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 "Experts" In DIY Chatrooms     Exterior Doors     Finish Carpentry     Fireplaces




THE “EXPERTS” IN DIY CHATROOMS: Everyone is an “expert” at everything in Do-It-Yourself chat rooms or blogs. I cannot believe how much construction misinformation is available online. On one DIY thread, two “experts” were arguing about the need for, and the size of a cricket on the high side of a two foot wide masonry chimney. A “cricket” is the term for an area of raised framing behind an object like a wall or long chimney face that forces the water to sheet off away from the wall or chimney. But a cricket would not be needed for a section as short as two feet; standard head flashing will work just fine.



1. DOOR REPLACEMENT: An exterior door can often be replaced without replacing the entire jamb. Door “blanks,” as they are called, are available at some local lumber yards. You will need a router to mortise the hinges. Keep your old door as a template.
2. PAINTING OR STAINING DOORS: Exterior doors come in two basic types, stain grade or paint grade. Metal and Fiberglass doors are generally made to be painted. When replacing a door, you will need to decide whether it will be painted or stained. In deciding whether to paint or stain, also consider the jambs and casings.
3. FIXING A WARPED EXTERIOR DOOR: A warped wood door can often be fixed by applying pressure to the warped rail. However, before attempting to “fix” the door, make certain it is truly warped and not just responding to seasonal changes. Remove the door from the jamb, set it on a pair of sawhorses or similar benches, with the warped edge bowing upward. Place a heavy weight in the center of the affected rail, and leave overnight. This doesn’t work every time, but is worth a try. A heat gun or hair dryer will also help the process.
4. FIXING A WARPED DOOR: A warped door can often be fixed or minimized by adjusting the hinges. If the upper and lower corners, for example, are pulling away from the jamb, then re-set the center hinge, pulling it slightly away from the jamb and sliding it slightly out of the mortised “pocket.”


1. BRAD NAILER FOR INSTALLING TRIM: If you plan on doing any amount of trim work, you may want to rent or buy a brad nailer and a small compressor. The brad nailer nails the nail and sets the head in a single operation.
2. CHAIR RAIL MOULDING: Installing chair rail molding requires that you locate the studs behind the drywall. Use at least 2” nails, and nail at each stud with one nail near the top and one near the bottom of the trim piece. Most often chair rail molding will be set at 36” above the floor to the top edge of the trim.
3. CROWN MOULDING: Installing crown molding that is more than 2 inches wide requires that you locate the studs in the wall. Use at least 2” nails, and nail at each stud. It will also be helpful if you can locate a few ceiling joists or rafters, as this will help you tighten up the top edge.
4. USING THE RIGHT NAIL OR SCREW: The right nail or screw for the job you are doing is as important as the right tools. The right nail or screw specific to what you are doing is almost always available.



1. GAS FIREPLACES A HAZARD: Government mandates force gas fireplace manufacturers to “seal” the unit with a glass face for energy loss reasons. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, this “good idea” for energy savings creates some unintended hazards. The glass not only partially blocks the heat, but the hot glass face is, in my opinion, more of a hazard than the open flame. The apparent moronic intent of the bureaucrats was to keep heat from escaping. So who cares if kids get burned, their parents can sue the manufacturer.

















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