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 Door Locks & Hardware     Drywall & Plaster     Electrical     Energy Saving Issues



1. LOCK BOLTS, TYPES: Lock bolts come in two basic types: mortise and drive-in. If the door has been pre-drilled for the bolt, you will have to match the bolt type to the door. Many lock companies now include adapters with the door hardware they sell, allowing the lockset to be adapted to the bore type, but not all companies do this.
2. DOOR STRIKE PLATES MADE TO ADJUST FOR “RATTLE”: Here’s a tip that many contractors and finish carpenters don’t know. The striker plate for most doors has a small “tab” that is meant to adjust the door for “rattle.” If the tab is bent in toward the opening it will stop door rattle. In the picture you can see the tab just to the left of the man's thumb.
3. DOOR JAMB MORTISE MAY HAVE TO BE SQUARED TO FIT THE STRIKE PLATE: The routered mortise in the door jamb may have to be squared up to fit a square strike plate. This can usually be done with a razor knife or sharp chisel. Alternately, the strike plate corners can be rounded with a belt sander.



1. DRYWALL SHIMS: Most home improvement stores carry drywall shims. These are thin cardboard strips about 3/16” thick x 1-1/2” wide x 3 feet long. They are used to shim framing so the drywall will fit better.
2. PLASTIC EDGE CAPS: Most home improvement stores will not have the plastic edge caps that are manufactured for drywall installations that will butt against an aluminum window or skylight. These are intended to keep the ambient moisture that tends to condense on the aluminum frame from being drawn into the drywall, often discoloring the drywall edge. You may have to check with a drywall supply store.
3. DRYWALL CORNERS: Rounded and now beveled drywall corners are available at most home improvement stores. Most of these have to be taped on, not nailed.
4. DRYWALL CUTTING: The pro’s do not “cut” drywall, they score and break it. What does that mean? By cutting through just the paper on one face of the drywall sheet, it can then be “broken” at that line, allowing you to then cut just the paper on the back side.
5. DRYWALL CUTTING: When drywall is already in place, it can be cut with a keyhole saw (i.e. a drywall saw), or it can be cut by repeated strokes at the same line with a razor knife until the blade cuts through to the paper on the back side of the board..
6. DRYWALL PATCHING; REPAIRING DOORKNOB HOLE: One common way of patching a doorknob hole is to 1.Square the hole up with a razor knife or keyhole saw. 2. Cut a small scrap of plywood or OSB or even drywall for a backing piece that is at least two or three inches longer than the hole but narrower so it will slip through the hole. 3. Screw a drywall screw part way into the center of the backing piece. This gives you something to hold onto to position and screw the piece in place. 4. Slip the backing piece through the hole, and then position it so each of the long ends catch an edge of the drywall on each side of the hole. 5. Using drywall screws, screw through the edges of the drywall outside the hole and into the backing piece. 6. Cut a drywall square to fill the hole, screw it in place, then fill the cracks with mud. Unless the hole is huge, taping will not be necessary.
7. REPAIRING A SMALL HOLE IN DRYWALL; E.G. A DOORKNOB HOLE: One easy way to patch a doorknob hole is to: 1.Square the hole up with a razor knife or keyhole saw. 2. Cut a drywall square 2 inches larger in both dimensions than the squared hole. 3. Score and break the outside inch of the drywall square from the back side, but do not cut the paper on the front face. Instead, pull the broken piece off of the front paper. Viola’, instant drywall patch.
8. DRYWALL TAPING: Paper drywall tape adheres much better if you wet it down before application. If applying to an inside corner, also fold it before wetting it down.
9. DRYWALL MUDING AND TAPING COMPOUND: Premixed drywall taping compound can often get overly stiff sitting on the store shelf. If you are having trouble working with the compound, try thinning it a little in a separate bucket.
10. USING MESH DRYWALL TAPE: Mesh drywall tape is usually easier for the do it yourselfer because it is self-adhesive and can be taped over joints in the drywall without mudding first. However paper tape is stronger and can be folded into the corners better.
11. PREMIXED TAPING COMPOUND CAN CAUSE PROBLEMS IF RE-USED: Premixed taping compound can often create problems upon re-use. If the old compound is dry around the edges of the bucket, and chips from that dried compound get into the mix, you will have trouble taping evenly.


1. STAIRWAY LIGHTS: One of the best features of my own home are the stair cans I had installed at the stairway. These are connected to a photo cell so they come on at dusk and go off at dawn.
2. WILL ADDING A CIRCUIT OR TWO OVERLOAD MY ELECTRCAL PANEL?: Don't be afraid to add a circuit to your electrical panel. Most homes built in the last 20 years have a fail-safe margin built into the load calculations. Adding a 15 or 20 amp. circuit or two will not overload the panel. However, be sure to use the correct sized circuit breaker.




1. WHICH ENERGY UPGRADES SAVE YOU MOST?: Which “energy” upgrades will pay you back in the shortest time? Here is my list of the best places to spend your energy dollars in order of importance: Attic Insulation: If your attic has 4 inches or less of insulation, add another 6 inches if possible. Make sure the new insulation does not cover “bird block” vents or other attic vents. Attics, like humans, need to breathe. Windows: If you have single pane windows, replacing them with double pane windows should make a considerable difference. Exterior Walls: Adding foam insulation to exterior walls that have none. Floor Insulation: because heat rises, adding floor insulation is last on my list.















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