So this morning my ever-growing DIY shopping list could be ignored no longer. As soon as I was fed and dressed, I jumped in the car and headed to my neighborhood Home Depot (HD) to knock off the items on this list....and of course, the household tasks that these items represent.
I was surprised at how crowded the parking lot was on a Monday morning. I avoided doing this over the weekend, figuring it would be packed with homeowner DIY's. But apparently weekdays are equally as busy.
I tried to arrange my shopping list to approximate the layout of the store....I do this with my grocery list, as well. That's why I get totally messed up if I shop in a different store and end up doing lots of backtracking. But fortunately for me, I've been shopping in this HD for 15 years and nothing's changed.
First up: a small can of Kilz.
The project: Seal and prime the slight water damage to the baseboard and wall next to the sliding glass door once and for all.
- The damage dates back to Tropical Storm Allison. I had several places suffer from the blowing rain, including the window sills of all three windows in my garage (which I had replaced several years later) and this little stretch of baseboard and wall next to the slider. It backs up to an outdoor power outlet and caulking it with clear silicone solved the leaking problem but the damage is still there.
- The Kilz is for the brownish staining on the wall, in preparation for re-painting. The baseboard is getting professionally replaced on Friday morning. Finally. It's been an annoyance and I'm sure no one else has ever noticed it when visiting my home, but my eye goes to it every time I exit that door. I'll apply it later this week.
Next up: a small tub of pre-mix grout in Alabaster color (bone).
The project: Attempt to fill cracks in two tiles in the foyer and three tiles in the master bath.
- If it works..... great; if not I'll go to plan B, which is two-step epoxy. I got it home and immediately got to work, applying it first to the foyer tiles, with the idea that I'd try it and if it wasn't working, no big deal, since I could always have the cracked tiles replaced (I have extras). It's even possible that the entire foyer flooring will get replaced (see the next item below).
- Well, I'm cautiously optimistic. The foyer cracks are barely noticeable now - probably not noticeable at all by someone who doesn't know they're there. Much of the cracked tiles are covered by a beautiful area rug that my son bought me when he was in Saudi Arabia anyway. The grout has a latex filler, and that seems to be working.
- Encouraged by the results, I moved on to the three tiles in the bathroom. These are larger tiles and with a matte finish. These came out even better. The grout match to the tile color is perfect. The cracks are nearly invisible now. Of course, there's no guarantee that the cracks won't continue to widen. But for now, I'm happy with the repairs.
Next stop: Review my tentative selection of Pergo for the kitchen.
The project: I have a carpet-stretching/cleaning company coming tomorrow morning to see if the ripples in my living room and hallway - thanks to having no A/C for two weeks after hurricane Ike - can be stretched out.
- I'm hoping this will succeed and that getting the carpet throughout the house steam-cleaned will buy me a few more years. Even though the carpet is 15 years old, it's a very expensive, dense plush and has held up extremely well.
- If the carpet stretching/cleaning is successful, I'll go ahead and get the vinyl replaced with Pergo throughout the kitchen, breakfast room, and laundry room. If the carpet cannot be successfully stretched, then I'll consider extending the Pergo into the living room, foyer, and halls. Don't want to proceed with the Pergo until I know the carpet outcome.
- Yep! After seeing it again today, I still like that Pergo Grand Oak! Will look "mah-velous" with my white cabinets and light counters.
Next Stop: Lighting Department
The project: Replace the outside light fixture at the front door.
- The hanging brass fixture on my front porch is looking very sad. It's multiple shades of tarnished and looking less than fresh, so replacement is in order. I hung this fixture shortly after we bought this house new 15 years ago. It replaced the dowdy, plain-Jane contractor grade light fixture and looked stunning when it was new. But no longer. The guy who's replacing the baseboard on Friday is also going to hang a new light for me. I just need to buy it and have it ready for him.
On to Heating/Cooling: A new programmable thermostat
The Project: Replace the current programmable thermostat.
- The current thermostat is 15 years old and starting to act weird. It has been possessed and will skip to the next time period, usually to the "sleep" setting which is cooler than the "return" setting. Very strange!! It's silly to put up with this any longer, given how inexpensive they are. I bought a Honeywell 5-2 model.
- It was easy to install, only took me about 10 minutes. It actually took longer to drive back to HD to exchange the one without the instruction manual or the mounting hardware for one that had not been opened then craftily sealed back shut so that no one would know. (grumble, grumble).
Last Stop: The very far end of the store, past the lumber, and into the concrete/cement section, looking for a quart of Quikrete dry mix.
The Project: Repair a crack and associated divots in the patio concrete.
- Shortly after we bought the house we had the patio enlarged. The crew did it right when they extended it along the back wall of the house, but did it wrong when they extended it out away from the house. But I shouldn't complain. It has held up well for about 13-14 years. But through the severe drought we had last summer, it began to crack, a line parallel to the house and right at the junction point of original patio and extension where they did it wrong. It wasn't a serious crack...that is, until I had my lawn guy power-wash my patio and driveway last fall. The high-pressure water eroded the edges of the crack, widening it and creating small crater-like wide spots along the crack line.
- Well, I can either have the offending extension chipped away and replaced, only this time done correctly using a wooden form between the new and old (oddly this is how they did the extension section to lengthen it) or I can try patching it to buy more time and save some $$. I noticed that there were some very long-lived patches made on the sidewalk at our community center, so I thought I'd give it a try.
- So late this afternoon, once the patio was in shade, I gathered my tools, mixed the Quikrete, and got to work. I kept it moist with the hose as I worked, which also helped me to smooth and feather the edges. It's a long crack but I'm optimistic. I had some concrete mix left over so I went out front and built up a corner of one of the segments in my driveway. It broke away years ago. It's not very big, maybe 2" by 3", but it's worth a try to fix it with what I had left over. The Quikrete in no way matches the current concrete, which is more beige in color, but I'm hopefully staving off any further water erosion.