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
31k 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
413 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
490 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
15k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
956 views

What type of regular maintenance should I be doing on my central air conditioning unit?

I have not done any maintenance on my central air conditioning system since I bought my house five years ago. Everything seems to be running fine but is there some sort of maintenance I should be ...
5
votes
4answers
3k views

What are some ways to wire rear speakers in a home theater system?

I have two rear speakers, that I never use, since I don't have a good way (yet) to wire them. I have a hardwood floor. And the side of the room that is nearest to the TV+Audio source is open. So I ...
4
votes
5answers
69k views

What's the minimum recommended compressor HP/PSI to spray paint?

I have a little compressor that I use for a small brad nailer and blowing up tires. Is there a minimum PSI or horsepower that I need to be able to get to in order to spray paint with it?
56
votes
9answers
65k views

How can I improve the water pressure in my shower?

I recently purchased my first home. It has two bathrooms and the water pressure in both is less than ideal. What are some steps I can take to increase the pressure?
3
votes
1answer
720 views

Cause of eroded mortar in exterior brick

This question actually reminded me of an issue with my exterior walls. I have the same problem with the vertical mortar being eroded/missing from several bricks at ground level on the exterior of my ...
1
vote
1answer
576 views

What type of block should I use for a small retaining wall?

I am just starting on a new project to build a small 10 x 10 patio in the front of my house. The 10 x 10 area is not level with the front left corner sloping down about 8 to 10 inches compared to the ...
15
votes
2answers
21k views

How do I fix a squeaky floor below my carpet?

I have a squealy floor below my carpet on the 2nd floor of my house. It sounds like the subfloor under the carpet is moving up and down a little and makes this awful load squeak when I step down on ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

What are some pros, cons and recommendations for multicables?

Currently saving to build a new home and I'm going over wiring options in my mind. My current home has too few sockets, cable connections and LAN ports (yes I still like wired LAN, wireless is good ...
5
votes
0answers
320 views

What are the pros and cons of different types of smart switches on the UK market? [closed]

When putting in a new switch for a light, it is often less work to put in a smart switch than run the mains cables. However how do you choose the type of smart switch to use? See Also "What are ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the pros and cons of different types of smart switches (that are on the US market) ?

When putting in a new switch for a light it is often less work to put in a smart switch than run the mains cables. However, how do you choose the type of smart switch to use? See also "What are ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Should I fill eroded mortar in exterior brick?

There's a few bricks around my house about 40cm up from ground level where the vertical mortar between the bricks has completely fallen out / eroded away. In a few spots, there's insects going into ...
8
votes
3answers
237 views

How can I tell if wood is properly dried?

I guess measuring it's weight would be one of the answers, but it doesn't seem practical because wood of a same type can probably fluctuate in it's density enough to make measurement unreliable in ...
3
votes
1answer
488 views

How can I repair a pothole on the edge of an asphalt driveway?

I have a large pothole in my asphalt driveway that extends to the edge. I'm considering repairing it with cold patch blacktop, but I'm uncertain of how to deal with the edge. Do I need to add a 2x4 ...
19
votes
8answers
44k views

What's the best/easiest way to paint edges?

Been doing a lot of interior painting lately and I always find the edges — by the ceiling, windows, baseboards, etc. — the most tedious. What's the best way to paint the edges — old ...
6
votes
4answers
861 views

How can I fix a screen door that sticks?

I have a sliding screen door that leads out to a porch/deck. The door continually sticks and is just doesn't slide open cleanly. Otherwise the screen and everything is fine. Is there something I ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Should I insulate steam pipes in the basement?

I have a steam-radiator heating system. The furnace is in the (unfinished) basement, and the steam-carrying steel pipes spread out across the basement ceiling before going up into the rest of the ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How do I discharge the capacitor of my refrigerator?

In order to avoid electric shock, I need to discharge the capacitor of my refrigerator before working on it. How do I do it, and where can I buy an appropriate power resistor?
15
votes
10answers
19k views

Do thermostat-controlled, auto-adjust HVAC vents exist?

The residential forced-air HVAC systems I have seen are controlled by a single thermostat in one room. One has to manually adjust the vents in order to adjust the temperature in other rooms. Is ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Which communication bus systems for home automation?

Many communication systems have been proposed for home automation (e.g., HVAC control, alarms, access control, light control, and entertainment), including 1-Wire and X10. Which system is best ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

Do they make a non-liquid concrete/mortar color additive?

I've been trying to find a cement additive to change the color of some mortar, but only seem to be able to find it in liquid form at my local big-box hardware store. I'm looking for a similar ...
2
votes
1answer
260 views

Buying and installing vinyl siding

My house has vinyl siding. I am considering installing vinyl siding on a shed also. How do I find siding to match what I already have on my house? (It is only a year or two old, but installed by ...
3
votes
3answers
10k views

How do I lay asphalt shingles on a roof, and what should be under them?

How do I lay asphalt shingles on a roof, and what should be under them? Are they self-adhesive? Can I stick them directly onto plywood?
7
votes
6answers
9k views

Is insulating an unfinished basement worth it? If so, how should I go about it?

I have an unfinished, well waterproofed basement with cinderblock walls and a concrete floor. All but the top 6 inches / 15 cm or so is underground. Would it be worth insulating the walls down there? ...
9
votes
14answers
26k views

Is it worth it to insulate hot water PEX tubing?

Is it worth the time and expense to put the foam pipe wrap on pex hot water pipes? I've seen mixed statements. What is your thought? But more importantly, can you back it up?
1
vote
1answer
475 views

Additional Vapor Barrier with Faced Insulation?

When installing faced insulation into exterior walls, are there any benefits or detriments to adding an additional vapor barrier to either the non-faced side of the insulation?

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