If I Had a Hammer: Over 100 Easy Fixes and Weekend Projects

Overview

Have fun, save money, and improve your home with these easy step-by-step projects

Are you looking for a way to make your bathroom a little more beautiful? Or maybe you'd like to give your tired furniture a face-lift, improve your home's air quality, or fix a toilet. No matter your DIY needs and no matter whether you're a DIY novice or expert, home improvement guru Andrea Ridout, host of the nationally syndicated radio show Ask Andrea, has ...

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If I Had a Hammer

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Overview

Have fun, save money, and improve your home with these easy step-by-step projects

Are you looking for a way to make your bathroom a little more beautiful? Or maybe you'd like to give your tired furniture a face-lift, improve your home's air quality, or fix a toilet. No matter your DIY needs and no matter whether you're a DIY novice or expert, home improvement guru Andrea Ridout, host of the nationally syndicated radio show Ask Andrea, has ideas, expertise, and advice to share with you.

If I Had a Hammer offers easy-to-follow instructions and illustrations designed to make home improvement simpler than ever. With a little help from Andrea, you'll be able to tackle repairs, painting and decorating, bathroom and kitchen remodeling, wood care for furniture and floors, and much more with projects that often take as little as an hour. Also, you can try a few of Andrea's energy-conserving projects that can dramatically improve your utility bill—Andrea's projects are friendly on the environment and on your wallet! With If I Had a Hammer, you'll have the tools to keep your home functioning and looking as good as—or even better than—new.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Snappy and upbeat, radio celeb and remodeling expert Ridout offers some simple repair projects mixed with advice on cleaning, restoring, and redesigning. The no-nonsense tips and instruction are really quite good, conversational and simple. All aspects of the home are covered, including appliances, fixtures, surfaces, systems, and more. Many of these projects are easily found in larger DIY manuals, but the gems here are the great ideas-time-saving techniques, specific product recommendations, advice on when to call in professionals, etc. Ridout knows her stuff. Sadly, the lack of useful illustrations is a major detraction. Recommended for larger collections.


—Karen Ellis
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061353185
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/22/2008
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,425,574
  • Product dimensions: 7.37 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrea Ridout is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show Ask Andrea and is a frequent renovation expert on national and regional television programs. Her articles and advice have appeared in Reader's Digest, Woman's Day Home Remodeling, and Country Home, among many other publications. She lives near Dallas, Texas.

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Read an Excerpt

If I Had a Hammer
More Than 100 Easy Fixes and Weekend Projects

Chapter One

The Right Tool for the Right Job

Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Get the Job Done Right

The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work.
—Oprah Winfrey

Whether you are replacing a broken tile, regluing a wobbly chair frame, or waterproofing a deck, to complete any home maintenance project correctly and efficiently, you need the right tools. Half the fun of working around the house is learning to use the gizmos and gadgets that help you achieve your goal.

We'll begin this chapter with my picks for the top-ten household tools that everyone should have, then we'll pull together a basic home repair kit that all do-it-yourselfers need. We'll also go over a few safety suggestions and troubleshooting ideas. For all you old-home restorers, we'll discuss some of the do's and don'ts of getting the most out of your historical location. And while you may want to conquer many home improvement projects yourself, we'll address when, why, and how to hire a contractor—just in case you need some professional help along the way.

  • Household Tools 101
  • Project: Assembling an Everyday Home Repair Kit
  • One-Hour Wonder: Create an Instructional-Booklet Binder
  • Safety First
  • Ladder Safety
  • Learning to Use Glues and Adhesives
  • Stain-Removing Solutions
  • The Cost vs. the Value of Home Improvements
  • Do's and Don'ts for Restoring Older Homes
  • Tips forDo-It-Yourselfers
  • If You Decide to Hire a Contractor

Household Tools 101

Buying the right tools can be a daunting experience. Walking into one of the many huge home improvement stores with brand names blaring their messages at you can alarm even the most experienced tool owner. I myself have collected a huge assortment of gadgets over the years, some of which I have never used. I even have a few hand-me-down items that look more like torture devices than practical tools. So don't fret if you're sometimes baffled by a tool's appearance or function. I've compiled a list of the top-ten must-have tools every household should have, whether you are a newcomer to doing it yourself or an old hand.

1. Hammer

If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning, at noon, and at night. In fact, the hammer is one of the most used tools in any home. Abraham Maslow, the great psychologist, said, "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." Perhaps that's true, but it would sure be hard to accomplish much around the house without this basic tool. For everyday tasks, I keep a small 7- to 10-ounce household model in my kitchen tool drawer and a midsized, 14- to 16-ounce version in the garage tool kit. Depending on your needs, you may also want a large carpenter's hammer for jobs like deck building or wall framing. Though hammers are simplistic in theory, there are many new hammer technologies on the market, ranging from those with tuning forks in the handle, which cut down the reverberation on your arm, to $200 contractor models made with titanium heads.

Before you buy, visit your local hardware store or home center and try out several types of hammers until you find one that's a good fit for you, especially if you will be using it frequently. If you're going to be hammering above your head or in a strange position, look for a hammer with a magnetic nail-holder in the tip that makes a hard-to-reach place much more accessible. Specialty hammers such as a rubber mallet and sledgehammer can also be useful for certain projects. Rubber mallets should be used on materials that are easily damaged or broken, such as a brass faucet handle or a tile backsplash. And a sledgehammer is just the ticket when extreme muscle is needed for jobs such as breaking apart a sidewalk or tearing down a wall.

2. Screwdriver

Probably the second most-used tools in the home, good quality screwdrivers can be lifesavers. To save money, instead of buying several versions, choose models that have a center shaft with four interchangeable tips (including a smaller and larger size of both flathead and Phillips-head tips) to accommodate a wide variety of jobs. You may also want some mini screwdrivers for use on toys and computers or even your glasses. Battery-powered versions can make repetitive jobs a snap. A cordless drill can also double as a power screwdriver if you have the screw tips to go along with it.

3. Cordless Drill

A cordless drill with a variety of drill bits can help you complete many jobs more quickly and easily. Look for a drill that fits your hand comfortably and feels well balanced. If you have room, keep a small drill (under 10 volts) in the kitchen and a larger model (18 volts or more) in the garage. A fast-charging battery (one hour or less) is also convenient. If you use your drill a lot, you may want to keep a spare battery or two in reserve. Some manufacturers now make batteries that can fit several tools interchangeably, going from a drill to a sander or a circular saw, thereby saving you money on duplicate power packs.

4. Saws

A small hacksaw and a cordless circulating saw can be extremely useful. Hacksaws are just right for cutting small tubing or wood projects. I keep a small cordless power saw in the garage for cutting plywood, paneling, and other thin materials. I save my larger corded model for projects like deck building and wall framing. Another handy tool is a reciprocating saw. This bad boy is like an alligator, cutting through almost any material with no discrimination. They are very handy for hard-to-reach spots and demolition. Just be sure to follow all safety instructions carefully and keep all saws out of reach of kids. Another tip: before sawing, spread a drop cloth out under your work area to make cleanup easier.

If I Had a Hammer
More Than 100 Easy Fixes and Weekend Projects
. Copyright © by Andrea Ridout. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents


Foreword     ix
Introduction     xi
The Right Tool for the Right Job: Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Get the Job Done Right     1
Kitchen Creations: The Heart and Hearth of Your Home     27
Beautiful Bathroom Boosts: Changes and Repairs That Will Make You Want to Itay and Read the Paper     57
Paint and Decorating Ideas: How to Make Your Home Feel as Good as It Looks     81
Doorknobs and Whatchamacallits: Fun Modifications to Your Home's Hardware     115
Attractive Antiques, Charming Chairs, and Fabulous Floors: Waxing Your Way, Through Furniture and Wood Care     135
Our Utility Bill is How Much?!: Easy Energy-Iaving Ideas     157
If It's Broke, Fix It; If It Ain't Broke, Fix It Anyway!: Indoor Home Maintenance and Repairs     191
Get Outta Here!: Outdoor Repairs and Maintenance Projects     217
Where Flowers Bloom, So Does Hope: Making the Outside of Your Home as Beautiful as the Inside     241
Resource Guide     271
Acknowledgments     277
Index     279
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