Home improvement and renovation tips


How to make and use an inexpensive water level

At some time or another, you’re going to need a level to determine horizontal or vertical planes, and naturally, different jobs require different tools. A standard carpenter’s spirit level will do for most jobs. Start with a 24″ or 30″ level, or a 4-footer if you’re doing a lot of framing or leveling bricks or

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Read more in Exteriors


Plan a kitchen island (Part II)

Here are some more ideas for your kitchen island. Decide what you’d like to use the island for. Some of this will be determined by the space available. If there’s only enough room for a 3 ft. square cabinet, you may not want to consider a cooking surface, since you need some counter space next

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Read more in Kitchens


How to choose a jigsaw – Part 2

Last time we looked at how to choose a jigsaw. It might be an even bigger job to choose a blade, at least if you look at the assortment available. Relax… here’s help. What are you cutting – wood, metal, or other material, such as plastic? Are you making quick rough cuts, or more intricate,

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Read more in Tools

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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