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My parents are slobs and it's making me sick.

I live about five hours away from my parents and visit them frequently. However, their house is so dusty and in such disrepair that the visits are exacting a toll. I have dust allergies that go berserk in their house, and my dust-free sleeping solution (air mattress) is starting to hurt my back. Whenever I try to raise these problems with them, I get a million reasons why nothing can be fixed, and often a giant guilt trip to boot. Not visiting: not an option. Inside: details to make Wilson Bentley proud. [more inside]
posted by the_blizz on Jul 20, 2014 - 44 answers

Measure twice, cut once: tool buying edition

With Father's Day fast approaching and the home improvement season upon us, I've been thinking about tools. Delicious, delicious tools. Let's talk about the tools I need for my toolatorium. [more inside]
posted by Admiral Haddock on Jun 2, 2014 - 18 answers

Retaining Wall Blues

We have an unsightly retaining wall in our backyard. I'd love to here your ideas on how to improve the appearance or make it a bit more comely. [more inside]
posted by ACEness on May 30, 2014 - 25 answers

Home Equity-less Loans

Are there any major (read: reputable) lenders that still offer HUD Title 1 home improvement loans? [more inside]
posted by hwyengr on May 20, 2014 - 3 answers

Advice please on selecting/installing flooring in our "utility" area

We have a 450 sq.foot "utility" area (ground level, not a basement, but it is where our HVAC, water heater, laundry, freezer, storage, exercise equipment is). Floor is slab concrete, walls cement block. 45 year old home, original contractor cheap tiles over the years have loosened and the remaining ones are easy to pop up. We do not have ground water or dampness problems in this area. We have gotten so much advice from friends, coworkers, home center folks that I need kind Metafilter folks to steer us to solution for our snowflake needs. Details inside. [more inside]
posted by forthright on May 17, 2014 - 13 answers

"Trench warfare" vs. water in basement?

Before we bought our house, our home inspector suggested a solution to a minor water issue in the basement. I'm considering his solution and others, and welcome knowledgeable opinions. [more inside]
posted by sleevener on Apr 8, 2014 - 12 answers

What are the some tells of home improvement amateurs?

Home improvement professionals and those with a critical eye for detail: what are the 'tells' of DIY home improvement? What separates amateur work from professional work? [more inside]
posted by A Terrible Llama on Apr 1, 2014 - 21 answers

How can I shorten this metal duct (used for a downdraft range)?

I have a very well-constructed downdraft duct that is a few inches too tall. My normal efforts to try to cut it down or remove a piece have been unsuccessful. The downdraft range I bought doesn't line up with the duct and is about two inches too tall. Is there some way I can get the two to play nice? [more inside]
posted by fireoyster on Jan 25, 2014 - 5 answers

Who makes a door like this?

I would like to take the massive sliding doors off my closet, but they seem to be some sort of old-fashioned non-removable monsters. Since they're so big it's a pain to see more than 25% of my clothes at a time, which seems like unnecessary complication.. They're not attached to the rail at the bottom, but the top rail is so tightly fastened that I can't just lift the doors up and off, as most of the online advice seems to be. I tried to unscrew the front door and just angle it out of the the closet frame, but whatever piece is holding it to the roller extends so far into the door that I wasn't able to pull it out. (Now of course I am not having luck at re-screwing the door into the roller, so that's a fun situation). Anyone dealt with this type of door before? I'm renting the apartment, so ideally I'd like to just prop the doors against the bedroom wall or something and hang a curtain in front of the closet. So I can't destroy the doors or anything. Although I have been tempted.
posted by lockstitch on Jan 10, 2014 - 5 answers

I got holes in my shoes and I'm way overdue

Last night I stopped by my local big box home improvement store to buy ice melt and saw that they were looking for part-time help. I'm thinking about applying since we're preparing to buy our first home this fall and thought this might be a good way to learn about home repairs and improvements. Anyone else considered or done this before? [more inside]
posted by playertobenamedlater on Jan 7, 2014 - 13 answers

Make it foggy this winter?

Help me understand humidifiers and purchase one that will help deal with my overly warm/dry winter apartment without breaking the bank. Difficulty level: Canadian! [more inside]
posted by Phalene on Jan 2, 2014 - 12 answers

Do I need to re-prime my walls before painting?

It's been a while since I primed my dining room walls, and I'm not sure if I need to re-prime my walls before painting. Advice paint experts? [more inside]
posted by ratherbethedevil on Dec 9, 2013 - 15 answers

I need to destroy all life...on my deck. Help?

Recently moved into a new house, and the deck has greenish stains all over it (I assume mildew or moss of some kind since it keeps getting bigger). How do I get rid of it? [more inside]
posted by the artless dodger on Oct 25, 2013 - 9 answers

Chimney repair: repoint, rebuild, or remove (and replace [boiler])

The flashing around my chimney isn't doing its job, and I'm getting a little bit of water in my attic during very heavy rains. I'm in the process of getting bids to fix this. Both guys I've had out so far have noticed that the brick is deteriorating - one guy proposed repointing and the other guy thought that the chimney needed to be rebuilt from the roof up. But since the chimney only vents the boiler and the water heater, I got to thinking - should I seize this opportunity to replace these aging appliances with a combi boiler and do away with the chimney for good? [more inside]
posted by ndg on Oct 24, 2013 - 5 answers

How many Ask MetaFilter readers does it take to change a lightbulb?

I've recently moved into a new apartment and found that two of the three bulbs in the bathroom vanity lighting are burnt out. The problem? I can't figure out how to actually get at the bulbs to replace them. Can you help? Images and description inside... [more inside]
posted by Rewind on Oct 13, 2013 - 15 answers

Looking for a window into the mind of old time carpenters. Or a door.

So, I have a pane of glass in a wooden frame. If I call this wooden frame a door, the pane of glass is held in place with some pieces of wooden trim tacked down with some finishing nails. But, if I call this wooden frame a window, the pane of glass is held in place with glaziers points and putty. Why is this?
posted by Kid Charlemagne on Oct 6, 2013 - 4 answers

DIY granite repair

How do I fix a small dent/depression in my granite countertops? [more inside]
posted by raztaj on Oct 5, 2013 - 3 answers

Help me finance my kitchen renovation

We bought our house last year with 15% down, knowing that we would need to redo the kitchen. We think it's going to cost about $25 - $30K. (Estimate is $19K without appliances or counters or cabinets.) When I contacted the guy who sold us our (FHA) mortgage at our local bank, he said that he was unwilling to lend more than 20% of the value of our house. Since we paid 15% down a year ago, obviously we haven't reached the point where we have paid 25% and can borrow another 5%. Bonus time sensitivity: I'm pregnant, the baby is due at the end of February, and the kitchen layout is currently not very functional for something like a million baby bottles on a drying rack. Further snowflakes inside. [more inside]
posted by data hound on Aug 8, 2013 - 9 answers

Working around pump jack braces

I'm installing siding, but the scaffolding I'm using will be attached to the wall where the siding goes. How do I work around this? [more inside]
posted by Ickster on Aug 1, 2013 - 8 answers

Bathroom Closed - No Swimming, By the Order of the Amity PD

How can we make music play when a door is closed? [more inside]
posted by troika on Jul 12, 2013 - 8 answers

Problem with a broken window lock

We have a problem with a broken window lock. [more inside]
posted by TheophileEscargot on Jun 30, 2013 - 8 answers

How easy is parging over a cinderblock exterior wall?

The semi-exposed basement level of my house is ragged looking cinderblock. I would like to smooth it over with some kind of stucco or parging. Is this practical? [more inside]
posted by deern the headlice on Jun 18, 2013 - 10 answers

How do I keep water from coming up through the floor drain my basement?

A puddle of dirty water keeps rising through the floor drain in my basement. Is it something I can fix? [more inside]
posted by critzer on Jun 1, 2013 - 14 answers

Our Old House

What are your recommendations for resources (online or in print) that specialize in repair and maintenance of older homes? [more inside]
posted by backseatpilot on May 6, 2013 - 11 answers

Neighbor rebuilding shared fence--do I have any responsibility?

My neighbor has expressed a desire to rebuild the wooden fence between our houses. We share one side of the fence with her, and it's definitely in need of repair--warped boards, aging, etc. Should she be fully responsible for paying for the fence, since it was her idea to fix it? Or should we contribute some money since we share one side of the fence? [more inside]
posted by starkraven on Apr 2, 2013 - 36 answers

How must/can I modify my basement to legally use it as a bedroom?

I am planning to convert my basement into a bedroom for one of my brothers to use. I was thinking all that was needed was carpeting and paint, but one of my friends recently told me that I may need to have some kind of modification to the basement windows or walls so that there's a fire escape route apart from the stairs. Is this the case? I've had a hard time finding a definitive legal reference as to what I need to do to have someone legally sleep in my basement. [more inside]
posted by Vorteks on Feb 21, 2013 - 13 answers

What will fit into this oddly shaped bathroom space?

We're redoing a bathroom in a house we plan to sell. It's a very old house, so nothing is quite standard. Between the new sink cabinet and the stacked washer / dryer there is a space that's about 10 inches wide, 24 inches deep and 80 inches high. We'd like to make it functional in some way. It also should look nice. [more inside]
posted by heigh-hothederryo on Feb 10, 2013 - 14 answers

Should I tear out the walls and start over?

I live in a one-floor condo unit that was, to put it mildly, poorly built. I, and all my neighbors, have dealt with too many issues to count regarding insulation, wiring, and even window and door frames. I'm no longer satisfied fixing things one at a time... [more inside]
posted by trivia genius on Feb 1, 2013 - 24 answers

How can I get hands-on training in home improvement locally?

Is there some kind of class, part-time apprenticeship, or in-home tutor I can use to get hands-on handyman training near Livonia, MI? [more inside]
posted by Vorteks on Jan 31, 2013 - 3 answers

Please help me negotiate with my sump pump

My sump pump currently has different ideas of when and how it should work than I do. I have a couple of questions about plumbing for the sump, and a question about whether there is something I can fix that will allow me to not replace it. [more inside]
posted by OmieWise on Jan 28, 2013 - 6 answers

Straightforward way to reduce hardwood floor shine?

My very dark strand woven bamboo hardwood floors have a semi-glossy finish. Even after they've been freshly mopped, every speck of dust is visible and they'll look dirty the minute someone – wearing socks fresh out of the laundry, even – walks across the room. Is there any way I can change their finish to matte? [more inside]
posted by halogen on Jan 15, 2013 - 6 answers

Central vac installation questions.

Questions about installing the tubes for central vac. [more inside]
posted by winston on Nov 26, 2012 - 5 answers

What are your favorite lamps that you have used to do work under? What light bulbs do you recommend for these lamps?

What is the best way to outfit an office in an apartment with quality lighting for studying? [more inside]
posted by jModug on Nov 25, 2012 - 7 answers

What's better: salt water or chlorine pool?

I'm planning to have an in-ground pool installed in my backyard. Which would be better: a chlorine system or a salt water system? [more inside]
posted by starkraven on Oct 3, 2012 - 16 answers

Is an increased electrical service worth the extra cost?

Is upgrading an electrical service worth the extra expense? [more inside]
posted by smcniven on Sep 15, 2012 - 6 answers

What's a reasonable price range for a basic in-ground swimming pool?

What's a reasonable price range for a basic in-ground swimming pool (rectangularly shaped, 3-5ft deep, chlorine or salt water)?
posted by starkraven on Sep 14, 2012 - 5 answers

Suggested Medium for an Outdoor Beast Head

We had a new heating system installed that created two new pipes sticking out of the back of our house that belch steam. I thought it might be cool to build a huge beast head to hang over it so it looks like a smoke belching beast on the back of our otherwise sensible looking home. Aesthetically, I will just lay all my cards on the table and say that I was envisioning the beast head being built up mostly from flat scaley pieces like an AJ Fosik sculpture or a parade dragon. I have an artistic background and some experience with wood and clay sculpture, but I don't know how to weld or do anything exotic with plastics or anything, so I am in search of a medium that is hopefully cheap, preferably beginner friendly, and can stand up to steam and the outdoors in general (in upstate NY where we get all the seasons). Any suggestions?
posted by SharkParty on Aug 14, 2012 - 9 answers

Need A New Roof

Tell me what I need to know about replacing a roof myself, versus the cost of having someone else do it for me. [more inside]
posted by AzraelBrown on Aug 6, 2012 - 22 answers

Fixing net curtain cord to ceiling above bay window?

How to fix net curtain cord to ceiling above bay window? [more inside]
posted by TheophileEscargot on Jul 26, 2012 - 3 answers

How much green is too much green?

Would it be weird if I painted three out of five upstairs rooms the same soft green color, if they were given different treatments? [more inside]
posted by A Terrible Llama on Jul 25, 2012 - 32 answers

Drywall/Plasterboard and Insulation Installation help needed!

We live in a 160 year old stone house in Scotland that is really cold in winter. Please help me make it warmer? I've been told it's easy to take down the drywall/plasterboard, install insulation, and put more drywall/plasterboard up again. But is it? [more inside]
posted by hazyjane on Jul 14, 2012 - 23 answers

Removall or other eco-friendly paint removers for retail in Twin Citites?

Looking for a lead on Removall 220 available for retail in the Twin Cities area, or recommendations of equivalent (brushable, eco-friendly) paint strippers. [more inside]
posted by longtime_lurker on Jul 10, 2012 - 2 answers

Faux Stone Everywhere

Wifey and I are looking for bathroom and kitchen tile, and we're frustrated by the amount of 'earth tone' colors -- yellows and browns and tans, which are generally the color of the things you want to flush away in the bathroom, if you get my drift. Where do we find bright, clean color tile these days? [more inside]
posted by AzraelBrown on Jun 18, 2012 - 17 answers

Unique Tool Filter

What can I splurge on? Tool Edition. [more inside]
posted by Nackt on Jun 6, 2012 - 26 answers

Help me clean grout off ceramic tile!

Hello, recently I had some ceramic tile installed. There is excess grout on many of the tiles. How do I clean it off? [more inside]
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey on Apr 17, 2012 - 3 answers

Mission: Goodbye Astro-steps

The tacky old indoor/outdoor carpet glued to my back steps is ragged and coming off. Can you help me brainstorm an improvement? [more inside]
posted by werkzeuger on Apr 16, 2012 - 12 answers

The lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host, and then a master.

So much of my headspace is wrapped up in how my house looks (which is not so awesome) and it drags me down whenever I’m at home. This isn’t how I want to feel about my home. Can you help me change my attitude? [more inside]
posted by anderjen on Apr 12, 2012 - 32 answers

How to get double-sided mounting tape off the wall?

How to get double-sided mounting tape off a wall you can't paint? [more inside]
posted by JoannaC on Mar 13, 2012 - 15 answers

How can I rid my apartment of negative energy and replace it with positive?

Recently moved apartment, and found that two of the rooms are filled with negative energy. Guests concur: when you're in these rooms, you'd rather be elsewhere. Therefore I'm looking for tried-and-tested home improvement tips to clear rooms of negative energy and fill it with positive. (I've looked into feng shui, but interested to know what specifically has worked for the community.) Thanks!
posted by scrm on Feb 23, 2012 - 32 answers

Tool me up, please.

Help a homeowner spend $500 to expand his basic tool collection. What will give me the most value and use for my money? [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Feb 10, 2012 - 30 answers

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