Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


Protect wood with outdoor stains

Woods like cedar, cypress and redwood weather attractively, and even pressure-treated lumber acquires a natural gray hue after a few years. But most other woods require some sort of protection from rain and sunlight. If you want to protect your wood projects or simply dress up pressure-treated green, you can do the job with a

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Kitchens


20 ways to find space in your kitchen

Kitchen too small? Here are some ideas to start off your brainstorming. 1. Install lazy Susans. They’re still practical. 2. Try new-fangled storage options, like pullout pantries or rollout drawers. 3. Make recesses for paper towel holders and plastic/foil/wax paper dispensers. 4. Get a cordless phone. It’s handy for you, but other users can stay

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Tools


Why you need a block plane

This tool is ideal for fine-tuning trimwork for a perfect fit. It’s small, so you can hold the plane with one hand and the stock with the other, and use it just about anywhere. And, unlike many other planes, it has a flat sole with a low-angle blade — often 20 degrees, but as low

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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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