Each year on Today’s Homeowner we feature a contest called “Win Danny and His Crew.” The winner gets our help with their list of household chores, and this year that lucky homeowner is Tamera Pippin of Lynchburg, Va. She was excited to welcome our crew to her 1958 home, which was in amazingly good condition for its age.
We helped Tamera with several outdoor maintenance projects:
- Replacing outdoor light fixtures
- Fixing a leaky gutter
- Repairing loose shutters
- Installing a cap on the chimney
- Fixing cracks in the front door threshold
- Refinishing the patio furniture
Then, we moved inside to tackle the remaining items on her to-do list:
- Upgrading the electrical system in the basement
- Replacing the shower head
- Replacing the pop-up drain in bathroom sink
- Repairing the loose faucet in the kitchen
- Replacing the transition strip between vinyl and hardwood floor
Installing a Chimney Cap
Even though Tamera had a masonry fireplace, it’s never a good idea to have rainwater going straight into a flue. We installed a chimney cap to prevent mold, mildew and moisture from damaging the home, while the mesh cage reduces fire hazards and keeps birds, squirrels and other animals out of the chimney.
We began by measuring the top of the chimney, called the crown, as well as each flue that needed to be covered. The cap needed to be large enough to accommodate the flues but smaller than the crown. After dry fitting the cap, we removed the old flaking sealant and mortar from the chimney crown. Then we slipped the hinged wire cage over the two flues and then secured it to the chimney crown with masonry screws. We used stainless steel bolts with washers to secure the top of the cap to the cage.
Next, we mixed up some mortar mix to smooth out the chimney crown. The new mortar seals the existing cracks in the masonry, and sloping it to the edges makes water run off the surface rather than puddling.
Finally, we sprayed Wet & Forget Moss, Mold and Mildew Remover on the chimney. The formula works with the wind and rain over time to clean the surface completely. That makes it ideal for this application because getting on the roof with a pressure washer would be a challenge.
Watch How to Install a Chimney Cap for details.
Upgrading the Electrical System
Next, we headed to the basement to upgrade the home’s electrical system. We replaced the old receptacle for the washer and dryer with a dual-function AFCI/GFCI receptacle from Leviton. This combination will help to protect Tamera’s home from electrical fires that could result from arc faults (AFCI), and help to protect Tamera from electrical shock due to ground faults (GFCI). If a fault is detected, the device quickly cuts off power to help avoid a potential fire or shock occurrence.
These dual-function receptacles are ideal for kitchens and laundry rooms, where you have appliances and water. You can test or reset the device locally rather than going to a circuit breaker.
Repairing a Leaky Gutter
After clearing the gutters, we did a water test to see where the gutter was leaking. Once we detected where the leak was, we applied Ultimate MP Sealant to the seams and at the end cap. It remains flexible after it dries so the gutter should be watertight for a long time to come.
Watch The Importance of Maintaining the Gutters on Your Home for more info.
Refinishing Wood Patio Furniture
Tamera had bought some wood patio furniture second hand. It was in great condition, so we helped her refinish it. We lightly sanded the furniture with 400-grit sandpaper, then wiped away the dirt and dust left behind. Once the wood was dry, we applied a couple of coats of spray varnish, and the patio set looked as good as new.
For more info, read How to Clean Outdoor Patio and Deck Furniture.
Tamera was so appreciative of the projects we helped her with, so we decided to surprise her with a new fire pit, a few plants, and some cushions for her newly refinished patio furniture.
Other Tips from This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Using Strap Toggles as Hollow Wall Anchors
There are several types of hollow wall fasteners, and a toggle bolt is probably the most common. A better version of a toggle is called a strap toggle, which is a metal toggle attached to plastic straps. Watch video.
Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
TrafficMaster 3-in-1 Floor Underlayment
When laying new flooring, the underlayment is just as important as the flooring itself. TrafficMaster’s 3-in-1 floor underlayment is ideal for laminate and engineered wood floors. It is available at The Home Depot. Watch video.
Ask Danny Lipford:
How to Stop a Constantly Running Toilet
Homeowners with older houses often ask how they can stop a constantly running toilet. There are a couple of simple causes with equally simple fixes. Watch video.