Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


How to de-ice your eaves with heating wires

We’ve talked before about how ice can build up on your eaves in the winter. If your roof isn’t well insulated, heat escaping from the house can melt the snow. This drips merrily down the slope of the warm roof until it suddenly hits the eaves. The eaves, of course, aren’t warm, so the water

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Plumbing


Do dimmer switches save electricity?

With a headline like that, you’d think we were going to shock you and say “No!” But the answer is they do save electricity. So why ask the question? Well, dimmers are related to old-fashioned rheostats, big industrial-type switches that controlled electricity. In order to allow less energy to reach the bulb or device, they

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Painting/Decorating


How to make an arched door opening

An arched alcove or doorway might be the perfect touch to set off that redecorated room, and it’s not as tough as it looks. The first step is to make four curved plywood sections to install in upper corners of the rectangular door frame. To cut the plywood, decide where you want the arch to

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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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