Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


Gravel types and uses

Gravel, crushed stone, or aggregate – to use a few of the words for those little rocks – is a versatile material for a variety of projects. Here’s an idea. Drainage. If you’re building a flagstone patio or walkway, or if you’re laying down a concrete driveway, adequate drainage is important to avoid problems such

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Kitchens


All about kitchen floors (Part II)

Last time we looked at vinyl. Here are some other choices. Hardwood is more expensive than vinyl, but the look more than compensates. It’s warm, it goes great with most cabinets, and it can be quite durable and easy to maintain. Traditional planking is a bit of work to install, and then you need to

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Tools


Pull Saws 101 – How to choose one

Last time we talked about the advantages of a pull-stroke saw. This time, we’ll have a look at getting one for yourself. A traditional Japanese saw looks a bit like a meat cleaver, with a long hardwood handle, wrapped in bamboo, extending straight back from the blade. They come in a variety of specialty blades

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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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