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Mr. Done Right's Blog

Home Improvement Projects

Where to Start

People want to do home improvement projects all the time to increase the value of their home. Many people, however, do not know which project to tackle first when they have multiple projects to be done. Picking which project to do first can be decided by a number of things. Money and urgency are the biggest factors in this. If you have a hole in your roof, obviously you need to get that fixed before putting a shed up in your yard. But if you need new windows because the old ones are older than you and your bathroom looks like it’s stuck in the 70’s, you have a choice. Some improvements will be more time consuming than others and that should be taken into consideration before starting anything.

Before you Start

Do your research before starting anything. Whether you plan to do the project yourself or hire someone to do it for you, make sure you know what you are getting into before buying anything or signing any contract. Any home improvement job can be done by yourself or a company. Depending on the job will depend on what you need to not only get it done, but also how much it will cost. Check out different home improvement stores for varying prices as well as professionals. Ask your neighbors who did their project and how much it cost, if they are willing to tell you the price. If they did it themselves, ask how long it took and if they ran into any problems they didn’t believe they would encounter. If they did encounter problems, ask them how they fixed them. On the other hand if they used a professional ask what they thought of the work the professional did. Knowing what you might be getting into is the best knowledge of all. And if it is possible, ask more than one home owner about the same project so you can compare notes.

Do It Yourself versus Professional

You have decided what project you want to do. You have done your research and have an idea what it should cost and how long it should take. Now you must decide if you want to do it yourself or hire a professional crew to do it for you. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Doing it yourself can be much cheaper because you aren’t paying labor costs that are added to the professionals’ prices. However you have to know that you will have ample time to fix complete the project and that you can live in your home comfortably enough while you do finish. Also if you run into a complication, you have to know how to fix it quickly so as not to lose any more time on completing the project. This can get expensive if you don’t know how to fix it or are on limited time and money. Having a professional do it can cost thousands more, depending on the project, but you will have an estimate time of completion. And, the best part of all, if there are any mess ups, you are not responsible for fixing them. Well for the most part you won’t be responsible. You will need to read the fine print on any contract you sign with a professional. Another advantage of having a professional is that the work is warranted.

Using the Professional

Once you decide to go with a professional, you should get multiple quotes before making your choice of who to use. Even if the company that did your neighbors windows comes highly recommended, your house is different and they may have different pricing specials now than when your neighbors had their windows put in. Get at least four or five quotes to see exactly what the professionals cost and the differences in how they do business, their warranty works, estimate for when they can start your project, and completion time frame. Don’t go for just the big ads in the phone book. The smaller companies can be just as good and cost less than a big name. Most places give free estimates nowadays. No matter what, don’t let any professional push you into using them before you have all the estimates you want. They may sound great as the first or second, but their job is to get you sign with them and convince you they are better than anyone else out there. Take everything they say with a grain of salt.

 

Thank you for taking the time with me to learn more about what Mr. Done Right, the handyman / contractor does for you.

Sincerely,

Don Fenton

(AKA) Mr. Done Right

For more information on handyman or contractor work in the greater Austin area (or beyond), please contact your premiere handyman, Don Fenton, AKA Mr. Done Right Handyman Contractor of Austin, because Mr. Done Right ensures any repairs and/or remodels get Done Right the first time! Call us now for a free estimate! 512-659-8931

www.Handyman-Austin.com

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Materials You Might Need for Home Improvement

The materials that you will need to take on a home improvement project depends on what the task at hand is. With any home improvement or repair job, you will need many types of tools and materials. Many materials can be bought at a fairly low rate, while some equipment will be costly, but can be used for multiple jobs.

One thing that will be required before you begin any home improvement job is a building permit. If you don’t acquire one, you will be subject to steep penalties and fines. Check with codes enforcement before starting any sizable home improvement project.

For jobs that require you to work on sub-flooring, you will likely require some kind of bonding agent, screws, a level, plywood, lumber, and nails. If you are installing new hardwood flooring you will probably need sandpaper, clean cloths, paste wax, wood restorer, oxalic acid, cleaning tools, rubber gloves, vinegar, wood patches, nails, a putty knife, a floor buffer, a hammer, and a vacuum to complete the job properly.

Not having the right materials for any home improvement job can lead to extra cost and any number of problems. Research what you need, and buy the best materials that you can afford. For example, paneling the walls will require a variety of tools and materials, including a putty knife, a nail set, a caulk gun, a flat pry bar, a square, a mallet, a hammer, a carpentry knife, and a wallboard knife. You will also have to buy the paneling, wood filler, putty stick, finishing nails, adhesive, and shims to finish the job right.

A common outside project is building a pond, which will require you to have a hose, hammer, spade, some pond liner, a level, sand, decorative stones, and mortar. You might also want to consider landscape materials, such as plants or flowers.

Plumbing jobs can be challenging, but can be done yourself. For example, repairing a shower can often be done by purchasing a repair kit. The kit might include flooring, walls, or doors. It might also consist of showerheads and faucet.

Since kits don’t usually come with tools, you should have a basic stock of them. For plumbing, you might need PVC Pipe, primer, CPVC Cement, screwdriver, a pipe wrench, tubing cutter, liquid nails, and Silicon Sealant.

To repair or replace drywall, you only need to follow a few simple steps. The job will require a putty trial, tray, sandpaper, joint putty, and a scraper.

Tile repair can be challenging if you don’t have the right tools for the job. You will need adhesive, scraper, a chisel, a hammer, and caulk.

For woodworking jobs, you will need to buy particular tools for the project. You will need some type of ear protection and eye protection. You will need a floor sander and belt sander, which can be rented by the hour. You will also need a dust mask, a sanding block and different grains of sandpaper, a paintbrush, and cross peen hammer. Other woodworking tools you might want to invest in include a plane and a shave hook.

It is important to stay on task when working on home improvement projects, and to get the right tools for the job. This will prevent confusion and mistakes, will could cost more time and money.

No More Boring Ceilings

When building a new home or upgrading your existing home, there are many upgrades available to customize the home to your particular tastes. From the type of flooring to the lights in the ceiling, there are thousands of options available to make your new home uniquely yours. One area often overlooked during the process of selecting finishes or planning for fixtures is the ceiling. Keeping the following available options in mind when planning your new home can set it apart from the crowd.

Increased Ceiling Height – Simply raising the ceiling height to 9 feet over the traditional 8-foot finish can change the feel of the room and perception of size dramatically. Even mid range mobile home manufacturers have recently started offering this as an option on some of their models for a modest upgrade cost.

Cathedral Ceilings – A cathedral ceiling is a ceiling that has a center point higher than the walls. This is the most common type of upgrade to ceiling structure and goes a long way to increasing the overall perception of room size.

Vaulted Ceilings – A vaulted ceiling has one wall of the room taller than the opposing wall. The ceiling slants down to the lowest wall again giving the impression or illusion that the room is larger than it is really is due to the increased volume. If planned correctly, an often inexpensive way to upgrade your home during the building process. In many cases, this upgrade is little more than selecting the correct type of ceiling trusses.

Coffered Ceilings – One of my favorites, coffered ceilings comes in numerous styles and finishes from rich hard woods to simple painted drywall surfaces. The box like structure can be very expensive based upon the type of finish selected. Homebuilders have recently begun to use a variation of coffered ceilings in some areas of the home to highlight light fixtures in areas such as the dining room. If your home has the ceiling height to work with there are do it yourself kits available that are relatively easy to install. A handy person could build out a coffered looking ceiling using ordinary lumber and sheetrock with spectacular end results that can still get that ‘wow’ from someone entering the room.

Cove Ceilings – Often found in home from the early 1900’s these types of ceilings while providing a classic and luxurious look are not nearly as difficult to create as would first appear. The quarter circle curve is usually accented with crown molding where it meets the wall providing a uniquely Victorian look. This look is best when the ceiling has a minimum height of 10 feet to provide a large enough radius for the transition from ceiling to wall.

Final Finish – The final finish can make a big difference in the look of your home and is something a do it yourselfer can change in an existing home. Removing an old acoustic ceiling or spraying a modern texture such as knock-down in its place, or in the place of having a flat finish might be just the upgrade you are looking for in your home.

These are not your only options available, but hopefully they have served as a reminder that when building your new home there is more to planning out your ceilings than selecting “white” or “off-white” for your paint color.

Thank you for taking the time with me to learn more about what Mr. Done Right, the handyman / contractor does for you.

Sincerely,

Don Fenton

(AKA) Mr. Done Right

For more information on handyman or contractor work in the greater Austin area (or beyond), please contact your premiere handyman, Don Fenton, AKA Mr. Done Right Handyman Contractor of Austin, because Mr. Done Right ensures any repairs and/or remodels get Done Right the first time! Call us now for a free estimate! 512-659-8931

www.Handyman-Austin.com

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* Click here to protect your privacy and the safety of your children on the Internet.

Choosing The Right Screw For The Job

To the untrained eye, one screw is as good as another, but those with a little more awareness have a better chance of realising that choosing the right screw for a particular job can mean the difference between a project succeeding and failing.

The industrial and construction sectors have literally hundreds of different types of screws and fasteners to select from; each type suited for a particular usage e.g. lubricated timber decking screws for quicker driving into outdoor decking, self-drilling screws for the convenience of not having to drill pilot holes and even screws that work specifically with the mechanical properties of plastics.

Before you can choose the best screw for a job you should consider the characteristics you desire in a screw such as:

* Does it need to be waterproof to avoid corrosion from moisture?
* Does the screw head need to be flush with material once it’s screwed into place?
* Does the screw need to be protected from vandalism or unauthorised removal?
* Is the screw to be used in wood, metal or perhaps plastic?
* What length of screw is required?

For different types of material there tends to be a different type of screw. Take the following as examples:

* Wood screws – designed to perform best in all types of wood including hardwood, MDF and chipboard. Smaller screws have less chance of splitting wood, but if you’re using larger screws and/or working near the end of a piece of wood then it’s often safer to drill a pilot hole first.

* Floor screws – these will cope with the issue of different expansion rates so are best used for securing timber or chipboard to steel supports. Made by a process that ensures a hard exterior whilst retaining a tough, flexible core.

* Self-drilling screws – designed for convenience as only a screwdriver is required. These screws drill their own holes and form their own mating threads ensuring the best fit in a single attempt.

* Timber decking screws – specially designed to deal with outdoor conditions with durable, protective coatings.

* Frame anchor screws – designed for fixing window and door frames made from PVC-U, wood or aluminium directly to brickwork without the need for plugs or nylon anchors.

A general rule of thumb for determining an appropriate length of you should look for a screw length that will allow two-thirds of its length to be embedded into the material being fastened to. So, for example, if you’re fastening a 1-inch thick piece of timber to a wooden post then you should be looking at embedding 2-inches of the screw into the post. That means you would require a screw length of 3-inches.

All good screw suppliers will be able to advise on the appropriate screws for your task. The important thing is to appreciate that not all screws are the same and that using the right screw can mean a secure installation, whilst the wrong screw can mean in an accident waiting to happen.

 

Thank you for taking the time with me to learn more about what Mr. Done Right, the handyman / contractor does for you.

Sincerely,

Don Fenton

(AKA) Mr. Done Right

For more information on handyman or contractor work in the greater Austin area (or beyond), please contact your premiere handyman, Don Fenton, AKA Mr. Done Right Handyman Contractor of Austin, because Mr. Done Right ensures any repairs and/or remodels get Done Right the first time!  Call us now for a free estimate! 512-659-8931

www.Handyman-Austin.com

Mr. Done Right on Facebook Mr. Done Right on Yelp Mr. Done Right on Angie's List Mr. Done Right on Yellow Pages, YP.com

Build Your Own Garage Workbench

A garage workbench is an essential piece of equipment in any home workshop. A workbench will allow you to complete projects easily and with greater accuracy. A variety of pre made workbenches are available to fit your needs. If you prefer, you can make your own workbench, either with a kit or from a plan.

Choosing a garage workbench

Workbenches are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles. Benches are great for woodworking, crafts and other household projects. You can purchase a bench at most home improvement stores. Another option is to build your own bench. You can find plans in books and on the internet with instructions to create the perfect bench to suit your needs.

A table style workbench is made of heavy duty materials to stand up to regular use. Most models have a hardwood top with metal legs. Table tops can also be made of steel. These resemble a typical table shape with nothing underneath.

Cabinet style benches have drawers or cabinets in the space under the table top. This is great for utilizing otherwise wasted space. This method allows for additional storage space. Some have a pegboard backing that is perfect for hanging hand tools. You won’t need to dig through drawers or a tool box to find what you need.

A power strip bench is a good choice if you use power tools often. These come with up to nine outlets in a strip with a heavy duty power cord. They also have current protection to prevent overload. These can be either six or eight foot benches. Some have a tool caddy to hold smaller tools.

Build Your Own Workbench

Consider building your own bench to get exactly what you want. Kits are available with everything you need to create your bench. Instructions and materials are included with the kit. With this method, you will be limited to the kit’s design. The benefit is that all pieces are pre cut. You won’t need to worry about uneven cuts.

You can build your own bench and purchase all the materials. This method is a bit more complicated, but you have more control about the final outcome. Free workbench plans are available on the internet with detailed instructions for you to follow. Cut the plywood according to the directions and be sure to make your cuts straight.

For best results, choose good quality wood, oak or a hardwood plywood is an excellent choice. Use several coats of polyurethane to protect the top of the bench. Be sure to sand between each coat. A good urethane coating makes messes easier to clean up when working on projects later.

Organizing and Making Room in your Garage

You will need to organize your garage and create storage space to make room for workbenches. Determine what you need to store. Start with a good clean out and get rid of things you don’t need. Throw away old paint and other junk. Give away or donate old items, tools or other things that are too good to throw away, but that you don’t need any more.

The walls of your garage offer great opportunities for storage space. Cabinets are great for organizing clutter. High cabinets are good for storing chemicals and paints. Sharp items can be put up high to keep them away from children. Consider locks if you have young children. Locker cabinets are perfect for larger items. Drawers are good for organizing tools, fishing equipment and other small items.

Breathe Life into your old vanity

If you can’t stand the look of your vanity and want to breathe some new life back into it, you should consider trying to spruce it up. Aside from what you may have heard, an old vanity cabinet can be overhauled with little to no money. While you could always invest in a new cabinet, you’d be amazed at the kind of satisfaction a small amount of elbow grease and time can bring about.

Probably the most lucrative option for those with an unsightly bathroom vanity cabinet is to paint it. Most vanities can be painted with standard paints available at home improvement stores. If you’re unsure as to what type of paint your project will require, it’s best to talk to an employee at your local home improvement store. The employee should be able to give you some insight into the materials you’ll need to execute your project.

If painting’s not something you’re looking forward to, you should consider replacing the hardware on your vanity. Swapping out your bathroom vanity cabinet’s old hardware, with new and shiny hardware can bring about astonishing results. It really doesn’t take much to revitalize a room’s focal point.

If neither the above options appeal to you, you have the option of replacing your vanity’s countertop. The countertop is one of the bolder elements of a countertop and can thus work to enhance its appearance or utterly annihilate it. If your vanity’s current countertop is simply no longer cutting it, you should seriously consider replacing it. Those that are willing to spend more money should consider purchasing real stone countertops. If the budget’s a bit tight, you can also go with a laminate countertop. Both will get the job done – just at varying prices.

Giving your vanity a new look isn’t as hard as it initially appears. If you’re willing to dedicate a little time and patience, the possibilities for revitalizing an old vanity are endless.

 
 

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