Can table salt clean a clogged drain?

A clogged drain is an uncomfortable problem that should be treated as soon as possible. If there are no cleaners bought in stores around the house, you have no need to run out to the store; Try a homemade method instead. Table salt, a product found in almost all kitchens, is one of several common household products that help clear clogged drains as it works as an abrasive.

Benefits

Using this at home solutions, such as table salt, has a number of benefits, including the fact that it is almost always at hand in the pantry. In addition, many find the harmful gases and costs of drain cleaners purchased unpleasant. Using table salt and other household items, such as vinegar and baking soda, is not only better for the environment but also safer to touch or inhale.

How to use

Mix on a 1/2 cup of table salt in 4 L of water, boil and pour down the drain. This method works best when only a light drainage cleaning is necessary. Another method of breaking clogs is to pour a 1/2 cup of table salt down the clogged drain. Leave the salt in the drain for 30 minutes and pour hot water into the drain to rinse the salt particles and loosened debris away. Repeat if necessary.

Salt combination

Baking soda and table salt also make a good pairing when trying to clear a clogged drain. First pour a cup of baking soda into the clogged drain followed by a cup of table salt. You will want to leave the combination in the drain for a few hours, no more than 4 hours, which allows the mixture to work. Pour two cups of boiling water to rinse it. Baking soda helps break down waste.

Warnings and preventive measure

After cleaning the clogged drain, you will want to avoid future ones. Placing a strainer over each drain will stop larger pieces of dirt and hair from making its way down the drain. Always handle boiling water with proper care so as not to burn yourself and limit the amount of boiling water if you have plastic pipes that can melt.

 

Adding Wayne’s Coating to Your Walls

Waynes coating is a decorative panel that is installed between the baseboard and the guard on your home.  Most panels are made with tongue-and-groove wooden boards; however, they can also be found in alternative materials such as vinyl and laminate. Siding can be installed easily if you have the right tools and want to invest a little time and effort. Read the sections below to learn how to install siding or build and install your own from scratch.

Prepare the area for installation. Remove the skirting boards, guards or existing stair moldings. You should also remove the plates from the plugs. Measure the linear footage of the room or the wall with a tape measure to determine the number of panels you will have to buy.

  • Let the wood panels acclimate in the room where they will be installed, for at least 48 hours. This will prevent an expansion and contraction of the panels after the installation.

Mark the top level line. Set a level line around the room to the top of the panels. Measure the correct height of the panels, from the floor and, using a level as a straight edge, mark a guideline on each wall with a pencil. A laser level will make your job easier.

Mark the beams. Use a beam detector or tap the wall with a hammer to locate the wall beams and mark them just above the level line.

Glue and nail the panels from left to right. Apply construction adhesive to the back of an entire panel and put it in place, starting at the corner of the room. Make sure the top of the panel is flush with the level line. Hold the panel in place and secure it with nails for panels. Try to anchor the molding on the beams marked on the wall, when possible. Continue installing panels in the same way, leaving 2.5 cm (1/16 inch) of space between panels, until you reach the next corner.

  • The bottom of a piece can be sanded or cut if there is a variation in the floor and the piece does not fit. However, you should double check that the top level line is correctly made.
  • You will need to cut a hole for an outlet when you see that a panel is covering one. Cover the socket with light colored chalk, align the panel, press it against the chalk to get the outline of the outlet, and then cut it with a jigsaw.

Cut pieces as needed when necessary. Measure and cut the last panel with a jigsaw to fit the correct length of the wall.

Install the skirting and upper moldings. Make sure the molding is aligned with the top of the boards. Again, secure each piece to a wall beam, when possible.

Create your own panels

Put your materials together You will need 60 cm (1/4 inch) plywood for the back panels, 2.5 x 10 cm (1 x 4 inches) wood for the uprights, 2.5 x 15 cm wood (1 x 6 inches) for skirting and 2.5 x 5 cm wood (1 x 2 inches) for the rails. You will have to rent a circular saw at the hardware store in your area to cut the wood and panels to measure. A laser level, pieces of wood for the spacing of the steps, a beam locator, a nail gun with 6 cm and 4 cm (2.5 and 1.5 inch) finishing nails and other tools can also be good to have on hand.

Prepare the area for installation. Remove the skirting boards, guards or existing stair moldings. You should also remove the plates from the plugs. Measure the linear footage of the room or wall with a tape measure to determine the amount of wood you will need.

  • Allow the wood to acclimate in the room where it will be installed, for at least 48 hours. This will prevent an expansion and contraction of the panels after the installation.

Mark the top level line Set a level line around the room to the top of the panels. Measure the height of the room, divide it by 3 and create your panels so that they reach that height or almost reach it. Once you have calculated the height, draw and then mark (what works best is the painter’s tape) a level line around the room. A laser level will make your job easier.

  • You could try and place the top edge of the panel slightly higher than it is actually the panel if you know that the floor is uneven. This will keep to a minimum the amount of cuts you need to make. The baseboard molding can always be placed at the bottom to hide the spaces that can be left if you have an uneven floor.

Mark beams and service lines. Use a beam locator or tap the wall with a hammer to locate the wall beams and mark them above the level line. If you can locate service lines, you should also mark them on the wall to avoid hitting them with nails.

  • Service lines are often found around water fountains or right next to the rafters that are closest to electrical outlets and wall lights. Be careful when nailing in those areas.

Plan the spacing. The size and orientation of your room will determine the appearance of the siding, so unfortunately no specific measures can be given. But there are a few basic guidelines you should follow to know where everything should go:

  • Try placing a few studs on a beam. This will help seal your panel on the wall.
  • Do not place an upright over an outlet or other unusual item. This will only cause you to cut and measure more.
  • Try aligning your studs to cover the spaces between the panels, helping to hide the joints.
  • Set the spacing of the studs in a way that looks good for the room size you have. The smaller the room, the more separated the uprights must be. Larger rooms can be spaced just like beams: 40 cm (16 inches) center by center.

Place the panels. Place construction adhesive on the back of the panels and place them on the wall, starting at the corner and covering the largest wall first. Align the top of the panel with the level line and secure the panels to the joists with a nail gun and 4 cm or 1.5 inch finishing nails (they should be placed on the top and bottom in ways that remain hidden by the guard and the skirting board). Continue throughout the room until you have placed all the panels.

  • You will have to cut a hole for an outlet when you see that a panel is going to cover one. Cover the socket with light colored chalk, align the panel, press the panel on the chalk to get the outline of the outlet, and then cut the outline with a jigsaw.

Secure the guard. Align the 2.5 x 5 cm (1 x 2 inch) guards so that they line up with the top of the panels and then clamp them in place with 6 cm (2.5 inch) finishing nails. These should also be nailed to the beams, when possible.

Place the uprights. Then, stick and nail the uprights in place, exactly as you placed the guard. Start with two studs in the corner of the room, then use the spacer on the top and then again on the bottom while you nail the two ends in place. Use a carefully cut piece of wood as a spacer and a normal level or laser to make sure to nail the studs as straight as possible.

Fix your baseboard and skirting molding. Finally, place the molding in the same way you placed the uprights and the guard. Do not worry about the spaces that you leave in the lower part due to uneven floors: that will be covered by the molding of the base that is placed at the end.

  • You can also add molding at the top to cover railing and uneven panels or just use a flat piece of wood if you want a usable shelf.

Give it a finish. Sand the finished wood surface, cover the nails with a pencil to puncture nails and then paint or stain the wood as you wish. Enjoy your new coating!

DIY: Cleaning Your Fireplace

Feeling the heat and hearing the noise of the burning wood from the fireplace in your house can be very relaxing. However, the soot deposits it leaves behind eventually condense to create a creosote, a toxic and tarred substance, in the chimney. You should clean your fireplace regularly. To do so, you can use a homemade or commercial cleaner. You must sweep the fireplace, apply the cleaner inside it and scrub it.

Consider using commercial cleaners. You can use standard household cleaners in the fireplace. You can also buy cleansers specifically manufactured to clean chimneys.

  • Ammonia can work well as a cleaner, but it may be very strong for brick chimneys.
  • You can apply an oven cleaner in the fireplace. This product can be very useful when a lot of burnt material accumulates in the chimney.
  • Stop by your local hardware store and look for chimney cleaners. These products may be less strong for your fireplace. If you use chimney cleaners, such as the Quick n ‘Brite brand, you should probably dilute them before using them, so be sure to read the instructions.

Make a homemade cleaner. If you are allergic to chemicals, you can use a homemade cleanser. You can usually make a cleaner with items that you can find in the kitchen.

  • You can combine 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar with water to make a good quality homemade cleaner.
  • You can also mix equal parts of vinegar and water to make a cleaner. Then, place it in a spray bottle to apply it.
  • Mix between two to three tablespoons of dishwashing liquid with 1/2 cup of baking soda. Create a paste with this mixture to obtain a good quality homemade cleaner.

Make sure you have a multipurpose spray cleaner. Before applying any cleaner, apply a multi-purpose cleaner to the fireplace. An aerosol cleaner, like 409 brand, that you can buy in most supermarkets, will be very useful for this purpose.

  • If you are going to use a commercial cleaner, make sure that the cleaner you choose does not interact negatively with the multi-purpose spray cleaner.

Get a small broom to sweep the fireplace. You must sweep the fireplace quickly before scrubbing it, so get a small broom. You can find small brooms in most stores.

  • Search the aisle for pet products. Often brooms and small pickers are sold to clean cat litter. You can use these brooms to clean the fireplace.

Get an abrasive tool. You must use this tool to scrub and remove debris from the chimney. A scrub brush or abrasive sponge is very useful for cleaning a chimney.

  • You can buy these products in most supermarkets and hardware stores.

Clean the chimney

Protects the area surrounding the fireplace. Use an old apron or clothing to protect yourself from dirt or debris. Spread a tarp or newspaper on the floor around the fireplace. Keep this in mind because you will get dirty when you clean the fireplace and removing soot from clothing or carpeting can be difficult.

  • If you do not have a tarp to put on the floor, use old clothes or towels that you no longer use. Make sure they are garments that you do not mind discarding as they are likely to be ruined during the cleaning process.

Remove waste from the chimney. Before cleaning, you must get rid of old leftover wood and other waste. Put on some cleaning gloves and remove the debris.

  • If there is any wood that you can use again, save it for later.
  • You may have to use a vacuum to vacuum loose debris.

Sweep the chimney from the top to the bottom. Take the small broom and use it to sweep. Thoroughly sweep any dust or ash from inside the fireplace.

  • It may be useful to sprinkle ground coffee on the ashes before cleaning. Doing so allows the ashes to acquire a more solid texture to prevent them from dispersing in the air.
  • Also sweep the entrance to the chimney, as it probably also has ashes.

Spray the fireplace with a cleaner. First you must use the multipurpose cleaner. Spray the inside of the fireplace with a light coat of this cleaner. The purpose of this procedure is to wet the area, whereupon the cleaning process begins.

  • Make sure to wet the inside of the fireplace completely before continuing.

Use an abrasive tool to clean the fireplace. Use the cleaner you have chosen, whether it’s homemade or commercial. Wet the abrasive tool with the cleaner and start scrubbing.

  • Do not rub too hard because the brush is already abrasive. Apply the liquid in circular motions until the chimney is completely covered.
  • If there are hard-to-reach cracks in the fireplace, use a toothbrush to clean these areas.

Let the cleaner settle in the fireplace. If the fireplace has only slight stains, it will be enough to wait between 10 and 15 minutes. If the fireplace is very stained, wait at least 30 minutes.

  • If you are going to use a commercial cleaner, read the label carefully. There may be specific instructions on how long you should allow the cleaner to set.

Remove the residues that have accumulated in the chimney. The cleaner will loosen dirt and debris from the fireplace. Once this happens, you can easily remove the residue by scrubbing and cleaning the chimney a little.

  • Wet a cloth with warm or hot water from the tap.
  • Remove the stain. It should leave easily.
  • Generally, after doing so, you will have finished the process. However, you may need to clean the chimney for a second, or even a third time, if it is heavily stained or damaged.

Clean the glass of the chimney

Wet a cloth with water. Before starting, make sure the fireplace is off and cool to the touch. Use a cloth that you do not mind discarding after cleaning. If you wish, you can use paper towels instead of a cloth.

Dip the damp cloth in the ashes. Use the ashes of the fireplace. Make sure you cover the area completely, as this will help eliminate the soot on the glass, even if it seems contradictory.

Rub the glass with the cloth. You should rub hard to perform a good cleaning. Keep rubbing until you have removed all the soot or discoloration.

Clean the glass with a microfiber towel. Once it’s clean, remove all streaks or residue with a clean microfiber towel.

Keep the fireplace clean

Choose dry wood. Dry firewood burns better than other types of firewood. It also tends to produce less smoke, which reduces stains inside the chimney.

  • Make sure that any firewood you buy is dry or cured.
  • If the firewood is not labeled, ask someone at the store where they sell it.

Clean out the fireplace weekly. Doing so will reduce the process of sweeping and eliminating waste when you clean it. However, take certain precautions. Make sure the embers have dried at least 12 hours before vacuuming.

Use water to put out the fire only in emergencies. The fire in the fireplace should burn naturally. If you throw water on it, the ashes will form a paste that will be difficult to clean. Only use water in case of emergency.

  • If a fire starts in your home, you should immediately call the local emergency number. Even if you think the fire is under control, professional firefighters should check the house to make sure the fire has completely died out.

Warnings

Many of the substances described above are toxic, so always use plastic gloves throughout the cleaning process.

How to Clean a Chimney

Lighting the chimney leads to the accumulation of soot and creosote, a flammable and sticky substance that can cause a fire if it is not removed. Hiring a chimney cleaning professional can be expensive, but if you use your fireplace frequently, consider buying some tools so you can clean your chimney yourself. This article provides instructions on three methods to clean chimneys, as well as tips for doing it safely.

Get ready to clean the fireplace

Determine if you need to clean the fireplace. You should clean it at least once a year, especially if you use it frequently.

  • Take a flashlight and go inside the fireplace. Use a pencil or a plastic knife to remove the creosote that accumulated in the fireplace. If it has a width of 1/8” or less, it is time to clean it.
  • If you can clean your fireplace once a year, do it in the fall, before the burning season begins. Otherwise, it does not make sense to light your fireplace during the winter.

Look for animals inside the fireplace. If it has been a while since you last used your fireplace, look for any signs of animals before doing so. Birds, squirrels or raccoons love to nest inside them, especially in the colder months. Light a flashlight, look for the animals, take necessary steps to remove them.

Measure the density of the chimney. To clean the fireplace, you must use the right tools. Measure the chimney from the bottom to the top. You can climb a ladder and measure it from the top.

  • Determine the size and shape of the flue. It must be square or round, or measure between 6” or 8″.
  • Determine the height of the chimney. If you are guessing, it is better to overestimate, so you can have extra rope and make sure you brush the chimney well, reaching the entire surface.

Buy the necessary cleaning supplements. Go to a hardware store and buy all the materials you need to clean the fireplace:

  • A chimney brush, rope or plastic. Use the measurements to buy the appropriate size.
  • Chimney brush extensions can help you clean up completely. Alternatively, you can buy a rope designed for chimney brushes, or a string system.
  • A wire brush.
  • Plastic or cloths to use inside your house.
  • A high ladder to reach the ceiling, if you plan to clean it from the top down.
  • A broom and dustpan.
  • Mask and protective glasses

Dress appropriately. Use old clothes that do not matter if you have to throw it away later. Cover your hair with a bandana. You can use work gloves to protect your hands. Wear a mask and protective glasses to prevent dust from entering your eyes and mouth.

Prepare your house for cleaning. Place cloth or plastic around the fireplace, spread it around your living room. Use sheets to cover your furniture. Wrap all your carpets.

Removes moisture from the fireplace. Locate the moisture inside the fireplace and use a small brush to clean it. Take it out of the fireplace and separate it with a piece of cloth so that it does not obstruct the brushing of the fireplace while you proceed to clean the fireplace.

Cleaning the chimney from the top down

Prepare the ladder and climb to the roof. Assume that the roof is a safe place to step on, and that you feel safe being there, hold the ladder next to your house. Place the brush, next to the other tools, on your shoulder and climb the ladder.

  • If you are afraid to climb the ladder or stand on the roof, clean the fireplace from below using the method below.
  • If you’re not sure about the quality of your roof, or if you’re leaning and you’re not sure you can maintain the balance, use another method.

Brush a section of the pipe. Place the brush inside the fireplace. Using up and down movements, start cleaning it. Add an extension to the rope if you cannot reach easily. Continue until you are finished.

  • If you use a rope, join that part with the brush. Hold the end of the rope and go down along the chimney. Go up and down while you’re cleaning the entire surface.

Clean the lower part of the chimney. Use a small brush to clean the bottom that you have not cleaned.

Alternative methods

Clean the chimney from the bottom.

  • Attach to other sections.
  • Add the first piece of the pipe to the brush.
  • Insert the brush into the fireplace. Use up and down movements, starting at the top.
  • Add another section of the pipe to extend the brush to the top of the chimney.
  • Continue in this way until you have cleaned the entire surface.

Use a polishing system

  • Buy a rope polishing system to brush the fireplace. Join two strings to the brush, one on the top and one on the bottom, and brush from top to bottom.
  • Attach the polishing system to the brush. Ask for the help of a friend or family member on top of the roof.
  • The person on the roof must hold one part of the rope, and leave the other, with the brush in between, while waiting for another person to hold the rope.
  • Work with other people, use the rope to brush from top to bottom, brushing the entire chimney.

Final work

  • Clean the entrance to the fireplace. In the final part of the fireplace, usually located in the basement, where you will see a small door that leads to that part. The creosote and the soot stay there. Use a small spatula to separate it.
  • Use a brush and a dustpan to clean the remains of the fireplace. Empty the rest in a dumpster.

Use a brush to sweep the remains and clean the cloths. Empty what’s left over in a dumpster.

Dispose of soot and creosote according to local laws. Since these are flammable substances they may not have to be thrown into the dumpster.  Check with local laws before disposing of soot and creosote.

Warnings

  • Call a professional if you do not feel safe during the chimney cleaning process.
  • Do not step on the roof if it is in wet condition.
  • Be careful not to absorb the soot or creosote and clean your skin after having contact.
  • Do not operate flammable materials during the chimney cleaning process.

How to Clean Floor Vents

How to clean the floor ventilation ducts

No matter how clean you keep your home, the floor ventilation ducts will accumulate dirt and dust which becomes difficult to remove over time. This accumulation may be hard to clean, especially when dirt or dust has built up in the crevices and spaces of your ducts. If your floor ventilation ducts are ready for you to clean, you can do it effectively using a dishwasher or manual methods.

Use a dishwasher

Determine the composition of your ventilation ducts. In most cases, metal ventilation ducts can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Avoid washing the vents that are painted since the heat of the dishwasher can cause the paint to come off. You should not use your dishwasher to clean:

  • Wood ventilation ducts that are especially susceptible to intense heat. Never clean wooden floor ventilation ducts in a dishwasher, unless otherwise stated in the product care instructions.
  • Plastic ventilation ducts since the heat of the dishwasher can cause them to become deformed and ruined. Cleaning them by hand is safer.

Turn off the duct fan, heat, or air conditioner. If you leave your home ventilation system on while cleaning the ventilation ducts, the blower could ignite and expel dust and dirt in the air. This will only cause dirt in the pipes to spread throughout your home.

  • Dust and dirt that gets back into the air can irritate your eyes and lungs when you clean.
  • If you have sensitive eyes or lungs or if you suffer from allergies, you may need to wear protective glasses and a dust mask.

Clean the dust and dirt that comes out of the duct. Cleaning the dust and dirt that comes out of the duct will prevent it from falling on the floor when transporting your ducts to the dishwasher. You can do this easily with a vacuum equipped with a tool to check for cracks or by cleaning the ventilation ducts with a clean, damp cloth with water.

  • You do not have to be especially careful when cleaning the dirt that comes out of your ducts. Passing a damp cloth or vacuum a few times should be enough.

Remove the floor ventilation ducts. Most floor ventilation ducts are secured with standard screws. Use a standard screwdriver to loosen the screws and remove the ducts you wish to clean. Keep a damp cloth or vacuum cleaner on hand as dirt and additional dirt may have accumulated behind the duct.

  • You are likely to find more dirt and loose dust behind your ducts. In most cases, swiftly passing the vacuum cleaner can clean them.
  • You may want to put something, such as a newspaper or old fabric, on the floor or under the wall vents and next to the ducts on the floor. In this way, you will remove additional dirt and you will have a place to put the ducts that you removed.

 

Insert the ducts and turn on the dishwasher. Organize your ducts in the dishwasher without stacking them one on top of the other. Avoid using dishwashing detergent. These products are made for tableware and cutlery and are not suitable for ducts.

  • The shortest cycle of your dishwasher should be enough to completely clean the floor ducts and it will not be too strong for them.

Replace the ducts after washing them. Be careful when removing the ducts from the dishwasher. Immediately after the dishwasher cycle, they may be hot. Check your ducts to make sure they are clean and, if so, use a screwdriver to secure each one back in place.

  • If your ducts are still not clean, you may want to run them through the dishwasher for another short cycle or clean areas that are hard to reach with a cotton swab and kitchen soap.

Clean the floor ventilation ducts by hand

Turn off the ventilation system in your house. Every time you clean the ventilation ducts, you must turn off the heat, air conditioning or fan in order to prevent the ventilation system from starting and throwing dust and dirt into the air. This will cause the dirt in your pipes to spread throughout your home.

  • Even with your ventilation system turned off, your home’s natural airflow and your efforts to clean can cause dust to permeate the air. For this reason, you may want to wear protective glasses and a dust mask.

Clean the dirt and dust that comes out. Using the vacuum tool which can reach cracks can help you remove dirt from corners and spaces in your duct. If you see lumps that seem to be loose, but you cannot suck them up, take a damp and clean rag and clean them out.

  • If your ducts are not very dirty, doing a superficial cleaning can be enough to restore your ducts and make them good as new.
  • You do not have to be very careful with this superficial cleaning. Ducts that are very dirty will need a deep cleaning with soap and water. When you vacuum and clean, the objective will be to remove the dust that is loose.

Take out your pipes. To prevent the dirt behind your ducts from spreading or rising to your floor, put something, such as a tarp or newspaper, to catch the dust. More often, the ventilation ducts are installed using standard screws. Take a standard screwdriver, loosen the screws and remove the ventilation ducts.

  • Dirt and dust often accumulate behind the ventilation ducts. Use the tool to clean cracks on your vacuum in order to clean any type of undesirable accumulation.
  • When you finish removing each duct, place it on the floor covering. This will help you to contain the dirt that remains on the ventilation ducts.

Clean your ducts with warm water and dish soap. Use a dishwashing tool, such as a scrubbing brush or sponge, to clean the duct strips and other narrow crevices. Moisten the tool with water, apply soap and clean each duct. After the metal or plastic ventilation ducts are cleaned, you can dry them in the air or with a clean and dry cloth or a paper towel.

  • If the dirt in your vents is resistant to the soap scrubbing treatment, you may first need to soak them in warm water with soap for a few hours or overnight.
  • Wood ducts are easily deformed by excess water or by soaking them too much. Use a clean, damp cloth to clean it of the dirt and then dry the wood quickly and completely.

Put the ducts back into the corresponding openings. Now that everything is clean and dry, your ducts will be ready to return to their associated spaces. Place each duct in its place, one at a time, then use your screwdriver to secure all ducts.

 

Maintaining Your Roof

Inspect your roof at least once a year.  If you have gone through all the effort of putting a new roof on your house, be sure to do a regular inspection to keep it in good condition.  It’s best to inspect it during warmer months but it’s also good to inspect it after a rainy period to check for leaks or other problems.  It is very important as a homeowner to take out a ladder and carefully check the roof, especially in areas where strong winds and bad weather occur.

Look for cracked caulks or rust on the flashing.  Metal is quite susceptible to inclement weather.  Examine any exposed flashing to look for signs of wear and put caulks on affected areas.

Find doubled tiles.  Well-placed tiles should remain relatively flat throughout their lifetime, but bubbles will begin to form and will bend upwards at the edges as they wear out.  This should not be a problem in a roof’s early years, unless some of them have been installed improperly.  It is a good idea to check them and replace any tiles that appear to be loose.

  • Hammer any loose nail or remove it and use a new one to secure the tiles.  Save the roofing glue in case you have to do patching later and add a little hear and there as needed.  Seal any flashing that you see protruding with glue.

Eradicate moss from your roof.  Moss is the ruin of the existence of a roof.  Moss houses moisture and can reduce the lifetime of your roof tiles.  Remove the dead moss with a broom and consider applying a commercial “anti-moss treatment” to the roof.  This treatment will cost about $30.

  • For a natural alternative, spray your roof with baking soda.  Some anti-moss products have copper oxide or zinc which is harmful to ground water, not to mention pets and other animals. Spraying baking soda in areas prone to moss build up keeps moss at bay.

Look for asphalt granules in gutters.  When you tiles begin to wear out, you will see that the small protective beads of the tiles come off during rains and end up in the gutters.  This is a sign that the tiles are reaching the end of their lifetime and you will need to replace them soon because they will not be able to withstand the UV rays of the sun.  Start planning a roof replacement.

Watch for early signs of drip.  Inside your house, pay attention to the sign of possible leaks. It’s best to find them as soon as possible before any serious structural damage happens to the house. If you have a leak, think about having a roofer perform an assessment to determine what arrangements should be made.  Search for:

  • Peeling paint
  • Wet or dark areas on the ceiling or around fireplaces
  • Water spots around any duct

Tips

  • Have tarps on hand in case the weather suddenly changes before you can replace the roof.  Tie them together to make sure they’re secured.
  • Use a high-strength magnet (or rent one) to make sure there are no nails left in the grass.  They can end up deflating tires or damaging mowers.

Repairing Concrete Floors

Despite strenuous efforts to give concrete a good finish, sometimes the finished product has significant imperfections. Surely neither a carpet placed on it nor a vinyl floor will cover all imperfections, so making a repair that corrects the problem is the best option for both the builder and the homeowner.

Calculate the scope of the problem. Possible problems may include:

  • Ridges or mounds left by builders.
  • Cracks due to expansion or contraction. The properly installed concrete must have joints that prevent these unpleasant cracks. In the case of a 4 inch thick slab, the joints should have a separation of 8 to 12 feet. If the joint is not enough or is placed incorrectly, cracks may occur.
  • Waste like pieces of wood sticking out of the concrete while it is still malleable.
  • Damage caused by heavy objects that have fallen on the block before it has finished setting.
  • Elevation of the surface due to improper finishing or freezing temperatures during the curing process. Elevation occurs when parts of the concrete surface come off.

Use a measuring tape to determine the length and width of the area to be repaired if it is not self-evident. This can include mounds, depressions or ridges. You can disguise the small surface areas with shallow irregularities with a “floor leveling compound”, instead of lifting and replacing the existing concrete.

Chop the surface of the concrete to remove all “lift” in the material, and to create a rough surface so that the cement mix will bond well. If the work is small, a chisel hammer will suffice, but for larger repairs it will be better to use an electric hammer or even a jackhammer.

Clean dust and debris from the area you have chopped. This way the new material will have a solid surface to adhere to.

Mix the cement and sand you will use to fill the area you have chopped. Mix the dry ingredients first, using a ratio of 1 part of cement (type I or II) to 2 ½ parts of “clean” masonry sand.

Add a liquid latex binder or polymers to dry the cement / sand mixture, using enough to wet the material and bring it to a consistent but malleable state. Note that some binding agents are applied directly on the patching area, such as glue, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Wet the area where you will apply the new material with fresh and clean water. Do not flood the area, but make sure that all surfaces are wet, as this helps in the adhesion of the new cement mixture, as well as preventing it from drying too fast. Dry surfaces simply “remove” moisture from the cement mix too quickly, which will cause it to contract, and eventually break.

Take a “spoonful” of cement mix from the mixer with a “tipped mason’s spoon” (or some other appropriate tool). Place the mixture inside, or over the patch, and push it hard to remove all air bubbles.

Level the wet surface with the mason’s spoon, leaving it slightly higher than the adjacent edges, to allow it to settle and contract. Allow to dry and harden for an hour or so, depending on humidity and room temperature.

Smooth the area with a steel finishing spoon when the patch material is consistent. This will flatten and soften the surface and cause the cement paste or cream to “rise” to the surface. If the surface is very large and deep, you can smooth it with a magnesium paste to get more cement cream up. This paste or cream is the material that forms the surface of the finished block.

Let the concrete “settle” or harden for an hour or two more and then finish smoothing it. At this point, you may need to splash a little water on the surface to delay drying, in addition to making the finishing process easier. Use the edge of the spoon to “shave” or scrape the splashes of mixture close to the finished surface. Another good choice of materials to repair are hydraulic cements. They usually settle in less than 30 minutes.

Clean the tools and remove all excess material.

Tips

  • Mix enough cement and sand to finish the entire patch in one go.
  • For smaller areas, you can buy fortified polymer material or dry pre-mix to patch concrete.
  • To fix the high points on a concrete floor that will be covered by another floor, you can use a grinder equipped with a masonry grinding wheel.
  • Once the repair is done, keep it wet for a few days, if possible. Use a lot of water.
  • Protects the repair of direct sunlight. A cardboard box will suffice.
  • High lime cement is more flexible and may be more appropriate for repairing concrete.

How to Build a Fence

Building a fence on your own and not hiring someone to do it can be very economical, whether you want to make a small decorative fence for your garden or a strong barrier between your pool and the outside world. The meticulous planning is the key to building a solid barrier that will remain for a long time.

Decide on the basics

Learn the lingo.

  • Posts are vertical support beams that are embedded in the ground.
  • The rails are the horizontal supports on the posts.
  • The planks are the main material of the fence and can be horizontal or vertical. They are placed on the posts and rails.

Think about what materials you will use, depending on the purpose of the fence.

  • If it is to give privacy to the backyard, it would be best to use tall wooden boards.
  • If it will not allow the pet to escape, a stretch of pickets will provide a good combination of fresh air and ample protection.

How high will it be? Privacy fences should be at least six feet (1.80 m) to avoid the curious, while barriers to contain pets or livestock may be approximately four feet (1.20 m).

Determine the length and angles of the fence. Place poles at the corners and use them to draw a line on the exact place where the fence will be built.

Take the right measures

Establish the separation between posts. Generally, between six (1.80 m) and eight (2.44 m) feet away, depending on the type of fence and the terrain on which it will be installed.

Mark the spaces with stakes. Take your time to carefully evaluate their positions, because if you do not align the posts properly, the stiffness of the entire structure will be affected.

Use a hole digger to make the pits of the posts on each stake marker. To have a strong fence, bury the posts 1/3 of its length. This will be the depth you will need for the holes.

Treat the lower third of the posts with a protective seal to prevent damage from the underground moisture. Let it set during the night so that the wood becomes saturated.

Fix the posts

Place some shovels of dirt or gravel in the holes of the posts and insert them at an angle of 90 degrees from the ground. Move them around carefully so that they settle.

Check the angle of the posts with one level and point them with stakes. The corner posts should have additional support on both sides.

Tamper the earth or concrete in the holes so that the posts are firm. Leave the props for at least two weeks so that the posts stay in place.

Make a mound of dirt or concrete around the base of the pole to avoid standing water.

Place the rails and boards

Nail a top and bottom rail along the fence posts, horizontally. Measure a distance from the top of each post to determine where to place the bottom rail to keep it straight.

Place central rails. There may be one or more, depending on the style of the fence.

Nail the boards to the posts or rails, depending on the style of the fence. You can do it on only one side of the rails or alternating in designs.

Place a door

Locate a place and size for the door (if any). Generally, these doors are 40 inches (1 m) long.

Make holes and place reinforced posts on each side. Use the method of applying gravel and tamping to make them as robust as possible.

Measure the entrance, cut 2″x4″ (5×10 cm) square shaped pieces and start to screw them to each other.

Place a hinge or support bracket to the bottom 2″x4″ (5x10cm).

Continue to build the frame, placing hinges or clamps and corner clamps in the process.

Place the door in the empty space to make sure it fits. If you see fit, prop up the hanging posts with more supports to make sure it can hold the weight.

Place the hinges on the hanging post with long-lasting lag screws.

  • The side you hold the door on will determine where you want it to open.
  • Once the hinges are firmly in place, install the handle and the latch on the other side.

Finish the fence

  • Apply several layers of wood sealant to protect the fence.
  • Paint the fence and the door with stain in a color that complements the environment or that provides a colorful design.

Tips

  • The most important thing is care and precision, measure twice and cut only once!
  • When nailing the rails, measuring each post can be a great waste of time. Save the effort by measuring a stick with the desired length and then using it to measure and mark each post.
  • Usually fences are built around properties, make sure you are not invading your neighbor’s property before proceeding with the construction.
  • Approximately one third of the total length of the posts will be underground, that is, if the fence is to be six feet high (1.80 m) the post itself should be 9 feet (2.7 m) and the hole should be three feet (90cm) deep.
  • When you make the door frame, drill holes for the bolt heads on the vertical parts to achieve an aligned connection between the frame and the door.

Cleaning Aluminum Siding

To clean aluminum siding, choose a dry and windless day. The first thing to do is look for signs of mildew, curling and necessary repairs. Once you have determined what cleaning method to use, try to work as much as you can under the shade. Water pressure cleaning is a good technique for ordinary dirt and grit, while mold requires cleaning with a bleach or vinegar solution.

Choose the cleaning method

Look for loose or rotted pieces. Replace any that show signs of rot. Reclaim the those that are loose. Avoid pressure washing until you have made these arrangements.

  • Pressure washing loose or rotted pieces can cause water to seep through the lining and the back wall could absorb it.
  • If the aluminum cladding needs repairs and you do not feel capable of doing them, call a specialized professional.

Check for mold; Look for gray, green or black spots. Examine to determine if there are ruts. Look especially at the north side of the house and anywhere that does not receive much sunlight.

  • Eliminating mold requires more powerful cleaners. Even pressure washing will not stop the mold from coming out soon after.

Put on work gloves and rub the surface. Then look at the gloves to see if they have a light-colored powder.

  • Consider pressure washing if you find signs of chalk or embedded dirt.

Clean the lining with a brush and cleaning products

Get an extendable brush for coatings. Choose one that can range between 8 to 20 feet. As an alternative, you can attach a car cleaning brush to an extendable rod for paint rollers.

  • You can buy a specific extendable brush to clean linings or use a long pool brush.

Mix a cleaning solution in the bucket. Make sure that the brush head easily enters the bucket you choose.  Fill the bucket with hot water and a biodegradable detergent, guided by the product label. If necessary, add 3/4 cup of bleach or vinegar for every gallon of water.

  • Add bleach or vinegar if the coating shows any sign of mold.
  • Do not mix bleach with any product that contains ammonia.
  • You can use a specific cleaner for coatings, liquid dishwashers or a cleaner like Spic and Span.

Test the cleaner first in a small area. Wear gloves if the solution contains bleach or an aggressive cleanser. Moisten a clean white cloth in the solution, rub a small area of ​​the coating and see if it is powerful enough to do the job.

  • You can try different mixtures until you find the right power to clean the siding.
  • Adjust the mixture as needed, following all safety instructions for the product or cleaning products you choose.
  • Use eye protection if indicated by the product instructions.

Protect any plants near the cleaning area, if necessary. First, water the bushes, grass and other plant life near the house, and then cover them with tarps or plastic. Once you have finished cleaning, remove this cover and water the plants again.

  • Protect the grass and other plant life if you are using bleach or a chemical cleanser.

Moisten the siding with a spray bottle, if desired. Fill the bottle with the solution and moisten a portion of the liner about 20 feet wide for its total height. Let the solution settle a few minutes before brushing that area.

  • Pre-wetting the coating will reduce the subsequent rubbing time.

Brush the coating. Dip the brush in the bucket of the cleaning solution. Start at the bottom and go up.  Rub the lining to the sides, advancing and receding. Re-wet the brush when necessary.

  • The coating under the part you are cleaning must remain moist. Rinse it while you work so it does not dry out and come in contact with the dirty solution that is leaking from above.

Soak the siding with a hose. Put the hose in the jet position and soak the area you just brushed. Start at the top and go down.

Clean with water under pressure

Choose a pressure cleaner. Look for a cleaner that produces a pressure of at least 2,000 psi (pounds per square inch). You may have to pick it up with a van, minivan or pickup, and you need help loading and unloading it. Talk to the rental agent about how to connect and operate it and consult all the necessary security measures.

  • You can rent a pressure washer at home improvement stores.
  • If the cleaner does not come with nozzles, you will have to get them separately. You will need nozzles between 15 and 25 degrees.

Cover the area. Spread tarps, old sheets or plastic on the floor. Cover any nearby vegetation.

  • If the siding is sprayed, the covers will protect the floor from the paint flakes.

Protect yourself. Wear eye protection, sturdy shoes and long pants. Follow all safety precautions for the make and model of the pressure washer. Also, read the instructions for the methods of handling, blocking or shutting down.

  • It is vital that you protect yourself properly. The jet of a pressure washer is very powerful and dangerous. Its force can cause many types of serious injuries.
  • If your house was built before 1977, or if you do not know for sure if the paint on your siding has lead, give it an analysis. You can ask the local health department to provide you with safety instructions.

Coupling the 15-degree nozzle. Do not use settings below 15 degrees, and above all do not use a zero-degree nozzle with a pressure cleaner.  Make sure you fix it properly.

  • If the nozzle is not properly fixed, it may pop off when you turn on the cleaner.

Turn on the pressure washer. Attach the washer to a normal garden hose and attach it to an outside water supply. Start the engine.

Practice using the cleaner from a couple of steps away. Go closer until you find the most appropriate point. Apply the water horizontally or at a slightly downward angle.

  • Use the cleaner with caution, as it may leave marks on the coating or take off finishes.

Rub the coating or raise the pressure, if necessary. If a low-pressure wash does not work, rub the coating with a soap solution and continue with a low-pressure rinse. Alternatively, you can do a test wash with a 25-degree nozzle in a not very visible area. Make sure that no damage occurs before proceeding with the cleaning.

  • Continue with a high-pressure wash, knowing the risk that you can damage the test area.

Warnings

  • Trisodium phosphate (TSP) is no longer recommended for tasks such as washing siding, due to its extreme power and the risks it poses to people, animals and the environment.

Repairing a Roof Leak

Minor leaks can be fixed without the help of a roofing professional. The following steps will teach you to identify problems and make repairs for flat roofs, shingles and wooden shingle roofs. If you want to work on your roof, you must do it on a day when the roof is dry to prevent accidents.

Fix the tiles

Check that there is no damage to the roof material, directly above where the drip is coming from. This is probably easier to find on a flat roof, but leaks can enter the roof of the house at a good distance from where the roof damage actually is.

  • If your roof is slanted, inspect the areas on the roof that are higher than where the leak enters your house.
  • If you have an attic, inspect it with a flashlight to look for water spots, black spots and mold.
  • Use a hose to run water on different sections of the roof and ask someone inside the house to notify you when you see a leak.

Look for damaged, bent or missing tiles near where the leak comes from. Also look closely for exposed roof tacks.

Straighten folded back tiles. In cold climates, you may have to soften the edges of the tile with heat, with an electric hair dryer. Using a torch or other items with open flame is not recommended, as asphalt shingles can be flammable, and regardless of the weather or whether they are fire resistant or not, excess heat will ruin the shingles.

Rearrange the tiles that were folded backwards after straightening them. Do this with a generous amount of cement for asphalt or composite roofs around the exposed edges.

Replace damaged tiles. If the tile is removed from the roof without much effort, breaks or simply falls apart, you have to change it.

  • Remove the tile by lifting the edges and check the nail.
  • Scrape the area below the tile to remove any remaining roofing cement.
  • Use a sharp blade to smoothly round the back ends of the new tile.
  • Slide the new tile into place and hammer a 1¼ inch galvanized roof nail in each top corner. Then cover the head of the nails with roofing cement.

Roofing roll for roofing

Look for cracks or bubbles in the roof material.

Restore the bubble. Cut a line in the middle of the bubble with a blade, but do not cut the roof felt (substrate) underneath.

  • Squeeze or absorb any liquid that is inside the bubble. The area needs to be completely dry.
  • Use a generous amount of roofing cement under the loose roofing material and press it.
  • Place galvanized roofing nails on each side of the repaired bubble.
  • Cover the entire top with roofing cement, including the nail heads.

Damaged wooden tiles

Divide the damaged wooden tiles with a hammer and chisel.

Slide the chisel under the damaged tile and remove the pieces.

Use a saw to cut the ends of any nail that cannot be removed. Work around the nails if you cannot cut them without damaging the good shingles.

Cut a tile approximately 9.5 mm (3/8 inch) smaller than the old tile using a fine tooth saw.

Slide the new tile into place and hammer it with 2 galvanized roofing nails.

  • If the old nails that you could not remove are in the step, use a hacksaw to make a cut on the tile so that it fits properly around the nails.

Place the tiles with a set of nails, then seal them with putty.

Connections

Inspect the areas where the surfaces connect, such as the chimney or vent pipes.

  • Look for damage to the putty and reapply putty where necessary.
  • Remove the damaged or deteriorated putty so that the new application can stick with the roof or the exposed surface.
  • Use a spatula to remove the old, loose putty.
  • Clean and dry the area.
  • Cut the end of the tube from the putty and spread it on the same line, applying it to the crack with an applicator. Let it dry.

Larger repairs will be necessary if there is damage to the exposed surface, around the chimney or at the base around the ventilation pipes, as they may have to be changed completely.

Tips

  • Use a piece of replacement aluminum or copper foil for an emergency.
  • The sealant must be compatible with the roofing material and be completely waterproof. Polyurethane or silicone putty usually gives durable waterproofing results. Putty or latex sealants, synthetic plastic is not recommended.