Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


How to run electrical overhead

Last time we looked at how to get electricity to an outbuilding by burying the cable. This time we’ll explore the other option – overhead wires. As we said last time, before you start, check the code for details, but these fundamentals should give you an idea of what you’re going to need to do.

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Plumbing


Help for "lazy" toilets – fix the flush

If your toilet is getting lazy — that is, if it’s not flushing as well as it should be — it probably just needs a little attention. A toilet flushes by quickly filling with water, which begins the flush. Then siphoning action from the p-trap finishes things off. So a few things can lead to

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Tools


Trunk o' tips – nails, joists, concrete screws

Nail-pulling trick If you’re removing trim and you want to re-use it, you don’t want to damage it by trying to pry out the finishing nails with a claw hammer. So you pull the nails through the wood rather instead. There’s only one problem with this technique: it’s tough. You need a good grip on

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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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