HOW TO MAKE FALSE CEILING, LOWER A CEILING

July 21 2013 - HOUSE

Everyone would like have more space in his house or at least everybody would like to try to rationalize the available room of their homes. That’s not always possible, but a smart way to save space in your home probably consists to explore the possibility of using the vertical room (space), looking for additional volume by creating a false ceiling (also known as counter ceilings or counter tops).

Very often corridors, hallways and closets are already fully filled of stuff, but at the same time, the upper part of the room is not used, therefore from this comes the need of looking for new room by lowering the ceiling and creating closets where is possible to store many things like linen, clothes, blankets, shoes, tools for house cleaning etc. The result is that you may have more living space available for you.

You can also choose to make a lower ceiling for your entrance or for your bathroom to give more concentration or install a lighting system without forget the appearance.

It is understandable that we are mostly talking of a owned real estate property because if you are renting that house, it is absolutely necessary to ask the prior approval of the owner and especially that he agrees with the redelivery clause of the property.

STRUCTURE OF FALSE CEILING

Obviously it is necessary to make a statement: in fact, depending on the purpose for which we want built a low ceiling, the ceiling must have a structure more or less consistent as it is different if it is only for aesthetic reasons (to hide spotslight, ducts of the air conditioning system or electric wires) or if you want to create a walkable environment on which is possible also put heavy furnitures.

Of course for a ceiling of the latter type we must have a certain familiarity with building work and a good building knowledge otherwise it would be certainly more appropriate and recommended that you hire professionals.

After have said the above, we here want to deal with a soft solution that is designed to make more ‘intimate home, by customizing it and at the same time also allowing you to hide plant service, pipes, wires, etc.

We will use a frame of wood strips along the complete perimeter of the room. The strips will be fixed to the wall with screw anchors screw.

On this frame are then set other transverse strips to create a lattice on which we screw out the compressed chipboards or plasterboard or chipboard yet.

If the distance between the walls exceeds 2,5 yd would be preferable to have a point of vertical fixing that is achieved by using an expansion anchors (Fischer type) with screw ring to which will be hooked a steel wire fixed at the other end to a point of intersection of the strips.

For rooms sizing 2,5-3 yd x up to 3-3.5 yd it should be enough a central support. For bigger rooms it is better to distribute more points of support on the entire surface of the ceiling.

CONSTRUCTION OF FALSE CEILING

It is necessary calculate so that the bottom surface of the ceiling arrives at least to 1,5 – 2 inches above the door jambs.

Once it has been decided the height from the ground, we have to report this measure on all four room walls, using two small nails per side to tend a light string to get a straight line.

Check the horizontality of the frame.

As regards the strips of , we can orient on strips from 4 yd from 0,8 x 1,6 inches or 0,8 x 2 inches that will be cut accordingly. If they are slightly poor, don’t worry because the frame structure will be invisible. The strips are fixed to the walls, as mentioned above, by means of expansion plugs ranging spaced approximately 11 to 15 inches.

At this point you can start to set up the transverse strips.

The distance between the strips depends from the type of coating chosen. In fact there are prefabricated panels made of plastic materials that are generally sold with invisible hooks, otherwise if you want to use playwood laminates, these will be screwed to the battens with wood screws which will then be made invisible with plaster. All these materials are readily available in DIY centers like Home Depot, Crest, Ace, etc. of different sizes and for different uses.

Before screwing the panels we may proceed to drill the holes for the spotlights (but it is also possible to drill the holes for the spotlights after having installed the panels).

An alternative to this type of ceiling is represented by those structures that are mainly used into modern offices. They are easy to assemble and are very lighthtweight solutions that allow easy access to the air to change light bulbs, pull wires or making simple inspections.

Metal stripes, generally in aluminum, are available for sale in the most furnished Diy stores. The kits consist of metal or plastic stripes that can also be alternated with plexiglass so that they looks like light points.

The advantage of this solution is certainly the versatility as they are quick and easy to be assembled and disassembled and also they have a good aesthetic result.

In conclusion, the low ceiling system serves to make your home more pleasant, functional and personalized and lends itself to solutions that depend only on your imagination.

An original way to use a partial ceiling set is into a bathroom as well as over the apartment entrance to get a sort of cabinet ceiling, but, really,  the solutions are virtually endless, funny and always little expensive.

 

PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEM AND SYSTEM SOLAR PANELS, DIFFERENCE

June 5 2013 - HOUSE

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEM AND A SOLAR PANELS SYSTEM

We often hear talking of renewable energy sources or photovoltaic and solar panel systems, but those who speak sometimes generate a lot of confusion because they do not have the appropriate knowledge of the two technologies.

 

Going a little more deeply in detail as far the energy from the sun, we may start saying that if you want to transform solar energy into thermal energy, we are talking of thermal collectors, that are substantially plants adapted with the purpose to heat fluids (usually water) through solar energy, thus reducing the need for electric or gas water heaters. This results to be very helpful for the planet and for our environment.

In addition, these are plants that can achieve a high degree of efficiency, let say around 70-80%, and for which it is also possible to benefit from public funding loans.There are mainly two systems of solar plants:

SOLAR THERMAL PLANT 

The Solar Thermal Plants are thermal collectors that allow you to heat water through the solar energy that is concentrated on proper containers where during the summer, the water reaches a temperature close to the 70 ° F.  allowing you to meet the demand and the requirements for hot water

PHOTOVOLTAIC PLANT

A different discourse concerns the photovoltaic systems which, thanks to semiconductor materials such as the silicon, transform solar energy into electricity.

In this case the efficiency is lower, in fact according to what the technicians say, normally it does not exceed 15%. This value represents the percentage of solar energy that the plant could be able to convert into electric energy. However this result is also influenced by various factors, from the latitude of the place, to its climatic characteristics, to the sun exposition and, last but not least, to the type and quality of solar cells used.

In conclusion, according to what we said above, it comes that for family use the solar panel plant results more convenient and this is due both for the aforesaid reasons and for the cost, which is significantly greater in comparison with the PV system.

The apparent similarity of the panels of the two systems (notwithstanding the photovoltaic cells are slightly larger) sometimes leads to confuse the two technologies that, while view on the roof  look alike, they have a diversity and a complexity into the plant inside the house:

  • the photovoltaic plant requires an inverter to transform solar energy into electrical energy
  • the thermal plant basically consists of hot water accumulation and therefore the only thing it needs is a collector.

COSTS: PHOTOVOLTAIC AND SOLAR THERMAL

There are many models and brands of plant and therefore it is very difficult say what it could be the most appropriate price, in fact for the significant technical differences the prices may vary considerably.

In any case, speaking in a very general way, we can say that the average cost of a photovoltaic system for a family may range from 1,500 us dollars for the cheaper to some 10,000 us dollars for the most complex.

Instead the range of price for a Solar Thermic Plant it may go from an average of 1,000 up to 5,000 us dollars for an hot water supply sufficient to the needs of two people (about 2 kwh daily).

These information are given with the purpose of giving an approximate idea and therefore should be considered strictly indicative as the entire matter is  continually being studied  and evolves continuously.

 

 

HOW TO CHOOSE TILES FOR BATHROOM AND KITCHEN

May 30 2013 - HOW TO

Many are the posts that can be a good reference for the home decoration and the house improvement works and how to choose tiles for the bathroom and the kitchen could be one of them.

In fact the choice of tiles for the bathroom and kitchen is not always so easy in front of the myriad of special offers from warehouse stores, wholesalers and, not last, the tv ads, and even can be a real trap for those who have no experience in that specific market segment.

The biggest problem often it could be represented by the quality, considering that not all materials are suitable for the purpose and the risk of find themselves full of square feet of tiles of poor quality is quite high, with the result that you have to keep poor quality or buy others, wasting more money for nothing.   …and we do not want this!

Much depends on the honesty and competence of the seller that it is expected to always provide detailed information on the quality of the product that is going to sell you, but there are also some small details that can help you to make a right and conscious choice, when you choose the tiles for your bath and kitchen, without being misled.

What are they?

While you still are at the store, first of all, remember to check the packaging of the tiles and make sure that there are reported on it all the data of values determined according to the TCNA standards. Not everyone knows, but all those acronyms must be printed on the packaging to indicate precisely the quality of the product inside. According to P.E.I.’s standards (PEI is  an American association since 1930 with the purpose to promote the quality of materials and equipment) there is a classification PEI, for example, to indicate the degree of resistance to abrasion and it is based on a scale from Group I to Group IV, where the fourth represents the maximum hardness. This is a value that is better to know when you are going to choose tiles for your bathroom or your kitchen.

To be of good quality, then, a tile must be able to withstand the loads: how do I know? On the package it should be reported the relevant code that goes from 20 to 50, with 50 representing the maximum resistance to loads.

Then there are the classes 1-2-3, which indicate the resistance to stains. Here again, this is a matter of fundamental importance, as the class 1 is equivalent to a good resistance (easily washable with water), class 2 indicates a medium strength (washable with water and detergent), while class 3 is the most poor since it indicates the inability to remove the stain. Finally, please check the letters shown on the boxes (A, B, C), indicating the acid resistance. We are pretty sure that you want to be aware of these characteristics of your tiles (and this is better to know before you buy!!!).

If you do not want to take any chances, however, ask the seller to give you a tile “test”, take it home and then do all the necessary checks before purchase.

There are several kinds of tiles

  • Ceramic Tiles. These are also ceramic tiles, but they are made with a mixt of clays and different other materials mined from the Earth, shaped and fired at high temperature. Traditional ceramic tiles may be naturally colored and mostly left unglazed, like the incomparable Terra Cotta or can be colored, designed and finished with glass surface.
  • Porcelain Tiles are composed of fine clays (finer then Ceramic tiles) and fired at significantly higher temperatures with a result that these tiles are stronger and definitely less prone to moisture as well as stain absorption.
  • Natural Stones. These tiles can be further categorized into
    •  Marbles
    •  Granites
    • Limestones
    • travertines
    • Quartzites

And others.

Let say that the most beautiful aspects of the natural stones is represented by the fact that each stone is different from any other and practically is unique and unrepeatable as shape, color, surface texture, edge treatments, durability and so. That even if does not make them more valuable, in the strict sense of the term, makes them a piece for connoisseurs.

TERMS USED WHEN TALKING ABOUT TILES

There are several terms that could be useful to know if you are interested buying or dealing on tiles

  • GLAZE, means to apply a special liquid on tiles before fire them at very high temperatures. The surface becomes hard and non-porous and deliciously shiny. This industrial process makes these tiles suitable to be used in the building sector for the construction of residential and commercial floors.
  • DECORATIVE TILES . This term defines those tiles where the surface is properly decorated with prints or handmade carvings or ceramic decal and then fired at high temperature to make them durable.
  • FLOOR TILES. Are ceramic, natural or porcelain tiles that, thanks to their hardness and resistance to withstand traffic abrasion and walking, can be considered suitable to be used for floorings.
  • WALL TILES. Generally glazed tiles suitable for indoor use, often less thick and less resistant than other. These are used mostly for bathroom and kitchens walls. Different discussion concerns the tiles for the exterior walls of buildings. In this case the thickness is identical to those for floorings as well as the resistance degree to face properly the bad weather.
  • SPACERS Cross shaped pieces of plastic or PVC that are used to separate one tile from the other during the installation work. Their shape and thickness depends from the kind of job you are doing. Generally speaking a 1/16 of inch is the most used space for walls, while between floor tiles the best should be around 3/32 to 1/8 of inch.
  • ADHESIVE. Is the product to be used to bond the tiles to the surface. The most common types of tile adhesive are mastics, mortar, dry-set mortar or latex mortar. But it is to say that there are specific adhesives for each types of tiles, indoor or outdoor
  • SEALER. The sealer is a product that serves to prevent that liquids can be absorbed by the mortar between the tiles
  • CURE TIME. Is the period of time during which it is necessary to let the floor resting undisturbed in order to let the tiles reach their highest level of maximum strength.

 

 

HOW TO BUILD A PORCH, BUILDING A PERGOLA

May 24 2013 - HOW TO

Who owns a property, especially if it’s a house that is suitable to be modified and personalized, can not have no thought to make a few extra touches, by  improvising as an architect and trying to give more character and function to his own house.

Therefore, a graph paper, a pencil and a ruler and so we going to start with a schematic drawing of our house which we imagine to add and built a pergola, an arbor, a porch, a new wall or a dewck and anything else the imagination and the fantasy allow us to conceive to make the artist’s touch to the country cottage or of our grandmother’s garage

In some cases, going around, you can see some really interesting solutions that significantly increase the value of homes by giving to them a character of personality and uniqueness.

How to built a porch or built a pergola is something that appears to be difficult, but indeed it is not.

Few suggestion before starting to build a porch or pergola

One of the architectural elements that is most frequently used for these changes is undoubtedly building a pergola or a shelt or built a porch, whether it is made with a wood or metal roof supporting structure, both with antique looking roof tiles or shingles or tar still bright glass plates.

As said, the supporting structure of a pergola or a porch can be made of

  • wood.
  • metal

If the roof supporting structure is made of wood, the dimensions of the support posts, of the girders, joists and beams obviously depend on various factors such as

  1. The surface of the cover that must support
  2. The positioning of the roof itself (if ‘standing, leaning against a wall, adjacent to two walls, etc.).
  3. Climatic conditions (geographical area, radiation, rainfall, amount of snow, temperatures, etc.).
  4. Budget (this is technically not a factor, but obviously has some significance in the choice of materials)

Building a pergola or a porch can be very simple if we take into consideration the modular kits pre-cutted and pre-drilled, ready to be assembled, available in various shapes and sizes in the centers of DIY (to name a few: Walmart, Home Depot, Cost Co, Sam’s etc).

These kits include poles, sleepers, beams, joists normally already cutted, beveled and treated with stain or passed in an autoclave, well equipped with through bolts, edges of siding, roof gutters and all you need for a quick and easy installation of our porch in a relatively short time, by following step by step the instructions duly enclosed.

However, while not detracting from the aforementioned valid and very popular kits, we’d like to emphasize that anyone with the most basic knowledge of DIY is able to replicate these kits, adapting to his needs and achieving a significant cost savings. Then, if the timber or metal joists, poles and so are purchased in a joinery or carpentry rather than in a warehouse center, the savings become truly significant for the same quality or even for a better quality of materials.

What tools we need to build a porch

Meanwhile, we must have at hand the necessary tools for a proper work, like:

  • Ruler
  • Hammer
  • Screws
  • Nails
  • Screwdriver or electric screwdriver
  • Clamp
  • Joiner’s jaws
  • Pencil
  • Carpenter’s brackets
  • Level
  • Plumb bob
  • Drill

and

….a bit of time and a lot of patience

In any case, the procedure is always the same.

Where start with the project of building a porch or a pergola

You start by drawing on a sheet what you want to accomplish as plan, section and maybe in perspective (making a sketch, even approximately, to get an idea of what may be the result).

After locating the place where you want to build, for example, a shed or a pergola, make sure that the ground is appropriate and that the points where the poles will be placed is stable. Otherwise it would be necessary to create a solid foundation with cement mortar (please refer to directions as detailed for the construction of retaining walls).

Once we have reported on the ground the exact points where the posts will be put, you must draw directly on the ground the plant of your porch or pergola project, paying attention to observe the correctness of the angles whether it is a rectangle or a square. The important thing is that on the ground is respected the shape of the perimeter of your design. (For example, to rightly draw the correct angles of a quadrilateral having one side leaning against a building, just draw two diagonals of equal length starting from the endpoints of the side and folding in their mid-point).

One thing to which you should also pay attention is the horizontal and vertical alignment (to do it just use level and plumb bob, unless you have a new digital laser level that make everything easier)

Between one porch or patio and another there may be many differences depending whether they are built to be inhabited or not. In fact it could be necessary to provide an efficient insulation (but here is not the right context to open a discussion)

Another important element that we want to underline is that the load resistance is given by the thickness (vertically) of the various beams, joists sleepers. This basically means that a girder of 10 inches x 10 inches has the same strength of one joist of 10 inches x 5 inches, both placed vertically.

As the volume is given by the product of the three dimensions (height x width x length), therefore it is easily understandable that in the first case we have to buy a double quantity of wood than the latter, with double weight and substantially the same scope.

And … it is not necessary to underline what this means in terms of economic and environmental savings!

In this post it was our intention to provide some general information about how to build a porch, that we hope may be useful to whom want approach this work starting from the bottom, overall useful to fulfill the first step of the project, the design of your shed.

In another post we will talk in detail about how to proceed pratically to completion giving our suggestion for the step by step construction procedure.

 

 

HOW TO MAKE VENETIAN PLASTER, HOW TO APPLY VENETIAN PLASTER

April 26 2013 - HOUSE

The Venetian Plaster, is almost a dream, something that you may see only on the art magazines or when you go visiting countries rich of history and art as Italy or France or few others.

But the Venetian Plaster is also something else, is a way to intend the life, a way to live your house and finally a way you deal with yourself.

WHAT IS VENETIAN PLASTER

The Venetian Plaster, Stucco Veneziano, also known in the past times as Ancient Stucco or even as Roman Plaster (Stucco Romano) it is a decorative technique, still used, that employs slaked lime to which is added fine sand, marble dust up to form a compound called Marmorino with a plastic consistency to which sometimes is also added natural pigments in order to give the preferred colors.

The above are the ingredients used by the great Italian artists who decorated the gorgeous ancient buildings of the cities. You may find samples of that specifically in Venice, where due to the persistent humidity it was necessary to find an effective kind of treatment of the walls for the fabulous palaces, churches, noble houses, castles, but also normal houses of rich people, trying to avoid the damage of the stain and mold. In reality we may find traces of these techniques, very popular in the European Renaissance, also in more remote times, like for instance around 4000 years ago in the Middle East and something similar also with the Ancient Egypt.

But the most unbelievable aspect is that these techniques have proven to be still actual even today.

As of today the need to preserve the walls from the humidity damages and the capillary rise of water from the the foundations is less important that in the past, as we now have other technologies helping us to dry our environments like the aircon, nevertheless, the Stucco Veneziano technique is still appreciated from the people that love sophisticated solutions and specially they want for their homes only the best, without forget, obviously, the intrinsic utility of the good protection of the walls that the Stucco Veneziano is able to give.

To understand the reason as this technique is so expensive and at the same time largely requested, it could be useful to know that the Venetian Plaster or Stucco Veneziano technique consists in a finish thick plaster obtained trough at least six coatings of materials. The thick plaster in the past was motivated by the need for the artists to create bas-reliefs or sculptures on the ceiling, while now it allows to the modern professional masons to obtain aesthetic effects of remarkable beauty.

TECHNIQUE OF THE VENETIAN PLASTER DECORATIONS

The technique of Venetian Plaster, the Stucco Veneziano, is a method of drafting and finishing of the plaster, which, as handed down from ancient times, originally provided the classic application of six layers, of which three for 0,80 inches each and three of 0,20 inches each.

The first layer was composed of a combination of water and slaked lime mixed with sand (as inert material), while the outer layer is composed of slaked lime with marble dust to give the final effect of polished marble.

The function of the slaked lime is to ensure a good grip on the wall and the hardening of the amalgam of the mortar (Marmorino) thanks to the chemical reaction that is going to determine.

Ultimately the true Venetian Plaster is now quite less used as it is very expensive because of the quantity of work required. In fact the application is very tiring and also because, for those who just do not want to give up, there are similar techniques that may offer a quite satisfactory result at a cost significantly more affordable. Among the latter the most common is the one that involves the use of plaster of lime or slaked lime known as Grassello di Calce which is a product based on natural mineral binder that gives a glossy finish among soft color shading, with the advantage of a good breathability and an effective barrier against bacteria.

In any case, the filler has a texture reminiscent of normal stucco wall and is laid with more handscoating with the spatula through rotating movements. When completed, the Stucco Veneziano is smooth to the touch and can be waxed and polished.

PROCEDURE FOR HOW TO APPLY VENETIAN PLASTER

Normally, after a coat of aggregation is given a first coat with white stucco and, after 7/8 hours, a second hand that should be given by using a spatula with colored stucco creating the characteristic marbled effect streaks of the ancient precious Venetian Stucco.

The use of spatulas of different widths allows to have different effects, (is quite understandable that more the blade is closer and more veins you may get on the plaster). Usually it is better to use first a wider spatula and then pass to a most narrow one.

It is frequently used to adopt fillers with contrasting colors to try to get new effects.

The yield of the Stucco Veneziano (the Venetian Plaster) is very small and this is one of the reasons of its high cost. To give an idea, with a 2 pound Venetian Plaster you can cover approximately up to 100 sq. feet, while with the normal chalk plaster you can cover at least 500 sq feet.

But the real reason for the high cost of the Venetian Stucco technique is given by laboriousness of the application that requires good professionalism and we say that is not exaggerated to assimilate it to a forms of art.

Finally, as we are a DIY blog, we must say that if you decide to make Venetian Plaster by yourself, then the costs will be very low and satisfaction, on the other hand will be absolutely higher.

 

WALLS HUMIDITY:CONDENSATION, MOULD PROBLEMS

January 19 2013 - HOUSE

We live in a difficult world and for many of the problems that affect our planet the only responsible is the human race.   Today each one of us is asked to do something to try to repair (at least partly) the disaster that we have done in the past. We can start with small things like our home, saving on fuel that’s means contribute to save our planet and …our wallet!

WALLS HUMIDITY: HOW TO DEAL WITH IT

To effectively combat the problems related to the umidity and mould on the walls of your home, it is necessary to first understand what the condensation is and where it is coming from, only then it will be possible to establish and set up a strategy to deal in order to avoid it.

The sensation of cold that we feel usually depends largely on the temperature, but also there is another factor that can make us uncomfortable: is the moisture of the walls, floors and ceilings that surround us.

This phenomenon is known as radiation and works exactly like the radiant heaters do, that means they heat only the air strip stright in front to them. In the same way when you stand in front of a fireplace you feel warm your front body while your b-side is cold.

Exactly the opposite if you stand in front of a window on a winter day.

The temperature that is felt is called ‘Operating Temperature‘, but to get the feeling of warmth also walls, ceilings and floors should not be cold. To have this it is necessary to create a barrier with insulating coatings.

 

The moisture is determined from the steam that is deposited on the surfaces. This is due to the heat shock that occurs only below 68° F (20° Celsius).

The air around us consists of various elements and between them a certain amount of steam that comes from the evaporation of water in the environment. The air soaks up the water vapor until it becomes saturated. The higher the temperature the more pronounced is the phenomenon.To give an idea of this, we must know that 35 cubic feet (1 cubic meter) of saturated air, at sea level and at 32° F contains 1/8 of an ounce of water at 32° F (0 ° Celsius), almost 1 tbsp at 50°F, almost 1 cup at 68° F. and almost 3.3 ounces at 122° F..

The Relative Humidity is the percentage of water present in the air (measured by the hygrometer)

If we cool the air the water vapor is expelled. If cooling process is made very fast, the steam turns into water giving rise to the Condensation drops that are deposited on the cold surface. In fact, the temperature at which condensation starts is called dew point. Pratically, the steam water remains in the air until its quantity is appropriate to the humidity level, when it exceeds the excess is deposited on the cooler surface in the form of drops.

When it rains, there is foggy or it’s snowing, the outside air humidity is high and usually higher than inside, then there is a good chance of condensation.

To this also contribute several other factors such as the presence of living people, animals or plants in addition to the production of steam from the normal daily activity, such as cooking food, use of toilets and showers, etc.

It is confirmed that each home usually produces more than 10 liters of water per day that are poured into the air.

In addition to the above, other factors also contribute to the formation of moisture and condensation as for example the modern construction techniques that greatly reduce the step of drying of walls, plaster, ceilings, floors and tiles. Add to this the insulating effect of the materials used that, if on the one hand are useful to prevent ingress of moisture and cold, the other does not allow an adequate exchange of air with the outside environment.

Drops of condensation on your windows are a signal that the problem exists and must be solved as soon as possible. A delay in finding the proper solution will result in risk to your health and possible money loss.

SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM OF CONDENSATION

Clearly, if an environment result moistly it will be necessary find and reduce the source of moisture and not to over heating.

But there are two fundamental factors:

  1. create air circulation
  2. avoid or reduce the thermal shock

While the first point is not so hard to do, for the second it could be another story.

Let us make a statement: in practice it is mandatory to avoid that an inner surface comes to be in contact with an external environment with temperature lower than the dew point inside.

DEW TABLE

For example, for an environment with internal temperature of 68° F and humidity 50% , the dew point is located at +49.3° F so if the surface (for example a tile) maintains a temperature over the dew point, the danger of condensation is avoided.

It is possible to get this result by reducing the steam produced through installation of double glazing on your windows, outer coat, coating the inner walls with insulating materials like polystyrene, extruded, cork or similar, by creating a ventilated heating system.

 

 

HOW TO INSTALL SLIDING DOORS, FOLDING DOORS

January 14 2013 - HOW TO

All homeowners are familiar with the problem of space and, given the cost of the houses and the efforts that a family has to sustain to buy a home, any solution that allows us to gain space is certainly welcome.

how to install sliding doors

With this in mind we want to deal with how to install  a sliding door or a folding door, in our apartment by modifying the existing ones.

You can ask the question whether to change or modify a door in a house during the renovation or decide, while the house is under construction, to ask to change the doors type as a variant to the terms provided for the real estate contract.

Obviously we are not considering the last case, but since we are on a DIY site, we aim to make sure you do not have to use the services of a mason because otherwise it would be enough to address you to the Yellow Pages.

So here we are trying to understand what types of sliding or folding doors are available, what is the difference and what you need to do to install them.

We have talked about home ownership not because you can not install a sliding door or a folding door in a rented house or apartment,  but simply because that is a work that represents an investment and as such has more meaning for your own home.

We also mentioned the advantage of increasing the space available in your home, but this is not the only reason why you may want to install a sliding door or a folding door.  This type of door definitely has a practical advantage, however, we wish to emphasize also that they are an improvement of the quality and the style  of the unity.

A sliding door or a folding door, when installed in a workmanlike manner, constitute an element that enhances the apartment giving to it a touch of uniqueness improving his value.

Another advantage of both doors is given by the fact that, unlike traditional doors, sliding doors or folding ones can serve a much wider surface, we can say that, theoretically, there is no limit to the possible width of the door.

SLIDING DOORS AND FOLDING DOORS

The difference between sliding doors and folding doors is already explained by their name itself. We have to say that for both is not necessary to change or modify deeply the old frame. It is enough to make some minor changes and moreover you are not forced to create dust, dirt and breaking anything, things of which your wife will surely be happy.

SLIDING DOORS

  • Sliding door: is a door that slides along the wall. The sliding doors can be:
    • sliding door sliding external, that is, the swing of the door slides parallel to the wall.
    • sliding door with interior swing, so called pocket doors. These are doors where the door’s leaf remains hidden inside the wall. This type of door is very interesting and offers many advantages: we will deal with it in another post.

The sliding door has the advantage that it does not need of space for the closing of the leaf, however, must be taken into account that you cannot use the part of the wall at the side of the door itself.

  • Folding door: it is a door that folds back on itself and offers the advantage of occupying less space. It is a very good solution and it can be adopted for small apartments because the furniture can be placed also in close as there is no need of space for the opening of the leaf.

HOW TO INSTALL A SLIDING DOOR

First you need to remove the old door, do that you have to lift the door off its hinges. You then remove the old hinges, both those on the jamb and on the door. Usually, both are secured with screws, so it wont be a difficult task. Then you must seal tightly with wood putty the holes left on the door and on the jamb. Smooth well with sandpaper and finally finish with a brush with the same color as the door.

In some cases it could be necessary to repaint the entire door and the jamb.

At this point, we have to build the system on which the door will scroll.  This can be done by purchasing a kit for sliding doors. This kit is composed of a guide, usually made of anodized aluminum, which serves as a track on which slide the brackets that support the door.

For aesthetic reasons the metal guide should be subsequently covered by a wooden strip with the size of the double length of the door and with the same thickness. You must choose the same type of wood or something similar, looking anyway for a seasoned and sturdy wood.

The kit mentioned above is not hard to find on the market, you can see at the DIY Centers or with the best hardware stores.

The guide is equipped with two adjustable brackets to be fixed to the wall above the door frame by using simple screw anchors.

It is very important having taken accurate measures, in fact the lower part of the door, once mounted, must be positioned at least at one-tenth of an inch above the floor level.

To be sure of that, before tightening the screws on the rail brackets, it would be a good idea to make a test with all the door in place, resting on some pieces of wood with a thickness of 1/5 of an inches which will then be later removed.

Normally, the kit also includes a stop race to prevent the sliding door getting off the rails. If the kit does not have one, just put a screw that will make the same function.

The old handle and lock have to be removed, to be replaced with a nice knob or fake handle with the function of allowing the socket to slide the door.

FOLDING DOORS OR BELLOWS

The folding doors are structural elements of the flat and consist of several panels that are closed to each other providing often solve those problems of space that are becoming more and more important in modern homes.

HOW TO INSTALL A FOLDING DOOR

Here things are perhaps even more simple than for sliding doors as the folding door replaces the existing traditional doors, keeping almost all the jamb and, where possible, using the same lock.

You will have to remove only the parts where the old door was hinged with hinges to the jamb,  then proceed to stare directly into the folding door jamb using the kit.

Moreover, as regards the portion of the scroll, it is ensured by a guide, preferably made of anodized aluminum, which is screwed onto the lower face of the jamb at the top, and within which slide the hooks of the folding door. Generally are all provided in the purchase of the folding door.

We want to add a last small but important hint that concerns the measures of the folding door which must be a little bit less high compared to the traditional one in order to avoid that the lower part of the door can touch the floor, creating friction.

 

HOW TO USE CONCRETE AS FINISH PLASTER

January 3 2013 - HOUSE

The cement is a material ’til now considered ‘poor’. Wrong, because if we use the concrete in combination with building structures made ​​of wood or we add to cement powder some colored pigments, we can get incredibly beautiful effects.

wall cement finish

CONCRETE AS FINISH PLASTER: POLISHED PLASTER CONCRETE

Using concrete to finish a wall or floor, until a few years ago, was only limited to environments like closets, garages and cellars.

But as of today, as everybody is searching for new solutions and also the architects show a certain openness to novelty, we may see housing solutions, especially in prestigious properties, where the use of concrete as finish plaster for walls is currently not only accepted but, indeed considered as a touch of good taste and elegance.

The use of concrete as plaster to finish the walls can be considered a practical response to the need of having a pleasing aesthetic result and at the same time a good wear resistance.

HOW TO APPLY THE POLISHED CONCRETE ON A WALL

Obviously, if we are talking about a wall, it is necessary to cover the brick wall with an usual finish plaster. That’s means a mix of sand and concrete (Portland cement) where the thickness of the sand determines how glossy the surface will be. In fact, the fineness of the sand depends on the smoothness of the final wall, usually replaced by lime or gypsum for finishing. The technique of finish the plaster only with cement is somewhere known as ‘parge‘.

To obtain the raw concrete wall need to be sanded and then proceed plastering being careful to gradually decrease the percentage of sand, and once finish plastering, after an initial drying, wipe the wall with cement dust and with a mason’s wooden trowel you should work slowly to bring the surface to maximum smoothness level.

At this point many prefer to leave the wall as it is, means natural semi-gloss shape, while more are often used to pass, after the wall is well well dry, two or three coats of flatting transparent.

concrete wall

Let’s say that the effect of the flatting paint on the concrete is,’without any doubt, very interesting and amazing because the paint is partially absorbed creating a very pleasant shades. This way of doing makes any wall different from any other and.. unrepeatable!

Of course until now we have here spoken of walls, because if we intend use this technique for a floor (which is possible of course) it will be necessary carefully calibrate the thickness of the parge and the possible use of an iron net, depending on the resistance’s requirements. In addition, in case of  large areas it will be more appropriate to consider performing in defined portions of limited size in order to avoid problems of cracks. But more about this item will be treated in another article specifically on concrete floors.

The advantage of cement spatula techniques is also that it is by sure much easy for using in houses restructuring as it’s not necessary to remove old coatings and it can even put directly over existing tiles saving time and money.

 

 

BUILDING A WOODSTORE: BUILDING A WOODSHED

November 5 2012 - HOW TO

HOW TO STORE THE WOOD

The wood for the firewood is a small capital that you must keep carefully in a very dry and ventilated place in order to store it safely and to obtain the best seasoning of wood.

For an adequate wood’s seasoning it would be more appropriate stacking the wood in a way that it does not have direct contact with the ground, indeed it would be even better if it is placed over concrete blocks or on little log well debarked placed sideways so as to make the air circulation easier.

The best way of stacking the wood is by crossing layers, providing a cover to prevent the rain, water impregnating the wood, triggers the phenomenon of putrefaction.

WOODSHED COVERAGE

In the past, because of the extensive use of firewood in the absence of other fuel, our ancestors were accustomed to preserve the wood on the place where it was cut,  just leaving  it only covered with a sheet or a towels to keep it dry and repair the piles from the rain.

Obviously a better solution for the proper conservation and adequate curing of the wood is by far, to store the wood under a real roof, this is the reason because we want a real woodstore.

 

HOW TO BUILD OUR WOODSTORE

Of course there are various kinds of shelters and the choice depends on

  • what we need,
  • the space available

and not last

  • how much we are planning to spend for this purpose.

The woodshed can be built by using a wall of your house to which you may build and lien two perpendicular walls.

Then you cover the three-walls-construction with a simple roof and you have the job done. Easy to think it and easy to do it.

One more thing: it is better not put the logs directly in contact with your home’s wall, because you do not want ants, bugs and possible umidity contact your home. Moreover it is always better make the air circulation free.

If you have enough availability of space, you can build a self-standing structure with one or two sides opened. The evident advantage of that solution with two open sides is that, with this way it is possible access to the shelves of the wood logs from both sides in addition, obviously, to promote the exchange of air.

Whatever the type of woodshed you want to achieve, if possible, it is always preferable to build it over a strong concrete slab foundation. The thickness of the concrete base, the consistency, armor depend on the size of the shed which we intend to build, besides other important factors such as the consistency of the ground.

Once the foundation is done, you can follow the same procedure as for the construction of a roof or a pergola.

One last tip: if you can, it would be a good idea to build a woodstore big enough to allow to stow the amount of wood you need for two seasons, so that you will use for you firewood always the wood stored 2 years before, well seasoned and dry, with obvious advantages on yield.

 

 

TILING FLOOR SHOWER, INSTALL MOSAIC ON FLOOR SHOWER

August 4 2012 - HOUSE

Tiling floor shower or install mosaic on floor of your shower are work that denote a special sensitivity and a taste for the beauty that is not heritage of many people. And that is what we are looking for: something special, same as we are.

Everything you do to make more beautiful and efficient your house, like replacing window or doors, lowering the ceiling with plasterboards, Stucco Veneziano walls or special floors, are all works that make your home more special and unique and increase also its specific market value.

Therefore, if you are tired of taking a shower in an oldfashion bathtube or in your meaningless shower (anonymous as that of thousand of  others), maybe the time has come to design and create your own personal and unique mosaic tiled floor shower adding style and fashion to your bathroom and creating a smooth surface, warm and pleasant to the touch and most of all, unique ..and yours!

Install a mosaic tiled floor in your existing shower room it is not certainly a very easy job, but you can do it by yourself and with it you will add personality to your house and you will be proud to have done it.

mosaic shower floor

THE BATHROOM, FLOOR SHOWER TILES AND MOSAIC

The bath, or Salle de Bain as French people say, is the room of the house that perhaps tells you more than others about the apartment standing and even about the temperament and sensitivity of the people living in that house.

The refinement not always necessarily it means of expensive, more often it is enough customize small details to make the house beautiful and unique.

Just to have an idea of what we are talking about, here there are few solutions that can be taken, easy and effective.

mosaic floor

HOME CUSTOMIZE, BATHROOM DETAILS AND ACCESSORIES

  • sanitary suspended
  • unusual basins
  • bathroom accessories of quality
  • ceiling with spotlights
  • half-mirrored walls
  • arcs
  • particular types of plaster or coating

…..and also an original shower like a

SHOWER FLOOR MADE OF MOSAIC TILES

A good solution to give a personal touch to your bathroom can be to transform the shower tray into a base finished mosaic or also a base finished with tiles, where you may, for example, extend the color and the design of the tiles of the shower walls or even use the same color and shape of all the rest of the bathroom.

To make this, there is one important thing to keep well in mind in order to avoid future problems:

SHOWER WATERPROOFING

A good rule of thumb should be to have the work of reconstruction of the shower executed by an expert tiler installer, better if he is expert in mosaics, but the most important is that he is able to properly seal the base of the dish, the platform where it should fix the mosaic (or the tiles).

shower floor

In fact, one of the most important aspect of the entire work of laying a floor shower mosaic, in addition to the aesthetic side, is definitely the one that concerns the prevention of future potential, dangerous leaks.

Let’s say that, according to the most recent dictates of the current fashion and architectural criteria, the floor shower should be (if possible) at the level of the bathroom floor. This gives the most pleasant effect.

So, once you have determined the shape of the base of the shower (which is not always easy because the maximum result arises with the atypical shapes, depending of course on the type and size of the corner where the shower is located), you must set up the trap and the exhaust pipes of the water. Then it is time to make the first pouring of mortar around the siphon system, taking care that it should be easily accessible for later inspection and cleaning. The surface must be well prepared and ready for the next step.

Now you will have to waterproof the bottom of the shower tray with a sheath or a sheet of linen rubber, polypropylen or specific products commercially available as the sheaths bicomponent spreadable, type Weber Dry Flex or bituminous sheaths, all readily available in the centers DIY like The Home Depot, Sears, Lowe’s.

After that you can complete the job with the tiling or with the laying of a mosaic or even with an alternative and economic solution, using the same tiles used for the walls of the bath specially fractured into pieces and then used as mosaic .

In this case, when the work is finished, we must apply a thin coat of waterproofing paint transparent finish to further ensure the watertight integrity.

Another solution very fancy and not too hard to be made is a floor shower of tick glass through which you may see, for example, white rocks when taking your shower. But, of course, there is no limit to the fantasy.

 

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