Fix It jobs that you can do this fall

Cindy & Eric give you some ideas on how to improve your home that you can do easily yourself.

I hate that popcorn ceiling

If you have a home that was built before 1979 you will want to check for asbestos. If that is the case you are not going to want to scrape your ceiling, but instead encase it with drywall. If you have a house built after 1979 you can just scrape it off. The way you do it is you saturate it with a Hudson sprayer (which you can buy for under $10 at the hardware store).


Fill your sprayer with water and work in 4 foot x 4 foot sections – saturate that one part and get it wet enough and then just start scraping it with a broad 8-12 inch knife (a drywall mud knife, you can also find at the hardware store). As you spray you should wear goggles, gloves and a mask and a hat if you like. “You can’t ever look too good for construction” is what Eric always says.
As you’re spraying the ceiling over and over again, getting it nice and saturated and wet, you’ll find that it just starts to clump and come off on it’s own a little bit, and then you just take that flat knife and press it at a 45% angle to the ceiling and just scrape it off until you get below it and it’s just a smooth piece of drywall. It should just melt away.


You will want to have thick 1mm plastic covering your floor because you are going to get it wet. After you have scraped it all away, you can go over it with a thin layer of drywall compound (20 minute mud, or whatever you want to use) and just apply that with broad strokes, like icing a cake. If there are any ridges after it’s dry just run a sander over it to smooth it out and get it looking good, afterwards your ceiling should look perfect and brand new.

Keep in mind this is a big job! Hint. Try to clean as you go as it is much easier to clean up the mess in wet clumps before it dries. You also don’t really want to leave it all to dry because it will just cover your house in fine white dust. So try to clean it up as much as you can when it’s wet and then vacuum up the rest after it dries.

Fix that running toilet

It’s just one of those annoying things… you are trying to get to sleep and you can hear your toilet still running in the middle of the night. It will most likely be one of two things: The flapper, or the chain. The flapper is the cap inside the lid. If the flapper is not ceiling properly it is not holding the water in and you are wasting water. If it is not the flapper that is the problem, the other thing it could be is the chain. If the chain is not the right length or it is coming off the lever, then the water is also going to leak out.


To fix this problem just take the flapper (which will either be black or red rubber) into the hardware store to get a new replacement. By actually taking in the part you need to replace will save you the frustration of getting the wrong size, as there are many different types of flappers for all different types of toilets.

To save you a trip, if you are a busy person who likes to order online, you can lift up the toilet lid and check the inside for the manufacturer code for using when you order your part online from somewhere like

Rotted Wood around my Windows

If you can poke a screwdriver through the wood and it’s soft enough that it goes through then you can start to scrape all that rotten wood out. You can fill in the hole using a putty knife with Bondo (Eric’s favorite handyman tool of all time). It is like a liquid bandaid. It will only give you about 10 minutes of workability before it dries. Let it set for about an hour and then go back and sand it back. You will never know that solid wood wasn’t there at one time! It will be stronger than the wood originally was. It is amazing stuff.

Stainless steel appliances

Scratches and finger prints. All you have to do, it is so simple, take a paper towel and with a bit of olive oil and rub it over the stainless steel, and voila. Finger prints gone, shiny and new. It will also disguise some of the scratches. If you buff it out going against the grain of the scratch, it will smooth out the surface. It is also great moisturizer for your hands!

Listen to the Home Wizards Show – October 12, 2013

Cindy Dole & Eric Stromer – Home Wizards Hour 1 – Carving pumpkins with power tools – Pumpkin preservation – Fall fix-it list and entertaining ideas
Cindy Dole & Eric Stromer – Home Wizards Hour 2 – Scary front yard Halloween decor – Easy landscaping and fall bloomers – Drying your garden herbs

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