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This Old House

This Old House May/June 2019

This Old House gives you the inspiration, information and instruction you need to take on home improvement projects of all sizes and succeed. In every issue, find fresh design ideas for every room, creative DIY solutions, step-by-step projects, and tips from the pros. For annual or monthly subscriptions (on all platforms except iOS), your subscription will automatically renew and be charged to your provided payment method at the end of the term unless you choose to cancel. You may cancel at any time during your subscription in your account settings. If your provided payment method cannot be charged, we may terminate your subscription.

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4 Nummer

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3 min
reader mail

RENOVATION SEASON generally means summer, but if our in-box is any indication, This Old House readers keep busy even when temperatures dive. This past winter, each time a big snowstorm hit, we saw a jump in the number of DIY projects readers sent our way. Our January/February 2019 issue kindled plenty of ideas and plans, too. Problem-solving DIY project Thank you to Kristine Franklin and her mini barn doors! This project (Home Solutions, January/February 2019) solves a problem for me, too. I have a bumpout in my laundry room with a door to get at the water pipes that run beneath it. I recently got a new, bigger washing machine, and it blocks that door. Small-scale barn doors are a perfect solution for me! —MIMI KALMAN, VIA E-MAIL Renovation inspiration Just when winter has worn…

2 min
how safe is your home’s wiring?

An Ounce of Prevention More than half of the 28,000 electrical home fires¹ and nearly 70% of the 400 electrocutions that occur in the U.S.² every year could have been prevented with two inexpensive, DIY-friendly safety devices. And while these devices may look similar, the ground-fault and arc-fault dangers they prevent—and functions they perform—are vastly different. Here’s why you need the protection of both. The Ground-Fault/Arc-Fault Difference Ground-faults occur when electricity escapes bare, damaged, wet, or poorly insulated wires and takes a shortcut to the ground. If your body provides the path to that ground, you could be electrocuted. Arc-faults happen when electricity crosses a gap between damaged wiring such as loose, corroded, overloaded connections in walls, appliances, and cords. The resulting high-intensity heat can ignite surrounding materials, including framing and insulation. GFCI…

1 min
home solutions

Unique DIY stepping-stones Create a one-of-a-kind garden path by making sand molds with oversize leaves—like the rhubarb here—and casting the shapes in concrete. Plan how many you’ll need by pacing your yard, so the stones will more or less match your stride. To settle them into the soil, use a sharp blade to cut around each one, and excavate about 3 inches. To stabilize the roughly 2-inchthick stones, backfill with a layer of pea gravel, then of sand. Though you can paint the stones, coating the porous concrete with a clear masonry sealer lets each leaf’s veining be the star. See the step-by-step, opposite.…

1 min
safer ways to strip paint

Problem ingredients: Methylene chloride, a volatile solvent found in fast-acting paint strippers, is a known neurotoxin and possible carcinogen that has caused many fatalities over the years. Also called dichloromethane (DCM), its sale was set to be banned by the EPA at the end of 2017. When that regulation was put on hold, The Home Depot and Lowe’s proactively purged methylene chloride strippers from their store shelves. Those retailers took the same steps against paint strippers with NMP (n-methyl-2-pyrrolidone), a less volatile, slow-acting solvent, because of its adverse effects on fetal development. But the strippers with these solvents remain widely available—and may be hanging around on a shelf in your home. If you’re planning a paint-stripping project, use one of these less toxic options instead. Option A: SAFER CHEMICALS Look for strippers with…

1 min
springclean your sofa

What it means: Wet! Use water or a waterbased cleaner. Where you’ll see it: Seats, cushions, and slipcovers made from synthetics like polyester, nylon, acetate, herculon, or olefin. What it means: Solvent, as in a dry-cleaning solvent. Water could damage material with this symbol. Where you’ll see it: Naturalfiber fabrics, including cotton, silk, rayon, linen, and wool. What it means: No liquids! Use a vacuum or brush to whisk away surface debris. Water or solvents could damage or shrink these materials. Where you’ll see it: Fabric blinds and shades. What it means: Spot clean only with water or solvent. Unless you know a stain is oil-based, try water first. Where you’ll see it: Thicker, textured fabric that has a nap or pile, like velour.…

1 min
leaf stepping-stone how-to

1. PREP THE LEAVES Place each leaf you’re casting facedown. Using a paintbrush and some cooking oil, coat the underside, as shown. This will help you remove the leaf from the concrete casting later on. 2. BUILD THE BASE On a flat work surface, form a roughly 1-inch-thick bed of sand for each casting that is slightly larger than the leaf’s perimeter. Spray the sand with water to help it keep its shape. 3. PACK WITH CONCRETE Lay each leaf facedown on the sand, and mix up the concrete. Using a flat trowel, cover the leaf with an even layer of concrete at least 2 inches thick, extending the mixture to its edges and pressing the leaf into the sand, as shown. Use the trowel to neaten the outline and flatten the surface. Let the…