How to Repair Chimney Mortar

Repairing a chimney mortar is one of those handyman tasks that you can do yourself. Doing the repair yourself can save you money from having to pay a professional to do the job. The step-by-step process presented below proves how straightforward it is to repair a chimney and build a sloped crown to prevent water leakage in the future.

Tools and Materials

Before you start, it’s important that you prepare the tools and materials that you will need.

Here are some of the most common tools and materials that you’ll need for repairing your chimney mortar:

– Trowel

– Mortar

– Weather cap

Prevent Chimney Leaks

Once you have all the tools and materials ready, you can get started with the job. Start by mixing the mortar until you achieve a consistency that’s similar to that of cookie dough. It shouldn’t be too dry or too soggy.

Here are some tips when it comes to mixing the mortar:

– While the mortar is at rest, prepare the area by clearing all the loose debris away.

– When applying mortar towards the crown, form it within an apex where the peak should be at the middle, sloping down into the edges. Just think of this as something like a roof. The goal is to drain the water far away from the crown.

– Avoid making the edges too thin. It should have a height of about 1/2 to 3/4 inches in order to keep it from detaching at a later time. Then use the mortar to seal any of the holes surrounding the crown.

Leave the mortar for several hours, allowing it to cure before you do any further work on it.

Restore the Brick Joints

Restoring the brick joints is a process that house repairs professionals would call as the tuck-pointing. First prep the area to make sure there’s enough adhesion.

Then apply the mortar directly to the joint with the help of a pointing trowel. You can use your fingers when working on some of the tighter joints. Just make sure that the mortar is packed tightly each time you apply it.

Clear any excess mortar away and make sure the entire void is filled in and they stay well in place.

Make sure that the mortar is churned continuously to ensure proper consistency all throughout the process.

Install a Cap and Screen

In order to finish the project and to keep rainwater from getting into the flue, attach a cap and a screen above the chimney. Depending on the kind of weather cap and damper you have bought, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to it.

As you can see, the process of repairing the chimney mortar is easy. However, there are also cases where you might need the help of a professional handyman services to repair the more complicated issues. In this case, don’t hesitate to call for help. It might just save you more money than trying to force yourself into repairing something that you aren’t capable of!

Common Door Lock Problems and Repairs

Oftentimes, door lock problems are caused by a simple complication such as a faulty lock mechanism, which can easily be fixed. When not fixed at the right time, however, the same problem can lead to a completely broken lockset that needs to be replaced.

Sometimes, it is as simple as cleaning the door lock or lubricating it with graphite or even just fixing the way in which the door fits into its frame. Although there are problems that require handyman Gilbert AZ, in this article we’ll be focusing on how to fix the more common door lock problems that are easy to fix with a little know-how and simple tools.

Lock Doesn’t Latch

If the latch on your door refuses to click, then it’s probably a sign that it has been displaced from the strike plate. First, make sure that the hinge screws are tight and then shift the strike plate into place. Your door could require repositioning, or perhaps the latch just needs to be adjusted.

To find out which is which, start by slowly closing the door to see what happens when the strike plate and the latch bolt meet. If the bolt is situated on the side, below or even above the strike plate, then you’ll see marks in that particular area where the misaligned bolt has scratched it.  

To fix the problem, file away the strike plate hole until the latch is able to fit perfectly into it. This usually works for a small misalignment that’s below 1/8-inch. For a misalignment that’s above 1/8-inches, you’ll have to take out the strike plate so that you can extend the mortise until it’s higher or lower, depending on your door’s requirements. Then, put the plate back on, use some wood putty to seal the cavity and refinish.  

As an alternative, handyman Gilbert often advise placing an adjustable door strike instead of a strike plate or repositioning the door by taking out the hinges and shimming them out.

Loose Door Knob

It’s quite common for a doorknob to become loose after a few years or decades of use, and there are different tightening methods available to fix this problem, depending on the type of door you’re working with.  

For example, you’d have to follow these steps in order to tighten up the basic mortise lockset of an interior door:

Undo the setscrew on the shank part of the knob.

Once it’s loosened, turn the knob in a clockwise motion until it’s secure, lock the screw into place, and check to make sure that it’s lying flush on the even side of the spindle. Now you should be able to turn the knob effortlessly.  

If the above steps fail, take the knob out and inspect the spindle, because if it’s damaged then you’ll have to replace it. However, if the entire lockset is damaged then you’ll have to replace that too.

Slow or Frozen Door Lock

In some cases, the lock just freezes every time you try to open the door. This can be caused by dirt build-up inside the lock. If that’s the case, squeeze or sprinkle some graphite into the keyhole and then keep trying the lock to smear in the graphite fully.

handyman in Gilbert AZ also recommend de-icers for this problem, as they’re able to soften sticky dirt deposits inside the lock. If these solutions don’t work, then you may have to undo the lock in order to check if it has some broken or jammed mechanism inside. If that’s the case, then you’ll have to either straighten the affected component or replace it completely.

How to Save Money When Building Your Home

When you mention building handyman, many people think it’s beyond their financial reach. This is virtually true, but only if you do not know how to go about it. This is why most homeowners eventually settle on remodeling their homes. However, your dream custom home is achievable, especially if you are on a fixed budget.

The following are some useful tips that will help you make this dream a reality:

Focus on the Important Things

When you are on a tight budget, you should focus on the necessities. Think about storage space, the rooms you will use frequently, whether your family size will change in the near future etc. These factors will help you narrow down on the necessities.

Find a Reliable Builder

If you are on a tight budget, you should be very careful when choosing the builder. You need someone with experience, someone who will work within your budget and even make feasible recommendations and advise you. A good builder might even be able to help you get more out of your budget than you would have thought possible.

Seek Financing

If you are building your house on a loan, you need to look for a convenient and comfortable loan. Research on the differences between construction loans and lot/land loans, and choose the one that suits your financial goals.

Consider a Pre-Designed Home

When planning for handyman services, you don’t have to start the project from scratch. A good option would be to choose a pre-designed home. This is because most of the work is already done. You just need to finish up the project or make a few modifications to it.

Communicate with Your Builder

For any project, it is always advisable that you stay in close contact with the builder. Constant communication makes it easier to agree on changes, modifications, and more importantly, you become a part of the project all the way to the end.

Use Software to Model Your Home

3D modeling software has made work easier for homeowners and contractors. They allow you a glimpse into the new home before construction starts. You can also design unique features for your home through the software.

Choose the Right Floor Plan

For someone who is working on a tight budget, you need to be wary of features that will cost you more than you can budget for. Gable roofs, for example, will be an unnecessary expense. For your floor plan, discuss a simpler profile with your contractor.

Consider Your Topographic Placement

In case you are building a home on vacant land, you must study the layout of the land. This will help you when thinking about the foundation and utility fixtures. For gardening, your solar system, plumbing and other utilities, a good understanding of the topography is mandatory.

Stay Organized

Organization for this project demands that you have all the necessary paperwork ready. This will help you save time, especially when working on a construction loan, mortgage or even preparing your permits for inspection.

Shop Around for Materials

When you source for materials on your own, the cost of supplies is usually cheaper. You can discuss this with your contractor, and figure out the materials that you can get on your own, and the ones that the contractor will obtain for you.

Take Advantage of your Builder’s Discount

Most contractors will get materials from their suppliers or the factory at discounted rates. Talk to your contractor about this and see if they can help you with discounts when buying materials.


Even though the contractors will be doing most of the work, there are some things that you can do on your own, which will reduce your overall spending on the project. If you are good at such projects, you can handle things like painting, installing lighting fixtures and tiles etc.

Find Out if Your Qualify for Energy Efficiency Rebates

There are federal tax credits that are applicable in case you are using Energy Star products. Discuss this with the relevant authorities and you might be surprised at how much you will be able to save.

Choose Quality Appliances

For house repairs, the budgeting work does not end with the completion of the project. You must also make sure you get appliances in the house that are energy efficient. This will make it easier to maintain the house and will lower your utility bills.

What’s The Best Type Of Paint For A Master Bathroom

If you want to make your master bathroom look like it’s brand new, the easiest and quickest way of achieving this is by slapping it a fresh coat of handyman. However, to get the look you are after, you don’t just have to choose the right colors as you’ll also need the right finish for your bathroom. There’s a wide selection of glosses and finishes out there. Continue reading “What’s The Best Type Of Paint For A Master Bathroom”