Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


How to wire in the great outdoors

If you need to run power outside your house — for lighting, to supply power to a toolshed or garage, or to power a pump in that pond you’re installing, you’ll need to run your wiring underground. Here are some general guidelines, but make sure you check with the electrical inspector first. Remember, if you

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Kitchens


How to repair plugged drains and slow-draining drains

Here are some ideas to keep your water — and your life — flowing smoothly. Check the angles. As you’d imagine, drains should flow downward. But for one reason or another — maybe your house has settled or someone’s done bad work in the past — a portion of the run may end up with

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Tools


How to drill in concrete

Drilling through wood… no problem. Metal? With the right bit, easy! How about concrete? If you have the right tools, it’s a lot easier than you may have imagined (or may have experienced.) Wood is made up of fibers, and your spinning drill bit slices its way through. The harder and sharper the better, of

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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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