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    Thread: Home Improvement FAQ *** U P D A T E D ***

    1. 07-07-2003 04:10 PM #1
      Welcome to the Home Improvement forum! This is the place where car nuts meet to share insight, give and receive advice, brag, complain, and do just about everything they normally do with their cars.

      First and foremost, many thanks to Nate (SaabFan) for getting this thread started!

      I have recently deleted many of the "thanks" and non-substantive posts just to make this thread more readable and useful. No offense if your post has been removed

      This thread will be closely monitored. NO COMMERCIAL ADVERTISING or HELP WANTED/AVAILABLE posts.

      Please post a new thread if you have a specific question and you cannot find an answer here.

      Things we need:

      1. Resources for new home buyers such as links to loan calculators, inspection tips, etc.
      2. DIY write-ups for common projects (drywall, plumbing, roofing, landscaping, etc. Pics!
      3. Links to your build/renovation threads which you may have posted elsewhere in this forum. This thread is stickied, so your project will never end!

      This thread will be a work in progress, so please PM me with any suggestions.


      Last edited by Rockhead261; 07-20-2013 at 12:18 PM.

    2. Geriatric Member JUS_GT_EYEZ's Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 12th, 2001
      Green MK1, White Rocco, Red Mk2,Yellow Mk4,Grey Wagon
      07-09-2003 12:36 PM #2
      I think its a great idea....I guess the tough part would be the orginization... but as you said that will be the next step.

      Here are 3 from me to get things started.
      DIY -> http://www.diynetwork.com
      Calculators/info http://www.bankrate.com
      real estate info http://www.realtor.com/basics/...altor
      There are a ton more... but like i said hopefully this will get things started.

      "Its cool to spool, but I'd rather be blown.." - JUS_GT_EYEZ

      My FLickr <-- DUKEDLF

    3. Member case sensitive's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 8th, 2001
      03 a4 1.8t avant
      07-09-2003 03:09 PM #3
      Here's a short write-up I did:
      Water garden/Pond install 101.
      1. Obtain materials: liner (2 feet larger than the pond size to allow for trimming), pump, carpet or sand for under the liner, digging tools, edging materials (brick, stone, etc).
      2. Start digging. Depending on the size of the pond you may want rent a backhoe or similar machine. While digging, check that the pond is level. If necessary, use dirt from the hole to level the pond.
      3. Once the pond is to sufficient depth (check the frost line in your local area if you wish to winter fish in your pond without heating it).
      4. Lay down carpet or sand.
      5. Lay the liner out in the sun to warm. Lay the liner in the hole. Start filling, the pond, and smooth the liner, placing folds in the corners. As you are filling put some of the edging around the pond to prevent it from slipping in. If putting in a waterfall or stream, make sure the stream liner overlaps the main pond liner by 1-3 feet.
      6. Once full install edging after installing the pump and tubing. Get the pump running.
      7. Let the pump run for a few days to oxygenate the water a bit, and to rid the water of chlorine, etc.
      8. Add plants, oxygenators, marginals, and floaters. Wait a few days after adding plants to add fish.

    4. Member Tyler's Avatar
      Join Date
      Nov 27th, 2001
      2000 Jetta VR6
      07-10-2003 04:10 PM #4
      I did a beginner investors primer earlier, would that be suitable to post here?
      PS here is the link

      Modified by Tyler at 3:20 PM 7-10-2003

    5. Member
      Join Date
      Feb 8th, 2002
      2012 4dr GTI Autobahn, RIP: 2000 4dr Golf GLS 1.8T - 226384 miles.
      07-19-2003 11:16 PM #5
      1a) Phone Digsafe if your state code requires it, and preferably do it anyway if the service (or similar) is available in your state. Digging through gas or electric utilities is not recommended.
      http://www.about.com has links to a ton of home repair information. The quality is variable, but it's always worth checking.
      Anyone in the Boston area with historic wooden windows that need fixing up, windowrepair.com is excellent. They will take your windows away, strip off the decades of old peeling paint, epoxy fill the frames where they've rotted, repaint, and replace any cracked/broken panes with the old wavy glass. They will also cut grooves in the side on the sashes and install spiral tube suspension, and also copper weatherstripping if necessary. (Really old windows didn't have sash weights or cords and relied on being propped.) The price will be comparable with a _quality_ replacement unit, only now your 100+ year old windows should last another 100+ years, wherease the replacement will probably only last 20 years. It will also help maintain historic authenticity and value.
      We had some windows done 6 months back, and discovered that they were about 200 years old, ie much older than the house. Good windows really do last.

    6. Member
      Join Date
      Mar 20th, 2001
      2007 Porsche Cayman 5MT; 2009 VW Passat Highline Wagon 6MT; 2017 VW Golf R 6MT Tech Pack
      07-28-2003 04:43 PM #6
      http://www.doityourself.com has some useful tips on basic projects.
      Quote Originally Posted by 20aeman View Post
      No, the real enthusiast vehicle would be the RX8. It combines V12 Lamborghini gas mileage with Hyundai Genesis 4cyl. performance.

    7. 08-01-2003 03:41 PM #7
      This one is especially helpful for folks with older homes
      Hard to find stuff and period replica items

      Modified by Matt H at 10:17 AM 4-2-2004

    8. 08-29-2003 12:03 PM #8
      It's on a site for computer hardware, but is the absolute -best- written article on planning and installing wiring for a home network, including wireless services. The write-up I just posted on my plans for my own home came about well before I found Mr. Stellmack's article below and I wished I'd found it sooner.
      He covers the entire process from deciding what services he wants, where, and at what quality. He goes a little nuts with the component rack out in the open, but that's his choice. He also delves into some home networking security which is a good segue for the uninitiated into a serious subject.
      He wusses out a little and decides to hire a contractor to install his cabling. But, he's dealing with a finished home and does pay for the benefit of having all the lines tested included in his invoice. It's nothing a diy'er couldn't do on their own though.
      http://www.tomshardware.com/ne....html [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

    9. Member Spindle's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 2nd, 2000
      In the room where the giant fire puffer works..
      09-05-2003 11:05 AM #9
      Some Links I've found helpful.....
      Appliance repair
      http://www.american-appliance.com/service.html -Diagnostic info
      http://www.fixitnow.com/ -Fun diagnostic info
      http://www.faucetdirect.com - Found some obscure PricePfister parts here -shipped quick
      HVAC Knowledge
      http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/forum...mid=1 -Learned enough to fix my A/C
      http://toad.net/~jsmeenen/index.html -Learned enough to fix furnace

    10. Member ElectroMike's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jun 26th, 2002
      Exit 160, NJ
      05 FXSTDI, 06 A4/2.oTQ M/T, 10 CX9, 14 Pilot
      09-29-2003 01:40 PM #10
      Useful links I had bookmarked in my Home Improvement folder:

      Plumbing Parts Depot.
      Misc. stuff to buy for Home Imp.
      Place to order cheap tools for home and auto.
      Window and Door Awnings.
      In house Steam Rooms, Architectural Guide inside:
      For the lazy, Home Depot

    11. 05-19-2004 11:21 PM #11

      the calculators site i go to most often is at http://www.dinkytown.net/

    12. Member machschnell's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 21st, 2000
      Philly/Lower MontCo
      Estoril E36 M3/4/5 <3 - SC'd NB Miata, LS1 swap in progress - 05 Legacy Wagon family truckster
      05-25-2004 11:29 AM #12
      http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/ Lots of articles, video. Great magazine as well.
      and the forums
      "See this gasket, I have no confidence in this gasket!"
      "It's not too expensive, you're too cheap"
      "I know words, I have the best words" -Tiny Hands

    13. 09-16-2004 02:23 PM #13
      when my wife and I were shopping for a house, we created our own mortgage/loan calculator. It is alot more detailed than the ones that are on sites. it's an .xls file. if anyone would like it, please post here, or IM me, and I will e-mail it to you.

    14. 11-18-2004 01:11 PM #14
      If you've got an uninsulated garage door on your attached garage, consider adding insulation to the door to help buffer the space from your living spaces. I recommended to a fellow 'vortexer that he start with the manufacturer of his garage door to see if an insulation kit were available for his door. I was also careful to mention that the added weight of insulation on the door will definitely require an adjustment in the opening and support systems of the door.
      Mine was very inexpensive and, though installed by the subcontractor of my new home, very easy to flex and pop into place. $150 for the kit and installation and the heavier spring... 'makes working in the garage in the winter very comfortable.
      Speaking of comfort, I found adding a 60" industrial ceiling fan to be a breeze (pun intended!). Working in the summer was a little uncomfortable so I dragged a box fan into the garage. Just moving a little air through the otherwise stale space really made a difference.
      I tapped power off of my existing garage door opener circuit and used a retrofit ceiling fan box brace to provide support for the new fan. The fan was $45 at Home Depot. The retro box/brace was $15. I used a wireless fan controller ($35) and mounted the stylish transmitter in a mud ring box with a Decora cover. On the lowest setting, sweat wicks away and my jobs go much more comfortably.
      Comfort is one thing, but visibility is another. I knew I wanted more light in my garage workspace when picking options for my new home. I paid the premium for two additional light fixtures but found the incandescent lamps to be dim and downright yellow. Replacing them with 4x T8 flourescent fixtures upped the lighting to wonderfully white light at a mere 60W additional consumption (360W now vs 300W before). The fixtures were 'better' quality from ye olde Home Depot at were $30 each.
      Back to the garage door, the sub shared with me a trick he used on a lot of customer 'doors. Along the bottom of many doors the rubber gasket could be filled with plumbing insulation to better fit the gap between the door and the ground when closed. The threshold of the garage may not be perfectly straight or even close to the bottom edge of the door. Using the foam insulation to fill the gap made perfect sense.
      I purchased four pieces of insulation at about $0.60 a piece. I found they were a little too large in circumference to fit the door gasket so I trimmed probably a third of the tubing away. Then, with the gasket slipped off one side of the door, I laid the cut insulation into the gasket and fed the combined pieces back into the channel along the bottom of the door. It took some shimmying once the majority of the gasket was filled but the entire length was eventually filled.
      Now, when the door closes, the foam-filled gasket on the bottom of my door scribes perfectly to the less-than-perfect threshold on the ground. It's resisting the wind, weather, and bugs and only cost me $3 and an hour of my time.
      I'd like to recommend my Wayne-Dalton iDrive garage door opener, but only with a brief warning. The system is amazingly compact, fast-opening, and safe but it does not come ready to replace a competing screw, belt, chain or other hanging door opener. The included cord is simply too short to be served by a typical overhead garagedoor opener circuit which W-D should amend and potential buyers should be aware of.
      The iDrive attaches to the wall above a torsion-spring supported door. Ring-toothed gear sections attach to the torsion beam and are the means by which the iDrive opener twists the beam assisting the torsion spring in opening and closing the door. The motor itself acts as the locking mechanism when the door is closed preventing the door from being opened manually from the outside. Only the emergency release inside allows manual operation. Otherwise it's one of the included transmitters or exterior code entry pad that trigger automatic opening.
      I am extremely happy with the system though disappointed in the short power cable I had to contend with. The iDrive is a special order item from Lowe's for about $300.
      Last but not least, I want to highly recommend Hyloft overhead storage units. I found Amazon.com had an unbeatable price on the 4'x4' units rated for 250lb each. Installation was a little awkward, but absolutely worth the effort. The units are wire trays that attach to adjustable-depth hangars that mount to the ceiling joists using lag bolts.
      I put mine up in the front of the garage above the garage door where they would not interfere with the opening and closing of the door. What was once a wasted space has been transformed into seasonal storage. All I've got to do is pull one of the cars out, close the door, and my storage is available for the less-often used things that would otherwise be taking up space in potentially more heavily-used areas.
      I have some other mods yet to be completed including epoxy coating the floor, pegboard for hanging tools, a recycling center near the entrance to the living space, a usable narrow workbench with lighting, and a worksink for cleaning up outside of the house. Remember to maintain your garage door opener and support systems regularly. I hit my torsion spring and moving parts of my opener with a shot of WD-40 about every other month. [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

    15. Member eurotrashrabbit's Avatar
      Join Date
      Oct 24th, 2001
      65 sunbeam tiger, 76 Rabbit, 89 cabriolet, 95 s6 avant, 03 mazda protege 5
      02-20-2005 12:45 PM #15
      I have been in the construction industry for 5 years both commercial and residential e-mail me or IM with questions. I work for a homebuilder now in the warranty dept. If I do not have an answer I can get one

    16. 09-08-2005 11:42 PM #16
      DIY Tile Floors

      Preparing Wood subfloors:
      1. Using a 1/4" x 1/4" square-notch
      trowel, apply VersaBond® Fortified
      Thin-Set Mortar to plywood as a
      leveling bed for WonderBoard®
      Cement Backerboard.
      2. Place WonderBoard, with label side
      down, on fresh mortar.
      3. Anchor WonderBoard with 1-1/4"
      backerboard screws or 1-1/2"
      galvanized roofing nails.
      1. Flooring material must be
      thoroughly bonded to the floor.
      Clean thoroughly and remove all
      waxes, coatings and other
      contaminants. Do not apply
      directly over cushioned sponged
      back flooring.
      2. Subfloor under linoleum must
      comply with requirements of
      wood subfloor and should be
      well bonded.
      Preparing uneven Concrete floors:
      1. Start with a clean surface. Brush or
      roll on LevelQuik® Latex Primer.
      2. Pour LevelQuik® RS Rapid Setting
      Self-Leveling Underlayment.
      This product will flow to seek
      its own level.
      3. Smooth edges with a trowel.
      • Make sure the surface is
      flat, smooth, clean and
      free of any contamination
      before installing ceramic
      or stone tile.
      • To help ensure proper
      bonding clean and degrease
      surfaces with T.S.P. or T.S.P.
      • Some surfaces are meant
      to slope to allow for water
      run-off. Use SpeedFinish to
      patch while maintaining a
      sloped surface.
      Measuring and laying out tile:
      1. Mark centerlines of the floor. Use a
      3,4,5 triangle to check for square.
      2. Do a dry run to determine tile
      placement and cuts. Place a row of
      tiles along each line using spacers.
      3. If the space at the wall is less than
      1/2 tile, shift centerline to eliminate
      small cuts. This will allow wider tiles
      at both walls.
      4. Work in chalked grids (typically 2
      tiles by 2 tiles) allowing space for
      grout joints.
      Preparing to cut the tile:
      4 Basic Ways to Cut Tile
      1. Wet Saws – for precise cuts on stone and large tile
      2. Tile Cutters – for straight scoring and cutting of tile
      3. Tile Nippers – for breaking away small pieces and edges of tile
      4. Hole Saws – for cutting small circles
      • Use a 3,4,5 triangle
      to check for square.
      a) Measure 3’ from center
      on one line and 4’ from
      center on the other.
      b) When the connecting
      diagonal measures 5’,
      the lines are square.
      Set the tile:
      1. Spread the VersaBond Fortified
      Thin-Set Mortar on surface with a
      notch trowel, held at a 45° angle.
      2. Set tile firmly into place while slightly
      moving tile back and forth to help
      tile settle.
      3. Use spacers to ensure proper distance
      between tiles. Remember to
      remove spacers prior to grouting.
      4. Clean off any mortar left between
      the tiles or on the surface of tile
      with sponge and scrub pads.
      Cut the tile:
      1. After setting your full tiles, go back
      to set tiles requiring cuts. Mark cuts
      with a grease pencil or china marker.
      2. Make straight cuts using tile cutter
      or wet saw. Notched, curved
      or quarter round cuts require a
      wet saw.
      3. For unique shaping, use tile nippers
      to cut away small pieces of tile.
      • Notch trowel size depends on
      tile type and size.
      • Check for complete coverage
      by pulling up one tile. Mortar
      should cover at least 80% of
      the back of the tile.
      • Clean out as much mortar
      from the grout joints as you
      can; this will make it easier
      to grout.
      1. After setting tile, wait 24 hours before
      grouting. Using a grout float, held at a
      45° angle, spread Polyblend® Grout
      pressing firmly into joints.
      2. Allow grout to set for 10 - 20
      minutes, then lightly clean tile
      and shape grout joints with damp
      grout sponge.
      3. Buff off remaining grout haze with
      clean, dry cheesecloth after grout
      has dried. Let grout cure 48 - 72
      hours prior to sealing.
      • If using more than one bag
      of grout, mix all dry powder
      together first for color
      • Make sure grout joints are
      completely filled.
      • Use clean water and grout
      sponge changing water
      • Minimal clean-up water
      should be used to ensure
      proper grout curing.
      Protect and Maintain:
      1. Wait 48 - 72 hours after installation
      to seal.
      2. Apply TileLab® SurfaceGard®
      Penetrating Sealer with sponge,
      foam applicator or sealer applicator.
      Use OneStep™ Cleaner & Resealer
      for routine cleaning.
      3. Test sealed surfaces for effectiveness
      every year. Sprinkle water on the surface
      at various locations, if it penetrates
      then renew by applying one
      coat of sealer.
      • Sealing grout ensures
      future maintenance is
      quick and easy.
      • Even if your tile is glazed, the
      grout can get stained. Sealing
      grout, after installation, will
      protect against staining.
      Tools and Materials:

      Scoring knife
      5 Gallon bucket
      Tape measure
      Layout square
      Grease pencil or china marker
      1/4" x 1/4" Square-notch trowel
      Margin trowel
      Chalk line
      Notch trowel
      Tile spacers
      Scrub pads
      Bucket for rinse water
      Heavy-duty grout gloves
      Tile cutter
      Rod saw
      Tile nippers
      Wet saw for larger jobs,
      stone, marble or saltillo
      Knee pads
      Tile spacer remover
      Grout float
      Tile grout sponge designed
      for grouting tile
      Bucket for rinse water
      Heavy-duty grout gloves
      Cheesecloth for final
      clean-up and polish
      Sealer applicator, sponge
      or foam brush
      Heavy-duty grout gloves

      Modified by diehonda at 8:54 PM 9-8-2005

    17. 09-09-2005 12:05 AM #17

    18. Member Shamrock's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 6th, 2004
      Harrisburg, PA
      03-27-2006 04:40 PM #18
      this should go into the Home improvement ever expanding thread [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

    19. 08-08-2006 12:05 AM #19
      great information for people looking to start a tile project for their own home.

    20. Member DHill's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jan 8th, 2002
      98 Jetta GLX (sold), 2012 Silverado, 2012 Honda CRV, 61 Impala
      01-28-2008 03:11 PM #20
      If you have any questions about the following topics, send me an IM through here. If it is listed below, I've done it and am happy to provide info.

      1. Patios
      2. Framing
      3. Siding
      4. roofing
      5. pneumatic nailers
      6. refinishing wood floors
      7. insulation
      8. glass block windows
      Cost Calculations for Construction/Rennovation(all in Excel)
      1. Insulation types per square foot
      2. Framing out a structure, lumber and materials costs
      3. Floor tile cost estimator
      Cost Calculations for House and Retirement (all in Excel)
      1. Estimate mortgage payment, extra payment, time to payoff
      2. Loan progress monitor with improvements and home appreciation
      3. Mutual fund return estimator with fees accounted for
      4. Net worth estimations and predictions with variable inputs
      5. When-is-it-good-to-refinance calculator

    21. 02-25-2008 03:42 PM #21
      ELECTRICAL Questions
      Experience - 15 years Electrical Field, 10 years Journeyman Electrician, 3 years Estimator / Project Manager / Field support.
      Experience in New / existing residential, Commercial upto 500k sq/ft, Industrial / Design Build.
      I really don't like giving advice on existing intallations, as peoples descriptions on what is actually there can vary, but for any design / specification / specific requirements, and some helpfull tips shoot me a PM!

      Code varies from area to area, but I am well read on the C.E.C. - Canadian Electrical Code 2006 Edition, and have a decent amount of practical knowledge.

    22. Member DHill's Avatar
      Join Date
      Jan 8th, 2002
      98 Jetta GLX (sold), 2012 Silverado, 2012 Honda CRV, 61 Impala
      04-05-2008 10:32 PM #22
      Pneumatic Nailers
      For general construction and finishing, this is your ideal assortment.
      Framing > Finish > Brad
      The framing nailer will shoot nails typically from 2.5-3.5". This is what you use to nail studs together. Some framing nailers have attachements to help you with "metal connectors" aka Simpson Strong Tie products. They now make framing nailers that use coils of nails, or the more conventional design uses plastic collated "clips". Some clips of nails are bound together with thin wires spot welded to each nail.
      A finish nailer is great for exterior trim, crown molding, etc. Typically shoots ~1.5"-2.5" nails with small heads for easy counter-sinking and filling.
      A Brad nailer is the smallest of the three, ideally shoots 3/4"-1.5" nails, usually used for interior crown molding. Nails are similar to finish nails with small, countersunk heads.
      Other specialty nailers
      Roofing nailers usually shoot ~3/4" - 1.5" nails with a broad, flattened head. The head is broad to hold down shingles, siding, and tar paper. A typical roofing nailer uses a coil of nails - Hitachi seems to be widely used among roofers for some reason - my Hitachi is a factory refurb but I love it - works great. Works well for James Hardi fiber cement siding as well.
      The Bostitch Palm Nailer is about the most universal nailer you can own. It fits in your palm, and you insert one nail at a time, place the nail where you want it, and push. The nailer pounds the nail in like a machine gun. Works great for most nails and holds most in place with it's magnetic receiver. Particularly useful for tight spots, and a great alternative to a framing nailer with a metal connector tip. Works great for nailing Simpson Strong Ties with recommended 1.5" galvanized nails.
      Pneumatic Staplers are great for projects like putting up insulation, adding rafter vents between attic rafters, and installing Tyvek.

    23. 07-16-2008 02:03 AM #23
      http://home.howstuffworks.com/ Great site for things around the house. Give it a look! [IMG]http://*****************.com/smile/emthup.gif[/IMG]

    24. Member bcarlo's Avatar
      Join Date
      Mar 16th, 2009
      Essex Co NJ
      A stereo on Indys and STF's thrashin FDR, Silver Raddo SLC and a 98 DE. 95 GSXR for trade /sale
      01-02-2010 03:20 PM #24
      i am a counter expert, all forms, email me for any home improvement work.
      I am just a guy with a skateboard and a halfpipe.

    25. Member audiphile's Avatar
      Join Date
      Aug 17th, 2001
      CX9 & MK7 R
      05-25-2010 12:24 PM #25
      Ingenious solution for low clearance garage door installs

      dasjettakartell - immortalized on the wall, forgotten on the floor

    For advertising information click HERE

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