Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


Brick repointing tips

We couldn’t do without water, but the damage it can do! If you have a brick wall, chimney or garden wall, you may have noticed crumbling mortar between bricks. The longer you leave this, the worse it will get as water works deeper into the joint. So tackle it right away. (Just work on a

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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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Tools


Pull Saws 101 – Use and care

Pull-stroke saws take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll quickly see the benefits. To begin with, the blades are a lot thinner — up on 50 percent thinner — and the flexibility might throw you at first. On the other hand, since the pressure is applied on 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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