Home improvement and renovation tips

Bathrooms


How to stop a toilet from constantly running

Water running on and on into your toilet tank is both irritating and wasteful, but it’s usually easy to fix. If water runs constantly, it could be draining into your overflow pipe, which you can see by lifting the tank lid. Lift the float ball (a plastic ball attached to a horizontal arm) to see

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Kitchens


How to solder a ball valve

Ball valves are reliable and long-lasting and great for such uses as a toilet shutoff. But you need to take some extra care when sweating, or soldering, them. Nylon or teflon linings can be damaged by the heat, at temperatures slightly beyond those needed to solder. That means the soldering has to be quick, clean

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Painting/Decorating


Give your basement floor a "tiled" look

If you like the idea of a tile floor, nothing beats the real thing for warmth, beauty and texture. But here’s a low-budget alternative which gives the impression of a tile floor in a lot less time. If your basement concrete floor is sound, reasonably smooth and warm, you can simply paint on the tiles.

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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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