Home improvement and renovation tips

Bathrooms


How to survive the one-toilet bathroom reno

Planning a bathroom renovation? Here’s a tip you’ll thank us for. If you don’t already have one, build a second bathroom first. Just kidding, but you should plan on minimizing the amount of time the toilet’s out of service. Maybe you’re doing renovations behind or above the toilet and you need it out of the

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Kitchens


Make your own butcher block

If you’ve ever put a scratch or nick in your counter top while preparing food, you might want to think about a butcher block counter. With a butcher block, nicks aren’t a problem; they’re “character”. Wood is also attractive, and some studies show a wood surface prevents bacteria growth better than many other materials. And

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Painting/Decorating


Pro painter tips to take the work out of painting

Painting can be a pain. But while you should never avoid proper preparation and application, you can save time. It starts with the paint you choose. If ease of cleanup, smell and speed are important, you’ll want to choose water-based latex. Latex paint cleans up with soap and water, and it smells almost nice (although

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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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