How to Easily Install a New Shower Head

Easy! How to Install a New Showerhead | Pretty Handy Girl

Easy! How to Install a New Showerhead | Pretty Handy Girl

Raise your hand if you have a sad excuse for a shower head! Is it drippy, rusty or clogged? If you answered yes to any of those questions, I’m about to show you why there is no excuse for you being able to install a new shower head yourself! It’s super easy.

Easy! How to Install a New Showerhead | Pretty Handy Girl

Materials:

Easy! How to Install a New Showerhead | Pretty Handy Girl

  • New shower head
  • Vise Grip Pliers (or other wide mouth pliers)
  • Plumber’s tape

Easy! How to Install a New Showerhead | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Optional: Shower arm & flange, rag to protect new shower arm

Instructions:

1. Remove the old shower head by unscrewing it from the pipe arm. Use pliers to help get it started.

Easy! How to Install a New Showerhead | Pretty Handy Girl

2. Unscrew the old shower arm if it is rusty or won’t match the new shower head. Remove that rusty flange (now is the time to do it! Don’t put it off any longer.)

unscreEasy! How to Install a New Showerhead | Pretty Handy Girlw-old-shower-arm

3. Replace the old shower arm with new one by screwing it into the plumbing pipe in the wall. Then slide the new flange over the arm.

Easy! How to Install a New Showerhead | Pretty Handy Girl

Wrap the end of the shower arm with plumber’s tape (wrap it clockwise to keep it from bunching up when you attach the new shower head.)

Easy! How to Install a New Showerhead | Pretty Handy Girl

4. Screw the new shower head onto the end of the shower arm. Hand tighten the head. Then put the rag over the spot base of the shower head and use the pliers to tighten it 1/4 turn.

Easy! How to Install a New Showerhead | Pretty Handy Girl

5. If your shower head has an extension hose, attach that at this time by screwing it onto the shower head and attaching the other end to the body sprayer.

Easy! How to Install a New Showerhead | Pretty Handy Girl

Turn on the water and test the spray! Beautiful! No drips or clogs? If you have some leaks anywhere, give an extra 1/4 to 1/2 turn to tighten it the shower head or hose.

I installed the Delta In2ition shower head in the Topsail Beach Condo we renovated. I’ve been intrigued by this shower head and after trying it out, I love it!!!

Easy! How to Install a New Showerhead | Pretty Handy Girl

Because who wouldn’t love a shower head that sprays from the top even when you want a body spray too?

The interior head is fully removable and nests back into the outer ring when done body spraying.

Easy! How to Install a New Showerhead | Pretty Handy Girl        

The only initial drawback I found was getting used to setting the body sprayer back into the ring. Once I realized you have to push it in and down firmly, there was no problem.

Wasn’t that easy? Go on and replace your shower head today if you’ve been putting it off!

***Don’t forget to enter the Savvy Rest Latex Pillow Giveaway! It ends tonight, so hop on over.***

PHGFancySign

Disclosure: No disclosure necessary. I wasn’t paid or provided with the Delta In2ition shower head. My stepmom paid for it to be installed in the beach condo. I chose this shower head because I wanted to try it out.  

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper {a Lowe’s Creator Idea}

living-room-fireplace

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

I’m a little bit of a fanatic when it comes to drafts. (Remember the time I weather stripped my garage doors?) Over time I’ve addressed most of the pesky cracks and crevices that invite cold air into our home. But, there was one draft that I’ve been meaning to serve an eviction notice to since the first winter we lived in our house.

Build a Fireplace Insert Draft Stopper with Reclaimed Lumber | Pretty Handy Girl

The source of this cold air is our fireplace. Even with the damper closed, there is a draft that escapes into the room. You can’t weatherstrip the damper (that would be a fire hazard), so I decided to build a rustic reclaimed wood fireplace insert to stop the draft.

Want to build your own fireplace insert draft stopper? It’s not hard and you can complete it in an afternoon!

Materials: [Read more...]

How to Move a Floor Register in a Window Seat

one_side_open_window_seat_storage

how_to_move_floor_vent

Remember last month when I showed you how to build a window seat in a bay window? I had promised to share with you how to move the floor register. I’m true to my word and am back with the tutorial today.

window_seat_bay_window_storage

When I built our kitchen window seat, I had two obstacles in my path. The first was moving the wiring for the outlet, the electrician and I simply pulled the wiring down from the outlet on the wall and re-routed it into the new outlet box in the front of the window seat. A relatively easy task. Moving the HVAC vent wasn’t very difficult, it just involved a little more cutting and measuring. But, this is a task you can handle!

I have seen some other methods for re-routing the floor vent. One such method involved building a wooden box to channel the air out the front. I caution you from doing this if you live in a humid climate. Mold can grow inside the wooden box. You could build a channel with HVAC rigid ductwork, but you’d be adding an extra turn which can cut down on the airflow. Another alternative would be to move the register to another location in the floor. I chose to move it to the front of the window seat.

Materials:

  • Carpenter’s Square
  • Pencil
  • 90 degree Ductwork (if you can’t use the existing)
  • Wall register
  • Small level
  • Roofing nails
  • Zip tie
  • Foil duct tape
  • Dremel Multi-Max
  • Drill with bits

Instructions: [Read more...]

Cracks in Drywall: 5 Steps to a Permanent Fix with 3M Patch Plus Primer

Cracks in Drywall-5 Steps to a Permanent Fix with 3M Patch Plus Primer

fix_drywall_cracks_permanently

Do you have a crack in your drywall that keeps coming back?

Today’s post will help you fix this annoying problem in 5 easy steps using 3M’s Patch Plus Primer.

This weekend I was cleaning out the guinea pig cage that sits in our living room (did you know guinea pigs can live from 5 to 8 years, what the!!!) and noticed a crack in our wall under the window.

Apparently the previous homeowners tried to fix it since there was evidence of old joint compound around the crack.

Dealing with old rental homes has taught me a thing or two about drywall and plaster. After reading this post I guarantee you’ll be able to permanently fix any drywall crack in no time.

Materials:

  • Fiberglass mesh drywall tape
  • 3M Patch Plus Primer
  • Putty knife
  • 6 inch drywall knife
  • Joint compound mud pan
  • Sanding sponge
  • Towel for your floor
  • Your wall paint
  • 2 to 3 episodes of Big Bang Theory

That’s not a bad supply list.  My grocery list puts it to shame and is far more expensive (and that’s without buying Dogfish Head IPA beer).

Let’s get started and eliminate your cracked drywall :) [Read more...]

How to Cut Bar Stools Down to Counter Height Stools

counter stools

counter stools

Yes you can make those wood bar stools fit your counter.  Here’s an easy DIY fix to make bar stools into counter stools (and a quick makeover too!).

Bar stools typically sit at 30″ high, this is fine and dandy if you have a proper bar where the countertop is elevated higher than the working countertop space.  Kitchen designs are trending now away from the proper bar towards one even countertop surface.  No worries, you can still use those bar stools for your counter by easily cutting off the bottom 4″ to reduce the stools to a counter height of 26″:

counter stools1

(The white stools above are counter height and in the picture for comparison purposes.)

In addition to fixing the height of your stools give them a fresh look with a quick paint job and a new design: [Read more...]

Water Leaks, Polybutylene Pipes, and Mold – What to Do

burst_pipe_image

Photo courtesy of Grotuk via Creative Commons

Today’s regularly scheduled post has been interrupted by a leak in our laundry room.

I hope my misfortune is your gain. These are the things I’ve learned about burst pipes, polybutylene pipes and mold. If you are a homeowner, soon-to-be a homeowner or even if you rent, this post is for you! [Read more...]

Baseboard Trim – How to Remove and How to Install

tips_removing_installing-baseboard_trim

 

I’m back to work on the bonus room makeover, and I couldn’t be happier with the results of the project.

I had to prep the back wall for a little something special. And it required removing the baseboards. I saved them to re-install afterwards. [Read more...]

How to Solder Metals Together – Tool Tutorial Friday

wipe_off_excess_solder

 

Wheee, it’s another episode of Tool Tutorial Friday! Do y’all miss TTF? I do too, but this handy gal only has so many tools in her toolbox. I added a new one a few weeks ago, a soldering iron.

When I was in college, I took a stained glass elective (one of the benefits of going to art school.) I really enjoyed the course, but once the semester was over I didn’t pick up a soldering iron again. That was 20 years ago. Just this month, someone in our neighborhood posted online that they were selling a soldering iron. I immediately jumped on the chance. But, this time I didn’t have stained glass in mind, I had these DIY farmhouse lights on the brain!

As promised, here is the tutorial on how to solder. [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 Remove a Stuck, Stripped or Painted Screw

unscrewing_screw

Isn’t it frustrating when you are trying to unscrew a screw and the head is stripped? Or some moron painted the screw and now you can’t get your screwdriver into the slots. (I might have been the painting fool mentioned.) Luckily there are two ways to solve this problem. [Read more...]

How to Fix a Broken Lamp – DIY Talent Condo Blues

replacelampsocket6

Can you hear the bass drum and the band playing? The DIY Talent Parade is in full swing now. Lisa from Condo Blues is striding this way and ready to show off her mad electrical skills.

[Read more...]

How to Add an Outlet Extender

final_outlet_extended

On Monday I showed you how easy it is to install the Flow Wall panels. The only thing that will slow you down is if  you run into a light switch or an outlet. But, that’s easily remedied by cutting a hole in the material.

Materials:

  • Outlet extender box
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Drill
  • 1/2″ spade bit
  • Jigsaw or a hand saw
  • Clamp
  • Work surface
Difficulty: Easy, but will require using some power tools and turning off the electricity.

[Read more...]

Making it Easier to Take Out the Trash

taking_out_the_trash

I know that no one likes to take out the garbage in my house. How do I know this? I know it because we seem to be able to push our 9 gallon trash can to hold 12 gallons! Don’t do the math, it is just one of life’s unsolved mysteries.

When this mystery trashcan reaches these epic proportions, the bag of trash resists all efforts to remove it from the can. It holds tight to the can liner bringing it up with itself. I’ve only known one other thing in this world that can hold on this tight. And that would be my son at age two as he death gripped my shirt while the babysitter tried in vain to remove him.

Releasing the trash’s grip takes some practice, I use the this little dance I call the Can Can Jig. (Not to be confused with your parent’s Can-Can.)

Here is what it looks like:

One foot on the floor, the other raised over your waist height trying to keep the trash can liner from coming with the trash bag as it is extracted from the can. Yeah, I’m still working on mastering the move myself. It is not for amateurs.

Okay, all kidding aside, I found the cure for the stubborn trash bag who didn’t want to be emptied. I’d heard about this trick a few times but never tried it until now.

Materials:

  • Drill
  • Drill bit – medium size (approximately 1/4″)
  • Safety glasses

Step 1. Empty the trashcan (less you drill holes in your bag of trash. Gross!)

Step 2. Take out the plastic trashcan liner if you have one. If not, this will work just as well if you have a plastic trashcan without a bucket liner.

Step 3. Drill 3-4 holes into the bottom of the liner (or can if you don’t have a liner).

Drill the holes about 1″ above the bottom just in case you ever have any leakage (just thinking about it makes me gag.)

Step 4. Insert the can liner back into the can. Put a trash bag into the liner. Now wait for that garbage can to fill beyond capacity again.

And voila! The bag slides out easily. I almost wish I had some kind of bet with Pretty Handsome Guy to see who could extract the trash faster. You know I’d time him before drilling the holes and then unbeknownst to him I would add this quick fix and let him time me as I whipped that trash out no problem.

And now for the dramatic before and after pictures! Ooooo and ahhhhh:

Which leads me to just one question: “How will I practice the Can Can Jig now?”

Clean Laundry – Miracle Stain Remover, Make Your Own Detergent and Dryer Balls

ingredients_make_your_own

Stains…

I’ve been keeping a secret from y’all and I just can’t live with it anymore. I have a miracle stain remover recipe that has time and again proven to work on some of the most stubborn stains. Recently, Pretty Handsome Guy came back from a business trip with a stained button down shirt. It had wing sauce on it AND it had been allowed to settle for a few days AND he hadn’t pre-soaked it or used any stain remover. (Have I not taught him anything?! Sigh.) I thought for sure the shirt was a goner. But, I decided to put my miracle stain remover recipe to the test. Low and behold after 24 hours of soaking in the concoction, the stain was magically gone! No scrubbing, it was simply gone. Can I apply for a magic wand now?

I can’t lay claim to the recipe. I found it on a local “Mommy” message board back when I was a new mom. But, this recipe has worked on more stains than I can count.


I mixed up a batch today to try on one of my son’s shirts that got blueberry jelly on it. My mom tried to wash it and get the stain out, but it was still there after laundering. Normally once a stain goes through the dryer it is set in. But, that didn’t deter the Miracle Stain Remover. Sit back and learn young Jedis (we just let the boys watch Star Wars the first time last week, so it is on my brain.)

Ingredients:

1 scoop of Oxi-Clean
1 scoop of Liquid Clorox 2
1 scoop of Cascade powder dishwashing detergent (or another powered brand.)

Fill your basin with warm water then add the oxi-clean, clorox 2 and dish detergent. Give it a swirl and mix until the powders dissolve and bubbles form.

Place the stained garment into the mixture, being sure the stain is submerged. After two hours you can take a peek! My stain was gone.

For tougher stains, let it soak overnight. Remove the clothing to behold the miracle! Normally I will throw the garment into the wash, but you could simply rinse and dry it.

And, this formula is also safe for colors as well!

Laundry Detergent…

In the spirit of sharing, I also came across this recipe for laundry detergent from Busy-at-Home. It is so stinkin’ inexpensive, you won’t believe how much it costs to make. But first, have you seen the price of laundry detergent lately?! 150 oz. for “gulp” $21! Whereas the recipe I made yielded 250 oz. for….are you ready for this…$0.61! Yup, if you don’t believe me, you can see Busy-at-Home’s calculations. She figured out she would save 97% on detergent by making her own.

And the best news is that it is safe for HE washers. You only need 1/4 cup per load. The recipe was derived from Michelle Duggar’s own laundry room.

I mixed up the recipe (which contains only three simple ingredients: Borax, Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda – NOT BAKING SODA – and Fels-Naptha.) All of these ingredients can be found at your local supermarket and/or Walmart. You might have to hunt a little to find them since the major laundry detergents have the prime spots on the shelves. I used a 2.5 gallon water jug to store our detergent (complete with easy pour spout!)

I’ve used the detergent for a few weeks (and a dozen loads) so far. It works great. The only thing I miss is the linen scent of the detergent I was using. But, for 3/100th of the cost I can deal!!!

Drying clothes…

And since I’m talking laundry today, this post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning my secret weapon for drying clothes.

Nellie's Dryer Balls

They look like medieval torture devices, but these little blue guys have completely kicked our fabric softener sheets to the curb! I haven’t used them in over 4 years now! At first I was concerned about static (the bane of my hair’s existence), but then a friend told me that you can eliminate static by not letting your clothes over dry. Simply shut off the dryer when your clothes are about 95% dry. Don’t let the dryer run and run and run until the clothes are piping hot and there isn’t a spot of dampness on them. Instead, let the moisture sensor (if you have one) do its job and it should shut off right before the clothes are dry. The waist bands in jeans or sweatpants may feel slightly damp, but everything else feels dry. And most importantly, pull out fleece, polyester, and synthetic clothes about half way through the cycle.

The dryer balls (you should use two) work together to punch, separate, fluff and dry your clothes. They also help keep wrinkles to a minimum, but I’m not afraid of a few wrinkles (see my no iron solution to wrinkles post.) The Nellie’s Dryer Balls cost $16.99, but the cost savings of not using dryer sheets is definitely worth it. Plus, you don’t have to stress about the chemicals that are in dryer sheets. These little wonder balls (I can’t believe I just typed that) last forever! I have been using mine for over four years. They start to get darker on the nubs from dye in your clothing, but it doesn’t transfer and it doesn’t hurt their effectiveness.

Nellie's Dryer Balls

Nellie’s Dryer Balls

That’s all for today. I’m taking off my June Cleaver outfit now and returning to my normal Bob Vila attire.
Disclosure: No disclosure necessary today. I was not paid to write about any of these products and none of them were sent to me for free. These are all products that I use and love!

Best of Pretty Handy Girl 2011

It’s the end of the year and I know y’all have been busy. So, I thought I’d give you the cliff notes version of Pretty Handy Girl in 2011.

Gift Bucket Liner from Goodwill Pants

How to Paint a Dandelion Wall Mural

Fork Photo and Note Holder

Spring Paper and Button Flowers

How to Paint Doors the Professional Way

 

How to Paint Like a Pro Series:

 

Build Your Own Ladder Display Shelves

Photography Secrets for Shooting Indoors

 

Toilet Repairs Series:

 

Dream Big Butterfly Window

Backlit Cut Out Bookcase

Rustic Wine Crate

How to Replace an Ugly Hollywood Strip Light

Board and Batter Tutorial

How to Make a Branch Towel Bar

Light Bulb Comparison

How to Install Low Voltage Landscape Lighting

Ombré Paint Chip Lampshade

 

Cabinet Door Revamped to Chalkboard Message Board

Kitchen Cabinet Turned into Shoe Storage Bench

 

Dollar Tree Placemat Garden Flag

 

Beveled Glass Light Fixture Ornaments

DIY Matchbox Car Race Track

 

And Finally, A Whole Slew of Power Tool Tutorials:

Compound Miter Saw

Jig Saw

Finish Nailer and Compressor

Cordless Drill

Circular Saw

Table Saw

Band Saw

I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited for 2012! I hope you’ll stick around for some more DIY tutorials and empowerment!

Did you have a favorite post of mine this year that I forgot to mention? Do tell! Chosing from almost 200 posts makes for some tough decisions.

Irwin Tools Giveaway

Irwin_tools

Irwin Tools has graciously donated a pair of groove lock pliers and a Universal saw to my readers. They have sent me various tools over the past few months to try, and I can honestly say that they have all been top notch and many have exceeded my expectations!

I have been using my own pair of groove lock pliers around the house. You saw them in action in these posts:

Replacing a Flush Lever:

Retrieving Dropped Objects from the Drain:

Removing Door Knobs and Latches:

I think it is fair to say that my groove lock pliers have become my right hand assistant. I may have even used them to undo a stuck mod podge jar lid (shhhhh, don’t tell Irwin.)

And the Universal Saw crushed my hand saw in a sawing competition:

I know you will really like these tools. They have ergonomically designed handles and are very comfortable to use. They make a great addition to any DIYer’s workshop.

Here is how you can enter to win!   Sorry this giveaway has ended.

 

 

Fixing Common Door Problems

strike-plate-adjustable

Do you have a door that sticks or doesn’t close properly? You are not alone. Many factors can contribute to this problem (house settling, humidity, dry air, young boys swinging on them.) Without being able to control the reasons, it is important to know how to fix a door that rubs or doesn’t close properly.

First, step back and look at the gaps between the door and the frame.

Look closely and notice where there are no gaps as well.

This will give you an idea where you need to make adjustments. For my closet door, I need to move the top slightly to the right and the bottom in to the left.

The easiest adjustments you can make on a door is to tighten or loosen the hinge screws. On my closet door (shown above) I loosened the top hinge screws to increase the gap and tightened the bottom hinge screws to reduce the gap.

Before you break out the power tools, be sure to don a pair of these:

I am loving my new Safety Goggles with Clear Anti-Fog Lens that my friend Sandra turned me on to. The only complaint I have is that everytime I put them on, I spontaneously start making funny faces.

But hey, how many other excuses can you have for making funny faces! So, I’ll keep ‘em.

To adjust my closet door, I loosened the hinges where the gap was nearly non-existent and tightened the hinges where the gaps were large.

Much to my dismay, the door still didn’t close properly.

Sometimes you need to shim your hinges to bring them out from the door frame further. My preferred “shim” for this task is recycled cereal boxes or chipboard. Cut the shape of your hinge into the chipboard. (Be sure to cut two because you might need more than one thickness of cardboard.)

Simply set the cardboard behind the shim and re-insert the screws. Don’t tighten them too much. This should put more distance between the door frame and the door.

Unfortunately, this DID NOT solve my closet door problem. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the one hinge did not sit flush with the door frame.

It was time to break out the big guns.

Or the little guns: like my cordless Dremel. If you don’t have a Dremel, you can use a chisel and a hammer, or in a pinch I’ve been known to use a flat head screwdriver as a chisel. The goal is to remove some wood from the door or the frame so that the hinge can sit flush with the frame. In my case I had to remove a little from both.

I used the sanding attachment on my dremel and it made quick work of removing the wood within the hinge cut out.

Sometimes, the door sticks on the top of the frame. If you have tried to adjust the hinges and it still sticks, you need to plane the top. This doesn’t involve buying a ticket or boarding an airplane. Planing is removing material from the edge of wood. You can try using sand paper with a coarse grit to sand it down, but if that doesn’t work, reach for one of these:

This is a hand plane. The plane has been around for centuries! Some have been found in excavations in medieval Europe and Asia. As you run the planer across the top of the door it literally shaves off some of the wood. Simple design, but very effective.

Occasionally, you may encounter a door that doesn’t latch all the way. The door closes, but the latch won’t set into the strike plate (the cutout hole in the door frame.) If you look closely, your interior door strike plate may have a small screw holding a bar on.

Loosen this screw and pull the bar out from the door jamb slightly.

Tighten it and try closing your door again. Continue to adjust the latch until it sets properly and your door stays closed.

That pretty much sums up fixing common door problems. Next time you have an issue with your door, be sure to “Mind the Gap”. Sorry, just a little british humor.

On a completely unrelated topic, I caught some of the excitement surrounding the upcoming royal wedding on the news today. Several networks have sent their reporters to London.

It was exciting seeing some of the spots that I visited last year while Pretty Handsome Guy and I toured London (in 3 days).

I was thinking about sharing a few photos from our trip, but I also completely understand if you want me to stick to the DIY topics. Let me know, okay?!

 

Sharing the tutorial with these tutorial link parties:

Tip Junkie handmade projects

 

 

 

The Lettered Cottage

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 removes, 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.

How NOT to Replace an Escutcheon

Drain-all-sinks

Our downstair’s bathroom is a little retreat for me from the boys. It is a great place to catch up on my Country Living magazines and if I bring my iPhone with me I can check email. Best of all the boys know to respect my privacy (well, most of the time.)

When we first moved in Pretty Handsome Guy accidentally leaned against the TP holder and pushed it through the wall. I patched it and painted the brush stroke texture on the walls trying to hide the poor condition of the walls.

Unfortunately, spending that much time in that bathroom gave me lots of time to focus on all the imperfections. The uneven paint where the trim meets the wall, the dinged, scratched and pocked wall, the beech veneer vanity, and the NASTY RUSTY ESCUTCHEON.

Es-car-go what? An escutcheon is the metal collar that covers the hole in the wall where a plumbing pipe extends out of the wall.

So, in a spur of the moment decision, I decided to give the whole room a facelift. I know, from one little escutcheon to an entire room refresh, that’s how I roll.

First things first, I told that rusty eyesore that he was coming out TODAY!

I’ve replace the escutcheons on several of our shower heads. They are really easy to replace. Simply unscrew the shower head, slip off the old U-G-L-Y escutcheon and slip on the new one, then screw the shower head back on. Easy peasy!!! So, I figured replacing the toilet’s water supply line escutcheon would be just as easy.

First, I turned off the water to the whole house. Then I drained all the faucets (if you don’t drain the upstairs faucets as well as the downstairs, then you will have a lot of water being pulled down by gravity when you open up your supply line.

When the faucets ran dry, I placed a bucket under the water supply line (some water will still drip out), then removed the braided line going to the toilet.

Next l grabbed my super strength Irwin groove lock plyers. With the long handles and adjustable grip, these are my new “go to” pliers. I began to turn the water supply line, lefty loosey. I turned, and turned, and turned, and turned.

Finally, I realized that it wasn’t unscrewing. Ooops! I guess it wasn’t a threaded nut. (I will be checking that nut for the next few months to make sure that it isn’t leaking now that I loosened it.)

Okay, on to Plan B (because I am good to my word and I promise that escutchen that he was gone, TODAY!) I went back to my tool stash and I grabbed these suckas! That’s right escutcheon, quake in your boots!

These are my tin snips (okay they really need a more macho name like Tin Destroyer!) Escutcheon, say your goodbyes! And within one easy snip, that rusty, nasty ring was HISTORY!

To put the new one on I made a cut through the new ring and then rotated the two edges in opposite directions.

I slipped it over the supply line and bent it back into shape. By positioning the cut section on the bottom, you don’t even notice it!

AND WOW, look at how that new escutcheon just brightens up that little corner under the toilet. It even distracts your eye from the uneven trim paint and the dark purple walls! Ha, ha, yes, this is a true after pictures. I’ll be sharing with you more this week on “How to Prep a Room for Painting”; “How to Paint a Room Like a Professional”; “How to Paint Doors, the Right Way”; and maybe more.

Okay, gotta go, I have a few more finishing touches to put on my retreat half bathroom. Check back soon to see the progress.

Help! Dropped a Pin Down the Drain (You CAN Get It Back!)

PinSweater

While I was working on my Goodwill sweater, I accidentally dropped one of the pins down the drain. Now, I could have just left it there, but my “Ms. Fix-It” brain knew that I couldn’t do that. If I left it, I would be dealing with a clogged drain in a month since it would trap all kinds of hair and unmentionable gunk. So, I did the “right” thing and set about retrieving it myself. (And, blogging about it so you know what to do as well.)

IMPORTANT! If you do happen to drop anything down the drain, turn off the water IMMEDIATELY! You don’t want the water to wash the item beyond the drain, because then it is gone forever (unless you want to explore your city sewer lines.)

Tools:

Channel Lock Style Wrench/Pliers
Basin
Rubber Gloves

 

1. Put on your rubber gloves (who knows what’s hiding in your drain!)

2. Set the basin under your sink’s P-trap.

3. Then grab some channel lock type pliers. Irwin recently sent me this quick release hex shaped groove-lock pliers that are a snap to open and close the jaws. Just push the button, slide the handle up or down and release. Super quick and easy!

4. Loosen the lower slip nut ring.

Then slide it up to release one end of the P-trap.

5. Loosen the upper /upper slip nut ring (pay no attention to the slip nut I’m loosening, I actually had to loosen the one above it to free my P-trap.)

6. Then pull down on the P-trap to remove it (you will see in this picture that I had loosened the slip nut higher up to release the drain assembly.) Ewww, gross, don’t look at that string of hair hanging from the drain.


7. (Here comes the next disgusting part.) Turn your P-trap upside down to empty the contents into the basin. Oh and be sure you are wearing your rubber gloves (do as I say, not as I do!)

8. Remove your object. Luckily my pin fell out immediately. If your drain is really gunked up, you may need to run some water or use an old bottle brush to clean out the P-trap and release your object from the yuckiness. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to clean it out anyway while you have it off (if you can stomach it.)

9. Reverse the steps to re-assemble the P-trap. With plumbing I usually hand tighten the nuts and then use the pliers to give it an extra 1/4 turn (but I’m a weakling. If you battle me in arm wrestling YOU WILL WIN!)

10. When your spouse comes home, brag about how you retrieved something from the drain all by yourself!

Coming up next week, another giveaway! What, so soon? Well, Elizabeth contacted me and wants to reward one of my lucky readers. Thanks Elizabeth!

Sharing this tutorial at:The Lettered Cottage