I'm always inspired to see the projects that other handy people come up with, so I was really intrigued by this video that recently landed in my inbox. Be sure to turn the sound on!
My brother-in-law, Josh, has a home in South Carolina in hurricane country. During the most recent hurricane scare, he found himself screwing bits of plywood over his windows, straight through the vinyl siding.
Luckily the hurricane passed him by, but the experience of putting holes in his siding was so painful that he decided to install shutters on his home.
After pricing shutters, Josh decided to build them himself, and I'm really impressed by his skills. (Hey Josh, if you ever want to quit your day job and move to Asheville, I bet we can find you some projects to do around here!)
Now for the question...
The shutters are made from interlocking floorboards, which is a great idea because it makes the boards easy to join.
They're already braced on the front to hold the boards together. Josh also plans to brace his shutters on the back to keep them from buckling. His question is:
"Should the braces be horizontal or diagonal?"
I don't think you need a diagonal brace, since that's for keeping it from racking out of square, and I don't think that will be a problem with the interlocking boards.
However, adding horizontal pieces on the back would help strengthen the shutter. Since you already have braces on the front side, you probably don't need additional supports on the back. But I believe in building things to be super strong, so go for it!
If you've got a tricky question about a home repair, whether in Asheville or anywhere else, leave a comment and I'll be happy to answer it. And if you can't fix it yourself, I'm here to help.
Every house has one: the ugly circuit breaker panel.
You don't want to leave it in plain sight, but you have to allow easy access to it, just in case.
What to do?
One of my customers recently had their basement remodeled, and the circuit breaker was right where the kids might play. They wanted a way to cover the panel safely.
After some discussion, we came up with the idea of a built-in pair of doors with shelves underneath to corral the kids' toys.
I started by building the shelves off site, using pre-primed boards which I painted white.
Since the opening was so large (more than five feet tall) I installed 2" x 8" boards attached to the studs in the wall. This gave me a sturdy place to anchor the doors.
The doors themselves were a pair of off-the-shelf hollow core models which I shortened by several inches.
The finished piece is sleek and unobtrusive... much better than the circuit breaker. Plus, the kids can play there safely and have a place to put their toys when they're done.
If you need a way to cover your circuit breaker panel, or if you're just in need of a new set of shelves, give me a call. I love this stuff!
Jesse's clients ordered the doors beforehand, but as Jesse noted, the two panels "were not even close to being square." Due to an error by the manufacturers, there was an uneven gap when the two doors met.
I've experienced this problem myself when ordering pre-made pieces from a mill, so I know it can be a real head-scratcher. Should you send the parts back and have them fixed, or try to work with what you've got?
Fortunately, Jesse came up with an elegant solution:
He added a piece of trim down the center to cover the gap, then painted it to match the doors. This is more than just a "stop gap." It actually adds functionality! Now you can really close the doors completely so that you can truly block off the room. This would be really handy if you had a small house and your living room occasionally doubled as a guest room.
I really like this barn door trend. It makes a nice focal point, plus it's much easier to install and maintain than a pocket door, and the doors are still out of the way when you open them.
This set of doors is sleeker than the "rustic" look we've been seeing lately. I think it would work with almost any decor, from a "modern farmhouse" look to a more contemporary style.
If you need someone to install a sliding barn door in Asheville, give us a call, We love this stuff!
Spring has come to Asheville, and so have the bugs! It's the time of year when I start installing a lot of screen doors.
This is a great time to talk about how to choose the right screen door: should you go for the cheapest option, or shell out a little more money for an upgrade?
A client of mine recently picked out this nice screen door from Home Depot. At around $30, it's hard to argue with the price.
Fortunately I've worked with screens before, so I had the right tools in my van.
I also had to trim the frame down to fit it to the opening. (Replacing a door is trickier than it looks.) It turned out well in the end, and it looks much better than the sagging and weathered door that was there before.
You can make inexpensive materials look good... it just takes a little more work.
If you need someone with the know-how to finish and hang a screen door correctly, why not call your trusty Asheville handyman? I'll be glad to help.
If you love your home and are always looking for ways to make it look "finished," then adding trim may be a great option for you. Trim is one of those things which home builders skimp on, and it's a shame, because it can really make a room. A house without trim is like art without a frame.
Take a look at my latest project and you'll see what I mean:
My clients' home is in the historic neighborhood of Montford, and it has many old-fashioned architectural details, so I was surprised the builder hadn't installed any trim around the doors. As you can see, it gave the rooms the finishing touch they needed.
I started by measuring the doorways. Then I went back to my workshop to cut and mill the trim pieces. I used pre-primed wood for efficiency, but I made sure to sand and round the edges to soften the look of the wood and make it appear original to the house.
I basically have a portable workshop in my van, so I could have done the mill work onsite, but this kept all of the sawdust and noise in my shop instead of my clients' yard. It made their life easier and kept dust to a minimum.
Once I had it milled up, I took it to their home and cut it to length on site where I could be sure to get the perfect fit.
Of course, I'm simplifying my explanation. There were lots of little details to fiddle with. For example, this doorway was originally out of square, so I had to correct it:
It turned out beautifully. As you can see, the new trim blends in perfectly with the classic woodwork that was already there. It really frames the views into the next room nicely.
Could your home use a few small updates like this? If you live in Asheville or Weaverville, give me a call, I'll be glad to help.