Monthly Archives: September 2010

Quick and inexpensive makeover for your stairs

A friend of mine decided to give her stairs an update and loved the look of iron balusters, but didn’t want the big investment that goes along with it to change those out.  Her old stairs were painted in a traditional look with a stained oak railing on white baluster.  To imitate the look and feel of iron, she decided to paint them black.    See for yourself the dramatic and elegant change accomplished with some patience, a light sanding of the old finish, a can of flat black paint and a good paintbrush:

And now:

Look at how her neutral beige paint instantly warms up against the new finish!  In this example, the rails will have a glaze finish coat that will add  a slight sheen and layer of protective finish.   What a difference for a project that can be accomplished in a weekend!

How to cut ceramic tile to fit around a toilet or bath fixture

Ever wonder how to cut tile to fit around a circular object like a toilet flange or a plumbing fixture?  Its easier than it may look and the steps are similar for any area where you need a rounded cut.

You will need a tile saw and some tile nippers; these instructions assume you are familiar and comfortable with the use of a tile saw and safety is always important when working with mechanical equipment!

Here’s the basic steps:

1)  Take a piece of paper and sketch the outline of the rounded area you need to cut so that you can transfer that same radius to a tile.

2)  Use a permanent marker or pencil and transfer the radius pattern you need to the tile to be cut.

3) Using your tile saw, cut several straight lines with about 1/4″  spacing into the tile up to the point of your marked radius; don’t worry about the appearance of the cuts as long as you don’t go beyond the marking.  Use your tile nippers to “break” the straight pieces off one by one by holding the nipper claw at the mark.  The straight pieces should break off easily.  You may be left with some jagged edges but don’t worry, most plumbing fixtures come with an outer flange or cover that will conceal these imperfections.

4)  Now you have the rounded edge you need and the tile should fit right in.  Good luck!

If you have any questions about this process or any other home improvements, please leave your feedback.