Tips 'n Techniques

This section contains a few useful tips and techniques for the home handyman (or handywoman) to help you do small jobs yourself. There's not much here yet, but more is coming. If you have any questions about doing some work yourself, just email me at, or give me a call at (613) 924-2664.

Since small jobs is what I specialize in doing, it may not seem to make sense to help others do the work themselves, but what can I say? I'm a nice person. ;-) By helping you do some of the work yourself, hopefully, when it comes to work you can't or don't want to do, you'll call me. If you know someone who needs a little work done, tell them to call me. :-)

Here are a few useful tips and techniques (including some little tricks) for do-it-yourselfers.
more to come
  1. Do your own painting? Make sure the surface is ready; otherwise the new paint job won't last. If you want a good job, use a good brush, roller, and paint.
    - Remove crayon, grease, or other non-paintable materials.
    - Always prime first if you are putting latex over oil or if you are painting over gloss or semi-gloss paint.
    - Always prime any patchwork you did.
    - If the surface is discolored from smoke or age, it must be washed or primed.
    - When painting a light color over a dark color, it'll cover much better if primed first.
  2. Do your own drywalling? It's always better to apply the mud (drywall compound) in several layers rather than trying to fill it in with 1 layer. The filler shrinks so it will require more than 1 coat anyway and thinner coats dry faster.
  3. Leaking tap? Take a look under the sink. If you have shutoff valves, it's an easy fix, for you or me. Just turn the taps under the sink off, remove the tap handle(s), then the valve stem (inside part of the tap). You will see various washers. Go to a hardware or plumbing store and they can give you the right replacements. Put it back together and the leak is gone. If the taps are getting old, it's usually better to replace them.
  4. Putting up your own fence? Make sure it lasts more than one year. The main fence posts need to be well planted in the ground. The bottom has to be below the frost line or they will come up from the ground every time the ground freezes and thaws.
  5. Building your own deck? Space the boards the right amount. The boards do expand and contract in the heat and cold so don't put them tight together, but if you put them too far apart, a lady wearing high heals could get hurt. A space about 1/8" is about right. Not too many high heals will fit in there and it is enough to keep them from touching when they expand. It also prevents dirt and other small stuff from getting stuck in there. Use a piece of cardboard for your spacer.
  6. Broken light bulb? If you have a broken light bulb that needs to be removed, first make sure it has no power. Carefully and safely remove the remaining glass, then get something round and about 1" diameter, like a wooden broomstick. Almost anything 1" round will work. Wrap a few layers of tape around the end for friction and to get a nice fit, then gently push into the bulb base and turn.
  7. Removing wallpaper? Wallpaper removal is usually quite easy as long as you can get the adhesive wet. How to do that depends on the type of wallpaper. With uncoated (non-washable) wallpaper, just use a pail of warm to hot water and a sponge to wet the paper and gently scrape it off. With vinyl wallpaper, you can usually just peel off the vinyl surface, then wet and scrape the rest. With other wallpapers, if water can't get to the adhesive and the surface won't peel off, you need to score the paper all over so the water can get behind the surface to the adhesive. With a small area, you can use a knife for the scoring, but if you plan to paint the wall afterwards, don't go too deep with the knife. Experiment a little until you find what works. For large areas, use very coarse (40 grit) sandpaper.
    - Use a good stiff scraper and a low angle. It'll lessen the chances of digging into the wall.
    - Don't overdo the wetting or you may start removing more than you want. If you don't wet it enough, it won't come off very well. Be patient and test at first to see how much wetting and waiting is needed.
    - Sometimes people use a special adhesive on the edges when installing wallpaper. Some of these adhesives are not water soluble and may be harder to clean up.
    - Be prepared for a mess before you start. Removing wallpaper is a messy job and the adhesive does restick after it dries, so make sure you have something under where you're working.
    - If it appears to be a type of paper or situation where it's hard to remove, call a pro. It may be cheaper to have them remove the wallpaper than to have them redo the wall.

General Info
About QHR and it's owner

Our pricing system and samples

Terms & Conditions
Our work and payment terms & conditions, and our guarantee

Tips and Techniques
Help you save money and do minor repairs yourself

Return on Investment (ROI)
Are you planning work for profit reasons?

Feel free to contact me at

Front Page