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 Insulation     Interior Doors       Kitchen And Bath Countertops     Laminate Flooring

 

INSULATION

1. DON’T COVER ATTIC VENTS WHEN ADDING ATTIC INSULATION: If you choose to add insulation to your attic, be careful NOT to cover the eave vents. In most homes, these are “bird blocks” that sit on top of the exterior walls. These vents often sit low enough that additional insulation could easily block them. Any sign of moisture in your attic could mean these vents have been blocked.
2. FOAM INSULATION R-VALUE: Foam insulation is approximately R-4 per inch of thickness.
3. SHOULD I USE BACKED OR UNBACKED INSULATION?: Backing on insulation batts is primarily for blocking moisture. So if your wall or crawlspace already has a vapor barrier, you can use unbacked insulation. Also, attic insulation needs no backing.
4. WILL ADDING INSULATION SAVE ME MONEY?: Don’t just assume that adding extra insulation will save bucket-loads of money. Adding attic insulation is usually the easiest and most cost effective step. Adding extra wall insulation is not only difficult, but much less cost effective.

INTERIOR DOORS

1. FIXING A DOOR THAT HAS SETTLED: A settled door that is rubbing on the jamb or sill is a common problem. Sometimes the cause is a loose hinge screw, usually in the top hinge. This can be fixed simply with a wooden toothpick or wooden skewer stick. Take the loose screw out, and jamb the toothpick or skewer stick into the screw hole. Break it off, and then reinstall the screw.
2. FIXING A DOOR THAT HAS SETTLED: Fixing a door that is rubbing or settled may require replacing one of the hinge screws with a longer screw that can reach the framing behind the jamb. This pulls the jamb slightly back and often relieves the rub.
3. DETECTING WHERE THE DOOR IS RUBBING: It is often difficult to determine the exact point where the door is “rubbing.” With the door closed, run a credit card around the perimeter of the door between the door and the jamb. This will usually tell you “where’s the rub.”
4. FIXING DOOR “RATTLE”: Door rattle is that condition when the door still moves in the frame after being closed. Most homeowners and even a few contractors are unaware that the striker plate has an anti-rattle tab on it. Often the rattle can be eliminated by adjusting this tab.
5. LOOSE HINGE SCREW OR STRIPPED HINGE SCREW: More often than not, a loose or stripped hinge screw can be fixed with a wooden toothpick or wooden skewer stick. Just remove the screw and push the toothpick or skewer stick into the screw hole as far as it will go and then break it off flush with the face of the hinge plate. Then reinstall the screw.
6. CUTTING OFF THE BOTTOM OF A DOOR WITH A SKILSAW: The bottom of a door can be cut off using a skill saw if you prepare it right. Tape the bottom of the door far enough up to protect it from the base plate of the skill saw. Then mark the cut line on both faces of the door with a straight edge or chalk line. Before making your cut, score the cut line a couple times with a razor knife on both door faces. This will prevent splintering. Then, clamp a guide board to the door, set so the skill saw will cut just a hair's width below the scored cut line. After cutting, take the tape off and sand the bottom of the door as needed.

KITCHEN AND BATH CONTERTOPS

1. GENERAL COUNTERTOP COST: In general, granite and composite countertops tend to cost about the same. Tile is probably 30-40% cheaper, and laminate is your least expensive alternative.
2. CRACKS BETWEEN THE COUNTER AND BACKSPLASH: It is common in new homes to have the floor settle slightly as the framing lumber dries and shrinks. This often leads to a crack developing between the kitchen (or bath) countertop and the backsplash material. This is entirely normal and is not an indication of some deeper problem.
3. MATCHING CAULK TO GROUT: When attempting to match caulking to the grout color in your kitchen or bath countertop, remember that the big box stores only carry a limited number of caulking colors. If you can’t find a match, look instead for a tile store that will sell to the public. Nearly all grout colors have a caulking to match.
4. INSTALLING TILE AROUND A SINK OPENING: When installing a tile countertop, and presuming you are using a “drop-in” style sink, get the sink you intend to use and cut out the sink opening before installing the tile. The sink will be packaged with a rough-opening cutout template.
5. GRANITE COUNTERTOP THICKNESSES: Granite typically comes in two thicknesses, two CM and three CM. When using two CM you will typically need a plywood sub-top. When using three CM no sub-top is needed.
6. GRANITE IS TYPICALLY EDGED IN ONE OF THREE WAYS: Granite is typically edged in one of three ways depending on the thickness. Most common is combining two thicknesses of 2 CM granite to cover the subtop and to make the edge thicker. Alternately a single thickness of 3 CM granite or a single thickness of 2 CM granite.
7. GRANITE FABRICATION-HAVE YOUR SINK, FAUCET, AND COOKTOP SELECTIONS MADE FIRST: It is useful in selecting your kitchen countertops to have your sink, faucet, and cooktop selections already made, then your granite fabricator can make the cut- outs to match. And don't forget the soap dispenser or insta-hot.
8. GRANITE SEAMS: Granite slabs are generally about 5 feet wide by 10 feet long. By planning ahead you can often minimize the seams or make them less conspicuous. For example, making the seam fall at the kitchen sink. Many fabricators are not too conscious of where the seam will fall.
9. MANY GRANITE SLABS HAVE MATCHING GRANITE TILES: Many granite slabs have matching granite tiles for use as backsplash or floor tiles. However, when considering them for floors, remember they are slick when wet and will show wear sooner than ceramic tiles.
10. GRANITE SLAB LEFTOVERS: Most granite fabricators will have left over slab pieces from previous jobs. If the area you are doing is less than a full slab (a full slab is about 5’ x 10’), they can often make you a better deal on slabs from their “boneyard.”
11. GRANITE CAN BE CUT IN PLACE IF NEEDED: Granite can be cut in place using a commercial grade diamond saw blade, or drilled using a similar diamond-tipped hole-saw. There will be substantial amounts of dust. To minimize the dust, find an assistant who can hold the shop vacuum while you cut. Tape the face before marking your cut, particularly if using a skill saw.

LAMINATE FLOORING

1. INSTALLING LAMINATE FLOORING: When installing laminate flooring, it is important to have a “batter” block made from the same flooring. This will allow you to tap the pieces together without damaging the edges.
2. DO NOT NAIL LAMINATE FLOORING!: Laminate flooring is meant to “float,” meaning that it is not nailed to the subfloor, but “floats” on the foam pad. Do not nail the perimeter as this may cause the floor to fail when it expands and contracts. The baseboard will hold down the edges.
3. INSTALLING AND LAYING OUT LAMINATE FLOORING: Laminate flooring is meant to be laid randomly. Do not line up the boards in rows.
4. LAMINATE FLOORING WILL SCRATCH: Laminate flooring is scratch resistant, but will scratch and chip. It should be treated just as your would treat hardwood flooring, with the exception of being able to use stronger chemicals to clean it.

 

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