Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


Keep your concrete from cracking up

Here are some of the most common causes of cracked concrete, and what you can do to prevent it. 1. Too much water. Extra water in the mix makes concrete easier to pour and work with. But it also weakens the concrete and makes it likely to crack. Concrete shrinks as it dries, so the

Read More…

Read more in Exteriors

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,

Read More…

Read more in Plumbing

Painting/Decorating


Paint rollers – how to choose one

Once you’ve cut in your corners with a paint brush, it’s time to switch to a roller: you’ll cover more area in less time. But the type of roller and cover will vary with the job. When buying an all-purpose roller, the kind that looks like a birdcage is your best bet, because it’s good

Read More…

Read more in Painting/Decorating

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

Read More…

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

Read More…

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

Read More…