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Home Improvement

Suburb Repairman

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Has anyone installed solar tubes for natural lighting? One bathroom and the laundry room are both interior and have no windows.

Helped a friend do it. It was surprisingly easy, but definitely a 2-person job to get everything aligned. His were located in a bathroom.

My observations are that solar tubes, due to their shape and basically being modular designs, are much less prone to leaking and much for manageable for a DIY compared to a skylight. I would suggest considering tubes that have some means of defusing/filtering light. Direct solar tube light can cause some weird shadowing when in conjunction with interior lighting, particularly in a bathroom. The main reason I know this is because I had to go back to his house about a week later to help him disassemble/reassemble with a sort of lens on the bottom because his wife was having difficulty with makeup application due to the different light sources casting different tones. It was a little similar to design Veloise posted, except it was more flush-mounted to the ceiling and looked more like a large recessed light.

There are also now some really cool tube systems ideal for laundry & bathrooms that are combined with ceiling vents:
http://www.solatube.com/residential/daylighting#add-ons

That could be a good option for you because you might just be able to use an existing roof penetration for your ceiling vents and swap out for a combo solar tube/vent.

Also, you are pretty much in the south now. In the south, we plan our home improvements involving significant time in the attic for the cooler months.
 

WSU MUP Student

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My wife's aunt and uncle put solar tubes in a long dark interior hallway, master bathroom, walk-in closets, and a laundry room. I was surprised at how much light they let in for what looks like a relatively small opening. Theirs have some sort of defusing lens on them and they really seem to help spread the light evenly. I believe theirs also have some sort of solar light inside the tubes so that they continue to send light through well into the evenings.
 

Gedunker

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I've always wanted to rehab a local shotgun house and put in clerestory windows to brighten it up. Alas, money has always prevented me from doing it.
 

AG74683

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40
Found out this weekend that both my bathtubs are porcelain tubs. I never really thought about them, I just figured they were the cheap vinyl/fiberglass ones. That makes re-doing by guest bath a little simpler since I won't have to replace the tub.
 

RandomPlanner

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Found out this weekend that both my bathtubs are porcelain tubs. I never really thought about them, I just figured they were the cheap vinyl/fiberglass ones. That makes re-doing by guest bath a little simpler since I won't have to replace the tub.

A) I'm interested. All porcelain tubs that I've encountered are dramatically different than the cheap vinyl/ fiberglass ones. This surprise is intriguing to me.

B) I'm jealous! We are looking to replace our cheapo tub sometime soon.
 

michaelskis

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A) I'm interested. All porcelain tubs that I've encountered are dramatically different than the cheap vinyl/ fiberglass ones. This surprise is intriguing to me.

B) I'm jealous! We are looking to replace our cheapo tub sometime soon.

If you can, find an old claw-foot tub and have it reglazed. The standard sizes are not too hard to find and can be cleaned up to look awesome.
 

AG74683

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A) I'm interested. All porcelain tubs that I've encountered are dramatically different than the cheap vinyl/ fiberglass ones. This surprise is intriguing to me.

B) I'm jealous! We are looking to replace our cheapo tub sometime soon.

Mine aren't the fancy ones, just standard. Looks a little like this
porcelain-bathtub-after-350x192.jpg
except it has a single odd indention on the left hand side that is only about 2 feet long. I suspect it's supposed to make it easier to get in or something?

Both are in relatively good shape, and now that I know what they are I can clean them appropriately. I'm curious as to how beefed up the floor joists are underneath them though. I wonder if the house was originally designed for them or added later on. It's really porcelain over a metal frame from what I can tell. A magnet attaches to the tub.
 

RandomPlanner

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If you can, find an old claw-foot tub and have it reglazed. The standard sizes are not too hard to find and can be cleaned up to look awesome.

YES! I would love to find a claw foot tub to replace our 1989 impossible-to-clean-and-super-ugly mono-shower/bath unit!
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
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After work today, I replaced the weir on our pool scupper all by myself in ten minutes without using a swear word or breaking any skin. Give it up for RJ. Yeah, RJ. :D


OK, it only involved one metal screw, but it was awkward.
 

AG74683

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Wow this thread got really buried!

I'm getting ready to start my fence project, but it looks like funds will be a little short so I'll probably take a tiny loan out for it. I'm thinking about taking some additional funds while I'm at it to complete a few of the larger projects I saw myself doing a year or two from now. One of these will be installing an attic access hatch.

I'll probably have a contractor do it, but I have a few questions.

1). Where to put it? I don't have a garage (just an open car port) so hiding it somewhere is unfortunately not an option. What are some ways to disguise it so it's not so obvious?
2). My ceiling joists run east/west and the layout of the house runs north/south. I'd prefer to put the hatch either in the hallway (which I hate) or a bedroom. Does the hatch have to run east/west or is there any option to run it the other way?
 

MD Planner

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When you say "hatch" do you mean pull down stairs or truly just an access hatch? If it's just a hatch that you will get on a ladder in order to get into the attic now and then you can put that just about anywhere, like in a closet. If you're doing the stairs I'd think you almost have to install it so it rests between the joists so you can anchor it properly and support the weight as well as fitting flush with the ceiling when closed. If you go that route you could always put some trim around the edges of the opening. It doesn't "hide" it but it does give a much more finished look.
 

AG74683

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When you say "hatch" do you mean pull down stairs or truly just an access hatch? If it's just a hatch that you will get on a ladder in order to get into the attic now and then you can put that just about anywhere, like in a closet. If you're doing the stairs I'd think you almost have to install it so it rests between the joists so you can anchor it properly and support the weight as well as fitting flush with the ceiling when closed. If you go that route you could always put some trim around the edges of the opening. It doesn't "hide" it but it does give a much more finished look.

Stairs. I have the 2' x 2' scuttle hole, but it's in a closet and really isn't accessible.

I was afraid there was no way to orient it against the joists, so my location is pretty limited now. I want to locate it in the carport to be honest, but it's open to outside with no real security options there. I suppose I could built some sort of interior hatch that locks maybe?
 

michaelskis

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Stairs. I have the 2' x 2' scuttle hole, but it's in a closet and really isn't accessible.

I was afraid there was no way to orient it against the joists, so my location is pretty limited now. I want to locate it in the carport to be honest, but it's open to outside with no real security options there. I suppose I could built some sort of interior hatch that locks maybe?

They are designed to fit between the joists, so you will be limited. There are versions that have locks on them, so that might be an option for you if you put it outside.
 

Big Owl

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Stairs. I have the 2' x 2' scuttle hole, but it's in a closet and really isn't accessible.

I was afraid there was no way to orient it against the joists, so my location is pretty limited now. I want to locate it in the carport to be honest, but it's open to outside with no real security options there. I suppose I could built some sort of interior hatch that locks maybe?

In my townhouse that I used to live in but now rent, I had no good place for pull down steps as the hallway upstairs ran perpendicular to the rafters. I looked at telescoping ladders options like this. I decided to move shortly after so I never got a round to installing it but I may do something similar at my current home.
 

DVD

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Holy crap! It looks like a real garden. I wish I were better at gardening, but it sounds like a lot of work.
 

AG74683

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They are designed to fit between the joists, so you will be limited. There are versions that have locks on them, so that might be an option for you if you put it outside.

In my townhouse that I used to live in but now rent, I had no good place for pull down steps as the hallway upstairs ran perpendicular to the rafters. I looked at telescoping ladders options like this. I decided to move shortly after so I never got a round to installing it but I may do something similar at my current home.

I think I've decided to put it in the carport after all. This gives me a lot more room and I don't care how pretty it looks. You wouldn't even be able to see the hatch from anywhere but inside the carport anyways. I think I will design some sort of inner hatch system that locks. I envision something hinged so the entire system can fold down after the inside door is unlocked so you're not stepping over something to get into the attic. I'll alarm the outer hatch so if anyone tries to get in I'll know about it. I just need to check if the carport roof system allows access to the rest of the house.

I'll also probably need to look at replacing the insulation in my attic. It's really old style sawdust type of stuff. Do you typically take out the old insulation to put new down, or just drop the new on top? Rolled vs. blown in?
 

Veloise

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Holy crap! It looks like a real garden. I wish I were better at gardening, but it sounds like a lot of work.

It's easier than mowing a yard.

--Read Sunday paper, saving the newsprint pages
--Visit city yard waste site, load car with free woodchips
--Sit on lawn stool spreading newspaper sheets (three layers, overlapping; note that the Freep and the Press use different sized pages). Apply woodchips.
--Wait

In a few months the grass is gone, and the soil is ready for planting. I add more newspaper and woodchips around the plants so save the trouble of weeding..

Part of the reason for the new wall was my side yard contour. I "lost" about 8" of horizontal space, but gained it back with the newly-leveled plateau. Then I lifted the existing plants, rearranged the soil, re-planted everybody in a cascading height arrangement. This is a process photo and the stuff to the right has been repositioned. Much of it was planted two springs back, so I had the additional fun of dividing the perennials. Free plants!

wall moving soil May 2016.jpg

of course I have a bicycle planter!
 

WSU MUP Student

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It's easier than mowing a yard...

The finished product looks really good looks really good. Did you use any sort of adhesive to hold the pavers into place? I occasionally see people put up similar retaining walls around gardens but they start to shift considerably after a couple freeze-thaw cycles (although yours doesn't look like it's overly high compared to the rest of the land surrounding it so the weight of the dirt behind it is probably dispersed better than the damaged ones I've seen.

I've thought about ripping out the poorly planned and laid out flower beds along the front of my house and replacing them in a similar manner.
 

Veloise

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The finished product looks really good looks really good. Did you use any sort of adhesive to hold the pavers into place? I occasionally see people put up similar retaining walls around gardens but they start to shift considerably after a couple freeze-thaw cycles (although yours doesn't look like it's overly high compared to the rest of the land surrounding it so the weight of the dirt behind it is probably dispersed better than the damaged ones I've seen.

I've thought about ripping out the poorly planned and laid out flower beds along the front of my house and replacing them in a similar manner.
Menard's finest (on sale!) cement paver adhesive. Blobs visible here.

cement 2.jpg

Roger Cook would have dug a deep trench, buried a first layer, added some deadmen or posts. I figure it's only two rows tall and it's not subject to a lot of heave. I could always tap in some vertical bracing after this winter.

The drawback: my neighbor has a much nicer view; I can't see it unless I walk down the street a ways.
The benefit: they were [STRIKEOUT]sham [/STRIKEOUT]-- inspired to replace their fence.

IMG_20150614_213406242.jpg
this was the brand-new arbor last summer, the old picket fence, visible beyond it, is now replaced

pano1.jpg
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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I repainted the deck a couple weeks ago, but mainly to forestall the envitability of getting rid of the deck completely.

I don't like it, but the work to remove and install a replacement patio is more work than we're interested in right now.
 

AG74683

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40
Bought a new outdoor ceiling fan for my screen porch over the weekend. It arrived and I installed it yesterday. I got it up and realized that I needed to hang it with the supplied down rod rather than the close mount because the room slants down and it was incredibly noticeable. Unfortunately, after hanging it with a 4" drop, the light kit hangs too low so I had forgo that installation. I really didn't need it anyways, the porch is plenty bright without it and I'll be installing some rope lights up in the darker part maybe this weekend.

SO, that being said, if anyone has a use for a brand new white Harbor Breeze light kit, let me know. It's a single frosted white globe style with 3 40w candelabra base sockets. Uses the standard Harbor Breeze 2 wire connection system, but I suppose you could always cut the quick connects off and use it just about anywhere. The fan link is here:http://www.lowes.com/pd/Harbor-Bree...Outdoor-Ceiling-Fan-with-Light-Kit/1000004778 in case you want to see the light system.
 

RandomPlanner

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Let's talk about patio doors, shall we?

We live in a humid climate and the cheapo wood doors that are on the back of the house (imagine the most generic door that Big Box Home Improvement Store carries) have begun to rot. The SO was willing to go buy what we already had -- in a non-wood version, of course since this door is only about six years old. I wanted something nicer, something with divided lights (we're living in a newer house, for Pete's sake. I'm just asking for a little character.) So we searched and searched and searched for replacement doors. He wanted both doors to open out, I wanted door handles on both doors. I had other requirements; I'm a bit picky on house stuff.

We found the doors we wanted at a little shop nearby. They were somewhat expensive. We were ready to pull the trigger and the sales person made reference to the SIMULATED divided lights. Uh, simulated, you say?? No, no, that's why we're paying extra -- for the real divided lights. So back to the drawing board... apparently you can't get a real divided light door these days unless you have it made for you -- and then the price goes up exponentially, of course.

Finally, we find a less expensive, simulated divided light door that didn't look too bad. It had all of what the SO wanted; it had most of what I wanted. So we ordered it. Six weeks pass... we wait impatiently. This week the door finally arrives! Yay!! We go look at it last night. Looks good, tell the installer to come pick it up.

The installer comes today, on the hottest (thus far) day of the year. He's got the door. He starts pulling things apart. Thank God he didn't remove the existing door... because the door that we've been waiting for... is ... too ... big!!!

Seriously, the door's too big. And they won't custom make this door in a smaller size. Grrr. So I guess they're going to rearrange my kitchen wall next week too to make this stupid door fit.

AHHHHH!!~
 

AG74683

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Finished up the little alcove off the kitchen today. I spent like 40 bucks on switch plates. Standard plates are just so boring. I also swapped out both the outlets and switches for the decorative ones. My screen room is about 80% complete, just need to stain the decking. I installed a ceiling fan with a remote and wall switch. Also redid the one of the electrical boxes and installed some rope lights. Looks pretty good if I do say so myself.
 

Big Owl

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This past weekend, I went to a big box hardware store to get a timer switch for my back porch light that always seems to get left on. I came home with a phillip hue starter kit so now I have "connected" light bulbs. It came with two bulbs and the hub so I put one on the front porch and the other on the back porch, both covered. I programed the back porch light to go off at a certain time so it doesn't stay on light and thus far it works. Yes, I spent more than double than I intended but now I can turn on my back and front porch lights from where ever I have wi-fi or cell service and I am certain one day that might come in handy. ;)
 

DVD

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This past weekend, I went to a big box hardware store to get a timer switch for my back porch light that always seems to get left on. I came home with a phillip hue starter kit so now I have "connected" light bulbs. It came with two bulbs and the hub so I put one on the front porch and the other on the back porch, both covered. I programed the back porch light to go off at a certain time so it doesn't stay on light and thus far it works. Yes, I spent more than double than I intended but now I can turn on my back and front porch lights from where ever I have wi-fi or cell service and I am certain one day that might come in handy. ;)

Only when you're bragging to friends or trying to freak out the kids.
 

michaelskis

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This past weekend, I went to a big box hardware store to get a timer switch for my back porch light that always seems to get left on. I came home with a phillip hue starter kit so now I have "connected" light bulbs. It came with two bulbs and the hub so I put one on the front porch and the other on the back porch, both covered. I programed the back porch light to go off at a certain time so it doesn't stay on light and thus far it works. Yes, I spent more than double than I intended but now I can turn on my back and front porch lights from where ever I have wi-fi or cell service and I am certain one day that might come in handy. ;)

Oh look at you and your fancy smart home components. ;)


Just remember when skynet takes over, they will use your porches as strobe lights to drive your neighbors insane!
 

Big Owl

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Only when you're bragging to friends or trying to freak out the kids.

Before they got installed in their intended locations, I successfully pranked my wife and two daughters independently. My best was installing both lights in the kitchen and every time my wife opened the refrigerator I would turned off the kitchen light and I would turn the lights on once it closed. Of course, she came and got me after the second time which she opened and shut it a couple times. I had my youngest daughter take over for me while I was "checking it out". My daughter couldn't keep it together and we got made. It was fun to watch. That made it worth it right there.:thumbsup:
 

AG74683

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This past weekend, I went to a big box hardware store to get a timer switch for my back porch light that always seems to get left on. I came home with a phillip hue starter kit so now I have "connected" light bulbs. It came with two bulbs and the hub so I put one on the front porch and the other on the back porch, both covered. I programed the back porch light to go off at a certain time so it doesn't stay on light and thus far it works. Yes, I spent more than double than I intended but now I can turn on my back and front porch lights from where ever I have wi-fi or cell service and I am certain one day that might come in handy. ;)

Did you get the kind that allow you to change the colors? I've been interested in the Hue line, but they are a little out of my price range now.
 

Big Owl

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Did you get the kind that allow you to change the colors? I've been interested in the Hue line, but they are a little out of my price range now.

I just have the white light bulbs. The starter kit with two bulbs wasn't too expensive now the color starter kit was almost three times as much. The individual white bulbs are $15 vs $50 for the color bulbs of course regular led bulbs are $2. I would like to have more bulbs but my immediate goal was to prevent the back light from being left on forever. So it was hue instead of a timer switch so a little bit of splurge. I can see where I could benefit from more bulbs or connected switches. Hue integrates well with Apple's Homekit and IFTTT. I could use them more efficiently, I am sure. The color lights are neat but I can't justify them.
 

Richmond Jake

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I replaced the faucet on the bar sink yesterday. Surprisingly, very few swear words used. The worst part of the job was removing the old, leaking faucet.
 

AG74683

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40
"Fixed" my sump pump line this weekend. During the great deluge of Hurricane Matthew, the sump pump line exploded because there was too much water coming out and I guess the pipe was weak in a few areas. I dug it up, ran a longer length of line and piped it up and out of the ground. I'm not sure I'm a big fan of it as it is now though. The opening at the end stays perpetually full of water even with the pump totally drained out. I'm worried about mosquito and ice, we shall see.
 

DVD

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"Fixed" my sump pump line this weekend. During the great deluge of Hurricane Matthew, the sump pump line exploded because there was too much water coming out and I guess the pipe was weak in a few areas. I dug it up, ran a longer length of line and piped it up and out of the ground. I'm not sure I'm a big fan of it as it is now though. The opening at the end stays perpetually full of water even with the pump totally drained out. I'm worried about mosquito and ice, we shall see.

For some odd reason mosquito vector control is one of my jobs. We sell this stuff called altosid, but you can go to just about any hardware or farm supply store and get the same stuff usually labeled as mosquito dunks. Just throw the tablet in at the beginning of mosquito season and it kills all the babies with no thinking about the children. It's not hazardous to wildlife or dogs either. They usually last about 30 days.
 

michaelskis

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I have a very large area above my garage door. So I have decided that I going to build a C shaped loft along 3 walls. It will only be 36 inches deep and about 36 inches tall. That way I can store all those plastic tote bins up there out of the way. I am also building a similar loft above the area that I am going to use as a work bench area.

My wife has decided that she does not really like parking in the garage, so until further notice, I will be using it as a woodshop. :D
 

AG74683

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Has anyone ever replaced soffit and fascia boards? I've got a rotten one on my carport that's getting pretty bad. It doesn't SEEM like that hard of a job, but I've learned my lesson there. I can't get access inside of the roof structure because for whatever reason the carport is completely blocked off from the house attic space, so I have no clue what the damage looks like inside. There's not much to it looking at the visible rot, maybe 5 - 10 feet along the length and it doesn't appear to move back towards the house much, only where the fascia joins the soffit. I'd really hate to hire a licensed guy to do it, because I think it'll cost me at least triple what it would cost to just do it myself.
 

Planit

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Has anyone ever replaced soffit and fascia boards? I've got a rotten one on my carport that's getting pretty bad. It doesn't SEEM like that hard of a job, but I've learned my lesson there. I can't get access inside of the roof structure because for whatever reason the carport is completely blocked off from the house attic space, so I have no clue what the damage looks like inside. There's not much to it looking at the visible rot, maybe 5 - 10 feet along the length and it doesn't appear to move back towards the house much, only where the fascia joins the soffit. I'd really hate to hire a licensed guy to do it, because I think it'll cost me at least triple what it would cost to just do it myself.

Not really that difficult. First thing I would do is pry off the rotten piece and assess from the outside. If the rot/wet is getting in/on the framing then its a totally different situation.
 

michaelskis

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Has anyone ever replaced soffit and fascia boards? I've got a rotten one on my carport that's getting pretty bad. It doesn't SEEM like that hard of a job, but I've learned my lesson there. I can't get access inside of the roof structure because for whatever reason the carport is completely blocked off from the house attic space, so I have no clue what the damage looks like inside. There's not much to it looking at the visible rot, maybe 5 - 10 feet along the length and it doesn't appear to move back towards the house much, only where the fascia joins the soffit. I'd really hate to hire a licensed guy to do it, because I think it'll cost me at least triple what it would cost to just do it myself.

The job is not that hard, but the bigger question is why is there rot. Do you have a leak someplace? Often that the symptom of a bigger issue.
 

dandy_warhol

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53
Started removing the decades old wall paper from the kitchen. To remove it all should only take about 1........year. *sigh*
 

MD Planner

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49
Started removing the decades old wall paper from the kitchen. To remove it all should only take about 1........year. *sigh*

Use DIF, lots and lots of DIF. And make sure you score the paper and give the DIF plenty of time to work. I think that used to be my biggest problem, I'd be too impatient. I learned to apply more than suggested and let it soak in longer than suggested and it's been much easier every time since.
 

WSU MUP Student

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Started removing the decades old wall paper from the kitchen. To remove it all should only take about 1........year. *sigh*

When we had our bathroom painted last year I had to remove quite a bit of wallpaper and glue before the walls could be refinished and the painter gave me a sprayer like this one to use to help apply the solution (I just used HOT HOT HOT water and a bit of vinegar). The sprayer worked awesome to make sure that the solution was applied evenly and thoroughly.
 

AG74683

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40
Started removing the decades old wall paper from the kitchen. To remove it all should only take about 1........year. *sigh*

Just don't get lazy and paint over it like the PO did on my house, because that's stupid and makes everything for the next person a nightmare. :-@
 

DVD

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My wallpaper wasn't old, but it was painted over. I had to use one of those scoring things and basically soaked it in hot water then gently scraped it away. Once the paint and first coat of paper was off the rest would come off a little faster.

Good luck! I hate wallpaper.
 

Gedunker

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When we had our bathroom painted last year I had to remove quite a bit of wallpaper and glue before the walls could be refinished and the painter gave me a sprayer like this one to use to help apply the solution (I just used HOT HOT HOT water and a bit of vinegar). The sprayer worked awesome to make sure that the solution was applied evenly and thoroughly.

Hot water and vinegar user here too. Aside from the smell (I'm not a vinegar fan) it works better than DIF and is cheaper. But DO let it soak in, that's the key.:h:

Another good use for vinegar is for washing windows/mirrors. Be sure to use newsprint instead of paper towels for a completely streak-free shine.
 

kms

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Hot water and vinegar user here too. Aside from the smell (I'm not a vinegar fan) it works better than DIF and is cheaper. But DO let it soak in, that's the key.:h:

Another good use for vinegar is for washing windows/mirrors. Be sure to use newsprint instead of paper towels for a completely streak-free shine.

Dawn dish soap and HOT vinegar can really clean a bathtub.

I've never really bought household cleansers. Vinegar, bleach, baking soda and borax are about all you need.
 

WSU MUP Student

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Hot water and vinegar user here too. Aside from the smell (I'm not a vinegar fan) it works better than DIF and is cheaper. But DO let it soak in, that's the key.:h:

Another good use for vinegar is for washing windows/mirrors. Be sure to use newsprint instead of paper towels for a completely streak-free shine.

I use the vinegar for windows and mirrors too. I went out and bought a sprayer like the one I posted above and fill it with a mixture of vinegar and water and drop or two of dish soap and use that on the exterior of my windows each spring and fall and of course use newspapers to wipe them down too!

The newspapers on mirrors and windows is a great trick. I learned that from my dad and the first time I did that in front of my wife she thought I was crazy.
 

kjel

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I use the vinegar for windows and mirrors too. I went out and bought a sprayer like the one I posted above and fill it with a mixture of vinegar and water and drop or two of dish soap and use that on the exterior of my windows each spring and fall and of course use newspapers to wipe them down too!

The newspapers on mirrors and windows is a great trick. I learned that from my dad and the first time I did that in front of my wife she thought I was crazy.

That's always how I've cleaned windows and mirrors. For anything grimy or greasy....spray bottle half full of HOT water, a squirt of Dawn, and two caps of ammonia. Spray on, let sit a couple minutes, hit it with a scrubby sponge and your done. Turn the fan on or open a window/door if the smell bothers you. Burner grates get soaked overnight in the same solution in the sink and easily come clean in the morning.
 
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