Browse Category: Home Repair

Repairing Drywall

From time to time, it’s certain that you will have to make minor (or major) repairs to your drywall. Things happen: children, pets, accidents, moving injuries. Damage to your walls can range from minor dings and punctures to large-scale damage requiring replacing a section of drywall. For this article, the focus will be on minor problems.

A minor injury to drywall can be a small hole, such as what is left by a nail used to hang pictures, or a larger hole that may require a repair patch. All of the work described here requires use of drywall compound, a putty knife, sandpaper, and a sharp utility knife. Repair of larger holes may require mesh tape, some wood strips (about 1”thick and 3 inches wide), a piece of drywall for cutting patches from, and drywall screws and a screwdriver as well. A keyhole saw is also helpful. Finally, you will need a way to touch up whatever wall covering you are using, which is of course easier if it happens to be paint, and if you have some leftover paint to use.

The first thing you want to do in patching a minor hole is to go over it with a utility knife and cut away any protruding paper and other materials, leaving a smooth surface other than the hole itself. You should end up with a slight indentation that can be filled with drywall compound.

Apply the first coat of compound to a thickness of no more than 1/8 inch. Allow the first coat to become completely dry, then scrape it smooth with a putty knife and apply a second coat. Keep doing this until the surface is slightly elevated above the rest of the wall. Then sand lightly to produce a smooth surface even with the wall. Wipe it down to remove any particulate matter and touch up the paint.

For a larger hole (up to about three inches in diameter), use a keyhole saw if necessary or your utility knife if this is feasible to cut out the damaged part of the wall in a rectangular shape. Mark your cutting lines using a square and then cut carefully to leave a regular shaped hole. (Be careful of any wiring or plumbing inside the walls!) Attach some wood strips in back of the drywall by inserting them into the hole and screwing them to the drywall with drywall screws. Cut a patch of drywall to fit into the hole and attach it to the wood strips with drywall screws.

Use mesh tape around the edges of the patch. Apply several coats of drywall compound to the patch so as to create a uniform and slightly elevated surface, then sand to a smooth finish, and touch up the paint as above.…

Stained Glass Windows

Ever want to make your home look like a cathedral? Or just to have something very pretty in window glass that colors the sunlight as it comes in? Although you don’t want to go crazy with it, stained glass can add a nice touch to a room’s windows.

The first step in installing stained glass windows to a room is to decide where you want them to go. Bear in mind that stained glass is more expensive than ordinary window glass, so you don’t want to put them where there is a significant danger of breaking. A stained glass window isn’t one you’re going to want to open and close on a regular basis.

The next consideration is the size of the window whose glass you want to replace with stained glass. Stained glass can be bought retail in standard window sizes. If you have an old or custom-built house or one that otherwise has non-standard window sizes, you will need to order custom stained glass. Of course, this is also likely to be the case if you want a particular design. In any case you will want to carefully fit the stained glass panel to the window frame. The window should ideally allow a 1/8” gap all around between the glass and the window frame. This gap will be filled with caulking to hold the window in place.

To install the stained glass window once it is finished and fitted to size, you will need some basic tools including:

  • Some cardboard
  • Window caulking, either clear or matching the window frame in color
  • A roll of toilet paper
  • Masking tape

Read Alec Cawley’s answer to Why do castles have stained glass windows? on Quora
Cut some cardboard strips and fold them to the right size and shape to hold your window at the appropriate spacing. Run a small bead of caulk around the window frame where the glass will press into it. Press the window into this, and then once the window is in place caulk the gap between it and the window frame.

You want to be careful when doing house maintaining, and there’s no substitute for some practice and experience with applying caulk, so if you haven’t done it before you might want to spend a few hours practicing putting down caulk beads on surfaces you don’t mind tossing afterwards. You don’t want the layer too thick, or it will make a mess. You don’t want it too thin, either, or it will develop gaps and look unprofessional. After putting down the caulk, use toilet paper to wipe up any excess. (Why toilet paper? Because it’s cheap throw-away payer, and you only want to use each piece once. Otherwise you may end up smearing caulk where you don’t want it.)…