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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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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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Posted in Building, Decorating, DIY Tips, Gardening, Handyman tips, Plumbing, Woodwork | No Comments »


Boxing in pipework :: Posted by: Admin on January 13th, 2014

Boxing in pipework

Boxing in pipework

Pipes such as heating pipes or waste pipes can look ugly and can be a dust trap, they can be hard to clean and even paint around. The ideal solution is to box pipework in, once they are boxed in, the box can be decorated the same as the surrounding area, such as tiled or painted.

Typically to box in pipework you use timber battens and plywood or MDF, the battens are normally 2×1 inches (50×25 mm) or 2×2 (50×50 mm). The plywood or MDF can be 6 or 9 mm. All of the materials used will depend on the circumstances you plan to box the pipes in. You may even wish to use plasterboard and plaster the box.

Tools required for this job

  • Battens (2×1 or 2×2) (50×25 mm or 50×50 mm)
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Screw or panel pins
  • Spirit level
  • Screwdriver / drill with screwdriver bit
  • Hammer
  • Plywood, MDF, Plasterboard
  • A pencil
  • Tape measure

How to box in pipes

Take the battens and hold them against the wall, use a spirit level to ensure they are upright and level, next drill holes through the wood into the wall, use rawl plugs and screws to fit the batten to the wall ensuring they are level.

Once the two wall battens are fixed you can cut the plywood to the correct size, fix a batten on the outside corner of one of the pieces of plywood, this will allow you to screw the other length of plywood to it giving the external corner a good strong fixing.

Decorating the box

Once the boxing in is done you can decorate the box, if you are painting the box, fill the screw holes and rub them down then apply the appropriate paint to match the surrounding area, you may have to prime the box first to seal the plywood. If you are tiling the boxing in, cut and fix the tiles to match in with to other tiles. You can add skirting boards to horizontal boxing in to match the room, and coving to vertical boxing in to make the box become part of the room and once decorated should like it has always been there.

Horizontal and vertical pipes

The same method for boxing in applies if you are boxing in horizontal or vertical pipes.

You can box in heating pipes, hot and cold water pipes, soil pipes and waste pipes to tidy them up and make them look part of the room.

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10 things that can devalue your property :: Posted by: Admin on August 7th, 2013

Graphic of a house with money going down a drain

10 things that can devalue your property

You can do thing’s that improve your property but you can also do things that will devalue your property, obviously this isn’t a good thing and when selling your property could affect how quickly you sell your property.

You have to think like a buyer and what they maybe looking for, offer a plain canvas so they can put their own mark on the place. The following 10 items maybe good reason for the buyer to knock your asking price down, so take a read and see if you can improve your property before a buyer views your house.

First impressions

First impressions count so make sure your property has good kerb appeal, make sure the frontage is tidy, keep it clean, if you have a garden have some nice shrubs of flowers and keep the weeds and grass down, don’t let the grass get so high you can lose a small child in it. If your property is in need of decoration either do it yourself of call on the services of a professional decorator to do the job for you.

You only get one chance to make a first impression, make it a good one, not a bad one. Bad first impressions are hard to change.

Kitchen

Is your kitchen taken out of the ark? Is it greasier than a chip shop? If your kitchen has seen better days it maybe time to have a new one or at least retrofit it by fitting new door and draw fronts to it. If the walls are greasy use some strong de-greaser to remove the grease.

A clean bright modern kitchen will add value to your property, a run down old one will reduce it’s value. The kitchen is the hub of any home, it should be a nice place to be.

Another thing to consider is if you fit a kitchen that nobody else likes this could also devalue your home, that’s not to say you can’t be modern or contemporary with your choices but when people come to view your property they will have in their minds, “Needs a new kitchen”, and knock your asking price down accordingly.

Bathroom

Much the same as a kitchen the bathroom should be clean and bright. If you have carpet is it in good condition or stained and mouldy, an alternative is a tiled floor, which is easy to keep clean and mob up water.

If you still have a bathroom suite from the 1960’s or 1970’s that is chocolate brown, avocado, turquoise or pink unless you have a retro styled bathroom it could knock a little more of the asking price. White is very popular today with more attention being spent on the accessories such as waterfall taps.

A tiled bathroom is often found nowadays rather than papered due to the fact of the dampness you get in a bathroom from the steam, if you have wallpapered walls that is coming off at the corners, invest in some paste and stick them back.

Decoration

There is nothing wrong with bright colours or big bold patterned wallpaper, but all things in moderation, especially from a buyers point of view. If your decoration is in good condition then you don’t have to worry too much but if you haven’t decorated for the past 15 years consider digging out the paint brushes and roller to give your house a lick of paint to freshen it up.

If you have bright bold colours, consider taming them down a shade or two before putting the house on the market, it won’t be such a shock to the viewers then.

Garden

Both front and rear garden’s are important to maintain, mow the lawn, weed the border and plant some nice shrubs and bedding plants in the border. If you have fast growing Leylandii conifers in the garden make sure they are well maintained and trimmed, the last thing you want to do is end up with a dispute with a neighbor, especially if you are trying to sell your property.

If you have a patio area or decking, give it a clean. Sweep up the fallen leaves. Fix and broken fencing or replace fence panels and mend gates. Put the kids toys away.

Bad workmanship

If you have done any work or had any work carried out on your property make sure it is of a good standard, bad shoddy workmanship shows up and will put people off as they know they will have to redo the work again correctly.

You should never do the work yourself unless you have a good knowledge of what is required, any gas, electric, plumbing and heating should be carried out by a qualified person. If bad workmanship is seen people will wonder what else hasn’t been done right or how much is this going to cost me to put right, all of which devalues your property.

Bad or illegal building

If you have had any building work done in must of been passed with the local building authority, if it isn’t you’ll have real problems when it comes to selling, plus it’s illegal and you could be asked to take it down.

Another issue arises if you live in a listed building, there are rules you have to follow and things you are and are not allowed to do to a property, go against this at your peril and at the expense of devaluing your home.

Building with no planning permission when permission is required will make your property untouchable for many buyers, it just isn’t worth the hassle, so make sure all the paperwork is in order and that the local building authority are happy with your new build before trying to sell.

Woodchip and artex

If you still have woodchip wallpaper or artexed walls this could certainly devalue you property as it isn’t in fashion any more and it can be fairly costly to remove it and have the walls plastered smooth again.

Having woodchip or artexed wall could also show to potential buyers that you haven’t decorated in a while, it could be a deal breaker so consider removing them if you still have them before selling, or be prepared to drop the asking price accordingly.

An Englishman’s home is his castle

As the old saying goes, “An Englishman’s home is his castle”, but that doesn’t mean you have to ram in every period feature into one house, it is good to have original period features but if you adding features be careful not to over do it.

You don’t want to have a ceiling rose with a large light fitting, a picture rail, a dado rail, ornate eight inch skirting boards in a 1960’s end terrace, it just won’t look right and may put people off buying your house as it doesn’t look like a 1960’s end terrace it may look just a bit, over done. So it maybe a good idea to try and keep true to the period of your property when you do it up.

Smells

If you have pets such as cats, dogs and you let them run freely around the entire house you may have pet smells in your house, to avoid this try keeping them downstairs and maybe to one or two rooms to keep smells to a minimum.

Also be aware of leaks, a slow drip from behind the concealed toilet cistern or a leaking kitchen tap will make the surrounding area damp and in time this will smell, if you know you have a leak try and fix it as soon as possible, if you have rotten wood caused by a leak, replace it.

Smells can also come from leaking drainage, you should fix these as soon as possible, not only because of the smell but because of hygiene also.

In summary

I hope this post has been thought provoking as well as useful and pointed out some things that could devalue your house but maybe you hadn’t thought about before.

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