Family Handyman July/August 2020

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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3 things i learned this month

The key camper question Our camper rehab is complete! And we’re thrilled with the results. Step 1 in the project was getting advice from RV experts, who all stressed this: Before buying an old camper, check the subfloor for soft spots. Rotten plywood subfloors are common, and replacement is a huge task—everything inside has to be removed before you can get at the floor. Luckily for us, the subfloor was in great shape. Expensive caulk is a bargain I recently looked at a house that had water damage in a dozen spots—the subfloor near the shower, countertops, siding … I found the source of the problem in the basement: an empty carton of cheap caulk. It had likely cost $1 per tube but failed within a few years. A carton (12 tubes) of…

what’s new

SUMMER PROJECTS On our website, you’ll find our collection of essential summer projects. From keeping your house cool to building the perfect patio to setting up the ideal outdoor kitchen for entertaining with friends, Family Handyman has you covered. To see the collection, scan this code with your smartphone: OUTDOOR COOKING This summer, you can find all kinds of new ways to enjoy outdoor cooking at, from smoker techniques to the best temperature controllers to the latest accessories for your charcoal grill. WHAT HAVE THE FH EDITORS BEEN UP TO? Like you, the editors here at Family Handyman have found ourselves with free time lately. See what we’ve all been working on around the house at BRAND NEW BOOK! Claim your FREE preview now at Inside, you’ll find tons of brilliant tips that save time,…

gear-driven for big power

When you think of worm-drive saws, you might picture the big rear-handle SkilSaw model that framers use. Indeed, that’s what comes to mind for most, but SkilSaw has taken the power of worm drive and applied it to a miter saw. The SkilSaw 12-in. miter saw definitely makes a carpenter’s day easier, especially when it comes to cutting the green-treated lumber or engineered beams that slow down other saws. I recently cut miles of green lumber with the SkilSaw miter saw; it cut all day long with ease. And it’s 5 to 10 lbs. lighter than other top 12-in. saws. The trade-off for all the extra power is a little maintenance in the form of checking and changing gear oil. You can find the SkilSaw miter saw for about $600 online…

handy hints

SHARE YOUR HANDY HINT WITH US! Wine-Bottle Watering To keep a plant watered while you’re away for a few days, rinse an empty wine bottle and fill it with water. Before you leave, water the plant as usual. Then push the upside-down bottle into the soil, holding your thumb over the bottle’s opening until it’s buried. The water slowly drains from the bottle as the soil dries. CORRINE BLANCHARD JIFFY CHARCOAL STARTER Run out of lighter fluid for your charcoal grill again? If you have a 2-lb. coffee can, you can make a reusable coal starter and skip the fluid altogether. Cut the bottom out first, and then pierce the sides with a can opener to make air vents. Place the can in the barbecue and loosely crumple newspaper in the bottom one-third of the can.…

stay connected when the power is out

When the power goes out, your home network is helpless; you won’t be able to work from home, send that last email or keep your smart devices humming along. An inverter generator is one solution. Generators are expensive, though, and if you just want to keep the Wi-Fi on, the benefit may not justify the cost. Enter the battery backup, or “uninterruptible power supply” (UPS). These small, affordable power units act as a power source for your sensitive electronics in case of a power outage. But will they keep your Wi-Fi running long enough, and if so, do they all perform the same? To answer that question, I put three units to the test. How it works A UPS is basically a battery with built-in electronic controls. Plugging it into an outlet keeps…

washable area rugs

Area rugs are prone to three problems: They slip and slide; get dirty from foot traffic, food and pet accidents; and can be tough to clean. Ruggable tries to solve these problems with a two-part system. The nonslip pad has hook-and-loop fasteners on the top to hold the rug, and textured vinyl on the bottom. The rug itself grips to the pad. Intrigued, I tested one of its 3 x 5-ft. rugs ($109 online) in an entryway. Here’s what I learned. GRIPS ON HARD FLOORS, SLIDES ON CARPET Ruggable’s nonslip pad works great. The rug unrolls over the pad easily. Once it’s on, all you have to do is smooth out any wrinkles with your hands. The bottom of the pad clings well to hardwood floors. Despite my best efforts to get it…