January 15, 2007

Do It Yourself

Soon after we bought our house my parents gave us a copy of Reader's Digest's New Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual. This book has been my bible as far as working on our house and has helped me to put a new roof on the garage, install new windows, rip out walls, build new walls, put a tile floor in the bathroom and so on. It covers everything from the roof down and is full of the kinds of things you need to know, broken down step-by-step with clear illustrations. A few of the topics it covers:

what do do before, during and after a natural disaster (e.g. how to quickly patch a roof after a storm)
how to bleed a radiator
a complete examination of hand and power tools, how to use them and what to buy
fasteners and adhesives
understanding the nature of wood
patching with fiberglass
how to mix concrete and measure the slump
how to find a stud and work with a contractor
how to replace a toilet
everything you need to know about wallboard, spackle, paint and wallpaper
how to fix shingles and shakes
weatherstripping and insulation
wood stoves, passive solar heating and heat pumps
(Safety: Use power tools with constant caution. Don't work if you're tired, medicated or upset.)


At January 17, 2007 5:59 AM , Anonymous Tim said...

is there anything in there about pocket doors. We have a failing one that frustrates many people.

At January 17, 2007 8:40 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

Lets see-- pocket calipers, pocket doors, yes (see also bypass door): Keep the tracks clean and lubricated... Use a silicone libricant to keep the door moving freely. Don't use grease or oil-- they attract and hold dirt. If doors become balky check the roller brackets-- positioning, tight screws. Also check that the track is not bent. Spare parts are often manufacturer-specific. Some tracks can be replaced using a kit, others will require a professional.
My folks also had trouble with a pocket door-- I'll ask how they got it fixed.

At January 17, 2007 10:29 PM , Blogger rigtenzin said...

I need some motivation to finish a few of my own projects. I doubt another home repair book will help, but who knows?

I have a pocket door with track problems. I've always assumed that you need to rip the wall apart to replace the rails or other hardware, but maybe I'm wrong.

At January 18, 2007 1:24 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

One nice thing about getting surgery after a bout of home repair is that now my wife thinks twice before asking me to do something. That and I got out of doing dishes for awhile. Finger and hand are coming along nicely and it looks like I will get to keep two scars as souveniers.

At January 18, 2007 2:01 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

Our house was worn out when we bought it. I have always told myself that no matter what happens I can't possibly make things any worse....knock on wood.

At January 18, 2007 4:32 PM , Anonymous Tim said...

I guess I can lubricate, but pocket doors really don't allow any access to their hardware. The internet said punch a hole in the wall as a last resort to access hardware, but then you are making a gamble that you can find the problem

At January 19, 2007 3:20 PM , Blogger Matt_J said...

Punching a hole in the wall is so much fun that you should do it regardless of the state of the pocket door. Plus its a snap to patch with a little wallboard, tape and spackle.


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