Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


Fence design tips

Putting up a fence seems simple enough. Just set some posts, run the rails, and nail on the boards. But a fence is a big part of your yard, and you should spend a bit of time planning ahead of time to make sure you end up with a fence you can live with. Here

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Kitchens


What are GFIs and why do you need them?

Let’s answer that question in reverse order. You have them because they might save your life. Faulty electrical appliances can conduct electricity, and if you touch that appliance you’re suddenly part of the circuit. The current flashes through your body to the ground and, well… that’s that. Naturally the danger is compounded when you add

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Painting/Decorating


Quick wallpaper repairs

If you have wallpaper problems, but you’re not ready to redecorate just yet, simply repair it. Here are cures for some common problems. Lifting seams. Moisten the affected area and carefully lift the wallpaper away from the wall. Apply a thin coat of wallpaper glue (available in small containers) to the wallpaper, then press back

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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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