14
votes
3answers
5k views

How do I build a French drain?

There's a shed near the side of the house with a roof that's pitched to shoot water at the house's foundation. That side of the house also has no gutters. There's a very slight grade to send water ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Can I extend my loft hatch opening?

I am hoping to extend the opening for my loft hatch using the following method. I want to move the cross piece from position Q to position P. I intend to screw a temporary support across the top of ...
7
votes
8answers
7k views

How do I remove an oil stain from my concrete driveway?

Anyone have tips for removing oil stains from a concrete unpaved driveway? The spill was from a leaking car, now fixed, and they are a few months old. There are so many products and spurious reviews ...
5
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
675 views

What should I do about a 72 inch door?

I've got a door on a shed outback that pretty much just fell apart this summer and I need to replace it before I get a drift of snow. The old door was a regular wooden door, but I was thinking of ...
1
vote
4answers
20k views

What is the best/cheapest solution for poorly plastered walls?

My house is about 50 years old and many of the walls are plaster. If done nicely I would consider this a plus but it looks like my house was plastered/painted by a a 2nd grade art class. I don't ...
8
votes
1answer
25k views

How can I make an outlet switched?

I thought all I had to do to make an outlet switched was to break off the tab between the hot wires. Needless to say when I did that, the fan previously controlled by the switch quit working all ...
5
votes
3answers
136 views

Composting “in-place”?

I have some bare patches under trees. I've taken some of the fall leaves and covered up the bare ground and exposed roots already. I would like to put some soil and shade tolerant plants in these ...
11
votes
3answers
37k views

What kind of mortar should I use to point a fieldstone foundation?

What kind of mortar should I use to point a fieldstone foundation? The old mortar is crumbling, and sandy mortar is falling out onto the basement floor. I plan to remove the crumbling mortar (see ...
21
votes
4answers
71k views

How do I wrap pipe threads with teflon tape?

When wrapping pipe threads with teflon tape (thread seal tape), what is the direction and recommended number of times to wrap the tape around the threads? Any other recommendations or tip/tricks when ...
8
votes
4answers
325 views

What is this bit for with a hole in the end? [pic]

I just came across this bit in my toolbox, which I'm fairly sure came with an installers drill bit (54" long flexible bit, with a hole in the end for pulling wires back through). It's a standard ...
12
votes
1answer
229 views

How to make a house that tolerates condensation

Where I live, it's humid outside all fall, winter, and spring, and hovers around 45 deg F. Combined with indoor cooking, showering, etc., we always get a lot condensation on our windows. Rot & ...
3
votes
4answers
18k views

How do I finish the open end of a chair rail?

I helped a friend put up a chair rail in his house yesterday. It turned out great, except that neither of us knew what to do about where it met the window. Since the window didn't have trim around the ...
16
votes
5answers
108k views

What are the pros and cons of a whole house humidifier?

In the winter, my house (~2500 sqft) becomes unbearably dry. Last winter, my wife and I used a tiny humidifier for the master bedroom to keep us from completely drying out, but since then I have been ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How do I remove crumbling mortar from fieldstone foundation?

I have a fieldstone foundation. As with most such foundations, the mortar is crumbling, and the sandy mortar is falling out onto the basement floor. I have just read that I need to remove crumbling ...
4
votes
3answers
4k views

What sealant should I use for the base of a sink faucet?

I guess the title says it all. =) I'm planning to replace my kitchen sink faucet. What type of sealant should I use for the base of the new sink faucet?
4
votes
3answers
6k views

How do I keep my pool water clean without nasty chemicals?

Is there a chemical-free way to keep pool water safe and healthy, that is without chlorine or bromine? How about using UV radiation to sterilize the water?
2
votes
1answer
229 views

How do I fix an irregular hole in my heater closet?

The plumbers cut a roughly rectangular hole in the water heater/heater closet floor when fixing the drain pipe for the condensate line. The closet is located in the garage. There are two 2" PVC ...
12
votes
3answers
27k views

How good do I need to make my primer coat?

When doing a primer coat do I need to get everything or can I pretty much fly through it leaving it kinda blochy?
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there any “easy” ways to trace a home electrical system?

We bought a home a few months ago, and the electrical panel (and subpanel) are completely unlabelled. We have no way, short of flipping breakers, to know what breaker powers which fixtures. Is there a ...
4
votes
3answers
258 views

Can you help me find this bulb?

I need to replace the light bulb in my ceiling fan but the part\model number is warn off and I can't find it anywhere! I can read "Philips," "Plus," and "G5" but nothing else. Please see the attached ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

How do I replace a bricked in mailbox?

My in-laws have a Mailbox that's a normal looking metal mailbox that's in a brick enclosure. It appears that when it was built, someone just put down mortar, set the mailbox in it, covered the ...
20
votes
7answers
177k views

How do you determine if a door is Right Handed (RH) or Left Handed (LH)?

I am replacing a few interior doors and I need to know if the existing door is Right Handed or Left Handed so I have them drilled correctly. Sounds like the acronyms for this are RH and LH. This ...
3
votes
6answers
71k views

Why has my bathroom cold water tap (but no others) stopped working?

The basin cold water tap in my bathroom over the last week has gone from fully flowing, to half pressure, to a dribble, then to a drip and now nothing comes out. The 3 other taps in the bathroom work ...
1
vote
1answer
253 views

Where to find wallpaper samples online?

I want to put a wallpaper in my home office and my kid room, Are there famous websites to see samples online and take some ideas from there? also is it possible to buy them online?
15
votes
1answer
3k views

Why are 2“x4”'s really 1.5“x3.5”?

Just curious as to the reasoning, is it a spec, or is it simply 'backwards compatibility'?
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What are some inexpensive options for replacing a single-stall garage door?

The house we recently purchased has a detached 3 1/2 car garage that has seen better days. The entrances to the garage door consist of a 2-stall garage door, and a 1-stall garage door. Luckily, the ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Does it matter where my furnace condensate pump gets power from?

The existing condensate pump for my furnace recently died. It was hard-wired directly into the electrical panel of the furnace but I was able to disconnect it. However, when looking for a new pump, ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

What's the right name of the things that mount a frameless mirror to the wall through the mirror?

I feel silly asking this question but I don't know the term for the little things that hold a frameless mirror to the wall through holes in the mirror. They're often little plastic stars or metal ...
8
votes
3answers
10k views

What is “3 inch minus”?

My heavy equipment guy said we should put "3 inch minus" down on a new driveway. What is it, and is it a good choice?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is no water coming out of my sprinklers despite the diaphragm valve working?

My sprinkler system has 4 zones. I have been turning them on at the diaphragm valve (looks like this: 1 zone has never worked. When you turn the valve switch on, you can hear the sounds of running ...
5
votes
3answers
365 views

What went wrong with my Washer and how do I fix it?

For about a month or more my to-loaded washer was getting more and more off balance. Then it started ticking and not spinning, then recently it stopped spinning altogether. Everything else still ...
2
votes
2answers
11k views

What are some alternatives for a glass stove top replacement?

As quite a few people are these days, my wife and I are in a difficult financial situation. About 5 months ago we got a HUGE break and purchased a Stove, Fridge, LARGE microwave and Dishwasher for ...
9
votes
2answers
10k views

How can I level my basement floor, which has a 4-inch dip?

I googled today on how to level a basement floor. Most people recommend using SLC (self leveling concrete)... I don't think I can just use that because of the pitch of my floor (and from what I hear, ...
4
votes
4answers
24k views

Why won't my bathroom light fixture work?

Had a surprise this morning when I went to turn on my bathroom light and it didn't work. All the incandescent bulbs (4 of them) appear to be fine, and the fan which is on the switch beside the light ...
5
votes
3answers
11k views

Do I need a separate vent stack for my kitchen sink?

The drain line from my kitchen sink drops down through the basement, into the basement floor (Concrete), and I assume under the floor to the main sewer line. The sink tends to drain slowly. Should I ...
3
votes
2answers
8k views

Why does my toilet make a loud rumbling noise when flushed?

When I flush my toilet it makes a very loud rumbling noise that can be heard from other rooms, what could cause this? The sound cannot be heard from the bathroom. There is no sound when the tank is ...
3
votes
4answers
36k views

The pilot light won't ignite on my boiler — what I should check?

We have just brought a new house and I can’t get the pilot light to ignite on the boiler, it is at least a few months since the boiler has been used. Where to I start on tracking down the problem? ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Can I close the garage vent on my furnace?

My furnace duct system has a vent in the garage, right over the furnace. Is it necessary for the proper operation of the furnace to keep that open? I'd hate to waste the money heating up my garage, ...
1
vote
1answer
332 views

Optimizing a heating system

I am seeking software I can use to better understand the thermal properties of my house. The main two consumptions of the house are water and heating. I'm interested in optimizing the heating. ...
0
votes
3answers
248 views

Could home phone wiring cause a one-sided phone call (where I can hear them but they can't hear me)?

I have wired my phone from our cable modem to the phone junction box for our home in the basement. I stripped and hooked each of 4 teeny tiny delicate wires to the junction box. For the most part this ...
2
votes
2answers
986 views

Where is the best place to store firewood outdoors relative to your house?

Is it true I should avoid storing firewood near my home (due to concern about termites)? Or is it perfectly fine to store firewood in a convenient spot just outside the door?
30
votes
7answers
11k views

Why are there so many different types of screws (phillps/flat/hex/star/etc)?

Newbie question. Why is it that there's a bazillion different types of screws? Why can't we just always use one standard screw type? Are there advantages/disadvantages to the different types? Are ...
4
votes
5answers
22k views

What compound is best to use when skim coating a plaster wall that had wallpaper removed?

What kind of compound is best to use when skim coating a plaster wall that had wallpaper removed. Should it be thinned with water? when would one use Toping Compound instead of joint compound. Light ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there a difference between the two conductors in 120VAC wiring?

With DC wiring, there is an obvious, positive 'hot' wire and negative/ground wire. In AC wiring is there still such a concept as a single 'hot' wire? If yes, why is this since either wire will be at ...
4
votes
2answers
9k views

How do you remove the tip of broken screw extractor bit?

I have a faucet handle with a striped hex socket screw. I tried to take it out with a screw extractor, but the tip broke off in the socket. Is there anyway to get this out, along with the hex head ...
4
votes
3answers
16k views

Why do our baseboard heating pipes make a loud banging noise after a new furnace was installed?

We had a new furnace installed about a month ago. The heating in our house is hot water baseboards. Ever since the new furnace was installed, when the heat comes on or turns off, there is a loud ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the primary function of the main breaker in a breaker box? How does it differ from other breakers?

Location: California | United States I'd like to better understand the roles of main breakers and sub-breakers. Why are there multiple levels of breakers? I suspect that sub-breakers are intended to ...
3
votes
1answer
207 views

Suggestions for preventing water from building on a shower window that is below shoulder level?

Location: California | United States Hello all, I have a window near my bath/shower that is slightly below shoulder level (which is now a violation of code in my area but got grandfathered in with ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Why doesn't the main breaker shut off power for house?

Location: California | United States I'm certain I'll need a licensed electrician for this but wanted to get thoughts on what could be going on. I recently noticed that power remains on in my house ...

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