Home improvement and renovation tips


Ceramic tiles… can you do it?

If you’d like to decorate your floor with ceramic tiles, you have a bunch of decisions ahead of you: color, style, types and designs. But first, you need to decide whether you’ll do it yourself. Laying ceramic tile is painstaking… one of those jobs that requires lots of boring, detailed work before you see any

Read More…

Read more in Bathrooms


How to fix banging pipes (water hammer)

Now that you’re a soldering pro, let’s fix a banging pipe. That irritating noise when you shut off a tap is often caused by automatic valves — like your dishwasher’s — which shut abruptly. Air chambers, which are capped-off pipes about 12 inches long extending above the supply stub tees of a fixture, trap air

Read More…

Read more in Plumbing


Caulking confusion cleared up

“Just picking up some caulking. Back in a minute!” Twenty minutes later, you’re still browsing through rows of tubes. There’s hope. That bewildering array is less confusing when you know what surfaces you’re caulking, how much joint movement you expect, whether you want to paint it, whether it’s outside or inside, and what temperature extremes

Read More…

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

Read More…

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

Read More…

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

Read More…