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7 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
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  • 173
8 votes
3 answers
316 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 10-...
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3 votes
1 answer
909 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 ...
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18 votes
8 answers
75k 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 ...
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  • 1,095
6 votes
4 answers
4k 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 ...
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  • 1,095
9 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
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5 votes
3 answers
3k 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?
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18 votes
10 answers
31k 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 ...
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12 votes
5 answers
4k 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 ...
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6 votes
5 answers
5k 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 ...
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  • 4,530
4 votes
2 answers
502 views

How do I determine what pieces of vinyl siding to buy?

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 ...
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3 votes
3 answers
22k 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?
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7 votes
7 answers
38k 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? ...
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  • 170
19 votes
17 answers
105k 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?
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2 votes
1 answer
836 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?
11 votes
4 answers
10k views

What are the pros and cons of LED lighting for home use?

I'm interested in installing LED lights in my home, and I'm having a dilemma between buying LED bulbs and rolling my own solution. I have some questions on how to DIY: How efficient is it? Single ...
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4 votes
3 answers
1k views

How should I prepare doors and windows for painting?

I'm mostly interested in what is the best way to protect the wood from bad weather, but any other advice on how to improve overall quality of work would be appreciated.
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20 votes
10 answers
89k 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?
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5 votes
1 answer
8k views

What's the best approach to repair a wedge/corner crack in my foundation?

I've got a wedge/corner crack on one corner of my foundation. I'll try to post a picture of it as soon as I can, but here's a sample image of what I'm talking about: However, my crack is more complex....
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  • 456
13 votes
6 answers
207k views

How do I add more circuit breakers once the breaker box is full?

My house was completely rewired by the previous owner. They tore out all the old knob-and-tube and replaced it with modern wiring. I definitely appreciate this, but unfortunately they left ...
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6 votes
4 answers
126k views

Why won't my shower's temperature handle let the water get hot enough?

Whenever I go to take a shower, I have to turn the handle to the absolute hottest setting just to avoid freezing. I know the hot water works in my house, so that's not the issue. It just seems like I ...
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  • 1,409
5 votes
2 answers
18k views

How do I secure a toilet bowl to a tile floor?

The bathroom in my house was redone right before I moved in. After moving in, I noticed the toilet is loose. It seems to only stay in place due to it's sheer weight, and it has quite a lot of jostle ...
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  • 1,409
7 votes
4 answers
137k views

What are these spongy/soft spots on my hardwood floor?

The house I recently bought has hardwood floors, but I've noticed that some spots are spongy when I walk over them. There is visible downward flex in certain spots to an observer of someone walking ...
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  • 15.5k
7 votes
4 answers
18k views

Is it a good idea to pay for an energy saving audit of my new home

We have a newly built home but I'm not at all confident in the builder's prowess when it comes to energy conservation. Is it worth hiring someone (like our energy provider or other specialized ...
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  • 347
5 votes
1 answer
372 views

How do you paint vinyl shutters?

What kind of paint will work for restoring the original color to vinyl shutters that have faded from exposure to the sun? They are supposedly "maintenance-free" but the home owners association says ...
user avatar
  • 803
3 votes
3 answers
12k views

How do I insulate around a gas fireplace without tearing it apart?

My home has a gas fireplace that we do not use very often. It is in a "bump out" on the back of the house. In the winter, cold air flows through the vents under the fireplace and if you feel the ...
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  • 2,474
14 votes
3 answers
11k views

Are tankless water heaters worth it in cold climates?

I was thinking of switching over to a tankless water heater. A friend of mine said they are not good in colder climates since the water coming in is colder and takes longer to heat. Is this a valid ...
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  • 129k
25 votes
14 answers
70k views

Does Pex tubing have any advantages over copper?

What are the advantages/disadvantages of Pex tubing? How does it compare to copper?
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  • 129k
12 votes
2 answers
10k views

When should you use metal studs?

When does it make sense to use metal framing for an interior wall? What are the advantages to traditional wood framing?
user avatar
  • 803
9 votes
4 answers
3k views

How can I remove a single cracked floor tile?

How can I remove a single damaged floor tile without damaging the surrounding tiles? Is there anything that will help the replacement tile from cracking in the same way?
user avatar
  • 803
4 votes
1 answer
508 views

How is a septic system different from a cesspool?

Here in New England many towns do not have public sewer systems, so homeowners have either a septic system or a cesspool. What is the difference between the two?
user avatar
29 votes
5 answers
889k views

Is there a standard height and depth for stairs?

Is there a standard (or a standard range for) the height and depth of each step in a flight of stairs? If your answer refers to your building code, please say where you live.
user avatar
61 votes
14 answers
533k views

Should I set fence posts in dirt, gravel, crushed rock, or concrete?

I have received conflicting advice about how to set wooden fence posts. Many web sites suggest setting them in a concrete cylinder. Someone at the local hardware store had seen posts set in concrete ...
user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
5k views

Definitons of various sand, gravel, and rock products

There are various gravel and rock products for sale, but their names do not always mean what the layman thinks they do. For instance, I ordered three tons of gravel, expecting the 5–15 mm rocks that ...
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7 votes
3 answers
273 views

How do you remove a lot of wall tiles?

How do I quickly remove a lot of wall tiles without damaging the wall?
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  • 5,933
1 vote
1 answer
866 views

What type of wood siding should I use for a shed?

What kinds of inexpensive wood siding, suitable for a shed, are commonly available in the U.S.? I checked Lowe's and Home Depot, but all they had was a single type of barn-style shiplap. I had ...
user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
2k views

How do I install a water line to my refrigerator?

Recently bought a new refrigerator that has an ice maker and now I want to run a water line to the refrigerator (there is not one there right now). The cold water line is pretty much right below the ...
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  • 8,062
4 votes
2 answers
308 views

What is cinderblock?

I live in the UK and have never heard of cinderblock, what is it?
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  • 5,933
5 votes
2 answers
650 views

How do I wire a 3 way light switch?

Two way light switching is common, but how do I setup a 3 way system so the light can be controlled from 3 places?
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  • 5,933
6 votes
2 answers
7k views

How does a three-way light switch work?

A three-way light switch allows the light to be controlled from two locations. How does this work?
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  • 5,933
4 votes
1 answer
2k views

How much weight should a deck of a given area support?

How much weight should a deck of a given area support, either according to building codes or convention? In my local (Massachusetts) building code, I found the answer for floors (40 lbs/ft2 live load)...
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4 votes
3 answers
3k views

How do I build a basement that does not leak when I have a high water level?

How do I insure a basement will not leak when the site has a high water level?
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  • 5,933
41 votes
9 answers
663k views

How can I paint over mold to prevent it from coming back again?

The source of the leak has been fixed, however the old mold keeps showing though the new paint.
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  • 5,933
0 votes
1 answer
499 views

What is asbestos cement sheet?

How do I tell if I have asbestos cement sheet? How should I remove an asbestos cement sheet?
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  • 5,933
5 votes
3 answers
434 views

How do I build a wet room for a wheelchair user?

How do I build a wet room that: Does not leek Does not have water run out of its door Is wheelchair accessible (e.g a very low slope) It is very hard to get the slope right by hand and I have need ...
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  • 5,933
2 votes
1 answer
178 views

What is the difference between “Planning Permission” and “Building Regulation” in the UK and when do I need to get them?

It can be very confusing to know what is covered by “Planning-Permission” and what is covered by “Building Regulation”, so can we have a short answer with links please.
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  • 5,933
2 votes
1 answer
253 views

What are the building regulations in the UK for fitting a light in a bathroom?

What designs of lights are allowed? When do I need to get a building regulation inspection?
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  • 5,933
0 votes
1 answer
116 views

In the UK, where do I buy a “pocket door” kit from?

“pocket doors” are common the USA, however they are hardly never seen in the UK, so how do I buy one in the UK?
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  • 5,933
2 votes
1 answer
137 views

How do I fit a “pocket door”?

What are the fitting options including using a preformed kit etc?
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  • 5,933
5 votes
2 answers
300 views

What is a “pocket door”?

Outside of the USA, most people have never heard of the term “pocket door”. Can you explain what this is?
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  • 5,933

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