When cutting notches in joists to take pipes or electric cables beneath floorboards, saw the notches so that they are centred in the middle of the floorboards. This means that the boards can be nailed each side of the notches. At the same time – provided that the position of the pipes or cables is noted – the procedure reduces the chance of the pipes or cables being pierced when nailing hardboard or a similar covering to the floor


If a ladder is being used on a concrete or a paved surface, try to position it so that it is in front of a window. Fit a batten across the inside of the opening and rope it to the ladder to anchor it in position. This makes the support secure. If the ladder is to be used in this position for any length of time, screw the batten to supports fitted to the wall inside the window for additional safety.


First turn off the central heating system and drain a radiator before moving it to gain access to the wall behind. Place rags under the retaining nuts on each side of the radiator as a safeguard against possible leakage, and loosen the nuts. Remove the radiator from the wall brackets and swing it down on to a wooden block. Tighten the retaining nuts.

When the decorating has been completed, fix the radiator back in position. Take care, however, not to tighten the nuts too much: otherwise the packing in the joints will be damaged and the radiator may start to leak.


When tiling a floor – or working on any job involving a considerable amount of kneeling – prevent the knees from becoming sore by tying protective pads around them. Make the pads from two pieces of thick foam rubber. Pierce holes in each corner and thread string through them. Tie the string behind the knees.

Length have been arrissed. Use a medium abrasive stone, again wetted, to start the grinding process. Work the stone backwards and forwards along the edge until all the shiny glass patches have disappeared. Finish off with a smooth stone to get a smooth finish.

If a polished edge is required. Rub the smoothed finish with a block of hardwood, about 150mm, 6 in long. 60 mm wide and 40mm thick. Alternatively. Squeeze a drop of oil on to a cloth and rub it along the smooth edge. This removes any loose and finely ground particles of glass and. At the same time, adds a brighter finish to the glass. However, it should be.noted that the polishing process requires a lot of time and patience, so it may be preferable to leave this final stage of polishing to glass merchants, who have special machines for the job.


Prepare the wood by using paint stripper, a scraper and glasspaper to get its surface as clean as possible. If the object is badly stained. Bleach it – preferably using genuine wood bleach. Bleaching is also useful when trying to match lighter with darker woods; it can be used as well to give added brightness to the dye.

Before applying the dye, clean the stripped surface with turpentine substitute. Also test for colour on a matching offcut first. As dyes can dry to ditt’erent shades.

On large objects use a soft, dry, clean, lint-free cloth; for crevices. Use a brush. Apply one even coat. Working quickly and with the grain. Wipe off any excess with a clean, dry cloth and then leave the surface to dry for at least six hours. Then apply further coats. Finish with coloured varnish or polyurethane wood sealer.


Objects around the home can be simply decorated with mosaic patterns, using pieces of broken pottery- These can be glazed or unglazed. According to choice. Mount the pieces on the chosen base with tile cement and then fill the cracks with grouting.

If using a flower pot for the base, build up the mosaic and then paint the rim with two coats of white emulsion. Next, take some artist’s oil paint of the same colour as the mosaic and mix a dab of it with polyurethane varnish. Paint the rim with the mixture to give it the look of real glazed pottery. The white line on the pot illustrated was added freehand as a final decorative touch.


The biggest problem when using a paint roller from a ladder is where to stand the paint tray. To avoid having to climb up and down the ladder, empty the paint into a clean bucket and stand a short length of board on it. Hang the bucket from an S hook attached to a rung of the ladder. Make sure that the bucket is big enough to take the full width of the roller and use the board to roll out the excess paint.

Never hold the paint tray; this will leave you without a hand free to steady yourself.

Depth of 1 m 3ft. Spacing the holes at about 2.5 m 8 ft intervals. Make sure that the diameter of the auger’s bore is at least equal to the width of the foundation being-laid across the piles.

As ordinary cement will be attacked by the sulphates in the clay, thus weakening the foundation. Use a sulphate-resistant cement to fill the holes and for the foundation concrete. When laying this, insert two 12mm diameter mild-steel reinforcing rods along the length of the foundation. Cover the rods with a minimum thickness of 38mm of concrete or surface rusting may occur.


Brickwork both inside and outside the house can be disfigured by white, powdery stains – known as efflorescence. The easiest way to remove them is to apply at about fifteen-minute intervals two or three brush coats of a neutralizing liquid, available from builders merchants. Use a stiff-bristled scrubbing brush.


When inserting fixings into ceramic wall tiles, always make sure that the plastic or fibre plug in the hole is sunk completely below the thickness of the tile. Even if only a small part of the plug sticks up into the tile when the screw is tightened, the expansion of the plug will crack the tile.


Using a half-round file, make a slightly concave curve in the middle of a scraper blade and use it to fill cracks in plaster. The curve ensures that even the smallest cracks are covered: these are usually extremely difficult to fill. After completing the job, allow the filler to dry thoroughly and then use glasspaper to rub it down flush with the surface.