iFixit Handyman Services | Handyman Tips and Tricks for Home Repair
iFixit Handyman Sevices originated from a family-owned and operated contractor business performing home renovation, addition and construction work. Find out tips and tricks about home repair, appliance installation, drywall repair, carpentry, flooring, tiles, door installation and more.
Cracks, pricks, and holes in the walls can appear due to wear, tear, accidents and plenty of other potential reasons. And that’s OK, as you can’t really avoid something like this forever. But, it’s up to your Morrisville handyman to let you in on the best techniques that will help you cover holes in the walls on your own if that’s something you’d want.
What you should know before covering holes in the wall
The most logical thing after having an electrical or plumbing intervention is that your walls are probably left a total mess; chipped, scratched and, of course, affected with holes. These holes can be big or small: sometimes even as small as a nail can leave. In the case of larger holes, the techniques for covering them will be a bit more complex as well.
Regardless of whether it’s a small or a hole the size of a tennis ball, the point is to get the necessary material before you start so that you can achieve good results when you cover holes in the walls.
What do you need to cover holes in the wall?
Most importantly, you need enough putty and a spatula. These two essentials will solve almost all the issues that require some wall hole fixing.
Specialized stores carry several different types of putty. The important thing is to make sure that the putty you buy doesn’t decrease in volume after drying. This decrease in volume would cause a gap between the wall and the putty, which would ruin all the work you did before.
If it’s a small hole or just a crack, you can use sealing paint. So, use this type of paint to fill in the cavity and extend the product over the damaged area.
What technique to apply?
As mentioned, one of the things that will determine the technique are the dimensions of the holes. If the hole is small, put a small amount of putty on the spatula. Next, proceed with the flattening. You have to make sure there is no difference between the wall and the putty. Basically, the hole should be completely filled.
Then clean the excess and the stain around the hole. This is the time to check if the surface has been properly flattened. If not, do not worry, you can reapply more putty where needed. Now, it’s convenient to let it dry and analyze whether more layers will be necessary.
In case the hole you have to fix is bigger in size, apart from putty and spatula, you’ll have to use some material to patch the hole before applying the product. There are specific patches for this purpose: the good thing is that they will hold better than using tape and then, practically, you won’t have to smooth them out too much.
Another technique involves using adhesive tape or even a plug that is adjustable to the hole to be covered. Then also proceed to smooth out or fill with putty.
When you’re facing a larger hole, it’s effective to sand the area to remove debris and even out the surface. With so much putty, it’s preferable to wait at least a whole day before sanding, so that it dries properly.
As you can see, it’s not all that difficult to successfully cover holes in the walls. But, if you’re not accustomed to this kind of work, don’t hesitate to rely on ifixit and give your local Morrisville handyman a call. We will make sure that the job is done quickly and seamlessly.
Everyone hates a leaky faucet. Not only does this waste water but the sound that the dripping makes is enough to drive you crazy. If you too have this problem and would like to repair a dripping faucet on your own, take a look at what your Southampton handyman has to tell you. There are 3 possible solutions when it comes to this particular issue.
Change the rubber ring to repair a dripping faucet
This is the best-known technique to solve the problem of a dripping tap, suitable for faucets that have already been used for a couple of years.
The old pipes system allowed the water to pass to a valve that opened or closed by turning the tap. In order for the seal to be tighter, the taps had a rubber that expanded with pressure, cutting off the water. As time went on, the hides and gums dried out, leaving tiny gaps for some drops to escape through.
In order to repair a dripping faucet, the technique is simple: cut the water supply, remove the cover caps from the taps with a screwdriver, and carefully remove the whole system to analyze the situation internally.
When removing the little rubber ring that surrounds the stem, check its state. If it’s parched, crushed or broken, replace it with another, either the original from the hardware store or a simple piece of rubber, cut to size. This will solve the problem in seconds.
Change the shank
If the faucet still drips when you reinstall the system, the problem probably lies within the piston rod.
Due to excessive use and the passage of time, the metallic system may have suffered damage, disabling the hermetic closure of the system.
It will be enough to replace the rod with a new one, readily available in hardware or specialized store.
Change the system by using suitable materials, reassemble it, and enjoy a faucet that no longer drips or drives you mad.
Remove tartar from tap to prevent dripping
Hard waters can leave tartar deposits that affect the cutting system of the taps; even those that are in perfect condition or relatively new.
One solution, in this case, is to disarm the system and let the pieces soak overnight (or for a few hours) in a solution of three parts white vinegar, one part water, and one teaspoon of baking soda. This will eliminate tartar, allowing a complete system closure.
Make sure to practice this once a year to keep your pipes in the best condition. Of course, you can repeat this process for every water-using appliance in your home so that the risk of tartar buildup and damage is minimal.
You don’t need to have exceptional skills in order to repair a dripping faucet. However, if you’re not handy at all or don’t possess the necessary tools, feel free to give your local Southampton handyman and ifixt a call. We can deal with this particular issue in no time, efficiently and professionally.
In order to properly choose paint brushes or rollers for your painting work, you have to assess the paint as well as the surface area to be painted. There are different types of rollers and brushes that vary in size, shape, and material. Keep on reading and your Princeton handyman will make things clearer on the matter.
Types of rollers
Size. The chosen size will depend on the surface you’re going to paint.
Material. The material must be taken into account depending on the paint you’re going to use with it. For example, rollers with small or short hair are suitable for acrylic and latex paints, foam pads for enamel or varnishes and rigid rollers for extra effects.
Form. You will also have to take into account the form with respect to the purpose, especially if you want to make certain details in the base paint layer, or in case you have to paint some more complicated and inaccessible areas properly.
The rollers are ideal for painting large areas and have the benefit of not leaving marks or scratches such as brushes tend to.
As mentioned, there are several types of rollers and each one has its specific use.
The wool rollers (synthetic or natural), can have short or long hair, and opting for these will depend on the surface and the paint that you’ll use. In general, wool rollers work the best with acrylic and water-based paint. If the surface is smooth, it’s better to go for a short hair roller; if, on the contrary, the surface is textured and uneven, the choice should fall on a roller with long hair.
Rubber foam rollers
This type of roller should be used with synthetic paints as its material and composition allow for a better finish and some textural effects.
This type of roller makes it possible to work with two colors – a base one and another one that will be used with this roller. It can provide the appearance of wallpaper, wood, and texture. Also, it can be used on the entire surface or specific areas. Textured rollers are widely popular for decorative paintings.
Another benefit of a textured roller is that it allows users to extend it to reach high surfaces without the need to climb a ladder. This can be done by adding a handle extension.
Types of brushes
In order to choose paint brushes or rollers, you also have to know the different types of brushes. Essentially, a paintbrush can be either natural or artificial with synthetic bristles.
Natural bristles. They are the best choice for a smooth finish.
Synthetic bristles. They are a bit harder than the natural ones and provide better coverage on uneven and textured surfaces
Flat brushes. They distribute the paint rather regularly. This is why they’re ideal for water-based paints, varnish, and dyes. The finish of these brushes can be pointed, flat or beveled.
Brushes cut at an angle. Brushes that have bristles cut at an angle are ideal for edges, contours, and moldings in general.
The above-mentioned tips on how to choose paint brushes or rollers are very helpful for those of you who wish to do the paintwork on your own. However, you can always rely on your local Princeton handyman and ifixit if there’s any repair and maintenance work to be done in your home.
Knowing what type of adhesive to use according to the material is key to achieving good results. After all, every home repair and maintenance task requires certain tools and resources. This time, your Doylestown handyman will explain different types of adhesive for different materials. That way, you can choose the best one when doing your crafts, repairs, and embellishments on any surface.
What adhesive to use for wood, cardboard, and paper?
Wood, cardboard, and paper are the surfaces which are the easiest to adhere to, and they are also among the most common ones. Whether it’s a school project, craft, repair or home makeover, the most suitable adhesive for paper, cardboard and wood is, first and foremost, white glue (vinyl glue).
This particular glue is white when wet, but becomes transparent when dry. Due to its fluid texture, it penetrates well into the pores, and is even used in glass fusing thanks to its high adhesion. It easily dilutes in water and gets pigment from powders and fluids. Excess glue can be removed without too much hassle, either with a scraper or spatula, or with warm water and a clean cloth.
For better use of this adhesive, a uniform layer should be applied on both surfaces; although, in case of cardboard and paper, applying it on one side will suffice. this prevents the vinyl glue from accumulating in sections, as its high water content could affect the surfaces. Brush application can help avoid this. Keep the surfaces close together with weight pressure until the glue is completely dry.
What adhesive to use for vinyl, rubber and the like?
If you’re looking to fix structures made of vinyl, rubber and the like, the best adhesive is elastic putty. Normally, it’s available as a cartridge for applicator/glue gun and has insulating properties.
Depending on the surface that will be adhered to (including wood, glass, ceramics, resins, vinyl, rubber or others) there’s more adhesive for different materials and purposes. So, you can opt for polyurethane, silicone or synthetic rubber. The base is a viscous or pasty material, capable of gluing surfaces with different textures. These are resistant to high and low temperatures, as well as ultraviolet rays, which makes them ideal for outdoors too. What’s more, they don’t harden at all, but remain firm and flexible at the same time.
What adhesive to use for glass, porcelain, metal, etc.?
These less porous surfaces require special glues. Among the most suitable adhesives for bonding glass, porcelain and metal are epoxy and contact cement. You must be careful when using these because they can be dangerous upon contact with skin or mucous membranes.
Once dry, this glue is resistant to moisture and high temperatures, although not as well at extremely low temperatures. You should apply it on both surfaces, in equal portions, and aerate it a little before adhering completely. You can clean the excess with solvents, or physical scraping (scraper, sandpaper).
If you wish to achieve the best results for your home repair or craft project, you need to use the best adhesive for different materials. Also, remain careful and patient. In case DIYs and repairs are not your strong point, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at ifixit. Call for your local Doylestown handyman for whatever you need to be done around your home.
When one has to cut and drill ceramics or tiles they usually hire a professional such as your Levittown handyman. That way, you can be sure that the project you want to work on is going to be amazing. After all, not many people would actually know the proper technique to do it and may end up with chipped pieces, scratched surfaces, and tiles that can no longer be used.
But, keep on reading, and you can learn the best way to go about cutting and drilling ceramics and tiles so that you can effectively DIY most of your home projects.
How to drill ceramics
Ceramic or decorative tiles have a very fragile surface layer. That said, it may seem rather complicated and challenging to cut and drill ceramics for your own home projects.
The first issue that usually occurs is that ceramics tend to slip. To avoid this, it will be enough to create a rough surface at the point where you want to drill, scraping it with a file, or placing a paper tape (the painter’s or low contact tape) that prevents the piece from moving.
The following suggestion is the most appropriate for cutting and drilling ceramics since it solves the second most common issue: the surface splinters, scratches or cracks. When placing a piece of low contact adhesive tape, the piece will remain intact, and after drilling, it will be enough to remove the tape for it to look great.
A good trick is to use a bit smaller drill than you may need, even the smallest one you have, so that the rest of your work proceeds more efficiently until you get the right size.
How to cut ceramics
To make cuts on ceramics or tiles, whether straight cuts, angles, corners or curves, you need to work with care, patience and the right tools. Place the pieces on the work table, tightly fasten with tweezers, and mark with a black graphite pencil. This will help you follow the necessary form, but also prevent the tool from slipping on the surface of the ceramic.
With some experience you can use grinders with cutting discs, while always working carefully and slowly, avoiding cutting more than necessary. Also, electric saws can be very useful if you already master the technique.
For beginners, the best way to cut and drill ceramics is to use a manual glass cutter. This is a small tool similar to a pencil that has a diamond tip. Simply pass it over the surface of the ceramic to mark the surface layer and allow the break with a gentle pressure of the hands, or with cutting tweezers. You should not push the tool strongly against the ceramic, but just pass it as if you were drawing with a pencil over it.
How to prepare the pieces for cutting and drilling
It’s essential to always work with tools that are in good condition and are appropriate for each task. The glass drills will be the most suitable for drilling, and glass cutters are fundamental for cutting.
Place the piece on a firm work table, attach it with tweezers or clamps, and if you are going to drill, place it on a cutting table (which already has large holes and the pieces are placed so that the drill leads directly to them).
Finally, always work with clean tiles, previously rubbed with alcohol and properly dried. In that case, it won’t be too difficult to cut and drill ceramics, and your projects will end up looking just the way you want.
Obviously, if you lack the necessary tools or simply don’t want to deal with the challenge of cutting and drilling ceramics and tiles, you can always count on your local Levittown handyman and ifixit to do the job for you!
Home theaters have become quite popular in recent years. However, these can be quite large too. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for one of the cabinets to end up at the middle of the cable outlet. Obviously, you can try and reshape the cabinet. But, the chances are that that’s not going to look very aesthetically pleasing. The best solution, in this case, is to simply move a cable outlet. You can always count on your Yardley handyman for a job like this, but if you’d rather DIY it, keep on reading.
Remove the problematic cable outlet
Before you can move a cable outlet you need to get rid of the one that’s creating the real issue at hand in the first place. In general, this is a rather simple step as you’ll probably just need to unscrew the box. Once you do that, all that’s left for you is to pull out the cable away from the wall. This requires your electricity to be turned off, so keep that in mind for your own safety! Basically, you want to remove the cable from the outlet box so that it’s hanging through the wall gap. It’s also important to get rid of any additional pieces that were a part of the outlet, such as a supporting board, mounting plates, etc.
Cut a hole in the wall
The new hole you need to make in the wall should have the same dimensions as the gap you made by removing the outlet box. You’ll be needing a hammer and chisel in order to complete this process. Essentially, what you’ll have to do is to measure the distance between the cabinet and the outlet box. Using the mentioned tools, you have to cut through the drywall. In some cases, you may have to use a drill. Whatever the case, make sure that there are no studs located in the wall behind where your new cable is going to go.
Put up the new cable outlet
In order to move a cable outlet effectively, you need to get the cord out of the last hole into the one you’ve just made. It would be helpful to cut out a piece of backerboard; this piece can then be used for the junction mounting plate. You should screw the plate while at the same time making sure that the cable is going through the hole you’ve created. The cable should then be placed into the old box with backerboard as support.
Of course, a board will be necessary as a cover over the edges of the work box as this will then provide a proper cable outlet. As the cable goes through this, you get yourself pretty much the same setup as the one before – it’s just that you successfully managed to move a cable outlet further away. In order to add finishing touches, use drywall on the old hole and a caulk cover-up.
The whole process is rather simple but it can seem complex. And it’s perfectly understandable if you don’t want to deal with it. For professional help don’t hesitate to call for your local Yardley handyman and ifixit. We will make sure that your cable outlets, entertainment systems and whatever else you want make for a perfect fit.
Thanks to its durability, ease of cleaning and maintenance as well as its versatility, plastic furniture are the most popular choice for outdoor use. However, it’s still necessary to properly care for plastic patio furniture if one wants to prolong the furniture’s life and effectiveness. Unfortunately, most homeowners tend to completely forget about their patio furniture during the colder months when there’s no use for the pieces. But, complete disregard for the furniture can definitely lead to damage. In order to avoid this, your Langhorne handyman recommends annual care and maintenance. Even though they are durable and have considerable resistance to climatic changes, they shouldn’t be exposed to all kinds of elements all year round.
How to care for plastic patio furniture
The best way to avoid plastic patio furniture cracking and breaking is, precisely, to avoid exposure to sudden climatic changes. For example, on sunny days, it’s best not to leave them outside. Store the furniture inside the shed or garage, or at least cover them with something opaque. On sunny days, the plastic furniture pieces expand naturally from the heat; but, they also contract quickly when the night comes, thus causing cracks and breaks on the surface.
Similarly, in the months when you don’t use the furniture, it’s best to keep them in an indoor environment (storage, garage, shed, basement, etc.). That way, they don’t have to suffer from weather and environmental abuse, such as rain, hail, snow or strong winds. On the other hand, an overly dry environment is not ideal for plastic furniture, either. In case you live in a dry climate, the best thing you can do to care for plastic patio furniture properly is to moisten the surface with a damp cloth or spray them with a hose once a month. Dryness in plastics also contributes to the furniture’s deterioration.
Cleaning is the last part of effective care for plastic patio furniture. The earth and the dust contribute to the dryness of the material. If you keep them clean and cover them, the furniture pieces will last a lot longer.
Tips for cleaning plastic furniture
You can use a sponge or brush with soapy water to clean plastic furniture. But, remember to rinse well with the hose in order to thoroughly clean the pieces. If you notice any stain, you can apply a sponge or cloth moistened with 90% alcohol.
It may seem convenient to use the cleaning and polishing products that are readily available on the market, but try to avoid those. Unfortunately, most of these products usually contain abrasive substances that can damage the surface of the furniture.
The white furniture usually gets a bit yellowish with time, but there’s no way to avoid it. The only thing you can do with this type of material, to prolong the furniture’s life, is to keep them in the shade or covered when you don’t use them.
Not sure how to deal with your patio furniture or need some professional help with the patio or furniture in general? Then don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local Langhorne handyman and ifixit. We are here to make your life better, easier and more convenient.
Repainting your floors is never an easy task to do, but wood can be particularly tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing or have the necessary patience. Still, many homeowners decide to paint wood floors because this is considerably cheaper compared to refinishing or even replacing them. And with the smart and creative use of stencils and/or painter’s tape, you can really make something special and unique in your home. If you’ve been considering this project as a DIY, your Newtown handyman has some bits of advice for you.
Plan it out
When you want to paint your wood floors you can’t just up and paint them and done. You have to realize that you will first need to remove all the furniture from the room. Then you’ll need to take into account the fact that paint takes a while to dry and fumes to disappear. You won’t be able to spend time in the space that has strong fumes. Not to mention that it would be best for the weather to be warm and dry in general; otherwise, the paint will take even longer to dry.
Choose your paint
There are many different paint options on the market. But, the most durable and effective option is undoubtedly oil-based porch and floor paint (or oil-based enamel). If you want something greener with weaker fumes, you’ll have to accept the fact that the paint won’t last as long. Ideal conditions would be to paint in a completely closed room with windows and doors shut to avoid dust, but that may not be possible due to the fumes. Either way, make sure to use a respirator.
Steps to paint wood floors
Remove the gloss from the old floor finish. You can do this with regular sandpaper by hand.
Your floors have to be very clean before you proceed. That said, vacuum them properly and mop afterward. Of course, wait for the floors to be completely dry before the next step.
Apply the first coat of paint but do it in a very thin layer. The best way to do this is to use a brush to cover the edges and sides next to the walls, and then you can use either brush or a roller to fill in the rest of the floor without getting trapped.
Use the sandpaper lightly again to smooth out the surface of the floor and then brush away any dust particles.
It’s time for the second coat. This, too, has to be painted in a thin layer! Don’t make a mistake of piling up paint because it won’t dry or look nice. Use the same technique as with the first coat and then rush out of the room to breathe some clean air.
Once your previous paintwork is completely dry, this is the time to add any decorative touches if you want them.
If you’re all finished, you might want to seal the floor, especially if you know that there will be constant traffic in the room.
It usually takes just a couple of days for the paint to be completely dry to walk normally over it, but be prepared for the fumes to completely go away only after a couple of weeks.
In case you believe you need professional assistance to paint your wood floors, you can always rely on your local Newtown handyman and ifixit, so don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Getting rid of old wallpaper may not be the most fun task in the world, but there are still several techniques that you can try. Depending on the type of paper and glue used, certain methods will work better than others, so don’t hesitate to change up the strategy in the middle of the project. After all, it’s better to experiment with these techniques than to stubbornly stick to one that may not work for you and your walls. Today, you Morrisville handyman will help you remove wallpaper on your own by explaining three different techniques that you could use.
1. The mix of vinegar and water
If you want to save some money on this project you can simply use the vinegar you have in your kitchen. Make sure to mix the same amount of vinegar and warm water. You can then use a sprayer to moisten the wallpaper with this mix. Let the vinegar work its magic for about 15 minutes. Once the wallpaper loosens, remove it by hand. Start from the bottom, and try to remove wallpaper in large sheets. Work in small sections and moisten the paper as you work. If the wallpaper is very thick, try to scrub it with a brush or sandpaper.
2. Use the power of steam
Another popular technique to remove wallpaper is steam. This technique can be very efficient since it basically unglues the glue that attached the wallpaper in the first place. You will need an effective steam cleaner for this technique to work. Again, you should work in small sections to avoid any mishaps. If you plan to rent a steam cleaner for this purpose, opt for a mini cleaner that is easy to operate. Before you actually start, let the steam warm up enough, then bring it close to the wall and wait until the wallpaper is soft. Then pick it by hand or with a scraper. Remember that these machines can drip hot water, so always use them with care.
3. Fabric softener can help
Using fabric softener is also one of the more popular solutions for people who want to remove wallpaper on their own. Essentially, fabric softener can also soften the wallpaper glue. Mix half a cup of fabric softener with one liter of water and apply the mixture to the wallpaper using a sponge. As with the previous methods, work in small sections so that the paper does not dry too quickly. Wait 20 minutes and then scrape the wallpaper. Use a brush if the paper is a bit thicker.
If none of these methods work, consider buying chemicals designed to remove wallpaper. Remove a small piece of paper and take it to the specialized store, so one of the employees can recommend the best chemicals based on the paper you have and the glue used. Of course, don’t hesitate to rely on your local Morrisville handyman and ifixit to remove wallpaper for you, especially if you want some other work done afterward such as repainting or applying new wallpaper.
Getting yourself a new mailbox is not an overly complicated process. Of course, you can always count on your Southampton handyman to do the work for you. But, if you’re interested in DIYing this particular task and install a new mailbox on your own, we’ll help you along by providing the following 6-step process. As you’ll see, this DIY is possible even for people who are usually not too crafty. Still, a new mailbox will undoubtedly boost your curb appeal and the general feel of your home’s appearance. Not to mention the practicality aspect of a functional mailbox when it comes to receiving your mail.
1. Buy new mailbox and post
Obviously, if you want to install a new mailbox, you’ll need to buy one first. Your choice will depend on several different things. First things first – you’ll need to like the look of the box. But, aside from the aesthetic point, you need to consider the size of your box. This is especially true if you’re not replacing the post. The usual post size is 4×4 inches, and most boxes can be easily attached to it. Still, make sure that the sizes of the box you want and the post are 100% compatible. The usual box sizes include standard (T1), large (T2) and extra large (T3).
2. USPS compliant mailbox
You can’t just install a new mailbox wherever you want. It’s important to follow the USPS rules and get in touch with your local postmaster if there’s anything you’re not quite sure about. In general, there should be a 41-45 inches distance between the mailbox bottom and the road, while the post should be 6-8 inches away from the curb.
3. Recycle the old mailbox
As you get yourself a new mailbox, you most definitely won’t need the old one. Don’t waste it by throwing it away when you can recycle it. Basically, you’ll need to use a shovel in order to dig around the post, and the concrete base as well. In case you can’t get everything out, pour water into the hole where you dig and around it in order to make the soil softer. This will help you remove the mailbox and post so that you can bring it to the recycling place in your area. Don’t hesitate to use some kind of leverage if necessary.
4. Put in the post
This may be the most challenging step of them all but that doesn’t mean it’s too difficult. Essentially, you need to put the mailbox post in the hole and pour concrete over it. The important thing here is to make sure that the post is at the appropriate height and that everything is nicely leveled and supported.
5. Place the mailbox onto the post
Once the concrete is completely dry, it’s time to mount your new mailbox to the post. You’ll be provided with the instructions for this when you purchase a new mailbox. Still, you’ll definitely have to use mounting brackets in order to properly attach the mailbox to the post.
6. Add your information
When you install a new mailbox, it’s important to remember to actually add your house number on it. Both numbers and letters on the mailbox should be at least 1 inch tall. Keep in mind that having a mailbox placed on a different street compared to where your house is will require you to add a full address on the mailbox as well. Other than that, you have complete freedom when it comes to personalization of your new mailbox.
Even though the installation of a new mailbox is not the most complicated task in the world, it can still be quite bothersome for someone who doesn’t feel too handy for a project like that. This is where you can trust your local Southampton handyman and ifixit to help you. Don’t hesitate to give us a call for any kind of home repair and/or maintenance task.