Home improvement and renovation tips

Exteriors


All about flashing (part I)

Put that raincoat away! We’re talking about the sheet material (metal, vinyl, etc.) covering joints on the outside of your house to keep moisture from getting in. Here’s a quick rundown on what to use where. Vents: Wherever vents protrude from your roof, you need flashing to seal out water. The flashing is flat with

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Plumbing


How to build a drainage system 2 – more tips

Last time we talked a bit about planning your ABS or PVC drainage system. Here are some more tips on laying out and assembling the system. When changing direction on the horizontal, try and keep the change of direction even more gradual. A sharp corner on the horizontal is a good way to clog things

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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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