Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


How to clean and paint vinyl siding and aluminum siding

If you’re getting tired of the look of your vinyl or aluminum siding, you don’t need to install new siding. Go ahead and paint it. For a small investment you can make it look like new or even change the color. As in any painting job, the more attention you pay to surface prep, the

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Plumbing


How to build a drainage system – plan it

Thank goodness for plastic drains. ABS and PVC pipes and fittings have made the heavy work of running drains in your house easy for the average Joe or Jill. Here are some tips on working with them, and on drainage in general. Check the code beforehand. The regulations for the Drain/Waste/Vent (DWV) system are strict,

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Painting/Decorating


Wood filler tips

Ahhh, the magic of wood filler. But for all its merits, it can cause more trouble than it’s worth. Here are some tips on how to deal with two of the more common problems with wood filler. Filling nail holes and other small blemishes is a good idea if you want a clean, smooth look.

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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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