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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What features make a padlock stronger?

    The high-security padlocks often have cases that provide a collar around most of the shackle. That makes it harder to get bolt cutters on them.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How can I better organize my garage?

    Use Vertical Space

    Take advantage of the vertical space in your garage by smartly using the walls for storage. Put up rows of shelving, hang some recycled cabinets or install a specialized garage storage system to help you more efficiently use your wall space.

    If you want to save some money, instead of buying special bins and boxes, you can create storage containers out of things you have around the house. For example, old jars work well for screws, nails and other small items. Use a screw or two to attach the jar lid to the underside of a shelf. Fill the jar with whatever, and screw the jar onto its top. Hang on to those sturdy shoe boxes because they make good storage containers. Just remember to label the contents. And that extra laundry basket can come in handy as well to store sports gear.

    And don't forget about pegboard. It's great for storing your tools, and if you draw outlines of your tools it makes it easier to keep them organized and to quickly see if something is missing. Make sure to secure bulkier items to the pegboard with a bungee cord. And to maximize your vertical space,mount a row of shelves above the pegboard to store seasonal items or things you don't need everyday. Just keep a sturdy step stool or ladder handy so you can safely access overhead gear.

    Re-purpose a straight metal rake that may have seen better days. Remove most of the handle, drill a pilot hole through the remainder and screw it to the wall using a good strong anchor. It's perfect for hanging your garden tools from the tines.

    Label Everything

    Not only will this help you quickly identify what's in boxes and bins, but labeling shelves and cabinets can also help make sure it gets put back in it's place after use.

    Create Storage Zones

    Consider creating storage zones based on use. For example, keep kids toys together and within reach of the kids because the easier it is to put away the toys, the more likely it will happen. Keep your tools together in one zone, your gardening gear in one zone and your holiday decor in another.

    Create Activity Toolkits

    Use buckets or easy-to-carry-bins to create activity toolkits that let you grab and go for DIY tasks you do on a routine basis. A paint kit with brushes, tarps, a paint pan and tape makes it easier to get a fast start. For a wall repair kit include spackle, tape, putty knife and sand paper. A car wash bucket with soap, sponge, towels, wax, windex or wipes makes it very convenient to send the kids out to wash the car.

    Raised Stored Items Off the Ground

    Because the garage can get dirty and wet, it's best to protect your belongings that are in boxes by storing them off the ground. Use pallets or a few two by fours or even some bricks to make sure paper boxes don't sit directly on the ground.

    Old metal garbage cans are great for storing bags of soil and fertilizer. Just drill some holes in the bottom so that the nutrients in the soil or fertilizer can 'breathe' and store them up off the ground a bit.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Furniture Fix-Ups Just in Time for the Holidays

    If you're hosting upcoming holiday parties, you want your home to look its best. If the wood table has watermarks, the dining room chairs are wobbly, or the couch's upholstery is unsightly, consider doing some furniture 'TLC.'

    Easy, minor touch-ups can make your furniture look like new, and your local Westlake Hardware store has the products you need to give your furniture a fresh look.

    Here are several furniture fix-up suggestions to get your home ready for holiday entertaining:

    Repair a Wobbly Chair

    If a chair is so wobbly that there's an old paperback jammed under the leg for balance, it's time for a repair. Knock the loose joint apart with a hammer. Then, with sandpaper or steel wool, remove any old glue from both parts that need to be reattached. If the glue is difficult to take off, try adding vinegar to it. Spread wood glue on both surfaces and then, using a wood clamp or tourniquet, apply pressure on the chair joint for 24 hours allowing the glue ample time to dry. Adding a small screw to the joint will assure a tight hold.

    Fix a Furniture Spindle

    If your chair's spindle is separated from its socket because of playful pets or years of use, you can re-secure it with a little elbow grease. Use a high-speed cutter to thoroughly remove old glue from the rung and inside of the socket. Then coat the end of the spindle and the inside of the socket with carpenter's glue, and wrap silk thread around the end of the spindle. Clamp and let settle overnight.

    Remove Residue from Wood

    Some common residue can be removed without the help of a professional furniture refinisher. Bear in mind, though, that you should always test your remedy in a small, inconspicuous area first just to be sure it doesn't damage the finish. For watermarks and rings caused by cups without coasters, use a wood amalgamator like Howard's Restore-A-Finish or Formby's Conditioning Furniture Refinisher. Use with #0000 steel wool. The more zeros in the code, the finer the weave is. Drench the wool and squeeze out lightly. Apply pressure with the grain, and your woodwork will look like new again. Finish by wiping clean with a tack cloth.

    Cloths referred to as white ring removers also work to remove marks caused by heat and water and even minor scratches and will not remove finish from the wood surface.

    If candle wax is the culprit, harden the substance by holding an ice cube wrapped in cloth against it. Then, use a plastic credit card or a dull knife to scrape it off. Rub the wax with an extra-fine steel wool dipped in mineral spirits, wipe dry and set with wax or polish.

    Upholding Your Upholstery

    Many furniture fabrics carry an upholstery code, usually found on a label under the cushions, which gives specific instructions on the proper methods for cleaning that fabric type. Typically, vacuuming and light brushing to remove dirt and grime is recommended as well as spot cleaning with an upholstery shampoo or mild solvent.

    Always patch testing the cleaner on the fabric first to ensure it doesn't shrink or discolor. It's a good idea to treat leather every year or so with a leather oil or conditioner. These products will keep the leather from cracking and remain more pliable to avoid rips and tears.

    Credit: Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • I have miss-drilled the hole for my doorknob. Is there anything I can do to cover this mistake?

    One option is to use a brass door reinforcer. This product will also increase the strength of your door.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is the best way to organize my garage?

    GARAGE ORGANIZATION

    Everything winds up in the garage. Here’s how to find it again.
    Your toughest hurdle is giving up the weekend. But, the rest is manageable. And dare we even say, enjoyable? Follow a few steps to get a space that rivals Grandma’s medicine cabinet.

    Stack
    First up: the go-to items. Stack ‘em on sturdy shelf units and you’ll never lose ‘em. Store heavyweights on the bottom and WD-40® up top — for a quick and easy reach.

    Hang
    Look down. Is that a bag of fertilizer at your feet? Attach wall shelves to house anything loose, and free up room for your wheels.

    Protect
    Make nice with bins —perfect for stacking and storing everything from fishing gear to fragile holiday stuff to fickle rock salt. Label ‘em to save time and profanity.

    Toss
    Wow, things are starting to shape up. Except for the broken stuff. Toss it in the garbage and forget it.

    Build
    At last! Let’s get buildin’. How many projects can you complete if you only had a new work bench? We think lots.

    Organize
    Thank the tools for your handiwork. Showcase ‘em on pegboards like the trophies they are.

    Enjoy
    Stand back and take it all in. Now that’s a playroom.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How can I remove the moulding from my wall without damaging either the drywall or the moulding?

    A pry bar is more efficient than a claw hammer, and its smooth base keeps it from damaging the wall.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is the difference between concrete mix and sand mix?

    Concrete mix has gravel in it, which makes it stronger and more durable. Sand mix is used mainly for patching or where you want a particularly smooth finish.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What supplies should I keep on hand to be prepared for winter storms?

    Blackouts and snow-ins can occur during winter months, so take a few minutes to make sure you are prepared for winter weather emergencies. Here's a list of the items you should have on hand in your home:

    • Flashlights
    • Extra batteries (check them periodically to make sure they haven’t expired)
    • Bottled water
    • Nonperishable food items
    • Blankets (put some in your car as well along with hats and gloves)
    • Phone numbers for your utility companies
    • Battery backup to protect your computer and other important electronic equipment
    • First-aid kit

    Always keep extra blankets, hats and gloves in your car in case you get stranded, as well as radiator fluid. And we recommend keeping a shovel in your car in case you need to dig yourself out somewhere. Smaller, compact designs and fold-up shovels exist for easy portability.

    If a blizzard is headed your way, check your ice melt and snow blower fuel supplies to make sure you have enough to outlast the storm.

    Consider getting a pair of ice cleats. Though many people are not familiar with this item, they can be very useful and increase your safety while performing outdoor maintenance in the winter. Ice cleats attach to shoes or boots and offer extra traction in slick icy weather.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Don't Overlook These Dorm Room Essentials

    Your new college freshman can't wait to bolt from home and begin to enjoy independent dorm life. But in preparing for college move-in day, he or she probably hasn't given any thought to those many 'extras' needed to make that spartan room more livable.

    Before leaving for school, a trip to the local hardware store often is essential to stock up on some very important, yet often overlooked items. In addition to the computer, CD player and mini-fridge, try making room in the car for the following:

    Test-Worthy Tools

    • A hammer and a box of nails or drywall anchors make hanging pictures and calendars on the walls easier. Double-sided tape or poster putty makes removal of posters from walls less damaging.
    • A flashlight and multiple packs of batteries come in handy if dorm electricity goes out. Extra batteries can also be used for all those extra electronics.
    • Standard or cordless screwdrivers make putting together furniture easier and help bookshelves and nightstands stay sturdy.
    • Extension cords and multi-outlet surge protectors are a must. Not only do they help expand room layout possibilities, but they also help protect valuable electronics, like computers.
    • A 25-foot extension phone cord allows the phone to be placed anywhere in the room.
    • Electrical wiring, extra cables and splitters are essential for multiple high-tech systems in a room like the stereo, TV, DVD player, computer and video game console.

    Smart Storage

    • Shelf boards and brackets expand storage capabilities and make a small space look larger. Use them to hold books, picture frames and CDs.
    • Large plastic storage containers that fit discreetly underneath the bed are perfect for stowing away clothing and extra blankets.

    A-Plus Appliances

    • Many hardware stores carry small coffee makers, toaster ovens and small microwaves for when hunger strikes during those late-night study sessions.
    • A small desktop or standing fan helps cool off a tiny dorm room.
    • For quick pickup of dry spills, a small cordless handvac that can be conveniently stored against the wall and out of sight does the dirty work.
    • A small reading lamp and extra light bulbs give eyes a break from overhead florescent dorm lighting. For a fun twist, pack some colored light bulbs.

    Extra Credit

    • A long mirror visually makes a small room look bigger.
    • A dry erase board is great for hanging outside on a dorm room door so friends can leave messages. A corkboard also works as a place for posting photos of family and friends, class schedules and notes.
    • A stepstool makes it easier to reach high shelves in typically tiny dorm closets.

    Happy Shopping!

    Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

     

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Which are better, plastic or metal trashcans?

    Most people prefer the heavy-duty plastic models because they do not bend or get out of shape as easily. However, metal cans make good storage containers for things such as birdseed, when you want to protect the contents from mice, rats, squirrels and insects.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is the best way to apply ice melt?

    Once you have your melting agent selected, you need the right tool to get it on the ground. Uneven distribution can cause areas with too much ice melt, which can lead to puddling and leaks into your yard, so it's best to use a broadcast spreader.

    Broadcast spreaders cover a wide area, so you're out in the cold for less time. The ice melt loads into the top and is funneled through a sprayer in the bottom. There's no better way to get a fast, even spread on your driveway.

    But for sidewalks and other narrower spaces, we recommend a hand-held spreader, which have a smaller broadcast radius and more direction control.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • How can I tell if I need to strip my deck before re-staining or re-sealing?

    If your deck was previously coated with a solid stain, use a putty knife or sharp blade to lightly cut a small 'X' in several spots on your deck (in high and low-traffic areas), but be careful to not cut into the wood. Then cover those 'X' marks with duct tape and rub down firmly. Quickly peel up the tape. If there are flakes of your stain on the tape, then you will need to strip your deck before restraining.

    If your deck was previously coated with a semi-transparent stain or sealer, clean it well and let it air dry for at least four hours. Then from a standing position pour a small amount of water on the decking in high traffic areas as well as lesser-used areas. If the water beads up (breaks up into tiny drops) and just sits there, then too much sealer is present and you will need to strip it.  If the water remains in a puddle and begins to absorb into the wood within 10 minutes then the coating has worn off enough that youcan re-stain or re-seal.

    Check your railings as well since coatings on vertical surfaces last much longer than those on your horizontal deck boards.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is the best type of fire extinguisher to have in my kitchen and my garage?

    A dry-chemical extinguisher marked general-purpose or multi-purpose is best for home use.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What kind of casement window operator will work on my window?

    Casement window operators come in both left-opening and right-opening models. Before purchasing a window operator, make sure you’re getting the right one.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Will a door closer work on my heavy storm door?

    A traditional screen door closer may not be strong enough. However, they make heavy-duty ones that will work. They also have the advantage of staying open automatically if they are opened all the way. Some newer doors have two closures-one on top and one on bottom.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Can I replace the spring on my garage door?

    There are two types of systems - tension and non-tension. Tension springs have the spring in the center and a large iron roller in the middle. Because is there is so much torque, most people hire a professional to work on these. The other type has the springs on the side of the door.

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • Prepping Your Home for the Selling Season: Smart Ideas for Securing that Sold Sign

    Once winter has passed, 'for sale' signs start popping up on lawns across America. And if you're one of the many people planning to put your home on the market this year, there's probably some home improvement work to do to fetch top dollar on the deal.

    Luckily, you don't need to spend lots of money to get your home ready to sell. There are plenty of inexpensive projects you can tackle to make your home more appealing to the buyer and get that ‘sold' sign in your front yard.

    Identify Your Home's Flaws

    Although disclosure laws can vary from state to state, sellers are obligated to disclose property and structural flaws when selling a home. Even if it's an honest mistake, failure to mention a basement that floods or a leaky roof could leave you in the hot seat well after the deal is closed.

    While you probably don't want to remodel your entire basement or kitchen before you sell, you should make some minor improvements to your home. Fixing small appliances like the dishwasher might cost you money upfront, but you'll probably recoup that cost when you sell.

    Get Your Home in Showcase Condition

    Have you ever walked into a space and been immediately overwhelmed by clutter and disorganization? As a seller, you rarely have a second chance to make a first impression.

    Spending a week or two cleaning and organizing your home will give your house a more spacious appearance. Minimize clutter by clearing counters, organizing closets and concealing items in stackable crates and baskets. And what about the garage? Remember, storage is key. Make sure it's organized, clean and can fit cars too.

    In the bathroom, replace caulking in bathtubs and showers. Modernize your kitchen by replacing a cracked linoleum floor, old counter tops and cabinetry.

    Be sure all appliances are working properly. Clean and inspect your furnace and water heater. Make repairs to correct leaky faucets, squeaky doors, broken light switches, burned-out light bulbs, loose doorknobs, torn screens and broken windows.

    Minimal Cost - Measurable Results

    Painting is one of the best yet relatively inexpensive ways to improve your home. Not only can a new paint job improve a room's appearance, but a fresh coat of paint can give a home a fresh ambiance and modernize outdated décor.

    As the selling season approaches, the need for neutral décor is also important. A house with beige walls and neutral tiling or carpeting is a faster sell. The neutral colors give potential homeowners a clean slate to make the property their own.

    Curb Appeal is also Key

    If the home doesn't pique curiosity from the curb, you'll never get the buyer to step foot inside.

    A good place to start is with your yard. A freshly cut lawn, manicured hedge and a beautiful flowering garden should catch the eyes of buyers. Siding and trim should be clean and in good condition, and cracks in the sidewalk or driveway should be patched and treated. You also should repair broken windows, wobbly railings and crooked shutters.

    Consider also painting or staining your front door, or even installing a new one, to make the doorway more welcoming. Adding a fresh coat of paint to the exterior of the house can make everything look new again.

    Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

     

    Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

  • What is the best way to find a stud in a wall? How far apart are they?

    Use a stud finder. This is the simplest, most effective way to find studs. By sliding the stud finder across the wall, the stud finder will beep and/or light up when it crosses a stud.

    If you don't have a stud finder, there are several methods that can be effective in finding studs. When a home is framed, the wall studs are usually spaced 16 or 24 inches apart. If you start in a corner and measure out 16 inches and you don't find a stud, you should find one at 24 inches.

    You can also try holding a flashlight against a wall and looking down the wall to see if you can tell where two pieces of drywall meet. At that intersection, you'll definitely find a stud.

    Look for light switches and electrical outlets, too. Those are usually mounted on the side of studs, so that's usually a good starting point for finding them.

    When you think you've found a stud (if you're not using a stud finder), confirm it by driving a thin finishing nail through the drywall near the baseboard to see if you hit a stud.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • How do I know which latch fits my storm door?

      If you are going to use existing holes, you need to know the spacing of the holes, or there is an adjustable one available.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • How do I replace the screening in my window/door?

      A damaged screen is easy to replace and you'll find all the materials you need at your local Westlake hardware store.

      • Remove the screen from your window or door and place it on a large surface.
      • Remove the spline and then remove the old screen.
      • Measure your new screen to the size of your frame, but leave a couple of inches of material around all sides.
      • Lay the screen across the frame and use a screen rolling tool to firmly install a new spline around the edge of the frame.
      • Once the spline is in place, trim the excess screen material away from the frame using a razor knife.
      • Reinstall the frame with your new screening.

      Watch this video for more information.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • My door is rubbing the frame at the top. What should I do?

      You can shave off the top with a block plane, which is the right tool when you need to trim wood but not enough to use a saw. Block planes come in a variety of sizes to fit the job.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • Five Steps to a Healthier HomeGreen Content

      According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the air inside our homes may be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. What's surprising is that this statistic does not exclude newer homes, which can actually test higher than older residences in terms of poor indoor air quality.

      In a rush to conserve energy in the 1970s, builders, architects and designers began building tighter homes with energy efficient windows and doors and thicker insulation in an effort to seal out potential drafts. While we succeeded in lowering the cost of energy bills, we ended up adding to the problem of trapping volatile organic compounds (VOCs) - harmful fumes caused by leftover building products, furniture, animal dander, and indoor mildew and mold - inside our homes.

      Today, Americans spend millions of dollars each year on indoor air filtration systems. We purchase everything from small, tabletop models to whole-house units for our homes. And yet, even with all the information available on the market, there is major debate on which ones truly work the best.

      Below are five steps that you can take to improve your home's indoor air quality. By following these steps and coupling them with the right indoor air purifying unit, you'll breathe a lot easier in your own home.

      Step One -- Test your home for possible contaminants.

      Today, there are a number of in-home test kits available to assess everything from lead on walls and in your drinking water, to asbestos and radon gas. And utilizing these inexpensive kits can give you the peace of mind of knowing that you and your family are safe.

      Step Two -- If you have a forced air heating system, have the air ducts cleaned regularly and upgrade to better furnace air filters.

      Homeowners often ask, "Is cleaning my air ducts worth it?" The answer is yes. Even if your home is new, you may have more internal construction debris and dust than a home that is 10 to 15 years old. When getting your air ducts cleaned, make sure the contractor is a member of the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (www.nadca.com), and uses not only high velocity air, but a whip that is fed through the ductwork to loosen any debris stuck to the walls of the sheet-metal. The average cost to clean ductwork in your home is about $300 to $500, but the results are well worth the expense.

      In conjunction, for many of us, the furnace filter is a spun glass filter that costs less than a dollar. While this filter will protect the blower motor, it will do next to nothing when it comes to improving your indoor air quality. Upgrade to a pleated filter that captures smaller particles so small that even the naked eye cannot see. The key is to change them regularly - every couple of months should do - to prevent to the restriction of airflow through your heating system.

      Step Three -- Keep your home as clean as possible.

      According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), an estimated 57 million Americans suffer from severe allergies and asthma and keeping your home as clean as possible can dramatically improve the air you breathe. Dusting window treatments, around window and door trim and those out-of-reach areas can make a huge impact. Use a bagless vacuum cleaner that utilizes a HEPA filter to maximize your cleaning power and avoid the plume of dust that occurs when you'd otherwise change the bag.

      Step Four -- Consider purchasing an indoor air purifier.

      Because they can vary in performance, size and cost, it's important that you find the right purifier to fit your needs. There are a number of Web sites you can turn to for help. One of the industry standards is put forth by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers' (AHAM) Air Cleaner Council (www.aham.org). There, testing helps set certain parameters so that all purification units are measured against the same criteria. If you're thinking of a particular model and in search of its product rating guide, visit www.cadr.org for the unit's "clean air delivery rate." In turn, take advantage of the 30-day free trial offer many manufacturers offer. By the end of 30 days, you'll know if you are breathing easier and if the unit is worth the investment.

      HEPA filtration (High Efficiency Particulate Air) is one of the most common approaches to cleaning the air. A good quality HEPA filtering system can be up to 99.97 percent efficient at filtering particulates that are 0.3 microns from the air. This filtering system has been widely used and accepted by organizations promoting indoor air quality standards to clean the indoor air of smoke, dust, pollen, mold spores and pet dander.

      Portable units, when sized correctly, can do a good job of cleaning the air in a particular room. But the key is to make sure that unit is sized for the square footage of that room. In addition, the faster the fan runs, the more air is exchanged through the unit. While this does increase the noise, the units will work much better.

      HEPA room purifiers can range in price from $30 to $300. These units use a modular filter system which makes finding and installing the filters much easier.

      Step Five -- Protect your family by installing a carbon monoxide detector.

      It used to be that smoke detectors were enough to protect your family. However, in recent years, homeowners across America have been taking safety a step further by installing carbon monoxide detectors in their homes.

      When installing a carbon monoxide detector, remember that the placement of that detector is key. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends it be located near the sleeping area, where it can wake you if you are asleep; however, additional detectors on every level and in every bedroom of a home provides extra protection.

      Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • What are ice dams and how can I protect against them?

      The right weather conditions for ice dams are usually when outside air temperatures are in the low 20s for several days with several inches of snow on the roof. Ice dams typically form when snow on the roof starts to melt due to heat escaping from inside the home. The melted water runs down the roof, refreezes and clogs up gutters. As more snow melts, because the gutters are blocked, the water is forced to travel under the shingles and leak into the house.

      To prevent them:

      • Clean your gutters bi-annually to make sure water can run through them without being blocked by leaves, twigs or debris.
      • Add insulation to attic floors. A well-insulated attic and well-ventilated roof will prevent heat from escaping, which in turn will protect the roof from conditions that cause ice dams.
      • During winter months, make sure your downspouts are clean at ground level.
      • Use gutter tablets. Place these in your gutters at the beginning of the winter months and they will prevent ice from damming in them all season.
      • If you get several inches of snow at once, you may want to remove some of it from your roof using a roof rake.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • Spruce Up Your Space with Quick Fix-Ups

      Many fix-ups do not necessarily call for hours of physical labor, sweat and tears - a number of projects can be accomplished on the weekend, or even in an evening, to give your home a fresh new appearance. Here are some ideas that require just a few hours, a little elbow grease and won't break your budget:

      Carpet Clean Up

      If your carpet shows stains and dirt, consider performing a deep cleaning to enhance a room's decor. Many local hardware stores rent carpet extractors for those who don't own one. To get rid of ingrained stains from food, drinks or pets, use a heavy-duty stain remover to lift out dirt and grime while deodorizing. While it's smart to treat stains right away, many new products will even reduce the appearance of stains that have been there for some time.

      Hardwood Floor Freshener

      Do your hardwood floors appear dull? Bring them back to optimal condition with a cleaner made specifically for hardwood surfaces. Use a convenient water-based, non-toxic spray designed for polyurethane finished hardwood floors that will not leave behind residue or dulling ingredients.

      Furniture Fix-Up

      Re-upholstering furniture can be pricey, so first consider repairing tears, stains and spots yourself. An upholstery shampoo or mild solvent followed by light brushing or vacuuming can gently lift dirt out of the fabric. Spot-treat a small section of the fabric first to ensure the cleaner won't affect the texture or color. Wood furniture is easily brought back to life with specialty wood polishes designed to help to hide imperfections, as well as remove dirt and wax build-up.

      Lighting Lift

      Nothing brightens a room or brings out the true colors of your decor like new lighting. Consider installing light-dimmers, color-enhancing light bulbs and even decorative switch plates to give your lighting a lift. Installing a new light fixture, moving lighting fixtures around the space or highlighting specific wall art can bring a fresh ambiance to the room.

      Wall Work

      Unsightly scuffs, scratches and marks often mar walls in busy households. Use a wall-specific cleaner to remove light mildew, grease, food and smoke discoloration. If walls are too dirty to spot-treat, consider repainting them. One paint to consider is Ace Sensations™ with Scotchgard Protector, a premium acrylic latex flat paint that repels common household blemishes such as coffee, grape juice and even the hard-to-remove oily spots made by lipstick and grease.

      Bathroom Brightener

      New fixtures like a towel rack, faucet and toilet seat can give a new look to your bathroom in the nick of time. Most are easy to install and will immediately improve your commode.

      Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

       

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • How do I re-caulk my bathtub?

      First, you’ll need to remove the old caulk using a utility knife. Cut along the bottom of the caulk nearest the tub, then cut the top along the tile. This won’t get all of the caulk, but you should be able to remove the majority.

      Once you’ve pulled off the caulk, spread silicon caulk remover along the seam where you removed the caulk, along with any spots of caulk that you see outside of that seam.

      Leave it for a few hours and then use a putty knife to go back and remove the rest of the caulk.

      Wash your tub and then use rubbing alcohol to wipe down the seams where you removed the caulk. This will kill any residual mildew or mold.

      Once it’s completely dry, run painter’s tape along the edges of the tub and wall, leaving room for your new caulk line – about ¼” from the seam on the wall and the tub.

      Now fill your tub with water so that the weight of the water slightly separates the tub from the wall. This separation is minimal, but it’s normal. It occurs every time you fill the tub. And by filling the tub before you caulk, it means any stretching and cracking due to this separation will be minimal.

      Caulk one line of the tub at a time. Start in one inside corner and caulk to the other inside corner of the tub along the back wall. After that, caulk from one corner to the outside of the tub. Repeat on the other side of the tub. For each caulk line, get your fingers damp and smooth out the caulk lines you’ve just applied. After 15 minutes, remove the painter’s tape.

      Drain the tub. Then let the caulk dry for at least 24 hours before you use the tub.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • How do I select the right surge protectors vs. a power strip?

      First, not all power strips have surge protectors. If you’re not worried about electrical appliances or equipment being harmed by a sudden surge of electricity, a normal power strip will work fine. However, look for the words “surge protection” on the packaging of power strips if you have expensive electronics that you want to protect from surges (which can easily damage or ruin the delicate circuitry of electronics such as TVs, computers, stereos, etc.).

      Think about the electronics you want to protect and make sure you choose the best surge protector to fit your needs.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • What is the easiest way to shut out cold air coming in around my aluminum door?Green Content

      A stick-on foam tape works well on aluminum, but it must be applied when the surface is warm and dry.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • What are glaziers points and glazing compound?

      Glaziers points are used to secure glass in a sash prior to adding glazing compound, which is putty used to seal windows.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • How do I replace a garage door spring?

      • If your garage door spring is damaged, check to see if your garage door uses one or two springs. Most garage door systems often use pairs of springs.
      • If your garage door has a second spring, check for signs of wear in that spring. If it seems worn, purchase two new springs so that you can replace both at the same time.
      • When purchasing a new spring, get the same length and weight as the old spring.
      • Remove the end cones on your old spring. This will free the broken spring from its fasteners and let you remove it.
      • Replace the spring and tighten the end cones.
      • Consult the garage door’s owner’s guide for the correct spring torque, and then use winding tools to wind tension back into the spring.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • I have small children. Will this garage door opener stop if they get in the way?

      Yes, since 1990 all garage doors are required to have an optical sensor and/or a door edge sensor that will stop or reverse the door.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • What’s the best way to hang a picture?

      • For heavier frames and art, only hang them from studs or beams.
      • If you’re hanging a picture from drywall or plaster, choose an appropriate fastener. Two-piece nail and hooks work well for smaller, lighter pictures. Wall anchors are better for heavier pictures.
      • Make a small pencil mark where the top edge of your picture will be.
      • Hold the picture’s hanging wire tight as if it were hanging, then measure the distance from the wire to the top of the frame.
      • Measure that distance down the wall from your original pencil mark, and attach your fastener at that point.
      • Hang your picture.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • Do you have a caster that works better on a bed?

      Yes, a special bed caster has a wide wheel, which makes it easier to roll. Casters come in a variety of sizes to accommodate different weights.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • I want to tear down an old shed in the backyard. What should I use?

      First, be careful in any demolition project. Wear goggles, gloves and a hardhat. If the structure has insulation, is covered in old paint or the building materials are extremely dry, also wear a respirator. Once you’re ready to begin the process, a wrecking bar or crow bar is probably best as your primary tool. They come in different lengths, and you may want more than one length depending on your project.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • What can I do to add security to my door?

      Consider installing a stronger strikeplate - these are larger and have much longer screws.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • What's the best way to clean my deck before re-staining?

      Remove everything from your deck and sweep off all dirt and debris. Check all structural elements for damage. Replace any damaged boards, tighten any lose boards or screws and fix any nail pops.

      There are the variety of deck cleaning products available. Some are detergents, others are bleaches, and still others are chemical solutions designed to react with certain woods. Whatever cleaner you choose, read and follow the manufacturer’s directions.

      Many cleaners can be easily applied with a pump-style garden sprayer following the manufacturer's instructions. It's advisable to test in a small, less visible spot first before cleaning the entire deck.

      Sometimes lightly watering down the deck can assist you in applying and spreading the cleaning solution. Many solutions should not be allowed to dry on the wood so periodic spraying/misting may be required. Depending on how dirty your deck is you may see results immediately. But many cleaning compounds require a few minutes to work before you see results.

      Depending on the cleaner you select and the amount of algae on your deck, you can use a stiff brush with a long handle (typically a synthetic bristle brush since many cleaning solutions will deteriorate a natural bristle brush) and a regular garden hose or you can use a pressure washer.

      Once you've cleaned your deck well, let it dry for 12 to 24 hours and you're ready to sand. Using a pole sander makes this job much easier and saves your knees. Use 120 to 150 grit sandpaper and sand in the direction of the wood grain. Most likely you won't need to sand your spindles or railings because vertical surfaces don't wear as fast. When the sanding is finished, use a leaf blower, broom or wet/dry vac to thoroughly remove the dust, and your deck is ready for staining. You should stain or seal it as quickly as possible after you have sanded to protect it from the elements.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

    • What is the best way to cut laminate flooring?

      • Use a table saw and fine-toothed, carbide-tipped blades.
      • Use a jigsaw with carbide-tipped blades for corner cuts.
      • Have extra blades available. Laminate is hard on blades and dulls them quickly.
      • After making your cutting mark, line it with blue painter’s tape to prevent the laminate from chipping off along the cut.
      • Rent a jamb saw if you’re cutting laminate for doorways. It will save you hours of cutting time.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • How big of a snow blower do I need?

        Snow blowers are a way to quickly remove snow from your driveway and sidewalks. There are a wide variety of types and sizes. The key considerations are the size of the space to clear and the depth of the snow.

        Most consumers buy a single-stage model, which has a rubber paddle that reaches to the ground. Single-stage snow blowers have one propeller that breaks up the snow, draws it in and discharges it. They work best in dry snow and are lighter, easier to maneuver and less expensive than two-stage snow blowers.

        People with driveways that are wider than two cars may want to consider a two-stage model. These can throw snow farther because they have an intake and an impeller that throws the snow. Two-stage snow blowers mean two propellers, which breaks up the tasks it performs. The first propeller draws the snow in, and the second throws it. These snow blowers are larger, self-propelled and can handle up to 24 inches of snow depth, making them great for heavy snow and blizzards. They are fueled with a mixture of oil and gas. Shake it well before using and read the directions for the appropriate combination. Add a stabilizer to keep the oil from deteriorating over time.

        However, if you prefer not to make your own fuel mix, four-cycle snow blowers have separate containers for gas and oil. Four-cycles also offer the most power, and can clear 14 to 32 inches of snow depth. While the two-stage snow blower requires you to mix the oil and gas together for the fuel before pouring it in, four-cycles allow you to pour in the oil and gas separately, cutting down on the chance of an inappropriate mix. Snow blowers usually come with a recommendation on what type of oil to use.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • What are the ideal weather conditions for staining my deck?

        For best results, the general rule is that the temperature should be between 50° and 90° with low winds and no rain in the forecast within 24 hours. If it's too windy your stain may dry too quickly.  And avoid staining in the direct sun. Read the manufacturers recommendation on the package and check your local forecast.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • How do I refinish my hardwood floors?

        • Thoroughly clean the floors you plan on refinishing. Sweep them first, then mop them.
        • Remove any nail or tacks left behind from carpet removal.
        • Open the windows of the rooms you’re refinishing. This will help with the dust that’s generated during the process.
        • Using a floor sander (available for rent at many Westlake locations) and 20-grit sandpaper, start in a corner of the room.
        • Slowly sand the floor while following the grain of the wood. Make sure that you’re evenly sanding the surface.
        • Sand the edges of the floor with a palm sander or edger.
        • Sweep and/or vacuum the room(s).
        • Repeat the sanding process using 60-grit sandpaper.
        • Sweep and/or vacuum the room(s). If necessary, mop the room(s) with mineral spirits. DO NOT USE WATER ON THE RAW FLOOR.
        • If you’re staining your floor, stain first and allow plenty of time for the stain to dry before you seal the floor.
        • Seal your floor using either a roller and a thick nap roller cover or push broom with a wool push broom cover.
        • Start at the farthest corner from the door where you’ll exit. Apply an even coat of polyurethane over the floor while working your way towards the door.
        • Allow at least 6 hours (preferably 12 hours) for the floor to dry before you apply another coat.
        • Repeat the process for at least 3 more coats.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Do I need to remove snow from my roof and if so how?

        With a light snow, there is no need to remove it. But in the event of very heavy snow, it may be advisable because two feet of snow on the average-sized roof can be the equivalent of 38,000 pounds, or 19 tons, which can cause stress on your home's structure. And the melting and re-freezing process can cause ice dams to form.

        Never get up on a snow-covered roof. Instead use a roof rake. A roof rake has an extended handle, which enables you to pull snow off the roof from the safety of the ground.

        To remove snow, start from the edge and work your way into the roof using downward strokes. Try to to scrape the snow along the bottom of the roof, shaving two or three inches off. There's no need to scrape the roof entirely clean, as this will risk damage to your roof shingles or other roof covering.

        Always use a roof rake from the ground, NEVER stand on a ladder. If you need more length, either buy extension poles or a longer rake. Be extra cautious near any electrical lines as most rakes contain metal and would conduct electricity.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • What type of padlock holds up best in the weather?

        While brass padlocks will hold up better in the weather than standard ones, most people are happier with the plastic weatherproof casing. Obviously, the brass ones provide a decorative option.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • How can I stop snow from sticking to my snow shovel?

        Shoveling snow is tedious enough, but when wet snow sticks to your shovel, it makes the job take even longer. Make the job a little easier by coating your snow shovel with cooking spray. After spraying both sides of the shovel liberally, the ice and snow will slide right off the surface.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Weather Stripping a WindowGreen Content

        Choosing Your Weather Stripping

        Spring-type, tension or folded strips made from bronze, aluminum, stainless steel or vinyl are sometimes nailed in place to the sides and top of the window frame and to the sash on the bottom. The angled or V-shaped strips work best for double-hung windows and are also suitable for doors. This type is durable and cannot be seen when door or window is closed but may make opening and closing difficult and installation is somewhat tricky.

        Rigid strip gaskets are made from vinyl, felt or foam attached to wood or metal strips. Attached at the bottom or top of window sash or bottom of doors with fasteners the strip is visible but can be painted to reduce visibility. It is easily installed and the durability varies with material used. Pliable gasket is made of a springy material like vinyl, foam, felt or sponge with an adhesive backing and is effective for wood casement, hinged or sliding windows. Installs easily in the channels and bottom or top of sash. This type is low cost but the durability is generally low and self-adhesive strips may not work on metal and should be considered temporary.

        Compressible felt strips are another option but are not very durable and are best used only on warped windows that won't accept rigid stripping, or for windows that aren't often opened.

        Double-Hung Windows

        Tools:

        • Utility Knife
        • Tape Measure
        • Hammer

        Clean the bottom of the sash with soap and water and let dry.

        Measure the sash and cut the foam weather stripping to length.

        Peel the back from the foam. Press the adhesive side of the foam against the bottom of the sash to form a tight bond.

        Clean the jamb with soap and water and let dry.

        Cut two pieces of V-channel 1" longer than each sash height.

        Peel the back from the V-channel and work it between the sash stiles and the jamb. Press the channel firmly into the jamb.

        Drive finish nails through the weather stripping into the jamb to hold it securely. Test the sash to ensure it doesn't catch on the nails.

        Clean the back of the bottom sash with soapy water and allow it to dry completely.

        Cut a piece of V-channel to match the width of the sash.

        With the sash raised 3" to 4", peel the back from the channel and press it firmly into the back of the sash even with the top. The V should open facing up so the weather stripping compresses when the window is closed.

        Casement Windows

        Tools:

        • Utility Knife
        • Tape Measure
        • Hammer

        Materials:

        • Self-adhesive foam insulation

        Open the window and clean the outside of the stops with soapy water. Allow the stops to dry completely.

        Cut self-adhesive foam to fit the top, bottom and sides of the stops.

        Remove the back from each piece of foam and press it into the outside of the stops.

        Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • What is the best way to drill into glass and ceramic tile?

        Clay tiles are usually fairly soft and easy to drill through. Ceramic tiles, porcelain tiles and any glass tiles are harder to drill. These steps will make it easier and with less chance of ruining your material. Use only a diamond-encrusted carbide bit. A regular carbide bit should work on ceramic and porcelain, but the diamond-encrusted carbide is still recommended.

        For Uninstalled Tile

         

        • If you’re drilling through tile that isn’t already installed, use MDF board behind your tile for support while you drill.
        • Make a mark with a pen or pencil where you want to drill
        • Knead a ball of plumber’s putty, then roll it into one long piece. Wrap the long piece back on itself to create a ring around the mark.
        • Smooth the putty and adhere it to the tile to form a seal. Place several drops of air tool oil in the middle of the ring of plumber’s putty. It should fill to almost halfway up the putty.
        • Center your drill bit over the mark and begin slowly drilling. The oil in the putty should always touch the bit, keeping it lubricated. Press down firmly, but gently.
        • Once the bit has drilled through the harder top layer of clay, ceramic or porcelain, it should glide through the rest of the material with ease. (For glass, your resistance will remain the same throughout, but you shouldn’t have any problems with consistent pressure and constant lubrication.)

         

        For Installed Tile on a Vertical Surface

         

        • Put a 2”x2” piece of masking tape in an 'X' pattern over the area where you want to drill. The masking tape will prevent the drill bit from drifting or walking off the desired hole location.
        • Use a pencil or pen to mark the spot where you want to drill.
        • Using a center punch or awl, and hammer lightly tap the marked drill location to make a minor chip on the surface of the tile. Again, this will help to ensure the drill bit will not wander.

         

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Fireplace and Chimney Maintenance

        The most recent statistics show that fireplace fires cause more than 68,000 home fires annually. Without proper maintenance and cleaning, your newspaper kindling could quickly turn into a disaster, causing thick black smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) to enter your home, endangering the lives of you and your loved ones.

        Your fireplace is the perfect way to keep warm and cozy as the weather begins to cool. Keep friends and family safe and healthy by following these tips to prevent a fireplace fiasco:

        Call a Professional

        Have a professional chimney sweep inspect and clean your fireplace and chimney every year. It may not appear as though anything is wrong, but there's a whole lot more going on inside the chimney than you may think. Visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America at www.csia.org for information on contacting a chimney sweep professional in your area.

        Keep Critters Out

        Birds and other animals like to live in warm areas when the weather gets cooler, and the chimney is one of the first places they'll call 'home.' Install a chimney cap to prevent animals and debris from getting in. Construction materials range from practical wire mesh to more elaborate and decorative brass and bronze. A brief consultation at your local Ace store will help you find one that meets your needs while keeping unwanted visitors at bay.

        A Flue that Works for You

        When lighting a fire, always be sure that the flue has been opened properly, and likewise, make sure it closes tightly after the fire has been extinguished. This not only minimizes health and safety risks but can also lower energy costs by reducing the influx of cold air into the house. To test how airtight your flue is, close it all the way and feel inside the fireplace for drafts - if you can feel cool air coming through and cracks or crevices, your flue may require repair or replacement. Chimney professionals will often recommend installing a damper on top of the chimney, which can be opened and closed from the inside and will seal out drafts when the fireplace is not in use.

        Fireplace and chimney fires can easily be prevented if you follow these simple tips.

        Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

         

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Playing It Safe - Seasonal Safety Guide

        Fruitcake isn't the only holiday health hazard lurking in your home. Here's a seasonal survival guide.

        As the holidays near, we scramble to buy last-minute gifts, decorate the house, and plan parties and get-togethers. In the rush, however, many of us abandon our sense of safety. Who among us, for instance, hasn't stood on their tip-toes on top of a rickety ladder to hang lights? Or strung strand after strand together until we've overloaded an outlet, which can start a fire?

        This season, let's help everyone be a little safer around the home. Let's start with ladders; which pose the greatest risk of all, especially as we hang lights and decorations inside and out. Last year, there were an estimated 171,000 ladder-related accidents in the U.S., according to the American Ladder Institute, which is an astounding number. We're not always careful with them, to say the least, and think nothing of using old relics that have been handed down to us from our parents, broken rungs and all. It's time to put this foolishness to an end:

        • Position extension ladders correctly. For stability, an extension ladder has to be planted with its feet one-quarter of its extended length away from the house. This is not tricky to calculate. If you've got a 12-foot ladder, it has to be positioned 3 feet from the house.
        • Don't carry a ladder upright as you move it. This is a maneuver best saved for the clowns at the circus. You could easily lose control of it in this position, crashing furniture inside, and smashing windows, gutters and even power lines outside. Instead, lower it and carry it parallel to the ground.
        • Make sure the ladder is positioned on a level surface. Don't try to use rocks or bricks to prop up one side of it; those will surely pop out as you're climbing up.

        OK, so now you won't end up as a Ladder Institute statistic, but don't celebrate with the eggnog just yet. We've still got the lighting issue to address. The key here is not to overload an electrical outlet, especially if you have only a single outdoor outlet that you use to power a dozen strings of lights and a few spotlights. Attempt this, and the result will be more like the Fourth of July than Christmas, as sparks and smoke fill the night sky. To do things right:

        • Follow the instructions on the strands of lights. These will tell you how many can be connected together and plugged into a single outlet. This is typically only two or three, not 10 or 12.
        • Make sure outdoor lights are plugged into a GFCI receptacle. That's the one with the reset button in the center for safety. If you don't have one outdoors, have the outlet replaced or purchase a 'plug in' adapter. This cord system is about 2 feet long and will protect against electrocution if there's a short circuit.

        One other thing: Be careful with lit candles. Don't put them near combustibles, such as that evergreen spray in the center of the dining room table. And remember to blow them out when the party's over. A trick my wife and I use to remember this is to set the timer on the stove to go off just around the time when we think the party will have ended. This reminds us to extinguish the candles before we go to bed.

        Credit: Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • What is the best product to weatherproof my door?Green Content

        Many people prefer the doorjamb weatherstrip. It works on metal with screws or wood with nails. Unlike the v-strips, foam strips or felt, these can't fall off.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Which spring fits my garage door?

        You need to know the size of the door and the number of panels. Information on the replacement spring packaging will indicate which spring is needed.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • I need some joist hangers.

        The most important factor is to make sure you buy the right joist hanger that fits the dimension of lumber are you using.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Create a Winter Weather Emergency Kit for your Car

        Here are the items you should have in a winter weather emergency kit:

        • Shovel
        • Windshield Scraper and Small Broom
        • Flashlight
        • Battery Powered Radio
        • Extra Batteries
        • Bottled Water
        • Snack Food
        • Matches
        • Extra Hats, Gloves/Mitten and Socks
        • First-Aid Kit with Pocket Knife
        • Necessary Medications
        • Blanket(s)
        • Tow Chain or Rope
        • Road Salt and Sand
        • Booster Cables
        • Emergency Flares
        • Fluorescent Distress Flag


        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • I'm looking to put together a basic hand tool set. What do I need?

        The tools needed for basic home maintenance should cost you less than $150 and include:

        • Tape measure
        • Handsaw
        • Hacksaw
        • Hammer
        • Screwdriver
        • Level
        • Utility knife
        • Pliers
        • Locking pliers
        • Adjustable wrench
        • Plunger
        • Tool box

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • My cabinets have handles that have holes that are 3-1/2' apart, but I am only finding new handles that fit holes 3' apart.

        Now, most pulls are generally on 3' mounting centers. You will need to drill new holes and look for pulls that are designed to cover the previous holes. There are also decorative plates that will cover the previous holes. Mount these plates under the new pulls.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • How do I install a new threshold?Green Content

        • Remove your old threshold. You may need to use a chisel or a pry bar. Be careful to avoid damaging your floor or trim.
        • Vacuum or sweep the floor to remove any dust and debris.
        • Measure the width of your door opening, as well as the distance between the bottom of your door and the floor.
        • Cut your new threshold to fit the width of your door opening.
        • If necessary, notch your threshold so that it fits around any stops on the doorframe.
        • Caulk the doorway between the door frame. This will ensure that your threshold has an airtight seal.
        • Tap the new threshold into place with the sloped edge facing away from the house.
        • Drill holes in the threshold that are slightly narrower than the nails you plan on using to secure the threshold to the floor.
        • Nail the threshold into place.
        • Fill the holes with wood filler and sand when dry.
        • Apply stain and/or a varnish to seal the threshold against moisture.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Tips for Snow Removal

        If you're one of those people who live in a colder climate, hearing the word "snow" can be downright chilling. It wouldn't be so bad if we didn't have to shovel it, but it would seem that we have no choice. To make matters worse, the risk of injury is significantly greater after a good snowfall, so you have to act fast to keep friends and loved ones safe when visiting for the holidays.

        As with many things, common sense and a little elbow grease tend to work best when controlling your winter wonderland. Snow removal is a cinch if you follow these simple guidelines:

        Driveways and Sidewalks

        • As soon as snow and freezing rain begin to fall, spread a melting agent on the driveway and regularly traveled walkways to help slow the freezing process.
        • Grab a shovel and get outside as soon as you can, and don't wait for the sun to melt the snow naturally - a sudden drop in temperature can solidify snowfall quickly. Clear more than just a single-shovel path on the walkways, which will make walking safer.
        • If you are unable to remove a patch of ice, crack it with an ice chisel or heavy-duty scraping tool to expose the surface to the air. This will help accelerate the melting process.

        Essential Tools of the Trade

        • Melting Agents: Also referred to as de-icers, these are specific chemical compounds of salt and heat-generating solids packaged in bags ranging from 10 lbs. to 50, and even 80 lbs. Spread the granules liberally on the driveway and walkway, but be sure to wear gloves, as melting agents can sometimes cause mild skin irritation.
        • Snow Shovels: Today's newer models are made stronger yet lighter to allow you to move snow easier than before. Choose one with an ergonomically correct handle to prevent straining your back.
        • Snow Pushers: Good for moving heavy, wet snow, these tools do what their name implies: They assist you in pushing large volumes of snow from one end of the driveway to the other. As an extra-added bonus, operating the pushers requires you to stand up straight instead of bending over, saving you a trip to the chiropractor this holiday season.
        • Snow Throwers: Although more expensive upfront than purchasing a shovel, investment in a good snow thrower is ten-fold. "A good snow thrower will allow you to clear snow in a fraction of the time," says Manfredini.

        Credit: Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • I have a hole in my screen. Can I repair it or do I need to replace it?

        You can patch small holes-those 1/4' and 3/8'-with a small amount of household cement. This glue patch will be next to invisible. Larger holes up to about 3' in diameter in aluminum screen can usually be easily patched. A patch should go at least 1/2' to 1' larger all around the hole. These are either kits or just pieces of screen. Unravel a number of strands and then weave the strands through the screening and bend them tight. Plastic patches need a touch of household cement on the ends of the strands after they have been woven through.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • What is the difference between a single-cylinder and a double-cylinder deadbolt?

        A single-cylinder deadbolt is key operated from the outside while a double cylinder is key operated on both sides. They both have their advantages.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • I have a tarp that I want to tie down. What should I use?

        Kits are sold that include tarp clamps and elastic cords. For tarps that don’t have built-in grommets, they work very well. That said, installing grommets in a tarp with a grommet tool and then using those grommets with elastic cords is a much better and more permanent solution.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • How do I eliminate squeaks in my flooring?

        • First, try talcum powder or powdered graphite. Sprinkle either of them along the seams of the boards that are squeaking. Step on the boards a few times to let the talcum or graphite to work into the seams between the boards. Sweep up the excess. This is often enough to stop floorboards from rubbing against each other and squeaking.
        • If they’re still squeaking, use flooring nails to secure the floorboards to the sub-floor. Before nailing the boards down, drill holes that are slightly narrower than your nails so that your hammering doesn’t split the floorboards. Once you’ve nailed the boards to the sub-floor, sink the nail heads and cover them with wood filler. (You can also use screws for this project. They’re wider than nails, but hold better than nails over time. Just be sure to countersink them and cover them with wood filler, too.)
        • To stop squeaky floorboards under carpet, roll back the carpet and use one of the methods above. If you can’t get the carpet rolled back, you can nail through the carpet.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Is there a quick way to fill a crack in my cement block foundation?

        One of the easiest ways is to use expanding foam.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • How can I easily sharpen my scissors?

        Dull scissors made the job harder.  Here are two easy and quick ways to sharpen them with items you probably have around the house.

        Aluminum foil:  take a big sheet (about 12 inches long) and fold it a few times to create some thickness. Then cut thin strips of the foil with the scissors.

        Sand paper:  use a fine grit sandpaper like a 150 or 200 grip and cut it into small strips; cutting with the rough side down so it sharpens the cutting edge.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Is there an easy way to move my refrigerator so I can clean behind it?

        Yes, an appliance roller can be slipped under it. You can even leave it there.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • 15 Easy Ways to Go GreenGreen Content

        Going "green" in our everyday lives is all the rage these days. From CFL bulbs to organic cotton T-shirts, it seems everyone has some skin in the eco-game. Your family - and in particular your home - should be no different. Below are 15 easy do-it-yourself projects that will save you money, reduce your environmental footprint and have you playing your eco-part in no time.

        1. As the cost of energy continues to rise, there is a way to lower your electric bills. Compact florescent light bulbs, or CFLs, use up to 66 percent less energy than conventional incandescent bulbs and can last up to five years. Replacing the five most-used bulbs in your home can save you up to $60 a year on your electric bill.
        2. Your water heater can do a better job keeping the water in the tank hot if you buy it a jacket. Insulating jackets can be installed on most conventional water heaters and reduce the number of times a water heater "fires" during standby. In fact, 20 percent of your energy cost to heat water is used up during standby!
        3. Fix that leak! Did you know that a dripping faucet or leaking toilet can waste up to 20 gallons of water a day? Repairing these leaks takes just a little time, and a small investment for the parts needed. The payback - both in dollars and for the environment - is huge!
        4. Adding a rain barrel to your drainage system can help you capture some of the water Mother Nature sends us during rain showers. A 1,000 square foot roof can shed up to 650 gallons of water during a 1-inch rainfall. By placing a rain barrel under a down spout, you can use this water for your lawn, garden or even a car wash.
        5. Plant a tree and reduce the carbon footprint of your home. To counteract the footprint from the use of electricity and natural gas or oil in the average American home, you would need to plant 42 trees... while that's a lot of green, start slowly to help shade your home and absorb carbon dioxide from the air.
        6. Using a ceiling fan can not only help you feel more comfortable in your home, both in the winter and the summer, it can also help to lower your energy bills. By circulating the air in your home, your furnace and air conditioner will run less, which means savings for you.
        7. Cutting your lawn just got a lot greener with Earth-friendly mowers. Gas-powered mowers are terrific for larger lawns, but if you have a smaller space to take care of, an electric or new cordless mower can do the trick, and with no fuel or harmful emissions. Mother Nature will thank you!
        8. Composting is a great way to reduce your waste and your impact on landfills. By collecting and placing compostable materials in a collection bin, you can create a super-charged natural fertilizer for your garden.
        9. Natural cleaning products have come a long way. You now have a choice to use products that lessen their impact on the environment. Many of these new cleaning items have natural ingredients and use less water during shipping to reduce fuel use.
        10. Tankless water heaters are here to stay, and are a viable choice when it comes to installing a new water heater in your home. Standby energy use is completely eliminated, and you will never run out of hot water from a properly-sized unit!
        11. Reduce your usage. How many cups of water do you boil for a cup of tea? Do you leave the TV or lights on when you leave the room? Does the water run from the faucet when you brush your teeth? These small changes in your lifestyle can make a difference for all of us!
        12. Did you know that almost 25 percent of water used in the home is for showers, and each member of a family of four taking a 5-minute shower can use up to 700 gallons a day? By installing low-flow shower heads, you can reduce that use by almost half, and with new technology, still feel a brisk force from the water.
        13. Stop all the leaks in your home! Drafty windows and doors can greatly raise your energy consumption. According to the EPA, if you caulk or seal those air leaks with weatherstripping, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1,000 pounds a year.
        14. Let the sun shine! Not only will it brighten your mood, it will keep you from flipping the switch. In the colder months, the rays from the sun can help to heat your home, and the best part of this tip: it's absolutely free!
        15. Your indoor air is three times more polluted than the outdoor air. While painting is a great way to liven up your living environment, make sure you are not harming it during the process. Low VOC or zero VOC paints work just as well and are a great choice for those with allergies, asthma or homes with young children.

        Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Will any lock fit my door?

        Most locks come in two sizes: 2-3/8' or 2-3/4' backset. This is how far the center of the hole is away from the edge of the door. The customer needs to know this distance or purchase a lock that has an adjustable backset.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Do I need a deadbolt?

        These locks provide more security because the deadbolt latch is larger and protrudes farther into the doorframe. It can also be keyed on both sides for additional security.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • How can I stop an air draft around the light switch and receptacles?

        Outlet sealerInstalling switch and outlet insulating sealers is the easiest and most cost effective DIY weatherization project. By simply installing these sealers on all of your light switch and electrical outlets you can reduce cold drafts in your home during the winter and keep the cool air from escaping in the summer. The energy cost savings for this simple project can be up to 5% of your heating and cooling costs. An added benefit of reducing air infiltration through the use of switch and outlet sealers is to help stop dust, dirt and pollen from entering your house.

        The only tools needed to complete this project are a screwdriver and scissors. The foam insulated seals are made specifically for outlets and switch plates and they merely go behind your faceplate to insulate against drafts. Simply remove your existing faceplate, insert the foam seal, and then reattach your faceplate. It just take a couple of minutes and can make a big difference.

        When you think about the number of outlets in your house and consider that each one can let in cold or hot air 24 hours a day, you'll soon realize it adds up to a lot of lost energy. And it's so simple.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Why is my wall cracking? How do I repair it?

        Your wall is probably cracking because your home’s foundation is settling. A little settling over time is natural. You can repair those cracks without worrying too much more about them. But if you repair a crack and it comes back soon or gets worse, you might have studs in your wall or joists in your ceiling or floors that are damaged. That’s a structural problem and should be taken seriously.

        For cracks, there are different processes for drywall and plaster. The vast majority of walls in modern homes are drywall (also called sheetrock). Drywall cracks require joint compound or spackling putty. Fill the crack and wait for the joint compound to dry. Sand it down with a very fine grit sandpaper, then put a second layer of compound on over the crack. Spread it evenly with the surface using a putty knife. This should blend the putty with your natural wall surface. Once it’s dry, sand that layer down to even out the surface and you’re ready to paint.

        If you live in an older house that has plaster walls, the crack-filling process is a lot like sheetrock, but you may have to deal with securing a lathe board first. Lathe boards – what the plaster is spread over during initial construction of the walls – can separate from wall studs and make it seem as if you’re wall is warped. To reattach a lathe to a stud, simply hammer a few nails through the plaster and lathe. This may cause a few hairline cracks, but you’re there to fill cracks anyway. Once your lathe boards are secure again, use a putty knife to fill cracks with a small amount of plaster paste. You can find the paste in both powder and premixed forms at Westlake. Once your cracks are filled, sand and paint.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Give Your Home a Facelift by Enhancing Your Front Entrance

        If you long to give your home that sought-after "curb appeal," consider starting with your front entrance. Your front entrance is so important when making that "first impression," because it's really the 'face' of your home. So try following these 10 easy improvements to help give your home a facelift.

        1. Repair the Walkway:

        Patch cracks and replace loose bricks and pavers. Rent a power washer or purchase a chemical treatment to clean up embedded stains in concrete, stone or asphalt.

        2. Illuminate the Path:

        Lighting helps ensure guests arrive safely and also acts as a theft deterrent. Clean light fixtures and replace burnt-out bulbs with energy-saving CFL bulbs, replace outdated fixtures and add landscape lighting to brighten walkways and shrubbery.

        3. Use Foliage and Shrubbery:

        Strategically-placed plants can conceal any unattractive aspects of your house or surroundings. Place large pots or hanging baskets around the stoop or porch. Bushes or hedges hide air conditioning units or propane tanks, and flower beds and window boxes will stylize a stark facade.

        4. Prune and Mulch:

        Prune dead branches, trim back overgrown shrubbery or remove obstructive plantings. Spread mulch or bark around trees, shrubs and flowers for a weed-free, well-kept look.

        5. Decorate Your Door:

        Restore the luster of your door by polishing the hinges and knobs. Paint or stain the door with a color that stands out, yet complements, the trim and siding. Hang a pretty wreath to finish the look. If your front door is weak or unattractive, invest in a replacement door or storm door for security and energy efficiency.

        6. Focus on Windows:

        Fix broken windows and torn screens and paint sashes, trim and shutters in a neutral color. Add window treatments and keep the glass crystal clear.

        7. Accessorize:

        Choose a few lawn and garden ornaments. Match a decorative handle, door knocker or kickplate with shiny new house numbers and a mailbox.

        8. Feature Furniture:

        Spray a fresh coat of paint on furniture and replace the cushions. Fill an empty spot on the porch or stoop with a quaint bench or porch swing.

        9. Keep it Clean:

        Sweep the sidewalk and stoop, clear away cobwebs, tighten wobbly railings and repaint posts and supports.

        10. The Finishing Touch:

        Put out a clean, new welcome mat and make sure the doorbell works because you're sure to attract more visitors now!

        By following these 10 simple steps, your front entrance will be beautiful, well-maintained, and most of all, welcoming.

        Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • I need to buy a chisel for a woodworking job. What size do you recommend?

        You can handle most of your needs with a 1/4 inch model and one larger one - either a 3/4 inch or 1 inch.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Is there a way to keep condensation off my water pipes in the basement?

        A piece of foam pipe insulation works well.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Will a stick-on hook hold much weight?

        They are really only designed for towels and other lightweight items.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Do you have a hinge that will fit my door?

        The best option is to bring the old hinge in. But as a standard, an exterior door uses a hinge that is 4' long with four holes on each side. An interior door usually has a hinge that is 3-1/2' long and has three holes on each side.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • My extension cords are always getting tangled. Is there anything I can use to store them?

        There are numerous types of extension cord reels for good cord management.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Holiday Storage Tips

        What goes up, must come down. Now that the holidays are over, it's time to take down all your beautiful decorations. Here are some storage tips to make the job easier from year to year.

        Plan Ahead

        Not sure where you are going to put all the decorations and stuff you need to store until next Christmas? Now may be the time to put up some new storage options in your garage, basement or store room. Open shelving, extra cupboards and organizing bins may be just the thing to address your storage challenges. Don't forget to plan ahead for future purchases by leaving empty space on shelves or by buying extra storage totes.

        Save a Bundle

        After-Christmas markdowns are the best way to save on storage boxes, holiday decorations, ornaments and lights. So, check out the after-Christmas sales and pack away your finds for next year.

        Storing Your Ornaments

        How you store them is best determined by the size and shape of the ornaments. Round ornaments fit nicely in a divided-tray ornament container like those available at Westlake. Flat ornaments can be layered in tissue or paper towels and stacked in clear shoe boxes or even in left-over gift boxes. Wrap large or odd shaped items in tissue, towels or bubble wrap and either store in separate boxes, if fragile, or in a larger tote.

        Store Display Items Together

        If you created a special holiday display you want to re-create again next year, wrap and store the pieces together in the same storage box with any notes, instructions or even a photo. This will make it a lot easier to re-create that special decor next year.

        Packing Your Holiday Lights

        The key to having less stress next year is to organize strings of holiday lights before storing them. Don't just throw lose strings in a box because you'll regret it next year. Storage reels allow you to store them and easily hang them again next year. You can also wind them around a flat piece of cardboard or the tube from paper towels and secure with a twist tie or rubber band. If a string was used for a specific display, or in a specific location, write that on an index card and include it with the lights. Store extension cords and timers in the same box as your lights so it's all together and ready to go next year.

        Clearly Label Your Storage Containers

        You'll be thankful next year if you take the time to clearly label the storage bins. Tape an index card to the box or use a piece of masking tape to write on.

        Put Together a Tool Kit

        Putting together a holiday tool kit is a great way to save time from year to year and to know what you have or may need. Simply stock a toolbox or shoe box with ornament hooks, wire cutters, nylon line, narrow ribbon or cording, scissors, florist's wire, twist ties, wire ties and spare holiday light bulbs. Place your holiday tool kit in a prominent location with other holiday decorations, and next year you'll be ready to decorate with ease!

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • How do I replace the glass in a storm window?

        • Remove the storm window. (Use gloves and wear safety goggles.)
        • Lay the window across your workbench and use a flat head screwdriver or a putty knife to pry up the spline. (If it’s an older window that uses caulk, scrape the putty away with a putty knife.)
        • Loosen the glass holders and carefully remove the broken glass. (If necessary, use pliers to pull out remaining shards.)
        • Clean the window’s grooves with sandpaper to get all of the dirt and debris out.
        • Carefully insert your new glass and tighten the glass holders.
        • Use your putty knife or screwdriver to push the spline back into place. Use caulk if the window doesn’t have a spline.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • How can I create extra closet space in my home?

        You can often create extra closet space in rooms by simply adding folding doors that hang from the ceiling. These folding doors are made of many materials and are available in different styles and patterns. Using this method, you can create storage areas in family rooms, mud rooms, garages and even bedrooms without any major construction. The entire end of a room can be converted into a closet area with folding doors. A small section of any wall can be converted into a closet area. Use either curved overhead corners or straight overhead corners for making these closets. Corners can be converted into storage areas by using overhead tracks. Use either curved overhead track or straight overhead track for constructing corner closets.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • What screw do I use to anchor a knob onto a drawer?

        If you do not have the knob to identify the size, it's probably an 8-32 screw. It may not be the right one, but it's the best guess that may keep you from making another trip.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Should I use fiberglass or aluminum screening?

        Aluminum screening is more durable. It's also fireproof. However, fiberglass doesn't dent. Fiberglass is also easier to work with, but it may need to be restretched after it has been installed. At Westlake we can also install pet proof screening for you.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Tips to Tighten Up Your Home's Security

        It only takes one unlocked window to invite a thief into your home. And, although nearly 2.5 million burglaries occur each year, a new study by Ace Hardware reveals 79 percent of people feel 'very safe' in their homes. This last statistic breeds a false sense of comfort and suggests there is more homeowners should do to defend their dwellings.

        Follow these tips for tightening up your home's security:

        Door locks are deterrents

        Many would-be burglars won't hesitate to use the front door, so turn them away with a good deadbolt. There are two types of deadbolts, single cylinder and double cylinder. Single cylinder locks are keyed on the outside with a thumb-turn knob on the inside and are good for general entry doors. Double cylinder locks are keyed on both the outside and the inside and are good for entry doors flanked by windows.

        Security that makes the grade

        The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) uses a grading system to gauge the safety and security of door locks. Grade 3 locksets are the most cost-effective and provide low-level residential security. Grade 2 locksets meet light commercial building requirements and provide medium safety at a medium price. Grade 1 locksets, though somewhat more costly, meet stringent commercial building requirements and provide maximum residential security. Generally, a Grade 2 lock is sufficient for most homes.

        Windows and patio doors

        Some of the easiest entry points into the home are windows and patio doors. Make sure these are always shut tight and locked, especially if they can be accessed from the first floor. For single- and double-hung windows, make sure the sash locks work properly. For sliding windows and patio doors, consider installing a security bar to prevent unwanted opening of the unit.

        Security lighting

        It's hard for thieves to use the cover of darkness when they can't find any, so keep the areas surrounding your home well-lit, especially around points of entry. Decorative lighting around the perimeter of your home serves a dual purpose, while motion activated lights on the side of the house and near the back door keep the darkness, and the burglars, away.

        Shrubbery

        Make sure bushes and tree branches are trimmed to prevent the landscaping from serving as a hiding placed for burglars.

        Having a secure home doesn't require unsightly barred windows or solid-steel entry doors. Choose security options that fit your home's décor. Interior window locks as well as light fixtures and door handles are available in a wide variety of styles and finishes to suit your needs.

        Tightening up your home is an investment in the safety of you and your family. Spend a little time and money upfront to prevent having to make up for damages and lost property later.

        Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

         

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • How do I replace a mailbox post?

        • Use a posthole digger to dig a hole about 1 ½’ deep.
        • Use a 5’ tall piece of treated 4”x4” in your posthole, so that about 3 ½’ extend out of the ground. (This is the height specified by the USPS.)
        • Fill the rest of the hole with dry cement, tamping the cement down with a shovel handle every 4”. Leave an inch or two unfilled at the top of your hole.
        • Level your post.
        • Activate the cement using a garden hose or 5-gallon bucket of water.
        • Let the cement dry and cure for a minimum of 48 hours.
        • Nail a treated 12”x6”x1” board to the top of your post and attach your mailbox.
        • Fill in the top of the posthole with dirt. Sprinkle grass seed into the dirt and water.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Portable Electric Generator Safety Tips

        Portable electric generators are great when electric outages affect your home, but safe operation is critical. Be sure to inspect and maintain your generator regularly. Keeping fresh gas in the tank and running the generator for awhile periodically helps ensure it will be ready when you need it.

        Here are some safety tips:

        NEVER use a generator indoors or in an attached garage because it uses an internal combustion engine that emits deadly carbon monoxide. Operate it outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home, and protected from direct exposure to rain and snow, preferably under a canopy, open shed or carport.

        ALWAYS dry your hands before touching the generator.

        NEVER connect your generator directly to your home's wiring as this can be deadly.

        NEVER plug a portable electric generator into a regular household outlet.
 Connect individual appliances that have their outdoor-rated power cords directly to the receptacle outlet of the generator, or connect these cord-connected appliances to the generator with the appropriate outdoor-rated extension cord having a sufficient wire gauge to handle the electrical load.

        ALWAYS use the proper power cords. Plug individual appliances into the generator using outdoor-rated extension cords with built-in ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), especially around wet or damp locations.

        NEVER overload the generator. Do not operate more appliances and equipment than the output rating of the generator. Overloading your generator can seriously damage your valuable appliances and electronics. Prioritize your needs.

        ALWAYS turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting down your generator.

        ALWAYS read and adhere to the manufacturer's instructions for safe operation.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Tips for Clearing your Car of Snow

        For your safety, and for the safety of other drivers, brush snow off your car and car roof before you get on the road. This will prevent potential accidents caused by big sheets of snow flying off your car when driving. A push broom will make the job easy and allow you to sweep off the snow in just a few minutes. If your push broom has a metal bracket around the bristle head, wrap duct tape around the metal to help protect your car's paint.

        To avoid damaging your wipers, fold them back from the windshield before brushing off the snow. If they are frozen to your windshield, don't pull or force them as you may damage the rubber blades, instead turn on your defroster to de-ice your windshield. To make your job easier, fold them back from the windshield before the snow falls.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Can I leave my window partially open and still have it locked?

        Yes, window locks can be mounted on a track, which permits windows to be opened a desired distance.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • How can I prevent frozen pipes?

        Pipes freeze for three reasons: quick drops in temperature, poor insulation, and thermostats set too low. Both plastic and copper pipes can burst when they freeze. And a small crack of 1/8-inch in a pipe can leak up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold.

        Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing, so insulate pipes in your home's crawl spaces, garage and attic.

        To prevent frozen pipes:

        Heat tape or thermostatically controlled heat cables can be used to wrap pipes. Be sure to use products approved by an independent testing organization, such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and only for the use intended (exterior or interior). Closely follow all manufacturers' installation and operation instructions.

        Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.

        If the forecast calls for unusually cold temperatures, let water drip from hot and cold faucets overnight. And open cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate in places like below sinks or where pipes are near exterior walls.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Could I just throw away my old recyclable batteries?Green Content

        No, laws require that they be recycled. This includes Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), Lithium Ion (Li-ion) and small sealed Lead (Pb) batteries. You can look for a battery recycling seal on the rechargeable batteries found in cordless power tools, cellular and cordless telephones, laptop computers and camcorders. Check with your local Westlake to see if they have a recycling program.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • How can I de-ice a frozen lock on my car door?

        There are special de-icing products available, but in a pinch there's a simple and clever way to solve this problem. Just apply some hand sanitizer to the key and wiggle it gently into the lock. Because the primary ingredient in hand sanitizer is alcohol, it melts the ice in a few seconds.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Tips for Purchasing a Snow Thrower

        Snow shoveling can literally be a 'pain in the back' for many and a more serious health hazard for some. Investing in a new snow thrower might be the best option for a stress-free snowy winter.

        Snow throwers have proven their winter worth well over the years, but don't make a purchase based on the looks of the unit alone. You should know the differences in features and models so you can make an informed decision. Here's some knowledge to have when you're making a snow thrower purchase:

        Two- or Four-Cycle

        Two-cycle engines require that you mix the gas and oil together (usually between a 30:1 and a 50:1 ratio, but you'll want to verify against the owner's manual to be certain). On the other hand, four-cycle engines have separate tanks for gas and oil. Both use a specific type of engine oil - 4-cycle models use SAE 30 and 2-cycles use a specific 2-cycle oil made for mixing.

        Single- or Two-Stage

        Single-stage units clear the snow in one single action, drawing it up-and-out from the auger to the shoot. Two-stage throwers move snow first to the back of the unit, then out the shoot, making them a better choice for heavy, wet snow. Two-stage throwers can cut through more snow and ice than single-stage models. They'll usually reduce the number of passes you have to make over a single area, so it's a good investment choice.

        Horsepower (HP)

        You don't need a snow thrower with more torque than the family minivan. For ample sized driveways, a five- or six-horsepower model will work wonders, and for smaller jobs, consider a three- or four-horsepower model.

        Manual or Electric Start

        Snow throwers with manual starts have to be set in 'choke' mode and primed by pushing the small bulb on the side of the motor. This brings in the necessary fuel to start up the thrower. Electric start snow throwers involve no rope pulling - merely set the mower to choke, plug it into any available wall outlet and press the ignition button - making them much more convenient, especially when it's super cold outside. The quicker they start, the quicker you can get down to business and get back inside the house.

        Clearing a Path

        For most residential gas-powered snow throwers, the range to clear the snow is anywhere from 20 inches to about 33 inches. In contrast, electric models have clearing paths as small as 12 inches, designed specifically for walkways. If you're looking for a good all-around thrower, choose one with a clearing path anywhere from 20 to 24 inches.

        Credit: Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • What are the options for ice melt and how do I use it?

        In frigid winter temperatures, precipitation quickly turns to ice. Keep your sidewalk and driveway safe with ice melt. In addition, ice melt breaks down ice so that you can easily shovel it aside.

        You don't need to use a large amount of ice melt to get the job done. In fact, if you layer ice melt too thickly, it will puddle and leak into your yard, with the potential to damage your lawn. Be sure to read the directions for your ice melt before applying it, and use the recommended amount. Wait the designated amount of time, and then come back and push the broken down ice away with a shovel.

        There are two kinds of ice melt, classified by their ingredients: sodium chloride, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride. Calcium chloride will melt at lower temperatures, -5 degrees F and lower. Magnesium chloride is a little more expensive, but a much higher quality product, so less of it will be needed to get the job done. And magnesium chloride is all natural, so it is better for your lawn and the environment.

        If your concrete is less than two years old, there are ice melt alternatives you can use. Applying a light layer of sand on top of the ice will give you traction control. Another option, if you don't mind some damage to your lawn, is rock salt. Sodium chloride (rock salt) is a good option for temperatures down to about -9 degrees F.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • How do I select the right snow shovel?

        A snow shovel may be an obvious winter weather tool, but to get the most from yours, make sure you pick the right kind.

        For areas with lighter snow, two to three inches at a time, a pusher will suffice. Pushers are shovels designed to handle two to three inches of snow at a time by placing the shovel to the ground and pushing it off to the side of your driveway. This makes them perfect for areas with lighter snow, or those who don't mind taking their time with heavier snowfalls. These are often made of plastic, making them light and easy to wield.

        But for those individuals in areas with heavy snowfall who want to get the job done fast, a scoop shovel is the tool for the job. These shovels are designed for lifting and throwing larger amounts of snow into a pile. Due to the heavier loads they carry, they are most often made of steel, making them heavier and more durable.

        Pusher/scoop combo shovels also exist. If you need a durable scoop and a lighter shovel, look for shovels made with aluminum. We recommend keeping a shovel in your car in case you need to dig yourself out. Smaller, compact designs and fold-up shovels exist for easy portability. Ergonomic designs also exist.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • I need to adhere two pieces of lumber. What’s the best way to do that?

        • Sand the surfaces that you’re putting together so that they’re both flat and free of gaps.
        • Clean the surfaces with a clean rag. Don’t use water or a cleaning product.
        • Spread a thin layer of glue over each surface evenly and completely, although not totally covering them. Too much glue will actually weaken the bond.
        • Line up the two pieces of wood with the glue surfaces contacting each other.
        • Clamp them immediately. You want the pressure to be firm, but not so much that it forces a lot of the glue out of the sides. Clamp down until a few drops of glue are squeezed out of the sides.
        • Let those beads of glue dry for 20-30 minutes and then use a putty knife to clean them away from the wood. (Don’t use a wet rag. It will only spread the glue along the sides.)
        • Let the glue cure for at least 24 hours before you remove the clamps.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

      • Do I need to wait before I stain and seal a newly built deck constructed with pressure-treated lumber?

        Not necessarily. Some manufactures make products that can be applied immediately to a new pressure-treated deck to prevent sun and weather damage. In addition pressure-treated lumber is not waterproof so applying a good sealer will slow the rate of water absorption and protect the surface.  Talk to your local Westlake Hardware associate about the product best suited for your specific needs.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

        Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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