Installing Cultured Stone from Owens Corning

This general technique discussed in the video applies to any Owens Corning Stone installation with a 1/2″ mortar joint.

First, if your project has outside corners, begin install with those. All corner pieces have a long leg and a short leg; always alternate the direction in which the pieces face.

Press each piece into mortar bed firmly enough to squeeze some mortar out around the edges of piece to ensure a good bond. Be sure mortar joint always stays consistent in width. When using a ledge style project, make sure you check to make sure each is level and plumb.

If the wall has windows or doors, the stones should be applied around any openings first before rest of wall. Once corners and trims are in place, you can continue by laying flat pieces.

Tip: Windows and doors you can use special trim stones or sill pieces for a more sophisticated design.

Lay bottom stones first, and then fill in towards top. Use small pieces to fill in voids. You may have to cut or trim pieces to achieve or proper fit. You can feather edges with a hatchet or nippers. When using a wet saw, be sure to clean saw after cutting. For best results, coat the cut edges with mortar – if possible, position cut edges ‘up’ when they will be above eye level, and position the cut edges ‘down’ when the stone will be below eye level.

Tip: For inside corners, place stones so they knit in an alternating pattern.

Fill joints using your grout bag. When mortar is thumbprint hard, you can press and rake out excess mortar for a clean unified look. The finished job should be groomed or brush to remove excess mortar.

How to Lay Patio Pavers

Installing a patio using DIY patio pavers is a great way to add value to your backyard and is easy enough for you to do yourself.

Before deciding on your location of your patio, make sure that you identify any potential underground electrical lines so that you can be sure that you don’t accidentally come too close.

To start removing your grass – cut the sod 2 inches outside the line so that later the retainer can be installed. Once the sod is outlined, cut the sod into a checkerboard pattern – they are easier to remove this way and then they can be reused in different parts of the lawn. Dig the entire area 7 inches deep so that it can be filled with 3.5″ of drainage gravel, with then an inch of sand, and then the pavers which are 2.5″ thick.

Tip: To make sure that the depth of the area is equal and to measure the center, you can lay a 2×4 across the hole and measure from the ground up to the bottom edge of the board.

Lay some landscape fabric across the bottom of the hole as this will prevent weeds from coming through as well as to allow water to drain properly. Next, add your gravel and you can use a 2×4 to smooth it so that the depth is equal and then use a tamper to compact it.

Tip: To make sure that your sand is an equal depth, you can use 1″ metal electrical conduit to serve as screed rails. Lay down your electrical conduit, pour your sand, and then use a 2×4 to glide over the rails leaving the sand at a 1″ thickness in all areas. When you remove the first screed rail, fill in with sand and then smooth with a putty knife.

When you begin laying your pavers, you will use straight edged border pieces for the perimeter and key shaped field stone pieces that fit into an alternating top/bottom pattern for the center. After all of your pavers are in, you will install your L-shaped edging around the perimeter of the patio to keep the pavers from moving or shifting – set in place and then nail it every 3rd or 4th hole.

Tip: There will be some gaps between some of the pavers when you are finished, so to finish your patio you will want to use a large stiff broom to brush the sand into all the edges between the pavers. Clean off you patio by spraying with a hose and then you are done!

Refinishing your wood deck

Refinishing your wood deck every few years is necessary maintenance. Learn when and how.

Start with a really good cleaning. Choose a deck cleaner. Cover your plants and avoid painted areas. Rinse it really well. Let it sit for 2 days. GNH recommends using Thompson’s® Water Seal® water proofers protect your surfaces from the elements and provide the highest level of waterproofing protection available. Pigment helps protect from the sun’s UV damage.

Deck Care

If your wood deck still retains an even coat of color from the last time it was stained, or has small spots of wear from foot traffic or moisture, it’s likely in need of a yearly maintenance coat. This is an easy day-long project, with only a few hours needed.

If, on the other hand, your deck is very dry, grey and splintered, chances are you’ll need to fully restore the deck, a process that includes restoring, whitening, sanding and staining. This will take a weekend to accomplish, but it has satisfying results.

Either way, springtime offers ideal conditions for deck staining: temperatures are moderate (above 50°F, but below 95°F), and the humidity is low to average. Ideally, you should have three to four consecutive dry days prior to beginning any exterior staining project, and a couple of dry days following the project. Have your knowledgeable GNH Lumber associate provide you with all the tools and supplies so that, when the forecast cooperates, you can jump right in!

Yearly Maintenance – Although yearly deck maintenance is often overlooked, it’s an essential step to keeping your deck beautiful and protecting it from the elements.

The first step is to remove any moisture-collecting objects (such as potted plants and ceramics) from the deck surface, and sweep off any fallen leaf matter or organic debris. Next, apply Benjamin Moore CLEAN Multi-Purpose Cleaner with a garden sprayer, work into the grain with a scrub brush, and pressure wash clean. Once the wood is dry, you can re-stain your deck with that all-important maintenance coat.

Click here to watch a video on proper deck maintenance.

Full Deck Restoration – Sadly, most backyard decks fall victim to a lack of yearly maintenance, and suffer from severe weathering. If this is the case with your deck, don’t be discouraged! Even dry, greying wood can be restored to its former beauty and protected with a couple coats of quality stain; it just takes a couple extra steps. First, clear the deck surface (same as you would for your maintenance plan). Be sure to sink any nails or screws that may have risen above the wood surface.

To remove an old coat of stain, apply Benjamin Moore REMOVE Finish Removerwith a garden sprayer and evenly pressure wash clean. (If there’s no evidence of stain, you can skip this step). Apply Benjamin Moore RESTORE Wood Restorer, allow to sit for 10 minutes. Then evenly pressure wash. Next, apply the Benjamin Moore BRIGHTEN Brightener and Neutralizer – this will brighten tannin-rich woods, and restore the natural beauty of the grain. Rinse thoroughly and allow plenty of time to dry – preferably overnight. Click here to watch a video on restoring a severely weathered deck.

When your deck dries completely, it will require sanding with progressively finer sandpaper to assure proper absorption of stain. Often, pressure washing can splinter damaged wood even further. You can use a hand-held sander for rails and detailing, and a larger sander for broad surfaces. When the surface is smooth, it’s ready to stain.

After you apply a couple coats of Benjamin Moore Arborcoat Stain, your deck will be protected from the elements for a long time to come. But that doesn’t mean you should skip on yearly maintenance. Make sure that every spring you sweep off leaf matter and debris, clean and power wash the wood before giving it that extra coat of TLC. It will definitely pay off in the long run!

Lawnmower Repair & Maintenance

A regular oil change on your lawn mower is part of good lawn mower maintenance and is the first step of DIY lawnmower repair. Changing the oil on your lawn mower is easy, and this quick tutorial can teach you how to do it yourself. By making sure your lawn mower is properly maintained, it will ensure fewer problems and increase the life of your mower.

Looking for more products to help keep your lawn and garden looking great? Browse through our large selection of lawn and garden products!

Lawnmower Troubleshooting

Some of the most common lawn mower problems include those that occur as a result of not having clean fuel in the gas tank, a spark plug wire that’s not attached, an engine in need of motor oil or a brake cable that is not working properly. Troubleshooting some of these problems yourself can save you from having to buy a new lawn mower. This video tutorial on how to troubleshoot potential problems will show you tips and tricks to keeping your lawnmower in top shape.

Looking for more products to help keep your lawn and garden looking great? Browse through our large selection of lawn and garden products!

Fixing Bare Spots In Lawn

Do you have unsightly bare spots or patches of dead grass in your lawn? It’s easier than you think to improve your lawn, and now is the time to start!

There are a few different options, ranging from simply raking and leveling your bare spots and adding fertilizer – to investing in patches of sod to fill in the bare spots or dead patches. This DIY video will show you how to improve your lawn step-by-step with this easy guide.

GNH can help you with all of your lawn care needs; visit our e-showroom to browse through our products and tools that you will need for your project.

How to Prune Plants & How to Prune Bushes

Pruning trees and shrubs is one of the best ways to keep them healthy and looking their best and can easily be done yourself! Learn how to prune plants by hand with this great DIY video.

The first steps of pruning for some trees and shrubs do not even require any tools and can be done by hand. For trees such as the blue spruce, you can simply snap off and shorten the length by removing the entire candle – this enables you to control the length of the growth for the season by shutting down the growth on that particular branch. That will cause the tree to bud back and cause it to fill in. Not all can be done by hand – especially for woody or deciduous plants.

Tip: Best time to prune is right after they are done flowering, this way you can be sure that you aren’t cutting off next year’s flowers.

Before using an electric pruner, you can go in with hand pruners and cut around just above the bud. By selecting a few leaders and tops to cut, you can get it back to a nice full look and the tree will grow healthier and fuller this way.

Retaining Wall with Cambridge

Cambridge MaytRx are the most versatile wall units on the market today! Build freestanding and retaining walls as well as steps, columns and more. Watch this tutorial from Cambridge to see just how easy it is to use the Cambridge MaytRx Setback Pin Placement for this retaining wall system.

Mini Greenhouse

This method shows you how to build a custom fit DIY mini greenhouse for your raised garden using PVC pipe. With this design, you can customize the size of your mini greenhouse to fit any size box without ever having to use any power tools. Inexpensive to make with great results! Will also help to dissuade small animals from entering your raised garden box.