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19
votes
4answers
99k views

What is the proper, safe, and effective way to apply diatomaceous earth?

We are looking at using diatomaceous earth against bed bugs. However, we're having trouble finding any reliable information on how to use it properly. Our questions are: how should it be applied? ...
19
votes
4answers
1k views

What are some scalable, affordable home automation options?

I've been looking to set up a home automation system in my house for a while now, but I'm having trouble committing to any one starting point. I'd like to set up an initial system that controls maybe ...
19
votes
1answer
6k views

How to add on to a concrete patio?

I would like to add on to my existing concrete patio with more concrete. I will about double the size of the patio. My question is, should I have the new patio free floating from the existing or ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

1lb of cure is worth 10 tons of mold: DIY repair of a poorly sealed window? lots of photos herein

Preface I live in China. Construction is largely handled by unskilled migrants, and one cannot just call up a specialist contractor to fix a major issue. Problem I've got a window that was not ...
18
votes
7answers
8k views

Alarms on Doors that have Access to a Pool

I am finishing up renovating my pool and I changed the configuration of the barrier fence I previously had. I now use my house itself as the 4th side to keep the pool deck open (since our kids are ...
18
votes
2answers
7k views

Half my house losing power, HVAC the key factor

For the past couple of weeks I have been losing power occasionally to half my house. My central AC goes out, half my kitchen, living room and my kids' rooms. There are no tripped breakers though. I ...
18
votes
9answers
2k views

What basic safety equipment should everyone have?

When doing DIY what safety kit should everyone have (and use)?
18
votes
4answers
10k views

Why is my table saw blade burning oak boards as I make rip cuts?

Bought a new saw blade, most expensive one I've seen and it still burns the wood and takes some pushing to get through. I am ripping 1 3/4 thick oak with the grain. Blade is Orange Chrome Heavy Duty ...
18
votes
16answers
45k views

Is fiberglass mesh tape a good choice for drywall?

I'm going to be doing some drywalling shortly and was wondering what experiences other have had with the self adhesive fiberglass mesh tape. Is it a good choice or am I going to regret using it?
18
votes
7answers
22k views

What is the right way to strip power wires?

I've been working with electrical circuits as a DIYer for years, including electronics and powerline work. But one thing I always feel like I do a terrible job at is stripping wires: both the outside ...
18
votes
7answers
5k views

How do I safely replace a worn out electrical outlet?

I have a number of outlets that are old and worn out (plugs fall out of them mainly.) Obviously I need to turn off the breaker to replace them safely. Any guidance on how to rewire them, how to ...
18
votes
2answers
8k views

What danger/code violation is oversized breakers?

I just got the results of a home inspection where they claim there is mismatched breakers and wires in my electrical panel. Specifically, the range (40A breaker) and heat pump (50A). He claims the ...
18
votes
7answers
4k views

How to cut a rectangle out of a STEEL ruler?

Does anyone know how to cut a hollow rectangle out of a steel ruler? By that I mean cutting a small part out of the standard steel ruler while having the outside part still in tact. So a band saw is ...
18
votes
3answers
23k views

How do I feed an ethernet cable through a doorway without damaging the door or wall?

My wife and I recently moved into a new apartment. We've had it for just a few days. When our internet company came to hook up our landline, I had them hook it into one of our bedrooms and set up ...
18
votes
9answers
8k views

Can I cause damage to electrical appliances by unplugging them when they are turned on?

I don't mean damage caused to the socket and prongs, but only to the appliance itself.
18
votes
4answers
5k views

Is this saw blade faulty?

This may be the stupidest DIY question ever, but I want to make sure before I return it: is this non-ferrous metals saw blade faulty? In the picture, see where one of the titanium carbide teeth seems ...
18
votes
2answers
9k views

What is this welding tool I found in my attic?

I believe this is used with welders because i found it inside a welding helmet.... Could somebody tell me what this is exactly?
18
votes
13answers
301k views

What direction should laminate flooring be placed in?

I'm thinking of installing laminate flooring and have a question: If I'm installing laminate throughout the house, should ALL of it be going in the same direction? Say for example, let's say I have ...
18
votes
5answers
5k views

How long should I wait to plug in my refrigerator after unplugging it?

I just had a strange recommendation when I wanted to move the fridge inside my house to a new position. It's just about 2 feet away. I was told that I should wait 30-40 minutes after I unplug the ...
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
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
11answers
96k 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 ...
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
4answers
109k 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
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
5answers
6k views

How can I insulate my garage door?

Over the past year I've been converting our integrated garage so that it's a usage space. I've painted the walls, got lighting, power and water connected (To allow for a washing machine to be ...
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
2answers
15k 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
431k 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
8answers
147k 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?
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
8answers
126k views

What are the black spots on my bathroom ceiling? Are they mold?

My bathroom above my tub is getting some black spots on it that seems to be growing. I assume it's mold. I am wondering how should I deal with this? What should I expect it to cost?
18
votes
2answers
24k 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
30k 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
228k 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
52k 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
3answers
157k views

Should the backer board be in front of or behind the tub flange?

I'm installing a new bath tub and shower. I've removed the old tile down to the studs. Should the backer board be in front of or behind the tub flange? I put it on the rear tub wall from floor to ...
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
26k 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
4answers
67k views

Why don't programmable thermostats automatically switch between “Cool” and “Heat”?

While I can set my house to be a particular temperature, I still have to manually switch it between "Heat" and "Cool" mode, and this seems to be true of every thermostat (programmable or not) that I'...
18
votes
8answers
311k 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
73k 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
69k 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
19k 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 ...

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