Tips In Using Pre-Blended Mortar Mix

Most individuals plan DIY tasks to make their homes and properties appealing and strong. And, individuals use reliable materials when building such as cement. However, there are cases when cement is not suitable for such areas. Or perhaps, there are better alternatives for cement like pre-blended mortar mix.

Pre-blended mortar mix is designed for both professional and DIY persons since it is easy to use. In addition, this type of mix is suitable for brickwork, blockwork and stone laying needs. Other than that, homeowners can also use mortar mix in creating letterboxes, paving, retaining walls and garden beds. But, in order to create all of these, it is imperative to know how to use pre-blended mortar mix. To help you, below are some tips you need to know.

Mixing Tips

When mixing mortar, make sure your project is properly laid out with all the necessary tools at hand.

  • Next, individuals need to pour the required amount of mortar into a wheel barrow or a clean bucket. It is important to ensure you use contents as soon as possible after opening the product packaging.
  • After which, calculate the amount of water you will need. For each 10kg of Mortar add 1.6 litres of water.
  • Add water gradually and mix thoroughly to a stiff consistency (e.g. until the mix just slips off the trowel when lightly flicked). Note: Excess water can ruin good mortar. Should too much water be added, leave the mixture aside until it thickens to a workable consistency.
  • Finally, the mortar is now ready to trowel onto bricks or blocks.

Storage Tips

In case that you have not used all the pre-blended mix, it is imperative that you store it properly.

Most of the time, can be kept for up to six months if kept in a dry environment, off the ground and providing the bags remain sealed. Individuals must be aware that factors like high temperature and high humidity conditions may reduce the storage life of the product.

Safety Precautions

When using mortar mix, it is also best that you how to safely use it. Below are some safety tips.

During use, avoid inhalation of dust and contact with the skin and eyes. Wear suitable clothing, gloves, eye protection and respiratory protective equipment since it contains cement powders which can be harmful to the skin.

If contact with the skin occurs, individuals need to thoroughly clean the area with plenty of fresh water and soap. Meanwhile, in case of contact with the eyes rinse with plenty of fresh water and seek medical advice. And, if swallowed, seek medical attention immediately. Do not induce vomiting.

These are only some of the essential tips that individuals need to know when using pre-blended mortar mix.

The Important Pros and Cons of Vinyl Siding

If you are on the market for new home siding, it is no surprise that you are considering vinyl. Vinyl plastic exterior has been a long-time favorite for both residential and commercial properties, and for many reasons. Although there are a few drawbacks you need to think about, this material is almost always a safe investment. Continue reading to review some of the common pros and cons of vinyl siding.

Pros

Vinyl siding is mostly admired for its extreme versatility. It comes in a wide range of colors, styles, textures, and more, which makes customizing the look of your home an easy task. Aside from versatility, vinyl is very low maintenance. Caring for it is simple, and there is very little you need to do to make it last a long time. Furthermore, installation is quick and easy, and the cost comparison to other options on the market is very low. It is one of the most affordable choices for residential siding you can buy.

  • Very durable;
  • Lasts between 30 and 40 years with good care;
  • Endless color options and schemes;
  • Very low maintenance;
  • Easy to clean and care for;
  • Insulated options increase energy efficiency;
  • Cheapest siding option on the market;

Cons

There are not many drawbacks to vinyl siding, however, there are a few attributes that are important for you to know in order to make an educated decision. For instance, it is not waterproof. Although it is water-resistant, poor installation can let water leak behind the panels and cause rot, mold, and mildew. Also, many homeowners have complained that the color option is too permanent with vinyl siding. Whatever color you choose, it will always be that color. That is because plastic exterior siding cannot be repainted like other siding materials.

Another common con to this material is the potential for the boards to warp, bend, or dent. This can happen from a string impact or extreme summer heat. Homeowners also complain that whole panels must be replaced because there is no patchwork in vinyl siding. Some additional common complaints about vinyl siding include:

  • 90% of homes have vinyl siding, so it’s not always the most unique;
  • Lawn mowers, weed trimmers, and even high winds can rip panels off;
  • Faulty installation can lead to water leaks, rot, mold, and decay;
  • It can crack in extreme cold weather, and warp in hot weather;

Know How Acrylic Rendering Can Benefit You and Your House

Rendering has become one of the most acceptable forms of exterior coverage for residences, commercial places along with the workplaces. Whether you want to have a classic appearance to your house or want a contemporary look for your home, there is no better option than to put a cover on the wall. Available in multiple options and varieties, rendering can prove to be a fantastic choice on your part. The most common dilemma arrives when it comes to choosing rendering you wish to incorporate to your walls.

Among the most popular choices, cement rendering and foam rendering are considered to be the first preference of a significant section of people. However, if you think about affordability and quality of work at the same level, consider covering your wall with acrylic rendering. Take a look at the significant benefits that are related to the acrylic rendering before making any final decision regarding it.

Resistant to cracks

This particular type of rendering is known to be the most flexible among all the other options. Unlike cement, it does not just stick to the wall. Weather change is a prime reason that can cause the appearance of cracks in the walls if the material you are planning to use is not resistant to expand in heat. Acrylic is undoubtedly a flexible material that gets extended when the chances of cracks occur. Thus, you may expect a long-term durability from this particular rendering compared to the other options.

Substrate Compatibility

The best part of using acrylic rendering for your walls is it is compatible with most types of wall bases. Be it timber or concrete; the application process remains the same. For this reason, reputed companies associated with render installation or rendering repairs are likely to suggest you this particular product over the other ones. Moreover, you can ask the professionals to apply this specific rendering material on your already painted walls as it will be compatible with the paints as well, unlike most of the traditional renders.

Attractive designs

One of the prime reasons for acrylic render to gain popularity over the other options is you can incorporate different designs and textures in the rendering, unlike its competitors. Carry out extensive research on this issue to know about some of the most popular designs in the market and use a preferable one. Create the finish of your choice on the exterior walls to add brilliance. It will quickly get dried up and sit on the wall firmly making it look uniquely textured.

Increased breath ability of the wall

Going through the attributes of the acrylic rendering will also suggest you that this particular rendering efficiently enhances the breath ability of your wall. Despite being stronger than the other traditional rendering, the mix is prone to get expanded naturally. It does not soak water and cause the occurrence of water leakage through the wall. Being water resistance, it does not welcome bacterial infestation or fungi formation throughout the wall. Therefore, it can be said that choosing acrylic rendering will lead you to switch into healthy living.

Mistakes In Choosing Posts For Letterboxes

Post mounted letterboxes are still popular these days since it is more visible than other types of mailboxes such as brick in, fence mounted as well as wall mounted ones. Not to mention, these boxes can easily improve the looks for your front yard. However, in order to obtain these features, you need to make sure that you partner this letterbox with the right post. Unfortunately, some homeowners neglect this, which can affect the safety and appeal of post mounted mailboxes. To help you, below are some of the most common mistakes in choosing posts for letterboxes.

Failing to consider mailbox designs

One of the main mistakes that homeowners make when buying mailbox posts is they fail to consider the design of their boxes. As mentioned above, there are numerous mailbox styles. But, there are also a wide selection of posts to choose from. Because of this, there are cases when individuals forget about their mailboxes when choosing a post. As a result, combinations can be odd. Or perhaps, mailboxes are too stylish than its posts making it unsightly.

Neglecting post composition

The next mistakes that individuals make when choosing posts for their mailboxes is they neglect post composition. Some individuals think that mailbox posts are all the same. However, there are numerous factors that differ posts from each other. For instance, when it comes to composition, individuals may find wood, steel and even composite posts. Each post provide certain features that can accommodate the need of homeowners. Sadly, this factor is neglected which can affect the looks and reliability of letterboxes. Not to mention, harsh weather conditions as well as vandalism can easily damage mailboxes due to inappropriate posts.

Not checking mounting options

Another mistake that homeowners make when choosing posts for their letterboxes is they do not check mounting options. As of now, homeowners can install mailboxes on posts in numerous ways. Sadly, when this factor is neglected, you are unable to install the mailbox properly. Not to mention, safety can also be compromised. So, it is best to ask letterbox providers if what posts are suitable for the box they purchased to make easier decisions.

Forgetting about installation processes

Finally, some homeowners also forget to ask about post installations. Just like mounting, there are different ways to install posts. Therefore, you need to check which process will meet your needs. Apart from that, you also need to make sure that you have the right tools when installing posts to ensure reliability.

These are only some of the mistakes that homeowners need to consider when searching for letterbox posts.

Quick Home Maintenance Tips

If you have been looking for some home improvement tips that won’t take more than a few minutes from your precious time, you are on the right page. This article is for you, especially if you are a busy homeowner. Read on.

Fixing a chair

Are you trying to fix an old chair? If so, we suggest drilling pilot holes and driving screws via the rungs bottom and into the chair legs.

Vinyl Door or Window

If your vinyl doors or windows don’t open properly, the channels may have accumulated gunk. At times, even clean doors and windows may bind. You may spray dry spray lubricant on the target areas and then use a rag to wipe it off. Using oil lubricants is not a good idea as they can catch dirt damaging the vinyl.

Repairing a Shutoff Valve

If the shutoff value is faulty, you can get it replaced. But if you can’t, you should go to the nearby hardware store to buy a good replacement washer. Remove the grit from the valve and fit the new washer. This will fix the problem.

Loose Showerhead

If you want to fix a problematic showerhead or a wobbly pipe, you can use some expanding foam. With the foam, you can encase the pipe and fix it. This will remove the wobble.

Use a Smoke Detector

If you don’t have enough time or money, you may want to cover the ceiling hole with a smoke detector. You don’t need to patch the hole.

Cabinet doors

If your cabinet doors don’t stay shut, all you have to do is use a magnetic door catch. You can also go for a roller-style one.

Squeaky Floors

If you want to repair a squeaky floor, use a stud finder to find the floor joists. Next, you can drive in a screw via a pad, carpet and the subfloor to reach the floor joist. Just make sure that the upper part of the screw has no threads. Ideally, you may want to use trim screws since they have bigger heads. If this is the case, you may want to pull up the screw and then tighten it again.

Remove Water Stains

Before repainting the ceiling, you may want to try out this trick. You can use a mixture of water and bleach and then wait for a few days. If the stain is old, you can try a mold and mildew product. The stain will be gone within 24 hours. This trick may work both on textured and flat ceilings.

Wallpaper Seams

To fix a wallpaper seam, you can soak a rag in lukewarm water and then apply the paste around the seam. You may want to hold the rag for a couple of minutes and then open the seam a bit for more space for the seam sealer. Put the liquid into the gap and then push the paper against the wall using a roller. Then you can use a sponge to remove the sealer.

So, these are some quick and easy home improvement tips.

How to Make Your Home a Quieter Place

The houses today are constructed on the basis of modern, light-weighted and open-floor plans wherein it becomes difficult to find a little peace and quiet environment. In most of the houses, the walls are removed to increase the available space, kitchens are filled with larger appliances, and rooms are surrounded by home theaters making noise an essential part of our lives. We are the only creators of a noisy environment and we can only help ourselves in reducing it. This is not something that is created by nature it is simply a man-made product.

The evil effects of noise are that it can mess up your sleep, add to your stress, infringe on your privacy and in a nutshell it is hampering the quality of life we are living. Fortunately, we are lucky that there is a number of soundproofing or acoustic treatments that you can take help from to alleviate the problem. The acoustic barriers can efficiently help folks to get rid of this serious issue. Before, we proceed it is also important to know how sound actually works?

The clang of the bell and other physical things sends sound waves rippling through the ear. When these waves reach the ears, they vibrate a sensitive membrane i.e. the eardrum and we hear them as sounds. It is said to be the sound, not the noise. Noise is something that is unpleasing to the ears and is also termed as unwanted sounds.

Here are some helpful techniques for making your home a quieter place:

  • Cut down on noisemakers- Consider buying quiet appliances for your home including house fans, kitchen appliances etc. Buying quiet appliances is even more beneficial if they are to be kept nearby living or sleeping areas. Maintenance of existing appliances is also an important part of the equation. If you find something unusual, get it checked or repaired by the technician as soon as possible.
  • Use sound absorbing materials- The material that helps to reduce and absorbing the unwanted sound are something that every house owner would love to have. There are a lot of things that will work as a barrier that reflects and absorbs the noise entering your house. These acoustic barriers are quite helpful in minimizing the outdoor noises and absorbing the interior sounds. Ensure getting a spec sheet prepared by the tradesman so that you can check and approve it before its installation.
  • Install sound blocking doors- The largest opening in a house is its doorway. And a lot of sounds enters from this way. Thus, it is better to install weatherstrip or solid doors to effectively block the unwanted sound rays entering your house. The solid doors are quite expensive because of their thickness and are also available in a broader selection of elegant designs.
  • Weatherstrip interior doors- The actual sound doesn’t come through the door, it comes around the hollow spaces left between the doors. Thus, it is beneficial to install weatherstripping or door soundproofing to seal that space using adhesive-backed high-density foam tape. This will block the noise coming from outside.

 

Know the Pros and Cons of Having Aluminium Curtain Walling

Are you planning to give your premise or business a completely new sphere? Are you thinking of using aluminium as your strong base for the wall?

From Perforated roller shutters to solid shutters, there are various options that are in accordance with the need of an individual.

Aluminium curtain walling has emerged as a popular choice amongst the business houses, as not only it gives any business a new edge but a chance for people to admire its elegance.

Aluminium curtain walling is an outer structure that protects the building frame. It generally is build up of materials like glass and aluminium frames.

If you are planning to start construction of your building and are searching for the best options for protection, then down below are few advantages and disadvantages listed of curtain walls.

Weighing all advantages of Curtain walls

Lighting and elegance

The combination of aluminium frames and glass material together makes it a very classy option to use, also allows the abundance of daylight to walk in, thus leading to less use of power consumption during the daytime.

No UV rays

UV – the ultraviolet rays are very harmful to any skin, as they can cause severe disease in long run. It is necessary to opt for a material that is very friendly in terms of harmful rays. The design of the wall confirms the 99% reduction of harmful and toxic UV rays to the human bodies.

Wind resistant

The structure of the wall is very efficient in keeping away the wind and forces that are acting against the building.

Fire extinguisher

The design of the wall is very helpful in preventing the fire from spreading floor to floor.

Disadvantages of curtain walls

Great Cost and time

These walls are very ineffective in terms of cost and time management. The Huge cost is involved while shipping the material and storing them. The time taken to complete the structure is very long too.

Replacement of sealant

To keep the wind and moisture at vicinity, a sealant is applied to the perimeter of the structure. The sealant needs to be replaced after every 10 years or so.

Peculiar Cleaning

These walls require huge cleaning and maintenance on an everyday basis. As aluminium frames are generally painted or are anodized. It is necessary to make sure that the cleaning near the anodized parts is done very carefully, as cleaning supplies or detergent can clear off the coating from such frames or material.

From curtain walling to perforated roller shutters, there are various options in the market that are very responsive and advanced towards the styling and security of any venture.

3 Reasons to Love Glass Stairs

It’s not hard to see why glass staircases, in particular glazed side panels, have become so popular in recent times. As new-build houses seem to get smaller and smaller, and rising prices force many buyers to settle for modestly sized properties, home owners are finding creative ways to make the best of what space they have.

Using glass instead of wood or metal in your stair banisters can bring several benefits:

Light

The hallway is often the darkest part of the house, which isn’t ideal for making a good first impression on visitors. A traditional staircase balustrade, consisting of a handrail and base rail connected by wooden or metal spindles (also called balusters), will contribute to the gloom by blocking precious natural light. Using glass panels as the banister infill will instantly brighten the room by encouraging light to flow more freely.

Space

It’s amazing the way glass can make a room feel so much bigger. A transparent balustrade offers little or no barrier to the eye, increasing the sense of space. This is particularly useful for staircases situated in a living or dining room, as clear panels make the structure seem less obtrusive.

Style

Glass is much favoured by interior designers at the moment, and will suit almost any age of property. It can improve the look and feel of a modern house, boosting its contemporary credentials and bringing it bang up to date. At the other end of the age scale, glass can offer an interesting twist to a period home. A dark cottage with beamed ceilings and small windows, for example, can be brightened up and made more appealing by replacing solid wooden balusters with light-enhancing glass panels.

Which type of glass should you choose?

Good quality glazed panels should be made from toughened safety glass at least 8mm, and ideally 10mm, thick. Large single panels will create the most impact and allow maximum light flow. These normally have to be made to measure, so be prepared to wait a bit longer and pay a bit more than for standard sizes. Installation can be complicated, and is best left to professionals. Small panels are less showy, but more versatile and often the best choice for awkward layouts. They can also be combined with wooden or metal spindles if desired.

How is the glass fitted?

Depending on the staircase design and personal taste, you can usually choose whether to fix the panels to the balustrade with metal clamps (either at the top and bottom or at each side) or slot them into pre-cut grooves in the handrail and base rail. It is sometimes also possible to attach the panels to the handrail only, without using a base rail, so that the glass is suspended just above the steps. From an aesthetic point of view, fitting the panels directly into the wooden banisters results in a cleaner outline, but some people prefer the contemporary look of shiny metal clamps, or brackets. These are most often found in a chrome or brushed nickel finish. You can also use stainless steel discs if you’re after a particularly striking design.

Which handrail?

Wooden handrails are the most popular, and the most comfortable to use. A low profile (small and narrow) style will produce the most streamlined, modern effect, whereas a chunkier design may be more suitable for period properties. Metal handrails go well with glass for a contemporary look, and can be attached using brackets or grooves.

What about other glass stair parts?

Treads and risers are both available in glass. Treads can be made in a variety of thicknesses, usually between 20mm and 40mm. The glass should be toughened and laminated for extra strength, and include a non-slip finish. Glass risers are growing in popularity too. They can be fitted to the back of glazed treads or, more unusually, to wooden ones. This is guaranteed to produce the wow factor, letting light shine through the steps while keeping the safety benefits of a closed tread staircase.

Summing up

When it comes to creating a light and airy feel in your home, glass stairs are ideal – and the panels are available in such a wide variety of shapes and sizes that there’s a good chance of finding something to suit your particular circumstances. Just keep a cloth handy after installation, as smudges and fingerprints could spoil the impact of your stunning new staircase.

Attic Ventilation – Ensuring Enough Attic Air Circulation

Your home has a number of critical areas that need all the attention they could get. The attic for instance, plays an important role in ensuring that your roof lasts as intended. Proper air circulation of the attic is essential in keeping that the roof remains structurally sound over the years. You can determine whether there is adequate ventilation in the attic or if it is lacking. If you happen to notice some sort of musky smell in the attic, it is often not caused by the items being stored, but because of insufficient airflow. Fans are commonly used to resolve this problem. However, do roof ventilation fans work? Let’s find out.

How can I know that there’s enough air circulation in my attic?

Your attic, like most areas of your home, requires proper air circulation. There different ways on how to achieve enough airflow in this particular area. A homeowner can buy ventilation solutions in the market of apply different techniques to ensure there is sufficient air flowing through the attic.

What are my options?

Should you find signs of poor ventilation in your attic, you should consult professionals immediately. The sooner you find and fix the problem, the better it is for your home. There are a number of solutions available, but there is no single solution for everything. The homeowner or the professional paid to fix the problem must assess what type of solution would work best and for the long-term. Here’s a number of solutions for your home:

1. Ridge vent – this type of solution is, as its name suggests, a vent installed along the ridge line of your house. Before this type of vent is installed, roof decking is cut to allow air to flow through. It is highly essential that no other areas of the home block air from coming in or out.

2. Soffit vents – every roofing system needs to have air entry and exit points to keep it cool and dry. The soffit vents also work in conjunction with ridge vents and let air pass right through. However, in areas where the roofline meets the attic floor, insulation baffles must be put in place to prevent airflow from being restricted.

3. Attic fans – this solution is quite better as it does not rely on natural wind to ventilate the attic. Fans can be installed on the roofing system which sucks the air out when needed. Some newer models incorporate a thermostat which automatically turns on the fans to keep a stable temperature in the attic. Solar powered fans are also available, which would be beneficial since this would mean the fans can be self-sufficient. However, the costs associated with this solution raises a couple of questions. So, do attic ventilation fans work at all? The answer is yes.

As it is commonly known, fans dedicated to ventilate can easily introduce air or push air out of a home with ease. Unlike natural, free-flowing systems, these fans work at a much more efficient pace. There’s also the option for users to control the temperature within certain areas to prevent moisture buildup and other problems caused by stale air.

4 Tips for Maintaining Vinyl Siding

We all know that vinyl siding is a great choice for one’s home due to its low maintenance and longevity. But that doesn’t mean that it is totally without basic maintenance needs or steps to be taken to see that it looks its best. Some of the common issues one might deal with are cracking, puncturing or perhaps pulling away from the house.

Thankfully, these proactive measures do not take a great deal of skill or a toolbox full of special tools.

Tips for Maintaining Vinyl Siding

1. Be sure to keep any shrubbery around the home trimmed back so that the branches cannot poke or scratch the siding. Failing to do this will result in the coating on the siding being scratched, nicked or punctured thus making the siding susceptible or mildew and mold.

2. No matter what type of siding you have on your home. It is important to take time to clean it, at least once a year. With vinyl, you can do this by using a soft scrub brush, soapy water, and a water hose for rinsing. Yes, you can use a power washer but be sure to keep it at the lowest setting and take care not to use excessive force.

3. In the event that you do discover dents, punctures or scratching, replace the piece as soon as possible. Be sure in doing this, that you use a siding removal tool so you can avoid damaging the surrounding pieces of siding.

4. Make time to clean your gutters- especially during the spring and fall or after a heavy storm as this will help keep the siding clean and prevent risk of damage to the siding.

It is also worth noting that while most people opt to have vinyl siding in a color they like, it you purchase a home with siding in a color you do not like, it can be painted. It will take two coats of 100% latex paint and the paint will need to be re-applied every two years in order to always look great.

Maintaining your vinyl siding is not a full-time job, but it does need the occasional repairs or cleaning. Don’t just assume that your home’s siding is a one and done aspect of ownership. Take time throughout the year to ensure that your siding will last as long (if not longer) than you were promised at installation. If you are new to vinyl, then be sure to talk to a local siding company and find out what they recommend for your particular type and style of home siding.