Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


Patio paving options

Summertime offers simple pleasures; your highest ambition might be a hot, sunny day, a good book and a tall cool drink on the deck or patio. It feels even better after you’ve put some work into creating that patio. Some options: Interlock brick: These pavers are often made of concrete, but you can choose clay

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Kitchens


How to install kitchen cabinets on the level

Putting in kitchen cabinets would be really easy… if houses were perfectly square and level. Of course, they’re not, and you need to allow for this when you’re installing cabinets. You can’t just plop them on the floor, or you’ll get water running along the counter. So you have to level the top at a

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Tools


Tools to measure and transfer angles

Before long, your home renovation or repair will involve calculating, marking and cutting angles. Whether you have a fancy trim saw or the old standby circular saw, you’ll save wood and frustration if you measure and mark angles right the first time. For simple 45 degree miters, you can use a combination square. This consists

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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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