Happy 2013 and New Texas Renovation Listings
Thanks to everyone who made the launch of BKR Pros a success. We look forward to contributing more info to prospective DIY homeowners and experts in 2013 and will miss everything good that 2012 brought. We close out our first year of existence with new city listings including Colleyville, TX kitchen tips and The Woodlands plus Southlake, TX. In the case of Colleyville and Southlake, TX (bathroom projects), we have spotlighted high income cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The same can be said of The Woodlands in Houston. Out of state, Jacksonville and Indy continue to impress from an interest standpoint when it comes to shower advice, and we plan to expand nationwide in the coming months of 2013. Happy New Year and best wishes to all DIY experts out there!
How To Measure for a Kitchen Remodeling Job
Most experts recommend that you draw your floor plan in two stages: begin with a rough sketch and later refine it, making it a more precise scale drawing of your space. Draw a rough outline of your kitchen on graph paper, marking off windows, doors, appliances, and other fixed elements. If you would like to enlarge the aera, note any adjacent space that you might consider for expansion.
Part 2 coming soon...
Bathroom Tile Stain Removal Tips
To remove most stains - including ink, blood, coffee, fruit juice, wine, vegetable oil, and rust - make a thick paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the stained areas. Leave on until paste is dry, then rinse with water and wipe dry. On verticale surfaces use masking tape to hold paste over stain.
Mineral deposits - Wipe with white vinegar or a solution of equal parts ammonia and water, rinse well, and pat dry. You can minimize water stains on tiled surfaces around showers, tubs, and sinks by wiping these areas dry after each use.
Mildew: Spray mildewed area with a commercial mildew remover or a chlorinated-bleach solution. Wipe with a solution of baking soda and water to remove the chlorine odor.
Stubborn stains. For stains that have penetrated deeply into the stone or bisque, use oxalic acid, which is a strong chemical bleach. Follow directions on the label carefully as this is a corrosive poison. After removing the stain, rinse tile well with water and let dry.
Oil: To remove oil from pavers, use a liquid mixture of plaster of paris to draw out the stain. Brush plaster over stain, leave for 24 hours, and brush off with a broom. Repeat as needed.
Paint. To remove paint from tile, apply a commercial paint remover, leave on for an hour, then carefully scrape off paint with a razor blade.
For general grout maintenance after a bathroom renovation, use a stiff brush, and scouring powder that does not contain bleach. Test the cleaner in a concealed area to make sure it doesn't discolor the grout. Always be on the lookout for chipped and cracked grout and repair flaws as soon as possible.
Installation Techniques - Mixing Adhesive
The amount of adhesive needed for a tile installation is determined by the square footage of the surface to be covered. Product labels usually list estimated coverage. Purchase plenty of adhesive in advance so you don't have to interrupt your tile-setting job with a trip to the store.
Organic mastics are purchased premixed and should be stirred before application. Other thin-set adhesives consist of a combination of liquid and dry materials that must be mixed at the job site. Ratios of liquid to dry ingredients vary depending on the product but will be listed on the label. Do not mix more adhesive than you will be able to spread and cover with tile in about one hour. If adhesive begins to harden in the mixing bucket while you are working, it may have begun to cure. Do not attempt to thin it with water or other liquid as this may affect the bond; discard it and mix a new bath.
Measure liquid ingredients into a mixing bucket first, then slowly add measured amount of dry ingredients. Stir by hand with a plastic or wood paddle or with special electric mortar-mixing paddles, which can be rented at most equipment rental agencies. Whether mixing by hand or machine, be sure to keep paddles submerged. Lifting them out introduces air into the adhesive, lessening its bonding ability. Adhesive is thoroughly mixed when all dry ingredients are incorporated and it falls off, but does not run off, the mixing stick. Let mixed adhesive rest for about 10 minutes before applying.
Applying adhesive - Adhesive is applied in two steps: First it is spread, then combed. Use a notched trowel for both steps. Most adhesive applications require using a small notched trowel, but the exact size depends on the weight of your tile and the type of adhesive used. Recommendations are listed on product labels.
Apply adhesive to an area small enough to be covered with tiles during the "open time" of the adhesive. Open time, usually listed on the adhesive label, is the amount of time you have to set tiles into spread adhesive. Begin by working in a one to three foot square section. As you become more proficient, the size of the working area can be increased.
Stir rested adhesive once or twice. Scoop a small amount onto flat surface of trowel. Hold trowel with the smooth surface at an angle of about 30 degrees relative to the surface to be tiled. Press adhesive firmly onto surface, using a sweeping motion and making sure all areas are equally covered and no air bubbles have formed. Be careful not to cover reference lines. Turn the trowel so that notched edge is held at an angle of about 45 degrees and comb the spread adhesive. Comb in two passes to make a crosshatch pattern.
Find Us On Manta, Brownbook and More
We've added to our online presence with several new business listings lately:
We have also added new remodeling tips in Jacksonville, Indianapolis and San Jose. As the year winds to a close, we want to thank all our visitors and contractors for making our blog launch a success. 2013 looks to be just the beginning for our blog and we look forward to providing homeowners with the best in renovation DIY tips. Since the holidays are right around the corner, we leave you readers with this Xmas gem.
Ignore the really strange Mio water video ad at the beginning and enjoy Jimmie and Horatio.
Tile Layout Tools - What You'll Need
Most of the tools needed for laying out a tile installation are items that you should either have or be able to borrow for the short time you'll need them. The most important layout tool is a jury stick, and that's something you must make for each other.
What You'll Need - Be sure to check the accuracy of all your layout tools before you use them; a crooked straightedge will do you no good at all.
Drawing Tools - To make a plan view drawing and to sketch a tile layout on paper, you'll find 1/8 inch graph paper handy, as well as a standard ruler, a pencil and an eraser.
Squaring Tools - To check for level and square, you'll need a spirit level and a framing square. An accurate tape measure and a couple of straightedge are necessary for drawing reference lines. The straight-edges, level and square will also be used for tile alignment during tile settling.
Plumb Bob - A plumb bob is a small weight attached to the end of a string. If you don't own one and don't wish to buy one, you can make your own.
Chalk Line - To mark reference lines for a small installation, you can use straight edges and a pencil or piece of chalk, but for larger areas a chalk line is much more accurate. This tool is merely a length of string housed in a dispenser that contains chalk. Unreel the string, hold it taut, and snap it to leave a chalked line on the setting surface.
Jury Stick - A jury stick, also called a story pole or a tile-settling stick, is a homemade ruler marked with tile and joint widths rather than inches and feet. This simple measuring instrument costs practically nothing to make and is an invaluable layout aid. It allows you to lay out your tile installation without having to calculate each dimension or without setting each tile down in place.
To make a jury stick, use any piece of straight wood around 9 feet long if possible. You may need more than one jury stick if you are tiling a floor with short and long dimensions or if you are using tiles of more than one size.
Installing Recessed Bathroom Accessories
Medicine cabinets are not the only accessories that may be recessed in the bathroom. It is fairly common to recess toilet tissue holders, soap dishes and even cup holders. Typically, an accessory designed to be recessed is made in two pieces: a brace and a face. Installation for all such items is basically the same.
Tools: Utility knife and keyhole saw, level, plumb line, screwdriver.
1. After you cover the studs with wallboard, use a utility knife to cut a small hole over all dimensions on the outside of the face plate. Be sure you are cutting between the studs, not into them. Insert the brace section into the hole. Hold it in place with your hand as you bring the face plate up to it. Screw the front piece into the brace with the hardware provided by the manufacturer. The screw is designed to draw the brace and the face together, securing your installation.
2. If you want to install ceramic accessories in your tiled wall, simply open a space in the wallboard or mortar bed as you see fit and set the accessory as if it were an ordinary tile. If you want to install a metal dish in the wall, complete your tiling first. Be sure to leave a gap slightly smaller than the accessory and follow step 1 above.
3. If your wall is already opened up for extensive patching or some other reason, you can toenail a 2 by 4 between two studs, and use it as a brace for screws. Few accessories require such bracing, but it is useful for items like horizontal grab bars near the bathroom.
As a frame of reference, in a small bathroom a shower may prove to be so much more practical than a tub that you may very well intend to dispose of the larger fixture all together to save space.
Installing Recessed Cabinets
There are two basic kinds of medicine cabinets, those that hang on the wall, called "surface-mounted" cabinets, and those that are recessed into the wall. The hanging kind comes with installation instructions, but even if it does not, installations generally a matter of measuring where nails or screws should go, drilling a couple of pilot holes, and hanging the unit up. Recessed medicine cabinets are a bit trickier.
When you cut the wallboard or plaster and lather in a kitchen or bathroom area, you may encounter wiring, water pipes, vents, structural framing for windows or pocket doors, or heat and air ducts. However, if you do not run into any of these obstacles, installing a recessed medicine cabinet is fairly simple.
Studs are placed at 16 or 24 inch intervals, center to center. Thus, the actual space between the studs is 14 inches or 22.5 inches. And these are exactly the widths of many medicine cabinets.
Tools: drill, utility knife, circular, reciprocating, hammer level, plumb line, screwdriver
Supplies: common nails, screws, 2 by 4s to size
1. To install a standard-size medicine cabinet, determine where you want to place it, and locate the nearest studs. Measure the unit, and mark the measurements on the wall. Turn off your electricity to avoid cutting hidden live wires and cut out the section. Toenail two sections of 2 by 4 to fit horizontally between the studs and flush with the opening you've cut.
2. To install a larger unit, start by determining where you want to place the cabinets, and locate the studs closes to the outside edge. Measure the unit and add 1/2 inches top and bottom to accomodate 2 by 4 headers.
3. Cut any obstructing studs. Then cut and install the top header. To provide maximum support for the cut stud in a hearing wall, use a double header. Two flat 2 by 4s are sufficient if there is no more than one cut stud to work with. Toenail in place and check with a level.
4. Next, install cripples. Measure the distance from the header to the floor, cut two 2 by 4s to length and nail them to the two outside studs on the wall.
5. Install the bottom support between the cripples. If you're installing a mid-size cabinet, add a filler piece and blocking to create the correctly sized opening for your cabinet. If you're centering the cabinet in the space, follow the procedure for both sides. Install the cabinet according to the manufacturer's instructions, plumb and screw the cabinet, within its frame, hang the doors and install hardware. Then patch the wall.
Removing Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinets
For the most part, removing cabinets is fairly straight-forward work. The only unusual difficulties you are likely to encounter in this remodeling process will come from improperly hung cabinets. The cabinet, the wall, or both may be damaged when you remove the unit. Save the cabinet if you can, but repair the wall with spackeled plaster, or new pieces of wail board Be sure you have removed all fixtures and fittings before you begin.
Tools: screwdriver, prybar.
Supplies: spackling compound (for patching damaged wall).
1. Remove any drawers and doors so they won't swing open as you carry the unit away.
2. Remove the countertop (including the basin, if it is a one-piece molded unit). Whether your countertop material is plastic laminate or tile, the surface material is applied to a plywood deck. You want to remove this entire deck, not just the finished surface. You can determine how the deck is attached to the vanity merely by looking up from underneath the countertop. Remove any screws. If the counter top is glued to the base, you may have to pry it off, and some older cabinets may need to be dismantled on the spot.
In some older houses where the plumbing has not been modernized, it may be necessary to turn off the main water valve to change a fixture. If this is the case in your house, you need not leave the water turned off completely while you work. After you have turned off the main valve, disconnect the fixture as instructed on our site. Then cap the supply pipes and turn the main water supply back on, so you have water in the rest of the house while you work. Three kinds of caps are in general use: threaded, unthreaded and plastic. All three kinds should be available at your hardware store or home improvement center.
Thread caps fit threaded pipes. Some short iron pipes and connectors are threaded on the inside rather than the outside. These pipes require threaded plus that screw into them. Make sure you buy a cap of the right size - measured by the pipe's inside diameter - and of the same material as the pipe. If you have iron pipes, stay with iron. However, if you have copper, stay with copper. Unless you have a special connection, joining two dissimilar metals will cause corrosion.
Some copper pipes are unthreaded and caps must be soldered on. This task requires a large propane torch and a solder flux. Both the fitting and the pipe must be thoroughly clean. If you have little experience soldering, this may be one of several plumbing tasks you want to hire out.
Plastic is increasingly common for drainpipes, but it is rarely used for supply lies. If you have any plastic pipe, it will probably be unthreaded. In newer American homes capping the pipes will not be necessary because most modern plumbing fixtures have their own local shutoff valves, also known as angle stops. Those with both hot and cold water faucets have two valves.
Angle stops are located uner your washbasin on either side of the large drainpipe. When you turn the faucet-like handle to the right, you close off the water supply to your washbasin. The toilet's single supply valve is located in a similar spot. Before working on any fixtures, close all valves.
We have added new cities: San Jose Shower Remodeling
Indianapolis Shower Remodeling
Jacksonville Shower Remodeling
Remodeling Tip Blog
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