For help deciding the features you need in tools or materials to complete a project.

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29
votes
7answers
1k views

Is it worth spending extra to get a nicer circular saw?

I'm doing some small projects such as building a workbench, and I don't have a saw to cut plywood with. I've got a 12" compound miter saw, so I don't currently need a circular saw for anything other ...
20
votes
9answers
65k views

I have a basement floor with lots of moisture, can I paint or seal it to make it waterproof?

My basement has a slight dampness issue, where if I leave things on the floor they will get wet. There are no leaks and no standing water, the moisture seems to be wicking up through the concrete. I ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

How does Schlage SecureKey Re-keying mechanism work?

Here is their consumer info. And here is an amateur teardown, although I can't tell from the pictures how the thing actually works. Does any one have any better powers explanation? But beyond just ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What should I look for when choosing a stud finder?

Stud finders are notoriously unreliable at finding studs; some will indicate a "rapidly shifting network of hundreds and hundreds of studs". Is there a way to determine before purchase that a ...
12
votes
7answers
2k views

Is there a wall outlet power meter that I can interface with from a computer?

I'm wondering if there is a wall outlet power meter that I can somehow interface with from a computer. I'm aware of all the google power meter products, but those are for an entire house. I'm trying ...
8
votes
2answers
334 views

What should I look for in a ladder?

I am a new homeowner, and I am looking to buy a ladder so that I can clean my gutters. There seems to be a wide price range and a lot of different features. What should I look for in a ladder? ...
8
votes
2answers
539 views

What to look for in buying laminate flooring

We are beginning to look at replacing the floors in our home and are considering laminate flooring. We are wondering if there is a difference in type and quality, especially when pricing is concerned. ...
8
votes
1answer
348 views

How should I install a signal cable duct from new home office to a wiring closet?

I'm constructing a new home office and rather than having fixed cables from the (existing) wiring closet, I want to have the flexibility to add/remove/change cables in future, so I've been looking at ...
6
votes
6answers
12k views

How do cement boards and Kerdi boards for wall tile compare?

I came across an interesting product the other day, and thought it might be perfect for an upcoming project. I'm redoing the tile back splash in my kitchen and was planning on using cement board ...
6
votes
4answers
557 views

What are some recommended cordless trimmers/weed-eaters?

I'm looking to pick up a cordless trimmer/weed-eater. I have a bit of an anti-noise bias, so I'm hoping to find something that's electric cordless, not a gas-powered one. Are there any trimmers of ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

In a cool damp climate, should I use hardwood or synthetic decking material for a deck that will be near a large tree?

We're building a 12x24 deck in our south-facing backyard in Seattle (aka rainy Pacific NW). There's a very large willow tree in our backyard that doesn't directly hang over the deck, but certainly ...
6
votes
1answer
170 views

Selecting a sliding patio door

I live in the Boulder Colorado area where we have hot intense sunny summer days, and below zero freezing winter nights. We are planning to install a sliding patio door in a south facing full sun area. ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

What products should I use to add sound insulation to a party wall?

My bedroom shares a wall with my neighbours bathroom and I would like to add some sound proofing to my side of the wall. Can anyone recommend any particular products? The wall is brick and does not ...
5
votes
6answers
1k views

What's a good general purpose light-use drill?

I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for a decent general purpose light use drill for around the home? It's not going to get a whole lot of use. When it does get used most of the time it'll ...
5
votes
2answers
120 views

What to consider from picking a toolbox?

I need a tolbox but have got no experience with one. Can you suggest what things to consider before I choose one? Some examples will be very helpful.
5
votes
1answer
261 views

How to repair fallen tile near kitchen floor?

One of the tiles adjacent to my kitchen floor fell down. The tile itself is still in good condition but I'm not sure how to properly reattach it. I'm guessing it would be something like: ...
4
votes
5answers
720 views

How do I choose a circular saw?

I've made do with hand tools for everything including the rare plywood job for several years now and I want to buy a good circular saw. I will not use it very often, but when I do it will be for ...
4
votes
5answers
4k views

How can I safely get rid of fire ant mounds in my backyard?

I've got around 8-10 fire ant mounds in my backyard, and a puppy that has recently discovered a love for digging in them. We haven't let her out in the backyard unsupervised for the past week since ...
4
votes
5answers
26k views

What are the pros and cons of Owens Corning shingles vs. GAF shingles?

I am looking to get a new roof for my house. I have taken quotes from about 4 contractors and 3 of them are suggesting I should use GAF shingles. 1 suggests that Owens Corning is a better shingle and ...
4
votes
2answers
500 views

What to look for when buying recessed lights?

I'm finishing two rooms in my basement (13x10 bedroom, and a 19x8 living area), and I've come to the point where I want to install recessed lights. When shopping for the lights what are the things I ...
4
votes
1answer
506 views

Should I use sugar soap or denatured alcohol to clean nicotine from painted walls?

I'd like to clean nicotine off of painted walls, but I'm not sure if I should use sugar soap, or denatured alcohol (methylated spirits). Which would do a better job all-around, specifically for ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Is urethane based grout worth the cost for bathroom tile?

We are beginning a project to tile the master bathroom. The local tile shop where we are purchasing the tile is recommending a urethane based grout (specifically Bostik TruColor Pre-Mixed Grout). I ...
4
votes
3answers
503 views

Which hammer drill should I buy?

I'm looking to buy a cordless hammer drill. What should I buy? Note: It can be just a drill not a screwdriver too if that makes a difference. Its purely for diy. No real budget in mind, more just ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Is this rotary hammer capable of driving a ground rod into hard soil?

I was thinking of purchasing this SDS Plus rotary hammer, and I'd like to drive ground rods with it. Unfortunately, almost all of the ground rod drivers are SDS Max, not SDS Plus. I'm going to be ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

Can I mix brands of chainsaw chains?

I have a Stihl 260 chainsaw, with a 3/8" chain and a 20" bar. What criteria do I need to apply when picking a second chainsaw chain?
3
votes
3answers
948 views

What are the pros and cons of vinyl gutters?

I need to add some gutters to part of our house and I'm seriously considering vinyl gutters because they seem REALLY easy to setup (with minimal tools required too). That being said, I've heard some ...
3
votes
3answers
305 views

Clamp for rope to make in a hoop?

Here's a bit of an odd one for you. I have a length of rope I need to put one end into a hoop to support the weight of a boxing bag. The hoop cannot be "tied" though. I somehow need something like ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Is the 60T blade that came with my Dewalt DWS780 miter good for general purpose cutting?

I recently bought a Dewalt DSW780 12" sliding compound miter saw, along with 60T and 96T diablo blades. My question is, should I keep the blades? Is the 60T blade that came with the saw good enough? ...
3
votes
2answers
448 views

Water filtration system recommendations

I'm trying to get my parents a good water filtration system for their home. They live in Mexico so the quality of the water might not be as good as in the US. They have to buy bottled water every week ...
3
votes
2answers
974 views

What's the smallest general-use tractor I can get?

I'm thinking about buying a small tractor for odd jobs on the homestead (~2 acres of woods). For big jobs (e.g. install septic system), I'm OK with hiring someone, but sometimes there's a small job ...
3
votes
2answers
648 views

Which flat roofing system requires the least maintenance?

I am a board member of my townhouse homeowners association and our townhomes are unfortunately very tall (need a lift or 60 ft ladder to access the roofs) and also the builder made the roof one single ...
3
votes
1answer
228 views

How can I prevent damage to fire sprinkler heads in workshop?

My new condo has a standard heat-activated fire sprinkler system. In the living areas the sprinkler heads are completely recessed into the ceiling but unfortunately in the garage, which I also plan ...
3
votes
1answer
911 views

Where can I find a cheap diamond stone-cutting blade for my Dremel Multi-Max?

I'm getting ready to place laminate flooring in a room with a brick fireplace. As per Mike's recommendation here, I'd like to use my Dremel Multi-Max tool to cut a space in the base of our brick ...
3
votes
1answer
107 views

What are these containers called?

I'm looking for a certain type of plastic container (around 2-3 gallons) that has a spigot on the bottom and allows you to drain liquid using gravity. I used to see them a lot in the Navy used for ...
3
votes
2answers
123 views

First time home owner - books to introduce different systems and things to know (Closing in another 2 weeks)

We are closing on our first home (townhome built in 2000 in NJ) purchase in another 2 weeks, we are very excited at the same time concerned about not knowing anything about homes. Is there any books ...
3
votes
1answer
613 views

How do I replace missing drywall strips after an asbestos abatement?

I'm getting ready for my first major DIY project (about a week away). Here's a summary: We confirmed the presence of Asbestos in our house heating vent insulation and acoustic ceilings. We're ...
3
votes
3answers
159 views

What are the key criteria to consider when purchasing new locks and deadbolts?

On twitter, the cofounder of GDGT Ryan Block comments: Surprisingly difficult to find a list of expert-recommended consumer locks, padlocks, etc. Lots on defeating security, but few suggestions. ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I replace pull switch lights with wireless remote receivers / switches?

does anyone have experience with the Lightning Switch or Illumra or recommend any other remote switches for replacing the pull switch light fixtures without having to rewire the house. The tech looks ...
3
votes
2answers
292 views

Suggestions for a replacement garage door opener

My garage door opener has finally failed and I need to buy a replacement. I'm looking for suggestions on the pros and cons of different types of openers. Here are the details of the current setup: ...
3
votes
2answers
525 views

Is there a way to prevent mildew/mold from forming on vinyl siding?

The back side of my garage is shadowed by branches from neighbors trees, which causes mold/mildew to grow on the vinyl siding. Since removing the trees/branches is out of the question, is there some ...
2
votes
4answers
182 views

Are there any major differences between a smaller table band saw and a larger stand up band saw?

I'm considering buying a small table sized 9" band saw because it's much cheaper than buying a full sized stand up band saw. Are there any major differences in terms of what kind of materials I can ...
2
votes
3answers
503 views

How do I determine the “hand” of the door?

I apologize in advance if this post is confusing. Let me know if additional clarification is needed. =) I'm planning to install a new front door and am confused on what the appropriate "hand" ...
2
votes
3answers
4k views

Any recommendations for smoke detectors with wireless remote alarms?

I would like to put a smoke detector in my attached garage and barn, with a wireless/remote signal with a a receiver inside the house. So far I have found this one I am assuming that with that ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

What are some options for a small electric water flow control valve?

I'm looking for an electric water valve for a DIY project. I need to be able to close it partially so as to control the water flow rate. The exact details of how to control it are not important; I'm ...
2
votes
1answer
117 views

What are the things to look out for when buying a motion detector?

I was looking at portable motion detector that can detect motion within 0 meter to 50 meter. It can either sound an alarm or flash light when it detect motion. So, what are the things that I need to ...
2
votes
2answers
647 views

How can I build an insert on a desk that adjusts the height of a sewing machine?

I'd like to take my executive desk ( now sewing table) and cut out a piece of it to use as a support for my sewing machine. I want the sewing machine support able to lower the machine to table height, ...
2
votes
2answers
512 views

What is an appropriate sealer for a Papercrete bench?

I've built a bench out of tires and papercrete two years ago. i've sealed it with lime plaster. in the past two years it held up against 500 m"m of rain in the winter and Mediterranean sun 7 month ...
2
votes
0answers
209 views

Where can I find unsanded epoxy grout? [closed]

I have a concrete counter that is a bit unusual in that the surface layer is just concrete dye. It looks awesome, very earthy mix of colors, but unfortunantly it cracks, pulls up a bit. I tried ...
1
vote
2answers
470 views

Chrome vinyl tape in the UK?

I am looking for something like chrome vinyl tape - adhesive, and with a silver, reflective surface: No matter how hard I look for this in the UK, only US suppliers are available. Could this tape ...
1
vote
4answers
310 views

Are home warranties worth it? [closed]

As someone who is very busy, and not very handy, I like the idea of getting a warranty so that I know that all I have to do is call someone when something breaks, and I know in advance how much it ...