Category Archives: Home Improvements

How to Install a Vapor Barrier

How to Install a Vapor Barrier

The building envelope comprises the following physical structures – foundation, roof, doors and windows. These physical structures protect the building from external physical dangers, but they are permeable enough to transfer water vapor from the air into the insides of the building or vice versa. Water vapor can harm the insulation of the building, apart from causing physical damage to the walls, windows, and other physical structures. Thus arises the need of a vapor barrier. A vapor barrier refers to any physical structure made up of plastic or metal foil, which prevents the diffusion of moisture from external surroundings to the internals of a building. it can be used to protect the floor, ceilings and walls of a building from moisture intrusion. It is sometimes referred as a vapor retarder, as it retards or stops the flow of moisture into the interiors. But these barriers are often excluded from the construction plan or are just installed incorrectly.

Purpose of a Vapor Barrier
As was mentioned earlier, a vapor barrier helps prevent the diffusion of moisture and water into the interiors of a building. The moisture can cause lots of harm, as it can affect the insulation system of the building. Due to changes in the atmospheric pressure, especially in the winter season, water vapor travels from the interiors of a building to the outside surface, which is comparatively much cooler. As the temperature of the vapor reaches dew point, the water vapor condenses. Condensation harms all the building envelope components, no matter what they are made of. It causes the wooden structures to rot and also rusts the steel. Installing a vapor barrier prevents this condensation problem and thus also prevents the insulation system from damage. Note that water vapor can permeate the building from anywhere, be it the basement (through the soil), walls (surrounding air), or even the roof.

Installing One

Aluminum foil
Polythene plastic sheet
Glass sheets
Metal sheets
Vapor retarder paints
Paper backed aluminum
Asphalt-coated kraft paper
Extruded polystyrene
Metalized film

Vapor barriers are preferred by home owners who want to prevent their house structures from water damage. They are literally a requirement in chilly weather conditions, and should be installed on the insides of the building envelope. It should preferably be installed on the warmer side of the insulation. This is because, water vapor condensation (which is to be prevented) occurs when the water vapor moves from the warm side of the wall to the cold side. Barriers should preferably be installed on the inside of the rooms, and installing them on both the sides of the insulation should be avoided, as it taps harmful amounts of moisture. The installation is very easy and can be done by anyone.

Step 1: The surface on which the barrier is to be installed should be dry and free from any kinds of debris. Fill all the gaps, like on the window sides or on the doors with caulk. This would make the surface consistent and plain.
Step 2: Choose a proper material for the vapor barrier. The most commonly used material for vapor bags is polythene. They are available in different sizes (from 8 feet to 20 feet) and also thickness. Just make sure that the material you choose is of good quality. Now spread this material on the surface neatly. When installing it on the wall, make sure that the material is enough and some part of it falls below the base level. This will prevent the water from seeping in again into the walls.
Step 3: To fix the barrier, you just need to nail or staple it. Nailing or stapling the barrier is just enough to keep it fixed.
Step 4: Seal the creases using a waterproof tape. There are specially designed tapes available for this very purpose.
Step 5: To prevent damage to the newly installed barrier, apply finish to the wall within 1 month. You are done.

Hope the article will help you install a vapor barrier. This will help you prevent the corrosion of the walls due to moisture, and safeguard the walls and other house structures for a long time.

How to Fix a Hole in the Wall

How to Fix a Hole in the Wall

Holes are easily formed on your wall due to various reasons, like, removing the nails used for fixtures, regular wiring, plumbing, etc. If you find that the walls in your house have been damaged due to any of the aforementioned reasons, then simply follow the step-by-step instructions given below.

Materials Required

Putty knife or chisel
Broad knife
Patching plaster
Latex bonding agent
White-pigmented shellac
Dusting brush
Sanding paper


Step 1
Clean out the loose material around the hole using a chisel and then dust off this area with a dusting brush.

Step 2
Next, take the latex bonding agent and dampen the edges of the hole. Read the manufacturer’s instructions before mixing and applying it.

Step 3
Now you’ll need the patching plaster. Read the manufacturer’s instructions and prepare the mix accordingly. Using a broad knife you have to apply the plaster to fill up the hole. A single layer is usually enough for small holes.

Step 4
In case of deep holes, you would need an extra layer. In this case, after applying the first layer in the hole, press it inside and let it set for about 30 minutes.

Step 5
After 30 minutes, take a nail and score the surface. This will help fix the next layer properly. Now let the first layer dry for about a day.

Step 6
Now it’s time to apply the second layer of patching plaster. This layer will fill up the hole and will make the wall surface even. Wait for 2-3 hours after application.

Step 7
The primary procedure is over, it’s time to give the finishing touches. Using the patching plaster in a creamy consistency by adding water, apply a smooth coat over the hole. Clean the surrounding area and wait for next 30 minutes.

Step 8
Dampen the sponge and use it to smooth the plastered patch, blend it well into the surrounding surface.

Step 9
You can apply a coat of paint similar to the existing wall color. Once it dries off slightly, sand the area to make it look even. Finish by applying the white-pigmented shellac.

If you are worried if the hole is bigger than expected, then it is best to call a professional to do this task. He/she will be able to do it perfectly. In case you don’t have enough time to work on the holes, just hang a frame, fix a wallpaper, or any other type of wall decoration items, so that this hole is not visible.

The Basic Set of Tools No Homeowner Should be Without

The Basic Set of Tools No Homeowner Should be Without

For new homeowners, the shift away from having a landlord or maintenance professional handle every little problem that goes wrong in an apartment or rented home can be a bit shocking. Rather than making a phone call and having someone magically appear to fix a leaky toilet, malfunctioning furnace, or patch holes in drywall, the new homeowner must learn to be self-sufficient or, alternatively, pay the price to have a professional come in to correct small issues.

For the enterprising sort, or for those who simply do not wish to absorb the costs of paying someone to fix small issues―which is always a shock after living in a maintenance-free rental environment―learning some basics and acquiring the requisite tools to perform the most common household tasks is a good first step. Without further ado, here is a quick list that can be very helpful in overcoming what new homeowners are likely to face.

The Real Basics
Most major home improvement stores and hardware stores will carry tool sets that include the most commonly-used tools, which can then be supplemented with a few extras. These are the things that most people will have acquired along the way prior to owning a home, though for those who are not very handy, perhaps becoming a homeowner will represent the first foray into ‘do it yourself’ repair. A good set of basic hand tools should include the following:

Claw Hammer
Tape Measure
Submarine Level
Screwdrivers―Multiple Sizes (Regular and Phillips)
Adjustable Wrench
Pliers (Regular and Needle Nose)
Channel Locks
Hex Wrenches
Extension Cord

Cordless Drill
The very first tool to purchase beyond the basics noted above should be a cordless drill. And if you’ll be spending a lot of money on any given tool, this is the one to spend it on. Cordless drills have come a long way since their inception, and 18-Volt models should be good for most homeowners. There are options with more and less battery power, but any less is generally less effective for actually drilling (the drill can also be used as a powerful driver) and any more is generally unnecessary at the homeowner level. Buying an extra battery is also a good move, and if the drill, battery and charger are properly cared for, they will last a long time. Be sure to pick up a set of bits and drivers as well, in multiple sizes. In the future, for those who wish to get into more and more improvement projects, there are a variety of attachments and bits that can be used for a wide variety of applications.

Power Tools
For the most part, the average homeowner will never need power tools, beyond the cordless drill. However, for the more adventurous, power tools can take projects to the next level. The most basic power tools to consider, and that have the widest array of applications, are the circular saw, the reciprocating saw, the miter saw (for cutting moldings) and the table saw. For some, adding in an electric drill will also be a good idea, but an 18-Volt cordless drill, noted above, will be sufficient for most projects.

Lawn and Garden Equipment
Which tools to purchase for lawn maintenance and gardening is largely a product of the homeowner’s environment. Those dwelling in the city may need nothing more than a garden hose to spray down their concrete backyard. For those in the suburbs or rural areas, however, the needs expand greatly. Obviously, a push mower will work for small yards, while a riding mower will be warranted for yards approaching an acre or more. For those with larger yards, a large-deck (48 inches or more) mower with a small or zero-turn radius might be a good idea. Beyond that, here is a selection of garden tools that should be purchased for the homeowner with a medium- to large-sized yard to maintain.

Garden Rake
Leaf Rake
Hedge Trimmers
String Trimmer or ‘Weed-eater’
Post-hole Digger

These tools and appliances should suffice for most home improvement or repair projects. If you need anything more than this, then it might be more advisable to call in for professional help.

How to Install Hinges

How to Install Hinges


Hinges are normally installed on doors, boxes, and kitchen cabinets to facilitate movement. The various types available can also help you determine the extent to which you want the door to open. Beautiful and innovative styles of hinges can also enhance your home decor to a great extent. Installing them is not a very complex procedure and can be easily done on your own.

Installing Door Hinges

Step 1
Before you start installing hinges on your door, you must decide which way your door will open, to determine their placement. Some of them work both ways as they are reversible, while some of them will have specific left or right markings on them.

Step 2
Normally hinges are installed at 5 inches from above the door frame and 10 inches from below it. You will need to mark these positions on the door frame where you will be installing them. Remove already present hinges in case you are replacing them.

Step 3
Place the hinge on its position and trace it’s outline on the door frame. Use a pencil or an erasable marker for this. Ensure that you trace the exact height and width of the hinge. As you will be attaching it to the door frame with screws, mark those places as well.

Step 4
Pick up a chisel and hammer to jab the marked outline area on the door frame. This will form a depression for you to install the hinge. Remove any wood splinters in this area to clear it for the hinge to fit in.

Step 5
Take the hinge, and with help of screws, fix it at its determined place. If it is done properly, you will notice that the hinge is level with the door frame and is fixed firmly in its position. Attach the other half in its position(following steps 2, 3 and 4), all the while referring your instruction manual, in case there are any particular directions you need to follow. Use a hinge pin to connect the two halves.

Installing Hinges on a Box

Step 1
Hold the wood box and lid in such a way that you can easily access all points in the box and lid. Keep the lid on the box in the way it would appear when the box is closed.

Step 2
Take your hinges and keep them on the box like you would want them to be installed. Their position should, ideally, be 4 inches from ends of the lid. Bear in mind, the top leaf of the hinge should be straight in line with the top of the lid. Make markings for screws with pencil through the top leaf holes on hinges.

Step 3
Keep the hinges aside and with the help of a drilling machine, drill holes at the screw markings you just made. The holes should not be bigger in diameter than the screws you are going to fit through them. Put the hinges back in position, insert screws through the holes, and tighten them with a screwdriver.

Step 4
For the bottom leaf of the hinge, make hole markings with a pencil. Remove the hinges, drill holes, fix the hinges, and tighten them with screws. You have successfully installed hinges on a box.

You should be able to perform the task, at the most, in an hour. However, if you want to install hinges which are a little more complex in structure, call for a carpenter to help you out.