Install a Kitchen Backsplash

Protect Your Walls and Add Update the Look of Your Cooking Area

Install a Kitchen Backsplash

Backsplashes on the walls above kitchen countertops or cooking surfaces will add a touch of style to your food prep area and will also protect the walls and simplify cleaning chores. Backsplashes will protect the wall from water in your sink area and will also protect from grease splatters around the cooking surface. Even though you can employ a professional to install it, a do it yourself backsplash is a very doable project for any DIYer to take on.

kitchen backsplash

A Variety of Backspash Materials

Prefabricated cabinets are sometimes built with a plastic laminate backsplash but adding this type of backsplash after the fact is usually not a viable choice for a DIYer project if your design includes a curve at the point where your countertop intersects your wall. But it is fine to cut a piece of laminate and attach it using contact cement. Simply run a small bead of latex or silicone caulk where the countertop meets the wall.

Stainless steel is popular in commercial settings and lately has become popular in the home market. But as an add-on it might not look quite right if it does not fit in with the kitchen’s theme.

Another popular material is granite. The benefits are its durability and elegance. It will instantly raise the equity in your property. But the downside is its high cost and even though a DIYer can install it, all cutting must be subbed out.

A Better Backsplash Choice is Ceramic Tile

A very stylish and economical type of backsplash material is tile, either glazed or glass. Tile is very reasonably priced plus it’s simple to apply. If you are looking for an ideal weekend DIY project, this is it. The smooth glazed surface of the tile ensures that it’s a breeze to clean as well as disinfect – a strong plus in your food prep area. Installing tile isn’t hard; a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10. The tile is installed the first day and then it’s grouted on the second.

A huge plus for tile is the incredible array of sizes and colors. Consider the possibilities: a solid color, a mosaic tile pattern, or a color combination. To ensure that the colors or pattern you like fit in with your kitchen’s look, purchase several pieces, take them to your kitchen, and give them a try. Also, you might want to get creative by mixing in theme tiles that are embossed with farm or fruit pictures.

Installing a Tile Backsplash

When installing glass tile, use thinset to bond it to your wall. When installing glazed tile, use a special tile mastic. Always place plastic tile spacers between the individual tiles when you are setting them. Just remove them after the mastic or thinset is dry before you grout. When you cut tile be sure to use a wet saw. You can probably find a rental at your local tool rental outlet. Don’t bother with score ‘n snap tools because you won’t get satisfactory results.

Applying grout to your backsplash is simple. All that’s needed is a float, a sponge, and a bucket of water. Choose a grout color that looks right with the colors of the tile. Remember that the lighter colors show dirt more readily.

Wait overnight for the grout to completely dry and then apply a grout sealer. Your kitchen will be wet or greasy when you prepare meals and grout that is not sealed can be a hiding place for bacteria.

Installing a Hardwood Floor

Home Remodel with Domestic or Exotic Wood Planks to Add Warmth

How to Install a Hardwood Floor

Hardwood flooring continues to be popular with homeowners. Although laminate flooring has been gaining market share, the hardwood flooring manufacturers have responded by developing and distributing prefinished hardwood tongue and groove hardwood planks.

hardwood floor installation

DIY homeowners who aren’t experienced with finishing wood floors should stick to the prefinished variety. But either way, this article is a step by step guide on how to install a hardwood floor.

Hardwood floor installation hint – Let the planks sit inside the home for three days after delivery to stabilize with the interior humidity level.

Subflooring for Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors need a flat, solid subfloor to rest on. This can be a moisture-proofed, well finished concrete slab, an existing floor (excluding carpeting), or plywood on floor joists.

The first step is to remove any shoe base or quarter round on the baseboard.

Next roll out 15-pound asphalt felt. Overlap the seams by 3” and use a staple gun to attach it to the floor. The felt will keep any moisture from the wood and it provides good sound control.

Layout the Hardwood Floor

Find the center of the room by measuring from the wall.

Mark it and snap a chalk line through the marks. This is the control line.

Now strike a chalk line parallel to the control line 1/4” to 3/8” from the wall. This will be the edge of the first run of hardwood planks and allows for expansion from moisture.

Install the Hardwood Planks

Use the chalk line as a guide and nail the first run of planks down; the tongue side should be towards the center of the room.

First nail straight down close to the wall where the shoe base will cover the nail holes. Either use a hammer, finish nails, and a nail set; or use a finish nail gun. If going with the hammer, pre-drill the holes.

Now nail through the tongue at a 45 degree angle.

Next nail the next run of planks down with the tongue of the first in the groove of the second. Again, nail through the tongue. From now on, no end joint should be less than 10” from the end joint of the adjacent run.

Continue in this fashion nailing down the runs. When the opposite side of the room has been reached, it may be necessary to rip the final run at an angle if the room is out of square. Don’t forget to leave the expansion gap.

Finishing Up the Hardwood Floor Installation

If unfinished hardwood was used, this is the time to finish the wood with a floor drum sander and a finish.

Finally, finish up with baseboard installation (if none was there) and shoe base or quarter round.

Now, all that’s left is routine hardwood floor maintenance.

Eight Essential Tools for the Home

Hammer, Pry Bar, Screwdriver, Saw, Utility Knife, Drivers & Tin Snip

Eight Essential Tools for the Home

It doesn’t matter whether you plan to do any DIY jobs, just moved into a new home, or are newly divorced and find yourself solely responsible for all those pesky little annoyances that inevitably pop up; everyone needs a toolbox stocked with essential tools. Let’s take a look…

First Things First

The first thing to buy is a toolbox. Get a sturdy, good sized one. Something on the order of twenty inches long, twelve inches wide and twelve inches deep. They come in all shapes and sizes so these are just a ballpark figures. It needs a sturdy handle. It should have a removable top tray with compartments for all the nails, screws, washers, and picture hangers that will accumulate over time.

home essential tools

Hand tools are Handy

Consider the humble hammer. One of the oldest tools, it dates back to caveman days. Today the basic concept is the same, but with many different models. There are ball peen hammers, roofer’s hammers, claw hammers, framing hammers… You want versatility, the most bang for your buck. And this would be a sixteen ounce, straight claw hammer with a fiberglass handle. Heavy enough to actually drive a nail, light enough to keep you from talking dirty!

hammer tool

Screwdrivers. Here is another tool with a mind-numbing selection. Yes, you need a variety. Luckily, usually you can find a set that includes most of what you need. In addition, it doesn’t hurt to have a small set of jeweler’s screwdrivers for those little jobs.

screwdriver set

Buy a small pry bar, somewhere in the eight to ten inch range. This will come in handy for a multitude of tasks; many times used in conjunction with your hammer.

pry bar

Pliers are all over the map in variety and usefulness. Every dwelling should have several in box. For minor plumbing issues and other tasks demanding a wider grip, get a pair of “slip joint” or “groove joint” pliers. Needle nose pliers will come in handy for those small, tight jobs. Rounding out the family of essential pliers are locking pliers. A pair of locking pliers are at times the only thing that will remove a stubborn nut. Get a large pair and a small pair.

pliers

A small saw. As with the hammer, you want something that will be versatile. Your best bet is a hack saw. Lightweight and easy to use, it can tackle most small household jobs. Although designed to cut metal, it also does an exceptional job on wood and plastic PVC.

handsaw

Throw a utility knife into that new toolbox. This is an all around, comfortable tool that will keep you from ruining your kitchen knives. We’ve all been there…

utility knife

It’s always nice to have a set of nut drivers handy to speed up the job of removing nuts or bolts. Not quite as good as a full-blown socket set, but great for light jobs around the house.

nut drivers

A good pair of tin snips are sometimes the only tool to reach for. Not those huge ones but the ones that are six to eight inches long with plastic handles. The usual styles are right cut, left cut, and straight cut but a straight cut will handle almost any job.

tin snips

The Joy of a Full Tool Box

So there you have it; the must-haves in the world of home maintenance. One caveat here; you really do get what you pay for. A cheap tool is in the end the most expensive tool. Do NOT buy one of those packages of “everything you need” for $19.95. Select individual quality tools. Happy repairs!