Family Handyman

Family Handyman May 2019

When it comes to home improvement, you need information you can trust. Inside each issue of The Family Handyman, you’ll find see-and-solve expert repair techniques, a variety of projects for every room and step-by-step, do-it-yourself photos.

United States
Trusted Media Brands Inc.
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outdoor living

A PLATFORM DECK IS THE EASIEST WAY TO ADD SPACE If you want to expand your outdoor living space, a platform deck might be your best option. Since it’s not connected to a house, it can go anywhere in your yard and doesn’t require deep footings. Because it rises just inches above ground, it doesn’t need stairs or railings. All together, these factors make it a cost-cutting, labor-saving alternative to standard decks and patios. It’s simple, too. If you have a little building experience, you can do it in a weekend! FROM BARREN SPACE TO FAVORITE PLACE Four years ago, Jenna and Jake bought a small house and got busy turning it into a home. So far, they’ve built a garage and a chicken coop from the ground up and fixed up the…

handy hints

Fertilizing Dense Plants To get fertilizer to the base of bushes and other dense plants, use a length of 2-in. PVC. Slide one end down to the plant base and pour the fertilizer into the pipe. Cut the top of the pipe at 45 degrees to give yourself a larger opening for pouring in the fertilizer. GORDON R. WATSON WASTE-FREE PAINTING I have several rental properties that are always in need of repainting. Instead of throwing out leftover paint, I put it to use. I gather all my partial cans of interior latex—any color or sheen—and dump them into a 5-gallon bucket. Next, I mix the paint with a power-driven paint mixer to get a uniform color. It usually turns out off-white with an eggshell sheen. If the color is too dark, I lighten…

protect your furnace

If you’re negligent about replacing your furnace filter regularly or you’re not using the correct one, listen up. You’re not just compromising your indoor air quality. You’re also spending more money than necessary on utility bills and repairs, and you may even have to replace your furnace. BE WARY OF WASHABLE FILTERS Washable, reusable filters require far more effort than simply swapping a dirty disposable filter for a new one. Plus, it’s difficult to get washable filters completely clean. Most washable filters offer MERV ratings only in the 1 to 4 range, so they don’t provide good filtration either. Since they cost $80 to $100, you’ll have to decide if the benefit is worth the price, trouble and substandard filtration. If you choose this route, shop around to find washable filters with…

work wheels

GET A LEG UP! Newer pickups often feature built-in steps so you can easily access your pickup bed. Some steps are built into the bumper; others are part of the tailgate like the one on the Ford F-150 shown above. The steps are handy for pros and DIYers alike, especially if you have an elevated 4WD pickup. If you have an older truck, there’s no need to cry in your beer—you’ll find many aftermarket truck steps to choose from. Some bolt onto the bumper and fold up or slide out of the way under the bed; others slip into the receiver hitch and telescope or swing out when needed. You’ll find styles to help you access both the rear and the side of the bed. Just search online for “truck steps”—you’ll find…

backyard fireplace

This project was inspired by an outdoor gas fireplace I saw online. The look was exactly what I wanted, but the construction wasn’t—I didn’t want a 500-lb. concrete cube that couldn’t be moved. And I didn’t want an underground gas line to fuel the fire. So instead I engineered this version. It looks just like the one online, but it can be easily moved by two people and it doesn’t need a remote gas supply. Best of all, it’s an easy weekend project, suitable for a beginning builder. There’s a secret inside It looks like a solid concrete cube, but this hollow box holds a standard propane tank and regulator—the same components that fuel a typical gas grill. Just remove the burner and lift out the tank when it needs to be…

one-day storage bench

WHAT IT TAKES TIME 1 day COST $100 to $600* SKILL LEVEL Beginner * About $300 if you use cedar and less expensive lid supports TOOLS Circular saw or table saw, drill/driver, clamps While looking for patio bench ideas, I came across a sleek modern design with tons of storage inside. Perfect. The price tag—over $1,000—wasn’t a problem because I knew I could build my own version, and in just a day. And so can you. It’s really just a plywood box dressed up with solid wood slats. THERMALLY MODIFIED WOOD I chose thermally modified poplar for this bench. Normally, poplar would be a poor choice for an outdoor project, but thermal modification changes the rules. Thermally modified wood (TMW) has essentially been cooked, removing the organic compounds. The chemical-free process makes wood more stable and resistant to decay and insects. This…