Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Favorite Old House Renovation Things

This little thing is magic. MAGIC! 

As a lover of all things old house rehab, time and sweat and a lot of sore muscles (not to mention ruined manicures) have given me an appreciation for certain tools. Sometimes, they’re conventional. Sometimes they’re not. Right now, I’m in love with a little steaming tool. It cures an awful lot of old house renovation ills without a lot of effort.

This is a Dirt Devil Handheld Easy Steam machine. It’s not very big, which is a good thing because it’s portable. But it’s powerful. Don’t get your fingers too near the tip. Trust me on this. Good things do not happen when skin and hot steam meet.

What makes this steamer awesome is that it removes stuff that you don’t want, and it does it without anything besides water and electricity.

This is my favorite tip because it concentrates the steam. 

Got 100 years of paint on a set of door hinges? Not for long, you don’t. No soaking overnight in a crock pot, and no paint remover required.

Crud built up along a baseboard seam? This tool obliterates it AND it blows out the gunk so that all you have to do is wipe it up. You don’t even have to scrub.

What about mineral deposits around the base of a faucet handle? If it hasn’t corroded the metal badly, this steamer will soften up the deposits so that many of them will wipe off, and others only need a little nudge with a fingernail plastic scraper. The metal will shine big time. It even cleans decades of old, miserable grease off kitchen tile.

The steamer also strips paint from wood. Whaaat? Yep. It does.

The steaming part is really fun. 

I’ve been stripping my staircase for longer than I’d like to admit. It’s got more than 125 years of paint and varnish on it, and even the most eye-watering, fumey paint strippers just don’t work well. This morning, I wondered if steam would work better than paint strippers. It does.

It just peels right off. 

Awww yeah, this paint is gonna be TOAST! 

Sometimes your favorite old house rehab tools weren’t necessarily born for a job, but they work great just the same. If you can save some hours of labor? Even better.