Sunday, May 31, 2009

Woodworkers Challenge - Building Foosball Tables

There are a lot of great foosball tables on the market today, but some people just like to do things themselves. My husband is one of them, and once researched making a foosball table for our family.

The first thing that Jeff did was look at high quality foosball tables, play on a few of them and decide what features he liked best. This is what he came up with:

  • Center ball return on both sides of the table
  • Off center serving holes (the holes are off center to the center line, this way the serving side serves the ball slightly closer to their own men.)
  • Textured surface
  • Thick side walls

The table has to be very solid and sturdy, weighing around 350 pounds, this way the table will not move when play gets exciting. A 3/4" plywood works best, it is heavy and less expensive than solid wood (especially a heavy hard wood like maple), though even it will still need to be doubled up in areas. Besides birch plywood and particle board some other basic materials that you will need from your local hardware store include wood screws and glue, nuts and bolts to attach the legs, four adjustable table feet, a sheet of Plexiglas to cover the play surface, clear spray adhesive, hinges, and some veneer strips for giving the table a finished look.

From a foosball store (easiest found online) you will need 13 foosball men each in two different colors, rods and bearings, handles, a high quality ball, and play field trim strips. The rods and handles are probably the most expensive single purchase, running up to $300 (which can double the final price of your foosball table) depending upon the quality you purchase. If you can salvage any of these parts from an old table, you can save quite a bit of money.

The dimensions of most foosball tables are very similar. Here are the basic dimensions for making your own table.

  • Table length, width and height: 55.5" x 30" x 36"
  • Play field size: 48" x 27"
  • Play field depth: 4.25"
  • Side walls: 1.5" thick
  • Back walls: 3.75" thick
  • Goals: 8.375" x 3" (with rounded top corners)
  • Rods: 6" apart from center, 3.125" up from surface
  • Goalie rod: 3" from back wall

If you are a woodworker, then most of the construction can easily be figured out. There are only two parts to the table that may need a bit of explaining. The first part is the ball return, and the second is the play field. The lower and upper halves of the foosball table are made separately and then assembled together with hinges so the the ball return can be accessed if necessary. With a ball return on both sides of the table, there is a simple "L" shaped ramp going from each goal to its respective return (the person who is scored on gets the ball).

The table top play field may take a bit more explaining. The base is 3/4" particle board with a paper playfield attached on top (either draw your own or you can find plans online). Then using the clear spray adhesive, secure the 1/8" Plexiglas on top. Some people like a smooth surface, but many of the top tables have a textured surface which makes for better ball pinning. To texturize the surface, use 60 grit sandpaper to roughen up the Plexiglas. This gives you a great play surface for around $30, but if money is not an issue, you can put out about $250 and purchase a play field.

Well, that is the basic information for building your own foosball tables. Jeff likes drawing up his own plans, but you can find more detailed instructions online if you do not enjoy that aspect of woodworking. Good luck!

Autor: MJ Marks MJ Marks
Level: Basic PLUS
Hi, I work at home at a variety of web businesses. I do web authoring for that offers a large variety of products for ... ...

MJ writes for ClickShops Inc., where you can find a great selection of foosball tables at

Added: May 31, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tips For Troubleshooting Waterfall Home Furnishings

Waterfalls used as indoor home furnishings are usually constructed of metal include a hard plastic liner within the lower tray component to keep your fountains from leaking. Use caution when filling the fountain so that water does not go over the top of the tray liner. If you overfill, the water will seep between the plastic liner and the tray and ultimately leak out of a corner of the tray.

You can best avoid overfilling your home waterfalls by properly adding water by pouring the water against the middle portion of the stone just above the tray. It is also suggested to turn the water fall off before filling. If you fill the furnishing while it is running you are adding much more water then the water fall can handle when turned off. This is because there is a large amount of water which goes into circulation while running. If you fill while running and later turn the fountain off, all the water rushes to the tray and overflows above the tray liner resulting in what looks later like a tray leak. The moisture which has seeped between the filling basin and fountain frame can persist once the unit has been overfilled, even if you subsequently take water out and reduce the water level in the basin.

There is a simple test that you can perform to see if your tray is leaking. Remove water from the tray then remove tray from the wall. Turn the tray upside down and allow it to dry. When it is dry place the tray upright on a table or counter top. Fill the tray with a few inches of water and leave for a couple hours. Then check the tray corners for any leaking. If there is no leak the cause of the leak when the furnishing was on the wall is most likely due to overfilling. Do not overfill your water fountain, just keep the level near the base of your stone but below the black tray liner. Make sure that you are checking your level often enough to keep the water above the pump at all times, yet below the top of the black tray liner.

In most cases you will need to wet the waterfalls face where the water flows if it has become dry due to being turned off. Water has a kinetic effect which makes it difficult for it to sheet over a surface rather then forming streams. Many water pumps and waterfalls actually last longer if they remain on. These home furnishings draw very little power so electrical use should not be a concern. The natural stone does not have to switch from a dry to moist state continually making the possibility of fissures less likely.

Autor: David Goldfarb David Goldfarb
Level: Basic PLUS
Exalted Fountains originated in the Spring of 2000. Initially a manufacturer of small tabletop fountains constructed of marble and slate with a pyramid theme, Exalted ... ...

Many indoor waterfalls include natural stone or slate to mimic a waterfall as it is found in nature. It is important to note that and stone is a natural product that has been hand quarried from the earth and may not be perfectly squared or leveled. If you find that your stone does not hang level on the bracket there are leveling shims which can correct this problem. The shims can be adjusted after being placed between the stone slab and the wall bracket which will enable your water fall will adjust and hang beautifully.

Exalted Fountains carries a wide variety of indoor waterfalls, home furnishings and wall fountains for the home.

Added: May 29, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rainwater Harvesting and Other Water Saving Tips

Rainwater. The wonderfully soft, free resource we can all benefit from. Do you collect rainwater at your house? Have you considered it? Do you practice water conservation at all?

In the next few paragraphs, I'll show you how we can save literally millions to billions of gallons of our most precious resource by implementing a few, low-cost methods of saving water. Without water, we cannot exist.

In the old days, everyone I knew had a rainbarrel outside. Heck, we used to dip a ladel my grandmother had hanging on the side of a barrel, into the rainwater and drink it. It was so much better than the rubber-flavored water out of the hose. Of course, we wouldn't do that during mosquito season, but I distinctly remember enjoying that water. It seemed to taste pure and quenched our thirst.

Nowadays, fresh water is becoming more and more depleted with populations rising at an unprecedented rate, it is becoming an important part of water conservation to incorporate some sort of rainwater collection system. The beauty of it is it's simplicity and inexpensive implementation.

Whether you water your yard and flower beds, or you have a full blown garden, collecting rainwater could offset our freshwater needs by millions of gallons a year. If 1000 people from each state incorporated a system to catch rain and use it for watering, we could offset water needs by 5,000,000 gallons per state. That would mean 250,000,000 gallons a year for the U.S. alone.

Now, couple that with more conservation efforts inside the home and the numbers become astounding. A few things you can do, inexpensively, are rediculously simple. For instance, putting a brick in your toilet (or even a plastic water bottle full of sand or water) can save approximately 700 gallons a year per toilet.

Go even further by installing low-flow shower heads and faucets in your home. By doing this, you're increasing your savings even more. In case you cannot afford to change out your fixtures, you can purchase inexpensive aerators for your faucets and still reduce your water consumption.

Listen, you have to pay for water that comes out of your faucet. Why waste money on something you don't even use. Case in point: while brushing your teeth or shaving, turn off the water until it's time to rinse. We waste billions of gallons a year just doing these everyday chores. We can save those billions by making sure we use only what we need to get what we need done.

How about washing the family vehicles? I like to drive a clean vehicle, but at an average of 150 gallons per wash, I don't mind the bug guts and road trash so much anymore. I used to wash two Suburbans a week religiously. But after putting a pencil to it, I had to rethink my methods. Just to drive a clean car all the time, we were going through 300 gallons of water a week. That calculates to over 15,000 gallons a year just to be prideful. Shame on me.

The high-pressure coin-op car washes were even worse. With more water being used and the mist evaporating into the air, it is even more wasteful. Of course, nowadays a percentage of newer car washes incorporate a full circle system. And when you use one, you know it. Kind of smells like sewer water. You know, the stinky water akin to that which is in those windshield washer containers at the gas station. Whew!

Well, there are waterless car washing products hitting the scene and for just a bit of added expense, you can save that 150 gallons of water per wash. Visit my website and click on the banner. You will be surprised at what technology has come up with in this department.

I have reduced my car washing habits and use the waterless products. So, I only wash once a month and have compared the reduction in my water bill to the cost of the product and the out-of-pocket expense to keep my vehicles looking good isn't even worth mentioning.

When it comes to using city water to water your lawn, beds or garden, you may not be able to readily afford, monetarily or timewise, to incorporate a rainwater collection system. In that case, soaker hoses work wonders in saving water. You see, when you run a sprinkler, you're only getting a percentage of that water to the roots. Especially during the sunnier part of the day.

For the garden, you can water the furrows with a soaker. For beds, meander the soaker around the bases of your plants. This keeps the water closer to the roots and doesn't give it a chance to evaporate before the plants can benefit from it. So, it makes sense to stop purchasing those sprinklers and put your money in soaker hoses and leech lines.

Now, if we incorporated all the above and used the 1000 people per state calculations, our average savings per state would be around 15,000,000 gallons a year. Using the same calculations, we could save 7,500,000,000 gallons a year with almost no out of pocket expenditure. (Now, imagine if 10,000 people per state followed suit) As a matter of fact, once implemented, any savings plan will undoubtedly pay for itself quickly and begin paying you. So, with nothing to lose, what are you waiting for? Go Green!

Autor: Roland Ratliff Roland Ratliff
Level: Basic
Mid--forties, semi-retired, country boy looking to bring the 'green' movement to all sub--urban and rural areas. Father of three and married to a beautiful, displaced ... ...

To find out more about rainwater collection and other water saving tips, visit the website today.

Roland Ratliff
Written by R. D. Ratliff

Added: May 28, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

10 Simple Steps For Do it Yourself Home Repairs

There are many house repairs and home improvements that are well within the ability of the average homeowner.

Ten of the most cost effective do it yourself home repairs - those with the biggest bang for the buck - are listed below.

Paint that room
Painting just may be the easiest, and the most valuable improvement any homeowner can make. If you are planning to sell your house, a new coat of paint can add thousands of dollars to the eventual purchase price. And if you are planning to stay put, new paint can brighten your rooms and brighten your moods. Best of all, painting requires little investment, little money and few supplies. A good paint roller, some brushes, paint stripper, and paint are generally all that are needed. These items are all available at your local home improvement store.

General cleaning
A good spring (or fall, or winter, or summer) cleaning can do wonders for both the value of the home and its livability. If there are parts of your home that have been needing a good cleaning for awhile, why not buy some polish, carpet cleaner or glass cleaner and get going? These simple do it yourself repairs can be as simple as thoroughly cleaning the inside and outside of all your glass windows, as well as the shutters and molding. In addition, cleaning brass fixtures and chandeliers can make them look better than new. Consider renting a power washer to clean dirty aluminum siding, or a steam cleaner to brighten up your carpets. General cleaning is one of the easiest and most effective of all do it yourself repairs.

Remodeling the kitchen and bathroom
New kitchens and bathrooms have been shown in surveys to provide the most resale value relative to their cost, so if your bathroom and kitchen could use some sprucing up, chances are that these do it yourself repairs can actually pay for themselves. Examples of common do it yourself repairs in the kitchen and bathroom include a good cleaning, new cabinet hardware, or new cabinets.

Reclaim your closet space
We all know that closets can quickly get out of control. It is all too tempting to just open the door and hide those unwanted or unneeded items in the closet. Redesigning your closet space is one home repair that will definitely help your quality of life, and help you reclaim your wardrobe. There are many do it yourself closet kits available at home improvement stores, on the internet and in department stores. Installation is generally simple and easy, and this do it yourself repair can usually be done over a weekend.

Brighten your home with new lighting
New lighting fixtures, or cleaning and reclaiming old ones, is one of the most cost effective do it yourself home repairs that a homeowner can make. Penny wise homeowners can use simple rope lights and fluorescent light fixtures to achieve the same dramatic effects as more expensive custom designed under cabinet lighting. These rope lights and fluorescent lights are widely available at home improvement stores and on the internet.

Don't forget the outside of your home
While you are busy inside painting, installing lights, fixing the closets, and remodeling the bathroom, does not forget the importance of the exterior of your house. After all, your home's exterior is the first thing you, and everyone else sees. Examples of popular do it yourself home repairs for the exterior of the home include painting the front door and installing a great new doorknob and door knocker. Other exterior improvements can be as simple as trimming overgrown shrubs, planting flowers and keeping the grass neat and trimmed.

Toss that old carpet
Replacing old and worn out carpet is one of the easiest and most inexpensive of all do it yourself home repairs. Carpet that is in poor condition affects both the value and the livability of the home, and the many do it yourself carpet kits make ripping up the old carpet and installing the new carpet a relatively simple matter.

Perform simple plumbing repairs
While fixing a clogged toilet may require the help of a professional plumber, there are simple do it yourself home repairs that most homeowners can do for themselves. These diy repairs include fixing dripping faucets and installing new, modern bathroom fixtures.

Spruce up your entrance way
The sidewalk leading up to your home should make a good first impression and welcome guests to your home. If your entranceway is lacking, the installation of colorful stepping stones or other special touches is a great and beautiful do it yourself home improvement.

Don't overlook the simple repairs
Simple diy repairs such as a stuck cabinet drawer or burned out light bulbs are easy do it yourself home repairs. It is a good idea to walk through the home with a tablet in hand. Take note of any diy repairs that need done. Write down each item and take this list with you when you visit the hardware store.

Autor: Frank Sarntarpia

Find more info on DIY home repairs and home remodeling at - a comprehensive resource for improving your home.

Added: May 26, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Installing a New Water Efficient Toilet

Time to complete: 45 minutes

Difficulty Level: Intermediate (Need to be able to lift 50 pounds)

Step 1: Turn off the water at the supply line coming out of your wall. Flush the toilet several times to drain the water from the toilet. You will know that you have turned off the water because the toilet tank will not be re-filling. There will probably be excess water left in the tank and the bowl, so use a sponge to drain the excess water into a bucket.

Step 2: Once the water is drained from the toilet bowl and tank, remove the hose line that connects to the back of the toilet tank.

Step 3: Remove the plastic caps and loosen the bolts or wing-nuts that attach the bottom of the toilet bowl to the ground. You may need to use a wrench to get these bolts loose. If they are corroded, use penetrating oil (WD-40) to help loosen them.

Step 4: Loosen and remove the bolts from the base of the toilet tank. These run through holes in the bottom of the tank and through that back of the toilet bowl. Once these bolts are loose, remove the tank from the back of the bowl. If you have a one-piece toilet, the tank is not separate. Step 5: Lift off the bowl from the ground. The old wax seal will be visible and can look pretty gross. Grab some gloves and a scraper and scrape away and remove the old wax seal. Once you have the old wax seal removed, put your new wax seal in place. Toilet wax seals are common things to purchase at a DIY type store. Or if you bought the Kohler Kelston Complete Solution toilet, it comes complete with hardware and the wax seal you need.

Step 6: Lift your new toilet bowl over on to the bolts and the new wax seal. Rotate the bowl back and forth several times to seat the seal. Line the bowl up with the wall and make sure it is level.

Step 7: Replace the nuts at the base of the bowl and tighten. Do not tighten them too tight, as you can crack the porcelain bowl.

Step 8: Lift and attach the rear tank on to the toilet bowl. Most toilets will include a rubber seal that you have to attach to the bottom valve on the toilet tank. Make sure to remember to add this seal to prevent any leaks. If you have a one-piece toilet, this step will not be necessary. Tighten the bolts on the back tank and make sure it is secure. You can now reconnect the water line to the back tank. Turn on the water and check for any leaks on the supply line and in between the tank and the bowl.

Step 9: Re-caulk the base of the bowl to a create a water proof seal which protects the floor and provides additional stability. Enjoy the water savings from your new efficient toilet!

Autor: Ryan Arroyo Ryan Arroyo
Level: Basic
I am passionate about creating a sustainable environment, focusing on earth-friendly practices and lifestyle changes that make that a reality....

Ryan Arroyo - I am passionate about creating a sustainable environment, focusing on earth-friendly practices and lifestyle changes that make that a reality.

Added: May 25, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Save Money With DIY Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring has come a long way in the last five years. There are more varieties, colors and grades than you can imagine. Not only is it more reasonable than hardwood, but it's so easy to install that the average do-it-yourselfer can take it on. The result is a high quality floor that looks almost like wood, and if installed correctly, supports a hefty warranty period. Some brands warranty their laminates for over 25 years.

Here are the steps for installing the Torlys Quick-Step flooring and some of the details you need to be aware of that apply to most laminate flooring.

Place the boxes of flooring in your home and allow 24 to 48 hours to climatize before installation. If installing in a new home, you may want to run a dehumidifier for one week prior to installation. The humidity should be approximately 40 to 60 percent.

Thoroughly clean and level the sub floor using self-leveling concrete for anything more than 1/12" per 39 1/2".

The flooring basically floats, but it requires a 3/8" expansion gap around the outside of the room or any fixed objects. If your baseboard will not cover the gap you can either add quarter round trim or undercut the drywall and slide the laminate under the wall.

When laying over concrete floor, it's important to determine whether you have a moisture problem. Tape pieces of clear polyethylene plastic in several places on the floor, leave for 24 hours and check whether condensation has formed. Any extensive water build-up or leakage need to be fixed before laying the floor.

Before placing the laminate, start with a 2-mm layer of underlay of antimicrobial foam with attached self-sealing moisture barrier which provides sound absorption and warmth. The underlay is placed in the same direction as the planks. Generally, these are run parallel to the flow of natural light or to the longest wall.

Overlap the underlay about 4" up the wall to create a vapor barrier. In doorways or cut ends, seal with damp-proof or tuck tape. When attaching one row to another, pull back the foam, removing tape on adhesive strip and replace foam to form a continuous vapor barrier.

Lay down a test row of laminate planks, ensuring the last plank will not be less than 8". For the first row, begin in the corner and move left to right keeping the groove in front of you. This small step will make the rest of your job easier.

When you're ready to begin, open several boxes and choose packs randomly from different packs, inspecting each before laying.

Saw off the tongue off the long side of the first row of planks (and the short side of the corner board), so they will fit nicely against the outer edge and create the 3/8" expansion gap. Don't cut your last plank until all the pieces in the first row are clicked in place.

Uses the wedges provided by the manufacturer to create your expansion gap for the outer perimeter. When starting the second row, it should be smaller than the first piece you used in the previous row, but no less than 8". This will stagger the joints as you go along. Click the board into place by angling it slightly, insert tongue into groove, and rock it into place. Click in a scrap at the joints to keep both planks level, and using the tapping block, lightly tap into place.

When installing the last plank in the row, use the board puller to securely attach the plank.

Apply molding to finish off the edges in the doorway, still allowing for an expansion gap. Use T-molding to transition between two types of flooring and snap into place.


laminate flooring
foam underlay
tuck tape
utility knife
table saw
wedges (provided by manufacturer)
tapping block (provided by manufacturer)
board puller (provided by manufacturer)

Autor: Mike Askins

Get all the facts about McKinney TX real estate. Locate your dream home in Lucas quickly and easily.

Added: May 24, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tips Painting

Getting the surface ready

The first thing to do before you start painting a room and probably the most important thing is to get the surfaces ready for painting. Not preparing the surfaces properly is probably the most common paint failure problem.

The first thing obviously is before you start put your drop sheets down. And cover all your furniture.

Next thoroughly wipe down the room from cobwebs and large collections of dust anywhere.

Then, sand down anything that is shiny so the paint will stick to it. Shiny paint as a rule will not let latex paint stick to it very well.

Check the room out for any flaking paint, cracks or holes. If you have wallpaper on the room that you want to remove you should remove it now, and then check what was behind the wallpaper on the wall again for cracks or holes.

Then you have to plaster up these cracks or holes with some sandable patching compound. Make sure that you buy definitely a soft sanding dry mix compound. These compounds you mix by hand in a trough to a thinner than dough consistency but not too wet otherwise it will sag and fallout of the hole.

After the compound has dried, it's time to sand it smooth to the rest of the wall. But be careful not to stand a crater into the repair, I usually use a flat pad for sanding. If you try to sand by hand these spots you might end up with a dimple.

Next what I do if I'm trying to do a very nice job and I know I will be placing some lighting into the room I should be aware that this lighting might cast shadows on the defective walls. Usually the way I prevent lighting from emphasizing bad detail on the walls is to go around the room with a portable handheld trouble lamp. Hold the trouble lamp to the wall by few inches, the shadow it casts on the wall looking ahead of the light will show you all the little defects on the wall. What I suggest to do is mark all these spots while shining a light on them so you will be able to identify them later without the light. Now you will be able to do your final finishing repairs to get your walls perfectly smooth.

Autor: Vic Nagy Vic Nagy
Level: Platinum
Commercial and residential painter since 1979 in the GTA. Experienced in regular brush and roller painting. Additional experiences fire damage,spray painting,faux finishes,drywall. stucco,electrostatic,epoxy, power-washing,sandblasting,paint stripping,wall ... ...

Written by Vic Nagy owner of Hollywood Painting since 1979 This is the first of a series of articles I will be writing on DIY painting projects. You will be able to find me at:

Added: May 22, 2009

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ladder Safety

Most homeowners and do-it-yourselfers have and use a ladder with some frequency and all year round. There always seems to be something around the house that needs your attention and a ladder to reach it. House repairs, yard maintenance, cleaning the gutter, a new coat of paint or change that bulb, somebody is going to reach for the ladder. Ladders are really useful but can be very dangerous. Most ladders are covered with so many warnings and disclaimers that you can barely see the ladder itself. With good reason as more than half a million people are treated annually for injuries related to ladder use.

Since a parachute or sky hook seem out of the question, some basic safety precautions could make a big difference in surviving your chores. Inspect your ladder for loose screws, cracked steps, or old malfunctioning hinges. Inspection and cleaning off mud or chemicals after each use should be a regular routine. Storing the ladder in a safe place out of the weather will help prolong the life and performance of the ladder as well.

Many injuries occur due to improper set up and use of the ladder. Always place the ladder as close as possible to the work and on even firm ground or flooring. Be mindful to avoid soft or uneven ground and flooring. Once you're up the ladder the added weight can cause severe tilt and instability. Check the footing and be sure the hinges are fully extended and locked before you start up the ladder. Stepping up one or two steps and checking for stability before proceeding could save you from skydiving! Do not use a ladder as a seat or extend beyond the typical warning areas. There are different ladders for specialized jobs. When you are on the ladder or moving the ladder itself, go slowly and cautiously. Prime time for accidents are moving material or tools when atop the ladder or moving the ladder itself. Be aware of your surroundings and co-workers before making the move.

Never over reach when on the ladder no matter how inconvenient it may seem to get down and reposition the ladder closer to the work. Getting help to steady the ladder while climbing or working may be necessary. Don't be shy or hurried about asking for help. A few thoughtful steps when using the ladder will keep your feet safely and firmly planted on the ground.

Autor: Bruce Kaler M.D. Bruce Kaler M.D.
Level: Platinum
Dr Bruce Kaler has more than thirty years experience in general medicine including family practice, occupational medicine and emergency medcine in rural and urban settings. ... ...

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Our convenient Urgent Care centers offer quality medical care, excellent customer service, and a knowledgeable staff to the communities we serve.

We're available extended hours by appointment or walk-in, which ever works best for you.

Click here to find a center near you.

Added: May 21, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Generating a Theme For Your Home

Theme is the pattern repeated in a well designed home. It is used to improve and enhance the aesthetics of our home, whether it is a form or a figure, an image or representation, or a thought.

Creating a theme is critical in starting or buying pieces of furniture, like bedroom furniture or dining furniture, for your home because it is the fundamental, basic and initial stage. Setting a theme will give you the direction on what to do with your home. Not only will it give you guide, but if you will seek for the services of interior designers, it will serve as their guide in scheming the whole design. Without it, it will be like building a house without a blueprint or a plan. It can be compared as going through an unfamiliar terrain without a map or anything of that sort.

Different themes are available everywhere. You can get it from books or even in the internet. You can have a Mediterranean theme, traditional or modern theme or even bamboo theme. The possibilities are endless. It's all up to you. Just use your own creativity.

Making use of a theme can be the bond or knot to connect the contrasting elements in your home, and makes a proclamation with reference to you and your family. Your home not only reflects your character but it also echoes to your personality and individuality. With all these phases you can depict and characterize your own style and taste, after all, it's your home.

Autor: Kelly Y Kim

In conclusion, generating a theme for your home is very crucial in picking the best pieces of furniture. These pieces include bedroom furniture, dining furniture, dining tables and the like.

Added: May 19, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Simple Tips to Improving Your Home Without Spending a Fortune

Has it ever occurred to you that your home is a mess or that it is too small or cramped? Sometimes it is tough to face the truth but you decide that you should finally take action to make your home look and feel better. Make your home your castle. It doesn't matter if your home was custom built or purchased from a previous home owner, make it your own and a place you are proud to live. Following are a few home improvement tips.

Do It Yourself (DIY) Home Improvement. When your home needs a makeover or an improvement of sorts, most people think that calling a professional handyman or contractor to do the job is the only solution. This isn't true because there are a lot of home improvements that you can do yourself. One of the advantages of doing home improvement yourself is that you can save time and money doing the project rather than hiring a contractor who might take longer to finish the project and may charge more than you want to invest.

Start by taking an honest assessment or your home and what it will take to improve it. Sometimes it is as simple as a fresh coat of paint, other times you might have to consider replacing flooring or other slightly more complex improvements.

Here are some simple tips for do it yourself home improvements:

  • Painting - a fresh coat of paint in some up-to-date colors can produce a huge improvement for relatively little investment of time and money. Get creative. Use a wallpaper border at waist level with complimentary colors above and below. New textured painting, painting two walls in a bold color and use of stencils can add a lot to a room.
  • Flooring - Today a tour of your local home improvement center, such as Lowe's or Home Depot will reveal a multitude of flooring options for DIY home improvement. These home improvement centers frequently offer seminars on how to apply these flooring alternatives yourself.
  • Lighting - Changing out old, outdated light fixtures is another way of having impact with a small investment of time and money. When you consider this always look at adding light to a room - brighter rooms give a perception of larger space.
  • Window Coverings - Updating the window covering in your rooms is yet another do it yourself home improvement that is an easy and quick way to perk up the looks and feel of your home.

Before considering tearing out walls or lifting the roof, stop, take a look around and see if the simple do it yourself home improvement tips above can make a big difference in your home.

Autor: Gregory Morneau

See our blog at 2 LEFT THUMBS for hints and tips on home improvement, remodeling, decorating and maintenance. We also have articles on home decorating, home remodeling, home maintenance and home improvement at 2 LEFT THUMBS DECORATING

Added: May 17, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

Drywall Made Easy - Part 1

Drywall Application & Finishing - Part 1 "Boarding"

Tools required:

Tape measure- minimum 16 foot. Cost $10.

Knife- locking blade, preferably a single, replaceable blade. Cost $6.

Keyhole saw. Cost $10.

Drywall hatchet/hammer- a knurled head (avoids slipping off nail), lightweight. Cost approximately $30.

Tool Belt- has pockets for all your tools, preferably has a metal loop for the hatchet and one or two nail pouches. Cost approximately $60.

Screw-gun, 4000 rpm, Phillips head (magnetized) and extension cord. Cost approximately $50 - $90.

Drywall Nails, 1 1/4', drywall screws, 1 1/4' & 2". Purchase approximately 10 lbs of each per thousand square feet of floor area. If you are going to do multiple projects, purchase nails & screws by the case (more conomical).

TOOL TIP: purchase quality tools, you will use them a lot and they will serve you well throughout your project(s).

The first step in the Drywall project is to order the board. Drywall/gypsum board/gyproc, is available in 4 foot wide sheets varying in length from 8 feet, 10 feet, 12 feet and 14 feet. To get your "board count", go through each room measuring each wall and ceiling. Count the sheets required to cover the full length of the wall or ceiling. Always measure across the studs or floor joists, not in the same direction as the wood members.

Example: a room 11'-6" by 10', the ceiling will need two 4' x 12' sheets plus 1/2 (2' x 12'), count 2-12' plus 1-8' (the 2' strip). Two walls of length 11'-6" require 2-12' sheets each. Count 4-12'. One wall of length 10' requires 2-10' sheets. The remaining wall of 10' length, which has a doorway and may have a closet, can be covered using 8' sheets. Count 2-8' plus the closet if necessary. Total "board count" for this room: 6-12', 2-10', 3-8', plus closet (usually two 8' sheets will do).

The above example gives you an idea of how to do the board count. In the case of a larger room which may be more than 14' across, you will need two or three sheets per span. In this case, try to cover with as few joints as possible. The less joints, the less taping later. If you have a room that is 18' span, count 1-12' plus 1-6' (half of a 12'). Then the next row will have the joint at the opposite end. Always stagger joints as far as possible from each other. In other words, run the 12' sheet from one end, fill the 6' part with the half sheet, then start at this end with the next 12' sheet so that the joints are separated nicely. Walls should be covered in the same fashion. Try to keep wall joints as far as possible from windows. When light shines on the wall through a window, the joints are more noticeable.

Of course, you will have the insulation and vapor barrier installed ready for the drywall. Need I mention, the electrical and plumbing have been installed and inspected. You are now ready to apply the drywall.

See the next installment, Part-2, "Cutting and Nailing"

Autor: Dan Tiki

Question or Comment? contact me at:

To Your Success ;)

Added: May 15, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Backyard Shed Design - Success Depends on the Plan

All over the country they are used for a multitude of purposes but backyard shed design is what makes it truly functional or just an inadequate storage space. Whether you are planning to use your shed just to hold garden tools or to provide a proper home office for your business you really need to give it some thought before heading off to the DIY store any stocking up on 2"x4" and a big bag of nails.

The advantages of building your own garden shed are that, not only can you save yourself a lot of money over the cost of a prefabricated one but also you can get a much better shed that actually does what you want it to.

Too many people just head off to their local hardware store and pick up one of the sheds available. Once they get over the shock of how much the thing actually cost they get it home and realise they still have some work to do getting the base and footing right. Then they have to follow the incomprehensible instructions to assembly the pieces.

Even if you get it assembled and don't have any bits left over, the storage shed often doesn't live up to your expectations. The lawn mower probably doesn't fit where you thought it would and even though it looked large enough when empty, once you start to fill it with equipment you soon run out of space.

It seems like every time you need to take something out from the shed, everything else is in the way and so you spend a lot of time moving stuff out and back in every time you open the door. Of course it doesn't have to be this way. Provided you are careful and take your time you can construct your own provided you have a good backyard shed design.

Building you own garden shed should be an enjoyable project and the end result should be a perfect space that has been designed to hold exactly what tools you have or is big enough to be used as your home office, freeing up space in your house.

Getting to a successful result just takes a little careful thought and having the correct plans. Thankfully there are plans for all sorts and sizes of backyard shed that can be obtained on the internet.

Inexpensive, complete detailed plans of garden sheds that have been carefully designed and have a complete parts list are an invaluable assistance. They allow you to cost the entire project from the start so that there aren't any hidden surprises and you know that, in the end, the space will be exactly what you want and you wont bang your head every time you go in the door.

Autor: Steve J Scott

Good sets of shed design plans come with step by step instructions so that you always know what the next stage will be and how you do it. To find out more about garden shed design please visit Backyard Shed Design.

Added: May 14, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Inexpensive Bathroom Remodeling Secrets

Even though most of us have seen great home makeovers, inexpensive remodeling of a bathroom seems to be a mystery for some homeowners. This document reveals simple steps that any homeowner without any expertise can take to remodel his/her bathroom As with any remodeling/renovation project there will be some small task that should be left to the professionals; however, this document points out the majority of work that can be accomplished by any homeowner.

1) Contrary to the popular belief, the most expensive aspect of bathroom remodeling is not the replacement of the vanity or the counter-top. It is not the new flooring or the replacement of your toilet. In fact, the most expensive aspect of this remodeling as reported by homeowners is the cost of replacing ceramic tiles on the shower walls and the surrounding walls. This can easily cost over a thousand dollar including material and labor.

Yet, great shower and surrounding walls are essential part of any modern bathroom which cannot be overlooked. The good news is that a great looking shower wall does not have to cost thousands and it can be installed in matter of minutes by any homeowner with limited or no expertise. The answer is tile boards. Tile boards are ceramic lookalike that look and feel amazingly real once installed and cost a fraction of what you would pay for ceramic tiles. Tile boards generally come in 4 foot by 8 foot panels. Tile boards can easily be cut using a circular saw and you can use adhesive to attach it to your wall.

2) Another inexpensive bathroom remodeling is to reface and stain your existing cabinet doors. If you have cabinets under your sink, rather than replacing the entire unit that will not only require installation but also plumbing work, you can replace the cabinet doors. Replacing cabinet doors are easy and simple. You can also stain the entire cabinets once you replaced the doors to make them look new and shinny. Staining cabinet doors are also simple and can be done fairly quickly.

3) If you are not planning to change your vanity or its counter top, be sure to replace the faucets. Faucets can add appeal to the overall image of your bathroom and you don't have to be a plumber to replace the faucets. You can find elegant faucets at reasonable cost if you shop around. Be sure to also look online.

4) If you have an old bath tub, try refinishing it rather than replacing it. For this part I highly recommend that you hire a professional to refinish or glaze your bath tub. I don't recommend doing it yourself as a small imperfection can ruin all your hard effort.

5) Wall hangings and other decorations will add much to the beauty of your bathroom and you don't have to hire a professional to do it either. A large mirror greatly enhances the look of your bathroom. Additionally, you can hang one or two small decorative objects on the side wall or if there is room on the counter top.

6) Replacing accessories such as towel hangers and cup holders are simple, easy and inexpensive. They all contribute to the overall image of your bathroom.

7) Finally, a great paint job will complete your remodeling and brings out the face of your new bathroom. Paint job is simple and can be done by anyone. The important part is to choose the right color that matches well with the color of your cabinets and walls. If you are unsure about what color to use, check the popular remodeling magazines.

Autor: R Amidi

To learn more about bathroom remodeling click Bathroom Remodeling
Visit Home Remodeling to find other helpful resources

Added: May 12, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

How Can I Make My Own Wind Generator

Several years ago I was asking myself the same question that you're asking yourself now. How can I make my own wind generator? Where do I start? What parts are required? These questions and many more can make the task seem impossible.

It's not impossible though... you can make your own wind generator. All that's required is a little DIY skills. I like to break down the entire process into simpler steps.

The first step involves breaking down the wind generator into it's most basic parts. The most basic parts of a wind generator are the: blades/hub, body, and the tower. The blades are made from PVC pipe. It might seem a little weird, but if you cut PVC a certain way the resulting pieces make great blades. The hub can be made from a pulley from your local hardware store.

The body is made from leftover PVC from your blades. The motor and tail are both attached to this. We do this to keep water away from the motor. It's very important that this be airtight as any water that gets inside can ruin the motor. The blades/hub get attached to the shaft of the motor and the tail is attached to the other end of the body. A flange is attached to the underside of the body which is attached to the tower.

The last step is the tower. This is often the most important part of any wind generator installation, but we've found ways to get free wind generator towers. Do you remember a time before satellite and cable? When we had huge towers that looked like they were trying to pick up alien signals? Many people still have a TV tower hooked up to their house, but don't use it anymore. All you need to do is ask them and they will often give it to you for free. When I went searching I got paid $50 to take down the tower!

This is a very brief introduction, but I hope it convinced you that you can make your own wind generator.

Autor: Andrew Oke Andrew Oke
Level: Basic PLUS
I grew interested in renewable energy about 16 years ago. WE decided to make the move to off grid living about that time as well. ... ...

Andrew Oke is very interested in renewable energy. He has 16 years experience living off the grid, and has completely built his own renewable energy system. If you want to learn how can I make my own wind generator just click the previous link. If you're interest in learning more about wind generators here is some additional information: How To Build A Wind Generator.

Added: May 11, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Six Simple Steps to Grout Your Wall Tiles

Tile grouting plays a significant role in proper installation of floor and wall tiles. The tiles can add all the more beauty to your surroundings. Some people appoint a professional to install the tiles because cutting and grouting process is considered as a cumbersome task. However, the task is easy, if you follow the given below steps.

1. Firstly, you should clean the excess debris that gets deposited near the joints with help of a stiff broom or cloth. Don't forget to wipe off the debris with perfection; otherwise the tiles will have gaps in between consecutive tiles which can lead to breaking of tiles in long run.

2. Take a bucket of 1 gallon capacity and pour some grout powder into it. Add few drops of water into the grout powder until a thick mixture is formed. Allow the mixture to stand for about 5 minutes. Never prepare excess grout because the solution gets dried on contact with air.

3. Now, take some grout mixture on a trowel and apply it between the joints of the wall tiles. Clean the excess grout as soon as possible with help of the trowel.

4. As soon as, you have utilized all the grout mixture, clean the trowel and keep it aside. Now, bring a 5 gallon bucket and fill it with fresh water. Take a sponge and dip it in the water. Now, gently clean the excess grout from the grouted wall tiles with help of the sponge. You should make sure that you don't clean the fresh grout between the tiles.

5. Now, repeat the above steps till the whole wall is grouted with perfection.

6. You need to conduct a re-grouting session to fill the empty spaces after cleaning the excess grout between the tiles.

Hence, you can grout your wall tiles by following the given below grouting steps.

Autor: Jason Colling

About the Author:
Jason Colling is a renowned writer, who has written articles on various interior designing techniques related to floor decor. His articles focus on various uses of porcelain tiles, wall tiles, natural stones and adhesives.

Added: May 9, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Toolkit For the DIY Homeowner

Being a homeowner interested in saving some money when it comes to decorating, I wanted to provide a basic list of tools that any do-it-yourself homeowner should keep available for small jobs that she or he might wish to handle on their own.

Our sales manager was a general contractor for years, so I asked him to list the tools that he recommended homeowners keep on hand.

The following is the list of tools he said he "never went anywhere without".

Utility knife for trimming and opening boxes easily.

Putty knives which come in various widths depending on the job and are either flexible or stiff. A stiff putty knife is used when scraping paint, while the more flexible knife is used to putty windows or for spackling.

Multitip powerless screwdriver


Measuring tape

Cordless drill and bits for any size hole you might want or need.

A mitre box is optional unless you will do your own crown molding cutting and installing

Saws are frequently used power tools and there are a number of different types. You'll need one that is specific for your project.

Speed square for laying out lines and marking angles

Chalkline for drawing straight lines

The following three items are all-purpose tools:

Short handsaw
Channel lock pliers
10" crescent wrench

Other tools to keep handy include:

Caulking gun
Framing square
Finishing nails

The following tools are optional:

Routers are great for adding detail to trim, but can be intimidating to use if you are not familiar with it.

Sanders can greatly reduce the amount of time you spend completing a project.

Jigsaws are used to cut out curves on your project.

A mitre saw is used for cutting out angles, such as when hanging crown molding.

Circular saws are good for a variety of cuts and materials, but use one with a safety guard.

Table saws can be an expensive investment, but are useful with longer pieces of materials, especially when cutting a very straight line.

Finally, you will need a few safety items. Safety goggles are an essential tool for keeping dust or fragments of materials that may break off from hitting you in the eyes. If you are working with sharp edges, a good pair of work gloves are important to keep on hand. Respirators are necessary if you will be producing large amounts of dust. There are also some caustic chemicals whose fumes you will want to avoid inhaling. Ear plugs are good to use with some of the power tools, which can be extremely loud. Always make sure that you know how to operate the power tools you are using. Some of them can be very dangerous in the hands of an inexperienced user. Please be safe.

Many of these tools are items which most people are familiar with. It helps to know what you really need versus what would be helpful but are not absolutely necessary. These days we don't want to spend a fortune on tools we probably won't use. Plus, you save money on minor repairs and small jobs and you get the satisfaction of doing it yourself and it is that sense of accomplishment that a great feeling.

Autor: Pat Tomaskovic

For a FREE book on decorating on a budget, visit today. GoCeilingMedallion helps you feel right at home.

Added: May 7, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tool Shed Plans - The Best Plans to Protect Your Tools

Great Plans Make Great Tool Sheds

Whether your tool shed is an attached shed or a detached shed, the best place to start is with a good set of plans. Not all tool sheds are created equal, and you can build a superior tool shed for little cost. Why pay those overpriced costs at the hardware store, when you can DIY a great shed for much less? A good set of plans will match your houses design, have a material list and will be functional for your needs.

  • Picking Tool Sheds That Match Your House- When considering building a shed you should look at the design of your house. The closer your tool shed plans mimic your house the better your shed is going to look. If your house is a gabled roof, consider a gable roofed shed. Look at the siding materials, and try to match those too. You can build a compliment to your home that adds value, and doesn't cost much. Just look for a variety of plans when choosing to build your tool shed.
  • A Good Set Of Tool Shed Plans Will Come With A Material List- A material list will insure you don't buy a lot of unnecessary materials, and will let you know the construction costs up front. This way you can decide where to skimp on the materials if you want to reduce costs. Just don't skimp on the roof. The roof is one of the most important parts of your tool shed. You don't want a leaky roof housing your tools do ya? You can also skimp on the sheathing material, if you use a building envelope. Either way, when you have a material list you can give and take to match your needs. A good set of tool shed plans should always come with a complete material list.
  • What Valuables Is Your Tool Shed Going To Protect?- Think about what your sheds function is and go from there. Is your tool shed housing an ATV too? Are you using a freestanding shed because of county regulations? If your pouring a slab for your shed and your housing an ATV, maybe insert a chain into the wet slab. You'll have a piece of chain to lock around your ATV axle. This is just an example of forethought. The more you plan ahead, and consider your design the more usefulness you'll get out of your tool shed. If your just housing some landscaping tools and bags, consider a salt box attached shed, that way your only building three sides, and save on building costs. There are thousands of creative ways to design low cost, great functioning tool sheds.

When You Choose From Tool Shed Plans, Your Shed Can Be Designed Any Way You Want

A good set of plans will give you a great looking shed specifically designed for your house and needs. You'll save on building costs, and have a much superior longer lasting shed than a commercially assembled shed. Not to mention you'll have a unique design suited to your exact needs and it won't be a cookie cutter replica that every other neighbor on the block has. You'll add inexpensive value and functionality... and it all starts with a good set of tool shed plans.

Autor: Brandon Mchale

If your looking for tool shed plans, I've got a doozy for you. Pick from thousands of Tool Shed Plans

Some more information on Building Tool Sheds

Added: May 6, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Building Solar Panels at Home - What You Need to Get Started Quick Tips!

Homemade solar panels can offer savings, independence and bragging rights but the project may not be for everyone. If you have been thinking about building your own solar panels at home, there are a few factors to consider before you begin. Doing your research and knowing your options will help you feel confident that you can complete the project. Here are important five points to ponder as you begin your research.

1. Your budget - Your pricing options for solar panel installation are straightforward: do it yourself and save or hire it out and pay. The expensive option, of course, is to hire a commercial company which could cost you between $20,000 and $30,000. In comparison, if you build your own panels and install them yourself you will cut your expenses by 90% - a boon for any handyman.

2. Your level of expertise - If you want to save money and build the panels yourself, you will need the tools and skills to make it happen. While the project isn't overly complicated, having basic technical skills will be an asset and save you time and money. Specifically, skills with a saw and ability with electrical wires will bring you closer to success.

3. Your tool kit - There are a few tools required for this project, but nothing fancy or too expensive. Check your tool box before you head to the hardware store, as most likely you already have most of these items on hand but be sure to stock up on screws and nails. The basic tools you'll need are a good saw, measuring tape, sandpaper, hammer, and soldering pen.

4. Orientation of your house - An important factor to consider before beginning your solar panel project is whether your house gets enough full sunlight. Observe the spot where you plan to install the panels. Does it get full sun most of the day? Are there buildings or branches obstructing sunlight? If so, consider repositioning your panels or cutting back branches in order to take full advantage of the energy provided by the sun.

5. A good instructional guide - This is important! Finding a good instruction manual will be very helpful in the successful completion of your solar panel. For a small investment of money you will have the advantage of someone else's revised trial and error and expert advice to guide you. A good instruction manual should come complete with diagrams for each part and instructions on how to assemble the parts together. Take a quick look online for a downloadable copy. Building solar panels at home can be a straightforward task if you have the right information.

Autor: Dave Keller

Want to build your own homemade solar panels but don't know where to start?

Fret not! Many people just like you have successfully built these on their own to DRASTICALLY cut their monthly electricity consumption. They are already shaving $1000s off their energy bills every year. If you need STEP-BY-STEP guidance in installing one, I have reviewed the best online guides to build solar panels on your own for your convenience. These highly recommended guides provide EASY-TO-FOLLOW instructions that will help you save money in no time.

Dave Keller is a Renewable Energy Specialist who takes pride in helping the average consumer save on their energy bills using simple DIY devices... and give power companies a run for their money! Learn his secrets that most people will never know about using homemade solar panels to harness FREE energy...

P.S. Did I also mention that state governments are now offering GENEROUS tax incentives for homeowners who convert to using solar power?

Added: May 5, 2009

Sunday, May 3, 2009

How to Remove Wallpaper in Ten Easy Steps

The steps on how to remove wallpaper are simple. The actual task however can be frustrating and time consuming but the results are worth it.

How to remove wallpaper without making a mess of the walls underneath? Any damage to the wall depends in large part to the way the paper was installed to begin with. If the walls were not prepped properly with a primer, you may have a headache on your hands because the process of removing the paper could cause some damage to the walls.

Wallpaper Removal Tools

  • One or two 3 -6" broad putty knives, or spatula. (if you can use a plastic spatula it will leave less marks on the wall)
  • a ladder
  • a scoring or perforation tool
  • paint roller
  • drop cloth
  • bucket
  • sponge
  • wallpaper solution remover
  • white vinegar

Getting Started on How to Remove Wallpaper

1. Move as much of the furniture away from the walls into the center of the room or out of the room completely if possible.

2. Lay down a drop cloth so that the floors are protected.

3. Take all of the switch plate covers off of the outlets.
Shut off the circuit breakers to the room and if you are working at night on this project after work, invest in a halogen lamp from the home improvement store and a long extension cord.

4. Test a small area of the wall first by lifting an edge of the wall paper. Many times if you try to strip the wallpaper before applying any solution, the paper will come off leaving just the adhesive to take worry about. If that is the case, then you are lucky.

5. How to remove wallpaper with a solution that will dissolve the adhesive backing on the paper is to use a wallpaper removal concentrate and mix according to the instructions on the bottle in a bucket of hot water.

Safe and Simple 603 is a contractor-grade remover that when diluted with water effectively removes all kinds of paper and adhesives, or you can mix equal parts vinegar with warm water in a spray bottle.

6. Using a paint roller or the spray bottle with vinegar, apply to the wallpaper in small sections starting from the bottom and working your way up to the ceiling. Wait a few minutes to allow the solution to do most of the work, then start stripping the wallpaper by hand. This will leave the adhesive which you can then scrape off with your spatula or putty knife.

7. If the paper does not come off easily, you may need to reapply the wallpaper removal solution and let it soak through a little longer or if your solution isn't penetrating through the paper use your scoring tool with a light hand in circular motions to make tiny perforations into the material.

Some people don't care to use a scoring tool, because you need to use the right amount of pressure to prevent damage and it leaves tiny holes in the drywall. If your walls are plaster, it is not as much of an issue.

Okay, you are almost done.

8. Now that you have the wallpaper off, use a sponge in a solution of one cup of white vinegar mixed in 1 gallon of water to remove any adhesive residue. Rinse with clear water for a smooth clean surface and allow it to dry.

9. If you used a scoring tool, repair any holes it may have left in the drywall with spackling compound and let them dry overnight, then sand the repair.

10. If you plan to hang new wallpaper be sure to prep the walls with a primer specifically designed for wallpaper application. This will be helpful in the future when the new paper has to come down!

The same is true if you are planning to paint but with a painting primer to assure a smooth application.

Autor: Barbara Mabey

Please visit for interior design tips and friendly advice for interior home decorating and shopping home furnishings.

Added: May 3, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Performing Carpentry Or Woodworking Chores by Oneself

Once considered a "fad" or "passing fancy", especially during the 1890s, the hobby of carpentry or woodworking has actually remained a constant throughout the years. Many people have found it to not only be an interesting and fun hobby, but also a useful and money-saving skill to have.

When one decides to begin carpentry or woodworking, one may be surprised to discover how easy it actually is to learn the basics. Once the budding carpenter/woodworker has mastered these skills, it is only a matter of time before he or she attempts more challenging jobs.

The satisfaction of admiring one's finished work will be more than ample reward for one's efforts.

Not everyone, however, feels that carpentry/woodworking is for them. They may be fully aware of their limitations, or may actually realize that while they are skilled in one area, this is not it. Therefore, these people will gladly engage the services of a contractor, someone who is considered an expert or professional.

Those who do find out, however, that they do they do have the capability of performing carpentry/woodworking projects and chores themselves will soon become aware of how much money can be saved by doing the work themselves.

If one thinks that he or she may have this "hidden talent", one way that this can be discovered is by the purchase of a "prefab" kit. If, however, one does so and then finds out that he or she is NOT "cut out" (no pun intended) for this type work, then he or she will not have expended a great deal of effort or expense before coming to this realization.

The person who does realize that he or she has a "knack" for it will more than likely want to continue in this fun and satisfying hobby.

Autor: Max Sheppard Max Sheppard
Level: Platinum
Max Sheppard successfully owned and operated several business ventures before developing and with co-owner Michael Taylor. Taylor also enjoyed business success with various ... ...

Visit Handy American for more DIY articles and access to professional local contractors.

Added: May 2, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009

Causes of Cracks in the Plaster Along Exterior Walls of the Home

There are numerous reasons why the plaster along the exterior walls of your home will crack making the interior walls look very unsightly. It is important to determine the cause of any cracks you find so that you can repair them effectively. Some of the most important causes of these cracks are listed below.

1. Structural Cracks

Structural cracks, as the name implies, are caused by structural weaknesses in a building which are worn further by certain conditions, such as the bathroom shower. A steam shower or steam bath enclosure should be properly fortified with tiling.

The most important structural cracks include:

Settlement resulting from inadequate or improperly located footings, the use of undersized or improperly spaced members, omission of bracing, or shrinkage of lumber
These cracks are usually large and well defined, extending across the surface and through the plaster
They may start near the corner of a door or window, or run up and down the corner where two walls join, or along the joints between walls and ceiling

2. Map and Shrinkage Cracks

Inferior workmanship and the use of poor quality of plastering materials are the main causes of what are known as "map cracks and "shrinkage cracks;" that is, shrinkage in the plaster itself. There are ways to distinguish between these two types of plaster cracks:

Map cracks are usually caused by improper bonding between the plaster and the base
They are less noticeable than structural cracks and go through the plaster, but do not extend entirely across the surface, as do the latter
They are made up of a series of cracks running at various angles and embracing areas usually 6 inches or more across
Shrinkage cracks, on the other hand resemble map cracks, except that the cracks themselves and the areas they enclose are much smaller
They differ from the map cracks inasmuch as they do not go entirely through the plaster and are usually confined to the finish coat
Careless workmanship is usually the cause of these cracks
Steam from a sauna can dilate these cracks; an infrared sauna unit is the best way to go

3. Loose Plaster

Sometimes the keys or clinches that hold the plaster to the base break off or become loosened and cause the plaster to bulge and crack. On ceilings, around plumbing, bathroom fixtures and kitchen fixtures, it will often hang in this condition for a long time before falling off, being held together by the hair or fiber in the plaster. Occasionally the nails or fastenings used to hold lath in place may corrode and break, allowing that part of the plaster covering the loosened lath, or laths, to sag and crack.

Tools Needed for the Repairs

For cracks and small holes a small diamond-shaped mason's trowel or broad-bladed putty knife, for plastering larger areas a plasterer's trowel and a shallow pan.

Materials Needed

Plaster of Paris or commercial patching plaster
A small amount of ordinary glue if necessary
Clean water

Mixing the Plaster

All mixing boxes and utensils should be clean and clean water from your glass sink, bathroom vanity, or bathtub should be used in the mix
Particular care should be taken that no traces of old set plaster have been left in the mixing box
The water should be placed in the mixing box before the dry plaster is sifted into the water
The mix should then be stirred thoroughly to dissolve all lumps
It should be of such a consistency that the putty may be picked up on a broad-bladed knife and forced into the crack or break in the wall

Using Plaster of Paris

If only a small amount of fresh plaster is needed, plaster of Paris alone may be used. Plaster of Paris sets very quickly. If it is to be used without a retarder, only so much should be mixed at one time as can be put in place in 10 minutes or less.

Autor: Allison Ryan

Allison Ryan is a freelance marketing writer from San Diego, CA. She specializes in do-it-yourself steam shower, bathroom vanity, and sauna installation. For a selection of new bathroom fixtures or swim spas, check out

Added: May 1, 2009