Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Tales from the Renovation Track: Tricks of the Trade That Make Home Repairs/Renos Much Easier and Complete

Collage: tools, construction, tools, women
Credits: MS Office ClipArt - j0285894

There are even more tricks of the trade that help a homeowner to improve DYI renovations.

Part 11c - Tidbits of Wisdom
During my work day I often run across a whole plethora of renovations completed by homeowners - some of which are done well or adequately. At the same time there are certain tricks of the trades that can make some of the repairs/renos much easier and complete.

Here are some of these tips:

5. Drywall mud. In the larger sizes, drywall mud comes in plastic buckets with lids or in a plastic bag in a cardboard box. It’s better to purchase the bucket because it is more reusable. When you use a bit of the drywall mud out of the plastic bag from the cardboard box and then reseal it for use for the next time round, the bits of mud dry at the top of the bag and then fall into the wet mud at the bottom of the bag when you open it. When you go to trowel this on, what you get are frustrating grooves where the dried mud drags through the wet stuff.

I had the chance to talk with a drywall contractor about this, and he told me he gets the plastic pails. When he has enough of them he will buy the mud in plastic bags and then put the mud into the cleaned pails. How he does this is by getting a grout sponge, wetting it and cleaning all the mud off the top of the newly opened bag. He then puts three wet spongefulls of water into the bag after the top is cleaned, rolls the bag of mud around and then drops it into a clean, reused drywall plastic pail. When you use the pails with the plastic lids make sure you scoop around the inside perimeter of the pail and remove any mud before storing so this mud won't dry and contaminate the wet stuff. Then for storage purposes, one can pour a skim coat of water on top of the wet mud, of, say 1/8 of an inch deep so the mud at the top won't dry out before you use it again. You should always put a little water in the mud at the start of using a fresh batch, as it smooths out better. Or, if using stored mud, just mix in the skim coat of water and you're in I am parging a wall business!

6. Admixtures. You can use white glue as an additive for concrete or drywall mud. I use it in concrete when I am doing smaller repairs as it assists the concrete to adhere to the old stuff. Or if, you can mix the white glue into the concrete, or conversely paint it on the wall first before applying the concrete.

I will put it in drywall mud particularly in repairs on cracked corners, where the building is moving continually, for instance in a trailer with drywall that heaves slightly in the springtime. Just use it in the mud used to put the tape on and use it carefully because it doesn't sand very well, so don't leave globs around to deal with later. As a matter of fact if you detest trying to get a smooth butt joint on drywall when dealing with the joints on the ends of the drywall that are not tapered you can take white glue only, spread it on the back of the paper tape and glue it down to the drywall without using any mud. This gives you less of a feathering out process to do and you don't get the bubbles forming from improperly applying the paper tape with mud.

A second admixture that a homeowner can add to concrete is dish detergent. Adding a small amount, like say a tablespoon to a batch of concrete creates an inexpensive air entrainment admixture. Air entrainment is adding microscopic air bubbles to concrete which creates voids in the concrete when it dries. In wintertime, when water freezes, it expands in volume and can crack concrete, but the microscopic bubbles leave spaces in the concrete where the water can expand into and prevents the concrete from cracking.

Happy Renovating!

Janice Bell
Bell Renovating
2009 © Janice Bell

Tales from the Renovation Track: One Woman’s Experiences of Being a Renovator
Part 1: All in All
Part 2: Weld on Fire
Part 3: They Were Nailed
Part 4: It Pays to Be Honest
Part 5: Rural Renos
Part 6: Messy Is Costly
Part 7: Door Hell
Part 8: Just Where Do I Stop?
Part 9: Dressing for the Trades

Part 10: Very Painterly
Part 11a: Tricks of the Trade: Recaulking bathtubs / Placing peel and stick tiles
Part 11b: Tricks of the Trade: Wheelbarrows / Cutting a plastic pipe
Part 11c: Tricks of the Trade: Drywall mud / Admixtures

links: How to Tape and Mud Drywall Drywall

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