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Making and using a water level :: Posted by: Admin on January 13th, 2016

Making and using a water level

Water levels can come in very useful when you need to make a level line across a big expanse, such as in a room and a level simply won’t do. You can buy laser levels but they can be expensive and you may only require it once, this post describes how to make a cheap water level.

Water levels can be used for things such as dado and picture rails, wallpaper borders etc.

close up water level graphic

Making a water level

To make a water level is fairly straightforward, you will need the following items.

  • A long length of clear tubing
  • Water
  • Something to bung ends of tube (optional)
  • Funnel (optional)

You will need a length of clear tubing, long enough to reach around your work area, such as a room. The tube needs to be clear so you can see the water, so a garden hose wouldn’t be any good as it isn’t transparent.

Once you have your length of tubing you need to fill it with water. This can be done by using a funnel in one end of the tube and running water into it to fill the tube. You can also try the syphon method, but what ever you find works best for you. Make sure that there are no air bubbles in the length of tube, if there are work them out to an open end.

Don’t fill the tube fully as you will need to allow the water to move without it coming out all over the place and for it to settle to get the level.

Once the tube is filled enough you will need to stop the water coming out again, this can be done simply by placing your thumb over the end or a bung of some kind if you have one.

Using a water level

Now that you have made your water level you are ready to use it. You will need a starting point, this can be achieved by measuring and making a pencil mark, or maybe using an existing level, such as a dado rail, it could even be something in another room if the tube is long enough. For example if you want to make sure the dado rail is the same in two rooms. This will be your starting point.

You will need a second person to help you with using the level. One stays at the original level point whilst the other uses the level and marks the wall at the level.

The person holding the ‘fixed’ end, that is the original level mark stays holding the tube at this point, whilst the second person moves to a new point and holds the tube against the wall. The first person instructs the second person to move up or down until the water is level with the original mark, the second person can then mark the wall level with the water in the tube, thus giving a level line.

Continue doing this in several places as required. Remember not to lift tube too high without having end blocked as it will flow out. You can then if required draw a line and join up the marks.

water level grapgic

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How to secure outbuildings and sheds :: Posted by: Admin on November 5th, 2015

CCTV and padlock

How to secure outbuildings and sheds

We all struggle for storage spaces and often fill our sheds, garages, summerhouses and outbuildings with ‘stuff’, now whether we need it or not or simply store it until we go to the local dump with it the problem is all the same.

Sometimes we may have a man cave where we go and organise our tools and tinker on the latest product, or maybe we have turned our shed into our office? Whatever we use the buildings for we need to make sure they are secure as they can often be easy pickings for thieves.

Keeping it secure

The simplest way and cheapest way is to fit a padlock onto the door using a hasp and staple. However, you can go further and install alarms and CCTV but this choice comes down to what you keep stored away.

The very least should be a lock of some kind, this will deter the opportunist thief. Adding locks is far cheaper than replacing stolen belongings such as bikes, lawn mowers etc. Once you have a lock fitted, always lock up when you are finished.

If your outbuilding has windows you could put bars over the window to stop easy access through the window, if the windows are lockable, lock them.

Lights, CCTV, Alarm

If you have more valuable stuff stored away such as bikes or your outbuilding is a home office you may wish to consider adding a little more security than just a padlock. An exterior light fitted with a PIR (passive infrared sensor) that comes on when movement is detected is a good idea and could scare off would be thieves.

If you want to keep an eye on what is going on you can install a simple CCTV system, these have come down in price in recent years and will allow you to see what is going on and who maybe lurking around. There are many systems to choose from, many are self install and can be connected to a PC or TV for viewing.

An alarm could also be fitted, these can be self install and don’t have to cost a lot of money for a basic system. A simple PIR (passive infrared sensor) and one or two door / window magnetic sensors should come in under £100.00.

Securing other items

Some people may have extension ladders that do not fit into a shed, garage or outbuilding and simply leave these lying on the garage roof or just in the back garden, well these can be used to gain access to yours on someone else’s property, securing these is simple and cheap, ladder clamps that allow ladders to be securely hung on a wall, or a simple heavy duty chain and padlock secured to a permanent fixture will prevent them being used.

Other items such as screwdrivers, hammers etc. shouldn’t ne left around in the garden for example as these can aid a burglars access to a property or outbuilding.

In conclusion

We all have to store things and most often this is done in outbuildings, simple steps such as those listed above could prevent items being taken or use to gain access to a property.
They don’t have to cost a lot and it is up to you how far you want to go, beit a simple padlock or more secure with locks, lights CCTV and alarms, this will mainly come down to the area you live in and the value of items stored.

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Lining paper, what is it? :: Posted by: Admin on February 4th, 2015

Lining paper, what is it?

Lining paper has been traditionally used to produce a good, sound, smooth surface for wallpapering over, however it is now more popular to hang lining paper and emulsion over it.

Lining paper is used to remove any small imperfections on a wall or ceiling, it is not however a miracle cure, so preparation should always be done before hanging lining paper. It isn’t a substitute for plastering either.

Once all the holes and cracks have been filled, the walls or ceiling should be properly rubbed down and any filler should be sanded smooth and level. One this is done dust down the walls to remove any loose debris. You can seal any filler by either using a ‘size’ such as watered down wallpaper paste, or you can emulsion over the filler to help seal it off.

Lining paper rolls

What thickness lining paper

Lining paper comes in different thicknesses, guages or grades, this refers to their weight. they start at 800 guage and go up to 2000 guage, it all depends on how thick you want it to be. Lining paper does offer some insulation qualities but there are also specialist papers for this.

A good mid-range lining paper to go for is 1200 or 1400 guage, they aren’t too thin and not to thick to be hard to work with.

Can I paint lining paper

As mentioned above, lining paper is meant to produce a smooth background for wallpapering over, but yes you can paint over the lining paper once it is fully dried.

Cross lining, what’s that?

Cross-lining is where the lining paper is hung horizontally rather the vertically like traditional wallpapers, normally if you are going to be emulsioning over the lining paper you could hang it as you would wallpaper, vertically.

Once you have hung the lining paper you need to allow it to fully dry before you emulsion over it, this will take normally between 12 – 24 hours depending on drying conditions.

How to measure for lining paper

Before you buy lining paper or order wallpaper you need to know how much to buy, I have written an article on how to measure a room for wallpaper that explains how you need to do it. I have also written a wallpaper calculator so you can work out how many rolls of wallpaper you need to buy.

Cost of lining paper

With everyone having to tighten their belts these days, cost is a real factor when it comes to decorating, wallpaper can be very expensive if you plan to wallpaper the entire room, a way around this is to only do one wall, or a feature wall as it is known.
If however you wish to change the look of a room every couple of years, or you have pets or children that makes wallpaper not a viable option, lining paper and emulsion maybe the answer.

Once lining paper has been put up it can painted over and over again, saving costs in the long run as all that is required is a fresh new coat of emulsion. Also, if you then decide to wallpaper at a later date, you can do so over the emulsioned lining paper.

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DIY jobs – The right tool for the job :: Posted by: Admin on July 22nd, 2014

Hammer and screw

DIY jobs – The right tool for the job

When it comes to tackling DIY jobs it is best to be planned and prepared, whether it be a building job, gardening, a simple handyman job, plumbing or woodworking job, it is best to be prepared with the correct tools. By using the wrong tool for the job you run the risk of personal injury, damaging equipment or the job you are working on, and more often than not using the wrong tool makes the job harder to do and makes the job take longer to complete.

The right tools for the job

It maybe an old saying and a bit of a cliche but, by having the right tool for the job, will make the job far easier, safer and produce a far superior job. Rather than struggling without the correct tools and in an unsafe way and finishing up with a botched job that you’ll more than likely end having to redo, or calling in a professional to do the job properly for you.

A clean workspace is a safe workspace

If you have a clean environment to work in, without clutter and dangerous hazards such as extension leads and tools all over the floor, the DIY job will be a far safer place to work and a easier place to work, so you will enjoy doing some DIY rather than hate it and shudder at the thought of any DIY tasks. It doesn’t take long to move stuff out of the way and tidy up.

Be prepared

Take time to think about the job, gather the tools you will need, remove any dangers (this includes small children and pets) from your work area. Think about how you are going to do the job, have you got everything that you require to complete the job, the last thing you want to do is have to rush out and buy something in the middle of the job.

If you are doing a plumbing job don’t forget to turn off any water supply before removing taps or cutting pipes. Make sure electrical supplies are turned off before touching wires or removing socket face plates.

Gardening

If you decide to do a DIY job in the garden you should still think about the right tool for the job, and of course safety, such as using an extension lead with a RCD plug (residual-current device) so that if you run over it with the mover the power will be cut immediately.

Power tools

Lets face it we all love power tools, right? Well in the wrong hands they can cause serious injury and damage. However, having the correct power tool for the job will again make life easier, quicker and far more enjoyable.
Wallpaper and heat gun

Your stories

If you have any stories you would like to share, please do so in the comment box below. We would love to hear them,

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