Ed’s Start In Home Improvment

I got introduced to the home improvement business at the age of 15. My bike that I loved was broken and I needed a new one, but where to get the money? I decided to put up some notices around town for odd jobs, like mowing lawns and cleaning yards.

When my father who was in the home improvement business, saw me making the posters he said “ Ed” if you want to work for me at the weekends I will pay you and teach you at the same time.

And so it began, in the beginning it was a lot of hammering and cleaning up sawdust, but working with my father was a joy. He was happy, patient, knowledgeable and always did his best.

By the time I was 28 I had a carpenters ticket, and completed a business course, as well as several other construction courses. I had some experience in all aspects of home construction and improvement projects.

My first solo job was putting in a ramp for an older couple with mobility problems. While this may sound simple it can actually be quite complicated. A successful home accessibility project requires careful planning in order to be certain that the ramp meets the home occupant’s needs, as well as complying with local building requirements, is safe and sturdy, and is able to be used in all types of weather.

Before beginning this project I asked several crucial questions: Who was the primary user? What type of assisted device is being used? (cane, crutches, walker, manual or electric wheelchair)

Will the persons ability change? What are the local zoning requirements?

All these questions are important and must be answered before you can begin. There are other elements to be considered such as point of entry to the home, the available area for the ramp, the slope of the ramp based on the height the wheelchair must get to and local codes.

The choice of the door to place the ramp will be influenced by ease of access, the width of the doorway, and any existing features such as stairs, platforms or porches. The angle of the ramps surface and the length of the ramp is a critical project consideration. The ramp slope will impact the lay out, the expense and overall usefulness. The ramp rise is also important, if it exceeds 30 inches you must include a flat rest platform before it continues.

Hand rails must also be incorporated into your plan, for safety reasons they should be placed along both sides of the ramp. The top of the handrails should be mounted between 34 and 38 inches above the rail, and be smooth, a curb should be placed along the edge of the ramp to prevent the wheels from slipping off. When considering the use of materials for this project things like durability, maintenance,strength and above all a non slip surface.

I completed this project in a timely manner, and must say it was such a boost to my self confidence. I knew I could go forward and accomplish many more projects to the best of my abilities.

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The Kitchen Cabinets

Buying a house is an extremely large step in life, not only is it expensive but it’s also a large responsibility.

When buying a house you should keep the expenses in mind, as not only will you need your mortgage payment every month and city taxes, but also an amount put aside for repairs and renovations.

Sometimes things just pop up and you will find it a lot easier on your pocket book if you are prepared for these problems. While you can be somewhat prepared for the small things in life the larger items may take a little more planning. Large renovations for example may need a budget of their own, while the smaller ones can be afforded on a day to day basis.

I purchased my house 25 years ago and tried over the years to keep it in fairly good condition, I put up fences, redid the roof, purchased new windows and replaced the cedar siding with vinyl. I also painted the inside of the house and changed the sinks and toilets for a more modern look, and of course did laminate flooring.

Actually I spent a lot of time over the years on repairs and renovations, and thought the place looked quite good but, when I took a close look at the kitchen cabinets I was shocked. Now I knew there was absolutely no way I could afford to purchase new ones, as that could run as high as 20 to 30 thousand dollars, that I did not have, so I decided to redo them.

First I chose and purchased the new handles, face plates and hinges. I also bought varathane, paint thinner and a couple of new brushes, I was ready, I thought.

I removed the first set of cupboard doors and realized what poor condition they were in, they had a build up of grease, even some of the varathane had wore away over time, they were definitely in need of a good cleaning.

After numerous trips the hardware store and the purchase of several cleaners, I chose Murphy oil soap as it hands down did the best job, along with plenty of elbow grease. After the cupboards were clean ( I only did one set at a time) I touched up any spots with stain, and allowed them to dry.

I then applied 3 coats of varathane, waiting a day between each coat, I did both sides of the cupboards this way they will look good open or closed. Then it was time for the face plates, handles and hinges, this part of the job took very little time as they just went into their original place.

Finally the job was complete and as I looked around the kitchen, I could not believe the difference it made. The kitchen had a whole new fresh look as if I had purchased a new set of cabinets, it was certainly worth the time and effort.

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Laminate Flooring With Ed’s Wife: Not Hard At All!

laminateSeveral years ago my wife and I decided to update the family room flooring as well as the living and dining room, as we thought the carpet was beginning to look quite worn-out. We initially considered re carpeting but thought we should at least check into other options and after many weeks of looking at different types of flooring we decided to go with laminate.

We chose laminate for several reasons: it’s durable, easy to clean, and so simple to install. There are many options available not only with the colors but also the widths and thicknesses of laminate flooring, so to begin with we chose the wider width of flooring as we felt it made for a better overall look and then opted for the thicker type as this seemed a lot sturdier and more durable, then last but not least we chose the color, it was a medium shade of brown not to dark and not to light.

My wife was a little nervous about laying the laminate even though the salesman assured her it was a simple job, but as she had never done this before, she purchased a video on the subject which turned out to be an extremely invaluable tool. After watching the video numerous times she felt she was ready to take on the challenge of laying the new floor.

She began her job with enthusiasm, cutting the carpet then rolling it up and removing it from the house, this took a little longer than expected but she finally came to the end of that tedious chore. Now she was ready to begin installing the floor, or so she thought! It turned out the family room floor was covered in linoleum under the carpet so we needed to put down a sub floor, which she did using 3/8 inch plywood, she screwed it down instead of using nails as the nails have a tendency to rise up over time, but the screws do not.

Next she put the bundles of laminate in the rooms she would be redoing and let them sit for 48 hours, this allows the wood time to adjust to the rooms temperature and minimize shrinkage after it’s laid.

At this point she swept the floors to make sure they were as clean as possible then began to put down the moisture barrier, this step is relatively easy, you just lay it down and tape it together using a moisture resistant adhesive tape, you must make sure the entire floor is covered.

If you have a concrete floor, run the plastic up the walls an inch or so, not extending above the baseboard. Then it was time for the foam floor padding, this is done to give the finished floor a cushion, cut the foam to fit and tape it down. Do not allow the foam to overlap.

Laying the floor is the last step, this was as the salesman had said a very easy job, especially after watching the video. In just a few days our new floors were installed and I must admit they looked extremely good, now we can move onto another home improvement project.

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A Folding Bed: Let’s Build One With Ed

Alright, Ed here. In this article, I’m going to walk you through building a folding bed. Folding bed’s are great for a variety of reasons, and whether you’re using it for yourself or a guest just doesn’t matter. You can build one of these and put wheels on it for easier storage too!

Now, I know what you’re thinking… why go through all the trouble to build one of these, when you can just buy a rollaway bed at http://www.rollawaybed.net/10-best-folding-guest-beds/ right? Folding beds aren’t simple to build!

But I’m going to prove you wrong. Let’s get started!

Ok Ed, What Materials Do We Need?

  • Tools – We’ll require a saw, a circle saw, hammer, drill, a measuring tape and a square.
  • Misc – Some sand-paper, a pencil, some wood filler and glue, heavy duty magnets and and a couple hinges.
  • Nuts and Bolts – Finishing nails, 2 inch screws and 2 inch nails.
  • Wood – plywood (half inch), a bunch of 1×12, 1×8, 1×4, 1×2 for support, frame and trim.

If you don’t have all of these things handy, you can compromise. For example, if you take a mattress and flop it on the floor you will have created a very quick and handy sleeping surface.

If you do have all the tools and hardware required, great! Let’s get building that folding bed!

I’m Ready! Let’s Put This Folding Bed Together!

  1. Build the box that will basically hold the folding or rollaway bed (if you add wheels). Use the 1×12 and remember to leave an extra 2 inches around the thing so the bed will fit.
  2. Using glue and screws, attach the sides.
  3. Add two pieces of 1×4 at the front and back.
  4. Cut and attach some 1×2 on the top. It is trim to look better. Remember the skills you need to use to avoid splintering the wood!
  5. Now make a slightly smaller box that will fit in the bigger one. This box is for the mattress.
  6. Use the plywood to make a faux armoire look on the bottom of your folding bed. This is what people see when its folded and rolled away.
  7. Pre-drill some holes and using nails and glue connect the frame and box together.
  8. Make sure everything is level while you attach the box to the wall.
  9. Assemble the rest of the bed, and sand and smooth it all.
  10. Fold and store your bed whenever you need too!

There you have it. I didn’t go into massive detail, however you can visit this link on How to Build a Folding Bed which has everything covered a little better than I do here.

Thanks for reading, and come back soon. I have plenty more projects on the go!

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Ed’s Guide Towards A Creative Bedroom

The modern home improvement or interior decoration system is mostly concerned about the proper use of available space. The days of having those spacious, luxurious rooms are gone, especially if you are living in a popular location. The modern era is all about making those small rooms beautiful and aesthetically decorated. Here we shall discuss some interesting facts that can even turn a small bedroom into your dream one.

Make It Compact

This is perhaps the most important and most overlooked thing in room decoration. The first thing you must do to decorate or remodel your room is to select the right furniture. In terms of modern interior decoration “Right” means compact and smart.

Furniture with useless extensions are big NO when you are trying to decorate a small room. This first step can be done simply – look for the SHAPE. The shape of the furniture is really vital when it comes to creating a good looking room. It is because all the furniture must create a symmetry to make your small bedroom look beautiful and if any of them are out of proportion, then the whole setting will be ruined.

This is what will you see in most of the “feel good” Hollywood movies when it comes to art decoration of a room. A good observation will make it clear that all the furniture used is the result of a thought out plan.

Complex Furniture

This century is the century of multi-tasking. Humans, phones, everything is considered to be the best when it can serve multiple purposes. The same goes for the furniture. You must have seen those beds that have space for keeping clothes, wall mirrors with wardrobes? All such stuffs are quite useful to decorate a small room.

The best part about such creative choices, is it makes your purpose served without taking any extra space. If you make a good choice, then it will also look quite smart and will give you more space to use. Your small bedroom will always have some more to provide.

Use Of Color

This is the chapter where most of the time will be spent and plenty of arguments will be had. Color is undoubtedly a sensitive issue while creating your desired room. A small room will always look quite stuffy, if you use dark shades. On the other hand lighter shades will make it look pleasant.

Now adjusting all that furniture, doors, windows and curtains as well as considering their colors is quite a tough task and it requires some study and expert advice to move on.

Some Simple Tips to Consider

  • Use of Aerial Space: Proper use of aerial space can make your room decoration look innovative. A hanging lamp or a show piece can really do the trick for you.
  • Back of The Door: It is a very good place to hang towels or your daily used clothes, so use it as a hanger space.
  • Wall Racks and Desks: These are a highly used and useful concept in the decoration of a small bedroom. It saves space and a good design makes the room look captivating.
  • Box Windows: Make your windows in the outward side of your room and that will leave some space. In that box you can put some good looking flower vases or show piece to keep it simple yet decorative.
  • Box Shelves On Walls: Using the higher areas of the walls with shelves is a very creative and smart idea. This will help you to create some more space to keep your things and will also give some dimensions to your room.

The Most Crucial Part- The Bed

Last, but not the least; the Bed is always the prime attraction or the attention receiver of a bedroom. The wrong decisions in bedroom decoration are mostly concerned with the choice of bed. In a small bedroom, naturally the bed gets most of the floor area and as we have discussed that using the space under the bed is a good idea and you can also use the wall behind the bed to create more space.

Still, ideas like bunk beds and folding rollaway beds are also not bad in terms of utilizing space. Creative futons are also a very trendy subject in terms of smart beds. The simple fact that you must consider while attempting such choices are- they must not look ugly, cheap and must not create the reflection that you are ready to live in whatever way possible.

Beds are always considered an elegant thing and our subconscious always relates a bed with the person who sleeps on it. This is why the selection of the bed must be done in a sensitive and artistic mindset.

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Things Ed Says You Must Consider In A Kitchen Remodel

In the kitchen, decoration and utility go hand in hand. One must look to improve the work flow in the kitchen and this is where most of us make a mistake. In this article, we will try to find out what we actually need to do for a kitchen remodel and what must be the priorities in making our kitchen a better version of itself.

Understanding Your Needs

First, try to decide exactly what you need in the kitchen. Most of the time we have things like a big table or some ugly looking tools in the kitchen and we ourselves don’t know why those things are there. This is why we must make our needs clear while choosing materials and appliances for the kitchen remodel. Here are some very relevant factors that we must consider while doing that:

  • Lifestyle: Our lifestyle decides what we eat and how fast we require it. We need to decide on our microwave oven, toaster and fridge. This will make sure that our interior decoration is enabling us to get the right things at the right time. This can be done quite easily if you check out your diet and the way of your cooking. It will help you to decorate your kitchen in a purposeful way.
  • Kitchen Space: If you have a small kitchen space, then you must plan accordingly for that. Putting too many things in a small kitchen will make it stuffy and even hazardous to work in. This is why it is better to calculate the available kitchen space. After that, when you will install or make any changes in kitchen infrastructure, it will give you a clear idea about how much space you have to play with.
  • User Point of View: Try to remodel your kitchen from a point of view of the user. It will help you to be more particular about your choices and will also help everyone who uses the kitchen. It doesn’t matter how good your kitchen looks, it must serve the actual purpose and for that, the cook must feel like it’s easy to work.
  • Your Own Skills: Always take into consideration your very own remodeling skills! Don’t take on a project you can’t handle.

Storage Space Is Vital

It is a vital and necessary aspect of the kitchen remodel. A kitchen without proper storage places is very hard to maintain. This place should be designed in a way that it is easy to reach. While remodeling this very crucial part of the kitchen, you must choose the materials very carefully.

Cheap or non-sustainable materials will hamper the look in the long term and will also require a future investment if they don’t last. The design of storage must be done depending on the requirement. Creating too much storage space will only make the kitchen congested. Every storage space must have some utility and to make sure here are some useful questions you can ask yourself:

  • Will it be easy to reach the storage while cooking?
  • What and how much are you going to store in the kitchen?
  • Will the materials and the colors I am going to use compliment the whole setting?

Electrical and Plumbing

These two are most underrated and overlooked part of the kitchen, but, without proper utilization of these two aspects, you will always find a kitchen incomplete. In a kitchen remodel process, you must plan the infrastructure you want, build the plug points where you want, keep the water service easy to use. The lighting should also be made in the proper places to ensure smoothness in work and sleekness in look.

Utensils

This is another thing that most of the designers will overlook in a kitchen remodel. If a kitchen is a house, then utensils are its residents. Thus, you must choose or alter your utensils according to the design of the kitchen. Most people don’t understand that a poor looking bowl or a miserable cup set can destroy the look you designed for your kitchen. Use utensils that are sustainable and can reflect your lifestyle.

Safety

Last, but not the least is the safety in the cooking place. Make sure that the things and materials you are using in the kitchen are less prone to fire and the space management also helps to avoid risks in cooking.

In the end, it can be said that the kitchen remodel process must maintain a balance between looks and usefulness. Only then it will be a successful remodeling attempt.

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Ed’s Home Improvement Intro

You want to learn about home improvement? Well, you’re gonna need some skills then. You might have a few but you’d be surprised at just what skills you need to be awesome at home improvement. Read on to find out!

1.) When you saw, you can’t splinter! That’s right. If you want to be awesome at home improvement one skill you have to master is sawing wood without having it splinter. This skill will save you time and money! It’s actually easier than you think, because the technique really just uses a straight edge, masking tape and something to score the wood with.

2.) Clean Caulking. Basically you have to be OCD. I am sorry but I have no idea why this is such a big deal. Of course I haven’t mastered this art so don’t expect any articles on caulking stuff here. I know what you’re thinking but stop.

3.) Fixing Loose Holes. More specifically I mean holes where hinges are screwed in. They often become stripped and then the hinge comes loose. Most people don’t realize its actually the stripped hole that causes their door or cupboard to tilt ever so slightly. But actually yes, you need to be able to tighten the screw! Which means fixing the loose hole.

4.) Use a brush and still finish smooth. A wonderful skill to have, it keeps your painting smooth as butter on a bald monkey.

5.) Tight nuts. They must be loosened! The pro’s make it look easy but actually, it is. You can simply try to tighten the nut first which often loosens it. Or you can tap it with a hammer which resets it. Perhaps apply heat? Or just do what I do and use “liquid wrench”. That stuff works wonders.

6.) Get tiles to fit perfectly around corners. My advice is just become a hardwood floor guy instead. Or for a short while at least, as the skills learned in either will help you do both. You know what I mean.

7.) Pull nails that have lost their head. Actually another easy one. Just put your hammer claw where it needs to go and use a set of locking pliers as the “nail head”. Simple.
There you have it. The list of the most important skills to have, other than skills, to be good at home improvement. But don’t worry, I’m here to help you fake it.
Stay tuned for the next few posts as I build the blog out!

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