Independent Democracy

Thought provoking commentary

Problem-solving tips in and around the house – James and Morris Carey

We love these guys in the Sunday edition of our SLC Tribune newspaper. I thought this week’s article might be helpful to others.


When the sun comes out in the spring, it’s a good time to put an end to those little annoyances around the house that have been bothering you all winter. Here are some of our tips:

Protect your floor on moving day

If you’re moving appliances such as refrigerators and ovens in or out, be sure you take time to protect your kitchen floor. If you fail to, a tiny sideways slip or a grain of sand caught under a wheel or slide could scratch and mar even the toughest surface. To avoid lingering reminders of moving day, at the very least create a cardboard runway before dragging heavy appliances across your floor.

Better yet, create one out of 1/8-inch hardboard, using shims to ride up the difference in height. Or, even better still, use new high-tech furniture glides that allow moving heavy items without damage to floors.

Annoying door?

Do you have a stubborn door that just won’t stay open? Swings shut before you’re in? Hits your back on the way out?

All you need is a flat-blade screwdriver and a hammer to fix it.

Use the screwdriver to remove a hinge pin from the problem door — preferably the center one. Lay the pin on concrete and tap it up near the top, hard enough to slightly bend the hinge pin. Then tap the pin back into the hinge with a hammer.

The new bend will create a slight resistance — just enough to keep the door from swinging shut.

Clog-free drains

If you’ve got problem sinks, showers and bathtubs with drains that are always backing up, there are easy ways to keep your drains clog-free.

First, boil two quarts of water, then measure out a half-cup each of baking soda, salt and white vinegar. Just before going to bed, dump the baking soda and salt down the drain, add the vinegar and let this concoction sit and foam for a few minutes. Then pour the boiling water in after it.

The next morning, you’ll be amazed to find your drain running clear and free. Repeat every month or two.

Freshen up the deck and protect it from sun and water

If your wood deck looks more like a pile of firewood than a setting for an afternoon barbecue, chances are it could use a little rejuvenating.

Start by washing the deck with a solution of one cup powdered laundry detergent in a gallon of hot water. Add a cup of liquid chlorine bleach if mildew is present.

Severely neglected decks will require a more potent commercial deck-bleaching product. Look for one that contains oxalic acid. Use this in combination with a power washer, which can be rented from your local tool-rental outlet or paint store.

Finish the job with a coat of high-quality oil-base deck stain or clear wood finish. A product that contains UV inhibitors will offer added protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.

Your weathered wooden fence

Have high winds and inclement weather taken their toll on your wooden fence? If it’s no longer running down the straight and narrow, chances are you have a damaged or fractured post.

Replacing a post, and the concrete pier that anchors it, can be an expensive proposition. There is, however, a cost-effective, easy-to-install alternative — a fence-mender.

A fence-mender consists of a couple of elongated U-shaped metal brackets that are installed opposite one another at the location where the post is most vulnerable.

Remove the fence board that covers the post. Use a sledge hammer to drive the metal bracket between the post and concrete pier. Finish the job by attaching the top of the bracket with a couple of screws, and replace the adjacent fence board.

Cleaning stained concrete

If your concrete driveway, carport or garage floor looks like an Indy-500 pit stop, here’s a cleaning recipe for you.

First, soak up the grease with cat litter. Cover the area with a generous amount and grind it in with the soles of your shoes. Sweep it up and properly dispose of the soiled material. Next, saturate the area with a cola beverage, working it into the concrete with a stiff bristle broom but not allowing it to dry. Once the cola has stopped fizzing, flush the area with clean, fresh water. Whiten the gray stain that remains with a solution of one cup of powdered laundry detergent and one cup of liquid chlorine bleach in one gallon of very hot water. Finish the job with a final rinse.


March 26, 2007 - Posted by | Helpful Resources, Random

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