Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


How to de-ice your eaves with heating wires

We’ve talked before about how ice can build up on your eaves in the winter. If your roof isn’t well insulated, heat escaping from the house can melt the snow. This drips merrily down the slope of the warm roof until it suddenly hits the eaves. The eaves, of course, aren’t warm, so the water

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Plumbing


Metals that don't mix

While you might think that metals like galvanized steel, copper and aluminum will last forever, there are certain circumstances under which they will corrode. The trick is to avoid those situations. Refined metals are unstable, and can be affected by interaction with other metals and materials. And that can lead to real problems when it

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Tools


Saw safely – how to avoid binding and kickback

It’s one of your most useful tools. All the more reason to keep safety in mind when using it. Try these techniques next time. Adjust your blade depth for the stock, so it’s not more than 1/8″ below the material you’re cutting. Here’s why. With less of the blade in the kerf at any one

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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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