Use This Old House's step-by-step project planner to map out a late spring, summer and early fall's worth of fun and functional do-it-yourself home improvements. Here's what's on the agenda:
1. How to Install Rain Gutters
2. Plant a Tree
3. Build a Raised Vegetable Garden
4. Create a Brightly Colored, Weather-Proof Planter
5. How to Put in a Picket Fence
6. How to Hang (and Fill) a Window Box
7. How to Build a Sitting Wall
8. How to Create a Backyard Pond
9. How to Install Drip Irrigation
10. How to Put in Programmable Sprinklers
11. How to Build a Toolbox
12. How to Epoxy-Coat a Garage Floor
13. How to Build an Adirondack Chair
14. How to Build a Grilling Station
15. How to Lay a Bluestone Patio
16. How to Install a Ceiling Fan
17. How to Refinish Your Entry Door
18. How to Hang Interior Shutters
19. How to Swap Porch Lattice and Rotted, Weather-Beaten Floorboards
20. How to...GO ON VACATION?
21. How to Build a Garden Fountain
22. How to Lay a Brick Path
Blog Posts by This Old House Magazine
Use This Old House's step-by-step project planner to map out a late spring, summer and early fall's worth of fun and functional do-it-yourself home improvements. Here's what's on the agenda:Read More »from A Full Summer of DIY Weekend Projects
Thousands of kids go to emergency rooms every year as a result of preventable, accidental injuries. Here's how you can lower your youngster's chances of being one of them
In a world made by the point-of-view of grown-ups, there are inadvertent hazards to small children all over the place. Home is no exception. According to Safe Kids USA (an organization that educates parents, policy makers, and the general public in creating safe environments for children) a child dies every 101 minutes as a result of an unintentional injury, making it the leading cause of accidental death and permanent disability for America's kids.
Best we try, we can't have both eyes fixed on little busy bodies all the time, but there are things that can be done reduce risk throughout the home. (That said, making the upgrades and adding some of the safety devices we'll mention aren't meant as a substitute for good old-fashioned supervision.) Simple things like closing the door to exercise rooms and putting an
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Mon, Mar 15, 2010 9:31 PM EDT
I don't know a single person who enjoys cleaning the bathroom. In fact, just about everyone I know puts off cleaning the bathroom until it absolutely has to happen (i.e. it just gets too gross and/or company's coming). So, when the good folks over at 3M and Scotch-Brite sent over their new line of bathroom cleaning tools, and issued a "Bathroom Challenge," I accepted. Here's what went down.
Most of the Scotch-Brite bathroom-cleaning tools feature clever customized shapes and ergonomic handles to take the pain out of reaching and scrubbing. Speaking of which, the 3M patented non-scratch "web" scrubber gets the job done fast by increasing cleaning surface when compared to, say, those hard plastic, stiff-bristled brushes we all have in our cleaning arsenal.
How great is this stuff? My 7-year-old started cleaning and wouldn't stop. And, I didn't mind because the reusable tools meant she wasn't finishing an entire roll of paper towels in the process. Meanwhile, the stuff workedRead More »from Spring cleaning the bathroom with Scotch-Brite...and (GASP!) my kid
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Mon, Mar 15, 2010 9:29 PM EDT
Like the idea of not pushing a heavy mower around your yard, but put-off by the 4-digit price tags on standard riding mowers? Husqvarna presents the compact WeedeaterOne for small- to mid-sized lots. The durable, easy-to-operate model makes a mulching cut that helps retain nitrogen for a healthier lawn. The $699 rider doesn't skimp on quality either; it features a Briggs & Stratton 875 Series Engine with Eco-Q Technology, so the engine runs clean and quiet, emitting 75% less exhaust emissions than other models. BONUS: ReadyStart Starting System eliminates the need for choking and priming.
Own one of these awesomobiles? Tell us what you think of it here.
__Tabitha Sukhai, "The Hardware Aisle"Read More »from Find! Husqvarna's WeedeaterOne, the affordable (and cute!) personal riding mower
A plunger is the first tool to reach for when a sink gets clogged up. But to get the most out of your efforts, try these tricks of the plumbing trade: First, stuff a wet rag into the sink overflow hole so that all of the plunger power goes directly to the clog. Also, remove the pop-up drain plug and, if possible, fill the basin about halfway with water. Then coat the lip of the plunger with petroleum jelly to form an airtight seal against the bottom of the sink.
Pump the plunger up and down several times, making sure you don't break the seal with the sink. Then quickly yank the plunger off. Repeat this four or five times, or until the clog is cleared. If the obstruction remains, remove the trap below the sink and snake out the drain line with a cable auger.Read More »from Skillbuilder: Power Plunging Tips
Those hairline wall cracks that appear above windows and doors are caused when framing lumber dries out and shrinks or the structure settles. Although the fractures are small, they're persistent: Simply spackling over the trouble spots seldom hides them for long.
For a more permanent repair, scratch along the crack with the pointed tip of a can opener. Hold the tip at a slight angle to undercut and widen the crack. Bridge it with strips of adhesive-backed fiber mesh drywall tape. Then spread a thin coat of joint compound over the taped crack with a 4-inch-wide putty knife. Lightly sand the compound after it's dry, then apply at least two more coats of joint compound, feathering each one slightly to blend it into the surface of the wall.Read More »from You Can Do It: How to Cover Up Wall Cracks
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Thu, Mar 4, 2010 6:23 PM EST
For a time, green building materials were basic in design and quite costly. Now, manufacturers are accommodating a growing demand for affordable and innovative eco-friendly products. According to research by the independent research firm Freedonia Group, green materials generated sales of nearly $57 billion in 2008 (up 45% from 2003), and the market is projected to expand to more than $80 billion over the next five years. The editors of This Old House noticed the trend-and a few standout products-while making the rounds at the trade shows Greenbuild and the International Builders' Show. Here are some top picks that are not only eco-friendly, but also better-performing and more attractive than the green materials of yesterday.Read More »from Best green products and building materials for your remodel
Shown here: A strong odor is often the price you pay for a fresh coat of interior paint. Zero-VOC paints combat that common complaint but at the expense of color choice, since traditional colorants add to VOC levels. Thanks to Benjamin Moore's patented waterborne
After years of searing-hot blazes, fireplace mortar can crack, crumble, and fall out. Gaping mortar joints are not only unattractive, they leave the bricks more vulnerable to damage. So before wood-burning season starts, examine the condition of the mortar in the firebox and take an hour or two to replace any that has deteriorated. You'll need a carbide-tipped scoring tool meant for cutting tile backer board, a metal jointer, a couple of trowels-a brick trowel, and a tuck-pointing trowel narrow enough to fit in the brick joints-and a dry-mix refractory mortar such as Heat Stop II, which is specially formulated to withstand a wood fire's intense heat.Read More »from Skillbuilder: Get Your Firebrick in Shape
1. Scrape out the loose mortar. Rake out the joint with the scoring tool. Start gently, probing for areas that are loose. Dig out the deteriorated mortar until the joint is about ½ to 3/4 inch deep and the brick surfaces on both sides of the joint are mortar-free.
2. Brush the joint. Using an old paintbrush and a vacuum, sweep the joints
The small screws used to secure kitchen cabinet door hinges to the face frames of cabinets often work their way loose over time. Unless they're tightened immediately, the screws will enlarge and strip the holes until it's impossible to tighten them. A quick, convenient cure can be found just inside one of the cabinets: toothpicks.
Remove one loose hinge screw. Dip four or five wooden toothpicks into woodworking glue and then stuff them into the hole. Break the toothpicks off at the surface and replace the screw. If the holes are larger than about 1/4 inch, pack them with wooden matchsticks dipped in glue.
So when the economy did it's tailspin, scammers trying to make a quick buck came out of the woodwork. No surprise really that insurance (including home insurance) fraud, in particular, rose with about 70 percent of fraud bureaus reporting significant increases in the number of cases they were seeing. What is surprising is that in this mess, many states are cutting back on their fraud-fighting bureaus due to budget cuts, according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. I even read here that Arizona may lose it's unit completely, to become the tenth state with no dedicated anti-fraud division.
In this kind of environment, it's especially important to be wary of folks claiming they need your personal information, whether they be for your health, auto or home insurance. Here are some tips from the Coalition on staying alert and protecting yourself:
- Never sign blank insurance claim forms.
- Demand detailed bills for repair and medical services. Check closely for accuracy.
- Never sign blank insurance claim forms.