Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


Build a better deck (Part 2 of 3)

There are many good books and manuals on deck construction out there. But here are a few tips for a better job. A power auger’s great for digging footing holes, but you’ll need a partner. It’s heavy and hard to hold in place when you encounter roots and other obstructions. To lay out a right

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Kitchens


How to replace your kitchen countertop (Part 3 of 3)

Let’s finish off the installation. With the backsplash tight against the wall, check for gaps. Open a compass at the widest gap between the counter and the wall, and run it along the backsplash. Don’t try and cut this line; use a belt sander to remove the excess from the narrow lip. Where you have

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Tools


Tips to cut perfect angles in wood

A compound miter saw is great for cutting angles or bevels when the stock is laying flat on the table. But it can be tricky to make the cut in the precise spot with the blade on an angle. Here are three tips to make yours accurate. 1. If one end of the piece is

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More reno demo tips – plumbing protection

Eric Z, a long-time reader, experienced renovator/builder, and former owner of a large building supply store in Toronto, had some smart suggestions after reading our reno-demo checklist. “I lost an entire renovation,” he writes. “$40,000 in damage – due to a shut-off valve failing in the night the day before the new sink was to be installed.” As you can see from this photo, during the entirety of our long

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Five-point checklist for a trouble-free renovation demolition

A recent kitchen renovation reminded me, in some cases a little too late, about some key areas to cover up during a demolition or drywall mudding/sanding. Here you go. Mask doorways into other areas of the house Well, duh. Okay, I did remember this one. For a major old-house plaster demo or drywall sanding, 6 mil plastic and painter’s tape do the trick to seal the openings well. We stapled

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How to install a toilet – Tips

Now that we’ve installed a toilet, we’ll review a few tips to help you do the job with finesse. 1. It’s a good idea to pick up an extra valve just in case your soldering attempt isn’t up to snuff… particularly with a ball valve. Or do the job while the store’s open. 2. Use a MAPP gas torch when soldering such a valve. 3. When tightening the supply hose

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