17 Smarter Renovation and Home Improvement Tips
These home improvement tips will help you to work smarter in every remodeling or renovation project
1. Limit the Mess and Get the Job Done
Sometimes major demolition inside the house is unavoidable. You can limit the pain and discomfort this causes by moving the debris out of the house quickly and getting rid of it promptly.
2. Make a List
Whether you use a block of wood, a piece of cardboard or a notebook, always have a pencil and something to write on so you can keep track of the materials, tools and supplies .
3. Lay Down a Protective Path
It's impossible to demo a wall or bust up a floor without making a mess. Use scrap pieces of carpet and use them as pathways to protect the flooring in other areas of the house. Make sure to flip the carpet upside down so the abrasive backing won't scratch the finish on wood floors. Canvas drop cloths are still the best method for protecting stair treads.
4. Save Those Buckets
They work great for mixing, hauling heavy debris, storing water, dragging tools in and out and sitting on. There's a reason why home centers sell empty ones. Never, ever throw away a usable bucket!
5. Bring Plenty of Garbage Cans
Bring at least two. Put them wherever the mess is being made—like next to the miter saw to drop in cutoffs. You're best off with sturdy medium-size cans that are easier to carry. Garbage bags work fine for stuffing in old insulation but little else.
6. Throw Together a Junk Station
7. Organize Tools By the Job
Organize your toolboxes and storage bins according to the work that needs to be done. A box for plumbing tools, electrical, drywall, etc.
8. Install Temporary Lighting
Plug-in work lights take up precious outlets and are always being tripped on or moved around. As soon as you have power to the lighting receptacles, consider installing temporary lighting. Home centers and hardware stores sell the lighting for a few dollars, and wiring it is as simple as turning a couple of wire nuts.
9. Bring Extra Fasteners
Dedicate a toolbox just for fasteners. You may think you’ll need only two different size screws to finish your job, but it rarely works out that way. And keep a variety of bits along with the fasteners; that way you'll always have the right bit with the right screw.
10. Smaller Compressors for Smaller Jobs
Mini compressors are a must for smart remodeling. They're light and inexpensive and easy to carry right to the area you're working in.
11. Separate Your Lumber
When you unload lumber at a job site, set the studs, top plates and bottom plates in different piles. Also, moving lumber from one side of the room to the other is not an efficient use of time, so make sure your pile is located in a close but out-of-the-way location.
12. Pull Those Nails
A good rule of thumb: “Never let a chunk of lumber leave your hand until you've dealt with the nails.” If you aren't going to reuse the wood, just bend the nails over. Stepping on a nail is a bad way to remember that it's been 10 years since your last tetanus shot.
13. Faster Concrete Fastening
A concrete screw installation tool allows you to use one tool without having to switch between a masonry bit and a screw-driving bit. Just drill the hole and slip the driver shaft over the masonry bit and then sink the screw. If you have a bunch of concrete fasteners to install, it's definitely worth the money (about $30 at home centers). The Tapcon version is one of several brands.
14. Make Big Pieces
Take a little extra time to find the seams between the sheets of drwywall, and cut them open with a utility knife. Then bust out a couple of holes for your hands to fit through. Tug and wiggle the drywall away from the studs until the screw heads break through.
15. Be a Smart Packer
Renting a trash bin isn't cheap, so take advantage of every square inch of it. Long boards should always run the length of the container. Set in large, hollow items like bathtubs or sinks open side up so you can fill them in instead of creating a void. Use small pieces to fill in and around large ones. If your trash bin has a door, don't park the bin so close to the house that you can’t open it. Walking in heavy items is a lot easier than lifting them over the side. Also, make sure you order the proper size. If you explain your project to the sanitation company, the staff should be able to suggest a bin size that’s right for your project.
16 Make a Plastic Passage
Hanging sheets of plastic from the ceiling is a good way to isolate a room that's being remodeled. But instead of hanging one continuous sheet to keep the dust in, hang two and overlap them 4 ft. or so. That way you'll have a handy door to walk through.
17. Knock it Off From the Back Side
Who says you have to pull drywall from the wall? If the drywall on one side of a wall has already been removed, pound off the other side from the back with a sledgehammer. You should be able to remove several large chunks at a time.
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