14
votes
7answers
41k views

What are the black spots on my bathroom ceiling? Are they mold?

My bathroom above my tub is getting some black spots on it that seems to be growing. I assume it's mold. I am wondering how should I deal with this? What should I expect it to cost?
1
vote
5answers
1k views

Electric Fireplace worth it

The wife is bent on getting an Electric heater for the living room. We opted not to purchase the gas fireplace when we built our home (through Ryan). She claims these things can cost up to $1000. ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Does a software-controlled central heating programmer and thermostat exist?

I have a central heating programmer in the airing cupboard (where the hot water tank is). It allows a couple of separate schedules for water and heating separately, and also for manual override when ...
5
votes
2answers
795 views

What should I keep in mind when altering the drainage around my basement?

My back yard has some wet spots near the corner of my house. Because of property lines, fences, and window wells for my basement, it's hard to dramatically change the surface drainage of the area. I'm ...
6
votes
6answers
8k views

How do I hang shelves on poor quality brick/concrete walls?

I'm trying to install some shelves in my apartment (brick/concrete) but when I drill holes the walls almost seem like they're made of sand. I'm not able to securely fix the screws (I'm using wall ...
6
votes
7answers
2k views

Should I apply car wax to the outside of my air conditioning unit?

Through different conversations with family members and friends, I have been told that it is good to apply a coat of car wax to the outside of the air conditioning unit frame. I assume that this is to ...
18
votes
1answer
15k views

Humidity Levels

What is a healthy and safe humidity level that I should try to keep my house at?
37
votes
7answers
15k views

How can I speed up my slow hot water?

Our water heater (gas) is located in the garage. It is 25 to 30 feet away from the closest faucet, which I'm guessing is the main reason it takes so long -- a minute or longer -- to get hot water ...
8
votes
1answer
265 views

I need to clean and reseal my dock, most sealers don't mention if they are safe to use over water

I have a wood dock over a lake. It is time to clean and seal the dock. I am planning on pressure washing the dock first, then I am planning to have a clear seal. Looking at products in Lowe's and ...
3
votes
2answers
6k views

What could cause a ground/soil smell on the first floor?

My house is on a slab (no basement, no crawl space) and every summer when it gets hot and humid i am getting a ground/soil smell in our living room. First i was blaming it on the absence of the ...
4
votes
7answers
8k views

Can a bathroom vanity be installed higher than 30 inches?

"Standard" bathroom vanities are 30", where as kitchen counter tops are typically 36". For me (6' tall), the 30" vanity is rather low. Is there any reason to leave vanities that height, or can they ...
14
votes
8answers
27k views

What is the proper way to install/paint baseboard?

I've installed some new baseboards, though I'm not really sure I have the right method down. Here's what I do: Paint baseboard Paint walls Cut and install baseboard (using brad nailer and/or liquid ...
10
votes
3answers
49k views

What can I use to hang a frameless mirror?

I'm looking to hang a mirror on the wall on my bathroom. It weighs about 20 or so lbs. There are no built in hooks on the back of the mirror? What should I use to hang this thing?
2
votes
2answers
473 views

How to replace a bath tub

Our 30-year-old home as a 30-year-old yellow cast-iron tub that's gross. What's the best way to go about swapping it out for a modern plastic or acryllic one? It's currently set into the wall by ...
3
votes
2answers
579 views

Where can I find central heating system with radiators?

Coming from Europe, I am used to radiator heating systems and thinking about putting one into a fixer-upper house I intend to buy. Where can I find such a system in the North-American market?
4
votes
3answers
274 views

New Concrete Patio Options

We would like to put in a new concrete patio. We are looking at a stamped concrete patio for durability and visual appeal. What other options are there? What are the pros and cons of the different ...
4
votes
1answer
343 views

Crack spanning several tiles

I've got several tiles in my dining room that have a diagonal crack running across them. Since it's a pretty straight line across several tiles, I'm guessing it's a foundation issue. The room is at ...
10
votes
4answers
6k views

Does decking board orientation really matter?

I've been told that decking boards should always be installed "bark side up" so that the boards crown (and shed water) as they age rather than cup (and collect water). But then I've also heard that ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

How do I sand stamps off of lumber?

I just finished building a deck. The boards have stamps 1–2 ft from each end, and I could not bring my self to be as wasteful as to always cut them off. I tried to place the boards with the stamp ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are my deck boards of uneven width?

I bought 12-foot-long 5/4 x 6 in pressure-treated pine deck board from Home Depot. Not until I laid them down did I notice that the boards' width tapers significantly toward the ends of each board. ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

What are the pros and cons of different types of windows?

I live in the North Eastern corner of US, and my house has 50 year old single-pane wooden windows. They held up not too bad, considering, but now I want to replace them all. Things that are important ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Wood for boarding a loft?

I want to board out my loft - just for easy storage of things like tools, boxes, old clothes, suitcases, small unused furtniture etc (i.e. nothing too heavy). I am wondering what kind of boards to buy ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

two condensate drains?

we just had a new AC system installed in my florida house. the unit is in the garage, and the air handler is vertical with the evaporator on top. the unit he removed had 2 condensate lines: one that ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the practical difference between cement board and greenboard?

When installing tubs I've mostly used cementboard. I find it a bear to work with though. A guy I know uses the water resistant greenboard; he claims that for home applications it is entirely ...
17
votes
5answers
18k views

What are the different types of drywall anchors, and what are the advantages of each?

I recently put up wire shelving in my pantry, and spent forever figuring out what type of drywall anchor I should use. I even found several types that I didn't even know existed. It might be good to ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Is basement smell caused by oil boiler?

Although dry and not moldy, my 130-year-old basement has a distinct basement smell that bothers my wife. I am trying to determine its source. We have steam heat. In the summer, the boiler is only ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

Can I have multiple heating zones with a combination boiler?

I bought my first house in December and one thing I've noticed over the winter is higher than expected gas usage which I'd like to try and get down if at all possible. The house is a three bedroom ...
6
votes
6answers
8k views

What should I use for a sandbox bottom?

I'm building a sandbox for my three-year old. It will probably sit on the deck, so it needs some kind of bottom. Ideally, we should be able to move the sandbox around the deck. Is it necessary for ...
7
votes
3answers
6k views

Why does my toilet intermittently run continually?

I've pretty much fixed up my bathroom since moving in. The last bit of annoyance now is this: Not every time, but every 10 or so flushes, my toilet will run continually. It'll sound like it's water ...
13
votes
6answers
1k views

How to keep home automation complexity under control?

If you installed some form of home automation (lighting control for example), how did you keep the complexity manageable for your family members? In many cases where friends have installed some form ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

How to fix a leaking faucet aerator

I removed the aerator on my kitchen faucet and attached a hose for a time and cleaned the aerator. Now I cannot get the original one to screw back into the place without it leaking (well spraying ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Can I lay pavers over a concrete patio?

I have a concrete patio in my backyard that's in pretty good condition. We don't like how it looks, so we'd like to cover it up with brick or pavers. Looking online, it appears that most people ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

What technique should I use to remove rubble from earth, using a small excavator?

I've a patch of earth - mostly fairly sticky Gloucestershire clay - which our previous builder has left mixed up with bricks, larger lumps of concrete and who knows what else. I want to level this ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

How do I make our toilet flush less vigorously?

Our toilet flushes so vigorously that water splashes out of the top of it. Is there a way I can "tune" the flush so that it doesn't flush so hard?
3
votes
3answers
15k views

How do I fix laminate flooring that's begun to rise in the middle?

We have laminate flooring in our kitchen/lounge and over the winter (which are cold and damp here in New Zealand) the flooring has begun to rise up in a couple of places. It was fitted by the previous ...
10
votes
2answers
12k views

How do I do a minor grout repair properly?

I've got grout between some floor tiles that is cracking and coming out in small chips, over time. The tiles and remaining grout are otherwise in great shape. I suspect this is just a problem ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

Is a 2x4 strong enough to hold up a porch swing?

I'm hanging a porch swing, but the beams run the wrong direction for the support hooks. I've looked up in the attic, and there's a 2x4, lying flat, that runs the correct direction. Will that be ...
2
votes
3answers
97 views

Timber Veneer Flooring?

We have existing polished timber floors, it is patchy (different parts of the house are floored with different kinds of timber) it also has a few gaps and holes. We are thinking of laying down some ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I paint over a glossy surface that might contain lead paint?

I am repainting a bathroom that includes trim with a high gloss. The house is old (1924) and the existing paint may have lead in it. There was a remodel in the '80s, but I can't guarantee the ...
3
votes
4answers
30k views

What is the best way to repair a cracked bathtub?

Close examination of the floor of my bathtub has revealed a long, thin crack in the bathtub itself. The bathtub is one of the common plastic-feeling variety (though I am not sure if it is actually a ...
4
votes
1answer
412 views

Sealing a cork tile floor?

I just finished installing a cork tile floor (US Floors brand). If I do say so myself, it looks gorgeous! Cork is not generally recommended for a bathroom, but we felt that a half-bath should be a ...
9
votes
1answer
489 views

Is it a good idea to lay a second course of shingles over an existing shingled roof?

My shingles were a little worse for wear and I had a "friend-of-a-friend-who-used-to-be-a-roofer" come take a look at it and he said I could save some money on the demolition by just laying another ...
6
votes
1answer
235 views

Why does it take a long time for water to start draining from my tub faucet?

Sorry for the awkwardly worded title, I couldn't really describe the issue in one sentence. My shower has a handle that controls both pressure and temperature. To begin showering, I turn the handle, ...
6
votes
5answers
14k views

What is the easiest method to fish cable through the ceiling?

I need to fish some speaker wire through my ceiling downstairs to the lower part of the adjacent exterior wall. To compound the problem, the ceiling joists run perpendicular to the direction I need to ...
3
votes
6answers
2k views

Should I replace or repair my dead/dying garage door?

My garage door opener is on its last legs, should I replace it or try to fix it? Symptoms: The door does not initially move when the button is pushed, but after giving the door a boost it opens. ...
6
votes
5answers
9k views

How can we fix bouncy floors?

Our floors are somewhat bouncy, especially in big rooms with long joists. I think that the main cause is that they used 2x8 joists on 15-20' spans. We are going to replace/install hardwood in ...
10
votes
7answers
11k views

What are framing dimensions like in the metric world?

I was always curious about this. In the states we have: Lumber - Comes most commonly in 2 inch (2x4,6,8,10,12,16) and 4 inch (4x4,4x6) varieties. Plywood - Almost always 4x8 feet ...
12
votes
6answers
614 views

Is it worthwhile to have ductwork cleaned?

Was rearranging some ductwork in my basement, and noticed that the stuff I took down was pretty filthy inside (especially the return air ducts). Is it worthwhile to have ductwork cleaned out? What ...
4
votes
5answers
8k views

How do I nail furring strips without them cracking?

While remodeling my basement, I had several walls where I just put up furring strips and foam insulation rather than framing in a "real" wall. I used 1x2 furring strips and attached them with a ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the best way to remove popcorn from the ceiling?

What is the best solution for removing popcorn from the ceiling if I want to get it to look smooth afterwards? Edit: thanks for your answers! Would you estimate that replacing the drywall on the ...

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