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$100 or Less: 4 DIY Projects to Improve Your Home

By: Danny Lipford
Cutting crown molding on a power miter saw.

Danny Lipford cutting crown molding with a power miter saw.

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Tackling DIY projects around your home is a great way to save money while honing your home improvement skills. At less than $100 in materials each, these four projects can improve the look and function of your home without breaking your budget.

Tiling a Room

The first step in tiling a floor is to prepare the subfloor so the tile will adhere properly. When tiling over a wood or vinyl floor, apply thin-set adhesive to the existing floor and screw a layer of cement backer board to it.

Laying tile on cement backer board in thin-set adhesive.Apply more thin-set to the seams in the backer board, and embed fiberglass mesh tape in it. Layout the tile pattern on the floor, and pop chalk lines for alignment. Apply thin-set adhesive to the backer board with a notched trowel, and lay the tile.

Use a wet saw (available at tool rental centers) to cut tile to size. After the tile adhesive has set, apply grout to the joints in the tile with a rubber float.

Remove any excess grout and grout haze with a clean, damp sponge.

Watch our video on How to Lay a Tile Floor to find out more.

Installing Crown Molding

Adding crown molding is a great way to improve the look of a room, and it’s not as hard as you might think.

Nailing crown molding to wall with nail gun.Start by measuring the walls at ceiling height. Next, set a power miter saw at a 45° angle, and position the crown molding on the saw table at the same angle as it will be mounted on the wall.

Cut the pieces of crown molding to length, with the bottom the same length as the wall. Attach the crown molding to the wall studs and ceiling joists with nails.

Putty the nail holes then paint to complete the decorative addition.

Watch our video on How to Install Crown Molding to find out more.

Improving Storage Space

Pullout wire baskets mounted in kitchen cabinets.Adding pullout wire baskets is a great way to improve access and organize the storage space in your kitchen or bathroom cabinets.

Start by measuring the width of the cabinet openings and the height of the shelves, then buy premade wire basket units at the home center to fit.

Center each basket in the cabinet door opening, and screw the base down to the shelf. Slide the basket on the base to complete the project.

Watch our video on How to Add Roll Out Wire Baskets to find out more.

Refinishing Appliances

To give dated appliances a brand new look, refinish them with Thomas’ Liquid Stainless Steel coating, which is made from real stainless steel.

Applying stainless steel coating to a refrigerator.Start by removing the handles from the appliance. Next, clean the surface, sand off any rust. Apply painter’s tape to areas that won’t be painted, and rust inhibiting primer to any bare metal.

Stir the stainless steel coating and apply two thin coats to the appliance with a roller, followed by a foam brush to even out any lap marks. After the coating has dried, apply one or two coats of clear sealer. Reattach the handles, and you’re done!

Watch our video on How to Refinish Appliances to find out more.

Other Tips from This Episode

Vacuum cleaner with stocking over the hose.

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Finding Lost Items

To recover small lost items, put the toe section from an old stocking or pantyhose over the end of the suction hose on a vacuum cleaner or shop vac. Turn the vacuum on and vacuum the area with it. The dirt and dust will pass through the stocking, leaving the missing item behind. (Watch Video)

Belkin Conserve Surge Protector

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Belkin Conserve Surge Protector

The Belkin Conserve Surge Protector protects your computer, TV, or stereo from power surges and can save energy by turning equipment off when not in use. The unit includes a wireless switch to allow you to turn the outlets off remotely. The Belkin Conserve Surge comes is available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)

gutter with water leaking out of it

Ask Danny Lipford:
Repairing Leaking Gutters

Leaking or clogged gutters can result in extensive damage to the eaves of your home. Make sure to regularly clean gutters and downspouts of leaves and other debris. Check joints, end caps, and downspout connections for leaks, and fix any you find with gutter repair caulking. (Watch Video)

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$100 or Less: 4 DIY Projects to Improve Your Home