Bathroom, DIY, Educational, Home Maintenance, renovation, Tips & Tricks

Tips for Caulking Your Shower Surround

Caulking your shower surround doesn’t have to be a hassle if you follow some of the easy tips below. Before you know it, you will be on your way to a beautiful, blended shower surround joint.

-Don’t use 100% industrial grade silicone caulk. It typically gives off a strong odor and requires a lot of focus and cleanup to prevent it from sticking to everything. If you must, have masking tape to frame your bead and paper towels for cleanup on hand, or use a hybrid caulk like siliconized acrylic.

-Wash the joint and surrounding surfaces with water-diluted bleach and let dry for a couple of hours before applying any caulk. This will remove and residual mildew/mold and prevent future growth.

-Use a blowdryer to heat up the old caulk before attempting to scrape it out. This will soften the caulk and make it easier to remove, which prevents scratching up the surface or joint.

-After you remove old caulk, sand the joint and surrounding surface to remove any lingering residue or texture issues. This also diminishes the need for vigorous scraping, which further preserves the surface and joint.

-After sanding, wipe down the relevant surfaces and joint one more time to remove the last of the surface level debris.

-Start from the top of the surround and work your way to the bottom when applying. This seems counterintuitive for this context, but the application angle will work better this way.

-Once you hit the mid-point of the surround, reverse starting points and start up from the bottom. The two sections of caulk should meet in the middle. This two-step application process prevents any awkward angles that could mess up your bead.


Fun, renovation, Tips & Tricks

Home Improvement Nightmares Part 2: Decrepit, Creepy Apartments

I know you dedicated DIYers and professionals are probably still recovering from the shocking part one of the Home Improvement Nightmares article, but the dark truth of those ramshackle living conditions must be told. The dilapidated haunted houses were bad enough with their lack of sound proofing, bad plumbing, and major bug problems, but the run down apartments of horrific pop culture  are truly something to behold.



Rosemary’s Baby (1968)


(image owned by Paramount Pictures and William Castle Productions)


You gotta feel for Rosemary. In addition to her husband selling out her baby’s soul and the future of humanity for a bit in a broadway play, the lack of significant wall insulation is maddening. Having to hear every footstep, argument, cough, or satanic chant of your neighbor would make anyone a bit paranoid.  Paper thin walls should be insulated with three and a half inch fiberglass or rock wool batts, which absorb traveling sound.

The Tenant (1976)



(image owned by Marianne Productions)


I realize the apartment complex owner in this film was a bit lax on the tact and caution to begin with, but after the tragic death of the previous apartment tenant, you would think greater window security would be in order.  Some simple tweaks like a keyed turnbuckle to replace the latch or a key track stop/locking stop attached to the window track can make a big difference in internal and external apartment window safety and security.

[Rec] (2007)



(image owned by Castelao Producciones)


You may assume there’s nothing worse than an apartment infested with demon-possessed, flesh-eating tenants, but you would be wrong. The horrible lighting and sickening, mildewy conditions are what really stay with you long after the film has ended. Installing some extra light fixtures, using higher intensity bulbs, or installing some sky lights/ solar tubes could serve to brighten up the place. And venting moisture-producing appliances or cleaning and replacing existing vents, using a bathroom fan or open window when showering, and responding to spills and leaks within twenty four hours, and maintaining building drainage integrity overall can prevent further mold, moist, and mildew conditions.

The Ring (2002)


(image owned by DreamWorks SKG)


It’s difficult to distance ones self from the anxiety of a paranormal entity that travels by way of video or television, but that is no excuse for maintaining a disorganized, messy apartment. Throwing out or selling old, useless, or low value items, doing an overall de-cluttering once a year, installing new shelves, closet rods, and bins, and keeping items organized by their category, use, or context will increase the efficiency and comfort of your apartment immensely.


Fun, renovation, Tips & Tricks

Home Improvement Nightmares Part 1: Dilapidated Haunted Houses

As Halloween quickly approaches and we turn our minds to horrific possibilities, it seems fitting for a home improvement blog to deconstruct iconic horror settings according to their home improvement issues. But beware, the messes ahead may throw you out of your DIY-loving wits! So to be safe, Red Devil will not be held liable for nightmares, paranoia, or soiled pants.

Hill House (The Haunting, 1963)



(image owned by Argyle Enterprises Production Company and MGM Studios)


Aside from its history of tragic death and psychological torment, the hill house featured in The Haunting is relatively attractive and well kept. The true terror for the unfortunate guest or home owner is the utter lack of sound proofing. This characteristic is most prominent in the climactic scene where Eleanor and Theodora are bombarded with loud, incessant, resonating knocks from what they believe to be ghosts. This terrifying moment might have been prevented if the caretakers of the house had either added some sound absorbing furniture or drapes, weather-stripped the windows and doors, added doubled paned windows, blow-insulated the walls (especially that evil attic!), or added a vinyl or foam barrier to the flooring.



House on Haunted Hill (1959)



(Image owned by William Castle Productions and Allied Artists)


A peculiar millionaire promises $10,000 dollars to five guests if they can stay the whole night in a haunted house. There just one thing he forgot to mention….the cobwebs and dust! It’s no wonder that such incentive had to be made. Who would want to sleep in that mess of fluffy filth? Mr. Moneybags needs to get a hold of a decent vacuum cleaner attachment or a long end duster and get to work. He might also want to replace the carpeting with wood flooring and the replace the upholstered furniture with vinyl, leather, or wood to prevent future dust accumulation.



The Amityville Horror (1979)



(Image owned by American International Pictures, Cinema 77, and Professional Films)


The Lutz family purchases a new house on Ocean Avenue only to find out that it’s haunted by bad plumbing and wall damages- oh, and malicious ghosts.  That bubbling, black toilet water of evil could be eliminated by adding a composting toilet and cutting off the water valve to the current system for repairs. The eerie, oozing nail holes could be tamed with some good ole wall repair spackling. It also might be a good idea to avoid houses built on indian burial grounds.



House (1986)



(Image owned by New World Pictures)


Roger Cobb is really in over his head. Moving into a creepy house after suffering numerous personal and family tragedies isn’t the best strategy for healing. There’s also the rodent problem. You can call the first monster  a gremlin or a goblin, but to this blogger, it was a giant insect. Preventing nature’s creepy crawlies is as simple as sealing your doors, adding a door sweep, adding door screens, draining pooled water in the yard, repairing wall cracks, sealing pipe penetrations, storing trash properly, or keeping foundation joints and gaps filled.