Day 2 – Fixing a Sticking Door

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Welcome to Day 2 of my 31 Days of Handy Home Fixes. Today I’m going to show you a tip for fixing a rubbing or sticking door.

Day 2. Fixing a Sticking Door

Do you have a door in your home that rubs on the frame or gets stuck certain times of year? Our bathroom door used to stick in the summer (but not the winter.) The excess humidity in the air caused the door to swell just enough that it rubbed at the top of the frame. The fix literally took less than five minutes!

Take a look at your door and determine where the door is rubbing. Assess which direction you need to nudge the door to break the contact.

The simplest fix is to try loosening or tightening the door hinge screws. Take a look at the door below. The door was too tight in the upper left corner. To relieve the rubbing loosen the screws a half turn in that top hinge. Test the door again. You may also need to loosen the screws on the middle hinge and tighten the screws on the bottom hinge.

Is your door still sticking? Try removing the screws completely from the door frame. Instead of shimming with a wooden shim (which would be too thick) cut a piece of thin cardboard (think cereal boxes and product packaging) and inserted it behind the hinge. Then drive the screws back in.

Shim a door hinge

95% of the time the above two tips will resolve your issues. If your door is still sticking, you may have to take more drastic measures like routing out more material from the door frame with a Dremel or using a power planer to trim down your door.

PHGFancySign

Check out other participants in Nester’s 31 Days Challenge.

31 Day Writing Challenge

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Other tips in the 31 Days of Handy Home Fixes series:


Install Security Film to a Glass Door and Protect Your Home

How to Add Security Film to Glass Doors & Windows | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Add Security Film to Glass Doors & Windows | Pretty Handy Girl

The folks at Allstate Insurance have graciously sponsored this post, which will help you learn how to install security film to safeguard your doors (or windows) from a potential break-in! It’s a simply DIY solution that could potentially save you the heartache of having your home burglarized.

I’ve noticed an unsettling trend in our area. There are more thefts popping up around our neighborhood. Luckily the majority of them are burglaries with no violence. But, it’s still unsettling. If you want the latest on crimes around you, sign up for SpotCrime.com. Simply enter your address and you’ll get emails when crimes are reported around you. Then again, this could lead to a bit of paranoia {raising hand.}

SpotCrime.com map

Regardless, there are two doors in our home that have always caused me some concern. We have two half window doors that needed some added security measures. The first one is the entrance to our mudroom. The second one is the back door to our garage (and you know I’d be heartbroken if anyone stole my power tools!)

How to Add Security Film to Glass Doors & Windows | Pretty Handy Girl

If you have a door like this, a burglar can simply break the pane of glass closest to the knob, reach in and turn the deadbolt and handle. One option is to install a two-sided keyed entry deadbolt lock. Because we have little children, I worried about them not being able to find the key and get out of the house in the event of a fire.

How to Add Security Film to Glass Doors &  Windows | Pretty Handy Girl

This past week I happened to hear about security film and did a little research. I was skeptical until I tested the material myself. The results seriously amazed me! You can watch my test in the video later in this post.

In the meantime, here are the supplies you’ll need and the very simply installation instructions!

Materials:
(contains Amazon Affiliate Links)
  • 8 Mil Security Window Film
  • Spray bottle with water and a few drops of dish soap (or baby shampoo)
  • 4 inch Squeegee
  • Paper towels
  • Razor blade
  • X-acto knife (or scissors)
  • Metal Ruler
  • Ball point pen or fine-tipped sharpie
  • Cutting surface

 Instructions:

1. Begin by removing the grill if you have one solid piece of glass with faux dividers (see my video below for more details on removing the grill.) If you have true divided light, move on to the next step.

2. Measure your windows. Reduce the size by 1/8″ to leave space at the edges for the water to escape. Transfer the measurements onto the film with pen. Cut the window film with the x-acto knife and ruler. (You could use scissors in a pinch.)

How to Add Security Film to Glass Doors &  Windows | Pretty Handy Girl [Read more...]

Beef Up Door and Window Casing with Back Band

Beef Up Door and Window Casing with Back Band | Pretty Handy Girl

Beef Up Door and Window Casing with Back Band | Pretty Handy Girl

Want an easy way to add more architectural interest to your standard colonial door and window framing? Adding an extra piece of moulding, called back band, can add that extra boost of architectural interest.

Add Architectural Interest to Casing | Pretty Handy Girl

And the good news is that you can do this to your existing trim moulding. No need to remove or start fresh! The only thing you will need is paint on hand to paint the moulding after you BEEF it UP! In essence, We’re gonna PUMP it UP!

Materials:

  • Back band moulding
  • Finish nailer
  • 2″ finish nails
  • Caulk
  • Paint
  • Miter saw or  hand saw with miter box

Instructions:

There’s really not much to this tutorial. Line up the back band against your existing door or window frame. Measure or mark the back band where you need to cut your miter. [Read more...]

Painted Vanity Nightstand

Painted Bedside Vanity | Pretty Handy Girl

Painted Bedside Vanity | Pretty Handy Girl

In the quest to makeover our master bedroom and save money, I’ve been painting several pieces of furniture to coordinate with the new bed I built.

One of the pieces I painted was this small desk that doubles as a nightstand. Our bedroom isn’t very large and our master bathroom is even smaller than what can be described as a “master” anything! Doing my hair and makeup in our bathroom isn’t a viable option, especially when both Pretty Handsome Guy and I wake up at the same time. When I saw this little desk at a local thrift store, I grabbed it. Especially because she was only $20!

Painted Bedside Vanity | Pretty Handy Girl

She had lots of age, but not much character.

top-of-wood-vanity

However, she was the perfect size and had just enough storage for a makeup vanity.

With a light sanding, primer and a coat of Benjamin Moore Advance paint, she is now showing her more glamorous side. [Read more...]

Aqua Dresser Makeover – What’s Knot to Love?

Facelift for a Knotty Pine Dresser | Pretty Handy Girl

Facelift for a Knotty Pine Dresser | Pretty Handy Girl

You know you’ve seen those knotty pine dressers from yesteryear. Their spotlight has faded and they are finding themselves at thrift shops, ReStores or worse yet…at the curb.

Facelift for a Knotty Pine Dresser | Pretty Handy Girl

I’m begging you to let this knotty eyesore back into your home. It doesn’t have to be banished. It’s KNOT her fault she was built from cheap pine. All this dresser needs is a new coat of paint and some beautiful brass knobs and all her flaws and knots will be forgotten.

Facelift for a Knotty Pine Dresser | Pretty Handy Girl

Extra observant points to anyone who realized that this blogger forgot to take a good before picture! She looked very similar to the knotty pine dresser shown above, except she had wooden circle knobs and an unfortunate set of bun feet. I did remove the bun feet from the dresser when I first brought it home. Mama ain’t got no need for buns in this oven (or on my dresser.)

Here are the details on how to refinish a knotty pine dresser and give it a complete makeover!

Materials:

  • Sandpaper
  • BIN primer
  • Damp rag
  • Paint brush
  • Foam paint roller
  • Quart of Benjamin Moore Advance paint (Deep Ocean)
  • Valspar asphaltum glaze
  • Brass hardware (I bought mine from House of Antique Hardware)
  • Drill with bits
  • Screwdriver
  • Level

Instructions:

This tutorial will be fairly brief, if you need more photos and explanation, you can view my previous dresser painting adventure.

Begin by removing all the drawers and knobs. Lightly sand the dresser and drawer fronts. Wipe off any sanding dust. [Read more...]

How to Trim & Install Closet Doors {Dremel Ultra-Saw Review}

How to Trim Closet Doors with Dremel UltraSaw | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Trim Closet Doors with Dremel UltraSaw | Pretty Handy Girl

I have a friend named Holly. She and I live in the same neighborhood and we help each other out with DIY projects. Last week she asked me to help her come up with a solution to hide her dirty laundry.

How to Trim Closet Doors with Dremel UltraSaw | Pretty Handy Girl

Holly and I were trying to figure out how to replace her sad laundry room door(s). The right side door had broken off and was unusable. We floated several ideas, originally thinking about creating inexpensive sliding barn doors. But, we scaled back that idea after realizing that inexpensive pipe hardware (spanning over 8 feet) was still too expensive for the budget. We began discussing buying cheap bi-fold doors and dressing them up. However, even new bi-folds aren’t super cheap. I mentioned she “might” have luck going to the Habitat ReStore to find the exact size doors. We both knew that was a slim chance. Then an idea hit me like a bi-fold door falling off its hinges! Among the multitude of things I have stored in my attic, were two sets of closet doors! One that used to be on my son’s reading nook closet. And the second set used to be on the pantry.

Would it be fitting that the only before pictures I have of the pantry doors are these gems?

How to Trim Closet Doors with Dremel UltraSaw | Pretty Handy Girl
The Streaker

How to Trim Closet Doors with Dremel UltraSaw | Pretty Handy Girl
The Goofball

You get the picture. They are ordinary bi-fold doors. After the doors were removed from our pantry I liked how open it was. Although sometimes I wonder if I am just too lazy to open and shut the doors every time I want food.

How to Trim Closet Doors with Dremel UltraSaw | Pretty Handy Girl

Regardless, I liked the open concept, but not necessarily our food being constantly ON DISPLAY. I have plans to add built-in cabinets and shelving to the pantry, similar to what my friends The DIY Village created, but for now we just have it open.

I ran home to dig through the attic and find the two sets of doors that might work for Holly. I held my breath (partly because the attic was stifling hot) as I measured the doors. My son’s closet doors were…too narrow. Whomp wah. The pantry doors were… a perfect width!!! But, they were 2″ too tall. No worries, I knew I could trim them down.

Here’s how to remove (and install) closet doors and cut them down to size using a Dremel Ultra-Saw: [Read more...]

Spigot Faucet Handle Drawer Pulls

Spigot Faucet Drawer Knobs Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Spigot Faucet Drawer Knobs Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Remember my son’s dresser that I gave a pop of color? As promised I’m back today to show you how I made the spigot handle drawer knobs. I purchased my vintage spigot handles from Etsy seller, Anything Goes Here. She has some other vintage handles available, so snatch them up quick. The only other materials you need can easily be picked up from the hardware store.

Materials:

Spigot Faucet Drawer Knobs Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Spigot faucet handles
  • #8 – 32 Machine screw nuts
  • #8 – 32 x 2″ Threaded machine screws
  • Washers
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Phillips head screwdriver

Optional: Clear sealer spray to protect knobs

Instructions:

Making these adorable vintage spigot knobs is an easy project. Line up your parts per handle. You’ll need 1 machine screw, 4 washers, and 3 nuts per handle. Start by threading one washer onto the machine screw. Thread the spigot handle onto the screw. [Read more...]

How to Add Molding Panels to a Flat Door

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

When my sister brought me on to the Topsail Beach condo renovation, she had a laundry list of DIY projects she wanted me to complete. One of them was dressing up the hollow flat doors with moulding panels. She showed me a pin that led to One Life to Love’s DIY beadboard panel doors. After seeing the photo, I knew it would be a great DIY upgrade to make. But, we decided to use real beadboard (instead of beadboard wallpaper) because it had to hold up to the stress of being a rental.

To begin, start by measuring and marking the doors to determine the size of your panels.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Draw lines 5″ in from the top and two sides of your door.  Draw the bottom line  6″ up from the bottom. Finally, leave 5″ between the top and bottom panels.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

When marking your doors, use a pencil and level to draw your lines.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

After we had our panel measurements, Caitlin and I headed to Lowe’s. But, she refused to push me in the cart (party pooper!)

in-lowes-shopping-cart

We pulled some 4′ x 8′ beadboard panels and took them to the lumber cutting area. We gave the Lowe’s employer our measurements and asked him to cut the boards for us. While he cut our beadboard, Caitlin and I gathered the rest of our supplies.

Materials: [Read more...]

Make a Tray from a Cabinet Door

Make a Tray from a Cabinet Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Make a Tray from a Cabinet Door | Pretty Handy Girl

One of my favorite places to thrift shop is the Habitat ReStore. I mean, where else can you find cool $2 cabinet doors?

Make a Tray from a Cabinet Door | Pretty Handy Girl

This fine cast off door is just screaming to be upcycled into a beautiful tray. Especially when the same thrifting adventure yielded VERY COOL door hardware! Simply combine the two and you have yourself a unique serving tray to give as a gift (or keep for yourself.)

Make a Tray from a Cabinet Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Materials:

  • Cabinet door
  • Door handle or cabinet handle
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Screwdriver bit
  • Rubber bumpers

Optional: Rub n’ Buff Gold Leaf

The steps are super simple. [Read more...]

Creating Vintage Painted Oars with 3M

3-oar-on-deck

How to Make Vintage Painted Oars | Pretty Handy Girl

Vintage painted oars are nostagic objects for me. They bring back memories of camp and watching crew teams rowing along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. So, when my sister wanted to find some oars to decorate the beach condo with, I jumped at the opportunity to make some. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you know that my sister Caitlin (of Symmetry Designs in San Jose, CA) and I have been renovating Diane Chamberlain’s Topsail Beach condo. The condo is a great size (three bedrooms) and located ocean front. That’s where the pros ended. Sadly the condo was stuck in the 80′s: teal carpeting, orangey wood trim and cabinet doors that were falling off. We converged on the property back in September to start the renovation process.

Before the trip, I whipped out these fun painted oars. They were easy to make, you could sooo do this!

Materials:

3M™ Safety Products:

  • 3MTekk Eye glasses
  • 3MTekk Ear plugs
  • 3MTekk Painter’s glove
  • 3MTekk Cool Valve dust mask

3M Advanced Abrasives:

  • 3M Sand paper for sander (80,120 & 180 grits)
  • 3M 220 Grit Sanding sponge
  • ScotchBlue™™ Painter’s Tape
  • 3M Sanding block
  • 1″ x 6″ pine boards
  • Jigsaw
  • Sander
  • Paint brushes
  • Stencil brush or sponge
  • White paint
  • Red Paint
  • Red Paint
  • Number stencils
  • Minwax Early American stain
  • Rags

Instructions:

Clamp your 1″ x 6″ board to a work surface. Trace out the oar shape onto your board. You can use rulers and rounded paint cans or plates to trace the curves.

Put on your safety glasses, ear plugs and grab the jig saw.

How to Make Vintage Painted Oars | Pretty Handy Girl [Read more...]

How to Reinforce an Entry Door and Make it Burglar Proof

Reinforce an Entry Door

Reinforce an Entry Door

Burglar proofing your home is easy. Especially f you have a gazillion dollars to hire security guards, attack dogs and a web of lasers. Ahh, to dream a dream. But, for those of us who actually have a budget there’s a quick solution. And it’ll help you sleep a lot easier at night.

Having a home invasion is nerve wracking to say the least (yes, I’ve experienced this), I understand the fear many homeowners face:

A  passionate desire to keep our family safe from all the badness in the world.

Think about this, in many instances the only things stopping a robber from kicking open your front door are 1/2 inch screws, some thin metal (in the form of hinges and  strike plates), and at best a wimpy 1 inch piece of wood called your door jamb. Um, I think my 74 year old dad could kick open most people’s doors.

Today I’ll walk you through the installation of EZ Armor. It’s a door reinforcement kit you can buy for $69 at Lowe’s. You need limited tools and 15 minutes.

Here’s a supply list to help you get started:

  • Drill or impact driver
  • 11/64 inch drill bit (if you choose the drill)
  • Phillips head bit for said drill or driver
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses

I promise you’ll boost your home’s safety by leaps and bounds by using EZ Armor. It only take a few minutes to understand why.

The EZ Armor kit I bought came with the following accessories:

  • Jamb shield (1)
  • Hinge shields (2)
  • Door shields (2)
  • 2 1/2 inch screws (4)
  • 3 1/2 inch screws (17)

EZ Armor

Okay, if you’re an excitable DIYer like me you might dive right into the installation. You can watch the video or read the photo tutorial below:

[Read more...]

Ilkley, UK – A Home Tour of an 1880 Row House

Ilkley_postcard

Ilkley_postcard

I’ve known Karen and her sister Anne since fourth grade. Karen was my best friend growing up and ultimately, my maid-of-honor. Anne is her older sister. During play dates, Karen and I were silly girls who avoided (the more mature) Anne, as we played top secret spy games under the stairs. After high school, Karen and I only saw each other every few years. I rarely saw Anne, especially after she met the love of her life in Japan and followed him to his childhood home in England. Anne and Chris settled into a beautiful old row house in Ilkley, UK, where they are raising their daughter and two twin boys. It has been years since I’ve seen Anne, but when we were contemplating our trip to the UK this summer, I thought it would be fun to look her up and visit with her and her family. We had such a wonderful visit with them and I fell head over heels in love with their home.

blue_doorway

I begged them to let me share their home on the blog, so be sure to thank them!

violets_doorstep

Come right this way, I have one of those antique keys to unlock the front door. Can you imagine how many generations of families have used this same key hole?

keyhole_brass_plate

The first thing you notice as you walk in the door is the amount of beautiful wood, molding and character in their home. [Read more...]

Cabinet Hardware and Winners of the D.Lawless Giveaway

chosen_drawer_pulls

D_Lawless_hardware_giveaway

The winners of the D. Lawless Hardware giveaway are:
Mary Glidden & Lora Wikle!

Congratulations gals, I hope you have an easier time deciding on what you’ll purchase with your gift certificate.

For the rest of you, Mr. Lawless himself has been kind enough to give y’all a discount code you can use to get 10% off your order! Simply use “prettyhandy” in the coupon code field at checkout. Visit DLawlessHardware.com to see all the beautiful hardware they sell.

Thank you so much for helping me decide which cabinet hardware I wanted for my kitchen. I appreciate each one of your suggestions and votes. I think I chose the ones that received the majority of the votes, but honestly it was more helpful to read your responses and realize that I either agreed or disagreed. It’s like when you go to a restaurant and you ask the waiter which of two meals he would recommend. And when he answers mac & cheese and you suddenly feel let down because you really wanted the hamburger. Yup, it was kind of like that situation.

And…the hardware I chose is:

chosen_drawer_pulls

If you can’t tell from the photo, I chose choice E! I really liked the little screw head pulls, but ultimately I liked the feel of the larger bronze pull in my hand. And you knew I couldn’t resist the bling! It will be glass octagonal knobs for this girl.

bronze_pull_glass_knob

I’m also very honored that D.Lawless has agreed to work with me and supply the hardware for my kitchen. It was really nice of them, but I want you to know that I approached D.Lawless Hardware because they are all about quality, service and price. I’d recommend D.Lawless Hardware to my friends (which means all of you.)

Have a great rest of your week! I’ll be crawling around on all fours installing flooring in our kitchen if you are looking for me.

PHGFancySign

 

Disclosure: I will be receiving hardware for my kitchen cabinets in exchange for posting about D.Lawless hardware. I was not influenced or told what to write about D.Lawless. 

The Hometalk Show – Learn How to Update Your Kitchen on a Budget

Hometalk_Hangout_kitchen_Graphic

Yesterday I had the pleasure of hanging out with Miriam from Hometalk and Heather from At the Picket Fence. We discussed budget kitchen updates that you can make to your kitchen right now for very little money! If you missed the hangout, no worries, you can watch the recorded show here:

Or watch it on Hometalk’s Google+ page.

I’ll see you here tomorrow, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel and I guarantee you won’t want to miss tomorrow’s post. Pee before you read it because you are gonna laugh your buns off! I promise!

 

Creating Open Frame Radiator Screen Cabinet Doors

Doors_closing_animation


A few months ago when I got the call that Woman’s Day wanted to send a photographer to photograph me and my garage, I kind of freaked a little. I mean, it was my garage, the least attractive room in our house! Part of the unattractiveness stemmed from my workbench with a huge gaping hole in it.

It was suggested that I could just cover the hole with some fabric (which, yes, I could have done.) But, being that it is my workshop and a sawdust producing place, I felt I could do a little a little better than just some fabric. I decided to build custom doors for the opening. Luckily they turned out to be less of an involved project than I originally anticipated. (I love when that happens.)

Come on in the workshop and I’ll show you how I built these open frame cabinet doors. [Read more...]

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

roll_garage_door_down_more

Let’s give a big round of applause and a thank you to Jeff from Home Repair Tutor for his tutorial on Changing Your Garage Door Extension Springs.

Today I’ll help you learn how to replace your garage door rollers! After that, with a little maintenance, your garage doors should continue to operate smoothly for a while.

Materials:

  • New Garage Door Rollers
  • Clamp
  • Pliers
  • Large flat head screwdriver
  • Prybar
  • A Helper
Instructions:

Start by opening  your garage door completely.

Place a clamp on to the track about 2/3 of the way up the door opening.

Release the garage door from the power opener by pulling on the attached release rope.

For added safety, unplug the garage door opener from the outlet.

Near the top of the track use pliers to bend the track slightly open.

Line up the first roller with the opening. Use the flathead screwdriver and wedge it between the roller and the track. Pry the roller out of the track.

Remove the old roller.

Slide a new roller in and insert the roller back into the track.

Roll the door down to the next roller and repeat the same process for removing and replacing the rollers.

When you have replaced the bottom 4 rollers, you’ll realize that you won’t be able to replace the top one because it won’t line up with the opening in the track. Bend the track back into alignment and then roll the door all the way open.

Bend a section of track in the middle of the overhead section.

Be sure to have your helper spot the door or it could slip from the track and bonk you on the head. (Home Repair Tutor shows how to use a 2×4 clamped to the track to support the door if you don’t have a helper available. He also has a different method for replacing the rollers, so be sure to watch his video.)

(Oh yes, this did happen to me! I got knocked hard enough to have me down for the count, but I got right back up and kept right on swinging.)

Pry the last roller out and replace it. Use your pliers to bend the track back into shape.

Remove the clamp from the track. Plug the door opener back in. Re-attach the door to the garage door opener by pressing the button that controls the operation of your door (usually on the wall of your garage.) The door should automatically re-attach to the opener.

Close the door and watch for any misalignment of the track.

If you need to adjust the tracks, loosen the bolts on the side of the track and re-align the track. I used a prybar to give a little leverage to move the track small increments.

Tighten all the bolts. While you are at it, make sure all screws and bolts on the garage and the tracks are tightened because the vibration of the door can usually shake things loose over time.

And that’s it folks!

For more maintenance tips on keeping your garage in tip top shape, check out Home Repair Tutor’s post on garage door maintenance.



 

How to Replace Garage Door Extension Springs – Guest Post Home Repair Tutor

Homerepairtutor_bike_garage_door

 

Hey guys and gals, I have a special guest for you today! Today I have a real life Handy Man today. That’s right we’re bringing in a little testosterone to mix things up.

This is Jeff aka Pretty Handy Man:

Jeff writes Home Repair Tutor, a blog that shares tips on saving time and money when doing home repairs. He shares his experiences, both good and bad, to help you with what sometimes seems like overwhelming home repair projects. He also likes the Steelers, (I’m supposed to tell you that because guys find that stuff important. So, if you hate the Steelers, boo on you. Can you tell I’m naive on how to talk sports?)

Plus, he always adds a little humor to his videos. (My favorite is garage door testing the unorthodox way. Don’t you just love a man who isn’t afraid to ride a pink bike?)

I’ve been following Home Repair Tutor for a few months now and Jeff’s recent post about garage door maintenance saved me some cash. I had been trying to solve why my garage door was running so rough and had already replaced the rollers. But, Jeff had one tip that I had forgotten to do: Lubricate all the moving parts! Duh, a few squirts of lubricant had the doors rolling smooth again. I hope you’ll check out his blog and follow along. You won’t be disappointed.

So, today I give you handy man and comedian, Jeff from Home Repair Tutor! Woooohoo!

Thanks Brittany for the opportunity to guest post on Pretty Handy Girl. You’ve set the bar high for home remodeling tutorials and I hope to empower your fans with another great DIY project. But first let me briefly introduce myself.

My name is Jeff Patterson and my remodeling blog is Home Repair Tutor. In my spare time I manage and fix my own older rental homes here in the Pittsburgh area. I’ve been doing this for almost a decade and have experienced numerous projects that include kitchen remodels, bathroom installations, hardwood floor restoration, and more. My goal is pass along all the tips and tricks that I’ve learned so others can benefit.

Today’s post deals with a project that anyone can do:

Replacing Garage Door Extension Springs

Garage Door Extension Spring Repair

A squeaky garage door has a penetrating sound that can drive anyone crazy. The average garage door is opened and closed over 600 times every year. This repetitive action is what leads to the creaks you hear on a daily basis.

But regular maintenance can help your garage door run smoothly and safely. Two of the most used items on your garage door are the extension springs that help lift and lower it. Extension springs are found on most traditional roll up garage doors. They’re dangerous if not properly maintained since they hold a tremendous amount of tension.

(Pretty Handy Girl notes: Torsion springs are the other type of garage door springs. They run directly over the garage door opening on a rod. Serious injury can occur if you don’t know what  you are doing or have the right tools to replace a torsion spring. In my opinion, these should be left to the pros.)

This tutorial will take the mystery out of how garage door extension springs work and will show you how to safely replace them on your own without spending a ton of money. By the end of this post you’ll confidently be able to perform this home repair project, and tell your neighbors you’re a garage door Jedi :).

Are Your Garage Door Springs Misbehaving?

This tutorial is going to address garage door extension springs that run along the door’s horizontal track. But how do you know if your springs need replaced?

The picture below is a good example of what a spring looks like at the end of its life cycle.

Warped Garage Door Springs

If this spring breaks it will release an extraordinary amount of tension that can be unleashed on a person or item in your garage.

Another sign of worn springs is creakiness or uneven closure of your door. Bad springs can put pressure on the garage door rollers and cause them to screech. If one spring is bad but the other is in good shape the door may close unevenly, too. You’ll notice this if the door is closed and one side is higher than the other.

Extension springs are colored coded. In my case the springs had red paint sprayed just on one end, and this indicated that we had a 150 lb. garage door.

Garage Door Springs are Color Coded

You can go to Home Depot and buy your replacement extension springs based on the color code. The picture below shows the wide range of springs you can buy.

Garage Door Extension Springs are Sold Based on Their Color Code

Now that you know how to choose your springs you can get started on your project.

Become a Jedi of Garage Door Springs

But even Yoda would agree that safety comes first.

Completely open your garage door and unplug the power cord to the opener.

Place a C-clamp on each track underneath the the bottom garage door roller. This will prevent the door from rolling down to the ground in the next step. For extra protection you can put a step ladder underneath the center of the door.

Use a C-Clamp Underneath the Bottom Garage Door Roller

Pull down on the garage door’s manual safety release. This allows the garage door to be moved up and down without the help of the opener.

Pull Down on the Garage Door Manual Safety Release

The door weight should now rest on the C-clamps.

This next step is a smart tip that will ensure your extension spring installation was done correctly. Place a piece of blue painter’s tape on the garage door track underneath the pulley that’s attached to the extension spring. Then place a mark on the tape to indicate the center of the pulley’s bolt.

Place a Mark on the Tape to Indicate the Center of the Pulley's Bolt

Since the spring has no tension in it you can safely remove the steel safety cable that runs through it. This cable is in place so that if your garage door spring snaps it won’t shoot across the room and hurt someone. The safety cable runs through the spring. It’s tied to the horizontal support bracket closest to the garage door opening on one end and is simply tied to the vertical support bracket on the other end.

Before removing the safety cable from the support brackets you should take pictures of how it was tied together. This will help you when you have to re-tie it after the new extension spring is installed. I also numbered the holes on the vertical support bracket as 1 & 2 to help with this process.

Take a Picture of the Steel Cable Before Undoing It

Since the steel safety cable will only need to be removed from the horizontal support bracket I also decided to make a reference mark on it. This mark will allow you to reinstall the safety cable to how it was originally setup.

Place a Reference Mark on the Steel Safety Cable

The next step is to remove the garage door extension spring.

There’s a steel cable connected to the bottom of your garage door. This cable runs over a stationary pulley that’s attached to your garage door track. This steel cable continues until it goes over and around a second pulley that’s attached to your extension spring via a pulley fork. The steel cable then is attached to the horizontal support bracket via an S-hook. This S-Hook is also attached to a three hole adjusting clip.

Mark where the S-hook was positioned on the support bracket then remove it.

Mark the Position of the S-Hook Then Remove it From the Support Bracket

Now you need to disassemble the pulley that is connected to the spring. This is simple but again take a picture of your configuration for reference. Remember that the steel cable that runs from the bottom of the garage door goes over the top of the pulley then to the horizontal support bracket. You’ll need two wrenches to undo the nut and bolt that hold the pulley to the pulley fork.

Remove the Pulley from the Pulley Fork by Undoing the Nut & BoltRemove the pulley and pulley fork from the extension spring. The spring can now be taken off the eye bolt hanger. The eye bolt hanger is attached to the vertical support brackets that come down from the ceiling.

Remove the Extension Spring from the Eye Bolt

The picture below shows the old spring on the left and the new spring on the right. Is there any doubt the extension springs needed replaced? :)

Old Versus New Garage Door Extension Spring

A New Era of Garage Door Efficiency Begins

The installation of the new spring, as you can imagine, is opposite that of the removal process. It’s easy but requires attention to detail.

Attach the non-color coded end of the spring to the eye-bolt and run the steel safety cable through it.

Pull the steel safety cable through the vertical support bracket. I labeled the two holes the steel cable will pass through.

Hole 1 has the cable going through it right to left. The cable should then pass through Hole 2 from left to right.

Position the Steel Safety Cable Through the Support BracketA loop is created. Thread the cable back through this loop. Notice the black reference mark that was made on the cable. I used pliers to pull the wire tight such that this mark stops short of going through Hole 1.

Thread the Steel Safety Cable Through the Support Bracket

Pull the steel cable through the hole on the far side of the support bracket.

Weave the cable back and forth in the same manner as it was before being removed.

Tighten the Steel Safety Cable to the Support Bracket

The other end of the steel safety cable that runs through the extension spring should be tied to the horizontal support bracket closest to the garage door opening.

This next part is where your attention to detail is somewhat critical.

Place the pulley fork onto the color coded end of the extension spring. Ensure the plastic bushing that has the steel safety cable running through it is facing away from the garage door track.

The Plastic Bushing on the Pulley Fork Must Face Away from the Garage Door Track

Pull the steel cable that comes from the bottom of the garage door over the top of the pulley. The S-hook and 3-hole adjusting clip attached to the steel cable should be hanging down from the pulley.

Make sure this steel cable is not twisted with the steel safety cable. (I didn’t check for this and had to undo the entire pulley/pulley fork assembly — not fun.) The steel cable should run freely from the stationary pulley closest to the garage door opening to the pulley that will be connected to the extension spring.

Position the pulley into the pulley fork then place the nut onto the pulley fork so that it is next to the plastic bushing.

Place the Nut for the Pulley on Top of the Pulley Fork Next to the Plastic Bushing

Pass the bolt through the pulley fork and pulley. Tighten the nut and bolt until they’re secure.

Attach the S-hook & 3-hole adjusting clip to the horizontal support bracket where it originally was located.

Place the S-Hook & 3-Hole Adjusting Clip into the Support Bracket

At this point you can use the reference mark on the blue tape to check the tension of the steel cable. In this case the pulley’s bolt lined up perfectly with the mark and tension was good to go.

Check the Tension of the Garage Door Extension Spring

The tension of the garage door springs can be adjusted by doing the following:

  • Move the S-hook to different holes in the horizontal support bracket
  • Adjust the cable in the 3-hole adjusting clip connected to the S-hook (this is a pain!)
  • Moving the eye-bolt up or down on the vertical support bracket. Do this with the door open and C-clamps on the tracks. (Moving the eye-bolt up will increase tension while moving it down releases tension)

Use great care when adjusting the spring tension. As mentioned before, garage door extension springs can cause serious injuries and that is the last thing anyone wants. This is a safe project to perform as long as you follow all of the steps :). Remember that both extension springs need to replaced at the same time. So, while this tutorial only shows one spring being removed you need do the above steps for the second. Otherwise your door may close unevenly. Besides, if one spring is bad, chances are the other isn’t in good shape.

Queue the Chariots of Fire Theme Song

Plug your garage door opener into the outlet and remove the C-clamps. Hold your breath (just kidding) and hit the garage door opener. With any luck you’ll see the garage door close smoothly, safely, and with a resounding feeling of accomplishment.There’s a chance that your door may not close completely due to the new springs having more tension than the old ones.You can adjust how far the door travels by turning the adjustment screws on the door opener.
Adjust the Travel of Your Garage Door by Turning the Travel Screws

Now you know how to safely replace your garage door extension springs. Give yourself a high five! New springs will help your garage door run smoothly and efficiently while eliminating annoying squeaks.

For more garage door maintenance tips, you can read my post on regular garage door maintenance.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask them in the comment section, I’d be more than happy to help you with your project.

Thanks again Brittany for the opportunity to bring this tutorial to your fans. Hopefully this showed that it’s not difficult to do any project when you’ve got the right mix of patience and curiosity.

Make it a great day!

Thank you Jeff, what a great tutorial! I can always count on Home Repair Tutor to help me learn something new.

Keeping with the theme of garage door repairs, I’ll have a tutorial on how to replace your garage door rollers on Friday! And how I fought the garage door and I won!

Stay tuned and don’t touch that dial (bonus points to anyone old enough to know what the heck that means.)

Old Paintbrush Cabinet Door Handles

cabinet_over_workbench

Happy Wednesday! Something kind of exciting happened to me yesterday. Woman’s Day sent a photographer, an assistant and a stylist to photograph me and my garage. They worked together like a well-oiled machine and made my garage more beautiful than I could ever imagine! If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (@PrettyHandyGirl), I snapped a few photos with my cell phone. I am still in the “I’ll believe it when I see it mindset.” But, this was for a small feature on organization for the September issue. Honestly, I’m a little concerned that the editor will take one look at the photos and drop them in the garbage. After all, it is the LEAST attractive room in my house! But, the editor assured me that they really want to show an organized garage space. So, I’ll be sitting on pins and needles until the issue comes out.

Two weeks ago I got an email from someone at Woman’s Day expressing interest in my garage. She politely asked if I could make a few changes to complete my workbench. They were all changes that I had wanted to do eventually. But, that date suddenly became last week. So, I put my tail in high gear and added those finishing touches to my workshop.

This was the workbench area of our garage before: [Read more...]

Charm and Character – A House Tour

living_room_before

Today you have been invited to take a house tour at my friend Holly’s home. Holly is a good friend of mine, so luckily I didn’t have to beg too much for her to let us into her home. But, before we go in I want to tell you a little more about her. She wears many hats. She is a wife and mother of two boys first and foremost. But, she also runs Storywood Designs, a furniture refinishing business and Framed by Storywood, her Etsy Shop. She has a wonderful eye for color and design (which is evident in her furniture pieces and home décor.) When I first walked into her home, I knew I could live there and not have to change a thing.

Holly and her husband bought their 1980 home a few years ago. There were plenty of touches from previous owners that she worked with or covered in a creative way. I scanned the real estate flyer (sorry about the quality) to give you an idea what their house looked like when they bought it. The changes they made are phenomenal and yet they didn’t break the bank to do it.

Are you ready for the tour? Wipe your feet and come on it. Do you like the initial on her door?

She sells them in her Etsy shop!

Here we are in the living room, but this is what the room looked like a mere 3 yrs. ago:

And here is the living room today!

I know armoires are starting to go out of style, but this one is gorgeous with the cut out panels! If she ever tries to get rid of it, I’m grabbing it!

They painted the fireplace white and it really brightens up the room. See, I can appreciate a painted white fireplace, even though I repainted ours to look like brick.


I love all her fall décor. Especially the lit pumpkins on the hearth.


Beside the fireplace are sweet built-in cupboards and cabinets with wood countertops. It adds charm to the small niche.


Now we make our way into her kitchen  — my favorite room and the most stunning transformation. This was the kitchen before:


Get ready to catch your jaw before it hits the floor.





The pendant light adds lots of warmth and texture to the space.


Adding corbels under the upper cabinets was a genius idea for adding instant charm. I am itching to do the same thing to our kitchen cabinets. When I do, you can be sure I’ll share a tutorial.




Holly and her husband made the kitchen table. The wood was whistling for my attention the entire time I was photographing the kitchen. And with lines like this, how could I help but stare?




By removing many of the upper cabinet doors they made the kitchen feel larger and more airy.




Did you see those little decorative tiles? Would you believe that they had hideous country scenes before. Holly simply painted over the scenes and added a stencil! What a smart idea!



Just in case you wondered (because I definitely wanted to know), the base cabinets got a coat of white sage paint by Olympic. (Holly says that Olympic discontinued the color so Lowe’s had to custom mix it in their kitchen and bath enamel paint.) The top cabinets and walls are painted Benjamin Moore Lancaster White.


Setting out a little lamp adds some warmth to this corner of the kitchen.


The breakfast area has built-in benchs on two sides. The pillows make the space feel cozy.



One of Holly’s frames turned into a chalkboard:


Okay, right this way to the dining room.


I really want to display my blue and white china like she has done on this wall.


Adjacent to the dining room is her sitting room. Here is the before picture of that room:


She and I (well mostly Holly) just repainted the room a very neutral gray. I can’t believe what a big difference it made.



The china cabinet is a recent refinishing project that Holly just completed. The distressing on this piece is perfect!


Check out those layers of paint and glaze. Scrumptious!


And the bowed front and curved glass make this cabinet unique.


Speaking of distressing, here is another one of Holly’s tables that she refinished. This little table would make a perfect breakfast table or just a side table. It is for sale right now!

I’m jealous of her talent. Maybe I can convince her to take me as her understudy.


Thank you Holly and family for letting us tour your home. Your hard work really shows in your beautiful home.

Removing Door Knobs, Latches and Hinges

unscrewing-stuck-hinge-screw

Removing a door’s hardware (knobs, latch assembly, hinges) is really a piece of cake if you know what you are doing.

There are several reasons you might need to remove a door from its hinges:

  1. The lock is broken and you can’t open the door.
  2. You want to replace your door.
  3. You want to replace the hinges.
  4. Your six year old was warned that if he slams his door one more time he will lose the door (true story).
  5. You want to repaint the door.

When I decided to give my downstairs half bathroom a makeover, I knew I needed to paint the door as well. The easiest way to repaint a door is to remove it from the hinges, remove all the hardware, and lay it flat on sawhorses and paint horizontally.

Before I show you how to paint the door, I will share with you how to remove the door, hinges, and the door knobs (or locksets if it has a key hole). How to remove the locksets is a helpful skill to learn should you wish to replace your door knobs, deadbolts or locksets.

Letting you in on a little secret: Speaking of replacing locksets, did you know that if your house has several different locks you can have them rekeyed to just one key as long as they are all the same brand? When we moved into our home we had three different locks (2 Schlage and 1 Kwikset) and keys to only ONE lock! Arrggghhhh!  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the keys for either Schlage locks.) But, I really wanted to change the locks for the whole house. When I got a quote from a locksmith, I nearly passed out. $250 to get all our locks to match and to cut a few spare keys!

I thanked them and hung up. So, here is what I did. I bought one new Schlage lockset (handles and deadbolt set) for the Kwikset door. Then I took the locksets off the other two doors and brought them to a local locksmith (Busse’s Lock Service in Raleigh.) They were able to rekey both locks using my new Schlage key. The cost was under $50!

Photo courtesy of Handlesets.com

Later when the old lock on our front door broke, I ordered new ones from Handlesets.com (they sell all types of door hardware) and the customer service rep helped me enter the code from our master key when I placed the order. That way my new locks would match the rest of our house. Best of all they didn’t charge extra to for that service!

Sorry for the diversion, but I really wanted to let you in on that little secret.

Removing the Door Handles and Latch Assembly:

There are several types of door handles, you will need to inspect yours to determine how to remove it. Most door handles have screws on the interior side (for safety reasons, you definitely want them on the interior) that you unscrew to release the handles. Our door handles are a little different, but almost as easy to remove.

Insert a flat head screwdriver into the little slot on the side of the handle.

Pull the handle out and away from the door until it releases.

Unscrew the collar (also called a trim piece or escutcheon – yup, there is that word again!) that is up against the door until it comes off. You might need to use pliers to coax it free.

When it releases from the threads, remove the collar (ring, trim piece, escutcheon, WHATEVER.)

Gently pull the other handle off.

To remove the latch assembly, unscrew the two screws above and below the latch.

Gently pry the latch assembly out.

And remove it being sure to keep the screws with the latch.

Removing the hinges:

If you have the type of door hinges that the pin can be removed from, follow these instructions. If not, you will have to unscrew the hinges from your door (but don’t worry, I’ll show you how to do that in a minute.)

Removing the hinge pin is a snap. I use a flat head screwdriver and a hammer. Set the screwdriver just below the head of the pin and tap it lightly with the hammer until the screwdriver can fit below the head. If you can’t get the screwdriver under the head of the pin, insert the screwdriver into the bottom of the hinge and tap the bottom of the pin up slightly. Then angle the screwdriver end up and the handle down. Continue to tap on the screwdriver handle with the hammer until you can release the pin*.

*Oh, and before you remove all the pins, you may want to ask someone help hold the door while you remove the pins from the other hinges. Not that I’ve ever made that mistake (uh, okay, maybe I did.)

Remove the other two hinge pins and gently pull the door off the hinges.

Use a screwdriver or cordless drill with a screwdriver bit to remove the hinges from the door and door frame if you are painting the trim as well.

I ran into a few painted over screws that I couldn’t turn. Here is how to deal with those little buggers.

Lay your door on it’s side with the hinge facing up. Fit a screwdriver into the screw slots as best you can.

Then use a hammer to bang on the other end of the screwdriver.

This will either crack the paint or make enough of an indentation that you can turn the screw.

Be sure to keep all your hinges and screws in a separate bowl or bag.

Now you are ready to paint your door or paint your hardware (Like Beckie at Infarrantly Creative did HERE) or both! More tutorials to come.