Home improvement and renovation tips


How to wire in the great outdoors

If you need to run power outside your house — for lighting, to supply power to a toolshed or garage, or to power a pump in that pond you’re installing, you’ll need to run your wiring underground. Here are some general guidelines, but make sure you check with the electrical inspector first. Remember, if you

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Read more in Exteriors


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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Read more in Plumbing


Glaze – how to paint with it

Last time we showed you how to make glazes and washes for decorative painting. Here’s a quick rundown of a few techniques, along with some tips for good results. In most techniques, you apply a base coat of paint and then the glaze. In sponging on, you dip a natural sea sponge in the glaze

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Read more in Painting/Decorating

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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