Pro Tips

Replace A Faucet

When you have a faucet that leaks, or that is altogether outdated, it may be time for a replacement. It’s not hard to do. First, go into the King’s Ace Hardware store and speak with an Ace expert about the tools you will need for the project. The list of tools is short, especially if you already have a few tools of your own at home. You will need: a bucket to catch water; a basin wrench (a specialty-type wrench with a long stem and an adjustable wrench head that fits in spaces too small or narrow for a person’s hands or a conventional-type adjustable wrench); and, an adjustable wrench. You may also need new water supply lines.

Replace the Faucet

Start by turning off the water supply. The valves, typically, are located beneath the vanity on the wall. With the water supply turned off, turn on the faucet at the faucet to relieve any pressure or water build-up. Use the basin wrench to disconnect the faucet from the hot and cold water supply lines. Then disconnect the lift rod (this is the mechanical piece beneath the sink that, when pulled, lifts up the drain). Then lift free the faucet. Clean the area around the faucet holes using soap and water, a professional cleaner, or mineral spirits. With a clean slate, install the new faucet. Most modern faucets have a gasket that seals the faucet to the sink, so begin by correctly installing this gasket to the bottom of the faucet, then install the faucet onto the sink. Then it’s simply reassembling. Install the faucet to the sink, and the screw on the water supply lines—it’s important not to overdo it here; turn the supply lines until tight, and then, later, when you turn on the water you can check for leaks. Install the lift rod. Sometimes this can involve a little guess work as to the required tension. Then turn the water back on and check the supply lines, especially where they attach to the bottom of the sink, for leaks. Turn on the new faucet, checking for pressure, but also re-check the supply lines to ensure the changes in pressure don’t cause a leak.

If you have any other questions as to how to change a kitchen faucet, come in to the King’s Ace Hardware today and speak with an Ace expert.

Toilets

Did you know that a toilet is relatively easy to remove and then also replace? It’s true. In most cases, the most difficult step involved, in replacing a toilet, is carrying the old toilet out, and then bringing the new toilet in. Here are the steps.

Remove the Old Toilet

The first step in any plumbing project is to turn off the water. The water supply for the toilet is usually just behind the tank near the wall. Turn off the water—some valves will require a brief, quarter-turn, while others will require several revolutions of the valve, so turn the valve until it stops. With the water off, flush the toilet, holding the handle until all of the water that can drain from the tank (the tank is the reservoir located above the bowl) drains. Then, using a turkey baster or a sponge, get out the rest of the water from the tank. Have a bucket on hand and drain the water into it. Then remove the rest of the water from the bowl—if you’re using a sponge for this job, make sure to wear rubber cleaning gloves. When the water is gone, disconnect the toilet’s water supply line. Then unscrew the flapper chain from inside the tank (the flapper is the piece that opens like a mouth when a toilet flushes). Unscrew the bolts securing the tank to the bowl, and then lift-free the tank. Take the tank outside, or place it on a towel.

With the tank removed, take off the caps over the bolts on the bowl—these are located on the toilet’s footing near the floor. Unscrew the nuts on the bolts. Then simply lift-free the toilet. Sometimes, a toilet will get stuck, and you might have to rock it slightly to get it to move. Put the bowl on a towel, or take it straight out—even though you’ve taken most of the water from the tank, there will still be some in the bottom of the bowl, so be prepared. Where the toilet connects to the floor there will be a flange and a wax ring surrounding it. Replace the wax ring. With a new wax ring in place, then just backtrack through the steps.

The experts at King’s Ace Hardware can answer any questions you have about replacing a toilet, and everything you will need to replace a toilet can be found in the store.

Organize Your Garage

For many people, the garage is a storage room. But a garage can get so overrun by stored items that the room becomes unusable. But with a little planning, a garage can be both a storage place, and also a functional garage: car storage, workshop, etc. Here’s a few tips to keeping your garage well organized, so that it serves a dual purpose.

Vertical Storage

Vertical Storage is important in any storage situation. It increases a room’s usable square footage. It makes it easy to find stored items. You can build your own vertical storage, by hanging brackets from the studs, and then placing shelving boards over the brackets. The job is simple and easy for almost any eager DIY’er. Step one: find the studs—easy if the studs are exposed, but if your garage has sheetrock, you can use a simple stud finder. Step two: drill pilot holes and then screw in the brackets. Step three: add the shelving. See, it’s easy.

Vertical storage can also be bought, and, for many, this is a good option. Metal shelves are durable and will last a long time.

Vertical tool storage makes it easy to find the right tool at the right time. Peg board is the most commonly used material to hang tools. You can attach the peg board to the studs in the wall, and then hang the tools (lighter tools such as hand tools) from the pegs. Simple and easy.

Storage Bins

Many items can be put into bins for uncluttered storage. Consider putting alike items together in the same bin. You can label the outside of the bins with permanent marker. For storage for smaller items, such as nails, screws, etc., you can purchase small cabinets. Otherwise, you can use plastic bins. If you are using plastic bins to store hardware, then make sure the hardware is contained within a clear plastic bag, and the outside of the bag is labelled in marker.

If you have any questions about garage storage, your King’s Ace Hardware home expert is ready to help.

Mail And Mailboxes

Did you know that King’s Ace Hardware can help you send packages via USPS (United States Postal Service)? It’s true. King’s Ace can provide you with packaging and supplies, then send off your packages, and then also provide you with delivery confirmation and insurance via USPS. Pretty handy. Hours at which King’s Ace handles post are M-F: 9 a.m.—6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m.—2 p.m.

Let’s talk about mail. Do you know how to install a new mailbox? Did you know that all the tools you’ll need for the job are at your local King’s Ace Hardware? It’s true.

Tools

You will need a shovel—preferably a spade shovel for digging. A post hole digger can make the job simpler and the hole more accurate, although it’s not an entirely necessary tool. You will need a tarp, or some type of ground cover to keep the dirt after you remove it from the hole. A long post level. A sledgehammer or a long two by four (the two by four does the job of tamping, although it’s not nearly as convenient as the sledge). A new mailbox and a box of decking screws.

Steps

First you will need to dig your hole. Use the spade shovel or post hole digger to dig your hole to the precise depth as required by the mailbox you purchased. There are certain mailbox requirements via the USPS (see them here: https://www.usps.com/manage/mailboxes.htm) stating the front of the mailbox should be no more than 6-8 inches from the curb and forty-one to forty-five inches from the ground to the bottom of the box. Set the mailbox in the dug hole and determine how it’s level by holding the post level against the mailbox’s post. Hold it plumb (it’s easiest to do this part of the job with a helper, anyone to help hold the mailbox level) and then backfill the hole with about one foot of dirt. Tamp down the dirt with the sledge or the two by four, keeping the mailbox level. Loose soil won’t keep the mailbox held in place. Keep adding soil at small increments and tamping it down until the hole is filled.

If you have any further questions as to how to install a new mailbox, or which mailbox would be best suited to adorn the front walk at your home, come into King’s Ace Hardware today and speak with an Ace expert.

How To Deal With A Running Toilet

Stone, brick, or concrete paths can make beautiful additions to any home’s landscape. And, with just a few simple tools and equipment, and a few hours to spend, it’s a doable project for most anyone.

Step 1

Determine where your path will go. Design before you remove grass or start digging holes. You can lay out the general design using a few wooden stakes placed at two-foot intervals. When you have the size and shape you want—make sure to use a measuring tape to ensure the path is uniform—then spray paint the lines on the grass. It should be easy to do if you have placed the stakes at two-foot intervals—spray from one stake to the next.

Step 2

If you have sod in the area, it’s time to remove it. You could buy or rent a sod cutter, but a simple shovel will work as well. To use the shovel—a sharp-edged, flat-nosed turf shovel works best for the cutting—simply put the blade on your spray-painted line and step down on the shovel. It’s best to know how deep your substrate (the material you’re using to build the path) is, and then take that measurement and add three more inches for a layer of sand. If the shovel you’re working with has a cutting-depth greater than your intended depth, you could place a piece of tape—something bright like sports tape or other colorful tape—to mark the depth of the cut on the shovel. Trace out the outline of your path on the sod with the shovel, and then make several horizontal cuts through the center. From the edges peel up the sod in strips, lifting it end to end. Measure the depth of the path you’ve created, and, if it’s not deep enough, then use the flat-nosed shovel to remove more.

Step 3

When your path is dug out, add a three-inch layer of sand. Rake the sand level. Once you have the sand raked level by eye, place your rock or brick down in whatever pattern you’ve chosen. You will need a dead blow hammer to seat those stones down in the sand—a simple hand mallet would work fine for smaller substrate like brick. The only rule to remember here is to keep the top of the pathway level. When your path is set up, add more sand to fill in the spaces between.

King’s Ace Hardware has all the tools and equipment you will need for this project—including the wheel barrow to move around materials—and the expert technicians at King’s Ace Hardware are ready to help.

Clogged Toilets

Clogged toilets happen. It’s inevitable, but there’s certain tips and tricks to getting unclogged quickly. Letting it sit for a while rarely works. So, what are your options? Plunger, and, if that doesn’t do the job, a toilet snake. Here’s how.

Plunger

You wouldn’t think there’s anything to talk about when you talk about using a toilet plunger, but, there is. First, not all plungers work the same. Some plungers are flat at the end of the cup—these are the most common. These types of plungers work fine—they’re also the least expensive, usually—although they are somewhat finicky to get in just the right position. Some plungers have a flange at the end of the cup. The flange seats the plunger directly over the opening, and creates a tighter, less finicky, seal.

When you use a plunger, you will want the toilet to be filled enough with water that the plunger’s cup submerges. These creates more pressure with which to push things through. Plunge with alternating long strokes and quick ones, until the clog undoes itself. If the plunger is not enough, however, it’s time to get a toilet snake.

Toilet Snake

A toilet snake, oftentimes referred to as an auger, is a simple to use device that deploys a long piece of wire with a fat head that can be spun and will clear a clogged toilet. A toilet snake may look ominous to those not used to using them, but it’s a relatively easy tool. Basically, you just align the snake’s head along the bottom of the opening to the toilet, and then you push and turn and the handle, which pushes the snake up through the pipes and either clears or catches whatever is responsible for the clog.  Everyone should have a toilet snake—they’re relatively inexpensive—in their box of tricks.

If you have any questions about different types of plungers or toilet snakes, come on in to Ace Hardware, and one of the trusted Ace technicians will be ready to help you find exactly the tool you need.

Potting spring plants and flowers

Here in Montana, it’s commonly thought that Memorial Day marks the beginning of the “safe” time to plant flowers and certain types of vegetables (some types of vegetables grow better in the cooler months of the spring and the fall). The dangers of frost after Memorial Day are, usually, past, and almost every plant will keep outside both day and night. For those of you who don’t have a big enough area to tend a seasonal garden, you can plant a non-permanent garden in pots and planters. And King’s Ace Hardware is stocked with pots and planters that differ in size and shape, even material. And how should you know which type will work best at your home? Here’s a few of the options, and a few helpful tips to help you plant your own garden, successfully.

Types of pots and planters

Pots and Planters can be built from most any material, but the most commonly found are ones made from plastic, ceramic, or terracotta. And there are advantages/disadvantages to using all three. Plastic pots come in various colors and styles. Plastic is durable, and can both heat and or cool quickly, depending. Because plastic is so durable, it’s often made with more drain holes than terracotta or ceramic. However, plastic doesn’t have an eclectic, earthy look that many people are looking for in a pot or planter. Terracotta, on the other hand, looks earthy and beautiful, although it’s not nearly as durable as plastic. Also, terracotta tends to soak up some of the water, so the plants will have to be watered frequently. Ceramic pots are beautiful, but, like terracotta, are somewhat fragile. Ceramic also keeps an even temperature, and comes in a variety of colors and styles.

 

Organize your own planter

Purchase enough plants to cover the soil of your planter, at least make it invisible from a distance. The arrangement of the plants can be to any style of your liking. Think creatively and have fun with the project. And if you have any questions as to what to plant or how to plant it, speak with the experts at the King’s Ace Hardware.

 

 

Keeping your Tools and Hardware Organized

Like many things, we tend to collect different tools and hardware. Some of the hardware we buy we rarely use, one or maybe two projects, and then it’s set aside in its baggie or tin, lost and forgotten. Oftentimes nails and screws migrate and mingle in our tool boxes, leaving us the guesswork as to which size was which. But there’s a better way. Hopefully the following tips and tricks to staying organized will save you time on your next big project.

Bulk Storage

Many of us have a favorite nail or screw size, something that we go to repeatedly. For bulk storage, consider cutting the top off a jug—milk, laundry detergent, etc.—to hold the bulk items. The jug can be set on a shelf somewhere, easily accessible. For medium-sized bulk storage consider using jars. You can mark right on the lid of the jar the contents and size. Jars can also be stored hanging vertically beneath a shelf. Just seat the jar lid into the bottom of the shelf with a screw. Magnets also work well for attaching storage items vertically. For smaller bulk storage use muffin tins or small plastic cups, things that can be easily marked and stored. Muffin tins work great, but there’s still a problem of migration, so when you’re storing items in muffin tins, make sure that the hardware stored is not so much alike, that it becomes indiscernible if it does migrate.

Tool Storage

Oftentimes we have more money wrapped up into our tools than we do our hardware. Tools should be cared for. One option is to invest in a tool chest, something big made of metal or plastic. Medium-sized tool chests can fit on a shelf or workbench, while larger sizes are usually mounted on casters for easy access and portability around the garage or workshop. Another option that works with some tools, tools that have immediate use like a hammer or a pair of pliers, is to hang pegboard or wall board on the wall of your garage or workshop.

Hopefully these tips will help to keep your home workshop organized, and if you have any more questions as to how to better organize your home workshop, come in and talk with the experts at King’s Ace Hardware today.

Clogged Bathroom Sink

One of the most common plumbing issues is a clogged bathroom sink. And, what most people don’t realize, is that with a few tools, and a little knowledge as to how the components of the sink work, anyone can unclog one, easily.

Start by making sure that the stopper (also called the pop-up assembly)—the part of the sink responsible for allowing water to pass into the drain, or, when closed, to keep the water in the sink basin—is extending up high enough to allow water to pass down into the drain. Sometimes the linkage responsible for lifting the stopper has loosened somewhat, and is unable to lift it.

If the stopper is functioning properly, then it’s time to remove it to further investigate the actual drain. Remove the stopper by disconnecting it. If the sink is a part of a vanity, use a bucket to catch any excess water. Looking underneath you will see how the pop-up assembly connects to the main drain pipe, and you should disconnect it, by removing the nut on the main drain pipe.

With the stopper disconnected, take both the stopper and the pop-up assembly (the little arm connected to the drain pipe) and clean them. Oftentimes the stopper will be gunky with hair and toothpaste, and simply cleaning it, will get the sink up and running again. If, however, the blockage is somewhere further down the drain pipe you have a choice of two tools: One is a plastic toothed device that can be inserted down into the drainpipe, where it will extend all the way through the curves in the trap, and, when removed, its teeth will grab at any hair or debris.

If the clog is further, you’ll want to purchase a drain snake (a drain snake is a purchase every homeowner should consider, because with one, you can clear most any clog in any drain in the house) and the drain snake can be deployed with a hand-turned crank (there are power augurs for rent at Ace for the tough jobs).

If you have any further questions as to how to unclog your bathroom’s drain, speak with a pro at Ace Hardware as to which tools would best suit your needs, and get hands-on advice, if need be, as to how to use them.

How To Repair A Hole In The Drywall

Holes, dents, and chips in drywall can happen easily. How to repair the damage is determined, usually, by the size of the hole. Here are three ways to repair a damaged wall, with holes ranging from a very small chip or nail hole, to a doorknob sized hole.

How To Repair A Hole In The Drywall

Small holes in the drywall are simple to repair, and, if you take your time, and use the right tools, you can make the hole virtually invisible in little time and with little effort. First, you will need joint compound (spackling is commonly used because it’s cheap and fool proof) and you will need a putty knife or dry wall knife—these come in all sizes, although they work in the same manner. With a putty knife, work the spackling into the hole or chip, don’t be bashful about the amount you put on the wall, make sure you use enough to fill the small hole, and then, when the hole is filled, place the putty knife’s edge flat against the wall just above the hole you’ve filled, and run the knife down over the spackling, and the knife will lift free the excess.

Bigger holes involve the same process as smaller, but more equipment is needed to patch them. For a hole, up to doorknob sized, you can purchase at Ace a wire patch that acts as a support over the hole. The patch comes as a square, the center of which is wire-like-mesh, with adhesive around the edges, and place the patch over the hole. Then use the spackling over the patch. Cover the entire patch with spackling, and again run the knife on its edge down through the spackling to flatten it, removing the excess. Wait for the spackling to dry, and then sand down flat any ridges in the spackling, and then add as many skim coats as needed to completely cover the patch, each time sanding (also as needed) to keep the spackling flat to the wall.

If you have any questions, speak with your Ace Pro at the King’s Ace Hardware as to which tools would be best for the job at your home.