Family Handyman

Family Handyman October/November 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.

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stuff welove

BANG-FOR-YOUR-BUCK WELDER FOR BEGINNERS The Easy Weld 140 MP from Forney Industries is an all-in-one entry-level welder for those who want to get started but don’t want to buy a machine they’ll quickly outgrow. Right out of the box, the Easy Weld will have you learning how to weld steel up to 1/4 in. thick. I was able to easily set up the machine using its quick-start guide, and within a few minutes I was welding my first bead. It can hook up to shielding gas for real MIG welding, and you can buy a TIG torch when you’re ready to advance your skills. Some other welders cost about the same but have limited amperage, which then limits the thickness of material you can weld. Others only do flux-core welding. The Easy…

toilet paper test

Toilets clog for a number of reasons, but one reason few consider is the type of toilet paper that’s used. While all toilet paper dissolves eventually, how fast it breaks down is what matters. Slow-dissolving toilet paper can get caught in your pipes and build up, creating a clog. If you have an old toilet, bad pipes, a septic tank or a kid who loves to watch streamers of toilet paper disappear down the toilet, it’s even more important you buy the right stuff. So, to get to the bottom of that problem, I went to my local store, overloaded my cart with popular toilet paper brands and put them to the test. As you might imagine, I received a lot of strange looks, but I didn’t let that deter me;…

choosing the right tile

Interlocking is easy The tongue-and-groove design makes it easy to snap the tiles into place. Working from left to right, the short ends angle in first. Then tip the opposite end downward, lift and angle the long edge into the previous tiles and push them together. Underlayment If a tile doesn’t come with a built-in pad, the manufacturer may recommend a cushion of underlayment. It acts as a pad for a softer landing, provides a vapor barrier and may reduce sound. It can also prevent some imperfections in the existing floor from telegraphing through the tile. Without underlayment, things like screw head holes, uneven seams, small high spots and even tiny grains of sand can lead to wear marks. Install over almost anything:…

reader info

Need more Family Handyman? Get our best tips and hints in your inbox. Sign up at GOT A DIY QUESTION? Finding answers is easy at Just use the search box at the top of the page to get expert step-by-step help with your projects. GOT A HANDY HINT OR TIP FOR US? To share your information with us, submit a copy of your original contribution, including photos and/or sketches, by email to: Or mail to: Family Handyman, 2915 Commers Drive, Suite 700, Eagan, MN 55121 Please include your name, mailing address and email address if you have one, and indicate to which department you are submitting. We reserve the right to publish your submission in any appropriate department, or elsewhere. Contributions will not be acknowledged or returned. RIGHTS By submitting material to us, you grant Home…

quick, clean cuts

CUT WITH A CARPET KNIFE A carpet blade, which is much stiffer than a normal utility blade, makes it easier to score a straight line across a tile with a square as a guide. Then bend the tile backward until it snaps. If the tile has built-in padding, you’ll have to finish the cut with the carpet blade. THE SOLUTION FOR NOTCHES With notch cuts, you can’t just score and snap. Make these tricky cuts a whole lot easier by using a rotary tool equipped with an abrasive wheel for cutting plastic. CUT FASTER A slicing-style laminate cutter is great for cutting vinyl tile. Its blunt slicer punches out a 1/4-in. strip but leaves a clean-cut edge on the tile. So, if you have a lot of cutting to do, invest in this $60 tool…

installation tips

START ROWS WITH CUTOFFS You’ll end each row by cutting the last tile to fit. Instead of wasting the leftover cutoff, make it the beginning of the next row. LEAVE A GAP UNDER SHOE MOLDING Pinching the flooring down with shoe mold won’t allow for expansion and contraction and could cause buckling or separation at the seams. Use a 1/32-in. tile spacer or shim under the shoe to create a small gap. Be sure to nail the shoe into the baseboard, not down through the vinyl. STAGGER THE SEAMS There’s no set rule for staggering seams in vinyl planks, but if you lay your planks down and the seams end up creating a pattern, you’ll notice it every time you walk on the floor. Avoid forming “H” and stair-step patterns. If you make sure seams…