Home improvement and renovation tips


Avoid these painting mistakes (Part 2)

Last time we began a look at some of the more common exterior painting mistakes. Here are some more things to avoid if you want an attractive, long-lasting job. Painting in direct sunlight Sunlight causes the surface of the paint to dry quickly, trapping the liquid paint thinners under the skin. When they turn to

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Read more in Exteriors


Plumbing vents and what they do

Believe it or not, one of the most important parts of your drainage system is up on your roof. Those things that look a bit like anorexic chimneys are vents — the V in your drain-waste-vent (DWV) system. Vents help protect you from gases in the sewer system. To begin with, they allow sewage gases

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Read more in Plumbing


Drilling tips

It all starts with the kind of power drill you have. On the wish list of most homeowners, you’ll find keyless chucks (for quick-change bits) and cordless convenience (make sure you have a few extra batteries.) But even if you have a good old-fashioned drill, try these tricks. In case you haven’t already discovered it,

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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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