How to leave an expansion gap

How to leave an expansion gap

A reader asked me how to leave an expansion gap when installing laminate floor or any other type of floating fllor. That’s an important question. With the right tools it’s really easy. Without the right tools, it’s incredibly frustrating.

The trick to leaving an expansion gap is to place some type of spacer of uniform thickness between your flooring and the wall on all four sides of the room. You can either use commercially produced spacers or make some yourself from thin plywood or other scrap wood.

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Refurbish a toilet with vinegar

Refurbish a toilet with vinegar

Some nasty mineral deposits can build up in toilets over time, which leads some people to replace them. But you don’t have to. Here’s how to refurbish a toilet with vinegar.

Ugly mineral deposits in a toilet can be a turnoff. Fortunately you can fix them with less than $2 worth of vinegar and a little time, by pouring a cup of vinegar into the toilet and letting it sit.

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What is the common wire in electrical wiring?

What is the common wire in electrical wiring?

Sometimes you’ll hear someone refer to the common wire when discussing electrical wiring. Not everyone is born knowing this stuff, but no one wants to sound dumb, either. So what is the common wire in electrical wiring, and what does it mean?

The common wire is normally the white wire, at least in the United States, and is often called the neutral wire. It’s also called common because all circuits in the house typically have the white wires tied together, which means every circuit has that wire in common.

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What to do if a ground wire comes off your light fixture

What to do if a ground wire comes off your light fixture

I had an interesting question the other day. What should you do if a ground wire comes off your light fixture while you’re installing it? You have several options.

If you can’t return the fixture, you can reattach the wire a couple of different ways. Or you can ground the fixture without that wire. But if all that fails, the ground wire is a safety feature and the light fixture will work properly without it.

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Over the range microwave stuck? This may help.

Over the range microwave stuck? This may help.

I had a 13-year-old microwave quit in a rental unit the other week, so I had to replace it. No problem, I figured. When I changed the one in my house it took less than an hour. But this one didn’t go as easy. If your over the range microwave is stuck, like mine, here’s what to try next.

Over the range microwaves typically hook onto a bracket attached to the wall, then hang from the cabinets on 2-3 large bolts. But some have extra hooks higher up on the brackets, and if yours is stuck, that’s probably why.

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Sears vs Stanley Craftsman tools

Sears vs Stanley Craftsman tools

Did you know there are two lines of Craftsman tools? One is controlled by Sears and the other is controlled by Stanley Black and Decker. When it comes to Sears vs Stanley Craftsman tools, there may be a difference, and it’s certainly confusing. Here’s how this confusion came to be.

In March 2017, Sears sold the Craftsman brand name to Stanley Black and Decker while retaining a license to continue to use the name itself until 2032. This is why you can buy Craftsman tools at Sears, yet find different Craftsman tools at other stores.

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How to fix loose dresser drawers: An illustrated guide

How to fix loose dresser drawers: An illustrated guide

A loose dresser drawer probably won’t ruin your morning. But it certainly doesn’t help. Eliminating sources of frustration makes the morning go better, so here’s how to fix loose dresser drawers.

Loose dresser drawers are almost always caused by damaged or missing parts, often from trying to force open an overfull drawer. Once you repair or replace the guides or glides, the drawer stays in place and operates smoothly. The process only takes a few minutes, costs about $3 per drawer, and requires no tools other than a screwdriver.

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Cheap project enclosures

Cheap project enclosures

Commercial boxes for electronics projects are expensive. You can spend more on the enclosure than you spend on the parts it protects, in many cases. I’ve seen plenty of ideas for cheap enclosures from hardware store products. But I have a source for cheap project enclosures that’s both cheaper and more versatile.

Tin boxes, available at dollar stores and gift stores especially in the fall and winter seasons and in secondhand stores almost year-round, make sturdy and inexpensive enclosures with lots of space inside. They are comparable in size to commercial project enclosures but cost 1/3 as much. And if you know where to shop, you can get them year round at an even lower price.

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Shop vac blowing dust out back? It’s the filter.

Shop vac blowing dust out back? It’s the filter.

Is your shop vac blowing dust out the back? Mine always do after a while. Fortunately it’s an easy fix, and you don’t need to replace the unit. If yours just started doing it, stop what you’re doing right away and give the unit a checkup. You may save yourself 20 bucks.

A shop vac-type vacuum blowing dust out the back is always a filter problem: either your filter is clogged, missing, loose, or the dust is too fine. But once you clean or replace the filter, the problem goes away.

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