Home improvement and renovation tips


Winter gutter/eavestrough prep

The joys of autumn: family gatherings, rosy apples, jack-o-lanterns… and inspecting and cleaning the gutters. Yep, it’s that time again. Here’s how to keep your gutters in tip-top trim. Start with the ladder. You have a perfect angle when the distance from the house to the bottom of the ladder is 1/4 the distance from

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Read more in Exteriors


Metals that don't mix

While you might think that metals like galvanized steel, copper and aluminum will last forever, there are certain circumstances under which they will corrode. The trick is to avoid those situations. Refined metals are unstable, and can be affected by interaction with other metals and materials. And that can lead to real problems when it

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Read more in Plumbing


More found tools

Time once again for a sampling of those wacky tools and accessories you can make from stuff that’s just lying around. Old bicycle inner tubes are great for a whole mess o’ stuff. Don’t have a rubber mallet handy? Wrap a tube around a regular claw hammer. Use them to “clamp” chair legs together when

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Read more in Tools

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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