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


How to build a drainage system – plan it

Thank goodness for plastic drains. ABS and PVC pipes and fittings have made the heavy work of running drains in your house easy for the average Joe or Jill. Here are some tips on working with them, and on drainage in general. Check the code beforehand. The regulations for the Drain/Waste/Vent (DWV) system are strict,

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Read more in Plumbing


The left-handed tape measure and other stories – tools for lefties

If you’re left-handed this isn’t news to you. But for the right-handed majority, it might come as a surprise how many of the tools we take for granted in our DIY adventures just aren’t suited to southpaws. Take plain old scissors. Their handles are molded for the right hand. Same with tin snips and other

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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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