Strolling through your favorite hardware or home improvement store can be a lesson in ingenuity and provide the average homeowner with a wealth of widgets, gadgets and products that can save time, trouble and money on your next repair project. Many small inexpensive items have been developed to assist the homeowner in completing their next project in record time. They range from small metal parts that are used to repair a hole in a wall or ceiling to painting and electrical troubleshooting. We will examine what is available to the homeowner of today so that they can put these time saving products to work and spend more time having fun instead of working all weekend!
The Insta-Back clips are a clever little metal clip that is slipped into the edges of a hole in a gypsum board wall or ceiling, the repair panel is then put in place. Screws are used to secure the panel in place, the tabs are bent back and removed leaving the surface ready to patch with tape and spackle or drywall mud. They are inexpensive though worth many times over their cost in time savings alone. This product is made by Construction Materials and are found in most home improvement centers and hardware stores for around $2.09 to $3.00 for a package of six and come with screws right in the package.
Wet & Set repair patch manufactured by Hyde Tools is another hole patching tool and all you need to do is to cut the patch to size and dip the patch into a pail of warm water, let drip and apply to the wall. Then just let the patch dry for thirty minutes and cover with your favorite patch material. They are available in a 4×4 or 6×6 inch sizes and can be found at your local hardware or home improvement center, they retail for $4.49 to $5.99 each depending on size. These patches take a little longer than the Insta-Back clips but the advantage is you do not need a piece of drywall to fill the hole and they can be used on rounded surfaces.
Installing a Ceiling Fan
All fans are installed in a similar manner and rely on the utilitarian ceiling box for support of the fan during operation. Each manufacturer requires a fan-rated or reinforced ceiling box for their products to be installed safely. This is easer said than done! However there is a new product that is on the market that promises to alleviate the problems associated with this critical installation step. The FAN-EZE product installs through the existing ceiling box itself in 2 minutes or less and is installed with common hand tools. It comes with all the hardware right in the package and is made by EE Products Inc. This product allows the ceiling box to be able to carry loads that are above that of fan-rated ceiling boxes, and best of all it is consumer friendly. The cost of this time saving product is $3.60 each and will allow a ceiling fan to be installed in less than an hour from start to finish.
A new product has been developed and released to the general public that mimics what has been available to industry for the last 10 years with commercial grade adhesives. Simpson has released an epoxy product that mixes in the barrel as it is extruded from the nozzle. All you have to do is squeeze the trigger and position the adhesive as it exits the nozzle, that’s it. What is unique about this product is no special gun or fixture is required as the tube has been designed to fit in a standard caulking gun. The mess and bother that has plagued the two part epoxy systems is now a thing of the past. The Epoxy Tie system is available in a 1.7 and 10 fluid oz. sizes and retails for approximately $9.35 to $17.29 depending on which size you choose.
Not to be out done by anyone is 3M and their line up of ingenious no-mar type of adhesive solutions for applying hooks and other hardware to wall surfaces. These products are the Command Strips and allow the products to be placed on the wall and removed without leaving a residue, hole or mar of any kind to the wall surface. All that is needed to place the product is remove the protective adhesive strip cover and press it against the wall wherever you wish to hang that favorite painting or picture. What could be easier? To remove them slide the hook up and off of the anchor, then pull down on an elastic tab until the anchor is released. This product will be especially helpful to apartment dwellers that wish to decorate their apartments and are now free to express themselves without worrying about what the landlord will think when they move out. These products are available in a host of sizes and styles and retail for approximately $1.99 to $3.88 depending on size and configuration and can be found at most any hardware or home improvement center.
Super Glue Corporation has a patch material that can be used with practically any household material, plastic, metal, rubber, wood and fiberglass. This patch material is an adhesive patch that cures with sunlight or quicker with a cure lamp. You simply clean the area where the patch is to be installed and peel the adhesive cover off and press it into place. This patch would be handy to repair a hole in a gutter, or a garage door or even a skylight. The patch is a 6×3 inch sheet that retails for approximately $8.00. If your home improvement center or hardware store does not carry this brand there are other similar products on the market. Just read the label and make sure it is suitable for your intended application.
For construction of a deck, an addition or maybe just a framing repair can be accelerated with the use of Simpson Strong Tie plates and brackets. The use of these stamped metal products increase the strength of the framing and are required for many framing tasks. The use of seismic or hurricane ties is required by just about all building codes across the country and are just a sample of what they manufacture. They make a myriad of products that are useful for just about any framing anchoring or connector need. These products will speed the completion of your next framing project so don’t hesitate to look at the selection you are bound to find a product that suits your need.
These products are usually found in larger home improvement centers, hardware stores and lumber yards. The cost for these components varies with the product so just take your time and find the right components for your project.
Cabinetry & Hardware Repairs
Today’s cabinets have been subjected to labor and cost cutting measures for several years. Much of the cabinet construction is now handled by hardware components, things like guides, rollers and stops are now metal and plastic where they were traditionally made from wood. So when that roller or guide breaks don’t forget to look at the cabinet hardware section of your favorite home improvement center for a replacement. Home depot has a large selection so make it your first stop when looking for these components.
For smaller brackets, tie plates and reinforcement products and cabinet hardware check out the products manufactured by Stanley. The have a long tradition of providing quality hardware and tools that stretches back to 1843. They also have a large selection of hinges, striker plates, door knockers and other hardware as well so you are bound to find that item you need. The selection and cost of these components varies with the product but all are reasonable and will save you time and trouble.
Nothing strikes fear into the average homeowner like an electrical problem. The good news is that there are a host of products that make the troubleshooting easier for the average homeowner. Gardner Bender makes a line of circuit testing products for receptacles and ground fault interrupted outlets. All you have to do is pug the tester into the socket and read the light display on the tester. The testers have a chart right on them that will tell you what the problem is so you can decide if you wish to tackle the problem or call in an electrician. These testers retail for $5.99 to $7.98 depending on which model you choose and are an inexpensive first step before deciding to call in a pro. For the more skilled or adventuresome they also make a simple twin probe circuit tester, the neon light type that can be used to tell if a receptacle or circuit is hot (current present) and also if the polarity of the receptacle is correct. These simple twin probe testers can be bought for about $3.00 to $5.00 dollars each depending on features and are a bargain by any measure. Almost all hardware stores, home improvement centers or lumber yard will stock these items.
For those that wish to finish their basement, attic or are adding a room to their house may want to look at the products being offered by Carlon. They have a line of plastic nail-on outlet, ceiling and receptacle boxes that are easy to install and offer time savings over the conventional metal products. The added advantage to these products is that do not need to be grounded since they are plastic and insulate the electrical wires inside of the box itself. Outlet boxes are inexpensive and can be found for as little as 21¢ when on sale. For ceiling boxes they sell in the 98¢ to $1.10 range depending on size and features. Carlon is one of the largest of the box manufacturers so you can find their products just about anywhere where home improvement and lumber products are sold.
Porcelain Fixture Repair
The next time you drop that heavy object on you porcelain tub, sink or fixture and see that chip go flying off into the sunset, don’t despair Kit Industries with their Porc-a-Fix touch up glaze product has you covered. They have a large range of standard colors to choose from to match your sink or fixture and are applied by simply brushing the product on until the chip is filled. The standard colors retail for approximately $4.97 for a small bottle and are available in custom colors to match just about any need. Larger home improvement centers will carry these products but if you have trouble finding them just type porc-a-fix into your favorite search engine and a website that will serve your needs will pop up.
Is probably the most common home improvement project that homeowners will tackle? The good news is there are so many products that make it easier to paint your house than ever before. Foam Pro has a host of products that will make your job quicker and ease the clean-up afterwards. They have a whole range of disposable foam brushes and rollers and an ingenious new pour spout that clips on to the top of a one gallon can. This handy pour spout also has a brush edge to clean off your favorite brush since so many homeowners use the paint can as their paint bucket. This product sells for approximately 75¢ so include it with your next painting project.
The prep work prior to painting can be one of the most tedious chores about this type of project, cleaning the walls, patching the holes and cracks in walls seem endless. For holes Painters Nail Hole Filler has you covered, they manufacture a 4.5 fluid oz. squeeze tube of nail hole filler that you just place over the hole, squeeze and wipe away the excess in one easy motion. It retails for approximately $6.50 each. This product is sold at most of the home improvement centers and has the same name as the company.
Most of the walls and ceilings in peoples home today are textured from an orange peel to a knock down finish. Acoustic ceilings were popular some years ago but all of them pose a problem when a repair has been made and they lack the surface texturing. Matching the texture has been difficult in the past since it required commercial equipment to apply these surface finishes properly. Homax provides an easy solution to this problem with a line of finishes that span all of the popular textures of yesterday and today and are packaged in a convenient 10 or 12 fluid oz. spray can. These products are known collectively as Easy Touch and can be found in most all hardware and home centers. They retail for between $9.00 & $10.00 and are quick and inexpensive solution to this once difficult task.
Aqua-Tainer Co. is one of those companies that staked their future on offering inexpensive products that provide real value. Their products will make your next painting project easier, cleaner and quicker if you choose to make use of their of their various product offerings. One of the biggest mistakes the average homeowner makes when starting a painting project is using the one gallon paint can as a paint bucket when they start the cutting-in process. The bucket is heavy and exposes the paint to the air and starts the drying process right in the can even before much of the paint has been applied. It also contributes to fatigue having to carry this heavy container of paint around. The paint can does a very poor job of cutting off the excess paint on the brush so you should avoid making this mistake. They have very good solution for this problem with their Trim & Cut-In cup it holds about a pint of paint and has a cut-off edge made right into the cup. It is light enough so that holding the cup will produce little if any fatigue and if it is dropped only a small amount of paint is lost and will be much easier to clean up. This product retails for $1.98 on average. They also have another handy product with their P-38 five gallon bucket opener. It has been designed to open metal or plastic buckets and is a handy tool to use when you are handling these size containers. The best part is that it sells for only $3.97 and will save you the hassle of wrestling with opening these containers so the cost is more than worth it.
If the last two products were not enough they make a product called Carpet Shields each package comes with six three foot pieces for eighteen feet total of reusable shields. They are a masking strip that is inserted between the carpeting and the wall and protects the carpet and moldings from paint splatter or an over zealous paint brush. They retail for an unbelievable low price of only $2.87 for all six pieces. Buy several and be done with it, again most of the major home centers and hardware stores will carry these products.
I hope this stroll through your favorite home improvement center has been useful and informative. I have learned of many of these products through trial and error through the years and I find myself prowling the aisles of home centers just to stay abreast of the latest offerings. The advantage of using many of these low cost items is the time and hassle you save which relate to a less stressful project which can sometimes make the difference between success and failure.