Workbench Weekly eTip
 

Archive for February, 2009

The Right Way to Repair a Broken Window Pane

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Replacing single-pane glass isn’t difficult. But there are a few simple techniques that will ensure the glass is sealed well and that the new glazing stays in place for the long haul.

Before you start, gather your tools and supplies. For tools you’ll need a utility knife, putty knife, gloves for handling the broken glass, pliers, sandpaper, and a paint brush. You may want a heat gun to soften the old glazing compound. Supplies include exterior primer, glazing points for attaching the glass, glazing compound, and new glass.

Replacing the glass is easier if you can remove the sash and lay it flat. But you can work on it in place if necessary.

To size the glass correctly, measure the height and width of the opening, and then subtract 1?8″ from each dimension. That gives a little clearance for fitting the glass into place.

The next step is removing the old broken glass. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the sharp edges.

Now use a utility knife to dig out the old glazing. Be careful not to gouge the wood. If the old glazing is hard, you can soften it with a heat gun. Use pliers to remove the glazing points that held the old glass.

Next, sand the area to ensure a clean, smooth surface. Then brush a coat of primer on the exposed wood.

Before setting the glass into the opening, you need to create a seal by putting a thin coat of glazing compound on the stop that the glass rests against. An easy way is to roll glazing putty into a 1?8″-diameter “rope.” Lay this on the glass stop, and then flatten it by hand. Now press the glass carefully into the compound (Fig. 1), and secure it with glazing points every 4″ to 6″.

Next, push glazing compound into place around the perimeter of the glass (Fig. 2). Neatness doesn’t count. You’ll smooth the glazing in the next step.

Use a putty knife or glazier’s tool to smooth the putty and remove excess compound (Fig. 3). Then reinstall the sash. Let the compound cure (which takes up to two weeks) before you paint.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

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A Properly Tuned Door

Friday, February 20th, 2009

The space under the door is a notorious spot for air infiltration. Thankfully, many doors have an adjustable threshold for achieving a tight seal (Illustration). But first you need to tighten the door hinges.

Start by making sure the screws that attach the hinges to the door are tight. Then check the screws that attach the hinges to the door jamb. At least one screw in each hinge should be a long one that passes through the jamb and into the wall stud (Hinge Detail). If none is, replace one of the existing screws in each hinge with a #12 × 3″ screw.

Now you can adjust the threshold. To do this, lay a couple of dollar bills on the threshold, and then close the door. You should be able to pull the bills out with moderate resistance. If they slide out easily, turn the screws in the face of the threshold to raise it. You may have to repeat this several times to get the right fit.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (12 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
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Make a Patch for a Seamless Drywall Repair

Friday, February 13th, 2009

If you accidently push a doorknob through the wall, all is not lost. Here’s what you need to know to fix the problem.

A doorknob can punch a remarkably clean-looking hole, but chances are the surrounding drywall will be cracked and weakened.

So the first thing to do is cut out the area using a drywall saw to make a 6″-square opening. This should remove the damaged drywall. Plus, it’s much easier to cut a square patch than a round one.

Next, fit a couple of scraps into the the opening, and drive screws through the drywall into the scraps to secure them so they span the opening (Illustration). Now cut a piece of drywall to fit, and then screw it to the scraps.

Now you can tape and fill the seams. Spray on a bit of texture, and you’re ready to paint.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (16 votes, average: 3.75 out of 5)
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Get the Most from Your Water Heater

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Keeping a water heater working its best doesn’t take much. It just needs to be cleaned to get rid of sediment that builds up in the tank. This sediment reduces capacity and makes the water heater less efficient. To see why, you first need to understand how a water heater works.

Photo

A water heater is really just a big tank in an insulated shell. A burner (in a gas-fired heater) warms the water to a specified temperature (Illustration).

Because the water sits in the tank until needed, minerals and other solids in the water have ample time to settle and collect at the bottom of the tank. As this sediment builds up, it reduces tank capacity.

The sediment also creates a barrier between the water in the tank and the burner below. That means the burner has to run longer to heat the water, which has a big impact on utility bills.

Getting rid of the sediment is easy, though. Every six months, you simply need to drain off the water and sediment (Photo). If there’s no floor drain near the water heater, you can simply use a bucket, or hook up a hose to the valve and direct it to a drain. Either way, just be careful. The water will be very hot.

By the way, the drain valve on most water heaters is plastic, and it can crack if you overtighten it. But this is easy to get around. Just drain the tank completely one time and install a quality valve like the one shown in the Photo.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (19 votes, average: 4.26 out of 5)
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