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Two-part filler has to be mixed and it
doesn't rinse off with water, so it's not as
user friendly as other fillers. However, it's
much tougher and a much better choice for
any hole bigger than a nail head, especially
outdoors. And it's not just for wood—you
can patch metal, fiberglass—even concrete.
Natural or stained woodwork is beautiful, but scratches can really stand out—especially
with darker stains. You can make these scratches disappear by touching them
up with a stain marker. It's simple to use, and much cheaper than buying whole cans
of stain. Start with a lighter color, and if the scratch still shows, go over it with a darker
shade. Unless the varnish is in bad shape and needs to be recoated, that's usually
all you have to do to make older woodwork look almost new again.
Sooner or later, every
sprayed ceiling is going
to get a water stain or a
scrape. Spray texture in
a can won't perfectly
match every ceiling
texture, but it's usually
close, and a lot easier
than respraying a
whole ceiling. Before
spraying, seal the patch
with a stain-blocking
primer, cover the floor
and furniture, and
practice your technique
on scrap plywood
Two-part epoxy glue is rock-hard, fills huge gaps, bonds to almost anything
and dries very quickly. Some brands now come with an applicator
tip that automatically mixes the two parts so you can spread it like a regular
glue, without mixing. It's perfect for gluing irregular shapes and dissimilar
materials to each other. Most epoxies set in five minutes, but you
can buy quicker-setting types that allow you to just hold pieces in place
for a minute, without any clamping.
If your laminate floor has a few chips, gouges or deep scratches, you'll like this good news: Home centers carry fillers especially for laminate floors. There are colors intended for specific brands of flooring, but you don't have to run around hunting for an exact match. With a little experimentation, you can blend colors for a nearly perfect patch. Different areas of the floor may require different mixes. Apply the filler with a plastic putty knife to avoid scratching the floor.
Available up to 8 in.
square, these stiff metal
patches eliminate the
of squaring a hole,
putting in wood backer
boards, and buying,
cutting and taping the
drywall. They're a great
fast fix for holes and big
cracks in walls before
Murphy's Law says you’re going to strip the threads on the last fastener of your latest repair project. Sure, you can get a larger fastener and drill and tap your way to the finish line. Or, you can clean the botched threads and fill the hole with 3M's new Bondo Metal Fill No. 00256 ($15 at home centers and auto parts stores). Just jam the fastener into the filled hole and let the filler harden. Presto! Instant threads. Or you can completely fill the hole and start fresh by drilling and tapping new threads.
This epoxy putty is perfect for small repairs to furniture or cabinets. It's easy to use and makes a strong repair. Just slice off a chunk and knead it until it's a uniform color. Then press the putty into the damaged spot. Let it harden a bit, usually about 15 minutes, until it's about the consistency of soap. Then carve or shape it with a knife, rasp or sandpaper. After it fully hardens in about 60 minutes, you can sand the repair and finish it with paint or stain. KwikWood and Quickwood are two brands. You'll find this repair putty at home centers and hardware stores for about $5 a tube.
Loctite GO2 Glue is an all-purpose glue that's impact-, shock- and water-resistant and bonds most porous and nonporous surfaces. But it works best when at least one surface is porous. We gave the product a real-world test on a garage cabinet. The hinge screws had pulled completely out of the particleboard. We cleaned out the chipped area, peeled back the vinyl covering and filled the area with GO2 Glue. Then we set the screws into the glue and taped everything in place. Once the glue cured, we rehung the cabinet door and gave it a whirl. The hinge was like a rock. A 1.75-oz. bottle costs about $7 at hardware stores and home centers.
If your deck needs a face-lift, consider using Rust-Oleum's new Deck & Concrete Restore. You apply this resurfacer with a special roller sleeve, and it feels like you're rolling on liquid rubber. Because it's so thick (about the consistency of sour cream), it doesn't go far. But the result is an attractive, slip-resistant coating that should last for years. Restore is formulated for decks and concrete, but only for foot traffic and only for rougher broom-finished surfaces. It costs about a dollar per square foot, making it a whole lot cheaper and easier than installing new decking. A word to the wise: Applying it is messy, and you have to work fast if the weather is warm. It's available in 50 colors, and the pigment is added and mixed at the store. (Have the staff mix it before and after the pigment is added.) Find a retailer and watch the video at rustoleumrestore.com.
With so many one-part epoxy wood fillers to choose from, why mess with a two-part product? Stability, structural strength, adhesion, and most important—shrinkage. Unlike most one-part fillers, epoxy doesn't shrink as it hardens. That means you can fill a deep crater or even rebuild a missing part without shrinkage cracks or adding layers of filler. So time spent mixing actually saves time later—and gives you better results. Products include Elmer's Structural Wood Repair (elmers.com), WoodEpox (abatron.com) and Wood Restore Premium Epoxy Putty (jbweld.com). All of them are expensive ($25 for 12 oz.) and available at home centers. Most home centers also carry two-part fillers that are similar to auto body filler; they're not a true epoxy. Like epoxy, they don't shrink. But they're harder to mix, harder to apply and much harder to sand.
If you've spackled, caulked, taped and skim-coated cracks in plaster walls and they still come back, try Good-Bye Cracks. Fill the cracks with joint compound, spray on three coats of Good-Bye Cracks to form an elastic “skin,” and then prime and paint. In our tests it has already lasted twice as long as anything else we've tried. If you don't find it at a home center, just search online ($5 for a 4-oz. can).
This tape is unique. It has no adhesive; it's just pure silicone. When you wrap it around something, the silicone essentially welds to itself to form a single flexible unit. No gaps, no slipping and no end to come undone. Silicone tape is amazing stuff: It's an electrical insulator and it resists just about everything (oil, solvents, acids, salt water). It's heat-proof to 500 degrees F and flexible at arctic temperatures. You can use it to fix electrical cords, wrap cables on a trailer and make a heat-proof grip for a frying pan. There are stories of people using it to make gaskets, repair high-pressure hoses, and even make an emergency fan belt by wrapping the tape around rope. In short, it's a miracle worker. It has only one drawback: the price. A 12-ft. roll, 1 in. wide, is about 10 bucks. One brand is Rescue Tape and it's available online.
Keep a bag of this 20-minute setting-type joint compound around for patching and repairs. It's great for small jobs because it sets up fast enough for you to apply two or three coats in a few hours. Unlike regular joint compound, which has to dry to harden, this stuff hardens by a chemical reaction that starts when you add the water. And within 15 or 20 minutes, it's hard enough to shape with a rasp or coarse sandpaper, and recoat. It's also handy for filling holes that are too deep to fill with regular joint compound. You'll find 20-minute joint compound at home centers and drywall suppliers. It costs about $7 for an 18-lb. bag.
If you're a serious tradesman, you don't buy a pair of boots because they're on sale—you buy the boots that treat your feet the best, and sometimes that's not cheap. Tuff Toe is a polyurethane adhesive that's chemical- and water-resistant. It protects the toes of your boots from getting chewed up on rough surfaces like concrete or shingles. Tuff Toe is fast and easy to apply, and let's face it—a comfortable pair of work boots is a construction worker's best friend. If you could extend the life of your best buddies for only $20, you'd be crazy not to. Buy a kit and watch the application video at tufftoe.com.
The last thing to be done on most remodel projects is to touch up the dings in the walls left by errant boards, tools and boots. It's not a hard job: Slap on a little spackling compound, sand it down and hit it with a paint roller. The problem is, most spackling compound is so porous that you need two coats of paint to hide the patch, and who's got time to watch paint dry? You can cut your downtime with 3M's Patch Plus, a spackle/primer in one. It dries hard in 30 minutes, doesn't shrink and requires only one coat of paint. As a bonus, it comes in a square 8-oz. container, perfect for a 3-in. putty knife. Buy it for $6 at home centers.
Texture Spray Cans
Blend Fillers to Patch Laminate
Self-Sticking Hole Patch
Rethreader in a Can
Epoxy Putty for Wood Repairs
The Glue-Anything Glue
Deck Remodel in a Can
Epoxy Fillers Are Worth the Hassle
Spray-On Crack Fix
Silicone Repair Tape
Quick-Setting Mud for Speedy Repairs
Long-Life Work Boots
Time-Saving Wall Patch
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