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18
votes
6answers
6k views

Wind from kitchen sink drainage pipe

We live on a windy coast of North Sea. High wind is a norm here. One of the problems I face with the wind: it comes out from kitchen sink drainage pipe. If it is blowy outside, you can feel a draft ...
18
votes
18answers
125k views

When wiring outlets should I use pigtails or both sets of outlet screws?

I'm replacing the outlets in our house and pulled out one that had two black and two white cables. My first thought was that it was two circuits, one of them being switched, but then realized the tab ...
18
votes
6answers
27k views

Should I use nails or screws to refasten my subfloor to the joists?

My subfloor is squeaky, and there's a small window of opportunity I'll have to fasten it down before/during my carpet being replaced. I have available to me a nice corded drill, and an air-powered ...
18
votes
13answers
5k views

How do I prepare my home for a power outage?

With several storms in the Northeast United States and more storms predicted this week, there have been lots of extended power outages. What are things to do to prepare your house for a power outage ...
18
votes
9answers
1k views

Which home improvement projects produce the highest return on investment when selling?

I am looking to put my home on the market in the next few months (in Ohio). Which home improvement projects produce the highest return on investment when selling? Should I invest in exotic ...
18
votes
8answers
36k views

What are the pros and cons of steel vs. aluminum metal roofing?

I'm considering a new roof for my suburban home. The home is about fourteen years old and the shingles are in so-so shape. We have had two leaks already and I've been told that means it is a good ...
18
votes
5answers
6k views

What's this plastic thing along my sidewalk pavers?

I just moved into a new house and am unable to close my gate because there is something nailed to the ground at the threshold that is sticking up too high for the gate the close. Any idea what this ...
18
votes
2answers
14k views

Is there supposed to be a gap between the wall and the roof?

We bought a new house last year. Going up to the loft we noticed there is a considerable gap (5-6 cm) between the roof and the wall, like this: Is it supposed to be like that? It's freezing up there ...
18
votes
8answers
420k views

What is the proper procedure to apply multiple coats of Polyurethane?

Polyurethane is confusing me. ;) I'm finishing a table top with polyurethane. I've sanded down the original finish to bare wood down to 220 grit paper. I vacuumed and wiped it all down, then did a ...
18
votes
8answers
19k views

How can I coil up a rope so that it doesn't get tangled?

When I get stuff for DIY projects, I regularly use rope to tie it all down to my trailer. When I coil up a rope for storage I wind it around my palm and elbow (on the same arm) then use the last ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

What happens to foam insulation board after you pour concrete slab?

I plan on making a garage out of a large carport, and I've watched and I understood how to properly insulate a new concrete slab. 4 inches of gravel, vapor barrier, 2 inch foam board, 2 inches of sand ...
18
votes
4answers
106k views

What is the proper way to run wires along/across basement ceiling joists?

I want to add an electrical outlet in my unfinished basement. It makes sense to run the wire along the ceiling because that's where all the other wires are. What is the proper way to install NM ...
18
votes
2answers
4k views

What is a tandem breaker (aka duplex, cheater, twin, double-stuff, etc.)?

I keep hearing about tandem breakers, and how they won't work with 240V loads and how they should never be used for a multi-wire branch circuit. Aside from those issues... What is a tandem breaker? ...
18
votes
6answers
37k views

What is the best way to cut receptacle holes when hanging drywall?

I will be installing drywall in a 10x10 room this weekend, walls only. I'm planning to use the longer sheets so there is only a single horizontal seam on each wall and install the top sheet first, ...
18
votes
2answers
22k views

What is causing/caused these brown circular stains in my cabinetry?

Recently moved into a 1950s-built home and have unearthed a number of brown, circular stains on the wood inside various closets. These rings don't appear on the plaster walls, but rather on the wood ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it better to waterproof a basement from the outside or the inside?

Is it better to waterproof a basement from the outside or the inside? I've heard different things about this. We have a home built in the 40's on a cinder-block foundation. One side of the house is ...
18
votes
10answers
29k 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
213k views

Which Kitchen outlets do NOT need GFCI?

I have the 2 circuits in the kitchen with GFCI outlets, but I'm not quite sure which other ones do NOT need GFCI. Other circuits in the kitchen include Microwave, Fridge, and Dishwasher. It makes ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

Can I still be sold plumbing fixtures that contain lead?

I'm shopping for brass or stainless ball valve to replace shutoff on a plumbing line. I see on ebay that some valves are advertised as "lead-free" while others are not. I would've assumed ALL brass/...
18
votes
2answers
51k views

Lutron LED/CFL Dimmer switch turns lights off the wrong way, up is down and down is up. What's the problem?

I bought the $20 Lutron Dimmer Switch (TGCL-153PH-WH) from my local big box hardware store. It dims the Cree LED bulbs great. There is just one problem... no matter how I install the wires the switch ...
18
votes
4answers
189k views

How do I remove a flush mounted ceiling light fixture dome?

My bedroom has a very nice looking flush mounted ceiling light with a glass dome. However, all the bulbs have gone out and I cannot get the glass out to replace them. I'm 5'4" and standing on the ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

Small branch stuck in electric wire

A few weeks ago a small branch became stuck in the telephone and cable wires leading to our house. I hoped it would blow out, but the latest snow storm has put it in it's current position. Is this a ...
18
votes
3answers
25k views

How should masking tape be used when multiple coats of paint are being applied?

When painting, sometimes mask-free cutting-in is impractical and masking tape must be used. The advice here is to remove masking tape before the paint has dried. That makes sense when a single coat is ...
18
votes
8answers
293k views

What's the standard height for an outlet?

I am installing outlets in my patio room. What is the standard height recommended above the ground for these to be installed?
18
votes
5answers
68k views

Where should I NOT use a GFCI or AFCI?

There is a lot of information out there about the benefits of GFCI and AFCI and the places where they must or should be used. But are there any circumstances where you're better off without them? If I ...
18
votes
4answers
67k views

How much weight can you mount to a wall?

I would like to mount a fairly heavy shelving unit (~150lbs) to a wall with a number of L-brackets. It being a shelving unit, I would be putting all kinds of books and random stuff on it, thus ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

What are some tips for finishing wood?

I'm kind of embarrassed to ask, but I'm looking for a good how-to guide for finishing pine furniture. (Could also apply to baseboards and trim, so I'm hoping for an on-topic pass here.) I watched my ...
18
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I effectively use Google Sketchup to render walls, doors, and windows?

This question falls dangerously close to being a software question, but it's definitely specific to DIY... My house is around 100 years old. Off-the-shelf home design programs have nice libraries of ...
18
votes
1answer
18k views

Is my rapidly failing foundation dangerous?

I'll be succinct. I'm afraid we're having a full structural failure. Over the past week, crack after crack has been appearing in our plaster and walls. I'm honestly concerned for our safety. Our ...
18
votes
11answers
23k views

How do you protect solar panels from hail?

Saw another question on solar panels and it reminded me of one big thing that always made me hesitant to consider them. We get several hail storms each year and having an expensive glass covered(?) ...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

Why would you use copper over CPVC or PEX?

Are there any advantages to using copper rather than CPVC or PEX?
18
votes
1answer
648 views

What is this velcro-like product?

Does anyone have an idea what this product might be? It was found it on some hired equipment, used as a cable tie / cable tidy. It is reversible and each side will stick to itself, unlike velcro. ...
17
votes
14answers
102k views

What is the best technique for using a drill to insert screws?

It looks so easy on the DIY programs, but I battle to insert screws using my drill. The screwdriver bit keeps slipping out, and it damages the screw head. Is there a neat trick for this? Should I ...
17
votes
8answers
7k views

Broken door jamb - What's the easiest way to fix this?

My screen door arm bracket started pulling off of the door jamb. Unfortunately, it was a few days before I noticed, so I've already lost one corner of the bracket (I plan to replace the bracket, ...
17
votes
10answers
4k views

What can cause a never-frozen indoor copper drain pipe to crack?

The 1-1/2" copper waste pipe than runs from our kitchen just up and cracked two days ago along its length, and for no apparent reason. The crack is in a section of pipe that runs vertically through ...
17
votes
10answers
9k views

Is it more economical to use hot water before boiling or to bring cold water to a boil?

Since the arrival of our newborn, we have been using the stove to boil water in order to sterilize the nipples, bottles and rings. Which got me thinking, is it more economical to start off using hot ...
17
votes
5answers
9k views

Exhaust fumes seeping into our 4th floor apartment at night through bathroom and shower vents/fans

This is our second fall/winter in our 4th floor apartment, and we've noticed that whenever the weather becomes cool, exhaust fumes which seem to come from the garage in the basement of the apartment ...
17
votes
5answers
32k views

How can I change light bulbs in a fixture located 20ft above the ground?

We made the unfortunate decision of having a ceiling fan with lights in our two story family room, so the ceiling fan is about 20 feet above our heads. At the moment, all four light bulbs in the unit ...
17
votes
6answers
3k views

What sorts of appliances will malfunction on a reversed AC outlet?

The house I recently acquired had some wiring done in the basement by the previous owner. I've identified 3 outlets (all on the same circuit) where the live and neutral wires are reversed. I've ...
17
votes
5answers
14k views

How can I cut off 1/8 inch from ceramic tile?

I have a couple of 4"x4" ceramic tiles that are cut just slightly too wide. I need to take off about an eighth of an inch. I expect that's too little for the standard score-and-snap approach. What'...
17
votes
2answers
6k views

Do I need to be legally qualified to install a Hive smart thermostat?

As a competent DIY'er, am I legally allowed to install Hive myself? The reason for the question is I have been asked to provide a cert as I'm selling the house. If not, can someone point me in the ...
17
votes
3answers
4k views

One circuit on two 20 amp breakers

Can I put one circuit on two 20-amp breakers? I'm drawing too much power on just one breaker and I'm not able to run a whole new circuit right now.
17
votes
13answers
3k views

What kitchen counter material would you recommend and why?

What are the pros and cons of various kitchen counter top materials? Granite Corian Concrete Laminate Quartz Silestone Other
17
votes
5answers
4k views

What should I be aware of in buying second-hand sinks and toilets?

I am planning an extension to my house, including a new ensuite bathroom and a downstairs WC. To save money and embedded energy I'm thinking of buying secondhand basins and toilets. There seem to be ...
17
votes
3answers
11k views

Is notching a flange on an I-Joist ever acceptable?

My home builder said that the following notch in a flange on an I-Joist was acceptable, but I've read that you're never supposed to do so. Is that true?
17
votes
11answers
94k views

What is simplest strategy to map circuits to breakers in the panel?

My breaker box is very poorly labeled and I want to figure out which circuits may have overloaded (or close to it) and which could reasonably handle a little more. In the past I have just tried ...
17
votes
3answers
15k views

Fix drywall around outlets

I completed my first drywall project and I learned that I hate doing drywall. Apparently I'm not good at it either because when I finally screwed on the outlet covers it is obvious my measurements ...
17
votes
12answers
103k views

Is it bad to turn off the water while on vacation?

I'm a little OCD when it comes to traveling. I have learned from experience that when I am away, I constantly have visions that a pipe in the wall had burst and that the water is slowly filling the ...
17
votes
10answers
44k views

What is better for a roof, plywood or OSB?

While watching the builders next door do their thing, I became curious with their technique to install plywood on edges neighboring the next townhouse, and OSB for the rest (which for these narrow ...
17
votes
8answers
143k views

Does bare drywall need to be primed before painting?

Is it necessary to prime bare drywall before painting? And do we need to prime existing textured, painted walls before we mud over them?

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