Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


Simple screen repairs

If your aluminum screen doors or windows welcome bugs along with the breeze, here’s how to fix it. (Replacing screens is easier working flat, so take down the door, section or window if it’s not too much trouble.) Screens are held in a groove by a metal, plastic or rubber strip called spline. Find where

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Kitchens


Plan a kitchen island (Part I)

A kitchen island is a great way to add storage and counter space to your kitchen without cutting into valuable wall space for appliances, tables and other things. Plus, you can put the counter wherever you want it; you’re not restricted by the wall layout. Islands can also house appliances you don’t have room for

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Tools


The humble screwdriver exposed

Okay, so you probably have a few screwdrivers already. Here’s some help to make sure you’re prepared for most jobs. Handles Plastic handles work just fine, and are particularly useful if you’re doing electrical work, as they insulate you from shocks. You might find that wooden handles — made of beech or other hardwoods —

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A mouse ate my dishwasher drain hose and I don’t know what to do! (A quick fix)

I don’t know why they’re here. It’s summer and it’s warm and there are lots of goodies outside. But I guess that’s why they call them house mice. The water under the sink appeared between one onslaught of guests and another dinner gathering that night. So I took my usual decisive approach to a problem such as this. I ignored it. Something must have spilled. It was a momentary leak

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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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