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House Repair Talk

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    Plunge cut with circular saw.

    I to cut an 18 x 22 opening in a 30 x 36 piece of 3/4 plywood. Rather than burning out my ancient jigsaw, I would like to just make a plunge cut with my circular saw. I figure to loosen the sole plate so it sits flat, lower the blade slowly to full depth, then proceed with the cut. Is that a...
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    Who is lying about lumens?

    Multiple internet sources say a 100 watt incandescent bulb produced 1600 lumens. However, fixtures at Home Depot give a completely different story. For example, one fixture says it is 180 watt equivalent - and says it produces 1378 lumens. I was looking for ceiling mount fixtures for our laundry...
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    Two questions on drywall repair.

    Replacing drywall around back door from laundry room - my first attempt at drywall. On the left side (photo below) the drywall abuts a wood cabinet. The new drywall extends about an inch into the corner with the cabinet. Typical corner tape seems obviously the wrong choice here. I am...
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    Casement window lubrication?

    My 70 y.o. house has all casement windows and I am starting my son in on replacing the many cranks that are broken. While I typically lubricate moving parts where possible, is this a case where I shouldn't? Using grease on the gear of the crank handle seems like it will be OK, as not too much...
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    Drywall inside corner

    Replacing drywall (very old termite damage) around a back door from laundry room. I have one floor-to-ceiling inside corner and a 4-ft inside corner between the ceiling and wall above the door. Like most long-term home owners I have done lots of small drywall repairs but have never done...
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    Is this a reasonable cost for drywall repair?

    Mother-in-laws house has drywall damage in a bedroom due to roof leak. Contractor proposes replacing drywall on entire 8 x 13 wall (one window) with tape and texture to match room, and replace insulation between two studs, for $1900. In Sacramento CA area. Does that sound reasonable?
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    Mystery toilet leak

    I replaced the toilet in my son's bathroom 3-4 months ago. The base of the new toilet contacted the flange so I used shims to raise it a little then used plaster of paris around the perimeter (except back) to provide a firm foundation. About 3 weeks ago, he noticed water leaking at the...
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    How to cap angle stop

    How do I cap a 3/8 compression outlet from angle stop to a toilet? I searched my local hardware store without finding any kind of cap that will fit the angle stop thread. I expect this is simple for someone who knows what they are doing. Thanks. [explanation for capping is below] The angle...
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    Flat roof repair

    We had a massive, much needed rainstorm a couple weeks ago but the downspout for the flat-roofed section of my mother-in-laws house clogged, the roof flooded and water leaked into the exterior wall of one bedroom. I suspect the water got deep enough that it simply over-topped the edge of the...
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    Wiring new electric cooktop

    The electric cooktop at my mother-in-law's house shorted out and the new one I ordered arrived today. The stove and oven are on the same circuit, which has two 50 amp breakers clipped together. The breakers were tripped by the short, and would not re-set, so they were replaced by an electrician...
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    Termite damage around door

    Twenty-five years after termites were treated, I am finally getting around to fixing the damage. They mostly just ate the sheetrock paper - all those termite tube remnants you see just below the ceiling in the 1st pic are on the surface, not in the wood, but all the paper on the back side of the...
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    How to replace electric cooktop?

    Mother-in-law's cooktop shorted out so I will be replacing it when the new one arrives Thursday. The old one looks like it just dropped into place, and I can't see any type of hold-downs from below, but even with a small pry bar I could only slightly lift one corner. Before I use brut force...
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    The door frame is 32 inches wide ...

    ... which, of course, the exact width of a new door.* After I figure out a 7-foot straight edge, how much should I cut off? Is 1/4 inch enough? *Glad I checked this before I made hinge mortises!
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    Is it OK to add a 20A circuit?

    Electrical system in our now 70 year old house had a 100 amp fuse box. In order to install AC, we up-graded to a 200 amp circuit breaker panel (see photos), retaining the fuse box as a sub-panel. Breakers in the panel currently include: 50+50 (fuse box), 40+40 (AC), 20 (Kitchen appliances), 20...
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    What size water tank?

    My 70 year old house has two water heaters. One is inside the house and serves only the laundry room and kitchen. It is a 20-years old, 40-gallon, gas unit - which is WAY overkill. It still works fine but I would like to replace it before it fails (water tank inside house failing = not good)...
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    AC dims lights

    Our old AC lasted nearly 30 years. When it kicked on, lights throughout the house gave a slight flicker. Our new AC also causes just a flicker but it is clearly more pronounced. Is this a problem?
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    Door out of square

    The front door to my mother-in-law's house has moved out of square, apparently rotated clockwise: The top left (hinge side) has roughly uniform gap to side and top The top lock side has a much larger gap on the top than on the side The latch and bolt strike plates suggest that the bolts...
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    Two colors of paint at corner

    The only way I know to paint a clean, straight line where two colors of paint come together at a corner is to paint one color a little beyond the corner and then put painters tape on that color to paint a straight line with the other color. I seem to recall that, where the corner itself is not...
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    Painting plywood so grain does not show

    The custom cabinets in my 70 y.o. house are made from painted plywood. 25 years ago I removed the doors from one cabinet because my wife wanted open shelves. Now she wants the doors back - but they long ago became pieces of other projects. I did a test run on a piece of AB Marine Grade plywood...
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    Can I use a dimmer switch on a box fan?

    Smoke season has arrived in the Sacramento Valley so I turned on my homemade air filter: a cube of 4" MERV 13 air filters powered by a box fan. Even on low speed the box fan is pretty darn loud. Is there a problem with hooking up a typical dimmer switch as a controller?