Planing a Door – Ask THE Handyman St Louis – Get It Done

I’ve just had new carpeting installed and now some of my doors are dragging on my new carpeting. Can you suggest a quick fix?

Dragging doors are a common occurrence after having new carpeting installed. The new carpet is just thicker (either by design or because it’s new) and the doors need to be planed, or sanded down on the bottom.

If you have more than a couple of doors, it will be easier and less time consuming to rent a “power planer”. This is an electric hand held device which will very quickly take the required edge off the bottom of the door. These can usually be rented from a larger hardware store or at rental stores. If you have an orbital sander or belt sander, these will work also but will take more time. If you only have one door or don’t want to spend the money on renting a tool, then ordinary sandpaper will work, but it requires a lot more effort.

Take a visual look at the door to determine how much you want to remove. It is also a good idea to put a piece of tape or a sticky note at the bottom of the door to be sure that once outside, you are sanding the bottom of the door and not the top. You would be surprised how easy it is to work on the wrong end!
Next, remove the hinge pins on the door. Usually a hammer and a small screwdriver will get the pin out. Begin at any hinge and place the edge of the screwdriver just under the top of the pin, and tap it upward. After it has moved up an inch or two, you should be able to pull it out. If you have a decorative pin with some type of fancy head on it, the head needs to be removed first, usually by just unscrewing it before taking the pin out. Once you have the hinge pins removed, the door will come out. If this is an entry door or solid core door, you may need a second person to help carry the door.

It’s best to do the sanding outside, as there will be a lot of sawdust. If you have a set of sawhorses, set the door on these. A pair of trash cans will work as well, but be sure to lay a drop cloth or old blanket over them to protect the door. If you are using a power planer or sander, be careful not only of the equipment, but also of how much of the door you’re sanding down. Especially with the power planer – it can take a lot of wood off in a short amount of time.

Use long single strokes from one end of the door to the other rather than going back and forth over a short area. Take a small amount off, then rehang the door to see how close you are to the desired results. You can always sand more – but you can’t add length once you’ve taken it off!
If this is an exterior door, you should seal the bottom, either with a primer and paint, or a stain and urethane.

When you’ve achieved your goal, reinstall the hinge pins, being sure they are fully inserted. That’s all there is to it!

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Ask THE Handyman St. Louis

Garbage Disposal Making a Noise – Get It Done – Ask THE Handyman St Louis

My garbage disposal is making such a loud noise. Is there anything I can do about it?

Bad news first. There really is nothing that can be done when a garbage disposal starts going bad, unless you really want to clutter up your basement floor in trying to take one apart. It would be much easier and take less time to simply replace the disposal. The good news is that replacing one is not a major event (unless your spouse or neighbor is standing over your shoulder).

Disposals will normally come in ½ and ¾ horsepower. I think that the ½ horsepower is fine for most all homes. The next decision to make is regarding the noise level. If you spend more, you can get a quieter unit, but this can double or triple the cost of the disposal. There are other high end qualities available, but I usually recommend the basic model. I like the InSinkErator – Badger 5. This is not the cheapest model, but we’ve found it to be very reliable, and it comes with a 2 year, in-home warranty.

Begin by turning off the power at the circuit breaker which controls the disposal. Using adjustable pliers, disconnect the drain trap from the disposer. Using the small wrench that comes with the new disposal, or a screwdriver, insert it into the mounting ring near the top of the disposal. Using one hand on the bottom of the disposal for support, slightly lift up on the bottom of the disposal while turning the wrench or screwdriver to the left until the disposal is free of the mounting bracket. You’ll then be able to set the disposal on the floor of the cabinet.

Turn it over and remove the electrical cover plate, then remove the wires connected to the disposal. Next, loosen the three screws on the mounting bracket. Using the flat blade of a screwdriver, pry off the metal ring which goes around the bracket. You’ll then be able to push the sink flange up through the sink hole. Scrape off the old plumbers putty at the top of the hole, being careful not to scratch the sink surface.

To begin installing the new disposal, use new plumbers putty around the underneath part of the new sink flange. Place it into the hole and press it into place. If you don’t have another person to help you, it can be a good idea to place a towel in the sink, then put the old disposal on top of the new flange to help hold it in place. Follow the directions of the installation of the new disposal, but basically, it is just installing the new mounting piece, attaching the wires to the new disposal, then securing it to the mount, and reattaching the drain pipe. If you have a dishwasher, you’ll need to remove the plug from the inside of where the dishwasher drain hose is attached to the disposal. Don’t forget the remove this plastic plug from inside the disposal after you’ve knocked it out. With everything back together, turn on the circuit breaker and the water and check for any leaks.

Now tell the person that has been standing over your shoulder that they can go back to whatever they were doing, that you’ve gotten the job done successfully!

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Ask THE Handyman St. Louis