DIY Quiz: Vol. 1 Answers

Whats your level of expertise?

1.The best time to apply crabgrass preventer is:

A. After the second mowing in the spring.

B. When the soil temperature ranges from 55 to 60 degrees F.

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C. As soon as the grass begins greening up.

D. When certain flowers are blooming.

crab grass preventer

(A, B & D) If you apply crabgrass preventer too early or late, it wont do any good. Timing it with the second mowing works well. Or in the North, apply preventer when lilacs or forsythia are blooming; in the South, when dogwoods are blooming. But the best way is to buy an inexpensive soil thermometer and test the soil. Apply between temperatures of 55 and 60 degrees F.

2.True or False? Its good practice to wrap plumbing threads with Teflon tape and coat the tape with pipe thread sealant.

tape on plumbing fittings

True. Burrs on threads inside female fittings can tear Teflon tape. Adding a bit of pipe thread sealant will fill any gaps caused by tape failures.

3.Which of the following would be used to clamp PEX tubing to fittings?

A. Cinch clamp

B. Pro crimp ring

C. Copper crimp ring

D. All of the above

cinch clamp rings

(D) The cinch clamp is the most DIY-friendly system. It requires a relatively inexpensive cinching tool that works on either 1/2-in. or 3/4-in. material. Crimp rings require a more expensive crimping tool (one for both 1/2-in. and 3/4-in. fittings). The red plastic you see (B) is simply a collar that holds the fitting in place before and during crimping. If these collars are available at the store, theyre well worth the extra few cents.

4.True or False? Water-repellent preservative (WRP) is a coating applied to wood in damp areas before you prime and paint.

waterproofer for exterior wood

True. Few know about WRP, but its very smart to apply it to wood in moisture-prone locations like windowsills and garage door trim to keep paint from peeling. It prevents water from getting into the wood through tiny cracks in the paint. Once water gets in, the wood swells and begins creating more and bigger cracks, eventually leading to peeling paint. Nearly every paint manufacturer makes a version of WRP; just make sure you pick one thats paintable and then scrupulously follow the instructions.

5.How do you know whether a finishing product (paint, varnish, etc.) is oil- or water-based?

A. You can tell by the smell.

B. Read the cleanup instructions.

C. Oil-based finishes are much thicker than water-based ones.

D. Its stated clearly on the label.

paint label cleanup instructions

(B) Read the cleanup instructions. If the product cleans up with soap and water, its water-based; if it requires mineral spirits, its oil-based. The label doesnt always state which is which. And with all the new finish formulations, the smell isnt a reliable indicator either.

6.True or False? The setback distance from the property line to a new building is defined by the part of the building thats closest to the line.

shed set back

True. You might think that the setback would always be measured to the foundation or edge of the building. But that could mean youd end up sawing off your roof eaves to comply with a prickly building inspector or neighbor!

7.This style of drill bitis used for:

A. Universal drilling in many types of materials.

B. Drilling holes in ceramic tile and glass.

C. Boring countersink holes to recess screw heads.

D. Drilling holes in masonry.

drilling glass

(B) Ceramic tile and glass. Some will even drill through porcelain tile.

8.True or False? You can minimize soap scum on your shower walls and doors by switching to synthetic soap.

synthetic soap

True. Synthetic soaps make cleaning your shower or bath easier because they dont contain the ingredients that create tough soap scum. Any liquid or gel soap is synthetic. Most bar soaps are standard soaps, but a few, including Zest and Ivory, are synthetic.

9.True or False? Your refrigerator quit working. Its a good idea to unplug it to reboot the computer.

open fridge

True. Most modern refrigerators have an onboard computer. Unplugging the refrigerator for a half hour or so and then plugging it back in will often get your fridge back online without an expensive service call

10.Which of these three hearing protectors is most effective?

A. Disposable foam earplugs

B. Earmuffs

C. Reusable plugs

hearing safety

(A) Disposable foam plugs are the best, although both earmuffs and reusable plugs offer plenty of protection for just about any loud work. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), the goal is to reduce noise levels to 85dB, the point where hearing damage begins. For super-loud noise, like a screaming chain saw, use both disposable plugs and earmuffs.