Painting Trim Around Windows – Tips

painting trim around windowsPainting trim around windows and floor mouldings can be challenging, but not if you have a trim guard (which is also called an edger). This is a must-have tool to make the job easy.

To use a trim guard hold on to the handle and press the metal blade of the gard against the surface you want to shield from the fresh paint.  For example, when painting a window, you can prevent paint from getting on the glass by holding the trim guard against the vertical and horizontal dividers.

To paint the dividers, use a one and a half inch sash brush and begin at the center the window working your way out toward an edge. Don’t drag your brush back across the edge because the corner will scrape off some paint and cause a drip or run.

When you’re painting the molding, press the train guard against the carpeting or the floor surface. One trick to help use this tool effectively is too frequently wipe both its edges to clean of any paint, otherwise you leave telltale paint smears as you go.

Designing a Kitchen Island

As I design the island for our kitchen the first step that I’m going to do is lay out our cabinet boxes, insert the fixtures and appliances, and then I’m going to move on and create this specialty shape countertop that’s raised above the cabinet by 6”.

Let’s close this rendering that I’ve completed already. In our floor plan view I want to select our base cabinet and I’m going to place a base cabinet that will begin as our sink, I’m going to rotate that front around and if I double click on this cabinet I actually want to set the width to be 39” for the sink base, then on the front let’s go ahead and remove that drawer by clicking delete. Now I’ve got a 39” cabinet that we can use for the sink base.

Chief Architect stovetopWith this cabinet I want that centered on the cook range that we got from our friends at Appliance Masters ( so again use the center tool in the lower left hand corner, select our cook range and now that’s centered. I also want that to be approximately 74” from that cook range, so I’ll go ahead and enter that dimension right in there.

Another base cabinet that we’ll use for a dishwasher we’ll place here, and finally let’s go in to our library here and I’ve already got a microwave cabinet that I’ve added in to my library. Let’s go ahead and place that, again you can group select these items and add them in to your library.

If you’ve added a specialty cabinet or group selected a cabinet with a fixture or lighting you can add that in. In the library let’s also open up our dishwasher, let’s click on this cabinet and insert that in to the cabinet and a sink. Scroll down and find our sink and these are just my favorites again that I’ve added in to my folder, you can easily add these or you can go out and search for another custom sink, appliance or use manufacturer specific elements.

Another base cabinet that we’ll put off to the side I want to make this a 21” and I also want to make this a pullout for a recycling center. I’m going to select this drawer here and press delete, I may even convert that, you can see the opening indicator and I want that to be a pullout so let’s set that to be a pullout drawer.

One more cabinet that will actually make a corner cabinet, stretch that out to be 36” and to convert that in to a corner cabinet I’m going to double click on it. First thing is I’m going to delete the drawer out of it and then for specialty type choose corner. With this corner cabinet I want to create a slight curvature to it, so I’m going to set a concave dimension of -3”. You see the preview updated, select okay and it looks like I’m going to have to rotate that around now.

One more cabinet off to the side, let’s go ahead and bump that in to place. On this cabinet I want it to be a bank of drawers so let’s go in add new, choose a drawer, give it a dimension and this bottom door we’ll convert in to a drawer. Now I have my bank of cabinets and the appliances and fixtures in for the island, the next step will be to create the stand off island.

Completing a Kitchen Design Plan Using Computer Software

Today we’re happy to continue on our series of articles chronicling our our journey through the wonderful world of computer aided design as we put together our new kitchen. We’ve been living in the same home for many years now, and while we love it, after visiting a few friends who had much newer, more modern homes, the kitchens in particular, really made us start dreaming of doing some serious upgrades. The problem was, at first we didn’t know where to start. And then, once we were shown a few options by some of our friends and professional acquaintances, we were overwhelmed with the options, and were scared into non-action for fear of ending up with something we didn’t really like. That’s why we were so happy when they introduced us to the option of using CAD like Cheif Architect to try out a variety of options before committing to any permanent changes. And the beauty o fit is, it didn’t take us very long to get comfortable with the process and really start having fun with it.

Chief Architect softwareFor example, you can also open up individual arch’s and specify the radius if you’d like as well. You can move these elements like this, and again if you want to create the different shapes just simply come in here and you can create that shape that you’re after. Smooth that out just a little bit and while it may not be exact, let’s go ahead and convert this using the convert tool down here in the lower left.

Chief Architect softwareConvert it to a countertop and again we’ll specify the height at 42” and the thickness at 3”, take a 3D overview and then we’ll change the material to the same orange material that we have. Let’s go ahead and use our material eyedropper, select that and apply that color. That’s how you go through and create that style of cabinet countertop, let me close this 3D view down.

The next step is I’m going to go ahead and delete that countertop that isn’t quite perfect, and we’ll move in the other countertop that has the exact dimensions and I’m just going to use a point to point move, and we’ll just snap that over here.

The next step to support this countertop is to use standoffs. A standoff is another CAD tool that we’ll use, and I’m just going to create a cylinder. Let’s go ahead and open up this cylinder and I want the radius to be 1.5 or 3” in diameter, and also to have a height of 3”, and finally the Z value which is floor to bottom we’ll set that to 36”.

Let’s go ahead and position that approximately where we want, and finally I’m going to use a multiple copy. I’m going to set that to be every 16” and we’ll create a copy of that standoff, and one more set the other way using the multiple copy tool and I’ve got my standoffs.

Let’s go back to our 3D view here and see if we can zoom in, with the remove surface tool we can simply remove the surface on that and you can see those standoffs. If I want to use our material eyedropper we’ll grab the stainless off of the faucet, make sure that it’s in room mode and I’ll apply that to all of our standoffs so they’re all now a stainless material. Add the countertop surface back and now we have our supported custom countertop.

Bathroom Hardware – Making The Most of Old Stuff

Austin 4Today we’re looking at renovating an old bathroom on the cheap. We want to make the most of this very important room in the house, just like we did with the kitchen, but we don’t want to break the (very small) bank in the process. So just like with our older, outdated appliances, we put a little elbow grease into them and got them working just fine again (with a bit of help from our friends at Appliance Masters of course! We can do the same thing with our bathroom hardware.

There is nothing wrong with this stem whatsoever so all I am going to do is replace the flat washer and the ring and put some new, what are they called? Packing, this is graphite rope or graphite string, its rubberized and I’m going to pack it inside and put the ring back on, I’m going to show you how to do all that stuff so now we either have this with us and if we don’t then we got to take all three of these pieces to the hardware store, so I’m going to back to a trip to the hardware store, okay so we’ve got everything we need, we have the replacement washer and the ring that we’re going to apply and so we have everything here with us that we need so let’s go ahead and get started, I’m going to go ahead and take this apart, take this off and put this to the side, now what I did was I went to a local hardware store and got what we call a pro valve pack and it’s got assorted flat washers in there.

old Bathroom HardwareI just so happen to have the fitting that I need so I got the new washer and I’m going to put this in, now again, take a look at this, this should fit in here exactly, okay? So it does then what I’m going to do is put that original screw and put it back in and I’ll tighten that up real quickly. Okay that is set and….by the way you don’t have to bear down on this whatsoever, just take it and get it finger tight, if you will, so what I’m going to do is to just go ahead and take a Philip screwdriver and screw it in like so, again when you tighten anything, you ought to go clockwise, so that’s done, don’t have to use any force in that whatsoever.

The next thing I’m going to do is to put the ring around this section here, it goes around the screw so you got to be real careful and just kind of roll it on, so now it’ll fit like so, alright? Then what I’m going to do is to put this back together and again it doesn’t turn clockwise, this is different, on this one It turns….to tighten this up, you probably go clockwise, but easily to unscrew and things like that, because see I’m going backwards, this is, this is the end that goes inside towards the wall so I’ve got that and that’s a good fit there, good seal, and so we’re good there, next thing I’m going to do is apply the packing that goes inside here and so what I’m doing here is just using what we call graphite valve packing and…you take this out, it’s kind of a rubbery feeling, it does stretch, does have some elasticity to it.

I’m just going to feed this in a little bit, wrap it around a couple of times and I’m going to go ahead and pull on it and let it stretch, that way it will fit inside, I’m just going to go around probably about three times there, okay? Now I’m going to take the cap here, push this in, unscrew this part here, hold everything, pack it in there and if you need to, you can take a screwdriver, kind of just take it like so and literally pack it in, okay? And screw that in like so, okay? And I’m having to unthread this a little bit where it will pack as a need, you have to do the best you can by hand first and then take your tools and tighten up this section right here and this section right here.


Backsplash Installation – Part 2

Continuing on from the first part of this article where’ we’re installing a mosaic tile backsplash in the kitchen…

finished backsplashOk so we got those full tiles on, now basically we are going to use a piece of the tile trim, the metals on the end, I already have one on that end so that will be the position that we are going to stop so at this point now, it’s going to be just as easy for me to cut some of these pieces all apart, the different sizes and put them in one by one as opposed to try and cut out the plug in out of one of these sheets. If you are using some square tiles, four by fours, six by sixes, two by twos whatever then you will be putting them on individually anyways and just cut them to fit around in electrical.

One thing with the electrical, with this style, the decor style of plugs and switches, you not only need to… if I can move this out of the way… you not only need to stay away from the hole in the box where the mounting screw for the receptacle or switch goes but you also need to stay away just below that where the mounting screw for the cover plate goes through. If you look right here, here is the mounting screw that goes in the box, right below this spot here is the little white screw that you will mount the cover with and you can actually see where that screw is indented the dry wall right here so you need to make sure that you don’t put any tile on those areas at all otherwise, you are going to have a hell of a time getting your switches in and also getting your covers to mount on there.

Just stay out of those areas. As long as you are close to that, just under it, the cover will cover the space anyway so you have to get up close and cover it. So if I just move these a little bit out of the way, I am going to put some mastic on the back, I have already figured out my position for this so I am just going to stick it on the wall right now so it’s… so I just put some mastic on the back of it like I did with the tile and I will just push it into position. Clean off a little bit of that excess so it doesn’t dry before we get to that. So this mastic is water based so you can simply clean it up, don’t leave it too long but you can clean it up with some warm water to get it off.

So I have got that stuck on there. Now what I need to do is fill in some of these rows so this bunch of tiles that I have is not only three different products, it’s also three different sizes as far as width and I don’t know how many lengths so there is a lot going on here, this one is a little more difficult to deal with because you have got so many choices, that one broke. Now you have to figure out what tiles are going to work where, what cuts you need to make and glue them individually onto the wall, so I am just going to keep working with that a little bit and that way I can show you how to cut them as well so this one will work just as a full tile.

grouting a tile backsplashSo just put some mastic on the back and stick it in the wall just like so. Now our next role is one of these little bit narrower types of tile so you kind of look at your pattern too, this one is pretty random so you try not to get in my case, try not to get too many colors. They are similar side by side, so this one’s going to have to be tucked, I’m just going to take a jiffy marker and you can either measure it or just hold it up there where you want it to be and put a marker line on it.

I’m going to come down here to my snap cutter and just line that up with a little scoring wheel on here and score the surface like that and then it’s got this foot here that just when you lean down you just push slightly down on it, it breaks the tile to a clean cut. Now that kind of fabric mashes on the back so you just have to cut it with a glass tiles that marker marked if it’s left on there, we’ll just wipe it off and put my factory end up to the end of the factory tile that is already on the wall, make sure I’m not on the way of where those screws are going to be, it looks good.

Put a little bit of mastic on there, these little tiles are a little tougher to work with, get them all in your hands, slide into the position you like, double check those holes and that one is there so I could just work my way up there all the way to the top and same thing out to this end. Now going back here I’ve got some full rows and both rows are this, it’s kind of up under the edge of the counter there, it’s maybe difficult for you to see but really it’s just the same process of what I just did down there by the plug in.

Just putting some mastic on, there’s nothing to cut around here for a little ways so I can just move them on, get my…no use in different sizes, get the joint staggering like that and just keep with my way along that. So that’s what I’ve been doing with these pieces that are left over, I’m kind of using them as strips for using them to get the strips out of that I need to finish the rows, best thing is that you cut a part pretty easily, it’s not a big issue to work with.

I’m just going to do a couple more here and I think that’s pretty much all you need to know for this….trying to keep the tiles clean as I can so there’s less to deal with cleaning it up before finishing. So that snap cutter that I was showing you, that’ll work for pretty much any type of tile, what it won’t be that good for or actually any good for at all is if you had some square tiles or some type of bigger tile like maybe it’s four by four just for an example and you need to cut a corner out of it like to go around say a plug-in or something, this cutter is not going to do that.

You’re going to need either a grinder with a cutting blade in it or you’re going to need a wet saw. So this snap cutter is really only good for straight cuts, we’re going completely across the tile so that’s the basics on installing a tile backsplash, lot of the principals are the same in installing any kind of tile on the wall other than if you’re in a wet area, you will definitely want to use a motor instead of a mastic but if you’re in a kitchen like this where those tiles aren’t constantly getting wet, the mastic is just fine.

So I think that’s the main thing, remember turning your power off once you’re all done, you can put the plugs and switches all back in like once it’s all grouted and put your covers on and everything should be good.