All Questions

21
votes
6answers
18k views

What benefit do plasterboard/drywall screws have?

I have some plasterboard screws like this: However, without a drill I have a job getting them into the wall. Am I safe to use normal screws on hangings that aren't going to be taking a great deal of ...
21
votes
4answers
79k views

I added insulation to my attic rafters, but should I have left room for airflow?

I added insulation to my attic rafters and plugged the space between the outdoors and my attic with insulation. It lowered my heating bill by $150/month, but I've seen some information that I may ...
21
votes
25answers
146k views

How do I remove polyurethane spray foam from my hands?

I should have worn gloves but sadly I didn't. Now I have yellow stuff all over my hands. I got most of the stickiness to go away by using WD-40. Is there anything that will get this off without giving ...
21
votes
4answers
5k views

How to get rid of CO₂ in a house with A/C in hot summer?

Recently, I've been measuring the CO₂ concentration during multiple nights and the levels in the bedroom where I sleep are very high and unhealthy (over 1600 ppm). I use an AirVisual monitor, which ...
21
votes
5answers
4k views

Central Vacuuming: Is it worth it, and how does it compare to normal vacuuming?

I am in the process of buying a brand new home in the US through a builder. The home will be approximately 3,000 sq ft and I was given the option of buying a central vacuuming system for the house. ...
21
votes
7answers
24k views

Ethernet cable instead of Thermostat wire?

I need to pull new wire from my furnace to my thermostat and was wondering if there would be any problems in using an Ethernet cable instead of standard thermostat wiring. The reason being is I have ...
21
votes
11answers
76k 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
4k views

Why exactly is WD-40 not a true lubricant?

According to this answer WD-40 is not a true lubricant. I don't get it - even Wikipedia says The long-term active ingredient is a non-volatile, viscous oil which remains on the surface, providing ...
21
votes
4answers
25k views

What should I use to secure/organize data cable runs?

I am running Cat-6 and Coax in new construction. I am looking for advice/best practices on how to organize and secure the cables during the runs. I will be running 2 Cat-6 and 1 Coax to a single-...
21
votes
7answers
86k views

Purpose of Fill Valve Tube Going into Overflow Drain

I can easily understand the purpose of the overflow tube itself, but why is the little black hose that comes from the fill valve placed down into the overflow tube? On my toilet, there is a strong ...
21
votes
1answer
29k views

Are cracks in a newly poured concrete basement floor a problem?

I'm having a new home built and found a large crack in the newly poured concrete basement floor and wanted to see if it's something I should be concerned about. The floor was poured sometime in the ...
21
votes
5answers
52k views

Should I release the pressure out of an air compressor when it is not in use?

Just got a new compressor and I wondering if I should be releasing all of the pressure out of the unit when it is not in use? Or is it better to leave the pressure in so that the unit does not have ...
20
votes
7answers
3k views

Panel breakers are alternately 90 V and 140 V

Everything in the house is acting up. The fridge has melted ice, the radio is acting strange, etc. I multimetered the panel box and each breaker is either 90 V or 140 V alternately. I have a plan to ...
20
votes
7answers
47k views

What's the best way to account for saw blade width (kerf) when cutting boards?

In theory, to cut a 350mm piece out of a longer board, I would have to mark the line at 350mm + half of blade width. So if I have a 2mm hand saw, the line would be drawn at 351mm. How does that work ...
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 ...
20
votes
6answers
4k views

Does A/C encourage mold growth

I think i'm being sold bunk by a mold company, but not sure. We live in the tropics, we recently had our bathroom ceiling flood due to a burst pipe, and went away immediately after. (the landlord had ...
20
votes
5answers
29k views

How do I find studs when stud finders won't work?

I was trying to hang my TV at my new place, on an interior wall (between living room and a bathroom). Using the stud finder on other walls worked fine, but on this wall I got some very strange ...
20
votes
7answers
270k views

Can I backfeed a portable generator into my house's electrical system?

Is there a safe way to power my house using a portable generator? The power rating for the generator is 6kW, and I want to run my electric water heater (4.5kW) and my refrigerator (0.5kW) and possibly ...
20
votes
6answers
61k views

How can I fill a screw hole so it can be used again?

My dishwasher attaches to the cabinets on the side via a screw. This hole has become a little stripped, is there a way to fill it in and then screw in to it again? I can't change the location of ...
20
votes
20answers
170k views

What is the advantage of PEX pinch clamp vs. crimp rings?

I just saw these for the first time today at Lowe's: The advantages I can see over the crimp style are: A single tool can work with multiple PEX sizes That single tool is cheaper than a single-size ...
20
votes
7answers
59k views

How to unscrew screws that are barely accessible?

I need to remove the face of a fake drawer that is screwed from behind. Unfortunately, a kitchen sink is preventing me from using a screwdriver. There is approximatively 4cm of space. The screw head ...
20
votes
3answers
3k views

How is DIY done so much on 'fixer uppers' in areas where AHJs demand permits and licenses? [closed]

I see a lot of cases of major 'fixer upper' homes or general home improvement done in an area where the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) requires permits and only offers them to licensed pros. How ...
20
votes
11answers
63k views

How can I fix a garbage disposal with crushed glass in it?

I have a garbage disposal that had a shot glass fall in. It got ground up. The disposal got jammed; I unjammed it and now it makes a glass grinding noise because of the shards inside. How do I clear ...
20
votes
10answers
62k views

What's the best way of replacing a plug or switch in a house with aluminum wiring?

My house has aluminum wiring, which from what I understand isn't recommended any more. How do I replace a plug or switch since the new unit only takes copper wiring?
20
votes
3answers
5k views

Why don't I have ground wiring on any of my outlets?

My house in California was built in 1989 (I believe) And in the last 5 years I've replaced at least 20 outlets myself (successfully), and noticed there were never any ground wires to connect to the ...
20
votes
6answers
18k views

Is this light switch installation safe and legal?

I did this wiring in my bonus room years ago, and now I'm wondering if it is in fact legal and safe. This is a built-in book case that I built and installed myself. The bookshelf went in over a ...
20
votes
17answers
226k views

When installing hardwood floors, should I use rosin paper, roofing felt, or nothing underneath? Why?

I've installed hardwood floors, over top of OSB subfloor with a layer of roofing felt in between. I copied this from the hardwood floor contractor who did a kitchen in my home once. He'd been in ...
20
votes
5answers
84k views

Why does the shower get cold when I flush, and how can I prevent it?

When the shower is running and someone flushes a toilet, why does the shower get cold (or sometimes hot) in some houses, but not others? More importantly, would fixing that require replacing the ...
20
votes
4answers
7k views

What is the use for this different threading near the head of a large screw?

I'm inquiring about the strange threading at the base of this screw: These were used in somewhat heavy-duty outdoor construction. What is the purpose of that corkscrew, and is it safe to replace it ...
20
votes
3answers
7k views

What is the safe/correct way to work on gutters? From a ladder or from the roof?

I am very comfortable working on the gutters (usually just cleaning them) from one story up by just sitting on the roof. I do this on my own home over the garage and at my parents one-story home. I ...
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 ...
20
votes
5answers
24k 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 ...
20
votes
3answers
576k views

What wire gauge do I need for a 100 Amp subpanel at the end of a 60' wire run?

I am adding an attached garage to my house. I'm going to be putting in a 100 Amp subpanel which is about 60 feet away and run through the basement joists. What gauge wire do you recommend for ...
20
votes
4answers
26k views

Is it safe to re-use drill holes in a wall?

I've just mounted a 42" TV with a new wall mount that uses 3/16" bolts into some studs on the wall. I now want to use an articulating one, which means I'll need to replace the old mount. The new ...
20
votes
5answers
37k views

What is the best way to incrementally finish an unfinished basement?

my wife and I are in the process of buying our first house. The house has a 750 square foot unfinished basement (cinderblock walls and concrete floor), and is brand new (rather, it will be brand new ...
20
votes
1answer
664 views

Is flushing a waterheater a good idea?

I've been told that water-heaters build up sediment at the bottom over time, and should be flushed out (ie. drained, then allowed to refill). Is there value in this exercise? Does that value exceed ...
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 ...
19
votes
6answers
3k views

Can a 40amp breaker be used safely and without issue with a 40amp device on 6AWG wire?

We are installing a Cooktop that calls for a 40amp circuit. I was given 6AWG wire (instead of the 8AWG wire I asked for) by mistake. The electrician saw the 6AWG wire (that I had already run) and used ...
19
votes
15answers
1k views

What do you do/ask when hiring a contractor

In a world where every guy with a truck full of tools is a "contractor", how do you weed out the good from the bad?
19
votes
16answers
134k views

Should drywall be hung horizontally or vertically?

For reasons including time, money, ease of installation, and structural strength, should drywall be installed horizontally or vertically.
19
votes
5answers
8k views

Can anyone help me identify this old audio cable?

I have this old Bang & Olufsen vinyl record player, with a old connector for the speakers. Do anyone know what type of connector this is? And if there exist some converters? Looks like DMX, but ...
19
votes
12answers
17k views

How can I repair a puncture in a hollow-core wooden door?

Someone punched my wooden door. Now it has a giant dent in it. The dent is similar to this one. Fortunately, it's a bit less severe than this. How can I "pop" the dent back out?
19
votes
3answers
6k views

Damage when drilling a mirror — normal or not?

I've just had a bespoke mirrored bathroom cabinet installed. The mirrors have had holes drilled for the knobs, and one of the holes has a white mark around it and generally doesn't look very clean. ...
19
votes
7answers
4k views

How to deal with broken compact fluorescent (and its mercury) without breaking the bank?

We're now out of the compact fluorescent era, fortunately, but we wound up with 3 or 4 broken CF bulbs from somebody not being careful with a box of them in the garage ... We're moving and I want to ...
19
votes
6answers
22k views

Can I safely use a 9w LED bulb in place of a 40w incandescent?

I bought a reading lamp that on the box says: Max 1x40W The shop also sold me an LED light bulb that says: 9W=75W So my question is, can I use light bulb or not? I am confused between the 75W and the ...
19
votes
6answers
8k views

How do I mount this towel rack that was ripped off the wall?

Hi one of my tenants sent me a pictures of my broken towel rack. What would be the most cost effective fix?
19
votes
4answers
36k views

Safe/professional way to transport lumber with just a roof rack

I'm doing some home improvement, and have the necessary skills, tools, etc, for the job. There is one thing I'm lacking: a large pickup truck for transporting lumber. A buddy of mine used to have one, ...
19
votes
8answers
72k 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 ...
19
votes
8answers
51k views

Does a homeowner need a permit for electrical work in Massachusetts?

Does a homeowner need to obtain a permit from the town in order to do electrical work on his own house in Massachusetts? The unofficial answers I can find online (e.g., this forum and the websites of ...
19
votes
6answers
6k views

How do I remove these Ikea screws? (studs inside holes)

I bought and assembled an Ikea sofa bed (asssembly instructions here). I'm moving soon and want to take apart the couch to make it easier to lift. Some of the screws needed for the assembly come in 2 ...

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