOVE THE HEAD JAMB.

Place the carpenter's square at the corners to make sure the unit is square; if not, add shims below the sill. Shim the inactive-side jamb in four locations evenly spaced along the jamb. Drive the shims snug but not too tight. Then go back outside and secure the inactive-side jamb with two 3" drywall screws through each pair of shims. You may want to countersink the screw holes to fill with wood putty later on.

From inside, check again to make sure the face of the unit is plumb and that the gap between the door and jamb is even along the top and down the latch-side jamb. Drive 3" drywall screws through the latch jamb into the wall framing at each pair of shims.

Check the bottom of the door to make sure the door sweep makes even contact with the threshold across the entire width of the door. Adjust the threshold as needed.

Inside the house, stuff fiberglass insulation into the gap between the door jamb and the wall framing. Make it snug, but don't stuff it in too tightly. Nail the brick mold 16" on center outside and install the interior casing.

On the outside, caulk around the outside of the brick mold where it meets the siding. Finish the door according to the manufacturer's instructions.

French Doors (two-panel prehung unit)–Run heavy beads of caulking along the floor where the sill will rest. From the outside, center the bottom of the unit in the opening and tilt it up into place.

Adjust the unit so the face is plumb, then secure one hinge jamb temporarily with a 3" drywall screw placed about 6" below the head jamb. Leave a small gap between the jamb and the wall stud.

Use a level and a straightedge to make sure the head jamb is level and straight across the entire width of the unit. Shim under the sill directly below either hinge jamb if necessary. Insert shims directly behind the top hinges on both sides, taking care not to drive the shims in too hard (you don't want to bow the jamb). Drive two 3" drywall screws just above the top hinges on both sides.

Check the gap between the doors and the head jamb to make sure it is even across the entire width of the unit. If not, the unit is out of square. Adjust it as shown in Fig. 6.

Once the unit is square and level, shim behind the center and bottom hinges on both hinge jambs. Secure the hinge jamb with two 3" drywall screws just above the center and bottom hinges. Remove any prehanging clips or braces and test both doors to make sure they operate properly.

From inside the house, stuff fiberglass insulation into the gap between the door jamb and the wall framing. Make it snug, but don't stuff it in too tightly. Nail the brick mold 16" on center outside, and install the interior casing.

On the outside, caulk around the outside of the brick mold where it meets the siding. Finish the door according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Sliding Patio Doors–Installing a sliding patio door is a little different because the unit generally doesn't come prehung. Consequently, the first step is to assemble the frame.

Once the frame is assembled, run heavy beads of caulking along the floor where the sill will rest. From the outside, center the bottom of the frame in the opening and tilt it up into place.

Adjust the frame so the face is plumb, then shim behind one hinge jamb near the top. Secure it temporarily.

Use a level and a straightedge to make sure the head jamb is level across the entire width of the frame. Shim under the sill directly below either side jamb if necessary. Shim the other side jamb near the top and secure it with a screw.

Use a level to plumb one side jamb, and shim at three more points along the jamb, spaced evenly from the top to the bottom. Secure that jamb, then repeat the process on the other side.

Once the frame is square and level, set the stationary panel in place in the outside channel (on whichever side you want the stationary panel). Push the panel snugly against the side jamb, then secure it with the brackets provided by the manufacturer.

Set the active panel in the inside channel, and test it to make sure it rolls smoothly and fits snugly all along the side jamb. If not, adjust the rollers to plumb the door or make it operate properly. Install the latch according to the manufacturer's instructions.

From inside the house, stuff fiberglass insulation into the gap between the door jamb and the wall framing. Make it snug, but don't stuff it in too tightly. Install the outside trim, then the interior casing.

On the outside, caulk around the outside trim where it meets the siding. If necessary, finish the door according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Installing Skylights

In this document you will find information about:
Types of Skylights
Framing the Rough Opening
Installing the Skylight
Building the Ceiling Opening and Light Shaft
Safety Precautions

TYPES OF SKYLIGHTS

TYPES OF SKYLIGHTS CONTINUED

Step 1:  TYPES OF SKYLIGHTS

Many people worry about cutting holes in the roof, but adding a skylight is actually easier than installing a window. Most skylights come with flashing systems that will seal the roof effectively. This brochure describes how to install a skylight and build a light well to carry the light into the room.

There are two basic types of skylights: curb-mounted or frame in place. A curb-mounted skylight is raised above the plane of the roof; it either sets on a wood frame curb or the curb is an integral part of the unit (Fig. 1). A framed-in-place skylight is installed flush with the plane of the structure, much like a vertical window. It is held in place with L-shaped brackets (Fig. 2).

Curb-mounted skylights may be glazed with a clear acrylic dome or with glass. Framed-in-place skylights are glazed with glass. Either may use insulating glass, and the glazing in top-of-the-line skylights may have low emissivity coatings and argon gas fill for added energy efficiency.

The flashing system on a curb-mounted skylight typically consists of a head flashing, a sill flashing and two pieces of side flashing that run the length of the skylight (Fig. 3). The head flashing is slipped under the shingles above the opening. The side flashings are slipped under both the head flashing and the shingles on the side of the unit. The sill flashing goes under the side flashings but is set over the shingles below the skylight. The configuration allows water to run around and off the skylight.

A framed-in-place skylight also has a solid head and sill flashing, but the side flashing consists of a series of step shingles that match the 5" exposure of each row of roofing (Fig. 3). Like a curb-mounted skylight, the head flashing goes under the shingles and the sill flashing goes under them. The step shingles are woven into the roofing, slipped under each shingle.

Flashings may be made of galvanized steel or aluminum; most are aluminum, often finished to match the color of the skylight frame.

FRAMING THE ROUGH OPENING

FRAMING THE ROUGH OPENING CONTINUED

FRAMING THE ROUGH OPENING MORE

Step 2:  FRAMING THE ROUGH OPENING

A skylight framing assembly consists of three parts (Fig. 4):

The roof opening is framed with headers–framing lumber run horizontally across the opening, securely nailed to the rafters to support the structure. Headers are cut from lumber the same size as the rafters.

A curb-mounted skylight also requires a framed curb, typically 2x6s but usually specified by the skylight manufacturer (the frame has to project far enough to accommodate the flashing). The curb is set on the roof sheathing around the perimeter of the opening, and the skylight is set on the curb.

The ceiling opening is framed in the same way as the roof opening–headers are nailed between the ceiling joists to support the existing framing. Ceiling headers should be the same size as the ceiling joists.

The light shaft is the framing that connects the roof opening with the ceiling opening. It is typically framed with 2x4s, insulated like any interior wall and finished on the inside with drywall or other material. The light shaft may be vertical or flared–wider at the bottom than the top. A flared light shaft is a little more difficult to frame but will admit more light.

To frame the opening for a skylight, first decide on the approximate location of your skylight. It should be roughly centered in the room.

Next, locate the ceiling joists, then realign the opening so it fits between the joists. Depending on the size of your skylight, you may or may not have to cut the ceiling joists and rafters; many skylights are made to fit between 16" or 24" on center joists and rafters without removing any framing.

Mark the two corners of the ceiling opening closest to the outside wall. Take care to make sure the points are parallel to the wall. The width of the ceiling opening should match the rough opening width of the skylight (specified by the manufacturer). The length will vary, depending on the type of light shaft you want.

Drill small holes through the ceiling at your marks and push two pieces of stiff wire up into the attic so you can easily spot the location from above.

Go up to the attic; if possible, bring a 2' by 4' piece of plywood with you to lay across the ceiling joists so you won't accidentally put a foot through the ceiling. Locate your corners and clear the insulation away from the area. If you have to reroute electrical wiring, always turn the power off first and double check by testing a fixture on that circuit with an electrical tester.

Use a plumb bob to locate the two points on the underside of the roof that are directly above the lower corners of the ceiling opening. Mark those points on the roof (Fig. 5). Double check to make sure they match the correct rough opening width, then measure up the underside of the roof the specified rough opening length. Drive four nails up through the roof to mark the corners of your rough opening.

Go up to the roof and remove the shingles from around the opening, far enough to allow room to install the flashing. Snap chalk lines between the nails, then cut away the roofing felt with a utility knife.

Set your circular saw so the blade depth is slightly more than the thickness of the roof sheathing, then cut away the sheathing and remove it (Fig. 6).

How you frame the opening depends on the size and position of your skylight. If the skylight will fit between two existing rafters without cutting, simply cut two headers to fit between the rafters (they should be the same material as the rafters, typically 2x6s) and nail them in place with 16d common nails, flush with the cut edges of the sheathing (Fig. 7).

If you have to cut a rafter, framing is a little more complex. First, nail two 2x4s across the rafters to provide temporary support (Fig. 8). The 2x4s should be long enough to reach at least two rafters on each side of the one that will be cut.

Then use a reciprocating saw to cut the rafter out of the opening 3" back from the edge of the sheathing on each side. Cut four headers to span the distance between the uncut rafters on each side of the opening. Nail the first pair flush against the two ends of the cut rafter. Use three 16d common nails through the existing rafters into the headers on each end and three more nails through the header into the end of the cut rafter.

Then nail the second pair of headers in place. Use 16d nails to nail through the existing rafters into the ends of the header and a pair of 8d nails every 16" to nail the two headers together.

Step 3:  INSTALLING THE SKYLIGHT

Curb-Mounted Skylight–Build the curb by nailing four 2x6s into a box (the size is specified by the manufacturer). Square it, then toenail it into place over the opening with 8d galvanized nails. Run a bead of caulking all around the top of the curb (unless the manufacturer says not to), then set the skylight in place and fasten it down. Replace the shingles, leaving enough working space between the edge of the shingles and the curb so you can slip the flashing into place.

Install the sill flashing first, according to the manufacturer's instructions. As a rule, flashings are nailed into the curb and sometimes cemented to the roof with plastic roof cement, but not nailed to the roof.

Install the side flashing and fasten it in place. If you're working with step shingles, slip them under each row of roofing shingles, working your way up from the bottom. Slip the base of the head flashing under the shingles and set it in place over the top of the side flashing. Fasten it in place. Go back to the attic and remove any temporary supports.

Framed-in-Place Skylight–Mount the brackets on the side of the skylight, set it in the hole and fasten it in place. Make sure the skylight is square and not twisted in the hole.

Install the flashing as described above, or as specified by the manufacturer. Go back to the attic and remove any temporary supports.

BUILDING THE CEILING OPENING AND LIGHT SHAFT Step 4:  BUILDING THE CEILING OPENING AND LIGHT SHAFT

From inside the room, find the other two corners of the ceiling opening. Use a carpenter's square to make sure the opening is square or rectangular. Use a keyhole saw to cut away the drywall.

Go back up to the attic. If you'll need to cut a ceiling joist, place temporary supports across the opening as described above, then cut the joist 3" back from the edge of the drywall. If the light shaft will be flared, cut the joist at the angle of the flare.

Install headers across the ceiling opening as you did for the roof opening–a single header at each end if no ceiling joists are cut or double headers if a ceiling joist has been removed.

Use a T-bevel to determine the angle of the rafters and ceiling joists, then cut 2x4 studs for the corners of the light shaft, angled on each end to fit flush against the rafters and ceiling joists. Studs should be placed 16" on center around the opening; you can use the corner studs as templates for the field studs across the top and bottom of the opening.

Nail 2x2 cleats to the inside edges of the corner studs to act as backing for the drywall. From the attic, nail rigid foam insulation over the outside of the light shaft; then finish the inside of the shaft with drywall (Fig. 10)

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS Step 5:   SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

Always follow standard safety procedures for working on the roof and using power equipment. When working on the roof, always wear loose, comfortable clothing and rubber-soled shoes. Set your ladder so the base is away from the building 1/4 the height of the ladder plus the width of the soffit. Always wear eye protection when working in the attic and when using power equipment.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Installing Outdoor Wiring/Lighting

Take some time to read the following tips and instructions on how to install outdoor wiring. These instructions can help you save time and effort, while ensuring a safe and satisfying installation. In this document you will find information about:
Basic Rules for Outdoor Lighting Installations
Weatherproof Switches and Outlets
Underground Installation From the House
Attaching Lighting Fixtures & Outlets to Buried Cable
Installing Post Lantern Yard Lights
Proper Grounding of Outdoor Fixtures
Installing Timer Switches in Outdoor Lighting

BASIC RULES FOR OUTDOOR LIGHTING INSTALLATIONS Step 1:  BASIC RULES FOR OUTDOOR LIGHTING INSTALLATIONS

Your first step should be to check local codes regarding outdoor lighting. Be sure to follow these code requirements carefully.

Always use type UF cable for installations requiring underground wiring. The UF implies that there must be a fuse or breaker inside the house at the starting point of the underground wiring installation.

For your outdoor lighting project, use only those materials that have an Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) approval.

Cable used for underground installations must contain a grounding conductor. Outdoor fixtures must be grounded for complete safety.

Use conduit to protect the cable where it is exposed above ground and where bends are made below ground (Fig. 1).

Some local codes may require you to cover the entire cable with conduit.

Many local codes now require outdoor circuits to be protected with GFIs, Ground Fault Interrupters. There are two basic types of GFIs. One is designed to be installed in a circuit breaker box. The other is designed to fit into outlet boxes. Check your local code.

Always bury any underground cable at least 18" deep, but 24" is preferable. Cables buried at least 24" deep are less likely to be bothered by spading forks and other tools commonly used around the yard.

For any outside wiring installation, always use weatherproof equipment, such as boxes, receptacles, etc.

Remember to shut off the electrical current at the main switch before starting any underground wiring tie-in.

WEATHERPROOF SWITCHES AND OUTLETS Step 2:  WEATHERPROOF SWITCHES AND OUTLETS

Weatherproof switches and outlet boxes are available in both flush-mount or surface-mount styles.

Fig. 2 shows a flush-mounted switch and a flush-mounted receptacle. These must always be installed in a weatherproof metal switch or outlet box.

Fig. 3 shows a surface-mounted switch and outlet. These are contained in their own weatherproof boxes and can be mounted directly to any flat surface.

Fig. 4 shows a weatherproof box. These boxes can be mounted on posts or conduit when you're installing any switch or receptacle, other than the surface-mounted type.

The flush-mounted and surface-mounted switches and receptacles are designed to be completely weather resistant when they are installed correctly.

UNDERGROUND INSTALLATION FROM THE HOUSE Step 3: UNDERGROUND INSTALLATION FROM THE HOUSE

Before you begin, shut off the electrical current at the main switch box.

For an underground wiring installation, mount a breaker or a fuse box in a location similar to that illustrated in Fig. 5. The breaker box should start the installation no matter what type of cable you are using.

Run conduit from the breaker box through the wall to where the weatherproof elbow will be mounted on the outside wall (Fig. 5).

Continue the conduit down from the weatherproof elbow to where it bends, 18" to 24" below ground. Remember, conduit is generally required where the cable bends underground (Fig. 5).

Mount the conduit to the building foundation with conduit connectors (see D, Fig. 1).

Fig. 1 shows the components for wiring with conduits. (A) shows the conduit itself. (B) illustrates an adapter for attaching thin-walled conduit to rigid conduit. (C) is a coupling for connecting two pieces of conduit. (D) shows the connector used for attaching a piece of conduit to a weatherproof box. (E) is the pipe strap you should use to fasten the conduit to the wall about every 6' on exposed runs and about every 10' on concealed runs.

Your local code may require that the entire underground cable be covered with conduit. The main purpose of the conduit is to protect the cable from spading tools used in the yard.

Fig. 6 shows a conduit bender and the proper method for inserting and bending thin-walled conduit. With care and practice, you will learn to bend conduit easily.

Insert the cable through the weatherproof elbow (Fig. 5), and then down through the conduit to the 18" to 24" level where it is to be buried. Pull the cable tightly through the weatherproof elbow and reattach the cover

ATTACHING LIGHTING FIXTURES Step 4:  ATTACHING LIGHTING FIXTURES & OUTLETS TO BURIED CABLE

Fig. 7 illustrates various lighting fixtures and outlet boxes that you can connect to the buried cable at any point. It's important to plan your yard lighting carefully before starting the job.

Plan ahead to determine where to install weatherproof outlet boxes (Fig. 7). These outlet boxes are especially handy around patios and recreational areas of your yard. They provide readily accessible receptacles for appliances, record players, radios, Christmas lights, etc.

Weatherproof outlet boxes also provide handy outlets for spike lights, electric lawn mowers, electric trimmers, etc.

Install protective conduit above ground where any weatherproof outlet box or elbow is installed.

INSTALLING POST LANTERN YARD LIGHTS Step 5: INSTALLING POST LANTERN YARD LIGHTS

Dig a hole about 2' deep with an ordinary post hole digger or tiling spade. Run cable up through the lamppost, then fill the hole with about 12" of concrete mix. Insert the lamppost into the concrete mix in an upright, plumb position. Use a long level or plumb bob to make sure the lamp is exactly straight. Remember, you cannot straighten it after the concrete hardens.

Use a bent piece of conduit to protect the turn in the cable below the post (Fig. 8). This eliminates the danger of trouble at the turn.

You may want to use temporary stakes and guy wires to hold the post lantern in an upright position until the concrete dries (Fig. 7). Using four guy wires in opposite directions ensures a secure post.

After the concrete is completely dry, fill in the hole with dirt and seed around the post for a neat appearance.

PROPER GROUNDING OF OUTDOOR FIXTURES

PROPER GROUNDING OF OUTDOOR FIXTURES CONTINUED

Step 6:  PROPER GROUNDING OF OUTDOOR FIXTURES

If the conduit used in underground wiring does not connect to a grounded box, cable with a grounding conductor must be used.

Every outdoor lamp part exposed to the touch must also be grounded. See Fig. 9 for one way to properly ground an ordinary post lantern. Use this same grounding procedure for almost any outside lighting installation.

Ground all weatherproof outlet boxes to an outdoor grounded box. Fig. 10 illustrates how to do this.

Fig. 11 illustrates how conduit can connect to outlet and switch boxes. Some conduit connects with a nut and bushing (A), while other conduit connects by means of a nut and set screw (B).

Ground Fault Interrupters are required in most areas for outdoor circuits. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the installation of the type of GFI you decide to use. Two basic types are illustrated in Fig. 12.

INSTALLING TIMER SWITCHES IN OUTDOOR LIGHTING

INSTALLING TIMER SWITCHES IN OUTDOOR LIGHTING CONTINUED

Step 7: INSTALLING TIMER SWITCHES IN OUTDOOR LIGHTING

Many of the newer outdoor lights come equipped with photoelectric eyes or motion sensors, or both. The photoelectric eye turns the light on in the evening and off in the morning. The motion detector turns the light on when it senses motion in the range of the detector. If your light does not have this type of control built in, you may wish to add a timer, photoelectric eye or a motion detector. These devices allow for automatic operation and a greater sense of security.

Fig. 7 illustrates where to install a permanent timer switch to turn an outdoor light on or off at a pre-set time.

Permanent timer switches are readily available and can be pre-set for any on/off times (Fig. 13). Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully when installing a permanent timer switch.

You may also use portable timer switches with plug-in equipment for outdoor lighting. Use this type of timer switch as you would any other appliance.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this brochure has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Adding Electrical Wiring

Use these tips and instructions for adding new electrical wiring. Take a few minutes to read the directions thoroughly. Following these instructions can save you time and effort and ensure a safe installation.

BASIC PRINCIPLES OF GOOD WIRING Step 1:  BASIC PRINCIPLES OF GOOD WIRING

Before beginning any electrical repair, shut off the power. Remove the fuse or trip the breaker for the circuit you will be working on in your service panel. Use a neon tester to be sure the power is off. If there is any doubt, you can remove the main fuse or trip the main breaker. Remember: Removing the main fuse or tripping the main breaker will usually shut off the power to the entire house.

Electrical wires are color coded to prevent wiring errors.

White wires almost always connect to other white wires or to chrome terminal screws on switches and receptacles.

Some wiring devices–such as receptacles–are back-wired by pushing the bare wire end into spring grip holes. These wiring devices are plainly labeled to show which color goes into each spring grip hole.

Switches are nearly always connected into black wires in cables. The only exception is where a cable is extended, making it necessary for the white wire to play the role of the black wire. When this is necessary, the white wires should be painted black to prevent future wiring errors.

Study the wiring diagram in Fig. 1. This will help you understand the basic principles of good wiring. Also, find a good electrical how-to book. It's one book every homeowner should keep on hand for ready reference.

Most home wiring is complete with either No. 14 gauge or No. 12 gauge wiring. No. 14 is the smallest wiring permitted under most codes.

Always use the same size cable for a continuation of any extended wiring circuit.

CONNECT NEW WIRING TO LAST OUTLET IN CABLE Step 2:  CONNECT NEW WIRING TO LAST OUTLET IN CABLE

New wiring should be connected to the last outlet in a run of cable. To locate the last outlet in the run, shut off the current. Remove the cover plates from each outlet on the circuit. The last outlet in the run has wires connected to only two of the four terminal screws (Fig. 2).

The two unused terminal screws on the last receptacle serve as a starting point for wiring to a new outlet.

Step 3:  ATTACHING CABLE FOR NEW WIRING

Shut off the power to the circuit you will be working on at the service panel.

Loosen the screws holding the receptacle in the box and remove it, as shown in Fig. 2.

Attach the white wire to the chrome terminal, the black wire to the brass terminal on the receptacle and the bare (or green insulated) wire to the green grounding screw on the receptacle or to the box, if the box is metal.

Use care to match the size of the original cable. If No. 12 wire is used, continue with No. 12. If No. 14 wire is used, use No. 14 for continuing the cable. The size of the cable is usually stamped on the side of the cable.

New wiring can be connected to continue the run beyond the last receptacle (Fig. 3). Note that the new wires are pulled through knockout plugs in the back of the outlet box.

ADDING NEW WIRING FROM A JUNCTION BOX Step 4:  ADDING NEW WIRING FROM A JUNCTION BOX

 New wiring can also be tied into a junction box, unless the wiring in the junction box is already at maximum capacity.

Before tying in at a junction box, always trace the cables leading to the box to check the voltage. Be sure you are not connecting a 120-volt outlet to a run of wire providing 240 volts for larger appliances.

To tie in new wiring at a junction box, first shut off the current at the service panel.

Locate the main supply cable coming into the junction box from the service panel. Locate the supply wire by tracing the white wires. All white wires in the junction box will be attached to the white wire on the supply line (Fig. 4).

Knock out the unused plug on the junction box and run the new line from the box as illustrated (Fig. 4). Be sure to use a cable clamp to secure the cable to the junction box.

TYING IN NEW WIRING AT A CEILING LIGHT Step 5:  TYING IN NEW WIRING AT A CEILING LIGHT

 You can tie in new wiring at a ceiling light if the light is not controlled by a switch.

Shut off the current at the service panel.

Tie white wires to white wires and black wires to black wires, as illustrated in Fig. 5.

Connect the ground wires as illustrated. If you are using a metal box, attach them to the box as well as the light fixture.

Knock out an opening in the outlet box, and continue the new wiring as illustrated.

Step 6:  ALWAYS MATCH CONNECTORS TO TYPE OF CABLE USED

Some boxes come with built-in connectors.

Armored cable connectors have inner rims to hold fiber bushings at the end of the cable.

Nonmetallic cable connectors are designed to grip the installation around the cable with a two-screw clamp.

Regardless of the type of cable used, always leave about 6" to 8" of wiring in the box to allow plenty of wire for making easy connections.

You can tighten the nut on either type of cable connector by placing a screwdriver in the notch and tapping the screwdriver lightly.

MAKE ALL CONNECTIONS IN APPROVED BOXES Step 7:  MAKE ALL CONNECTIONS IN APPROVED BOXES

Always remember that connections must be made in an approved box (Fig. 6). Never connect one cable to another by an open-line splice.

All switch, outlet, and junction boxes must be positioned so they are always accessible.

You can easily remove knockout plugs with a nail punch, screwdriver or metal rod.

RUNNING NEW CABLE BETWEEN MULTIPLE FLOORS

RUNNING NEW CABLE BETWEEN MULTIPLE FLOORS CONTINUED

Step 8:  RUNNING NEW CABLE BETWEEN MULTIPLE FLOORS

Drill a hole through the floor from bottom to top, as illustrated in Fig. 7. Be sure the hole is drilled into the recessed area behind the wall rather than in the open. Be sure to use a bit that's large enough to permit free passage of the wiring cable. 

Run the cable through the newly drilled hole to the desired location for the new receptacle or switch (Fig. 7).

Bring the cable through the opening by using a weight on the end of a string and a wire with a hook on the end (Fig. 8).

Using this same technique, you can add one outlet to another by drilling up through the floor, pulling the cable under the floor, and then running it to the desired position on the opposite wall (Fig. 9). The same wiring can be pulled through for either receptacles or switches.

ADDING NEW WIRING FROM BOXES IN CEILING Step 9:  ADDING NEW WIRING FROM BOXES IN CEILING

If your home has an unfinished attic, it may be easier to add new wiring by attaching it to boxes in the ceiling (Fig. 10). In this way, gravity works for you rather than against you.

Attach the cable to the box as previously described.

Cut a hole in the wall at the desired location for the switch or receptacle, and run the cable from the box in the ceiling to the new outlet location (Fig. 10).

Bring the new cable through the wall and ceiling by cutting and drilling holes in and through the wall, the 2x4 plate, and the ceiling (Fig. 11). A special fish tape is available for these types of jobs.

ADDING NEW WIRING ON THE SAME WALL

ADDING NEW WIRING ON THE SAME WALL CONTINUED

ADDING NEW WIRING ON THE SAME WALL MORE

Step 10:  ADDING NEW WIRING ON THE SAME WALL

You can connect new cable from an existing outlet to a new outlet on the same wall by running it inside the wall (Fig. 12). Mark the approximate location of the new outlet. Using a stud finder locate and mark the wall studs. Start one stud before the existing outlet and end one stud after the new outlet.

Mark the exact location of the new box. Make it the same height as the existing box. Do not locate it over a stud. Using a drywall or keyhole saw, cut the opening for the new box.

Using a utility knife and a drywall saw, cut a strip of drywall about 3" wide out of the wall, below the outlets. Start at the center of the first stud you marked and end at the center of the last stud; watch for nails as you cut. Carefully remove the drywall strip.

Using a hand or circular saw, make two cuts 1" apart and 3/4" deep in each of the exposed studs. Using a hammer and a chisel, remove the wood between the two saw cuts.

Be sure the power is off to the existing outlet. Remove the cover plate and the receptacle. Remove one of the knockouts in the bottom of the box. Run the new wire behind the wall and up through the knockout in the box. Tighten the clamp and attach the wires. If the box does not have a clamp, place a wire clamp on the new cable. Tighten the screw to hold the clamp on the wire. Be sure the nut is off the wire clamp and run the wire up to the box as before. Feed the threaded end of the clamp up through the knockout, replace the nut and tighten. Replace the receptacle and the cover plate.

On the new box, remove one of the knockouts in the bottom of the box. If the box you are using is a self-clamping box, insert the box into the wall and tighten. If not, insert the box into the wall, insert a Madison hanger on each side of the box, and bend the tabs over into the box to tighten.

Finish running the wire from the existing box through the notches and up behind the wall into the box as before. Clamp the wire and install the receptacle as in Fig. 3. Install the cover plate, turn on the power, and test the circuit with a neon tester. Shut off the power again to safely finish the project.

Nail metal cable protectors to the exposed studs over the notches. Replace the drywall strip you removed earlier. Use the spackling compound and drywall tape to complete the installation.

Cable can be pulled from an existing box on one wall to a new outlet on the opposite side of the same wall (Fig. 13). 

Attach a cable to the existing receptacle in the box as previously described. Allow ample slack in the cable to permit easy connection to the new box to be installed on the opposite wall.

Bring the cable through the new opening with a wire, as illustrated in Fig. 13.

Connect the cable to the new box, attach the desired receptacle, and mount the box to the wall with box supports if it is not near a stud (Fig. 14).

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Installing Doorbells

Here are tips and instructions for installing doorbells, buzzers or chimes. Take a few minutes to read the directions thoroughly. Following both these and manufacturers' instructions can save you time and effort while helping you achieve a satisfying finish. Inside this document you will find information about: 

Basic Information About Doorbells, Buzzers, or Chimes
Information About the Transformer
Installing a Single-button Doorbell
Wiring for Buttons on Front & Back Doors
Wiring for a Backdoor Buzzer & a Front Doorbell
Wiring Arrangement for Combination Bell & Buzzer
Locating the Transformer in the Basement
Wiring Door Chimes
Wiring a Four-note Chime
Locating Trouble in Bells & Chime

Step 1: BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT DOORBELLS, 

BUZZERS OR CHIMES

Wireless doorbells, buzzers and chimes consist of two units. The pushbutton unit is battery operated. The sound unit runs on household current provided by a regular outlet.

Most of today's doorbells and buzzers operate on 10 volts. Most modern door chimes operate on 16 volts.

Be sure the transformer you purchase with a doorbell, buzzer or chime is designed to provide the correct voltage for the mechanism you plan to install.

When you replace an older doorbell or buzzer with a new chime unit, you will probably have to replace the transformer too. The new transformer will provide the required voltage output.

If you are installing a battery-operated unit, you will not need to worry about transformers or power sources. These units are attractive enough to be installed on a wall in a room. Follow the instructions for button installation that matches the type of battery-powered unit you have–bell, buzzer, chime or combination.

 INFORMATION ABOUT THE TRANSFORMER Step 2:  INFORMATION ABOUT THE TRANSFORMER

On the newer doorbell, buzzer and chime units, the transformer is built into the unit. This eliminates the need for a separate transformer. When working with older systems you will need a separate transformer.

The 16-volt transformer needed for chimes is slightly larger than the 10-volt transformer used for bells or buzzers.

Both transformers are relatively small and fit into small areas such as outlet boxes.

A transformer (Fig. 1) reduces normal 120-volt power to 10 or 16 volts, thus adapting regular current to low-voltage equipment such as chimes, buzzers and bells.

A transformer usually has two permanent wires–one white and one black–designed to provide power to the unit from the power source.

Two attachment screws are mounted on the opposite side of the transformer for attaching low-voltage wires that in turn are connected to the bell, buzzer or chime (Fig. 1).

Most transformers are designed so they can be mounted directly to an outlet or junction box (Fig. 2). The primary power source wires can then be run directly into the box.

If the transformer is not mounted directly to the outlet or junction box, the connecting 120-volt wires should always run through safe, insulated connectors and be spliced inside the box.

Use No. 18 bell wire to connect to the two terminal screws on the low-voltage side of the transformer. Even though the voltage on these transformers is very low, you must still practice the rules of safety. Turn off the power before you start to work.

Use insulated staples to hold the bell wire in place. It is normally run along baseboards or in other exposed areas in a room.

INSTALLING A SINGLE-BUTTON DOORBELL Step 3:  INSTALLING A SINGLE-BUTTON DOORBELL

The simplest doorbell or buzzer installation is the wiring illustrated in Fig. 3. In this instance, a button is mounted on one door only to operate the buzzer or bell.

One wire runs unbroken from the terminal screw on the button of the bell or buzzer to the terminal screw on the transformer. The second wire runs from the button to one of the terminal screws on the bell, then from the second terminal screw back to the other screw on the transformer (Fig. 3).

The button can be mounted on any door–as far away from the bell as you'd like–and the bell and transformer can be mounted in any concealed location.

WIRING FOR BUTTONS Step 4: WIRING FOR BUTTONS ON FRONT & BACK DOORS

When you would like to have doorbell buttons on both the front and back doors, one wire goes directly from the terminal screws on both the front and backdoor buttons to one of the terminal screws on the transformer (Fig. 4).

The second wire goes directly from the other terminal screw on both buttons to the terminal screws on the bell (Fig. 4).

Finally, a third wire connects to the left terminal screw on the bell and to the other terminal screw on the transformer (Fig. 4).

One disadvantage to this system is that the person hearing the bell from inside the house never knows whether to answer the front or back door since both buttons activate the same bell sound.

WIRING FOR A BACKDOOR BUZZER Step 5:  WIRING FOR A BACKDOOR BUZZER & A FRONT DOORBELL

One way to solve this problem is by installing a bell and a buzzer. Try using a buzzer at the back door and a bell at the front door (Fig. 5).

Use the wiring system shown in Fig. 5 for wiring a buzzer and a bell at two different locations. The wiring is basically the same as in Fig. 4, except the buzzer is wired in between the terminal screw on the backdoor button and the terminal screw on the bell.

The buzzer, bell and transformer can be concealed in any location. This works well if you already have either a bell or buzzer installed. If you do not, consider a combination bell and buzzer unit to simplify installation and reduce cost.

WIRING ARRANGEMENT FOR COMBINATION BELL Step 6: WIRING ARRANGEMENT FOR COMBINATION BELL & BUZZER

A combination bell and buzzer gives you a buzzer for the back door and a bell for the front door in one unit (Fig. 6). You'll notice that this unit has three terminal screws rather than two.

Follow the wiring arrangement shown in Fig. 6 for installing the combination bell and buzzer unit so the bell rings when the front door button is pushed and the buzzer is activated at the back door.

The bell and buzzer should be placed so that the sound can be heard throughout the house. The sounds from bells and buzzers hidden deep in attics or closets may be muffled–and even completely shut out.
LOCATING THE TRANSFORMER IN THE BASEMENT Step 7:  LOCATING THE TRANSFORMER IN THE BASEMENT

 The best location for the transformer in many homes is the basement. Fig. 7 illustrates how to connect the transformer to an outlet box in the basement, while the wiring is run to the front and back doors and the bell and buzzer unit. Run low-voltage bell wire along the baseboard and around door frames, and use insulated staples to hold the wire in place. Such bell wire is neither expensive nor unsightly.

Always select a transformer with overload protection on the secondary or low-voltage wiring. Built-in protection of this type will cut off the current when trouble occurs in the transformer.

WIRING FOR DOOR CHIMES Step 8: WIRING FOR DOOR CHIMES

Many homeowners enjoy the sound of chimes rather than doorbells or buzzers. Chimes are attractive, and the sound is very pleasant.

Most chimes already provide separate tones for your front and back doors. This makes it easy to determine from which door the chime is activated.

Chimes of various types are available for you to use. A four-note chime unit may sound single notes for the back door and as many as eight notes for the front door. The wiring diagram in Fig. 8 shows how to wire a dual-chime unit for one note to sound from the back door and two notes to chime from the front door. You'll notice the similarity between wiring a chime and a doorbell or buzzer.

Chimes are usually much more attractive than bells or buzzers. For this reason, you may want to mount them right on the wall in a room.

Again, remember that the chime should be mounted in a location that allows you to hear the chimes throughout your home.

WIRING A FOUR-NOTE CHIME Step 9:  WIRING A FOUR-NOTE CHIME

 Always use a heavy transformer (16 volts to 20 volts) that matches the voltage requirement for a larger chime.

Read the manufacturer's instructions and follow them carefully. Many larger transformers require specific wiring arrangements. 

Fig. 9 shows a simple wiring plan for a four-note chime.

In the illustration, the transformer is located in an outlet box in the basement, and the wire feeds to the four chimes in the central unit located elsewhere within the house.

LOCATING TROUBLE IN BELLS CHIMES Step 10: LOCATING TROUBLE IN BELLS CHIMES

Use a low-voltage circuit tester for testing the wiring arrangements for doorbells, buzzers or chimes. This type of tester is readily available at most hardware stores and home centers for a very reasonable cost.

When problems arise, the doorbell button is usually the culprit. Always check the button first if a doorbell or chime fails to function. Metal fatigue in the spring or corrosion from the weather may cause the contact point to fail to function.

After checking the bell button, inspect all visible sections of the wiring for breakage or mechanical damage. 

Use a low-voltage tester on each section of the wiring. You will probably locate a break in the wiring rather than a short.

The bell will continuously ring–even when the button is not pushed–if you have a short somewhere in the wire.

If the transformer has an overload protection device, a shortage may cause it to cut off the secondary current. So, the transformer should also be checked when problems occur.

To check the transformer, disconnect one wire from the transformer's secondary screw. Touch the low-voltage terminal and the disconnected wire with the low-voltage tester.

The bulb will light if there is a short in the wire. Be sure that the bulb you use in the low-voltage tester matches the voltage in the transformer. If you are using a lower-voltage bulb, it will burn out during testing. If you are using a bulb with a high-voltage rating, the light will simply be dim.

Use a low-voltage tester to test the doorbell button. Connect the button from one transformer terminal through the bulb tester and back to the other terminal. If the button is working, the bulb will light when the button is pushed.

If the trouble seems to be in the bell, buzzer or chime, the problem is usually in the connections at the contact point. Remove each connection wire, file it with sandpaper and replace each wire.

More expensive chimes have solenoids that may be very difficult to replace. In some cases, these solenoids burn out and the chimes will fail to function. You may need to return the chime to the manufacturer for repair.

When first installing a wireless unit, if the unit fails to operate, try plugging in the sound unit closer to the location of the pushbutton. You may just be out of the range of the small transmitter in the pushbutton.

With the wireless units a weak battery in the pushbutton may cause the unit not to work. Check the battery with a low-voltage tester set to DC volts. If the battery is weak, replace it.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Soldering

Follow these tips and instructions on how to work with solder to help you save time, money and effort. In this document you will find information about: 

How to Prepare for a Soldering Job
How to Solder Various Metals
Soldering Flat Pieces of Metal

HOW TO PREPARE FOR A SOLDERING JOB

HOW TO PREPARE FOR A SOLDERING JOB CONTINUED

Step 1: HOW TO PREPARE FOR A SOLDERING JOB

There are many types of soldering pencils, guns and irons that are adequate for home use. Most home-use soldering tools are heated electrically. There are soldering tips that can be used with your propane torch. There is even a small refillable butane gas-powered soldering tool. 

The proper soldering tool depends on your project. The propane torch is for jobs requiring a high heat source like sweating copper fittings. The gun is for soldering tasks requiring a little more control of the amount of heat and where it is going, such as joining wires, while the pencil is for intricate soldering jobs requiring even less heat but more control, like circuit-board repairs.

Before soldering with any pencil, gun or iron, be sure the tip is thoroughly cleaned. Use a light or medium file to remove any corrosion that is built up on the tip of the soldering point (Fig. 1). The tip of a soldering tool should be clean at all times.

Clean the tip after each use to eliminate much of the need for filing the tip.

The shape of the tip of a soldering tool is also important. The modified chisel tip as illustrated in Fig. 2 is ideal for most soldering jobs. 

The tip of the soldering tool should be small enough to reach into tight places but blunt enough to ensure that heat is transmitted all the way down to the point.

Before beginning the soldering job, apply a thin, even coat of solder to all sides of the tip. This coating process is referred to as "tinning" (Fig. 3). Tinning should be done frequently while you are soldering. 

To apply an even coat of solder on all sides of the tip of the pencil, gun or iron, hold a length of core-type solder against the hot tip. With the solder against the tip, rotate the soldering tool so all sides of the tip are covered evenly.

Always be sure your soldering tool is at maximum heat. You cannot get a proper soldering job with a pencil, gun or iron that does not melt the solder quickly. 

Also, be sure the material you are soldering is completely clean. Dirt, grease or any foreign matter limits the holding power of solder. Any material to be soldered should be scraped, sanded or treated with a soldering flux before you apply the solder.

Always do your soldering on a flat, even surface. For safety, it is best to work on a fireproof surface. 

A kitchen-type cleaning pad or a piece of steel wool is a handy cleaning device for the point of your soldering tool while you are soldering (Fig. 4). This pad or piece of steel wool can be stapled or tacked to the work surface where you are soldering. An occasional wipe across the cleaning pad keeps the point clean at all times.

Tack two crossed finish nails into a scrap piece of wood to make an ideal holder for your soldering pencil or iron (Fig. 5). These nails keep the pencil or iron off the flat surface, hold it in place and keep the point of the pencil or iron clean while you are doing the job. 

Always apply heat with the point of the soldering tool held flat against the metal to be soldered. Do not try to transmit heat with only the tip–the tip is for shaping or forming.

Keep the soldering point hot at all times. If either the solder or the metal to which the solder is applied is not kept hot enough, you will get a poor soldering joint.

Although solder is also sold in a solid bar, core-type solder is most commonly used. One type of solder has a rosin core while the other has an acid core.

Always use a rosin-core solder (this has a rosin flux in the center) for soldering electrical wiring and metals like tin and copper. 

Use an acid-core solder (this has an acid flux in the center) for soldering more difficult metals, such as galvanized iron. When you use an acid-core solder, the surface to which the solder is applied should be washed after each soldering to remove the corrosive effect of the acid.

A special type of solder is required for soldering stainless steel.

HOW TO SOLDER VARIOUS METALS

HOW TO SOLDER VARIOUS METALS CONTINUED

HOW TO SOLDER VARIOUS METALS MORE

Step 2:  HOW TO SOLDER VARIOUS METALS

It is important that all metal to be soldered is thoroughly clean. Solder simply will not adhere to dirty or oxidized metal surfaces.

Clean any flat surfaces which are to be soldered with steel wool, a file, emery cloth, etc. It's important to take time to clean the surface thoroughly.

Scrape any wire to be soldered with the back of a knife or any flat piece of metal (Fig. 6). If the wire is extremely dirty, dip it into a flux. Do not touch the wire with your hands after it has been cleaned. Natural oils in the skin may cause the solder not to stick.

Although the core of solder contains flux, additional flux may be required on extremely difficult soldering jobs.

Liquid flux can be brushed on the metal if required.

You will need flux if you are soldering with bar solder, which does not contain a core of flux.

If solder remains on the tip of the pencil, gun or iron for any period of time, the flux boils out and must be replaced.

If you find it difficult to get solder to stick on galvanized metal or any other hard-to-solder surface, add some flux (Fig. 7). This will normally improve the sticking capacity of the solder.

If you are attempting to solder any coated surface, such as enamelware, you must chip away the coated area before applying the solder (Fig. 8). Solder will not stick to coated surfaces.

When soldering electrical wire, separate the wires to be soldered and scrape them clean (Fig. 9).

Each section of the wire should then be "tinned" or coated with a thin layer of solder.

Apply this thin coating of solder by holding the wire on the hot tip of the soldering tool and feeding the rosin-core solder from the top (Fig. 9).

You will need a small bench vise or some other holding device to provide a "third hand" for soldering jobs of this type.

After the wires have been thoroughly tinned, twist them together (Fig. 10).

After the wires have been twisted together, apply a small amount of flux to the exposed wire to remove any oil that might have been left on the wiring during the twisting process.

A small paper cup makes an excellent holding device for soldering small pieces of wire (Fig. 11).

Make a slot in each side of the cup to hold the wire in a firm position. Also, fill the bottom of the cup with water. This will make the cup more stable and reduce the chances of a flame-up.

Note in Fig. 10 that the splices in the wire are located at different positions. This eliminates the danger of electrical shorts and lessens the amount of buildup when the soldered spots are taped for insulation.

When the wires have been twisted together and fluxed, they are ready for soldering (Fig. 12). 

Hold the hot soldering tool under the joint to be soldered and feed the solder from the top.

Let the solder melt and run down until the joint is thoroughly covered.

Allow the soldered joint to cool completely before applying any pressure. After the solder cools and becomes hard, test it to make sure the soldered joint is secure.

Always use a rosin-core solder for soldering electrical wiring. NEVER use an acid-flux solder for soldering electrical wire.

Joints soldered properly should look somewhat like those illustrated in Fig. 13. A joint that is properly twisted and soldered is as strong as any uncut section of the wire.

SOLDERING FLAT PIECES OF METAL

SOLDERING FLAT PIECES OF METAL CONTINUED

Step 3:  SOLDERING FLAT PIECES OF METAL

 You should solder most flat metals, such as copper and tin, with a rosin-core solder. Use acid-core solder only on galvanized iron and other hard-to-solder metals.

To get a good bond on two pieces of flat metal, apply a thin layer of solder to both edges (Fig. 14).

After applying this thin layer of solder to the edges to be soldered together, place the tinned edges one over the other and press them firmly in place with the broad side of the hot soldering iron.

As you apply pressure with the soldering iron, feed additional solder into the joint from the side.

A little experience will enable you to "sweat" the edges and solder the two pieces of metal together easily, quickly and firmly.

Heat that is applied to flat pieces of metal can cause the metal to warp and bow up or down. This makes soldering difficult.

When soldering two pieces of metal, hold them firmly in position with a screwdriver or some other blunt object while soldering (Fig. 15).

If you do a lot of soldering, you may find a small C-clamp or some other permanent holding device helpful on jobs of this type.

Knowing how to solder is helpful for many home repair jobs. The soldering pencil, gun or iron and core-type soldering make it possible for you to repair gutters, electrical wiring, sheet metal or almost any other type of metal object.

Always be sure to clean the point of the soldering tool on the cleaning pad or steel wool before putting it away.

An empty tin can makes an ideal holder for a hot soldering pencil or iron.

If you do not use a tin can, be sure to lay the hot soldering pencil or iron in a safe position until it cools to prevent a fire hazard.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document

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Storage Areas

Read these tips and instructions carefully on how to build additional storage areas in your home. Following the procedures outlined in this document will help you end up with a more satisfactory job with less waste and effort. Inside this document you will find information about:

Storage Drawers for bed Linens and Blankets
Constructing and Installing the Drawers
Finishing the Job
Building Handy Storage Closet for Area Under Sloped Roof
Construction Details on Inset Pieces for Storage Closet
Building a Linen Closet with Sliding Drawers
Creating Closet Space with Folding Doors

STORAGE DRAWERS FOR BED LINENS Step 1: STORAGE DRAWERS FOR BED LINENS

AND BLANKETS

Wasted attic space under the slope of the roof in many homes can be converted to valuable storage space for linens, blankets, pillows, etc. You can add as many drawers as needed or as space permits. 

To install drawers, first nail 2x6 plates on the rafters at the locations where the studs will connect when mounted from the floor to the ceiling (A, Fig. 1). 

Next, nail a 2x4 plate (B) on the floor at a position exactly plumb below the plates (A) which you have nailed to the rafter (Fig. 1). 

Insert as many studs at the desired locations as required to provide adequate support to create the number of drawers needed. 

Be sure the studs, both front and back, are exactly plumb in all directions. The studs can be plumbed with either a long level or a plumb bob. The level is probably easier to read and use. 

The front 2x4 studs are usually set at the position where the floor-to-rafter height is approximately 4'. All space under the slope beyond this point is usually wasted. When this space is framed in, it makes an ideal storage area. 

Now place a 2x4 header (C) between the front studs at the top edge of the top drawer. This header provides a nailing edge for the base of the face panel between the top edge of the top drawer and the ceiling. It also provides support for the entire structure. 

Insert a 3/16" base just above the 2x4 floor plate to provide a bottom for the lower drawer. Place 1" boards cut to the proper length between two sections of drawers as dividers (Fig. 2). 

Finally, divide the area for the drawers into two equal parts, and place a 3/16" piece of plywood as a dividing piece between the two drawer spaces. Be sure the piece of plywood is exactly level and square in all corners. This provides the base for the top drawer in the finished storage area.

CONSTRUCTING AND INSTALLINGTHE DRAWERS Step 2: CONSTRUCTING AND INSTALLINGTHE DRAWERS

Make a framework for the bottom of each drawer from a 1x4 (Fig. 2). Cut the 1x4 pieces to the proper length and fasten at each corner. 

Cover the framework for the bottom of each drawer with a piece of 3/16" plywood cut to proper size. 

Cut the front and back of each drawer from 1" boards and attach the front and back to the base of the drawer as illustrated. Nail these boards to the 1x4 frame with 6-penny box nails. 

Sand the top, bottom and edges of both the front and back of the drawer for a neat finish. You may want to use a nail set and wood putty to hide the nail heads. Attach a drawer pull to the board that forms the face of each drawer. 

Insert a 1/2" wood dowel on each side of the drawer from the back to the front. These can be glued into place. The dowels provide extra support for heavily loaded drawers.

Step 3: FINISHING THE JOB

Place the drawers into position (Fig. 2). Finish the ceiling, the area above the drawers, and the room area on each side of the drawers with 1/4" plywood or paneling. 

If plywood is used, you can use stain, wallpaper, or paint for a finished look. 

Place strips over the rafters 16" apart on the center for the finishing touch.

STORAGE CLOSET FOR AREA

STORAGE CLOSET FOR AREA CONTINUED

Step 4: STORAGE CLOSET FOR AREA

UNDER SLOPED ROOF

Fig. 3 illustrates a storage cabinet and built-in desk that can easily be built under the sloped area of an attic in a story-and-a-half home. The major part of the cabinet has shelves, drawers and a hanging area. The rear section is used for bulk storage. 

Study Fig. 3 carefully and make any necessary changes in dimensions to create a similar storage area to fit under the sloped area in your home. 

Fig. 4 illustrates the basic parts of the storage area, as well as the shelves and the overall dimensions of the major components in the rear section of the cabinet. Again, you may need to make slight adjustments in the dimensions shown to conform to the slope of your roof and other variations in size or shape. 

Study the dimensions of each part of the structure carefully, and cut and mount each shelf and support as illustrated. 

Fig. 5 shows how the front section of the storage cabinet is fitted into place. Note the dimensions and the construction materials used to create a bulk storage area at the rear of the closet. This space, ordinarily lost, is now converted to valuable storage for bulky items. 

Fig. 6 shows the final overall construction details for the entire unit when the front and back sections are placed together. Carefully study the materials used and the dimension of each storage area to construct a storage closet and desk of similar design with little effort.

CONSTRUCTION DETAILS ON INSET PIECES FOR STORAGE CLOSE

CONSTRUCTION DETAILS ON INSET PIECES FOR STORAGE CLOSE CONTINUED

Step 5:  CONSTRUCTION DETAILS ON INSET PIECES FOR STORAGE CLOSE

See Fig. 7 for construction details on the drawers used in this storage closet. See Fig. 6 for the location of these drawers in the finished storage closet. 

No. 3 drawers are used in the finished storage closet. 

Fig. 7 indicates using plywood and other framing materials for constructing the drawers. You can follow these directions or use different materials if you'd like. 

You can create your own pattern for the doors of the closet as long as they are cut to the proper size. 

Fig. 8 lists the number and grade of plywood and framing pieces needed to construct the storage closet. Other hardware items are also listed. You will need to make adjustments in this list if you vary the size and shape. Otherwise, the list provides all materials required for the job.

BUILDING A LINEN CLOSET WITH SLIDING DRAWERS

BUILDING A LINEN CLOSET WITH SLIDING DRAWERS CONTINUED

Step 6:  BUILDING A LINEN CLOSET WITH SLIDING DRAWERS

Fig. 9 shows how any closet can be converted to a linen closet with sliding drawers. The dimensions must be adjusted to fit the closet in your own home. Fig. 9 shows a typical closet arrangement, so only minor adjustments in dimensions should be required. 

Details on mounting the drawer supports and lining inside the closet are shown in Fig. 10. Remember, the edge of the new closet must be flush with the outer edge of the door casing, so use care in our measurements at this point. 

Fig. 11 provides construction details and dimensions for drawers. Drawers at the bottom of the closet are normally 7" high, while the two drawers at the top of the closet are normally 5" high. Again, these heights must be adjusted to fit the closet space you are filling. 

In Fig. 11, notches are cut out in the front of the drawers instead of adding drawer pulls. Add drawer pulls, if you prefer. 

Fig. 12 shows the construction details and dimensions for the rolling hamper in the bottom of the closet. Again, make adjustments in the dimensions if the space you are using varies from the one shown.

CREATING CLOSET SPACE WITH FOLDING DOORS Step 7:  CREATING CLOSET SPACE WITH FOLDING DOORS

You can often create extra closet space in rooms by simply adding folding doors that hang from the ceiling. These folding doors are made of many materials and are available in different styles and patterns. 

Using this method, you can create storage areas in family rooms, mud rooms, garages and even bedrooms without any major construction. 

The entire end of a room can be converted into a closet area with folding doors. 

A small section of any wall can be converted into a closet area. Use either curved overhead corners or straight overhead corners for making these closets. 

Corners can be converted into storage areas by using overhead tracks. Use either curved overhead track or straight overhead track for constructing corner closets.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Designing a Closet Organizer

No matter how much closet storage you have, chances are you could probably always use more space. But while building new closets may not be a practical option, you may be able to use the space you have more efficiently. In this document you will find information about: 

Planning Closet Storage
Building Closet Storage

PLANNING CLOSET STORAGE

Step 1: PLANNING CLOSET STORAGE

To make the most of your closet space, you first need to know the sizes of the things you want to store. The following general clothing dimensions will help you plan your closet storage efficiently:

PLANNING CLOSET STORAGE CONTINUED

You may not want to design your closet around an exact inventory of all your clothing (what if you buy another shirt?), but a general inventory can help you add up the space you'll need.

One of the problems with building any kind of storage space is that your needs may change. The closet layout in Fig. 1 is an easy project to build, but it offers enough flexibility that you can change the design to suit your changing needs.

This design is based on the size of a common 6-foot closet–about 6-1/2 feet wide, 7-1/2 feet tall, and 24" deep, with a 6-foot-wide, 80"-high door opening.

It provides nearly the same space for hanging clothes by stacking two 3-foot closet rods rather than using one rod the entire length of the closet.

One of the most wasted areas in a closet is the space between the top shelf and the ceiling. The top shelf in this design is placed as high as possible–only 3" below the top of the door opening–but it is only 10" wide, so you can maneuver items in and out.

The rest of the shelves are 22" deep, almost as deep as the closet. The top shelf and the shelf just above the optional drawers are both permanent. They rest on 1x2 cleats fastened to the wall.

The two uprights are also fastened in place permanently. They provide support for the permanent shelves, and anchor one end of the closet rods.

The remaining shelves rest on shelf clips that are hung from metal shelf standards. They can be moved up and down as needed to accommodate shoes, sweaters, shirts, hats, etc.

The drawers are simple boxes built to slide into two shelves, although they may also be hung from drawer slides. The cubbyhole below the drawers will hold boots or other tall items.

The shelves are cut from 3/4" plywood, and the drawers are made from 1/2" plywood, with 1/4" hardboard for the bottoms.

BUILDING CLOSET STORAGE

BUILDING CLOSET STORAGE CONTINUED

BUILDING CLOSET STORAGE MORE

CLOSET STORAGE

Step 2:   BUILDING CLOSET STORAGE

To build this closet storage unit, first remove the existing shelves, closet rod, and doors. Measure 3" down from the top of the door opening and make a pencil mark on the wall just inside the door. Use a level to draw a level line from this mark all around the inside of the closet.

Cut two 10" 1x2 cleats and fasten them to the side walls, upper edges flush with your pencil line. You should be able to nail the cleat to the wall framing in the back corner, but you may need to use a toggle bolt or hollow wall anchor at the front of each cleat.

Measure along the back wall to the location of the center upright. Make a mark, then make a second mark 3/4" farther. Install two more 1x2 cleats on the back wall, leaving a 3/4" gap between them at the point where the center upright will be placed (Fig. 2).

Cut the top shelf and place it on the cleats. Fasten it in place with 6d finish nails. Measure from the bottom of the shelf to the floor, then cut the center upright to fit. Set the upright under the top shelf and nail through the shelf into the upright with 6d finish nails. Use the level to plumb the upright, then use a carpenter's square to make sure it is at a 90-degree angle to the back wall. Toenail through the lower edge of the upright into the floor with an 8d finish nail to secure it in place (Fig. 3).

Next, install the lower permanent shelf (from Fig. 1, left side). Fasten 1x2 cleats on the back and side walls as you did for the top shelf. Cut the shelf and set it in place, fastening it to the 1x2 cleats on one side, and nailing through the center upright into the edge of the shelf on the other (Fig. 4).

Then cut the lower upright (the one that divides the lower shelves and the drawers in Fig. 1). Install the small upright as you did the center upright.

Measure from the center upright to the side wall for the closet rods. Cut the closet rods 1/2" shorter than that dimension. Install the closet rod sockets on the wall, centered between the back wall and the front of the closet. Set each closet rod in the socket, level it, and mark the location of the opposite socket. Install the other two sockets, then set the closet rods in place.

On the shelving side of the closet, measure the vertical distance from the underside of the top shelf to the top of the lower permanent shelf. Subtract 6", then cut two 1x2s to this length to provide backing for adjustable shelf standards. Mount each 1x2 vertically on the side wall with four hollow wall anchors. The 1x2s should be positioned about 2" from the back and front walls of the closet (Fig. 5).

Cut four shelf standards to the same length as the 1x2s (Fig. 6). Mount the shelf standards on the 1x2s and on the center upright. To make sure the slots in the shelf standards are level with each other, insert one shelf clip in each standard and use your level (and a cut 1x2, if needed) to check each standard before fastening it. Repeat the process on the wall between the lower permanent shelf and the floor.

Cut the adjustable shelves about 1/4" shorter than the distance between the standards. Insert shelf clips in the standards and install the shelves.

Cut the permanent shelves that will go between the center upright and the lower upright, then install them by nailing through the two uprights into the ends of the shelves. Use your level to make sure they are installed level.

Build the drawers from 1/2" Baltic birch plywood. First, measure the cubbyhole where the drawer will be placed. Cut the sides so the width is 1" less than the height of the hole, and the length is 1" less than the depth. Cut the back and front the same width as the sides, but 1/2" shorter than the width of the hole.

Rout a 1/4" x 1/4" groove in all four pieces, 1/4" above the bottom of each piece. Assemble the front and sides by gluing and screwing through the front into the edges of the sides. Cut the bottom from a piece of 1/4" hardboard, 1/2" larger in each direction than the interior dimension of the drawer (Fig. 7).

Slip the drawer into the groove, then fasten the back to the assembly. Attach the handle.

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Building Shelves

Here are tips and suggestions on how to build attractive shelving that's also functional. Read them carefully to help save you time, money and effort. Inside this document you will find information about: 

Adjustable and Non-adjustable Wood Shelving
Designing Adjustable Wood Shelves
Metal and Wood Brackets for Adjustable Shelves

ADJUSTABLE AND NON-ADJUSTABLE

ADJUSTABLE AND NON-ADJUSTABLE CONTINUED

Step 1: ADJUSTABLE AND NON-ADJUSTABLE 

WOOD SHELVING

Additional shelving is useful in almost every home and can be added quickly and easily. And it need not be expensive.

Consider adding shelves in your basement, attic, kitchen and other areas to help keep stored materials much neater and to save time when looking for stored items.

You can make basic, non-adjustable shelving from solid boards of almost any size or width (Fig. 1). Such shelving is easy to make and provides adequate support for normal storage and shelving needs.

The disadvantage of non-adjustable shelving is that some stored objects may be too tall or short, thus wasting space on the shelving you construct.

You can overcome this problem by making shelves for tall objects and other shelves for short objects. Give a little thought to the materials you plan to store so you can design the shelves to minimize wasted space.

Non-adjustable shelving is normally used in closets, attics, basements, work areas, etc., where appearance and adjustability are not very important. These shelves can be nailed together with support pieces to provide the structural strength required.

Small cleats can provide the needed support for other types of non-adjustable shelves (Fig. 2). These shelves can be made as wide or as long as necessary.

Wood shelving of this type should have supports every 3'. If the shelving will hold extremely heavy loads, use supports as frequently as every 2-1/2'.

Use extreme care when nailing the cleats onto the side boards. Use a T-square or a level to make sure the shelves are in the proper position and are evenly spaced at all points.

The way in which you drive the nails will increase or decrease the ability of the shelves to carry heavy loads (Fig. 3).

For example, nails driven at an upward angle are likely to pull out when a heavy load is placed on them.

If the nails are driven straight into the supporting wall, the cleat has a fair supporting strength. However, nails driven at a downward angle greatly increase the ability of the cleat to carry a heavy load. Keep this in mind when nailing cleats for supporting shelves.

Wider cleats, as shown in Fig. 4, provide a great deal of structural strength. They also make it possible for the shelves to be moved in and out as necessary.

If you are designing shelves to carry extremely heavy loads, use wide cleats and nail them firmly into position.

DESIGNING ADJUSTABLE WOOD SHELVES

DESIGNING ADJUSTABLE WOOD SHELVES CONTINUED

DESIGNING ADJUSTABLE WOOD SHELVES MORE

Step 2: DESIGNING ADJUSTABLE  WOOD SHELVES

Use a simple dado cut in the side support for adjustable wood shelves. Dado cuts can be inserted at any desired spacing to provide as many adjustments as you need. 

You can also use dado cuts for permanent non-adjustable shelving. For adjustable shelving, the dado cuts must be relatively deep. For permanent shelving, the cuts can be shallow. 

The dado cut shown in Fig. 5 is visible from the front of the shelf. If this is objectionable, make a concealed dado cut for a neater, less conspicuous shelf joint (Fig. 6).

Again, use a dado cut for either adjustable or non-adjustable shelving. An adjustable shelf requires a deeper concealed dado cut. The shelf is notched in the front for concealing the dado cut.

A pinned joint provides structural strength for long lengths of shelving (Fig. 7). The supporting piece can be inserted or removed as required.

You can create another type of adjustable shelving by making cuts at 90-degree and 45-degree angles (Fig. 8). The shelf can then be cut to the same 45-degree angle and fitted into the sawed slots.

This type of shelving is not designed to carry extremely heavy loads. The 45-degree cut in the end of the shelf slightly weakens the supporting strength of the shelf.

Fig. 9 shows a modified version of the 90-degree and 45-degree angle cuts for adjustable shelving. Cut the notches continuously to provide a shelf adjustment about every 1".

If the shelving notches are carefully cut, they create quite a pleasing effect. You can insert box units to improve both the appearance and the function of the adjustable shelves.

Another design for adjustable shelves requires a 1x4 board of the desired length for the base (Fig. 10).

First, drill holes at the desired intervals. You can usually use holes of 3/4" bored at 3/4" intervals.

When all holes are drilled into the 1x4 piece of wood, split the wood down the middle and mount it to provide end supports for the shelves (Fig. 11).

Each 1x4, when drilled and split, makes two shelf supports or adequate supports for one end of the shelf.

You must drill two identical 1x4s to make supports for both ends of each shelf. Be sure to drill the holes in exactly the same positions and at the same spacing intervals so they match when affixed at each end of the shelf.

Once the 1x4 has been drilled and split, carefully sand and finish it for a neat appearance.

Use this same treatment for making deep, sliding shelves for linens or other storage in closets (Fig. 12). These shelves are inserted with the long measurement going into the closet rather than spanning the closet width.

The end of each shelf must be rounded and sanded to fit into the curved areas of the shelf supports.

METAL AND WOOD BRACKETS FOR ADJUSTABLE SHELVES

METAL AND WOOD BRACKETS FOR ADJUSTABLE SHELVES CONTINUED

METAL AND WOOD BRACKETS FOR ADJUSTABLE SHELVES MORE

Step 3: METAL AND WOOD BRACKETS FOR ADJUSTABLE SHELVES

Most adjustable shelves are supported by metal brackets. These brackets are inexpensive and much easier to use than most wooden supports.

Special brackets that fit into drilled holes make good supports for light shelving (Fig. 13).

Drill holes into the supporting walls of the shelf at the desired spacing intervals. Then, slip the bracket into the hole and lay the shelf on the two supporting brackets.

These brackets can be adjusted upward or downward to make room for large or small items. Although easy to handle, use these brackets only for supporting light storage loads.

You can use simple dowel pins instead of metal brackets to make adjustable shelves (Fig. 14).
Insert the dowel pins in the drilled holes. They can be inserted or removed to adjust the shelving up or down quickly and easily.

Dowel pins are easy to use, but they do not support heavy loads and they tend to wear or give way under extended use. Metal shelf brackets are preferable.

A special flush-type shelf bracket is fitted into grooves for extreme neatness and flexibility (Fig. 15).

This shelving bracket provides more than sufficient structural strength for normal storage purposes. It is inexpensive, very effective and easy to use.

For mounting grooved shelving brackets of this type, use a dado cut for each bracket in the supporting end of the shelf.

The regular shelf bracket and standard is perhaps the most widely used shelf support (Fig. 16). Readily available from many sources, it is easy to install and neat in appearance.

The shelf standard and bracket makes it easy to build shelves quickly and to remove them when they are no longer needed.

Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Installing Ceiling Tile

Here are tips and general instructions on installing ceiling tiles. They can help you save time and effort once you begin the job. Be sure to follow manufacturer's instructions for installation, particularly if you're using cement or adhesive. Inside this document you will find information about:

Selecting the right tiles

Determining how to apply tiles

How to determine the size of border tiles

Applying tile with adhesives

Installing tiles on wood furring strips

Installing the furring strips

Stapling tiles to furring strips

Tiling around posts or pipes

Step 1:  SELECTING THE RIGHT TILES

Most ceiling tiles are made of fiberboard, a mixture of fine fibers cut from wood or cane and chemical binders, which are pressed into semihard, flat panels. Special chemicals are added during this process to make fire-resistant tiles.

Standard tiles measure 12" by 12", although tiles are also made in 12" by 24" and other sizes. Most ceiling tiles have tongue-and-groove edges for easier installation. You can choose from plain, embossed and patterned finishes. Some are molded with special texturing and square edges – instead of the common beveled edges – to make seams barely visible when the tiles are in place. 

Acoustical tiles are made from the same type of fiber, but an additional manufacturing process helps these tiles absorb much of the sound in a room. A well-designed acoustical tile absorbs up to 70 percent of the excess noise in an area.

Ask your retailer to help you estimate the materials you need for a tile installation. Most manufacturers provide charts to the retailer to help estimate the number of tiles, the amount of furring, and the gallons of adhesive needed, based on the room size.

Manufacturers typically pack 12" by 12" ceiling tiles in cartons of 40, and 12" by 24" tiles are packed 20 to a carton.

Step 2:  DETERMINING HOW TO APPLY TILES

The two most common methods of ceiling tile application are to use adhesives or to staple or nail the tiles to wood furring strips. A third system involves a metal grid instead of furring strips and metal clips instead of glue or nails. 

For ceilings made of sound plaster, gypsum board, or other material that provides a sound, smooth, continuous backing, use adhesives to apply the ceiling tiles. 

If the ceiling has exposed joints, cracked plaster, or any other unsound surface, apply furring strips and nail or staple the tiles to the furring strips

FOLLOW THESE THREE BASIC RULES

Step 3: FOLLOW THESE THREE BASIC RULES

All cut tiles should be used for the edges of the room where the ceiling meets the walls (Fig. 1).

Cut tiles at opposite ends of the room should be the same size.

Cut tiles should never be less than half a tile wide.

Step 4:  HOW TO DETERMINE THE SIZE OF BORDER TILES

Measure the total distance from wall to wall on the longer side of the room. If the length measures in exact feet, you will not need to cut any border tiles for that direction. If the distance does not come out in exact feet, add 12 to the number of inches remaining and divide by two. This gives you the width of your border tiles. 

For example, if the room is 10'6" long, add 12 to the 6, divide 18 by 2, and the result, 9", is the proper width of your border tile. (Adding 12 guarantees that your border tile will be more than half the width of a full tile.) 

Use the same measurement technique for the shorter side of the room.

APPLYING TILE WITH ADHESIVES

APPLYING TILE WITH ADHESIVES CONTINUED

APPLYING TILE WITH ADHESIVES MORE

Step 5: APPLYING TILE WITH ADHESIVES

Use adhesive for applying tiles only if the ceiling is sound and even. If it is not, use the furring strip method (see step 6).

Surface preparation is important when using adhesives. Any painted surface should be checked carefully–the paint may flake, peel or become chalky, and your tiles will not adhere. You can test painted surfaces by installing four or five tiles at different places around the room and waiting 48 hours to see how well they adhere.

Using the technique outlined in Step 4 (determining the size of border tiles), make sure that the border tiles will be the same on opposing sides of the room.

Snap a chalk line along each side of the room that equals the width of the border tile from the wall. Use these lines to align the first row of border tiles along both the short and long sides of the room (Fig. 2).

Cut your first border tile to size. This tile fits into the corner, so you must take into consideration the dimensions of border tiles on both the short and long sides of the room. For example, if your border tiles on the long side of the room are to be 10" and on the short side of the room only 9", the corner tile should be cut to measure 10" by 9". This allows all other border tiles in the room to line up properly with your full-sized tiles.

Cut border tiles on a flat surface, with the finished side up. Use a very sharp knife or utility knife, and a clean (preferably metal-edged) straightedge. 

Place the adhesive or cement in each corner of the tile about an inch from the edge, and in the middle of the tile (Fig. 3).

Place the border tile in position in the corner (Fig. 4). Make sure the wide stapling edge lines up with the chalk marks on both sides. The flange must be exposed so the tongue of the next tile can slide into the tile you've just placed. This guarantees a solid fit.

It may be necessary to use a staple in each flange to hold the tile in position while the adhesive dries. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

Place several border tiles in position along each edge, then fill in the ceiling with full-sized tiles (Fig. 5).

Once you've installed all the full-sized tiles, you must measure and fit each border tile carefully on the opposite border.

Install a border molding to complete the job, and finish with a neat and finished appearance (Fig. 6).

Step 6:  INSTALLING TILES ON WOOD FURRING STRIPS

For a ceiling with exposed joists, unsound plaster or an uneven surface, nail furring strips to the ceiling before applying the tiles.

Seasoned, straight-grained soft woods, such as pine, spruce or fir make ideal furring strips.

If the ceiling has joists hidden by an existing ceiling, these joists must be located and marked before the furring strips are applied. You can locate joists by driving a nail into the ceiling or by using a stud finder.

Joists are usually located every 16" or 24". After you locate the first joist, measure across 16" and try again. After you have determined the spacing, locate and mark all joists with a chalk line so you can attach the furring strips without having to locate the joists again on each run.

Nail the 1" x 3" furring strips across the joists at right angles to the joists.

Attach the first furring strip on the ceiling immediately against the wall that runs at right angles to the ceiling joists.

INSTALLING THE FURRING STRIPS

Step 7:  INSTALLING THE FURRING STRIPS

Position the second furring strip so that the distance between the center of the strip and the wall is the width of your border tile.

It is critical that the remaining furring strips be exactly parallel to this strip, and that the distance from center to center of each furring strip is 12". One of the easiest ways to position the remaining furring strips is to cut a block of wood exactly 12" less the width of one furring strip. Use the block as a guide in positioning the remaining strips (Fig. 7).

Use 8-penny common nails for nailing the strips, with one nail at each joist.

All furring strips must be level. Use a long level to get a reading on all strips as they are added. If needed, insert wood shims between the joists and the furring strips for leveling.

At the walls running parallel to the ceiling joists (at right angles to the furring strips), use scraps of furring to provide a nailing or stapling position for the border tiles (Fig. 8).

STAPLING TILES TO FURRING STRIPS


STAPLING TILES TO FURRING STRIPS MORE

Step 8:  STAPLING TILES TO FURRING STRIPS

Snap a chalk line along both the short and long sides of the room to align the first row of border tiles. These chalk lines will run down the center of the furring strip on one side and across the furring strips on the other side (Fig. 9).

Cut your first border tile to size. This tile fits into a corner, so you must take into consideration the dimensions of the border tiles on both the short and long sides of the room. For example, if your border tiles on the long side of the room are 10" and on the short side of the room only 9", the corner tile should be cut to measure 10" by 9". This allows all other border tiles in the room to line up properly with your full-size tiles (Fig. 10).

When you cut these first border tiles, cut off the side without the wide stapling edge. The wide stapling flange must be exposed so the tongue of the next tile can fit into the groove of the tile you've just placed. This guarantees a solid fit.

Staple the tile in place, with three staples on the edge that is completely against a furring strip and staples only in the corner on the other edge (Fig. 11).

Place several border tiles in position along each edge, then fill in the ceiling with your full-sized tiles (Fig. 12).

After working your way across to the opposite wall, you must measure and fit each border tile carefully on the opposite border.

Install a border molding to complete the job. The molding also holds the final border tiles in place where there is no flange left for stapling. At the border, where your access to the stapling area is limited, you can attach the tiles with small, broad headed nails. Position the nails as close to the wall as possible so the border molding conceals them.

TILING AROUND POSTS OR PIPES

TILING AROUND POSTS OR PIPES CONTINUED

Step 9:  TILING AROUND POSTS OR PIPES

Fig. 13 illustrates how ceiling tiles can be fitted around posts or pipes. Cut the tile in half, then cut each half to the contour of the pipe or post.

Fig. 14 illustrates how to fit ceiling tiles around ceiling fixture outlets or smaller pipes near the wall. When you're cutting a ceiling tile, always be sure to cut the tile face up, using a sharp utility knife.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document. Ask for Other "Show-How" Instruction Sheets

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Installing Suspended Ceilings

Following are tips and instructions on how to install a suspended ceiling. Spend a few minutes reading the directions thoroughly. This can help save you time and effort. Inside this document you will find information about:
Planning for a Suspended Ceiling

Installing Wall Angles

Locating and Hanging Suspension Wires for Main Tees

Installing Main Tees

Installing Cross Tees and Border Cross Tees

Installing Ceiling Panels

PLANNING FOR A SUSPENDED CEILING

PLANNING FOR A SUSPENDED CEILING CONTINUED

Step 1: PLANNING FOR A SUSPENDED CEILING

First, get the exact measurements of the room where the suspended ceiling will be installed. Use special care in measuring any odd-shaped alcoves, bays, etc. 

Draw the exact dimensions to scale on graph paper (Fig. 1), or bring the room dimensions to your local retailer and ask a salesman to assist you in estimating the materials you'll need.

You can choose from either a 2x2 or a 2x4 pattern (Fig. 2). The pattern you pick will determine the material requirements for your ceiling.

For the 2x4 pattern, decide whether you want to install the patterns in a standard or reverse pattern (Fig. 3). Each pattern offers a different appearance.

Now that you've made these decisions, sketch the layout for the planned ceiling on graph paper. You can use the layout in Fig. 1, or purchase graph paper in a variety or stationery store. Regardless of which pattern you select, draw the main tees 4' apart. Position the tees so that the border patterns at the room edges are equal on both sides and as large as possible. Try sketching several layouts before beginning the actual installation to determine which one looks best.

It is important to space the cross tees so the border panels at the ends of the room are equal and as large as possible. If you are using a 2'x4' pattern, space the 4' cross tees 2' apart. For a 2'x2' pattern, add 2' cross tees between the midpoints of the 4' cross tees (Fig. 2).

If the ceiling will be recessed and built-in lighting will be installed, decide where to locate the panels of light and clearly identify them on the drawing.

The drawing will help you pretty accurately estimate the total cost of the materials you'll need. Fig. 4 illustrates a basic plan for estimating costs. Add or delete materials for the job you're planning.

 INSTALLING WALL ANGLES

INSTALLING WALL ANGLES CONTINUED

INSTALLING WALL ANGLES MORE

Step 2:  INSTALLING WALL ANGLES

Determine the exact height at which the suspended ceiling will be installed. Allow a minimum of 3" to 4" clearance between the old ceiling and the new ceiling for installation of the ceiling panels. If clearance is a problem, you may want to use fiberglass ceiling panels, which are more flexible. Additional clearance will be required if you are using recessed lighting (Fig.5).

After locating the exact position for the suspended ceiling, use a level to draw a line completely around the room indicating where the wall angle will be applied (Fig. 6). Don't assume the original ceiling is level–use a level for accuracy. Set the wall angle low enough to conceal as many pipes, ducts, etc., as possible.

Fasten the wall angles securely to the wall at all points. Nail them firmly to studs, or use screw anchors or other masonry fasteners on brick or masonry walls (Fig. 7).

Position the wall angle so that the bottom flange rests on the level line you have drawn on the wall. Take the time to do this right!

Overlap the wall angle on inside corners (A, Fig. 8), and miter the wall angle on outside corners (B, Fig. 8). Make a temporary wooden miter box if you don't have one. Cut any needed angles with metal cutting snips or a hacksaw.

HANGING SUSPENSION WIRES FOR MAIN TEES Step 3: LOCATING & HANGING SUSPENSION WIRES FOR MAIN TEES

If you are going to use recessed lights, install the wiring before putting the suspension wires in place (Fig. 5).

For recessed lighting, you can use 2x 2 or 2x 4 drop-in lighting fixtures, which are specially designed for this purpose. You can also center fluorescent light fixtures over the panels and use a luminous lay-in panel instead of a regular ceiling panel. These lay-in panels now come in several attractive designs.

Refer to your sketch of the room for the location of all main tees (Fig. 1). Main tees should always run at right angles to the joists in the room.

Locate the position of each main tee by stretching a tight line from the top edge of the wall angle on all sides of the room at each position where the main tees are to be placed (Fig. 9).

Now, cut the suspension wires to the proper length. The wires should be 12" longer than the distance between the old ceiling and the new guideline string you have stretched to indicate the position of each main tee.

Locate the first suspension wire for each main tee directly above the point where the first cross tee meets the main tee. Check your original sketch of the room to determine this location.

Be sure the suspension wires are securely fastened. Apply them to the ceiling with screw eyes, screw hooks, nails, or drilling (Fig. 10).

Attach a suspension wire every 4' along the level guideline (Fig. 11). Stretch each wire to remove any kinks and make a 90° bend where the suspension wire crosses the level line.

INSTALLING MAIN TEES Step 4:  INSTALLING MAIN TEES

Most main tees are 12' long and have cross tee slots punched every 12" beginning 6" from each end (Fig. 12).

Refer to your layout sheet to determine the distance from the wall to the first cross tee. Now measure this distance along the top flange of the main tee and locate the slot just beyond this point.

From this slot, measure back the same distance, subtract 1/8" and saw the main tee at that point. The 1/8" subtraction is for the thickness of the wall angle.

If the wall angles are not square, position the cross tee slots accordingly.

When main tees are installed in rooms less than 12' across, cut the main tee to the exact measurement of the room, allowing 1/8" for the thickness of the wall angle (Fig. 13).

For rooms wider than 12', the main tee can be spliced (Fig. 14). Be sure to align the splice so that the suspension wires are correctly positioned. Splice carefully, or all the main tees will be thrown off.

Install the main tees so that they are all level with the wall angle already mounted. Use a long level for this.

INSTALLING CROSS TEES Step 5:  INSTALLING CROSS TEES & BORDER CROSS TEES

Install the cross tees by inserting the ends of the cross tees into the slots in the main tees (Fig. 15). Use the manufacturer's instructions for fitting the cross tees into position.

Determine the location of the cross tees by the pattern you selected–either 2'x2' or 2'x4' (Fig. 2).

Be sure the lock tab on the cross tee is on the outside of the slot (Fig. 15). This attachment is slightly different in some types of tees.

You can remove most cross tees by depressing the lock tab with a screwdriver.

Border cross tees are installed between the wall angle and the last main tee.

Measure from the last tee to the wall angle, allowing 1/8" for the thickness of the wall angle. Cut the cross tees and install them by inserting the connector in the main tee and resting the cut edge on the wall angle.

INSTALLING CEILING PANELSINSTALLING CEILING PANELS CONTINUED Step 6:  INSTALLING CEILING PANELS

Your final main and cross tee arrangement will look similar to Fig. 16. The top part of the illustration shows an arrangement of a 2'x4' layout, while the lower half shows main and cross tees arranged for a 2'x2' layout.

Drop the ceiling panels into position by tilting them slightly, lifting them above the framework and letting them fall into place (Fig. 17).

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document. Ask for Other "Show-How" Instruction Sheets

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How to Patch and Repair Drywall

Here are tips and suggestions on how to patch and repair plasterboard walls. Read these suggestions carefully to help you make such repairs easily and quickly.

REPAIRING SMALL DENTS IN WALLBOARD

Step 1:  REPAIRING SMALL DENTS IN WALLBOARD

Objects that come in contact with wall board can cause dents or scratches in the surface. These indentations are easy to repair.

First, sand the surface thoroughly (Fig. 1). This sanding roughens the surface and provides a good base for the joint compound you will use.

Use coarse sandpaper and a good sandpaper block. For large areas to be repaired, use a power sander.

Fill the dent with a good grade of joint compound using a 3" or 4" spreader (Fig. 2). Spread the compound evenly, pressing it firmly into the dented area.

For extremely large dents, allow the compound to dry overnight and then apply a second coat.

When the material is completely dry, sand the area and prime it for a coat of paint or other finish.

Be sure to remove any high or low spots in the patched area with a fine sandpaper.

PATCHING CRACKS IN WALLBOARD

PATCHING CRACKS IN WALLBOARD CONTINUED

Step 2:  PATCHING CRACKS IN WALLBOARD

Various types of patching materials are available for patching drywall. These include adhesive and non-adhesive drywall tapes, fast-drying patching compounds and drywall bandages.

Regardless of the type of patching materials you use, read the manufacturer's instructions carefully and follow each step as suggested. Some patching compounds dry quickly, while others require longer periods to dry.

Be sure the cracked area to be patched is completely clean and dry. Remove all dirt from the area and clean out all cracks.

Apply the patching plaster with a wide and flexible putty knife (Fig. 3). Apply the compound by working across the crack with strokes in both directions. This method is the best way to work the patching plaster into the crack.

Force the patching material into the crack with strong, firm strokes (Fig. 4). Examine the crack after each stroke to ensure that enough material is applied at all points.

The knife should bend with pressure as you draw it along the cracked area. Repeat the passes as often as necessary to force the material well into the cracked surface.

Use the putty knife as a scraper to remove any surplus material (Fig. 5). Move it along the cracked area gently to scrape away the surplus material that was applied by the double strokes shown in Fig. 3.

You may want to dip the putty knife into water and make a final pass along the repaired area (Fig. 6). Touch up any areas that need more patching material.

After the patched area has dried completely, sand and prime it to prepare for the finish you desire.

PATCHING SMALL HOLES IN WALLBOARD

Step 3:  PATCHING SMALL HOLES IN WALLBOARD

You can repair small holes, up to 4" to 6", in drywall using drywall bandages. To make a drywall bandage, use a keyhole saw to make the hole into a square or a rectangle (Fig. 7). Cut a piece of drywall the same shape as the hole. It should be 2" longer and 2" wider than the hole.

Lay the piece of drywall down on a flat surface, shiny side down. Measure 1" from all four edges and draw a line. This should form a shape the side of the hole.

Using a straight edge and a utility knife, cut through the drywall to the bottom layer. Do not cut the bottom layer of paper. Using a putty knife, remove the top layer of paper and core all the way down to the bottom layer of paper (Fig. 8). Be careful not to tear the bottom layer.

The cut part of the patch should fit into the hole. The paper edge should cover about 1" around the hole. Apply a thin layer of patching compound around the hole. Place the patch into the hole (Fig. 9). Using a putty knife, work the paper edge down into the compound. Feather the edges of the compound and allow it to dry. You may need to sand lightly and apply a second layer of compound to finish the repair.

PATCHING LARGE HOLES IN WALLBOARD

PATCHING LARGE HOLES IN WALLBOARD CONTINUED

PATCHING LARGE HOLES IN WALLBOARD MORE

PATCHING LARGE HOLES

Step 4:  PATCHING LARGE HOLES IN WALLBOARD

Larger holes, up to 12", require a slightly different repair which provides more support. Again use a keyhole saw to form the hole into a square or a rectangle (Fig. 7).

Cut a patching piece of wallboard that's about 2" larger than the hole to be repaired (Fig 10). Punch or drill two small holes through this piece of board and tie a stick to it, as illustrated. Allow for about 8" between the board and the stick.

Apply a smooth coat of good grade adhesive all around the edges of the piece of patching material.

Insert the patching board through the hole and position it so the adhesive fits firmly against the solid area around the hole.

Now turn the stick clockwise twisting the string and increasing pressure against the patch board at the rear of the hole (Fig. 11). When the string has been thoroughly tightened, it will hold the board firmly into place until the adhesive dries.

Give the adhesive time to dry. Then fill in the area with a good grade of patching plaster (Fig. 12). Leave the stick and the string in position during the patching process.

You may need to apply two or three layers of patching plaster to build up the patched area. Always allow one layer to dry before applying another.

Remove the stick and string just before the material dries. Smooth out the area then let the patch dry thoroughly.

When the area is completely dry, sand off all high spots and apply a prime coat for paint or other finish (Fig. 13).

Use a fine grade of sandpaper and a sanding block for the finish sanding work.

Larger holes in wallboard require some type of supporting brace for the patch.

Use a short piece of 2x4 cut to the proper length as a supporting brace for patching a large hole in plasterboard (Fig. 14).

Cut two pieces of 2x4 to a length about 8" longer than the distance across the hole.

Apply a good grade of cement to one piece of 2x4, then insert it through the hole. Tie it to another piece of 2x4 holding it parallel in front of the wallboard.

Allow the pieces of 2x4 to remain tied in this position until the cement dries. Most cements require about one hour to dry.

Next, remove the supporting piece of 2x4 in front of the wallboard by untying the string (Fig. 15). The cement will hold the back piece of 2x4 firmly in position, providing a support brace for the wall patch.

Now cut a patch block to the exact dimensions of the sawed-out area (Fig. 16). The block will be slightly smaller than the hole itself, but cut it to fit as tightly as possible.

Apply cement to the back of the patch block and the support brace, then put the patch into position in the hole.

Use a firm putty knife or patching spatula to apply joint compound all around the patch board (Fig. 17).

Work the patch compound thoroughly into all cracks. Scrape away any surplus material, then allow the patched area to dry completely.

When the area has completely dried, use a regular sanding block and a piece of fine sandpaper to sand away any high areas on the patched surface (Fig. 18).

A prime coat can now be applied to prepare the wall for painting.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Tips For Making Home Repairs

Here are miscellaneous how-to tips and suggestions that you will find useful around the house. These are merely a few of the many handyman tips given in our Show-How Sheet series. Inside this document you will find information about:

Painting Tips
Sanding Tips
Sawing Tips
Measuring Tips
Miscellaneous Tips

PAINTING TIPS

PAINTING TIPS CONTINUED

Step 1:  PAINTING TIPS

If you are often bothered by the paintbrush being in the wrong place when you are painting, use a magnet on the side of your paint can (Fig. 1). This keeps the brush within easy reach at all times.

A magnet attaches to the metal can easily and provides an anchor for the metal flange on the paintbrush. The brush can be stuck to the magnet or pulled away at any time.

You will probably find a magnet holder much more convenient than laying the brush across the top of the can. A brush laid across the can often gets paint on the handle and then onto your hands.

Place a small amount of paint in the middle of a paper plate. Place the paint can on the plate. The plate will stick to the can and catch any drippings from the brush.

Paint always seems to build up in the lid groove on the can during every painting job. This often causes paint to run down the side of the can.

You can eliminate this problem by punching several holes in the lid groove with a 4 or 6 penny nail (Fig. 2). These holes permit the paint to drain back into the can each time it accumulates in the lid groove.

These holes in no way affect the resealing of the can, since the lid seals by pressure on the sides of the groove rather than on the bottom.

Put any leftover paint in a quart can and seal it tightly–use the regular lid for the can if it is available.

If the regular lid gets bent or lost, use the plastic lid from a coffee can, which fits smoothly onto the top of many quart cans of paint (Fig. 3).

The plastic lid makes an airtight seal to keep the paint in good condition until you use it later. You'll also be able to see the color of the paint.

For small touch-up paint jobs, try using a pipe stem cleaner (Fig. 4). A pipe stem cleaner is ideal for applying small quantities of paint on flat or uneven surfaces.

A pipe stem cleaner is especially handy for reaching into hidden corners and grooves on irregular surfaces.

Simply discard the pipe stem cleaner when the job is through. There is no cleanup!

Your 1/4" power drill makes an ideal tool for cleaning paint rollers when your painting job is done.

Remove the roller and pad from the roller handle and attach it to a paint stirrer that fits into the chuck of your drill (Fig. 5).

Use a discarded cardboard box or a newspaper-lined waste can to catch the paint as it is thrown from the roller pad by the spinning drill.

SANDING TIPS

Step 2: SANDING TIPS

You can make regular sheets of sandpaper or emery paper last longer and work better by backing them with masking tape (Fig. 6).

The tape gives each sandpaper sheet more body and helps to keep it from tearing or creasing while you are working. A few pieces of masking tape on the back of a regular sheet of sandpaper will add two to three times the life of the paper.

Use regular sandpaper to smooth the sharp edges of cut glass, ceramic tile, porcelain, etc.

Wrap a piece of fine sandpaper around a scrap piece of wood. A short piece of 1x2 lumber makes an ideal block for sanding these types of cut materials.

Rub the sandpaper sheet along the edge of the glass evenly and smoothly.

As the cutting edge of the sandpaper is worn away, rotate the sheet of paper on the block to provide a new surface until the sheet is used up.

Sanding irregular and uneven surfaces can sometimes be a problem. Corners and grooves can be extremely difficult to reach with a flat piece of sandpaper.

For sanding irregular edges of table tops, chair legs, etc., use a deck of cards as the sanding block (Fig. 7).

The cards and sandpaper will adjust to the contour of the surface you are sanding. This makes a sanding block that is quite flexible, yet provides a firm base for holding the sandpaper against a curved surface.

Use old record covers to hold various grades of sandpaper (Fig. 8). They keep the sandpaper clean and orderly.

Old record covers also enable you to determine the grit of the paper quickly and easily, since the texture and grit show through the holes.

SAWING TIPS Step 3:  SAWING TIPS

It's important to select the correct blade for your hacksaw. Select a hacksaw blade that always keeps at least three teeth on the surface you are sawing (Fig. 9).

While a coarse blade cuts faster and lasts longer, you'll get better results when at least three teeth are touching the surface at all times.

You can avoid ragged edges when cutting armored cable by wrapping the cable with regular electrical tape before you begin sawing (Fig. 10).

Remove the tape and you will find a smooth, clean edge that slides easily into other fittings without filing.

You can avoid jagged edges on sawed conduit by driving a short length of dowel into the conduit before you cut it.

You can also use a short length of dowel as a support when cutting any hollow metal tubing with a hacksaw. The dowel is especially helpful when making slanted or irregular cuts in hollow tubing.

MEASURING TIPS

MEASURING TIPS MORE

Step 4: MEASURING TIPS

Finding the center of a circle is sometimes essential for various jobs around the house. Follow these steps to make it easy.

Draw a straight line across the circle at the top from Y to Z (Fig. 11). Draw this at any point in the upper section of the circle.

Now use a carpenter's square to draw a square within the circle. Use the Y and Z line to create the square.

When the square is drawn within the circle, draw lines diagonally from one corner of the square to another. The exact center of the circle is always at the point where these two diagonal lines cross.

You may also want to find the exact center of a line the easiest and fastest way.

One simple way is to use a compass to draw an arc at any point between the two ends of the line (Fig. 12).

Set the end of the compass at one end of the line and draw an arc at any point beyond the halfway point.

Move the compass to the opposite end of the line and draw an arc from that point with the compass at exactly the same setting.

Now draw a straight line from the points where the two arcs cross at the top to the point where the arcs cross at the bottom. The center of the line is at the exact point where this line crosses the line you are measuring.

One of the easiest ways to find the exact distance between the centers of studs is to measure from the outside edge of one stud to the inside edge of the adjoining stud (Fig. 13). Fig. 14 shows how to measure pipe when cutting replacement pieces for repair jobs.

Always allow enough additional pipe to be screwed into the pipe fitting. In other words, measure the distance from fitting to fitting, then allow for about 3/4" on each end to be inserted into the pipe fittings.

Fig. 15 shows how you can use a simple piece of scrap material and two nails to mark for a curved cut on the end of a piece of plywood.

Drive one nail loosely into the board at the exact center. Use a nail as a marker on the other end of the board. Or you can drill a hole in the end of the board and use a stub piece of pencil instead of a nail.

A chalk line is usually the fastest and most efficient way to draw a long, straight line.

Stretch the chalk line between the two points, and snap it firmly against the work surface. The chalk line will mark the exact location on the surface easily, quickly and accurately.

MISCELLANEOUS TIPS

MISCELLANEOUS TIPS CONTINUED

Step 5:  MISCELLANEOUS TIPS

To reduce splitting when driving nails near the end of the board, blunt the nail slightly before driving it into the wood (Fig. 16).

This blunting makes the nail spread the wood instead of splitting it.

Use the heat from a propane torch to help loosen stubborn nuts.

Concentrate the heat from the torch on the nut instead of on the end of the bolt. The heat expands the nut slightly, making it easier to break loose.

A small disposable cup is a handy tool for small soldering jobs (Fig. 17). A little water in the bottom of the cup helps hold the cup in place. It also prevents the bottom of the cup from melting.

Cut slits into the sides of the cup to help hold wires or other small materials in position while you solder them. The cup also catches the drippings from the soldering.

Ceramic or enameled hot pads help prevent the flame from a propane torch from spreading and causing heat damage (Fig. 18). Wetting the surrounding area can also help.

Ceramic or enameled hot pads also help keep the heat at the desired point, making the torch work more effectively.

When using a star drill, hold it with a combination plier-wrench. This absorbs some of the shock, reducing sting and fatigue in your hand.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Selecting and Using Screws and Nails

Here are tips and suggestions to help you do a better job when using common fasteners like screws and nails. Although there is nothing complex about a nail or a screw, many are misused.
Selecting the Proper Nail and Using it Correctly
Selecting the Correct Screw and Using it Properly

SELECTING THE PROPER NAIL AND USING IT CORRECTLY

SELECTING THE PROPER NAIL AND USING IT CORRECTLY CONTINUED

SELECTING THE PROPER NAIL AND USING IT CORRECTLY MORE

Step 1: SELECTING THE PROPER NAIL AND USING IT CORRECTLY

Although there are many different types of nails and brads, four types will handle most fastening jobs.

The common nail is most widely used (Fig. 1). It has a flat head and is used where the appearance of the nail head is not objectionable.

The length of a nail is identified by its "penny" size. In the early days of nail manufacturing, this term designated the weight of nails per hundred. Today it designates only the length and size of the nail.

The designation 2d, 3d, 4d, etc., identifies a 2-penny, 3-penny, 4-penny nail, etc.

The casing nail is used primarily on cabinet work or interior trim (Fig. 2). Casing nails are slightly heavier than finish nails.

The heads of casing nails are normally countersunk and covered with putty or wood filler.

Finishing nails have rounded heads that can be driven flush with the surface of the wood (Fig. 3). Although they are often countersunk like casing nails, they can be used without countersinking.

Common brads are designated by length only (Fig. 4).

Brads are recommended for light assembly work where the head should be concealed. They are thinner, shorter, and smaller than finish nails.

Use the nail selection chart for selecting the proper nail or brad for various thicknesses of wood (Fig. 5). The chart shows the recommended type and size of nail or 

Nail Chart

You may want to make some variations from the chart, but it can be a practical guide in nail selection.

Here is a rule of thumb to remember: The nail should always be about three times as long as the thickness of the wood through which it is driven (Fig. 6). Nails are normally driven through a thinner piece of wood and into a thicker one. This allows 2/3 of the nail to provide holding power in the thick piece of wood.

To help you pick the right length of nail, hold the nail up against the thin piece through which it is to be driven. Then select a nail approximately three times this thickness (Fig. 6).

Fig. 7 illustrates how to countersink a nail. First, select either a casing or finish nail and drive it into the wood, leaving the nail head slightly above the surface.

Select a nail set with a head the same size as the head of the nail and drive the head of the nail slightly below the surface with the nail set.

Remove the nail set and fill the recessed area with wood putty or wood filler.

Let the putty dry, then sand it flush with the surface of the wood.

You can conceal nails in a piece of wood by taking a wood chisel and digging a slight hole into the wood in the direction of the grain (A, Fig. 8).

Drive a finish or casing nail into the hole and replace the chipped-out wood with wood cement. If done properly, this will provide a strong holding power and the nail will be completely hidden (Fig. 8).

Bend nails over at the end when attaching two pieces of wood where appearance is not important. Bending the nail over increases the strength of the joint (B, Fig. 8).

Use care when driving nails near the end of a plank. Never drive two nails in the same grain of the wood near the end. Always move over to another grain of wood for inserting the second nail (C, Fig. 8).

When you must nail an upright piece of wood to a flat surface, toe-nailing with casing or finish nails will do the job. Drive the nails completely in to provide a strong holding power with a neat appearance (D, Fig. 8).

A special type of nail is available for wallboard (Fig. 9). This type of nail practically eliminates the popping problem.

The rings around the body of the nail give it an extra-strong holding power. The dish-shaped head can be driven flush with the surface of the wallboard to provide a neat appearance.

Fig. 10 illustrates various types of fasteners that are helpful for specific fastening jobs.

A special nail is available for holding wood to concrete (A). With a little patience and practice, the concrete nail can be driven into concrete or masonry.

A ring nail provides a strong holding power for special nailing jobs (B). The annular rings around the nail have sharp ridges that lock into the wood, making it practically impossible for the nail to slip.

Ordinary corrugated fasteners are used for fastening corners or where one piece of wood butts against another (C).

Upholstery nails are designed for fastening materials to wood on both flat and curved surfaces (D). They can be used to cover unsightly tacks.

SELECTING THE CORRECT SCREW AND USING IT PROPERLY

SELECTING THE CORRECT SCREW AND USING IT PROPERLY CONTINUED

SELECTING THE CORRECT SCREW AND USING IT PROPERLY MORE

SELECTING THE CORRECT SCREW

Step 2:  SELECTING THE CORRECT SCREW AND USING IT PROPERLY

Fig. 11 illustrates the six types of common screws. These screws can be divided into two basic types: slot-head screws and Phillips-head screws.

Both types of screws are available with flat, round and oval heads.

Fig. 12 illustrates how these three different types of common heads look when driven into the wood.

The oval-head screw extends above the surface in a slight oval. The round-head screw protrudes above the surface in a half-circle. The flat-head screw is flush with the surface.

Two basic types of screwdrivers are needed for driving the different types of screws (Fig. 13). The regular slotted screw has a slot in the head, while the Phillips-head screw has a cross slot.

Always use the proper screwdriver for the screw you are using.

Use the screw selection chart for selecting the correct size and length of screw for any job (Fig. 14). This chart is designed for flat-head screws but can be used for any type.

Screw Selection

The column on the right shows the size of the pilot hole to be drilled for starting the screw.

The chart in Fig. 15 gives the relative size of the head and shank of screw sizes ranging from #2 to #16. This will help you select the proper size screw quickly and easily.

Screw Size Chart

Fig. 16 shows how to join two pieces of wood with screws. Of course, some of these steps are not always necessary, but under normal conditions you'll get a neat bond with excellent holding power.

First, make a mark where you plan to insert the screws. Carefully position the two pieces that are to be attached. Securely hold the two pieces together and drill a pilot hole through the top piece into the second piece (A, Fig. 16). The pilot hole should be slightly smaller in diameter and as long as the screw. A piece of tape on the bit will help judge the depth of the hole.

Using the pilot hole as a guide, drill a hole slightly larger than the screw shank through the top piece (B, Fig. 16).

Use a countersink to drill for countersinking oval or flathead screws (C, Fig. 16).

Insert the proper screw. Tighten the screw for a neat and strong bond of the wood.

You can make this job easier and the results better if you clamp the two pieces of wood together while you work. If you do not have clamps, drill, countersink and tighten one screw first. This will act as a clamp. Then do the remaining screws.

Use a dowel plug if you want to completely conceal the head of the screw (Fig. 17).

Cut the holes for the dowel plugs with an ordinary countersink. Simply drill a bit deeper with the countersink than you would for a regular countersunk screw.

After drilling the hole for the plug, cut a piece of dowel of the proper size to make the plug.

When the plug is inserted and glued into place, it can be sanded flush with the wood or rounded off.

Screw washers are available for flat-head, round-head or oval-head screws (Fig. 18).

Use ratchet or offset screwdrivers to insert screws in inaccessible areas. These screwdrivers make it easier to reach such areas (Fig. 19).

Drill a hole and insert a dowel to keep the end of a piece of wood from splitting when screws are inserted. This provides a different run of the grain in the wood and makes splitting unlikely.

Sometimes it is necessary to counterbore a thick piece of wood when it is to be attached to another thick piece of wood.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Making Your Home Secure

Read these tips and suggestions on how to secure your home to help reduce the chances of a break-in. The steps are quite simple but can provide peace of mind, additional security and perhaps save you from theft. In this document you will find information about:

Some General Safety Precautions
Installing Lights for Protection
Simple Non-Electric Security Devices
Electrical and Battery-Operated Security Devices
Improving Security with Locks

Step 1: SOME GENERAL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

There is no absolute way to protect your home from break-ins. Locks and other safety devices serve primarily to prevent entry by the amateur thief and to slow or deter the professional.

Another deterrent is to avoid regular routines that make it obvious you are away from home at specific times of the day or night. This may be unavoidable, but try to vary your routines of departure and arrival when possible.

Never chat with a stranger about leaving your home for a vacation, a visit, etc. You never know who may be watching for an opportunity for a break-in.

Alert your local police if you are leaving for an extended period. Stop the delivery of newspapers, mail and other items that could be telltale signs that you are away from home.

Arrange for someone to mow your lawn in the summer or remove snow from your drive in the winter when it's necessary for the family to be away. This gives the appearance that someone is at home. Such precautions could be well worth the cost.

Work out an arrangement with your neighbors for mutual alertness when anyone in the neighborhood will be away.

Use any other precautions to make it appear that someone is at home at all times.

INSTALLING LIGHTS FOR PROTECTION

INSTALLING LIGHTS FOR PROTECTION CONTINUED

Step 2:  INSTALLING LIGHTS FOR PROTECTION

Good lighting is one of the greatest deterrents to crime. You can mount floodlights or spotlights on the corner of your house to flood the walls in all directions (Fig. 1). Such lights are inexpensive, relatively easy to mount and highly effective in reducing break-ins.

Spotlights can be either single or double, although the double spotlight is recommended. Always mount the light high enough so it cannot be unscrewed easily by a burglar.

Floodlights mounted high on the end of a house provide a great amount of light for a wide area (Fig. 2). Floodlights can be either single or double, although double is strongly recommended.

Lights mounted on either the corner or end of the house should be set in such a way that they illuminate dark areas behind rosebushes, screens, walls, trees, etc.

Mount spotlights or floodlights in any spots around the house that could provide a hiding place for burglars or prowlers.

In most cases you can wire spotlights or floodlights directly into the wiring system of your home (Fig. 3). Wiring for floodlights can be tapped into the nearest outlet box.

Before tapping into any line or circuit in the house, be sure to disconnect the power. To do this you will need to trip the circuit breaker or remove the fuse serving that circuit. For extra protection, cut off the current at the main switch while working on the wires.

First, remove the plate over the outlet box. Attach the black wire to the black wire, the white wire to the white wire and the ground wire to the ground, as illustrated in Fig. 3.

If solderless connectors are code approved in your area, use them to make your electrical connections. They are much faster and easier to use.

The wiring from the outlet box to the floodlight can be extended as far as necessary. As a rule, #14-3 wiring is adequate for lighting installations. You should check your local code for the requirements in your area. Some areas still require #12-3. The three conductors will allow you to ground any circuits that might be exposed to the weather. Securely attach the new wiring run over the entire distance from the outlet box to the location where it is mounted.

Use a junction box at the place where the spotlight is to be mounted (Fig. 4). Simply mount the junction box, pull the wire through the hole in the junction box and mount the spotlight to the box.

You can mount floodlights at all corners and eaves of your home with little effort. If you are in an area with a high break-in rate, consider installing as many floodlights as possible. This lighting can be much cheaper than losses in a theft.

Use plug-in timers to turn the spotlights on or off when you are away (Fig. 5). Timers can be used for activating and turning off lights in any rooms of the house.

When you use timers, do not set them for the same time. For example, light in one room might be set to come on for a short interval at about 2 a.m., while another light in another room might be set to kick on and off at a totally different time. Such variations in timing simulate a more natural lighting use to an outside observer.

Install automatic timers in the main power line to spotlights mounted around the house. These timers can be set to activate the lights at any frequency or interval desired. You should have a qualified electrician wire these into your system.

Don't overlook the security value of good lighting. It is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to reduce break-ins. Warning: Replace burned-out bulbs immediately! The whole lighting system becomes ineffective if burned-out bulbs are not quickly replaced.

SIMPLE NON-ELECTRIC SECURITY DEVICES

SIMPLE NON-ELECTRIC SECURITY DEVICES CONTINUED

Step 3:  SIMPLE NON-ELECTRIC SECURITY DEVICES

To help protect against window break-ins, you can use a steel bolt or rod (Fig. 6).

First, drill a 1/2" or 3/4" hole completely through the lower sash, raise the window 3" to 4" and drill through the lower window sash hole into the upper sash. Attach a steel bolt or rod to the window casing with a long wood screw and a short length of chain.

With this arrangement, you can raise the window slightly for air at night without the danger of someone opening it completely while you are asleep. The bolt prevents someone from raising the window rapidly against the bolt, breaking the window frame and gaining entry. Caution: Don't use a wooden dowel. They may shrink in warm weather and expand in wet, causing them to loosen, fall out or weaken. Use only a steel bolt or rod.

This simple device provides a lot of security against break-ins at practically no cost while allowing in air at night.

Use a piece of 2x4 with felt or sponge glued on one end and a metal T screwed to the other end to provide protection from forced entry through a hall door (Fig. 7).

Saw the 2x4 to the required length to reach from the closed door to the wall in the hallway. The felt on one end prevents the 2x4 from damaging the wall while the metal T on the other end prevents it from slipping out from under the door.

Although this bar is obviously unsightly, use it during the night or when you are away from home and can leave the house through some other exit. It is simple but extremely effective. When this bar is in place, the door simply cannot be opened without a complete break-in.

This same device can also work where there is a wall across from the doorway. Simply cut the 2x4 ends at 45-degree angles to fit across to a corner wall. Install a regular doorstop at this point along the wall to prevent the 2x4 from slipping. This gives additional security (Fig. 8).

Sliding glass doors offer an inviting entryway for burglars. Use a simple piece of 1x2 or a steel rod in the entryway (Fig. 9).

When in place, the piece of wood or steel makes it impossible for the sliding glass door to be opened. Since there is a danger that a steel rod might accidentally break the glass, a 1x2 strip of wood is recommended.

You can use aluminum rods with crutch tips for a similar type of protection for wood sliding doors.

The aluminum rod makes it impossible for the sliding doors to be opened until the rod is removed. Screw 1" round head screws into the edge of each door to provide holding power to prevent the aluminum rod from slipping out of place.

One-way viewers allow you to observe any caller before you open the door (Fig. 10). Various types of one-way viewers are available.

Invest in a top-quality viewer. The basic difference between viewers is the range of view they provide. Low-cost viewers have a limited range while better-quality viewers provide clearer and wider ranges of vision.

One-way viewers are easy to install. Simply drill a hole of the proper size, insert the viewer and tighten it.

ELECTRICAL AND BATTERY-OPERATED SECURITY DEVICES

Step 4:  ELECTRICAL AND BATTERY-OPERATED SECURITY DEVICES

Various types of battery-operated door alarms are now available and can be installed on any ordinary door (Fig. 11).

Battery-operated door alarms operate on one single principle: When the door is opened or forced, the alarm goes off. The noise will awaken you and may scare off the burglar.

If you install a battery-operated door alarm, get a good-quality one that will work for a long period of time. Keep strong batteries in the alarm so it will function properly. A dead battery totally disconnects the system.

Ultrasonic alarm devices are also available. They can be quite expensive but are highly effective.

The ultrasonic alarm system is set up in one corner of the room. The system contains a solid-state transmitter-receiver that saturates the area with ultrasonic sound waves.

The sound waves bounce off walls in all directions. If the sound waves are broken, the system can turn on the light, sound an alarm or both.

Battery-operated ultrasonic alarm systems are available. Most of these alarm systems operate by plugging them into an electrical outlet.

Wireless intercom units provide a means to hear noise from key points around the house. These systems usually require no wiring–they are plugged into an electrical outlet.

Wireless intercom sets allow you to communicate between various rooms in the house and also make it possible for you to listen to noises in locations throughout your home.

Various intercom units are available. Some are wireless while others require a wiring system.

IMPROVING SECURITY WITH LOCKS

IMPROVING SECURITY WITH LOCKS CONTINUED

Step 5:  IMPROVING SECURITY WITH LOCKS

A typical lock offers little protection against break-ins. A professional burglar can usually enter the house with no more than a plastic credit card or a thin screwdriver.

Cylinder deadlocks provide a great deal of extra protection when used as a supplement to the regular locks in your home (Fig. 12).

A tubular deadlock adds protection without an unsightly appearance. Double tubular deadlocks can be installed in any door.

Double tubular deadlocks generally require a key to open the door from either side. This could present a problem exiting the house in an emergency. But some tubular deadlocks can be opened without a key from the inside (Fig. 13).

Surface-mounted cylinder deadlocks are easy to mount on any door (Fig. 14).

The deadlock in Fig. 14 has a bolt in the lock that come down through the holes in the strike. This offers far more protection against jimmying than an ordinary surface-mounted cylinder deadlock.

The basic disadvantage of surface-mounted deadlocks is their unsightly appearance, but designs are available in decorator styling.

Examine the locks in your home carefully. If they are old, worn or fail to give the needed protection, install new or supplementary locks immediately. It is well worth your time and effort.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Making Your Home Child Safe

As a parent, from almost the moment your first child is born, you begin to worry about his/her health and safety. Worry though you will, the only truth about childhood safety that you have to remember is that ACCIDENTS DO HAPPEN. The normal, active, physically healthy child will occasionally have some cuts and bruises.

The key is to keep your child from serious and preventable accidents and injuries. You don't want your child to become part of the national statistics on childhood injuries.

The National Center for Health Statistics says that children under 14 are seven times more likely to die from an accidental injury than a homicide. However, many parents have the misconception that violent acts (things over which they have no control) such as kidnappings, shootings and drugs pose greater dangers to their children than injuries, according to polls. Nonetheless, injuries are the number one killer and disabler of children.

Today there are things parents can do to control the impact of many injuries. One out of every four children suffers a preventable injury that requires medical attention. There are things that can be done to prevent these kinds of serious injuries.

It is for that reason that this document has been written. It is meant to be a primer, not an all-inclusive manual on childhood safety. Use this document as a starting point, perhaps obtaining more information from other resources on the subjects in which you are most interested.

Step 1:  PREVENTING INJURIES INSIDE THE HOME

Childproofing your home should begin prior to your child learning to crawl because once he/she becomes mobile, you are faced with an ever-increasing, intensely curious whirlwind of activity. Inspect your home while you have the time to do it thoroughly.

Childproofing does not mean moving breakables to higher shelves. It means locking, securing, relocating or removing anything that may pose a potential danger to a child. Young children are very tactile and oral; consequently, any new object or substance must not only be touched but mouthed to be fully explored.

Use the following checklist as a starting point for childproofing your home.

In the kitchen and bathroom–

Install "child-resistant" locks on all cabinets within the child's reach. Remember, what is child resistant to most children may not be to yours, so don't assume that with the locks in place your child is safe.

Remove all cleaning fluids and agents from lower storage areas.

Remember that very common household items that are generally considered non-poisonous, if taken in large quantity, can kill a 22-pound child. Some of these things include mouthwash, cosmetics, meat tenderizers and spices.

Keep all medications, including topical ointments such as insect repellents, inside a cabinet that is locked with a key. And place the key where the child cannot reach it.

Many child care experts recommend clearing out a lower kitchen cabinet and placing in it toys, plastic storage containers or other safe items for the child to play with when he/she wants to be with mom or dad in the kitchen. Also, having a cabinet of his/her own may end some of the need to explore other cabinets in the kitchen.

Keep all electrical and phone cords bundled and out of reach.

When cooking, turn pot handles to the back of the stove.

Do not use tablecloths.

Install toilet lid locks. 

Never leave a small child alone in the bathtub for even "just a second."In other areas of your home–

Install covers over all electrical outlets.

Install smoke alarms on all levels of your home.

Place gates at stairways–top and bottom.

Lift blind and drapery cords out of the reach of children.

Use specially designed door stops and knobs that prevent children from opening forbidden doors.

Turn down your water heater thermostat to between 120 degrees and 125 degrees to prevent scalding young skin.

Many houseplants are toxic. Find out which ones are and, if you have any of them, remove them from your home.

Make the garage off limits. But just in case, be sure any potentially dangerous items are stored out of reach and/or locked up.

Remove firearms from your home. If you must have them, keep the ammunition locked in a strongbox stored away from the gun.

Remove or keep tightly closed 4- to 6-gallon buckets or pails; a child can fall into this size bucket and drown in just a few inches of water.
In addition–

Place the number of the nearest poison control center near your phone. Include with it your child's weight, allergies and any special medical conditions so you won't have to remember these when in a panic. It will also be available there for a babysitter or visiting relative.

Have a bottle of ipecac available to induce vomiting if something poisonous is ingested. However, NEVER give the syrup without first consulting with your poison control center or health care provider. They will give you the correct dosage.

Have a first aid kit and know what to do with its contents.
Remember, childproofing is not a 100 percent guarantee that your child will be safe from injury. It is not a babysitter. Parents must still be vigilant. At best, childproofing slows down the curious young child.

In Case of Poisoning– 
If you suspect a case of poisoning, take these three steps right away:
1) Look for signs of poisoning.
Dizziness
Drowsiness
Odor on breath
Open bottle or spilled contents
Vomiting, nausea or pain in abdomen
Difficult or shallow breathing
Hyperactivity, irritability
2) Check to see if victim is breathing. If not, call ambulance or police immediately.
Loosen clothing at neck or throat.
Perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
3) Take these first aid actions immediately. Call poison center, emergency room or doctor.
Cover victim with blanket–loosen tight clothing.
Clear airway.
Do not give food, drink, alcohol or drugs.
Save and give doctor the poisonous substance as well as container and label.

Step 2:  PREVENTING INJURIES OUTSIDE THE HOME

It seems that children injure themselves more outdoors than indoors. And parents sometimes mistakenly assume this happens because there is very little they can do to control the outdoor environment. However, there are things that can be done, especially around swing sets, play yards and swimming pools.

First and foremost, however, ALWAYS use a child safety restraint seat when riding in the car. Automobile accidents are the number one killer of children. There is no excuse for not using one. Today, most states require the use of safety restraint seats. The cutoff age varies from state to state.

Next review these checklists for suggestions around your home and beyond.

In the backyard–

Remove plants that are poisonous. (Check with your local poison control center to find out which ones are poisonous).

Remove plants that attract bees.

Fencing should be free of sharp or jagged edges, splinters, protruding nails and peeling paint.

Fill holes in the ground that might cause a child to trip and fall.

Fix or replace decaying steps and deck boards.

Always put away fertilizers, gardening tools, pesticides, lawn mowers and other potentially harmful yard tools and equipment.

Remove peeling paint from outbuildings and/or your house exterior. (See Lead & Your Family's Health, another "Show-How" document in this series, for information about lead-based paints). In the play area–

Don't use toxic pesticides or other chemical garden products in the play area.

Be careful when using a power lawn mower, which can sometimes hurl rocks. Keep children away.

Be sure the play area is well-drained.

Check with your local building code agency for safety specifications when building a play structure.
Built or purchased play equipment should meet the following basic safety requirements:

Angles or openings must be large enough not to entrap a child's head or body accidentally.

Sharp points, edges, corners or protrusions can be hazardous.

All screws and bolts should be securely capped.

Use closed O-rings, not open S-hooks, on swings (or pinch S-hooks closed).

Swing seats should be made from a light, soft material, such as rubber or canvas, that won't injure if the seat hits a child.

Swing ropes must be strong enough to support your own weight.

Periodically check equipment after installation for loose hardware, posts and other framework.

A layer of wood chips, sand or pea gravel should be spread 6' out from all sides of all structures to prevent injuries from falls. The depth varies according to the material used–wood chips and pea gravel, 3" deep with 6" under swings; sand, 12". Build a low wall around the area to contain the cushioning material.
In the pool area–

Drowning can happen in a matter of minutes and it doesn't matter if you have an in-ground pool or small, child-sized wading pool. Some basic rules are:

Children may not enter the pool area without an adult who can swim.

No running, pushing or rough play is allowed in the pool area.

No glass or electrical appliances are allowed in the pool area.

Store chemicals and equipment away from children.

Have a first aid kit near the pool.

Keep a buoyant life ring on a rope as well as a rescue crook near the pool for pulling the person to the pool's side.

Put a sturdy cover, strong enough to carry an adult's weight, over the pool. Locking covers are the most secure.

Local ordinances usually specify the type and height of fencing around your pool. Any gates should be self-latching with locks positioned beyond a child's reach.

A pool alarm is a handy device that will alert you if a child falls in the pool.

Have a poolside telephone to prevent that quick dash to the house to answer the phone "for just a minute."

Invest in swimming lessons for all members of the family. Knowing how to swim is the best defense against drowning.

Take a lifesaving course.

PREVENTING INJURIES AWAY FROM HOME Step 3:  PREVENTING INJURIES AWAY FROM HOME

Going to and from school, visiting friends, participating in school activities and a myriad of other things will take your child further away from your care as he/she gets older.

A bicycle is one way children from approximately age 7 and older get around. Here are a few basic bicycle safety tips:

Always wear a helmet.

Never ride wearing headphones.

Never ride at night.

Obey all traffic signals and signs. In general, you and the other adult members of your household should learn CPR and be trained in basic first aid techniques. Keep a first aid book on hand for reference.

For More Information – National SAFE KIDS Campaign, 111 Michigan Ave. N.W., Washington, DC, 20010.

Local Poison Control Center

National Crime Prevention Institute, University of Louisville–Shelby Campus, Burnhaus Hall, Room 134, (502) 588-6987.

National Safety Council, 444 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL, 60611, (312) 527-4800.

Local library for reference books and other local resources.

Local hardware stores, home centers or bookstores for books such as Sunset's Children's Play Yards, which contain information on outdoor safety.

Away from Home–As children become older and are away from home more, they increase their chances of meeting adults who may want to harm them. Children have a natural trust in other people. The challenge of parenting is to teach your children to add a little caution in their lives without scaring them to the point of paranoia.
The National Crime Prevention Council recommends that you teach your children to: 

Use the telephone properly in case of emergencies. Practice making emergency phone calls with them.
Memorize their name, address and phone number (including area code) and your work number.
Walk confidently and stay alert to what's going on around them.
Walk and play with friends, not alone.
Refuse rides or gifts from someone they don't know well.
Tell a trusted adult immediately if anyone, even a teacher or close relative, touches them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.Safety Info

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document. 

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Designing a Home Security System

Making your home secure isn't a matter of buying certain products–it's an overall strategy that combines locking the house tightly, eliminating the ways that intruders can conceal themselves on your property, and giving the appearance that you are home, whether you are or not.

Intruders aren't the only problem. Your home security strategy should also involve preventing accidents on your property. Many of the same things you do to protect your property from intruders are the same things you do to prevent accidents and to make your home more convenient and comfortable.

Home security systems used to be wired in during new construction, and retrofitting a system was an expensive job that could only be done by professionals. Today, combination home automation/home security systems are available that are so easy to install that they hardly qualify as do-it-yourself projects. This brochure describes the procedures involved in setting up such a system as part of an overall home security strategy.

The most important aspect of any security system is balance–it does no good to make your windows burglarproof when your doors can be opened more easily with a pry bar than with a key. Before you invest in an automated system, first take stock of the simple, everyday security measures that should already be in place

Security System

SECURING DOORS Step 1:  SECURING DOORS

Every entry and utility door in the house should be a solid door–either stile-and-rail construction or a solid-core flush door. As a rule, doors that swing into the house are more secure than outswinging doors, both because the gap between the door and jamb is not exposed and because the hinge pins are on the inside. 

If you have an outswinging door, make sure it has at least one nonremovable pin hinge. You can tell by opening the door and looking at the hinge pins. A nonremovable pin hinge has a set screw in the pin that prevents the pin from being removed. 

All entry doors should also be fitted with deadbolts (Fig. 2). There are two common types of deadbolts–single cylinder and double cylinder. Single-cylinder deadbolts are operated with a key from the outside and a turn button inside. Double-cylinder deadbolts must be operated with a key from both sides. 

Sliding patio doors (Fig. 3) are notoriously easy to break into. One of the first things a burglar looks for is a door that is loosely fitted and wiggles a little, and sliding doors can't be built to be totally tight. 

Modern patio doors often have a three-point locking system that throws a hardened bolt up into the head jamb and down into the sill to supplement the hook-type lock at the handle. If you have an older patio door, one inexpensive alternative is a hinged bar mounted on either the active door panel or the jamb that swings down to wedge the door closed (Fig. 3).

SECURING WINDOWS Step 2:  SECURING WINDOWS

The general rule of thumb is that all sliding windows (both horizontal sliders and single- or double-hung) are more difficult to secure than swinging casement or awning windows. Most modern swinging windows have cam locks that draw the sash tightly into the frame. 

Obviously you want to make sure all window locks operate properly, but you can add to the security of sliding windows by installing key locks in place of the standard sash locks (Fig. 4).

LIGHTING

LIGHTING CONTINUED

LIGHTING MORE

LIGHTING Details

Step 3:  LIGHTING

Outdoor lighting (Fig. 5) is one of the best deterrents available–as well as an important safety feature. Low-voltage lighting kits can be installed in an afternoon, while adding to the appearance of your home. Most operate from a transformer that can be plugged into any standard electrical outlet, so no wiring is required. With the development of more reliable solar cells and batteries, solar outdoor lighting is now more dependable and even easier to install than the low voltage lighting systems. On most of these types of lights, you mount them, allow them to charge up and then turn them on. The only problem associated with many of them is placing them in the wrong location so they don't get enough light. 

Make sure, too, that the entire area around your house can be well lighted. Install floodlights over the driveway and at the back of the house; if you can position lights so every door and window in the house is covered, you can scare away nearly any burglar. 

Once you have the basics taken care of, then a home security system may be a worthwhile investment. Modern systems operate from your existing wiring. They allow you to operate incandescent lights and appliances remotely, whether they are plugged into an outlet or wired to a wall switch.

The system consists of the following components: 

The controller sends signals to each remote module individually or to all modules at once. Wireless controllers are also available. 

Plug-in modules are plugged into standard electrical outlets. Then the device is plugged into the module (Fig. 6). The lamp module is designed for low-amperage use and includes a dimmer function. The appliance module is designed for heavier amperage use such as televisions, coffee makers and other small appliances.

A wall-switch module replaces the standard wall switch and allows the system to control any incandescent light wired into the home's electrical system. Modules are available for both single-pole and three-way switches.

A motion detector can be programmed to turn on any lamp plugged into a base module. 

A motion-detector-controlled floodlight can be programmed to varying degrees of sensitivity and to turn off again a specified amount of time after it comes on (Fig. 7). 

Setting up the system depends somewhat on your individual needs, although there are some basic guidelines you may want to follow. As a rule, the best way to deter burglars when you're away is to make them think you're home. If your system allows you to control eight modules, for example, consider the following locations: 

A front porch light or floodlights over the garage door. These lights should be set to go on in the evening at dusk and off again around 10 p.m. 

A main living room light. This light should be programmed to go on in the early morning, say from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., then off and on again at 6 p.m. until about 10 p.m. 

A television. Your TV can be programmed to go on and off at varying times during the day and evening; from outside, it can sound like people conversing in the house. 

A kitchen light. It should be set to go on and off again around common mealtimes. 

Bedroom lights. The lights in at least two bedrooms could be programmed to come on in the morning, then off around 8 a.m., then on again in the evening. 

A stereo or radio. Set the radio to a talk station and program it to go on and off at varying times.

A bathroom light. Program it to go on, then off after 10 minutes or so, four or five times per day. 

A back porch light or floodlights. Program these to be on whenever it is dark, until bedtime. 

To install modules in electrical outlets, simply plug the module into the outlet, then plug the lamp or appliance into the module. 

To install wall-switch modules, you'll need to replace the existing switch (Fig. 8). First, double-check the light by turning it on. Then turn off the power to that circuit, and tape over the breaker switch or fuse socket to prevent anyone from accidentally turning the power back on while you're working. Try the switch again to make sure the circuit is dead. 

Remove the switch-plate cover, then unscrew the two screws that hold the switch in the electrical box. Carefully pull the old switch out of the box and check the terminals with an electrical tester to confirm that the circuit is dead. 

Unscrew the switch terminals and remove the old switch. Attach the wires to the switch module, taking care to match the wires to the same terminals. Carefully push the wires back into the box, then screw the wall-switch module to the box. Replace the cover plate, then turn on the circuit. Test the light to make sure it works properly.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document. 

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Designing Your Home Office

More and more people are working from their homes, both as self-employed small business people and as employees. There are a lot of advantages to working at home–including the fact that the dress code is generally more casual–but there are also a number of important things you'll need to consider before setting up a home office. The most basic consideration is local zoning ordinances. If your home business consists of no more than a desk and a computer in a back bedroom, chances are no one will even know you're operating. But if, for example, your office is open to the public (say you're a chiropractor or a notary public) or you keep inventory on site, then your business affects your neighbors and is likely to be regulated. No matter what your business, always check with your local zoning board to find out where you stand before investing a lot of time and money in your office. In this document you will find information about:

Basic Considerations
Home Office Facilities

BASIC CONSIDERATIONS

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Step 1: BASIC CONSIDERATIONS

Once you've determined that you'll be working at home, the next step is to find some office space. Professional office designers do it like this: first add up the sizes of all the furniture, equipment, and storage you'll need, then design the space around it. Unfortunately, you'll probably be limited to a few choices, so you'll have to make them work no matter what size they are.

Keep in mind that privacy–or a lack of it– can make or break a home business. Don't underestimate your needs. If you are constantly being interrupted by family members because you are accessible, it'll be hard to give your work the necessary concentration. If you have children, you probably know how futile it is to expect them to be quiet, too. Privacy is one of the most important considerations in choosing office space in your home.

A second important consideration may be access. If clients will come to your office, you'll need to have an office that is accessible without walking through the entire house–or you'll have to clean up every time you expect a client. If you can't find office space where there is a door nearby, you may want to consider adding a room.

If accessibility is not a major issue, there are a lot of spaces in the average home that can be turned into office space. You may be able to divide your office into two or more spaces. For example, you may have a niche under a stairway you can use for a desk and a phone only. But just behind that niche might be a closet into which you can put a file cabinet, copy machine, and office books and supplies. It's not as handy as having everything at your fingertips, but it may work. Here are some more ideas on finding space for an office.

Adding Space–Building a room for an office is not really "finding" space–it's "making" space. The advantage is you can design the size and layout you want. The disadvantage is its cost. You're probably looking for a way to have a home office within your existing building. But don't overlook the obvious but more expensive route of adding on. Possibly the room you add on as an office can become a bedroom or family room if you sell your house. You may get all your investment back, if the new room is appropriate, and have a nice office space all the years you used it.

Guest Bedroom–Taking a wall or two from a room that might be used 10 or 12 nights of the year for guests is not unreasonable. You can build bookcases and/or other office storage up and around the bed. Or get a Murphy bed which folds up into the wall. Then the few nights the room is used for guests, push your office stuff away, and drop the bed down.

Maybe you can buy a hide-a-bed type couch for another room in the house for infrequent guests, and make that guest bedroom into a full-time office.

Basement–If you have a basement, this may be where you'll find the most available space. There may be some disadvantages, such as client accessibility, a lack of natural light, or dampness. But the advantage of abundant space might outweigh all the disadvantages.

Attic–The disadvantage of taking over the attic is that there may be no insulation, heat, electricity, air conditioning, etc. The advantage is that an attic can be a large, quiet space–and also bright and cheerful, if you install skylights or roof windows.

Attached Garage–The layout here is often favorable, especially if your business involves having clients in. A garage will have easy and private access. It has quite a bit of room and can be finished off fairly easily. The big space left by the overhead door is a wonderful opportunity to design in some nice windows and/or door into your office. A big disadvantage is you lose your garage. Of course, if your home business does well, you can build a bigger one next year.

Hallway–Hallways with niches or extra space are opportunities for small office spaces, although they may be just enough to get by.

Closets–Closets are usually in short supply, so taking one over for an office space may not be a popular idea in your household. But possibly the closet contents can be moved to a basement area, attic area, or someplace that is good enough for storage but not good enough for office space.

Sharing Space–A wall or two in the family room, living room, a bedroom, or some other room may be appropriate. Possibly some office functions can be in one space and others in a second or third space.

Many of these spaces depend on how much privacy you need to work, but be imaginative as you look over all the possibilities. There may be more office space possibilities in your house than you think.

Electricity–Don't underestimate the amount of electrical power you'll need in your office. Your needs will depend on how much electrical equipment you'll be using, of course, but chances are you'll want a 20-amp circuit. Preferably, that circuit should be dedicated to your office alone, so you won't have to worry about someone in the house turning on a hair dryer or toaster at the same time you're making copies and printing documents.

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HOME OFFICE FACILITIES MORE

Step 2:   HOME OFFICE FACILITIES

Have a licensed electrician look over your system if your electrical needs will be significant–especially if you think you may need a circuit dedicated to your office. There are a number of technical issues that have to be resolved, and you don't want to overload your electrical system.

Telephone–Wiring a telephone jack is not difficult. Many homes built after the '70s were wired with two-line capability, even though you may have only one number. To check, remove the cover plate from one of your wall jacks. If you see four wires (usually red, green, yellow, and black), you have two-line capability. All you need to do is call the phone company and ask for a second number.

If you use a fax machine–and most of the businesses you'll deal with will expect you to have one–you may want a third line. You can buy a combination phone/fax, but you won't be able to receive voice and fax calls simultaneously.

Heating/AC/Ventilation–You'll have to be comfortable in your office to work efficiently. Fans and portable heaters can transform an undesirable space into a good one, but keep in mind that electric heat draws a lot of power, and may affect electrical service to the area.

Lighting–Proper lighting is one of the most important elements of any office. Light is measured in lumens, and visually demanding tasks require at least 2,500 lumens in the room.

You'll want to pay attention to two kinds of lighting. Ambient lighting covers the entire area, while task lighting is directed to a specific area. How much you'll need depends on the task, but generally, the more visually demanding the task, the more lighting you'll need.

You'll also need to decide whether you want incandescent or fluorescent lighting in the office. Fluorescent light is more energy efficient than incandescent light, and the bulbs last longer. Fluorescent fixtures are also non-directional, so they tend to flood the area more evenly. Incandescent light, on the other hand, is warmer, and can be directed and controlled more easily. The following table lists the output in lumens of various size incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs:

Lighting Services

Once you've determined where your office will be, the next step is planning the layout to make the most efficient use of space. Measure the space and draw a scale sketch on a piece of graph paper. Write in all dimensions, including the locations of electrical switches and outlets, heating ducts, any plumbing fixtures, doors, windows, etc.

If you use graph paper with a heavier line every four squares, you can make each square equal 3", so the heavier lines represent one foot.

Next, make cutouts of your office equipment and furniture to scale. Standard sizes of office furniture are listed below.

Lay out the room until it's roughly the way you want it, then double check your layout. Use props such as your kitchen chairs and a card table or boxes to see if there's enough room behind chairs when pulled out, or whether you'll have access to the copier.

If you use a computer, you'll want to place it so the screen doesn't face a window, to avoid glare. Also, make sure an electrical outlet is nearby, and that your placement puts the printer and other peripherals close enough to be plugged into the CPU.

It's better to make changes now–even to the point of finding a new space–than after your office furniture is bought and is all in place.

Desk–Your desk is the heart of your workspace. Be sure it's big enough to accommodate your needs–one thing you'll find is that no matter how much work space you have, you could always use more. If your budget is limited, you can create a good-sized desk by setting a flush interior door on a couple of two-drawer file cabinets. Typical sizes of desks are: Office desk: 30" deep, 60" long, 29" high

Secretary's desk: 30" deep, 48" long, 29" high, with L-shaped wing 20" wide, 42" long, 27" high

Credenza: 20" deep, 60" long, 29" high

2/6 flush door: 30" deep, 80" long 

Computer Desk–If you use a computer, definitely consider a dedicated computer desk or computer table. Most computers can't take much shaking, and computer tables are specially designed for stability. Also, the height of a computer table can be adjusted; if you spend a lot of time at the keyboard, you'll need it to be lower than standard desk height. They are commonly 30" deep and 48" or 60" long.

Computer desks often include a built-in, adjustable keyboard shelf, a monitor stand, a printer stand, and storage designed for diskettes and software manuals. Like computer tables, they are built for stability. A computer hutch is typically about 28" deep and 54" long. An L-shaped computer workstation typically consists of a desk about 28" deep and 50" long, with a wing about 12" deep and 42" long (Fig. 5).

The standard rule of thumb is that your computer monitor should be a full arm's length away from your face to avoid eye strain and to keep you away from the radiation emitted by color monitors. Make sure your computer desk or table is deep enough to allow you to work without being nose-to-nose with your monitor.

Chair–If you spend a fair amount of time sitting at your desk, by all means treat yourself to a comfortable chair. A couple hundred dollars may seem like a lot, but when you figure how much time you spend in the chair, it's pennies per hour. If you aren't comfortable, your work will suffer.

If you have back problems (or don't want to have them), you may want to consider a Ballans chair (Fig. 6). A Ballans chair is designed to keep most of the weight on your knees, while keeping your back straight.

File Cabinets–You can never have too much storage space, so plan for plenty of file cabinets (Fig. 7). Vertical file cabinets are available in two-, three-, or four-drawer configurations. Two-drawer cabinets are the same height as a standard desk, so you can use them to extend your workspace. Lateral file cabinets save depth, but take up more wall space.

Consider using legal-size file cabinets even if you don't work with legal documents. Many envelopes, magazines, and presentation materials are slightly longer than 11", and they won't fit easily in a letter-size file cabinet. Typical file cabinet sizes are: Letter-size: 15" wide, 18" or 26" deep Legal-size: 18-1/4" wide, 22" or 26" deep

Lateral: 36" wide, 19" deep 

Copier–A copier can be placed on its own stand, or sit on a desktop or file cabinet. If you do any desktop publishing, consider a model that allows you to enlarge and reduce in 1% increments. You can also buy a copier with a "photo" mode that will provide excellent copy quality on artwork. If you only make an occasional copy for your records, you may be able to get by temporarily with a fax machine that has a copy mode.

Storage–You'll almost certainly need bookshelves and other storage space. If you're using a bedroom as an office, you can easily convert the closet into storage by removing the existing shelf and closet rod, then filling the space with shelves.

Check your personal and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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Composting

It was once something the zealous, health conscious, everything–natural believers did. But now it's something even mainstream America might be doing. It's called composting.

An ever-increasing number of local governments are banning the disposal of yard wastes–grass clipping and leaves–in landfills. Most localities have forbidden leaf burning for years. So where are the grass clippings and leaves to go?

Into your compost heap, of course.

Whether you begin composting out of necessity or a sincere desire to improve the environment, it is extremely easy to do.

YOUR BACKYARD COMPOST PILE

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Step 1: YOUR BACKYARD COMPOST PILE

Composting is considered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be a part of recycling. It reduces the amount of trash generated. It can be reused in your yard and it recycles nutrients back into the soil and plant life. Composting experts will argue the merits of an open-air system versus a closed-air system, the merits of layering the compost material versus mixing it together, or even whether to turn the pile.

But if all you are interested in is getting rid of your yard waste, you can rest assured that there is very little that can go wrong with composting.

Whether you choose an open or closed system, carefully layer the materials or mix the ingredients. Let it sit or turn every few days and it will become compost within a certain period of time.

Where to Locate 
The ideal location for your compost pile is under a tree. The partial shade will keep the pile from drying out too fast. However, it should not be a tree that is highly acidic such as pine, black walnut, juniper, eucalyptus or cypress. A location near the kitchen is helpful, but more important is a location that has good drainage. It also is useful to have an area near the pile to store materials that will be added to the pile later.

To Contain or Not Contain 
The simplest and least expensive way to begin composting is to start a compost heap. The pile should be at least 6' x 6' and about 5' to 6' high in the middle. Anything smaller will maintain low temperatures and will take longer to decompose. As the pile deteriorates, it will tend to sprawl and shrink. Compost heaps can be untidy and displeasing to look at, especially in urban areas. Compost heaps are what sometimes give composting its bad reputation. Containers keep the compost materials neat and tidy. They can be inexpensively built from discarded shipping pallets, fencing or chicken wire or leftover treated lumber from another building project.

Four shipping pallets tied together with rope, wire or chain with an optional fifth pallet at the bottom for increased air circulation will make an adequate container for your composting materials.

A wire bin can be made by tying together 2"x4"x36" wire fencing into a hoop shape.

An elaborate three-bin system can be built from purchased materials. With the three-bin system, each bin is approximately 36" square and shares a common lid and internal sides. In a three-bin composting system, one bin is the active compost pile, one is left empty to make turning easier, and the third is used as a holding bin for materials to be composted.

Composting can also be done in a plastic trash can which has had the bottom cut off and 24 to 48 holes drilled into the sides to increase air flow.

Many different types of composting bins are also available for purchase. There are wooden open-air bins, plastic open-air bins, plastic closed-air bins and rotating drums. The rotating drums are the most expensive but are convenient because they make turning the compost easy.

Other Tools of the Trade 
Accessory tools for composting could include a long-handled pitch fork for easy turning, a special aerating tool to keep the pile aerated and a compost thermometer, which has a long probe to accurately determine the internal temperature of the pile.

Step 2: THE COMPOST RECIPE

Like any good recipe, the compost recipe is subject to variation by the cook. The more greens/nitrogen (fresh grass clippings, food scraps) in the pile, the "hotter" the mixture and the faster it will decompose. The brown ingredients (dry leaves, dry grass, wood shavings) add carbon to the mixture and help keep the pile cool.

An ideal mixture would be 50% greens and 50% brown, but this can vary from one-quarter to one-half green and one-half to three-quarters brown.

Other items that can be added to the pile to help the "brew" but are not necessary include:

garden soil (1/2 shovelful)
finished compost (1/2 shovelful)
bonemeal (1/2 shovelful)
bloodmeal (1/2 shovelful)
fireplace ashes (shovelfuls)
crushed fertilizer rock dust (shovelfuls)
compost starter (see manufacturer directions) 

Your Yard Waste 
Just about any of the yard waste that you would bag up and set out on the curb for the trash haulers to carry away can be used in your compost heap. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind: Wet grass clipping should be mixed thoroughly to prevent odors.

Any woody material larger than 1/4" in diameter should be cut and bruised to provide more surface area for it to break down.

Weeds must go into a "hot" pile (140 degrees to 150 degrees) to destroy the seeds.

To keep more consistent weeds, such as Bermuda grass, from coming back after the compost is harvested, place them in a black plastic bag in direct sunlight for several weeks, then chop them up and place them in the compost bin.

Plants infected with insect eggs should not be added because even a "hot" pile may not kill the eggs and the insects could re-infest your yard when the compost is harvested.

Highly acidic or poisonous plants should be added in very small quantities or nor at all.

Ivy and succulent plants should be chopped or shredded before adding to the compost pile because they may regrow when the compost is harvested or may even begin growing in the compost pile.
Other Ingredients 

Food wastes such as vegetable and fruit scraps, breads, pastas, coffee grounds, egg shells, and tea bags are all acceptable nitrogen sources for your compost bin.

Do not put meats or fats in your compost pile. These food wastes will attract animals and rodents to your bin.

Manures from cows, horses, chickens and any non-meat eating animals are excellent nitrogen sources for starting the decomposition process.

Paper towels, toilet paper tubes and other shredded paper products can also be added to your compost bin.

POTENTIAL PROBLEMS Step 3:  POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

Some people have concerns about compost heaps fearing they will attract insects, rodents and other pests as well as produce undesirable odors. Most of these worries are unfounded, especially with a properly maintained pile.

A good, healthy pile should present no problems. As a general rule of thumb, if it smells like soil, then everything is working like it should.

Odors in your compost bin are usually caused by too many greens or a proper amount of greens not adequately stirred into the mixture. If odor problems start, try mixing in more brown materials such as dried leaves, straw, compost or garden soil. 

Flies should not be attracted to your compost pile if food scraps are buried 6" to 12" in the center of the pile. Just dumping food waste on the top of the pile is what causes flies to seek out your compost bin. 

Rodents should not be attracted to your compost pile if you do not add meats or fatty foods. Should rodents become a problem, try turning the pile and purchasing rodent repellent at your hardware store or home center. 

Moisture, too much or not enough, can also be a problem. If it is too wet, the pile will rot rather than decompose. If it is too dry, nothing will happen. A cover will help keep it from getting too wet during rainy seasons. A garden hose can be used to add any necessary moisture. The pile should have the wetness of a squeezed-out sponge. 

Cold, winter weather will slow down the decomposition process. Make the pile larger and/or cover it, and it will maintain its heat and do a slow simmer during the colder months.

Check your provincial and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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