How to Install a Fireplace Mantle?

Thoughts before you proceed:

  • What type of mantle do you want? (Materials, design & size)
  • What type of substrate do you have? (Drywall, stone, wood)
  • What type of framing is in your wall? (Metal studs, wood studs, concrete)
  • What size do you want the mantle to be?
  • What height do you want the mantle to be?

It is a good idea before you start to use “Painters tape” to layout your mantle shape on the wall to decide what will look the best for you. Make sure you also layout the supports too as they will take up space between the fireplace top and the bottom of the mantle

Since most mantles are fairly heavy you may need help with this project, and you need to ensure that your anchors or fasteners will support the mantle and the items you want to display on them, Pictures would not be very heavy but a full display of books would be.

Typically framing in most older houses and some newer ones are wood framing or studs. And usually they are on 16” centers, meaning each upright stud is exactly 16” from the center of one to the next stud. But keep in mind they may be on 24” center or 12” center. And there may be more between them for additional support or wall connections.

You can use an electronic stud finder or tap on the wall to determine the estimated location of all studs near your fireplace. Once you think you have one located drive a small nail into the wall in that location, then use a tape measure and mark 16” and drive another small nail in that location and see if you hit another stud. If you are only going through drywall you can tell because the nail will have more resistance when taping it in.

Below is a sample of wall studs: Note the 1’ 4” mark on the wall. This is on 16” centers; Now that you have located the wall studs it is time to install the shelf/mantle supports to the studs.

Step 1
Step 1

The picture below would be your wall if you could see through the fireplace into the wall. Notice I put two shelf brackets on the wall in line with the wood studs. This will provide enough support for a basic mantle

Step 2
Step 2

Now we will change the view to better show the brackets:

Step 3
Step 3

After securing the brackets or supports to the wall it will look like the following:

Step 4
Step 4

Now we are ready to install the shelf or mantle. The sample I am using is a “Rough sawn cedar board”

Step 5
Step 5

Make sure that you secure all support blocks, shelf brackets etc. Firmly to the wall/studs before proceeding. Next we will cover up the exposed shelf brackets with matching wood.

Step 6
Step 6

Now we will install the trim to the main mantle shelf, which will also help to hide the metal shelf brackets and provide a ledge that will prevent smaller display items from falling off the mantle.

The front trim piece can be store bought and cut to size if you want a very ornate face without having to do all the detail work with a saw.
Below is what my sample mantle looks like alone:

Mantle
Mantle
Side Angle
Side Angle
Completed Fireplace Mantle
Completed Fireplace Mantle

How to Build a Dog House?

Before you get started you will need to think of the following:

  • Size of animal you wish to build the house for
  • The house should be large enough for two of the same size animals to lay in
  • The height and width of the door way should be 4” taller and wider than the expected size of the dog when fully grown
  • Make sure that if you are in a extreme cold weather that you also install insulation in the floor, walls and ceiling but still provide ventilation.
  • A material list will not be provided for this project since there are many sizes of dog houses

You will first need to layout the concrete blocks to support the dog house and elevate it off the ground to reduce rot and help keep the animal dry.

Step 1
Step 1

Next you will need to start laying out the wood floor framing:

Step 2
Step 2

The floor is the next item to install (3/4” Plywood works well for this)

Step 3
Step 3

Next you will install the bottom plate to fabricate the walls

Step 4
Step 4

You are now ready to start building the walls

Step 5
Step 5

The upright studs will attach to the base plate and should be laid out like the above picture

Step 6
Step 6

As shown above the studs are standing up and are 3’4” tall (Large breed dog)

Step 7
Step 7

The above picture shows the roof framing from the side view, the next several images will be different views of the roof layout so you can relate them to your project

Step 8
Step 8
Step 9
Step 9

You are now ready to install the roof decking

Step 10
Step 10
Step 11
Step 11

By this point you have the concrete blocks in place, floor main framing, floor sheathing, wall studs, roof rafters and roof decking, Now all you will need to do is install sheathing on walls and create the entry then finally install the roofing, trim and paint the dog house (The following pictures are examples of what it will look like through the project and the completed project

Step 12
Step 12
Step 13
Step 13
Step 14
Step 14
Step 15
Step 15

How to Install Tile Backsplash?

Adding a tile backsplash to your kitchen adds value and beauty to your kitchen, And is a very easy project which can be done over a weekend, and is not very expensive to do.

  • 1st Measure the area that you want to install the backsplash, be sure to include the area behind the stove.
  • 2nd pick up a few samples at a local hardware store of the materials and patterns you are interested in. (Most stores will allow you to borrow samples or purchase them and give you a refund if you decide that you don’t like them.)
  • 3rd Set aside at least 2 days that you will have several hours each day to work on this project.

You will need the following materials:

  • Tile
  • Adhesive (Tile adhesive or liquid nails)
  • Tile Spacers
  • Grout (You will need to select a color)
  • Sealer (Clear)
  • Tile install kit (Usually comes with sponge, bucket, trowel, glue spreader)
  • Tile saw or cutter
Step 1
Step 1
  • Never apply more adhesive that you will be able to install tile to before the glue dries, you may want to pre-cut small tiles or around plug outlets prior to applying glue
  • Always line up your first set of tiles ¼” inside the cabinet line as shown below:
Step 2
Step 2

This will allow room for grout at end of tiles so that the edge will not be seen.

  • Apply adhesive or liquid nails to the wall in area that you will be able to cover
  • You can use the small tile spacers to hold the tile ¼” above the existing countertop
  • And then install them between each tile to ensure that the gaps are the same size
  • See below for a sample
Step 3
Step 3

Now that you have the first couple of tile in place, press them firmly and evenly against the adhesive

  • Continue to install the tile with the ¼” spacer installed between each tile and work your way across and up the area to be covered. Leave all tile that needs to be cut to a smaller size until last.
  • The tile spacers will only stay in place until the glue sets (The next day)
  • Then remove the tile spacers and discard them
  • You are now ready to mix the grout (Pre-Colored) Read the mixing and application directions on the package
  • Install the grout using the flexible trowel pressing the grout into every gap with pressure
  • After covering all grout gaps wipe of excess grout with damp cloth or sponge
  • Do not attempt to clean the haze off of the tile until it has set for 24 hours
  • Then use grout haze remover or a coarse sponge to remove the grout and clean the tile
  • This step may require multiple cleanings as the tile grout dries completely
  • You are now ready to seal your tile grout to prevent discoloration and staining
  • Wait 24 hours between sealer coats or applications so that it will dry completely
Step 4
Step 4

How to Install Vinyl Floor Tile (VCT)?

• Measure the area of floor space that you would like to cover with the vinyl floor tile (See Figure 1)
• Remember that you should remove appliances or measure under/behind them so that you can install the flooring in the space that they reside on.

Step 1
Step 1
Step 2
Step 2

Relocate all appliances that sit on the floor surface area (Not Cabinets)

• You will next need to measure the floor surface area that you wish to install the vinyl floor on.
• It is easier and more accurate if you break the floor space down to several areas (Like Boxes) then add all of the area up (See Below)

Step 3
Step 3

• As seen in the picture above the two rooms (Kitchen/Laundry) are broken into 6 boxes each with its own measurements
• Each area has two measurements (Length/Width) using the sample below you can then calculate each area for a subtotal of flooring required:

Step 4
Step 4

Area 1 = 5’ x 8’2” = 41.6111 SF
Area 2 = 6’2” x 3’9” = 22.5 SF
Area 3 = 6’7 ½” x 3’9” = 23.75 SF
Area 4 = 4’ x 6’7 ½” = 25.0417 SF
Area 5 = 3’9” x 1’6 ½” = 5.3958 SF
Area 6 = 3’ x 2’7 ½” = 7.875 SF

Total estimated area in square feet = 126.1736 Square feet* Note you will need to add additional footage to cover waste and cuts – A good rule of thumb is to add 10% waste which equals 12.61 sf then total the two numbers and get the number of actual square foot needed: 138.7836 feet you will need to buy 140 square feet of tile (If you are going to glue the tile you will also need to get enough glue to cover the same area in square feet. (You can also buy peal and stick vinyl tile that does not require glue which is quite a bit easier to install but will not last as long as commercial vinyl floor tile.

• Now that you have the materials you will need, You are ready to start laying the tile.
• Find the longest straight wall in either of the rooms, This will be your starting point (I have found the right one for you on the drawing below:

Step 5
Step 5

• Now you are ready to layout the starting tile and begin laying the floor tile by lining up the second tile with the first tile and so on.

Step 6
Step 6

• The 1st tile above is set aligned with the wall and 12” from the line even with the kitchen wall. This will ensure that the tile in the kitchen will line up with the tiles in the laundry room
• Make sure that your tiles are straight and connect tightly to the tile prior and have no gaps between them.

Step 7
Step 7

• Now that the laundry room is complete you will continue laying the floor tile into the kitchen as shown below:

Step 8
Step 8

You will notice that the pink area is left for the last since these tiles will need to be cut to fit along the walls and door ways – Leave these areas until the very last

• When getting ready to “Cut in” start with the area that has the largest space uncovered and then work towards the spaces with the smallest tile area. This will allow you to use “Cut pieces” to fill smaller pieces. BUT KEEP IN MIND that any tile you get ready to use must have straight factory edges on any edge that will “BUTT” another tile to prevent crooked seams and lines
• Continue filling in all of the voids

Step 9
Step 9

Now that you have completed the flooring installation, Wait about 8 hours before installing or moving the appliances, And be sure to use the cardboard boxes that the tiles came in to move the appliances across the floor so that you will not scratch or damage the new floor tile
Caulk around any cove base areas you desire and install thresholds at any door where the floor pattern or type changes (Carpet to tile etc)

How to Insulate a Metal Garage Door?

Many garage doors are “Non-Insulated” and allow a great loss of heating and cooling if your garage is attached to your house.

Insulating the interior of the garage door is easy and provides a substantial cost savings on your energy bills. To see if your garage door does have insulation already installed, with the garage door in a fully closed position:

Garage Door Interior Closed
Garage Door Interior Closed

If the garage does is “Non Insulated” you will be able to see the back of the metal panels, If the garage door is already insulated the interior side of the door will look like the image below:

Garage Door Interior Closed Non-Insulated
Garage Door Interior Closed Non-Insulated

If you determine that your garage door is not insulated and wish to keep the temperatures more comfortable within your garage and save money on utility bills keep reading.
This is a very easy project which can be done in a few hours, Just follow the instructions and you will be impressed on the difference this project will make.

Tools:

  • Tape Measure
  • Utility knife and extra blades
  • Straight edge 3’ft – 4’ft long (A solid piece of wood with a straight edge or yard stick)
  • Safety Glasses

Materials:

  • ¾” or 1” foil faced foam insulation (Measure garage door opening – Height x width = SF)
  • Example – If your garage door opening is 7’ x 8’ it would require 56 Square Feet of insulation
  • 1-2 rolls of 1-1/2” aluminum foil metal tape or duct tape – The metal tape is the best

How to install the insulation:

Garage Door Install
Garage Door Install
  1. Measure the opening as shown above (Example is 1’3 5/8” Tall x 3’9 ½” wide) * Note your measurements may vary depending on style and size of door
  2. Add 1” to the height of the opening (Example 1’3 5/8” +1” = 1’4 5.8”) This will allow the insulation to be held in place by the hinged frame rails
  3. Place the insulation board on a flat surface such as your drive way. Mark the measurements on the foil side of the insulation and gently cut the insulation board to the proper size
  4. Place the piece you cut into the lower hinge rail and then gently bend the insulation into the top hinge rail and release
  5. Complete the job by doing the same thing to each panel and installing the foil metal tape or duct tape around all 4 side of each panel your installed the insulation board in.
  6. CAUTION: Do not allow the tape to cover the joint in the hinge rail or interfere with the rollers on either side of the door.
  7. After complete open the garage door and make sure that nothing binds or comes into contact with other surfaces or moving parts
Garage Door Completed
Garage Door Completed