Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


Concrete block walls 2 – ordering mortar

Last time, we calculated the number of blocks you need. Next step: calculate and mix the mortar for your wall. To mix your own, each block requires about .003 cubic yards of sand and each cubic yard of sand requires 1/3 of a yard (12 bags) of masonry cement. The mix is one part cement,

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Plumbing


Plumbing tips

Next few weeks, we’ll give you quick tips galore. Let’s start with some plumbing pointers. Be prepared for emergencies. If you have a sudden leak in a pipe, you can patch it temporarily with some rubber patching tape. This strong, stretchable material is a great quick fix for a leak in a supply or drain

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Tools


Measure up right with the right measuring tool

Back in the old days, if you had to measure anything longer than a few feet, you used a little tool consisting of a handle and a wheel; it looked sort of like a pizza cutter. The carpenter rolled the wheel along the length to be measured, and because he knew the circumference of the

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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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