Listen to hear how to prevent nails from pooping out, raise an outdoor dryer vent’s height, and more!
How to Stop Drywall Nails from Popping Out
A homeowner’s house was built in 1954 and she is tired of watching nails back out of the drywall.
She asks, “How do I fix this? Can I pound the nails back in?”
First, pounding the nails back in is just a temporary fix — they will eventually pop out again. But the bigger question is this: why does it happen?
In a home, there is a lot of movement — doors slamming, people walking, etc. All these movements cause vibrations. And, over time, those vibrations will cause a drywall nail to back out.
To fix this problem, you’ll need to remove the nails and replace them with screws because drywall screws are the better option.
You don’t want to just remove the nail and replace it with a screw before checking if the nail is in the center of the stud or close to the center. The stud might be the reason it is popping out.
So, we recommend taking a hammer and a finishing nail and tapping through the drywall until you find the center of the stud.
Once you find the center and pull out the nail, then drive one or two drywall screws an inch or two above the old nail hole. This will hold it tight.
After replacing the nail with a drywall screw, put joint compound over the screw heads and in the old nail hole, let it dry, sand it, and do it again. Once you have it filled and sanded dry, paint it.
The screws will hold up very well, and you will hopefully never have to do this process again!
How to Raise an Outdoor Dryer Vent
A homeowner’s dryer vent runs on an exterior wall and under the brick veneer. It is installed about an inch off the ground instead of 12 or more (the recommendation).
He has trouble with stormwater getting into the vent, and now asks, “Do you have any recommendations for me?”
First, it’s rare to find a dryer vent so low to the ground. It is possible that when the vent was originally installed, it was the correct height off the ground. However, as time passed, grading and landscaping could have been added, and the vent got closer to the ground.
To make this dryer vent work efficiently, you’ll want to have as short of a path as possible. So, we do not recommend rerouting the current ductwork and going through the soffit.
Instead, we recommend trying to elevate or extend the existing vent upward, or digging dirt around the vent to give it more space. You could also add a slight turn and elbow to get it off the ground.
Check your local home center for a device that curls up at 90 degrees, which will help elevate the vent on the outside. There are many dryer vent options.
For safety, do not use PVC pipe for an elbow because it cannot handle the high temperatures that come through a dryer vent.
In addition, make sure you frequently clean your dryer vent to prevent house fires and keep your dryer working efficiently.
Listen to learn about garbage disposal rules, how to fix a toilet that won’t flush, how to lay an underlayment over a tile floor, and more!
What You Can Put Down a Garbage Disposal
A homeowner and his wife have had an ongoing disagreement about whether it is okay to put scraps of meat down the garbage disposal. They have septic tank disposal.
He says, “Can you settle this debate?”
It is perfectly fine to have a garbage disposal with a septic tank. However, some septic tanks are really good, and others are very marginal. That plays a large part in the disposal’s functionality and what waste it accepts.
When it comes to garbage disposals, you do want to use them sparingly and not put everything down it. You want to avoid putting large substances down.
The answer to the question would be yes, but only small pieces of meat, and don’t pack it full.
Make sure you use and maintain garbage disposals correctly. It is recommended to use cold water to wash waste down the drain and ensure you don’t put something in the garbage disposal and not run it!
If your garbage disposal gets clogged, use this trick!
How to Solve Toilet Flushing Issues
A homeowner is struggling to get her toilet to flush completely. She says she has to hold the handle down until the bowl is flushed.
She wants to know, “Why does this happen, and how can I fix it?”
There are two reasons that she may be having this problem. One, there is not enough water in the tank, meaning the water stops before reaching about half an inch below the overflow tube. That is where you want to adjust it.
Next, you want to ensure that when you push down the handle, the flapper stays open to allow the flushing action and then closes. If the chain is too short or too long, that will prevent that from happening.
Another reason is an obstruction in the drain. If there is an obstruction, then you won’t get that flushing action because it’s resisting the water going into it.
Although fixing a toilet might not be the most glamorous form of home improvement, it is so important to have a working toilet that will stay in good shape for a long time.
Further Reading: Guide to All the Parts of a Toilet Tank
How to Install an Underlayment
A homeowner wants to put a quarter-inch underlayment over a tile floor.
He asks, “Do I need to nail or screw it? What do I use?”
No, you are not going to want to nail through or screw it. You will have to glue it down. Do some research and find the right adhesive you need, depending on the materials you are using. Most likely, it will be in a bucket, and you’ll use a notch trowel to install the right amount.
Make sure that you read the directions to ensure you use the recommended notch trowel size. A lot of people do not realize that the size of the notch trowel needs to correlate with the adhesive in order to work well.
To ensure there is no movement when putting down the floor, use leftover blocks, bricks, or heavy objects to weigh it down a little bit. Leave it overnight so that it will dry and really cure well.
There are multiple options for underlayment. One option is a self-leveling underlayment. This is like really thin concrete. Do a thin coat over the tile to create a smooth and flat surface for a vinyl floor to be put over.
Further Reading: Gluing vs. Nailing Hardwood Floors
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Push Broom Paint Prep—Prior to painting a room, it’s important to clean the walls and ceiling to remove all dust, dirt, and cobwebs. Here’s a quick and easy way to do that: Wrap a towel around the head of a push broom, and secure it with a binder clip or pinch clamp. Then lightly mist the towel with water. Now use the towel-wrapped broom to wipe down the walls and ceiling. The damp towel will trap any dust or dirt, leaving behind a clean, ready-to-paint surface. This tip also works great to remove joint-compound dust from newly sanded drywall joints.
Easy-Access Garden-Tool Storage—Most people store their lawn and garden tools in the garage or shed by simply standing them up and leaning them in the corner. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this except that it’s a little messy, and it’s hard to grab one tool without knocking over another. So, here’s a super simple solution to that problem: Take three concrete blocks and stack them up wherever you want to store your tools. What you end up with is two deep compartments for storing long-handled tools. The blocks are heavy enough that you don’t have to worry about them falling over, no matter how many tools you put in there. If you don’t have enough headroom, you can use two blocks so you can lift the tools out. This will give you a neat place where your tools are out of the way and easily accessible, and you don’t have to worry about them falling over.