Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


Rot? Not. How to protect outdoor wood

Even rot-resistant species and treated woods deteriorate some day. Here’s how to protect a couple key areas and keep your deck looking good for a long time. Wood rots through a combination of soaking up water and drying out. So one of the ways to prevent rot is to make sure the wood doesn’t soak

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Kitchens


The 10 commandments of kitchen cabinet and counter installation

You probably know all about the kitchen triangle by now. But what about the secret numbers divined by higher powers — namely kitchen designers. Here are 10 of them. (Lightning won’t strike you if you don’t follow them.) 1. If you have a small kitchen (10′ x 15′ or less), you shall have no less

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Painting/Decorating


How to remove even the most stubborn wallpaper

If your wallpaper won’t easily strip from the wall, you have a couple options. Dissolving the glue and removing the wallpaper is the most obvious choice. You might be able to do this with water. Turn off circuits which reach outlets or switches on the wall in question and wet down the paper by applying

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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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