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Home DIY Questions Answered

The house i live in is falling apart at the seams. I fix every problem as it arises but a few things have stumped me or I've just never tackled them before. Any advice?

1. Gaping holes in Brick/Plaster walls left by electricians?

2. Panel from door punched through and sticky taped in good dodgy tradition. An attempt appears to have been made before to repair but the material has swelled with moisture (bathroom door). ?



If you invite an inspector into your house, you will know the remorse of someone who invited a vampire. therein. If you have the budget, then by all means, go the pro way. I suspect that you, like I and others of my kith and kin, have sought thriftier means of attaining our ends. This adage applies: "Do- It-Yourself does not mean "do it all by yourself". Talk to your local hardware and lumber store guys ( not big box) Talk to your friends. Ask for help. Buy coffee and beer to get intelligence. Go to the library. This isn't rocket science. Worst case ? Loook at rentafriend .com and meetup.com . These places are designed to help you talk to folks in the flesh. And don't make the fix-up look better than the entire rest of house. Good luck; now call a local person

You really need to contact a Licensed Electrician to come in and inspect the work that was done. It doesn't appear that the person who did this knew what they were doing, or took much pride in their work. I would be concerned about patching over anything that wasn't done properly that could lead to a fire or electrocution. The light switch boxes should actually be installed flush to the wall versus sticking out as far as they are; and the one light switch behind the door isn't even anchored at all. There may be limited room to install the switch boxes, but it appears that they attempted to remove some of the brick etc to allow this, so it may require removing a little more material for proper installation. In my opinion, its worth the expense to hire a professional. And please ensure that the power is shut off before working in this area!

Once the switches have been installed properly and inspected, you can begin repairing all the damage. You'll want to get a plaster patching screen (it looks like a window screen and often has a strong adhesive on one side). Then clean up any loose material in the holes, and trim as necessary to ensure nothing is sticking out and won't be level to the surrounding walls. Use a medium-coarse sandpaper and lightly sand a 3-4 inch border around the holes. The idea is to clean the edges and remove some of the paint to ensure good adhesion of the patch. Use a 'tack cloth' or a clean lint-free cloth to remove all the sanding dust when you are done. Cut the screen patch material about 2 inches larger than the hole all the way around. If it has an adhesive, you can apply the material directly over the hole. Just ensure that its as level and tight to the wall, and press the edges firmly. If the material does not have an adhesive, you'll need to use a putty kn!fe to apply some plaster patching compound to the border edges around the hole, and then lay the patching screen into the compound and use the putty tool to set it in firmly and flat. Allow to dry before proceeding.

Once the patching screen is installed, use your putty kn!fe to apply the patching compound over the screen, and with the kn!fe at a 90 degree angle, smooth the compound out toward the edges and beyond the patch to blend into the surrounding wall. You don't have to be perfect at this stage, just don't leave any larger areas uncovered or leave any thick globs. Once this step has completely dried, use a medium-fine grit sandpaper to lightly sand the area smooth, and then follow up with another smooth layer of patching compound and allow to dry. Continue in this manner until the hole is patched, feels smooth and is blended in well. Then use a primer over the area, let dry, then lightly sand, apply a second primer coat and follow up with your wall paint.

For the door, you'll want to remove the inner panel pieces and see if they are still usable. If they are warped at all then you'll need a new piece of wood (preferably one large piece versus two). Measure the opening in the door and size the panel piece(s) to properly fit the opening (you can use a carpenters plane or a sander). To reinstall the panel, I would use quarter round wood trim to make a frame for the panel on both sides. Measure and cut 8 pieces total and nail the quarter round to one side of the door first (ensuring that one edge of the quarter round will fit flush to the panel when its installed). Then from the other side apply a bead of construction adhesive or wood glue to the edge of the quarter round and door and set the panel in. (If you are reusing the two pieces, you should first glue and clamp them together to dry to make one strong flat panel). After the panel is set in position, add another bead of adhesive and nail in the quarter round to the last side (nail into the door instead of the panel). If done properly, it will be a strong and relatively invisible repair once you've repainted.

To patch holes in plaster, use patching plaster or spackling compound or even joint compound or related product.. A good paint store can match any color of paint of you bring them a chip. This is a very common household repair. Bring your pictures into the hardware store and they will help you along.
You will either have to replace the panel or tastefully board over the panel or replace the door. . My guess: board over. You will need to remove the door and work on ir. Suggest taking the pictures over to a lumber store . One way of handling door problems is covering them with mirrors. Good luck. Get together with some friends and trade labor. You help on their projects, they help you witth yours.