All Questions

12
votes
9answers
11k views

What are some at-home options for pest control?

I am thinking about ditching my pest guy and going straight DIY. Raid has released a new product called Raid Max Bug Barrier. Lowe's also carries a number of DIY insect treatments. I figure the ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

How do I prevent window drafts?

I live in Florida. I have noticed that in the Winter it seems that the cold air leaks through the windows and into the rooms. This, of course, raises my energy bill for heating (yes we have to turn on ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Is a vapor barrier necessary beneath blown in cellulose insulation in a garage ceiling in a cold climate?

Is it necessary to put any kind of vapor barrier beneath blown in cellulose insulation in an attached garage? The ceiling is sheetrocked, but that's it. It's a cold, dry climate (north half of ...
5
votes
5answers
26k views

Why does the plaster crack beneath the window sill?

Sorry if this is an obvious question. Can anyone tell me why the dry lined plaster in our house so frequently cracks beneath the edge of the windows? At first I thought it may be relating to the ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Old light fixture box

I live in an older house (California) and the overhead light fixture boxes seem small. They unreceptive to the fixtures my wife has purchased from Ikea in that they have two holes for accepting ...
6
votes
10answers
14k views

How do I sweat pipes in an enclosed area?

I need to repair a leak in the plumbing behind my shower. There is an access panel, and enough room for myself and my torch, but not much else. How do I apply the flame to the fittings (for the ...
4
votes
3answers
589 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
33k views

What are the different gauges of electrical wire available?

What are the different gauges of electrical wire available for homes and how do you determine which gauge you should be using? If it helps, I'm wondering specifically about recommendations as I finish ...
3
votes
3answers
13k views

Is there a detector of plastic pipe?

I know metal detectors for walls, but in my house there are places where it has a plastic pipe. I wonder if there is a good detector to buy.
6
votes
2answers
7k views

How can I tell where my inground sprinkler hoses are?

I'm going to be building a deck next week in my backyard! I'm very excited for the project, but I'm concerned about one thing: digging the foundation holes. I have an inground sprinkler system, and I'...
4
votes
2answers
291 views

Any tips on fixing a difficult wall for tiling?

I've got this small old bathroom that I want to lay with ceramic tiles. But to do that the walls should be straight - which they are not. Three of them are almost fine, but the fourth is... well, take ...
3
votes
1answer
788 views

What is a smart switch?

I was looking at this question which mentions smart switches. What are they? What are there uses?
4
votes
3answers
1k views

How can I straighten pipes behind a wall?

The original builders did a shoddy job when they installed the plumbing in the bathroom, causing the taps/faucets to come out of the tiled plasterboard wall at a slight angle - about 5 degrees - so ...
5
votes
6answers
3k views

How can I find a match for ~100 year old door/window trim?

Our house is around 100 years old, and during the course of a bathroom demo, the contractor irreparably broke part of the window trim. Of course, the big box and local lumber stores are completely ...
20
votes
3answers
3k views

What types of home radon mitigation systems have you used, and how well do they work? [closed]

What types of home radon mitigation systems have you used, and how well do they work? Do recommended types of mitigation systems vary significantly with varying levels of excess radon? Does climate ...
3
votes
2answers
550 views

Non-Toxic Wood Glue

I've got a cutting board that was left soaking for too long, and it subsequently cracked and split. Is there a non-toxic wood glue I can use to glue it back together? I'm planning on using a quick ...
78
votes
14answers
8k views

Are solar panels cost-effective?

Environmental issues aside, I'd like to know whether solar panels are worth it from a monetary standpoint? How long before payoff occurs? Pros & Cons? Is technology moving too fast, e.g. should I ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Is it a good idea to use a Fernco repair fitting within a finished wall cavity?

I have an unfinished basement, and I installed a redirector for my sump pump output so it can be drained to the sanitary sewer during winter months (and yes, I'm paying for the right to do so, and I'm ...
7
votes
3answers
10k views

What's the best way to install a pet door in an exterior wall?

I want to install a pet door to allow my dog to let herself out. The door would run out onto a deck attached to the back of the house. On the wall connected to the deck, I have a sliding glass door ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

Where can I find a garage door (slot) mail basket?

I'm looking for a place I can buy a garage door mail slot basket. I had one in my old (rented) house and I'm looking to install one. It should look something like the image below, and keep upright ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Suggestions for treehouse platform support without posts

I'm building a treehouse in a fully grown 50 foot tree that has four trunks (as it were) each of which is between a half foot to a foot in diameter. First, is this a good candidate for a small tree ...
14
votes
5answers
16k views

What is the recommended home design software? [duplicate]

I am going to be finishing my basement. I would like to design the new basement myself using design software. What is the recommended home design software?
31
votes
12answers
252k views

How much weight can screws in drywall hold?

I've always had the question of how much weight can a single screw into a drywall withstand? For instance, I would like to do things like this: It's hung with 5 screws. The whole thing weighs ...
5
votes
3answers
156 views

Geothermal Resources

I am very interested in learning more about Geothermal solutions for my house. What are the best resources for learning about and planning a Geothermal systems for a residential house? Also, does ...
6
votes
3answers
6k views

Is toenailing necessary for a joist-to-ledger attachment?

Is it sufficient to rest joists on joist hangers or should you always toenail (drive screws/nails at an angle through the joist). And does the toenail have to drive into the ledger or just hold the ...
75
votes
12answers
47k views

Is there a case where nails are better than screws, from an engineering/structural standpoint?

Is there a case where nails are better than screws, from a structural standpoint? For instance: Say you used screws instead of nails on a backyard deck, when the design specifically called for nails. ...
4
votes
2answers
7k views

Can I fit an extractor fan in a window?

We have a basement flat and we suspect that the bathroom exhaust fans do not go anywhere, which causes a fair bit of damp in the flat which manifests itself as condensation on the windows in the ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Sealing pressure treated deck, to be stained later on

I have just finished building a deck from pressure treated lumber. We've put the deck to use immediately and having all our meals on it. I'm worried about greasy food morsels staining the deck. My ...
20
votes
6answers
1k views

What “code” applies to projects that I do in my own home?

A good portion of the answers and discussion on this site references "code". What does a DIY-er need to know about code as it relates to project in their own home? Most of what I can find online ...
7
votes
7answers
3k views

Best review sites/web resources for finding a contractor?

Many times we need to hire a contractor and try to extensively google for reviews on that contractor. Sometimes to no avail :( Just curious what web resources you use when trying to find a contractor?...
9
votes
5answers
101k views

How much cooling can I expect from a central air conditioner?

Yesterday's high was 106.0F, low of 79.2F, full sun all day. AC set at 78F, indoor temperature reached about 85F. Today's high was 105.4F, low of 81.1F, full sun all day, now about 102 at 7pm. AC ...
4
votes
4answers
13k views

What's a good way to seal a flat concrete roof?

My guess is that a long time ago there was a fire in part of our house and what was the top storey was capped and the floor replaced with thick slabs of concrete. This was then sealed over with ...
8
votes
6answers
96k views

How often should I run a bleach and water solution through condensate lines?

How often do you need to run a bleach and water solution through the condensate drain lines (of a heat pump) to keep the bacteria away? What are the recommended parts (e.g. 1 part bleach, 10 part ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Can I use a swamp cooler to cool an AC unit's condenser?

Swamp coolers work great and use a fraction of the electricity of an air conditioner in a dry climate with little humidity (like Phoenix) but there are downsides like mold and, well, everything feels ...
4
votes
3answers
507 views

Hanging an interior door

I reversed the doors to my bedroom (they're small "french" doors I guess but they don't have glass or open to the outside like normal french doors) so they open out instead of in (the room is small ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

How do I go about fixing an apartment buzzer?

My apartment's buzzer has stopped working. I can use the intercom and buzz people in but if someone presses the button outside I hear nothing. What's likely the problem here and how can I go about ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Will I be able to replace the tub and shower fixtures in my [apartment] home myself?

I live in a roughly-50 year-old apartment building and would like to renovate the bathroom myself. I've tiled and replaced sinks and toilets in the past, but I'm unsure about replacing the tub and ...
4
votes
3answers
314 views

How do I get utility lines marked on my property?

In Michigan, there is a service called Miss Dig for identifying buried utility lines. We've just moved from Michigan to New Hampshire, and we would like to know where our utility lines are buried. ...
3
votes
4answers
4k views

The carpet on my stairs is worn. Should I repair it or just remove it?

In our house the second floor and the stairs to them have carpet over top of old hardwood floors (installed by previous owner). The carpet is wearing out, particularly on the stairs where it has come ...
4
votes
5answers
17k views

How do I clean the oven really well?

I need to clean my kitchen's oven really well. It is electric, has a "grill" element on top, and a fan behind a grating which, apparently, cannot be removed. I tried with the spray products for ovens ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

How does central vacuum suction compare to regular vacuum?

We recently moved into a new home with central vac. The vacuum unit is in the garage, as is typically the case, and seems to be in good working condition. I cleaned the "bucket" underneath and made ...
4
votes
14answers
35k views

Would putting a sprinkler on my roof help cool my home?

Anyone ever put a sprinkler on your roof to help out your A/C on unusually hot days? Just wondering if it helps.
11
votes
5answers
50k views

How can I fix a door that doesn't close because it doesn't fit the frame?

Two closet doors in my house won't close all the way. When they are about 85% closed, it stops because the top of the door is rubbing up against the frames. It looks like I need to move the door down ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What are some good downspout options for a brick house?

I need to replace the gutters and downspouts on my house, and I'd like to know the best approach. The house is 100 year-old clay brick house. The old gutters were aluminum and used downspouts that ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there solar lights that can be put inside existing lamps?

We've got lamp posts in the garden that we're fond of, but the electrics were not very well installed (by the previous owner I might add). I've disconnected the electrics and would like to put a solar ...
6
votes
6answers
26k views

What material should I use for a custom, do-it-yourself desk for my home office?

I am currently remodeling my office, a converted formal dining room, and I am stuck on what material to use for the desktop. Currently I have a 1" thick Cherry Veneer particle board that is 6' wide x ...
20
votes
17answers
12k views

What is an affordable 2D drafting software for amateurs?

Background: We have about 1500 feet of unfinished basement that I am contemplating finishing off into a "grandma suite". Before getting serious about the project, however, I would like to play around ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Do above counter bowl sinks require special cabinets?

I am currently renovating a bathroom. In the process, I'll be replacing the ugly 1970s vanity with a new craftsman style cabinet, solid surface countertop, and two above counter glass bowl sinks. ...
4
votes
6answers
16k views

How do I replace a bulb in this bathroom light/fan?

Can figure out how to open it.alt text http://img715.imageshack.us/img715/2743/img4094s.jpg Maybe somebody has a similar one.
5
votes
1answer
3k views

What is the purpose of a sump pump?

If you have a sump pump in your house/basement, does it mean you have (or potentially could have) a flooding problem?

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