Do-It-Yourself Resources: Supplies and Tips for Home Improvement and DIY

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Learning DIY Guides + Handy Tips:


Guide to Working with Plastics

Ultimate Guide: Fixing your House to Sell

The Basic Plumbing-Techniques Guide

Ultimate Guide to Cleaning

Basic Wiring Techniques

A Place of Your Own Making: How to Build a One-Room Cabin, Studio, Shack, or Shed:

The many virtues of the small, independent building set apart from the main household have been recently rediscovered by those who question the notion that all domestic pursuits must take place under a single roof.

Our new topical guide proves that nearly anyone can construct an outbuilding—not a flimsy, amateurish junk pile either, but a sturdy, handsome, weather-tight structure that’s eminently usable and thoroughly presentable. Such a project can yield a bounty of rewards: a private space in which to work, think, read, write, pursue a hobby, escape from friends or family play or compose or listen to music, introspect, or just relax in splendid isolation. The very same building-supplies industry that has made life easier for professional builders over the years has now made it possible for an unskilled layperson to put up a small building in a surprisingly short time for surprisingly little money. This guidebook describes a basic frame design that conforms to nationally accepted building codes and uses universally available materials. The design has been carefully formulated and tested with an eye toward simplicity and modularity, so the resulting outbuilding is first and foremost very easily constructed.

The sections and the topics covered in them include:

IntroductionPreparationsMaking a SketchThe Foundation • The Deck • About Windows and Doors • Framing the Walls • Framing the Roof • Sheathing, Siding, Windows, and Door • Closing the Roof Ingress: Decks and Stairs • When to Stop • Power • Insulation and Vapor Barrier • The Interior Walls. Completing the Room: Trim and Flooring • Paint, Heat, Finishing Touches let's get going!

The Complete Guide to Kitchen and Bathroom Renovation

Ultimate Guide to Adding On

(adapted from: Time-Life Books Home Repair and Improvement series)


  • Making an Addition Look Right
  • Expanding Up—Unobtrusively
  • How to Fit On a Large Addition
  • Planning the Job to Run Smoothly


  • A Walk-Out Bay Window
  • Framing and Fitting the Window
  • Underpinnings for an Extra Room
  • Grafting New Walls to Old
  • Splicing On a New Roof
  • Finishing an Addition Roof
  • Opening the Common Wall
  • Wiring for a Small Addition
  • Supplying Heat to the Room



  • Extra Steps for a Major Addition
  • Framing Tricks for Longer Walls
  • Tapping the House Plumbing
  • Roof Trusses for a Wide Span

How to Plan and Remodel Attics and Basements

The Basic Remodeling-Techniques Guide

Low-Maintenance Homes

General Guide to Home DIY

Basic Home-Improvement/DIY Stuff

Flooring Tips

Installing Wood Flooring

One would like to install a glue-less wood floor. An example is DiamondPlate. Can one install a glue-less wood floor over vinyl laminate floor? Or should one rip out the vinyl and start from scratch? Is there a danger that trying to rip out the vinyl you are going to have to replace some sub-flooring due to the glue?

The key is to make the under floor level. Each flooring company has a spec on how much the floor can be out over a set length. The floor should be flat within about 1/8 of an inch over 8 ft. Any more than that you you will notice the gaps when you walk on the floor and it will cause the seams to fail over time.

That is where the leveling compounds come in. With wood sub floors I use a power planner to take down the high spots and use a floor leveling compound to fill the low spots.

As long as there is no major voids or humps in the existing vinyl, it should be ok. Those floors float on a liner of closed cell foam or some even rosin paper, but foam gives it some "cush". The foam pad may take a bit to get used to since you may be accustomed to having a solid floor. After a couple of years, because of the maple color and "glueless" design, dirt may infiltrate into the joints and create a black outline around each "board". So, a darker color would mask this condition pretty well. [tips index]

Laminate floor cleaning

Q: What product should be used to clean a laminate floor? When it's cleaned with a regular damp mop it streaks -- it look dull when dry.

A: Use Bona Kemi Hard Surface Cleaner. It doesn't leave any streaks, it's non-toxic and won't damage your laminate floor. Mop with microfiber disposable cloths that attach to a sweeper. [tips index]

Q: What is the best way to clean a tiled floor? There are cheap electrostatic "mops" which can be attached a floor wipe, but they seem to be ineffective. Are expensive "flash" mops which, use fluid bottles, effective? Also, what does one do about stained tiles? Is bleach effective, or will this damage the tile surface?

A: Unfortunately, the best way to clean a floor -- other than using a power washer -- is via plain ol' elbow grease. Get some heavy-duty kitchen gloves, a non-scratching pad, dilute some Simple Green in hot water, and start scrubbing. Repeat as necessary until the floor is spotless. Protect the floor with a decent wax or other surface protector. Clean spills immediately after they occur, mop the floor every week and wax it when it looses its luster. [tips index]

Rugs and Oriental Carpet Tips

Someone asked: I have a rug that's not too large (1m x 3m). My cat vomited up on today. I've had the rug for a few years and it could use a cleaning anyway. What's the best way to clean an oriental rug?

Possible solution: It depends on the value of the carpet. In case it's very rare, expensive or antique, the best way to clean it's to take it to a specialized oriental-rugs cleaning company instead of experimenting on it. Otherwise, you can buy some carpet-washing liquid in a store. Then you need to use a vacuum cleaner with washing functions and spray water on carpet's surface. Mix this washing liquid with water in a bucket and , dipping a brush in it, start cleaning it. It is best if this brush is made of natural materials. You need to rub this carpet evenly cleaning all the spots. Be sure to go through all of the carpet. Then, using the washing vacuum cleaner, suck up all liquid from the carpet. It is best if you hang it to dry, out of direct sunlight. [tips index]

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Shop for:

Hardwood Floors, Laminate Flooring, Bamboo, Wood Flooring — You can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by doing your own flooring installations throughout your home. Use the information on this web site to help plan your next flooring project through each phase. Whether you choose hardwood, tile, vinyl, ceramic, laminate or bamboo, you'll save money and have long-lasting improvements that you can enjoy and appreciate whenever you step through the door.

If you require even more information, we have assembled a list of the most-comprehensive and best-user-rated how-to books and reference material -- all readily available at your local library or book store.

Use our Floor Finder Tool

Carpeting Techniques, Contemporary Area Rugs, Oriental Rugs, Persian Carpets — What's the difference between a $59 rug and a $10,000 rug, and those priced in between those extremes? Why can you walk into a department store and find a 6'x9' rug for $59, then walk across the street to a specialty rug store and find a rug the same size for nearly $10,000?

What's the difference between Machine-Made and Hand-Made rugs and carpets? How does rug fiber in affect rug construction -- it's durability and wear? Ditto for fabric -- is Acrylic (synthetic) or Nylon (synthetic) (BCF or Staple) better than Wool (Natural) or Silk (Natural)? These are some of issues we address on our rugs and carpets pages. Rug search tool

Earth-friendly DIY Home Improvement isn't just for "Tree Huggers": whether you choose to go all the way -- via wind power, solar power or geo-thermal -- or want to start small (e.g., with compact fluorescent light bulbs) this environmentally-conscious web site will tell you how to build, modify and maintain the ideal energy-efficient home, office or dwelling. Earth-friendly DIY Home Improvement ... much of it's affordable effective NOW, it will pay for itself in the LONG TERM and , of course, it's the right thing to do for ourselves, our children, our co-inhabitants -- the plants and animals -- indeed...our planet and the biosphere it supports! top of page

Flooring Products, Home Bedding and Linens



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