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33 votes
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How do I self-repair a section of crumbling basement wall, or should I hire a professional?

It looks like a cosmetic DIY patch-job was already attempted before. The current situation is exactly how you can expect your attempt to turn out. This is a structural issue and I would hire a ...
MonkeyZeus's user avatar
  • 16.8k
17 votes
Accepted

Plumber set my bathtub on top of Great Stuff foam. Do I need to pull the tub?

Perfectly common modern technique. You should relax, and keep the plumber's number handy in the not-very-likely event that it "fails." Me, I use plaster, but I have nothing against foam done ...
Ecnerwal's user avatar
  • 221k
14 votes

Rusted screws in outdoor outlet box

Hacksaw? If you saw thru the rusty plate (twice, one for left slot and one for right) and remove it by pulling it out from under the screw, the remaining screw will be sticking up enough for you to ...
Willk's user avatar
  • 6,623
10 votes

How do I self-repair a section of crumbling basement wall, or should I hire a professional?

The first step of repairing a deteriorated wall is to knock loose and remove the bad materials to the solid base. However, in your case, I suspect there is nothing solid that remains, as the cracks ...
r13's user avatar
  • 3,392
10 votes

How much air under tile is acceptable?

How much air under the tile is acceptable? Virtually none. Tile installers use notched trowels for a very specific reason: To allow the mortar to make consistent, supportive and bonding contact with ...
isherwood's user avatar
  • 142k
9 votes
Accepted

What is the North American term for sand used in making mortar for laying a sandstone patio?

"Washed concrete sand", or "masonry sand" is sharp-edged so it packs well and holds its shape to some extent. It also tends to be coarser than playground sand, for example. Common ...
isherwood's user avatar
  • 142k
8 votes

Rusted screws in outdoor outlet box

WD-40 is NOT a good penetrating oil. Liquid Wrench is better, but still not that great. The best kinds are called Kroil or PB Blaster, you can find them in auto parts stores. But if you don't have an ...
JRaef's user avatar
  • 15k
8 votes

Raising a thinner tile to be level with a thicker tile

Yes you can build it up. If you are 3/16" off you might just want to use a 3/16 or 1/4 grooved trowel. Trowel the full area leaving the ridges, wait for it to setup and then fill in the grooves. ...
Fresh Codemonger's user avatar
8 votes

How much air under tile is acceptable?

The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) publishes a handbook for designers. It's purpose is to provide bathroom designs and quality tolerances so that a designer can create construction documents ...
popham's user avatar
  • 10.5k
6 votes

Rusted screws in outdoor outlet box

Cut strip in middle. Bend each part and use as a "spanner" to friction turn the screws while also applying torque to the screws. Having three arms or a helper makes this easier. Once you ...
Russell McMahon's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

Will a cement mixer extend the working life of mortar?

A mixer might help you mix smaller batches more quickly, so that you can easily adjust the size of a batch and keep up. But most mixers will make you think you should be making an even larger batch, ...
Ecnerwal's user avatar
  • 221k
5 votes

Rusted screws in outdoor outlet box

Try using an impact driver , the other rusted screw may shear off though , judging by its condition. I'd opt replacing the box , as its too much headache to fix. If you do get it out, try adding ...
binaryOps20's user avatar
5 votes

Rusted screws in outdoor outlet box

The box looks like it is plastic, so if you can get a good grip on the screws, they should be able to be forcibly removed. You could start with the impact driver, then the ole Dremel a deep slot in ...
DaveM's user avatar
  • 2,745
5 votes

How to set a sole plate on a bumpy basement floor

Use a product called "non-shrink grout" It is available in big box stores and masonry supply businesses. It is a cement product, can be laid out under the plate, not needing to cover any ...
Jack's user avatar
  • 35.8k
5 votes
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Do I still need mortar under this drop-in tub?

It appears to be some sort of plastic/fiberglass tub. If you don't bed them, they move (which feels "cheap" when you stand in it, because it is) and the movement leads to fatigue cracking, ...
Ecnerwal's user avatar
  • 221k
4 votes
Accepted

Bathtub mortar base

Contact of the bottom of a steel tub with a mortar bed could cause corrosion of the tub from the bottom. If the instructions do not call for a mortar bed, I would not use it without expert opinion to ...
Jim Stewart's user avatar
  • 22.1k
4 votes
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Installing 'TruStone' veneer, directly on painted drywall?

Probably not a good idea. As you said, the stones are heavy. If you could guarantee a solid rest on the floor, maybe, but I'd simply cut out the drywall a few inches inside your stone area, replace it ...
isherwood's user avatar
  • 142k
4 votes
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How can I remove cured tile mortar from subfloor?

Tile mortar is actually fairly soft. If you have access to a belt sander, take a coarse grit to it. Otherwise, scrape at it with a robust flat tool like a cold chisel.
isherwood's user avatar
  • 142k
4 votes

Why did concrete screws feel loose when installed in a brick wall?

Tapconing into a mortar joint is to be avoided. See the discussion here. And the one here about how 3/16" are garbage. Use 1/4". If the Tapcon goes into a mortar joint it's pull out ...
Mazura's user avatar
  • 13.4k
4 votes

Why did concrete screws feel loose when installed in a brick wall?

For something as substantial as a mantle, I would not use simple Tapcons. Tapcons are great for simple fasteners, but aren't that great for something like this. I would highly suggest installing a ...
Machavity's user avatar
  • 25.3k
4 votes

Do I need to seal the base of a shower and the surrounding tile?

There are two schools of thought: One is to attempt to maintain a waterproof 'seal' by ensuring all grout is treated with a waterproofing agent (but that agent is likely to break down and need to be ...
virtualxtc's user avatar
  • 2,597
4 votes
Accepted

How to stop bricks pushing out while drilling?

I would suggest re-doing the cement for the bricks, allow to dry. Then once hard I would secure a wood panel (12" or 15" square) over that area to help hold the bricks back. Then drill gently.
Solar Mike's user avatar
  • 27.8k
4 votes

What critter (insect?) removes sand from between paving bricks?

Sidewalk ants are a thing. They are very tiny. But there are also many species of wasp that do this, and are difficult to spot since they spend time either underground or in flight.
Phil Freedenberg's user avatar
4 votes

What type of mortar should be used for small mortar repair on a 100 year old house?

Yes, historic buildings need mortar that matches the older brick strength; N (psi 750) and S (psi 1800) could eventually cause the bricks to crack. Type K (psi 75) is a bit too weak though. If you can ...
Liz's user avatar
  • 41
4 votes

How should I patch up cinder block hole with plumbing?

You need to make sure that you can have access to the space in case you need to address any issues with the plumbing in the future. ( especially since you have a fernco type rubber fitting installed. )...
Alaska Man's user avatar
  • 13.7k
4 votes
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How do I avoid this white residue around brick after my first attempt at mortar repointing?

Your mortar is probably too wet and you're trying to point flush. It sounds [& looks] more like you're using a grouting technique, where you can just wipe excess off afterwards, rather than ...
Tetsujin's user avatar
  • 11.5k
4 votes

Filling mortar cracks with caulking instead of tuckpointing

They literally sell mortar repair in a caulk tube so consider using that. I think the comments under your question are hung up on latex/silicone caulk. They are right, it's the wrong product. If you ...
MonkeyZeus's user avatar
  • 16.8k
3 votes
Accepted

What's the best ratio for sand-only concrete?

First I want to point out that the hardness has a lot to do with cure time and temperature. Longer cures (6-8 weeks) at cool temperature (say 50 °F) are harder. Short, hot cures are harder initially, ...
Ben Welborn's user avatar
  • 6,212
3 votes
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Reduce Tiling Dry/Wait Times

Some ideas: Use a faster mortar (or an admix designed to speed cure time). Finish the set in the evening to give it overnight to cure before foot traffic. Lay down blankets and then plywood/OSB after ...
isherwood's user avatar
  • 142k
3 votes
Accepted

Drop-down shower floor prep

I would probably still put a liner in. It doesn't hurt to have, and a liner makes sure all the water goes where you want it to go. You can use RedGuard in place of a shower pan liner, but make sure ...
Chris M.'s user avatar
  • 798

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