3
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I compact backfill behind a retaining wall under a driveway?

I have a retaining wall that is on the property line. Along the top of the wall is my driveway. Part of the wall has given way and needs to be rebuilt. I think I have everything figured out except how ...
2
votes
1answer
145 views

Is it time to replace my water heater?

I have a 20+ year old, 115 gallon, electric water heater. Works like a champ, but I'm considering replacing it for a couple of reasons. It's leased - I pay $20/mo. It's 115 gallons for a house with ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

How should I clean my slate and stucco outdoor patio area?

I have a patio with a slate floor, with (what used to be) a bright white grout of some sort, surrounded by stucco half-walls that are topped with additional slate. The stucco has a rough surface. ...
3
votes
1answer
352 views

How difficult would it be to replace these fuses with circuit breakers?

I had a fuse blow last night. While the short-term plan is just to replace the fuse wire, in the longer term I'd like to switch them out for circuit breakers for the added safety but mostly for the ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

How well do whole house humidifiers work?

We are moving to an area where it gets cold and snows in the winter. We come from a desert area where it is never very cold except for the dead of winter, and where we use the heater very seldom. We ...
3
votes
1answer
202 views

What are low-cost ways of cooling down a room? [duplicate]

How do I cool a bedroom - that has a ceiling & standing fan, but is still hot? Ideally, the cheaper the better. I live in Jamaica - where the climate is warm most of the time, and the summers ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Can I put an AFCI receptacle on a branch circuit that shares a neutral with another branch circuit?

So, I have a Square D QO panel that had one of the original AFCI breakers go bad, and in the process of researching how to fix that, I learned a bit about this whole AFCI thing and how newer code ...
3
votes
1answer
305 views

Should door jamb be lifted off subfloor or touching?

Simple question: when installing a custom made door jamb, should it be sitting directly on top of the subfloor or be lifted up a little (like drywall is lifted 1/2", for example)?
9
votes
8answers
41k views

How can I run Cat5e cable through a completely finished house?

My family and I are interested in buying a house that was built in 2002. This house is two floors on a concrete slab with a finished bonus room upstairs so there is no attic other than above the ...
0
votes
0answers
343 views

How do I change an overhead light fixture from one bulb to two bulbs?

The old overhead light had one bulb, and it's a 1974 house. I matched black wires to black wires for the two bulbs, and the white wires to the white wires. The light goes on but does not go off when ...
18
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it OK that the frame of my house doesn't line up with the slab?

My new house is being framed. I saw that the frame extends 1-2" from the foundation: Click photograph for full size The builder told me it happens often and the city inspector will catch it if this ...
2
votes
2answers
7k views

Does a compressor with a short to ground really require a complete system replacement?

My 24 year old home A\C went out some time Sunday morning. I had a tech come out and look at it, and was told that the compressor is shorted to ground, and that this means I have to replace the entire ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Can I use two ladders to create a makeshift scaffold?

I have a really high stairwell to do walls around (cca 18 ft). Scaffolding is impractical. I had rigged a temporary platform that I used to hang drywall and it worked well but I had to remove it ...
6
votes
1answer
5k views

How do you weatherproof a light switch?

I have a switch that I would like to put in a workshop in a potentially damp location. It's not going to be outside in the rain, but it's entirely possible that at some point water might get splashed ...
3
votes
2answers
510 views

How do I seal a crack in flex pipe for a lawn sprinkler system?

I have an underground rubber hose with an one inch crack in it. I am hoping I could just seal it, but I don't know what to use and I don't want to make it worse. Is it worth trying to seal it or are ...
4
votes
4answers
795 views

How can I prevent cracking in concrete (or earthen) walls from the freeze/thaw cycle?

I'm interested in building a garden wall from either concrete or rammed earth, or a mixture of the two, but I'm concerned about Michigan winters and the havoc they wreak on everything solid. It seems ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

How should I lay my engineered flooring to account for a hearth?

I'm scratching my head over how to layout some new flooring in relationship to our walls vs. hearth. This is an engineered floor with somewhat wide boards (about 4.5") As it happens, I could lay ...
5
votes
4answers
21k views

How do I properly ground my subpanel that only has one neutral/ground bar?

I am adding a sub panel in an unattached building. My sub panel has the connection for the 2 hot wires coming from the source panel (a 40 amp double breaker) In addition it has one neutral/ground bar ...
1
vote
1answer
565 views

How can I clean tile debris from the bottom of my pool?

After changing tiles, I have lots of tile/thinset debris on the bottom of the concrete pool. Robot cleaner does not pick it up, since they are too heavy for it. I did try to manually vacuum it by ...
0
votes
0answers
197 views

How can I locate the source of a washing machine leak?

I have an older washing maching, a Hotpoint 6 cycle heavy duty high capacity (I see a label with WLW3400, which I assume is the model number). It is leaking and I am trying to discern the source. I ...
4
votes
6answers
48k views

How do you release the wires from a push-in wire connector?

I would like to reposition some pot lights - before drywalling the ceiling. They have been wired using push-in wire connectors. How do you release the wires from a push-in wire connector ??
4
votes
1answer
384 views

What should I do about a high spot in my new driveway that is causing rain water to backup?

I recently had a new asphalt driveway installed and after a tremendous downpour, I found there is a high spot in the driveway that caused the rain to pool and back up towards my garage within a foot ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

How can I install soffit vents from the outside?

When we moved into the house we live in there was literally no insulation in the attic. We have a 4 1/2 pitch roof. We live in Texas and our first electric bill in a 1450sf house was almost $500. ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

How to independently switch a GFCI outlet?

I would like to add a plug outside where each plug would be independently switched. The use of this is to be able to switch a rope light and a fan separately. This is being added to a new breaker so ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

How can I light up a room without a ceiling light?

I will soon be moving to an apartment that has no ceiling lights. Unfortunately installing my own is not an option, it needs to be reversible. There may or may not be a switch wired to an outlet. I ...
5
votes
1answer
421 views

How do you mount fluorescent strip lights on drywall?

How do you correctly mount and wire fluorescent strip lights to drywall? I've seen these on drywalled walls/ceilings before but never looked at how they get installed, other than there doesn't ...
3
votes
1answer
137 views

How do you seal travertine floors?

I moved into a house with travertine floors. They appear to have been sealed and polished. I recently learned that travertine is highly porous. I recently noticed this tile where the seal appears to ...
1
vote
1answer
236 views

How can I have a ceiling light and separate fan on the same switch?

I have two ceiling lights in the bedroom on the same switch. I replaced one with a fan with no light. Now I can not turn the fan on without the light coming on. How can I remedy this?
1
vote
1answer
329 views

How do I fix leaking sprinkler line from this valve?

After restoring water to my sprinkler system line, I noticed it is leaking between two pieces of the valve. Is this something that can be fixed easily or do I need to have a plumber come out and cut ...
2
votes
2answers
161 views

How can I get the maximum light while avoiding heat from a window?

I have a west facing window. How can I get max light while avoid any heat coming from it?
2
votes
1answer
2k views

How should I build large concrete footings for my deck?

I live in Howard County Maryland. You may find out deck guide useful for this question, although probably not needed. It requires 18 in diameter footings 30 inches in to the ground and must be 8 in ...
2
votes
1answer
256 views

How should I install a door that is not pre-hung and has a custom jamb?

I have an antique restored interior door with a transom for which I have to make my own jamb due to the height of the side jambs (big boxes sell only 80" door jambs). Should I A) assemble the jamb ...
4
votes
1answer
514 views

Is it necessary to notch the side door jambs for setting the header piece?

I need to make my own door jambs from 1x lumber because I have a salvaged antique transom (the whole door is actually restored antique) and couldn't find pre-made ones at Lowes/HD that are long ...
1
vote
2answers
8k views

What is causing a replacement ceiling fan light to flicker?

I had a Hunter ceiling fan with a light kit attached. It started making a humming sound and then a loud pop. This caused the circuit breaker to trip. After resetting the circuit breaker, the fan ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

What do I do with a sewer pipe (toilet rough-in) full of cement?

I have a problem that is mind boggling. I bought a house and am now just getting ready to put a toilet in the basement, which has a cement slab. I just took the cover off the rough-in expecting the ...
2
votes
1answer
330 views

How to improve sound isolation of an interior door?

Interior doors of the type frequently used in rented housing (I'm speaking in particular of apartments) seem to be hollow and do not do a very good job of sound insulation. If for example a laundry ...
2
votes
1answer
727 views

Why does recommended door rough opening height add 2-1/2" to door height?

I am skeptical about the recommended 2-1/2" addition to the door height for an interior door rough opening (assuming only subfloor). Consider the following estimated (meaning I am unsure if they are ...
2
votes
1answer
708 views

How do I connect 4 electrical wires to a 3-phase cooktop?

I need to connect the wires to my new IKEA cooktop. I learned from the website that the wire colors normally mean, blue=N, brown=L, and yellow/green=PE. However, I have a (3-phase) cable with 4 ...
1
vote
1answer
350 views

Can a conical form for pouring shorter concrete footers be used for fence posts?

The frost line is 1.2m deep in my area. That seems like a lot of concrete to pour for a fence post. I'm wondering if a better way is to make a shorter footer following the suggestion that's used in ...
1
vote
2answers
92 views

Will a mixture of acrylic and oil stains dry?

I mistakenly mixed acrylic and oil stains. While difficult to apply, it does look nice. Will it dry?
2
votes
1answer
477 views

Why do I have clumps of grass in my bathtub after a sewage overflow?

The washer drained and two bathroom toilets violently overflowed. Nasty, stinky, sewage and water came up in both bathroom tubs, the shower drain and both sinks as well. I could hear water gurgling in ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

How should I paint my basement floor?

I have an 80 year old basement concrete floor that recent had asbestos tiles and mastic removed. It is in good shape, with a few hairline cracks. I am planning on painting it. The basement is dry, ...
2
votes
1answer
125 views

What type of primer is required for pine?

I bought a gallon of Zinsser, low-odor, stain-and-odor-blocking, oil-based, primer. We bought it primarily for the subfloor we found after tearing out the carpet and seeing some various pet stains. ...
2
votes
7answers
81k views

How long should I wait before painting or staining pressure-treated wood?

My husband is installing a new deck with pressure-treated lumber at our home in Tennessee. How long does he need to wait to paint, or should he stain the deck now?
1
vote
0answers
134 views

What would cause a water pressure drop after tripping a breaker?

I recently plugged my laptop into a cheap powerbar, which caused said-powerbar to short. This tripped the "sockets" circuit on the breaker, which, upon resetting, caused power to begin flowing to ...
2
votes
0answers
236 views

How do I level a summerhouse concrete base that dips in the middle?

I laid a 4x3 metre concrete base for my summerhouse/office thing. The corners are all level and so the summerhouse sits fine, but it dips in between and so the load bearing battens aren't taking any ...
6
votes
1answer
7k views

When tiling a shower surround, how do you transition from backer board to greenrock?

I am remodeling a bathroom and have done demo down to bare studs. I am going to tile the bath tub (with shower) up to about 6 ft, and one wall will have tile up the wall 4 ft high. I am planning on ...
2
votes
2answers
168 views

How do I clean reclaimed wood from construction?

I'm building a house (brick, cement and concrete) and I have a big pile of wood used for beam and pillar molds. How can I properly clean cement off wood? I think it should be very damaging to blades ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views
3
votes
6answers
32k views

What can I do about a toilet flange that is 1/4" below the finished floor?

I used two wax seals to set my toilet since the flange is 1/4" below the new tile. At first it seemed to be water tight but after a few flushes I noticed water seeping and pulled it out. As can be ...

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