Sealing Drafts in Laundry Rooms and Basements

When it gets cold outside you’ll begin to feel the drafts coming in through the cracks and gaps in your home’s foundation. Less obvious is when it gets warm and the cold airleaks back out. Visit our article on sealing drafts to finf out how to identify where a draft is coming from or going to and learn how to fix it.

Stop drafts in Your Laundry Room

Concrete Curing Times

Concrete hardens rapidly at first and then the process slows down. The actual curing time for concrete varies, dependent on weather conditions, temperature, mixture proportions, the size and shape of the concrete area, and the specified strength of the concrete.

Many websites specify a curing time of 28 days, but this is not long enough for the cement to reach full strength. The American Concrete Association Committee 301 indicates that ASTM C 150 Types I, II, III, IV, and V cement will reach 70 percent of strength within 14 days, with some types reaching this point earlier than others. If using moist-curing for at least the first week, cement may see an additional strength increase of 50% or more by the 90 day point.

To learn more about different cements, the impact of factors such as temperature, curing times, and how to maximize the strength of your concrete, visit our article on cement and concrete.

Fixing a Clogged Sink Drain Trap

Under the sink is a u-shaped piece of pipe that blocks sewer gas from getting into your home. Unfortunately, it can also block water from going down if too much junk has collected there. This is the infamous “trap”.

To clean it you’ll need a bucket to catch any sewage water that may drip from the pipe, a pair of rubber gloves, an old toothbrush, a damp rag, and some cleanser. If the nuts/clamps are too tight you may also need a large pair of pliers.

Remove the trap and clean it and also clean the exposed pipe ends under the kitchen sink with a damp rag and some cleanser as well.

Replace the sink trap and tighten the nuts and run water down the sink to look for leaks.

You’re done!

Discover more about fixing your sink and keeping it smelling fresh in our Stinky Sinks article!

Cement vs Concrete

Many people are confused about the difference between cement and concrete. Lets talk about what cement and concrete are made from and how they are used.

Many people use the words cement and concrete interchangeably but cement is actually an ingredient in concrete. Portland cement is a powder made from limestone, clay and pulverized rock that is mixed with other materials like sand and water to form concrete.

The cement is the glue in the concrete mix.

Water is the actuator.

To learn more about different cements, curing times, and how to maximize the strength of your concrete, visit our article on cement and concrete.

How to Clean Your Clothes Dryer

Keep your clothes dryer operating in tip top shape.

Aside from cleaning out any melted crayons or other items that can coat the inside of your dryer’s drum, there are a few other places to keep in mind.

If your dryer doesn’t seem to dry as well, it may be a simple fix.

The most likely culprit is your dryer exhaust hose.  In most cases either your hose is plugged or you have lint and other debris backed up into your dryer exhaust, or both. To fix this problem…

  • Get a small garbage can or plastic bag.
  • Wait for your dryer to cool.
  • Unplug your dryer.
  • Move it away from the wall.
  • Unclamp the dryer hose in the back and pull off the dryer hose.
  • Shake the hose into the trash can or bag (this may be very dusty!) until you are sure there is no blockage.
  • Using a narrow diameter brush or a similar tool, try cleaning out any visible debris from inside the dryer exhaust.
  • Re-attach the hose, check that it is tight, replace the dryer, and do a test load.

Basic maintenance such as this will prolong the life of your dryer and make it last longer.

Read more Dryer Maintenance

Designing a New Bathroom

Starting from scratch is a great benefit to have when figuring your bathroom designs. A new, empty bathroom gives you all the flexibility in bathroom renovation ideas.

There are several popular trends evolving from people spending more time at home and wanting to be more comfortable within their home.

The first thing to consider in your new bathroom is size. More and more people are going with the bigger is better attitude. Even if the space isn’t there, small bathroom remodels are being designed to look and feel bigger. The bigger space is being used to include things such as furniture, a separate shower and bathtub sauna showers, and new appliances like radios and televisions.

You´ll also find homes where the bathroom has been designed to accommodate more than one person at a time. Double vanities are becoming more popular allowing you and your spouse (or your children) to get ready in the morning at the same time, or to each have your own inviolate space.

Vintage furniture is also making appearances in bathrooms. These pieces are being used as things like vanities, towel racks and sitting chairs. One good bathroom renovation hint is to design the fixtures as if they were furniture. This will give your bathroom a homier, more comfortable feel.

Using different materials and colors can be a big difference maker in the bathroom. White is a traditional bathroom color, but it doesn’t convey much character. When choosing colors and materials, you should think about what fits your personality and what fits the environment you want. For instance, if you want to shower in a natural, serene setting, then working earth tones and some type of stone into your bathroom décor ideas might be a good thought. Coordinated colors and materials can be used in nearly every bathroom feature from tiles to sinks to showers.

Keeping these things in mind can help ensure you get exactly what you´re looking for out of your bathroom design.

Remember: a bathroom addition or renovation is one of the best things you can do to increase the value of your home. Home buyers consider luxury and comfort to be a premium. Turning your master bath into a luxurious getaway might help you sell your home faster, or it might make you not want to leave at all!

Small Bathroom Renovation Hints

You probably have a lot of bathroom renovation ideas running through your head. Themes, colors and décor are all meshing together to create a whirlwind of possibilities.

Whether you want to do a small bathroom remodel or are looking at luxury bathroom designs, you need to consider things such as who will use the bathroom, what is its main purpose and what is most valuable to you. There’s a big difference between a master bath spa retreat and a cozy outdoor bathroom design for the guests at the cabin.

If you’re feeling cramped in your bathroom, there are some small bathroom design tips you might want to try.

Making sure your bathroom is well lit is the first step. Installing a skylight can accomplish this and help save on energy bills.

Another option is to install wall mounted sinks and toilets. In general, the more visible floor space there is, the bigger the room feels.

Having some sort of vertical pattern on the walls naturally draws our eyes up making the room feel more spacious.

Installing a shower stall instead of letting a full-size tub go unused can also free up space.

These options allow you to experiment a little bit without having to get into any expensive construction.

If you’re not terribly confident in your design and construction skills, you may want to consider hiring a professional. They´ll help you decide which bathroom vanities work best for your space and help you install bathroom plumbing. It’s always better to get advice from professionals before you start rather than after you realize you may not be able to do it yourself.

Latex Paint Does Not Cure Immediately

Painting your home or office?

Latex paint is a good choice for most applications – it has lower off-gassing than other paints, it dries to the touch quickly (sometimes too quickly) and it’s the most widely used and available type of paint, meaning there are far more color options available.

You can even get paint and primer in one.

You may not be aware that even though latex paint dries to the touch quite quickly, especially in dry environments, it doesn’t cure as quickly.

Many experts advise that latex paint takes 14-30 days to cure!

What does this mean for you?

  • The most important point is that you can’t scrub it. If you do, some of it will peal off.
  • It may be more permeable for contaminants, meaning that they may penetrate into the paint.
  • You need to be careful to avoid splatters onto your new paint.
  • Applying another paint of a different color next to the first paint (as in wall and trim) may result in problems with wiping up spills or overages.

Under ideal conditions your paint should cure in about two weeks. In humid, cold, or poorly ventilated rooms it may take more than twice as long to cure.

As an aside, do not paint with latex when the painted surface or the surrounding air will be colder than 50 degrees fahrenheit. It’s also not advisable to paint when the temperature will be consistently dropping below 50 degrees before the paint has cured.

Free Weekly DIY Workshops

Did you know that many local big box hardware stores offer DIY classes each week for free. That’s right, FREE home improvement classes that teach you how to do remodeling. For instance, many local Home Depot stores often hold classes on Saturday mornings.

You’ll want to grab a notebook to take notes because they deliver a lot of information but no handouts. Classes are usually held in one of the aisles near a particular area that they are teaching about.

Check your local hardware store to ee if they hold classes, and if so find out the class schedule.