Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


How to stain decks and fences

Most manufacturers recommend applying stains and finishes when the temperature is somewhere between 50 F (10 Celsius) and 95 F (35 Celsius). Problem is, they mean surface temperature — not air temperature. Wood absorbs and stores heat from the sun, and the deck surface may be 40 degrees F hotter than the air temperature. If

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Plumbing


How to build a drainage system 2 – more tips

Last time we talked a bit about planning your ABS or PVC drainage system. Here are some more tips on laying out and assembling the system. When changing direction on the horizontal, try and keep the change of direction even more gradual. A sharp corner on the horizontal is a good way to clog things

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Tools


10 steps to nailer/nail gun safety

If you’re working on a big framing project, you may have considered getting your hands on a nailer, or a “nail gun”. No more hammering, or the sore arms, smashed thumbs and callouses that come with it. Of course, a nail gun can be a tad more dangerous. Before you arm yourself, make sure you’re

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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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