Fix a Stuck Window

 

Reasons for a Stuck Window

Fixing a stuck window is not difficult as windows can become stuck for different reasons:

  • Timber framed windows may warp in wet, humid conditions.
  • A stuck window can become difficult to open from a build-up of dirt or too many layers of paint applied over many years.
  • Check around the window, both inside and outside the house to see if there is any obvious cause for the window sticking.

For example, is there a nail or screw driven into the window frame or a lock stopping the window from opening?   All that may be required is to remove these and the window will open.

How to open a stuck window

Method 1

  • Use a utility knife or paint scraper and run the edge of the blade around the edge of the window and window frame, inside and outside the window.
  • Check if the window now opens.

Method 2

  • Take a hammer and small block of wood.
  • Lay the wood against the window frame and with the hammer GENTLY tap the wood around the window frame to free up the window.
  • Check to see if the window opens.

 

Method 3

  • With an sash window (lifts up/down) use a crowbar (also known as a prybar).
  • With a block of wood see if you can pry open the window using a crowbar to gently lever under the lip of the window.
  • The purpose of the block of wood is to prevent damage to the window frame.

 

Stuck Window Preventative Maintenance

Option 1 – Build up dirt in the window track

Often a stuck window is due to a build up of dirt in the tracks over the years.  This is a simple fix.

  • Open the window as far as it will go.
  • Take a tooth-brush or similar hard bristle brush, household cleaner and clean any dirt and grime in the window channels. Allow to dry.
  • Spray the window channel with a silicone lubricant spray. Let the spray dry.
  • Check to see if the window now opens and closes freely.

To maintain the window opening and closing easily clean the window tracks once or twice a year.

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Remove Mould

remove mold

In this post you will learn what mould is, how to remove it, why it is important to remove mould spores and steps to take to prevent mould. If left untreated mould can become a health hazard.

What is Mould?

Mould is a fungus that requires ongoing dampness or moisture to grow.  Mould usually occurs only in those areas that are constantly damp or moist, or where there is poor ventilation.  The key to preventing mould is to keep the inside of your home dry.  Mould spores travel through the air and land in wet areas where they can go about reproducing.

Why should you be concerned about damp mould?

If walls become stained with mould and are left untreated over time the mould will be difficult to remove and eventually may cause wood to go rotten.  If left untreated mould can also affect people’s health.

Some years ago, I helped my daughter move out of a home which was built in 1893 in the state of Victoria, Australia.  There was the smell of mould in cupboards, and I could see mould on the bathroom walls.  Obvious signs of mould were easy to deal with.  However, it was not until moving day that my daughter discovered, a large patch of mould had formed on the underside of her latex mattress.  The mould on the mattress was treated immediately.  Mould can cause respiratory problems, allergies and other serious health problems if left unchecked. 

What can you do to prevent mould growth?

The key to preventing mould is to maintain a dry, warm home with good ventilation. Dry surfaces do not promote mould growth.  Undertake the following checks on a regular basis, particularly in winter or humid conditions during summer:

  • Check Ceilings

If you see blackish specks in the ceiling this may indicate a leak in the roof.  If you climb into the roof cavity you may be able to find the source of the leak and take the appropriate action to have it fixed.

  • Windows and Doors

If condensation or dampness forms on the inside of windows or glass doors use a towel or cloth to remove the damp.

  • Bathroom

Check for signs of black mould forming in grout around the shower and bath in bathrooms.  This is caused by continuous damp air.  This is more likely in homes with no extractor fan in the bathroom.

  • Kitchen cupboards

Is there a smell inside kitchen cupboards when opened? Include other cupboards in the house and garage. If there is damp in the cupboards you will smell mould which indicates mould spores are growing.

  • Curtains

Check the back of curtains and blinds for mould.  This can occur if they brush up against damp. windows.

How to remove mould

The following non-toxic solutions are suggested as I have found they are effective in removing mould.
Vinegar is reported to be effective in killing 82% of mould, so it is well worth trying first.

Option 1 – 5% White Vinegar

  • Take a small spray bottle and pour undiluted vinegar into the spray bottle
  • Spray on the affected area and leave. Do not rinse.

There will be a strong vinegar smell initially, but this should dissipate after a few hours.

Option 2 – Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Mix 1-part water to 2 parts Apple Cider Vinegar in a spray bottle.
  • Spray on affected area and leave. Do not rinse.

Option 3 – Tea Tree Oil

  • Mix 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.
  • Spray on affected area and leave. Do not rinse.

There will be a strong smell of tea tree oil initially, but this should dissipate after a few hours. Leave windows and doors open to allow in fresh air.

Remember:  the key to preventing mould is to keep a warm, dry well-ventilated home.

DIY Tool Kit

DIY tool kit
Buying your first DIY tool kit can be an exciting experience, especially if you have a specific project in mind.
Here is a list of suggested tools to help you set up your own DIY tool kit.  Below the listed items you will find a brief explanation of what each tool can be used for.
If you are on a budget purchase the items as required for each task.
When I started doing my own DIY projects I started with some of the items in the tool kit suggested below as well as paint brushes, paint rollers and paint to give a flat at the back of my house a face lift before it was rented out.
As you will see from the photos below, many are showing years or wear.  Some have been with me for a very long time.

DIY TOOL KIT

  • Safety Glasses/Goggles
  • Hammer – claw hammer
  • Screwdriver Set
  • Multi-Grips
  • Pliers – Combination/Vise-Grip
  • Measuring Tape
  • Tool Box
  • Cordless Drill
  • Carpenter’s Level
  • Carpenter’s Square
  • Sharp Pencil and Sharpener
  • Hand Saw – general purpose/crosscut
  • Utility Knife
  • Ear Muffs or Ear Plugs
  • Clamps
  • Folding Work Bench  (if no suitable work area available)

 

Safety Glasses/Goggles

  • Safety glasses protect your eyes from any type of flying object, sawdust or other particles from hitting you in the eye.
  • If you wear prescription glasses, consider buying safety glasses that won’t make your prescription glasses fog up.
  • Check the safety glasses you purchase meet your country’s standards for eye protection.

 

Hammer

hammer
There are a wide range of hammers on the market all suited to doing a specific type of job.

  • The most common all purpose hammer on the market is called a claw hammer.
  • V shape at one end of the steel head is used for pulling out nails
  • The round flat base at the head of the hammer is used to drive in nails.
  • Purchase a claw hammer that feels comfortable in your hand.

 

Screwdriver Set

screwdriver set

  • Purchase a screwdriver set for your DIY tool kit that includes different sized Phillips heads, flat/slotted head.
  • A screwdriver is used for inserting and removing screws into timber, steel and other materials.
  • Although not originally designed for  such a purpose a flat/slotted head screwdrivers are useful for removing paint tin lids.
  • When purchasing screws check the back of the pack to see that you have the correct size screwdriver at home.
  • Packets of screws usually state the type and size of screwdriver head required.

Multi Grips

multi grip pliers

  • Multi Grips are a very versatile tool and a must have in your DIY tool kit.
  • They are adjustable and can handle a multitude of jobs around your home and come in different sizes – small, medium and large.
  • Multi-grips have many different uses such as gripping onto pipes, nuts, removing the spindle from a tap.
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Tool Safety

tool safety first

Tool Safety Tip # 1

  • When working with both hand tools and power tools I take tool safety seriously.
  • Stay 100% focused on what you are doing as a lack of attention may cause an injury.

When I started at DIY I missed striking the nail with the hammer a few times and hit my thumb instead, I very quickly learnt to concentrate.

 

Tool Safety Tip #2

According to an online source 65% of eye injuries occur around the home?  This stat did surprise me indeed.

[Image source:  https://blog.safetyglassesusa.com/wear-safety-eyewear]

Suggest you:

  • Protect your eyes from dust, debris, splinters from wood, glass and other objects by wearing safety glasses.

  • When using the lawnmower or whipper snipper or brush cutter consider wearing eye protection.
  • Accidents can happen unexpectedly and quickly, so always protect your eyes when working with any type of tool.

Tool Safety # 3

Items like jewellery, rings, long hair, sandals and loose clothing can easily get caught up in power tools.

remove jewellery, rings,

  • Remove jewellery and rings.
  • Tie long hair tie it well back behind your head, out of the way of fast moving power tools.
  • Ensure your clothes fit snug against your body to avoid any part getting caught in fast turning tools.
  • Wear closed in foot wear – boots or joggers with rubber soles.

 

Tool Safety # 4

When using any type of power tool, wear ear muffs or ear plugs to protect your hearing.  Both are effective in reducing the noise.

ear muffs or ear plugs

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Cordless Drill

cordless drill

A cordless drill is ideal to start with if you are new to DIY projects around your home, as they are light easy to use.
There are of course other types of drills on the market from electric hand drills, hand turn drills, stand-a-lone bench drills and floor-stand drills.
This post will provide information on cordless drills and their advantages and disadvantages.

What is a drill

  • A drill is a multi-purpose tool used to perform different tasks
  • They can be used for drilling holes in a variety of different materials such as wood, metal, plastic, tiles to inserting screws.
  • With the right accessories attached a drill can also be used to sand, buff, stir paint and strip paint and rust.

 

Parts of a drill

Drills are made up of different components, the purpose of each is discussed below.

cordless drill

Drill Handle

  • Is gripped whenever using the drill.
  • When the operator presses the start switch it activates the drill motor action.
  • When the start switch is released it stops the drill

 

Motor

  • Cordless drill motors range from 14.4 volts to 18-20 volts.

 

Variable Speed

  • A drill with a variable speed means the speed of the drill can be adjusted according to the task.
  • If drilling a hole in timber or metal the drill needs to work at high speed.
  • When inserting a screw, a slow speed is required to avoid stripping the screw head.

 

Forward and Reverse Switch

  • Move the switch to the “forward” position the drill bit turns clockwise and bores a hole into the material.
  • Move the switch to the “reverse” position the drill bit turns anti-clockwise and lifts the drill bit out of the hole.

 

Chuck

The chuck is at the front end of drill where a drill bit is inserted and when tightened holds the drill bit in place.
Cordless drills do not require a special key to tighten and loosen a drill bit so are called “chuckless”
A drill’s chuck opening will come in one of two sizes – 3/8” or 1/2”. This is the maximum size a drill bit shaft will take when the chuck is fully open.

Hammer Switch

  • A hammer switch is usually located at the top of the drill.
  • Move the switch to hammer to drill holes into masonry or concrete using a special masonry drill bit.
  • When the “hammer” switch is activated the drill works with a hammering/vibration motion.
  • When the “hammer” switch is turned off the drill functions as a normal drill.

 

Rechargeable Battery

  • Cordless drill come with a rechargeable battery and recharging station.
  • Remove by pressing the switch at the back of the battery and slide out.
  • Insert into charging station to re-charge.
  • Recharging can take 1 – 2 hours depending on the brand and quality of the battery
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Drill Bits

drill bits

Drill bits come in different types and sizes.  The purpose of this post is to provide a brief explanation of the most common types of drill bits.  These are the most common ones you are likely to use around your home.

A good quality set of high speed and masonry bits will be an excellent starting point.

High Speed General Purpose Bits

drill bits

  • High speed bits are an excellent all round type of bit to use use when drilling into wood, metal, plastics and plywood.

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DIY Home Repairs

 

Should you do you own DIY home repairs?  The purpose of this post is to help you decide whether some tasks are worth doing yourself.

Some jobs such as electrical repairs will require the services of a qualified trades person.

You Can DIY (Do It Yourself)

Armed with the correct knowledge and tools most people should be capable of undertaking basic DIY home repairs and maintenance.  For example:

  • changing a tap washer
  • clearing a blocked S bend pipe in a vanity or sink
  • cleaning gutters
  • painting walls
  • laying floor and wall tiles
  • changing a light bulb
  • fixing a stuck window or door
  • fixing a hole in a wall
  • measuring and estimating the amount of paint or tiles needed for a job
  • changing a light bulb
  • And… much more

Measuring success in doing your own home repairs is not just about saving money.

measuring success

It is also about the immense satisfaction you will feel in finishing a job and standing back and admiring your efforts.

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How to Use a Drill

 

Tips for Using a Drill

The following steps will show you how to use a drill:

Use the correct size drill bit required for the screw/bolt being inserted.

TIP:  Drill a pilot hole first with a small bit.   This prevents a larger bit from moving when you start drilling.

Inserting a screw

  • Choose a drill bit slightly smaller in circumference than the screw being inserted.
  • The reason for this is so the screw has material to grab as it is inserted.

Inserting a bolt

  • Use a drill bit the same size as the bolt.

Inserting a bit into the drill

  • Hold the drill in your right hand if right-handed (left hand if left-handed)
  • With the left hand, open the Chuck enough so you can insert smooth end of the drill bit 1 inch (25mm) in between the chuck clamps.
  • Check the bit sits evenly between the clamps, otherwise the bit will wobble when the drill is turned on.

NOTE:    Use the drill’s forward switch to tighten the drill bit into the chuck opening

Move switch to reverse to loosen the drill bit in the chuck opening

  • Tighten the chuck by hand as far as you can so the drill bit sits inside the chuck without moving.
  • Continue to hold the chuck while at the same time pressing the start switch until you feel the chuck go tight.
  • If the drill bit is not tight enough inside the chuck it will slip while drilling is in progress.
  • Repeat this step until it is tight.

You are now ready to start drilling to your heart’s content.

Drill fitted with a Chuck Key

  • Hold the drill in your right hand if right-handed (left hand if left-handed)
  • With the left hand, open the Chuck enough so you can insert smooth end of the drill bit 1 inch (25mm) in between the chuck clamps.
  • Check the bit sits evenly between the clamps, otherwise the bit will wobble when the drill is turned on.
  • Tighten the chuck as far you can by hand.
  • Take the chuck key insert it into the teeth at the side of the chuck
  • Turn the chuck key clockwise until you cannot turn it any further.
  • The bit should now be held tight inside the drill.
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Buying a Hammer

Buying a hammer for the first time may be confusing for the beginning DIY person as there are many different types of hammers on the market.

For example these include:

  • claw hammer,
  • tack hammer
  • ball peen hammer
  • sledge hammer
  • mallet

Each hammer is designed for a specific purpose.

Over the years I have accumulated a number of different hammers –  claw hammers, tack hammer, sledge hammers, wooden and rubber mallets.

When buying a hammer take into consideration the following points.

  • Does the hammer feel comfortable in your hand and not too heavy or large?
  • Is there muscle tension in your arm after a few minutes?
  • Will you be able to use it for hours on end if necessary without getting an aching arm?

The claw hammer commonly comes with a steel head and either a wood, fibreglass/composite or steel handle.

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