How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

Let’s give a big round of applause and a thank you to Jeff from Home Repair Tutor for his tutorial on Changing Your Garage Door Extension Springs.

Today I’ll help you learn how to replace your garage door rollers! After that, with a little maintenance, your garage doors should continue to operate smoothly for a while.

Materials:

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

  • New Garage Door Rollers
  • Clamp
  • Pliers
  • Large flat head screwdriver
  • Prybar
  • A Helper

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers Instructions:

Start by opening  your garage door completely.

Place a clamp on to the track about 2/3 of the way up the door opening.

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

Release the garage door from the power opener by pulling on the attached release rope.

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

For added safety, unplug the garage door opener from the outlet.

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

Near the top of the track use pliers to bend the track slightly open.

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

Line up the first roller with the opening. Use the flathead screwdriver and wedge it between the roller and the track. Pry the roller out of the track.

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

Remove the old roller.

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

Slide a new roller in and insert the roller back into the track.

Roll the door down to the next roller and repeat the same process for removing and replacing the rollers.

When you have replaced the bottom 4 rollers, you’ll realize that you won’t be able to replace the top one because it won’t line up with the opening in the track. Bend the track back into alignment and then roll the door all the way open.

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

Bend a section of track in the middle of the overhead section.

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

Be sure to have your helper spot the door or it could slip from the track and bonk you on the head. (Home Repair Tutor shows how to use a 2×4 clamped to the track to support the door if you don’t have a helper available. He also has a different method for replacing the rollers, so be sure to watch his video.)

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

(Oh yes, this did happen to me! I got knocked hard enough to have me down for the count, but I got right back up and kept right on swinging.)

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

Pry the last roller out and replace it. Use your pliers to bend the track back into shape.

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

Remove the clamp from the track. Plug the door opener back in. Re-attach the door to the garage door opener by pressing the button that controls the operation of your door (usually on the wall of your garage.) The door should automatically re-attach to the opener.

Close the door and watch for any misalignment of the track.

If you need to adjust the tracks, loosen the bolts on the side of the track and re-align the track. I used a prybar to give a little leverage to move the track small increments.

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

Tighten all the bolts. While you are at it, make sure all screws and bolts on the garage and the tracks are tightened because the vibration of the door can usually shake things loose over time.

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers

And that’s it folks!

For more maintenance tips on keeping your garage in tip top shape, check out Home Repair Tutor’s post on garage door maintenance.

How to Replace Garage Door Rollers



 

 

Hey guys and gals, I have a special guest for you today! Today I have a real life Handy Man today. That’s right we’re bringing in a little testosterone to mix things up.

This is Jeff aka Pretty Handy Man:

Jeff writes Home Repair Tutor, a blog that shares tips on saving time and money when doing home repairs. He shares his experiences, both good and bad, to help you with what sometimes seems like overwhelming home repair projects. He also likes the Steelers, (I’m supposed to tell you that because guys find that stuff important. So, if you hate the Steelers, boo on you. Can you tell I’m naive on how to talk sports?)

Plus, he always adds a little humor to his videos. (My favorite is garage door testing the unorthodox way. Don’t you just love a man who isn’t afraid to ride a pink bike?)

I’ve been following Home Repair Tutor for a few months now and Jeff’s recent post about garage door maintenance saved me some cash. I had been trying to solve why my garage door was running so rough and had already replaced the rollers. But, Jeff had one tip that I had forgotten to do: Lubricate all the moving parts! Duh, a few squirts of lubricant had the doors rolling smooth again. I hope you’ll check out his blog and follow along. You won’t be disappointed.

So, today I give you handy man and comedian, Jeff from Home Repair Tutor! Woooohoo!

Thanks Brittany for the opportunity to guest post on Pretty Handy Girl. You’ve set the bar high for home remodeling tutorials and I hope to empower your fans with another great DIY project. But first let me briefly introduce myself.

My name is Jeff Patterson and my remodeling blog is Home Repair Tutor. In my spare time I manage and fix my own older rental homes here in the Pittsburgh area. I’ve been doing this for almost a decade and have experienced numerous projects that include kitchen remodels, bathroom installations, hardwood floor restoration, and more. My goal is pass along all the tips and tricks that I’ve learned so others can benefit.

Today’s post deals with a project that anyone can do:

Replacing Garage Door Extension Springs

Garage Door Extension Spring Repair

A squeaky garage door has a penetrating sound that can drive anyone crazy. The average garage door is opened and closed over 600 times every year. This repetitive action is what leads to the creaks you hear on a daily basis.

But regular maintenance can help your garage door run smoothly and safely. Two of the most used items on your garage door are the extension springs that help lift and lower it. Extension springs are found on most traditional roll up garage doors. They’re dangerous if not properly maintained since they hold a tremendous amount of tension.

(Pretty Handy Girl notes: Torsion springs are the other type of garage door springs. They run directly over the garage door opening on a rod. Serious injury can occur if you don’t know what  you are doing or have the right tools to replace a torsion spring. In my opinion, these should be left to the pros.)

This tutorial will take the mystery out of how garage door extension springs work and will show you how to safely replace them on your own without spending a ton of money. By the end of this post you’ll confidently be able to perform this home repair project, and tell your neighbors you’re a garage door Jedi :).

Are Your Garage Door Springs Misbehaving?

This tutorial is going to address garage door extension springs that run along the door’s horizontal track. But how do you know if your springs need replaced?

The picture below is a good example of what a spring looks like at the end of its life cycle.

Warped Garage Door Springs

If this spring breaks it will release an extraordinary amount of tension that can be unleashed on a person or item in your garage.

Another sign of worn springs is creakiness or uneven closure of your door. Bad springs can put pressure on the garage door rollers and cause them to screech. If one spring is bad but the other is in good shape the door may close unevenly, too. You’ll notice this if the door is closed and one side is higher than the other.

Extension springs are colored coded. In my case the springs had red paint sprayed just on one end, and this indicated that we had a 150 lb. garage door.

Garage Door Springs are Color Coded

You can go to Home Depot and buy your replacement extension springs based on the color code. The picture below shows the wide range of springs you can buy.

Garage Door Extension Springs are Sold Based on Their Color Code

Now that you know how to choose your springs you can get started on your project.

Become a Jedi of Garage Door Springs

But even Yoda would agree that safety comes first.

Completely open your garage door and unplug the power cord to the opener.

Place a C-clamp on each track underneath the the bottom garage door roller. This will prevent the door from rolling down to the ground in the next step. For extra protection you can put a step ladder underneath the center of the door.

Use a C-Clamp Underneath the Bottom Garage Door Roller

Pull down on the garage door’s manual safety release. This allows the garage door to be moved up and down without the help of the opener.

Pull Down on the Garage Door Manual Safety Release

The door weight should now rest on the C-clamps.

This next step is a smart tip that will ensure your extension spring installation was done correctly. Place a piece of blue painter’s tape on the garage door track underneath the pulley that’s attached to the extension spring. Then place a mark on the tape to indicate the center of the pulley’s bolt.

Place a Mark on the Tape to Indicate the Center of the Pulley's Bolt

Since the spring has no tension in it you can safely remove the steel safety cable that runs through it. This cable is in place so that if your garage door spring snaps it won’t shoot across the room and hurt someone. The safety cable runs through the spring. It’s tied to the horizontal support bracket closest to the garage door opening on one end and is simply tied to the vertical support bracket on the other end.

Before removing the safety cable from the support brackets you should take pictures of how it was tied together. This will help you when you have to re-tie it after the new extension spring is installed. I also numbered the holes on the vertical support bracket as 1 & 2 to help with this process.

Take a Picture of the Steel Cable Before Undoing It

Since the steel safety cable will only need to be removed from the horizontal support bracket I also decided to make a reference mark on it. This mark will allow you to reinstall the safety cable to how it was originally setup.

Place a Reference Mark on the Steel Safety Cable

The next step is to remove the garage door extension spring.

There’s a steel cable connected to the bottom of your garage door. This cable runs over a stationary pulley that’s attached to your garage door track. This steel cable continues until it goes over and around a second pulley that’s attached to your extension spring via a pulley fork. The steel cable then is attached to the horizontal support bracket via an S-hook. This S-Hook is also attached to a three hole adjusting clip.

Mark where the S-hook was positioned on the support bracket then remove it.

Mark the Position of the S-Hook Then Remove it From the Support Bracket

Now you need to disassemble the pulley that is connected to the spring. This is simple but again take a picture of your configuration for reference. Remember that the steel cable that runs from the bottom of the garage door goes over the top of the pulley then to the horizontal support bracket. You’ll need two wrenches to undo the nut and bolt that hold the pulley to the pulley fork.

Remove the Pulley from the Pulley Fork by Undoing the Nut & BoltRemove the pulley and pulley fork from the extension spring. The spring can now be taken off the eye bolt hanger. The eye bolt hanger is attached to the vertical support brackets that come down from the ceiling.

Remove the Extension Spring from the Eye Bolt

The picture below shows the old spring on the left and the new spring on the right. Is there any doubt the extension springs needed replaced? 🙂

Old Versus New Garage Door Extension Spring

A New Era of Garage Door Efficiency Begins

The installation of the new spring, as you can imagine, is opposite that of the removal process. It’s easy but requires attention to detail.

Attach the non-color coded end of the spring to the eye-bolt and run the steel safety cable through it.

Pull the steel safety cable through the vertical support bracket. I labeled the two holes the steel cable will pass through.

Hole 1 has the cable going through it right to left. The cable should then pass through Hole 2 from left to right.

Position the Steel Safety Cable Through the Support BracketA loop is created. Thread the cable back through this loop. Notice the black reference mark that was made on the cable. I used pliers to pull the wire tight such that this mark stops short of going through Hole 1.

Thread the Steel Safety Cable Through the Support Bracket

Pull the steel cable through the hole on the far side of the support bracket.

Weave the cable back and forth in the same manner as it was before being removed.

Tighten the Steel Safety Cable to the Support Bracket

The other end of the steel safety cable that runs through the extension spring should be tied to the horizontal support bracket closest to the garage door opening.

This next part is where your attention to detail is somewhat critical.

Place the pulley fork onto the color coded end of the extension spring. Ensure the plastic bushing that has the steel safety cable running through it is facing away from the garage door track.

The Plastic Bushing on the Pulley Fork Must Face Away from the Garage Door Track

Pull the steel cable that comes from the bottom of the garage door over the top of the pulley. The S-hook and 3-hole adjusting clip attached to the steel cable should be hanging down from the pulley.

Make sure this steel cable is not twisted with the steel safety cable. (I didn’t check for this and had to undo the entire pulley/pulley fork assembly — not fun.) The steel cable should run freely from the stationary pulley closest to the garage door opening to the pulley that will be connected to the extension spring.

Position the pulley into the pulley fork then place the nut onto the pulley fork so that it is next to the plastic bushing.

Place the Nut for the Pulley on Top of the Pulley Fork Next to the Plastic Bushing

Pass the bolt through the pulley fork and pulley. Tighten the nut and bolt until they’re secure.

Attach the S-hook & 3-hole adjusting clip to the horizontal support bracket where it originally was located.

Place the S-Hook & 3-Hole Adjusting Clip into the Support Bracket

At this point you can use the reference mark on the blue tape to check the tension of the steel cable. In this case the pulley’s bolt lined up perfectly with the mark and tension was good to go.

Check the Tension of the Garage Door Extension Spring

The tension of the garage door springs can be adjusted by doing the following:

  • Move the S-hook to different holes in the horizontal support bracket
  • Adjust the cable in the 3-hole adjusting clip connected to the S-hook (this is a pain!)
  • Moving the eye-bolt up or down on the vertical support bracket. Do this with the door open and C-clamps on the tracks. (Moving the eye-bolt up will increase tension while moving it down releases tension)

Use great care when adjusting the spring tension. As mentioned before, garage door extension springs can cause serious injuries and that is the last thing anyone wants. This is a safe project to perform as long as you follow all of the steps :). Remember that both extension springs need to replaced at the same time. So, while this tutorial only shows one spring being removed you need do the above steps for the second. Otherwise your door may close unevenly. Besides, if one spring is bad, chances are the other isn’t in good shape.

Queue the Chariots of Fire Theme Song

Plug your garage door opener into the outlet and remove the C-clamps. Hold your breath (just kidding) and hit the garage door opener. With any luck you’ll see the garage door close smoothly, safely, and with a resounding feeling of accomplishment.There’s a chance that your door may not close completely due to the new springs having more tension than the old ones.You can adjust how far the door travels by turning the adjustment screws on the door opener.
Adjust the Travel of Your Garage Door by Turning the Travel Screws

Now you know how to safely replace your garage door extension springs. Give yourself a high five! New springs will help your garage door run smoothly and efficiently while eliminating annoying squeaks.

For more garage door maintenance tips, you can read my post on regular garage door maintenance.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask them in the comment section, I’d be more than happy to help you with your project.

Thanks again Brittany for the opportunity to bring this tutorial to your fans. Hopefully this showed that it’s not difficult to do any project when you’ve got the right mix of patience and curiosity.

Make it a great day!

Thank you Jeff, what a great tutorial! I can always count on Home Repair Tutor to help me learn something new.

Keeping with the theme of garage door repairs, I’ll have a tutorial on how to replace your garage door rollers on Friday! And how I fought the garage door and I won!

Stay tuned and don’t touch that dial (bonus points to anyone old enough to know what the heck that means.)


I detest Barney, the purple dinosaur. I’m not sure what it is about him that turns my stomach. Maybe it’s because he’s too artificially sweet. Maybe it’s his annoying theme song. Or perhaps it is his unnatural purple and green color combo.The dislike of all things Barney has carried over to my house, because I nicknamed this ugly purple awning over our side entrance: Barney. Hmmm, look, they even have the same color palette. Yuck.


Barney has seen better days, his outdoor canvas has started to wear thin and the sky is peeking through the awning. Read more

Installing Your Own Sprinkler System

Last week I shared with you how to grow a better lawn based on what I learned from my education at Pennington Seed. Part of growing a more beautiful lawn is learning how to water it properly. Did you know that the majority of homeowners overwater their lawn and plants? Typically your yard only needs 1 inch of water per week (1/2 inch waterings two times a week) If you install your own sprinkler system with a timer and a rain gauge, you can insure that your lawn and/or landscaping gets just the right amount of water.

When we lived in our old house, Pretty Handsome Guy and I received a quick tutorial on installing a sprinkler system in our yard. Our neighbor — the previous owner of our current home (Yes, it’s complicated like that.) — showed us how to piece together pvc pipes, add spray heads and set up a timer to water our lawn. Now I’m passing this information on to you.

Here is the Pretty Frugal Girl’s method for installing your own sprinkler system! Read more

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

Once the weather turns cold and the heat kicks on, your home starts to get dry and static electricity arrives once again. This minor nuisance that causes siblings to shock each other for fun can actually be dangerous if it ignites lint that has built up in or around your dryer.

Why you should clean out your dryer ductwork:

According to The Consumer Product Safety Commission, ( CPSC ), annually there are tens of thousands of Dryer Fires leading to many injuries or death, due to dryer exhaust duct fires. You should clean your dryer hose and around it once a year, and inspect the vent and hose for any blockages at least every 6 months.

You could pay a professional to clean your dryer ductwork, but the price could be anywhere from $65.00 to $150.00! Ummm — no thanks — I’ll keep my money and do this myself. It only takes about 15 – 20 minutes to do and it is easy! As long as your ductwork is fairly accessible, you can handle this!

If your dryer exhaust hose tube is longer than 10′ this may be a bit more difficult. And if it is longer than 10′, did you know that your dryer may be working extra hard to dry your clothes? Worse yet is if you have a long tube that goes up into the attic (or the eaves) and then out the roof. The warm moist air from the dryer enters the cold attic, and condensation forms in the exhaust tube. Do you know where this little story is going? Well, at first your dryer can’t dry as quickly because the tube is blocked by water. Eventually it will fill with enough water to cause the exhaust tube to split and guess where all that water goes? Through your ceiling, that is where! Trust me on this one, it happened to us in our old house.

So, why don’t you sit back down and let me give you a little tutorial on cleaning out your dryer exhaust ductwork.

Instructions:

Start by unplugging your dryer and turn off the gas if you have a gas dryer.

Remove your lint trap and remove any lint from the screen.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

Using a brush (designed for cleaning out the coils under your fridge) bend the brush and run it inside the lint trap. Then follow up by using a shop vac or vacuum to suck up any lint and dirt loosened by the brush.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

Pull the dryer away from the wall and disconnect the exhaust duct tube from the wall and the dryer. There are normally two kinds of hose clamps holding the tube to the dryer and wall port. The first is a ring with two prongs. Simply squeeze the prongs toward one another to loosen the clamp.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

The second type of hose clamp requires a screwdriver to loosen the bolt attached to the clamp.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

Slide the exhaust tube off the dryer and the port (hole in the wall.)

Use your vacuum to clean out both the dryer and wall ports.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

Then use the vacuum to clean out the dryer exhaust tube.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

If you have an older style vinyl tube, it is important that you replace it with a metal one. The vinyl and foil ones are fire hazards. Also, if you can’t get your tube clean, go ahead and replace it.

If your tube is long or difficult to clean out, you may want to purchase a hose brush like this one:

Brushtech B68C 10-Feet Long Dryer Vent Duct Cleaning BrushAmazon.com: Brushtech B68C 10-Feet Long Dryer Vent Duct Cleaning Brush: Home & Garden. (affiliate link)

While you have the dryer pulled out, vacuum off the back of the dryer, the washer, and the wall behind both. Eliminate as much lint as possible. A clean laundry room is safer than a lint covered one.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

Re-attach the dryer tube to the wall and the dryer.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

Gently push the dryer back towards the wall being careful not to crush the tube.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

Locate your exterior dryer vent.

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

If you can reach the exterior vent, go ahead and clean it out also. Make sure the vent closes properly when the dryer isn’t running.Otherwise you may get birds, rodents or bugs in your vent. I don’t think I need to tell you that they won’t be helping your dryer’s efficiency!

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

And that is it?! That was easy wasn’t it. Be sure to keep your home and family safe by cleaning your dryer exhaust ductwork yearly.

Update: I wanted to let y’all know that the flex foil pipe shown in this tutorial is FLAMMABLE! Luckily I found this out before we had a fire.

prevent_fires_replace_dryer_hose

Read about installing semi-rigid non-combustible duct in this easy tutorial!

Clean Your Dryer Ducts - Prevent Fires

 

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I have amassed quite a collection of “project” furniture and objects waiting for a future date with my creative magic sessions. I worry that some of this behavior is bordering on packratness (I don’t think that is a word, at least my spell check says it isn’t. But, you get my drift, right?!) So, when a Wagner rep contacted me about trying one of their paint sprayers, I couldn’t reply “YES!” fast enough. I had visions of setting up all those projects and spraying them down in a line-up fashion. But, I reined in my “glass half-overflowing” mentality and decided to tackle one project at a time. Good thing too, because although the Wagner Power Painter Plus with EZ Tilt (affiliate link) did spray at lightning fast speed, there were a few drawbacks.

But, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I still want to give you a bonafide tutorial on how to fix, prep, paint and finish a wobbly yard sale find for yourself.


Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

*These items are purely optional. You don’t NEED them, but they help.

This wash stand had a $5 price tag on it. But, my neighbor gave it to me for $3. Is that robbery to talk someone into less than $5 for this antique?! In self defense, the stand was in pretty poor shape. It was VERY wobbly and had some big scratches on it. Can you forgive me?

Here is what you do when you find yourself as the new owner of a “this really should be trashed” purchase. Take it apart and rebuild it from the ground up. Having done this before with Daisy the Discarded Chair, I was prepared to tear this wash stand down to the ground. But, luckily it had some better joints than I had anticipated. So, I basically pulled apart anything that was not tightly joined.

The shelf over the drawer came off super easy.

As did a few joints.

I wiped the whole wash stand down with a wet rag.

Then, the side of the stand got some new glue and a few finish nails.

The joints got some Gorilla Glue and were set back together. And, I added a thin bead of glue and some finish nails to re-secure the shelf.

Next I sanded down the whole piece of furniture with these two 3M sanding blocks. I like to call them Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum because they are super easy to use. Even an idiot can’t screw up.

They work great for around spindly legs because they can bend and flex (I wish I could bend and flex like that!)

After wiping off all the sawdust, my wash stand looked like this:

Almost too pretty to paint, but it had some serious gouges, so I took a picture and said goodbye to the beautiful wood.

Here is where the race began. I decided to time myself painting on the primer with a brush. Then time myself using the sprayer for the first coat of paint.

Start your engine….paint brush and KILZ Clean Start Primer…GO!



After 30 minutes I had primed the entire stand from top to bottom.

After the primer dried, I gave the stand a quick, light sanding with a 220 grit sanding block and wiped it down with a damp rag.

I set up the sprayer, read all the directions (very important!) Then I filled the quart size reservoir and attached it to the sprayer. The Wagner Power Painter Plus doesn’t require a compressor, just a good old fashioned extension cord plugged into your household outlet.

Start your engine…Wagner Power Painter Plus…GO!

VROOOOOOM! The sprayer let out the loudest and most obnoxious noise I had ever heard (Note to self to wear ear protection next time.) I thought the sprayer was going to self destruct, so I let go of the trigger. Then I pulled it again and the noise returned, only to abate after a few seconds once the paint started to come through the nozzle. Phew, that scared me.

I breezed through painting the entire wash stand from top to bottom. I started with it upside down and quickly flipped it while it was still wet (I left a finger print underneath, but no one will know about that unless you squeal.)

And I was done. Then I looked at my timer and WHAT?!!! 5 MINUTES! Holy Cannoli! I had no idea a sprayer could shave that much time off a paint job.

I left the wash stand outside, while I took apart the paint sprayer.

To avoid emptying the paint canister, I covered the container with saran wrap and a rubber band.


Then I took apart the ENTIRE sprayer and cleaned out all the parts. It is soooo important to clean the sprayer thoroughly or you risk paint drying in your machine and ruining it. This is a look at the sprayer disassembled.

It is paramount to clean the tiny dual spray tips on the machine. They are small slits that can clog easily if the paint is allowed to dry in them.

After the wash stand had dried. I put the sprayer back together and screwed the paint container back onto the gun.

I was all pumped and excited to be done in 5 minutes! With dusk still 30 minutes away, I had no fear. BIG MISTAKE!

What was to ensue was a stressful 45 minutes of paint globbing, paint sputtering, my cursing, and frantic cleaning of the sprayer again. I finished spraying, but I had to use a different top coat color because I ran out of the first paint color. (Which ended up being one of those happy mistakes. You’ll see.)

I wiped off the big globs of paint and decided to give those areas a little “extra” distress in the morning.

After stepping back from the project, doing some research and having a twitter conversation with Shaunna (the furniture painting guru), here is what I concluded from my disasterouos 2nd attempt:

  1. The paint sprayer MUST have a full paint cup in order to work properly. When the reservoir gets down to less than 1/4 full any air that gets into the paint suction tube will cause the sprayer to sputter and discharge big globs of paint, instead of a nice even spray.
  2. The sprayer dispenses an INSANE amount of paint in 5 minutes and when it runs low #1 happens. I used a half gallon of paint on the first coat of paint on this small wash stand. Whereas, I normally would have used maybe half a quart to brush on two coats total. The drop cloth was so heavy with paint when I cleaned up, that I realized the majority of the paint was wasted in overspray.
  3. The Plus does not have a low paint level indicator. Therefore, it is very difficult to determine when you are getting low on paint until the sprayer starts to sputter and shoot out globs of paint onto your project.
  4. In the same vein, the paint canister only holds a quart of paint, and 1/4 of that isn’t useable unless you like Jackson Pollock style painting.

The next morning, I took out my power sander and gave the sink some character by distressing it.


This is where the happy accident occured. Because I had to use an aqua blue as the top coat on my sink, you could see the blue gray color peeking out! Which I think makes it look sweet, shabby and old.

Once I was happy with the amount of distressing, I sanded any chipping paint and rough spots with the 220 grit sanding block. Then, I cleaned off the wash stand with a damp rag. To protect the sink, I used Minwax wipe-on Polyurethane. I like the wipe-on Poly for speed. But, it doesn’t leave as thick a coat as the traditionally brush on kind. So, if you really want to protect a piece of furniture, use the brush on kind instead.

I added a cute little crystal cheap acrylic knob to the drawer.

And my new/old dry sink looks right at home in the corner of my porch! Although, it needed something…hmmmm….

…how about a plant! I dropped in a plastic pot with NO holes in the bottom. I filled the bottom 1/4 with rocks for drainage. And my pothos plant. I used to have a chippy pedestal that sat there, but sadly I had to get rid of it. I’ll fill you in on the details next week. It is a sad story ;-(.

Here is my summary of working with the Wagner Power Painter Plus model:

  • Pros – Saves time. $100 price tag. No compressor needed.
  • Cons – Small Paint Cup, No Flow Speed Selector, No Low Paint Level Indicator, Lots of overspray and wasted paint.

I will definitely try the sprayer again. When I do I might add Floetrol to my paint, which is supposed to help your paint even out and give you a smoother finish. (Especially if it globs on you.)

  • Wagner Power Painter Max has a two speed selector AND a paint level indicator. This model runs under $100. Have a great weekend and see you next week with some more DIY goodies.

Recently I decided my garden bench that used to be a Craig’s List bed frame, needed to be refinished. I repaired, sanded and repainted the bench before setting it onto our porch where it would get less exposure to the rain.

Well, it wasn’t weathering the elements too nicely. Or maybe I should say it was weathering them poorly. Regardless, I really liked the bench and decided to strip it and start over again. I believe the main problem was that the bed frame was not solid wood, it was glued pieces. Then, if you factor in that I used spray primer and spray paint, the rain and moisture got in easily and caused the wood to swell and some of the glued joints to come undone.

But, the bench was still structurally sound, so we moved it onto the screen porch and I got ready to refinish it.

Refinishing a Weathered Garden Bench

Safey First, (as Meri-K will tell you.) Because I was sanding and scraping the old paint I had to wear eye protection and a dust mask. I also wore ear plugs while sanding and gloves to keep my hands from getting rough.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Instructions:

Begin by using the wire brush to remove any flaking paint and to get into the grooves of the spindles (and other hard to reach places.)

Tip from a Handy Girl: I am about to share with you a helpful time saving trick, so pay attention. If you have a power sander that holds the sandpaper with a clip. You can stack your sandpaper. I put the 220 grit on the bottom, then put the 1oo grit on top of that. After sanding my bench with the 100 grit, I simply tear off the top sheet and expose the finer 220 grit.

Sand down the bench with a rough 100 grit paper first, then follow up with a finer 220 grit sand paper.

Secure any loose pieces of the bench. To use Gorilla Glue, you need to moisten the two pieces that you will secure.

Then put a small amount of Gorilla glue onto one of the pieces.

Clamp the joined pieces and allow to dry overnight. (By the way, don’t waist your money on cheap clamps. That little black & orange number below just bit the dust last weekend. My Irwin clamp is a CHAMP!) Check back after 30 minutes to wipe off any Gorilla glue that has spread out of the seam.

Because the posts on my bench were really falling apart, I decided to remove the ball finials.

Use a saw to cut both finials off.

Patch the hole using toothpicks and wood glue.

After the glue has completely dried, saw off the toothpicks.

Add a curtain rod finial on top of the sawed off posts.

It looks like those finials were there all along!

Clean your bench off with a damp rag to remove any sawdust.

Cover the entire bench with one coat of KILZ Clean Start Primer. Want to know why I use KILZ Clean Start primer for all my projects now? Read how much I love it in this post where I used the same primer for painting a bamboo rug. I’m never buying any other primers (unless I’m priming a tricky surface, then I’ll use BIN 1-2-3 oil based primer. But, I won’t be happy about using that stinky stuff.)

After the primer has dried, use a piece of fine grit sand paper to gently remove any burrs or imperfections.

Then wipe off the bench with another damp wipe. I used Benjamin Moore Impervo Semi Gloss paint for the top coat on my bench. It leaves a really tough coating and will hold up to wear and tear.

Roll on the paint in one area. Then follow up with a brush to even out the paint. Remember to run your brush in the same direction as the grain of the wood.

Lightly sand after the first coat has dried and finish up with a second coat of Benjamin Moore Impervo paint. I didn’t add polyurethane, but if you are really concerned about a piece of furniture that will be exposed to the elements, go ahead and add two or more coats of polyurethane.

My bench should successfully last outside now for three reasons:

  1. I moved it inside the porch and out of the direct sun and rain.
  2. I primed the bench with a good quality brush-on primer (instead of a spray paint type.)
  3. I brushed on two coats of paint making sure I got into all the cracks and crevices of the bench.

Here she is in her newfound home, our screen porch:



With zero VOCs and the quality that is standard in all the KILZ products, this primer is a must have for the DIY painter!

 

Disclaimer: The products mentioned in this post are products that I use and stand behind. The opinions expressed in this post are authentically mine. I was sent a gallon of KILZ Clean Start Primer and the Irwin Quick Grip clamp to try out, but I was not paid or swayed to write favorable things about the products. If I don’t like a product, I won’t write about it. And I certainly won’t pass it off on my valued readers.

 

 

Hey, you came back! So glad you weren’t scared off by my toilet repair post. Well, congratulations to you for sticking with me and wanting to learn how to fix your toilet.

In Part 1 we learned how to replace the flush lever. If you found it easy, I know you won’t find today’s tutorial too difficult. And then, you will certainly be able to replace the overflow tube and flapper in my next post.

In review, here is what your toilet tank parts are:

Here is the kit I recommend you purchase (costs about $20):

And here are the tools you will need:

  • Plumber’s Wrench (must have a wide mouth opening. The Irwin pliers shown have just enough of an opening to work)
  • Adjustable Crescent Wrench
  • Handsaw (drywall, coping or hack saw will work. Needs to cut through PVC)
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Level
  • Scissors
  • Bucket or basin
  • Sponge
  • Rags or Towels
  • Rubber Gloves

Disclaimer: This tutorial is a general overview of replacing a fill valve in your toilet tank. Be sure to follow the directions that come with your toilet parts as there may be changes or additional steps.

If you haven’t done so already, start by turning off the water. There should be a water shut off valve in the wall behind your toilet. Gently turn the knob clockwise to shut the valve.

Next, flush your toilet to drain the water from the tank. If your tank re-fills the water is not completely shut off.

Remove the lid to your tank. Set it in a safe place where it can’t get dropped and broken.

If there is still a lot of water in the bottom of the tank. Lift the flapper chain to drain the tank to the top of the flapper.

Use a sponge to completely soak up all the water remaining in the tank.

Once the tank is completely empty we can start to remove the fill valve. Look underneath the tank to see where the water line feeds into the tank. Using pliers, loosen and then remove the coupling nut from the supply line.

One quick note about supply lines: If your toilet has a plastic or rubber supply line, you should consider replacing it with a braided metal supply line that is less prone to breaking or leaks (in other words they can cause a major flood!) The same advice applies to the water lines under your sink and definitely your clothes washer.

Place the basin or bucket underneath the supply line and gently remove the line from the bottom of the fill valve (gray threaded stem shown below.)

Remove the washer holding the fill valve to the tank.

Inside the tank, locate the small rubber hose that attaches the fill valve to the overflow tube. Then disconnect the hose as shown below.

Now you should be able to lift the fill valve up and out of the tank.

Place the new fill valve into the tank where the old one was. Notice the sleek new design, No Float Ball!

Side Note: You may need to adjust the height of the fill valve to fit in your tank.  If so, twist the top portion of the valve independent of the bottom half. (After you fill the tank, you can raise or lower the valve the same way if you need to adjust the height of the fill valve.)

Thread the new washer onto the bottom of the fill valve where it extends out the bottom of the tank.


Gently tighten the washer, but be careful not to overtighten, or you might break the tank.


Next thread the coupling nut back onto the bottom of the fill valve to secure the water line.


Add the fill valve water hose onto the side of the fill valve. Then measure the distance to the top of the flush valve. Leave an extra inch, and trim any excess hose.


Find the  anchor clip that attaches the hose to the overflow tube.


Slide the hose onto the clip and attach it with a hose clamp (if included with your kit).


Attach another hose clamp to the end of the hose where it meets the fill valve. Slide the anchor clip onto the top of the overflow tube. The hose should be free of kinks and should arch up as shown.


Before you turn the water back on, you need to flush the fill valve to rid it of any foreign matter. Twist the top of the fill valve counter clockwise and lift up to release it.


Place a bucket or cup directly over the top of the fill valve. This will re-direct the water that is going to spray straight up out of the fill valve.


Gently turn on the water supply while holding the bucket. Let it run for a few seconds, then turn it off again.


Replace the cap of the fill valve by setting the cap back on top and then twist the cap clockwise. Make sure it is on securely. Then turn the water supply back on.

While the tank is filling, press down on the float cup until it is submerged under water for 30 seconds. Then release. Now you can adjust the water level adjustment screw until the water in the tank is about 1″ lower than the top of the overflow tube.

Test your toilet by flushing it a few times. Does it work?! Hooray! You’ve now replaced 2/3 of your toilet tank parts. Next up, how to replace the overflow tube and flapper assembly.

Today, I have Part 1 in a 3 Part Series on Toilet Repairs! Today we’ll learn How To Replace the Lever!

When visiting Scotland, we took a tour of Mary King’s Close we learned about life in Edinburgh before the toilet was invented. It was definitely not a pretty time in the city’s history. People literally dumped their pails of waste into the streets of Edinburgh and the sludge ran down the streets and into the loch (lake). They were only allowed to dump the pails early or late in the day after the street vendors were gone and the streets were less crowded. Then they opened their doors or window and threw out the sludge yelling, “gardyloo” loosely translated as “watch out for the water!” How thoughtful of them. But, people would still slip and fall in the muck coated walkways.

Back then the saying about Edinburgh was that you could smell it before you could see it.

Thank goodness the toilet was invented! Go now and hug your porcelain bowls. Okay, well you don’t have to, but be thankful for your loo.

Did you know that a leaky or malfunctioning toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water per day, that is over 70,000 gallons of water in a year! Yikes!

If you have a leaking toilet or one that doesn’t shut off I encourage you to fix it yourself! Yes, you can do this, no need to hire a plumber.

First, for anyone concerned about putting their hands in “crap water”, let me reassure you that all the repairs I am going to show you are in the tank and the tank holds clean water that is then used to flush the toilet. So, no need to worry about contaminated water. That isn’t to say that the tank won’t have mineral deposits or black residue in it. This is a result of the break down of the rubber gasket or hard water deposits, so you may want to don some rubber gloves.

Over the next few days I will show you how to replace everything in your tank. I HIGHLY recommend purchasing an entire tank repair kit and replace all the parts at once. It will save you time and money, because if one part of your tank is going bad, the others are likely to follow close behind.

Complete Toilet Repair Kits cost about $20

Today we will get your feet wet (no pun intended) by replacing the handle also known as the flush lever. Then I will show you how to replace the fill valve and finally how to replace the overflow tube and flapper assembly.

But, before we begin, you will need a few tools (tools shown are for a full repair job.)

  • Plumber’s Wrench (must have a wide mouth opening)
  • Adjustable Crescent Wrench
  • Handsaw (drywall, coping or hack saw will work. Needs to cut through PVC)
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Level
  • Scissors
  • Bucket or basin
  • Sponge
  • Rags or Towels
  • Rubber Gloves

Ready? Well, let’s begin! Start by turning off the water. There should be a water shut off valve in the wall behind your toilet. Gently turn the knob clockwise to shut the valve.

Next, flush your toilet to drain the water from the tank. If your tank re-fills the water is not completely shut off.

Remove the lid to your tank. Set the lid in a safe place where it can’t be dropped or broken.

Inside the tank, opposite the lever, is a lock nut that holds the lever in place.


Using your pliers, gently loosen the nut and then remove the lock nut by hand. Just a little note: the nut may turn in the opposite direction than you would expect.

Remove the flapper chain from the end of the rod attached to the lever.


Remove the old flush lever and replace it with the new one.

Thread the lock nut back onto the new lever. Gently tighten the lock nut, but not too much. Over tightening could result in a cracked tank.


Replace the flapper chain on the new lever rod (picture below shows two chains, but you may only have one.) Adjust the chain so there is a slight amount of slack in the chain. Remove any excess chain that could get caught in the flapper (but leave an inch or two on the chain for adjustments).


Turn the water back on and let the tank fill.


Test the lever by depressing it. Replace the tank lid and test it again making sure that the flush lever rod doesn’t hit the top of the tank lid before lifting the flapper. Once it flushes properly, you are done!
That wasn’t hard, was it? Stay tuned as I show you how to replace the fill valve and finally how to replace the overflow tube and flapper assembly!

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How to Retrieve Items from the Drain

While I was working on my Goodwill sweater, I accidentally dropped one of the pins down the drain.

Now, I could have just left it there, but my “Ms. Fix-It” brain knew that I couldn’t do that. If I left it, I would be dealing with a clogged drain in a month since it would trap all kinds of hair and unmentionable gunk. So, I did the “right” thing and set about retrieving it myself. (And, blogging about it so you know what to do as well.)

Here’s How to Retrieve a Item Dropped Down the Drain

IMPORTANT! If you do happen to drop anything down the drain, turn off the water IMMEDIATELY! You don’t want the water to wash the item beyond the drain, because then it is gone forever (unless you want to explore your city sewer lines.)

Tools:
(contains affiliate links)

 Instructions:

1. Put on your rubber gloves (who knows what’s hiding in your drain!)

2. Set the basin under your sink’s P-trap.

3. Then grab some channel lock type pliers. Irwin recently sent me this quick release Irwin GrooveLock Pliers
that are a snap to open and close the jaws. Just push the button, slide the handle up or down and release. Super quick and easy!

4. Loosen the lower slip nut ring.

Then slide it up to release one end of the P-trap.

5. Loosen the upper /upper slip nut ring (pay no attention to the slip nut I’m loosening, I actually had to loosen the one above it to free my P-trap.)

6. Then pull down on the P-trap to remove it (you will see in this picture that I had loosened the slip nut higher up to release the drain assembly.) Ewww, gross, don’t look at that string of hair hanging from the drain.


7. (Here comes the next disgusting part.) Turn your P-trap upside down to empty the contents into the basin. Oh and be sure you are wearing your rubber gloves (do as I say, not as I do!)

8. Remove your object. Luckily my pin fell out immediately. If your drain is really gunked up, you may need to run some water or use an old bottle brush to clean out the P-trap and release your object from the yuckiness. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to clean it out anyway while you have it off (if you can stomach it.)

9. Reverse the steps to re-assemble the P-trap. With plumbing I usually hand tighten the nuts and then use the pliers to give it an extra 1/4 turn (but I’m a weakling. If you battle me in arm wrestling YOU WILL WIN!)

10. When your spouse comes home, brag about how you retrieved something from the drain all by yourself!

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