Time-saving tips for construction Pros | Pro Construction Guide
Time-saving tips for construction Pros

Time-saving tips for construction Pros

Time-saving tips for construction Pros

More torque from that Phillips

If you’ve got a tight screw with a Phillips head that the screwdriver just won’t budge and the screwdriver keeps slipping out of engagement, try one of the most popular time-saving tips for construction Pros. Before you ruin the screw slots, grind the point off the Phillips bit. The four sides of the bit will sink further into the screw head and, with luck, will engage better with the lands. Now you should have enough purchase to get the screw loose.  –Dwight Hoagland, Mercer, Pennsylvania

Shove a small piece of bread into the pipe

Block it with bread

If you’re trying to solder copper pipe and a faulty shutoff valve allows a slow drip of water, preventing effective heating of the pipe, reach for a piece of bread. Shoving a small piece of bread into the pipe to block the drip will give you enough time to get the connection properly soldered. Just make sure you use white bread (nothing with whole grains or seeds that can foul the system or components). When finished, remove the aerator from a nearby faucet and run it for a few minutes so that you can flush the bread from the system when done. –José Luis Chavez, Anaheim, California

Great drywall tool

Fishing wire with pex

When cutting drywall, you score one side, snap it and cut the backing. If that leaves you with a ragged edge, wrap a piece of expanded metal around a 12- to 18-inch piece of 2×4 and attach the metal with a couple of screws on each side. Slide the 2×4 piece up and down the ragged edge to smooth and square the edges. If you’ve cut a piece of drywall that’s a little large for an area, you can also use this tool to shave the drywall panel to fit. –Dwight Hoagland, Mercer, Pennsylvania

Fishing wire with pex

Running wires through existing walls is a common job, but rarely is it quick and easy. Take some of the toil out of this task by using a 10-foot length of ½-inch PEX tubing. First, run the PEX through a hole in the framing, such as through a top plate and toward a cutout for a new electrical box. The tubing is rigid and smooth enough to plow through fiberglass insulation and comes through the other end as an obstruction-free channel to guide the new electrical cable. When the cable is connected at one end, simply pull the tubing free from the unconnected end like you were pulling off a sock. –Rob Fanjoy, Bangor, Maine

Take a long piece of wood and cut it to an exact length

Single-handed measurements

It can be frustrating to take accurate wall-to-wall measurements alone when the tape keeps bending and sagging under its own weight. When an extra pair of hands isn’t available, take a long piece of wood and cut it to an exact length (say 100 inches).

Place that in one corner and make a pencil mark at the other end. Measure the remaining part of the wall with your tape, add the two numbers together and that’s your exact length.  –Javier Mayorga, Lehigh Acres, Florida

Keep a clean caulking gun

The plungers of caulk guns tend to accumulate blobs of hardened caulk, mastic or other sealant or adhesive you put in the cradle, making cartridge removal difficult and sometimes even prompting premature replacement of the entire gun. One way to keep these messes from accumulating and extending the life of caulk guns is to spray silicone lubricant or WD-40 on the plunger and the back of the barrel. Whatever gobs accumulate will peel off easily and tube changes will be easier. Renew the lubrication as necessary. This works only on ratchet-style guns, as the lubrication will render the friction-type useless. –Pro Construction Guide staff

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