Home improvement and renovation tips


How to mix concrete quickly

For a lot of jobs, you can mix concrete by hand. You can probably tackle up to four yards. Here’s what to do. First, estimate your needs. 1. Measure in feet to get the volume in cubic feet (surface area x depth). To get surface area for circles multiply pi(3.14) x radius x radius (ãR2).

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Read more in Exteriors


Hot water heater care

Over time, sediment can build up in your hot water heater. If enough sediment builds up, it blocks heat and can also effectively decrease the size of your tank. You need to turn up your heater to maintain sufficient hot water to fill a bathtub or give you a shower, which can increase the risk

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Read more in Plumbing


How to make and use an inexpensive water level

At some time or another, you’re going to need a level to determine horizontal or vertical planes, and naturally, different jobs require different tools. A standard carpenter’s spirit level will do for most jobs. Start with a 24″ or 30″ level, or a 4-footer if you’re doing a lot of framing or leveling bricks or

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Read more in Tools

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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