MOSAICS

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.

USING A PAINT ROLLER FROM A LADDER

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.

REMOVING STAINS FROM BRICKWORK

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.

LINKING WALL PINGS IN CERAMIC TILES

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.

ADAPTING A SCRAPER TO FILL CRACKS IN PLASTER

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.

LAYING MOSAIC TILES ON FLOORS SPEEDILY

When laying mosaic tiles, follow the same basic procedure as that for laying ordinary floor tiles. Remember, however, that the side of the mosaic sheet that is not covered with paper is the back-not the front – of the mosaic.

Apply adhesive to the floor and. Before laying the tiles, grout the backs of the sheets well. Clean off any excess grout and lay the tiles – grouted face down – tamping them firmly into position. Be sure to leave a gap between the sheets the same as that between the individual tiles. Remove excess adhesive and then fill any gaps around the edges of the floor. After the sheets have set. Soak the paper and then peel it off. Finally, grout the gaps between the sheets.

RESURFACING A BATH WITH ENAMEL PAINT

When resurfacing a bath, always use the paint manufactured for the purpose. The job will take about five days, during which the bath must not be used.

Rub down the surface thoroughly – first with glasspaper and then with wet-and-dry paper. Clean the bath and wipe it dry. Fit tins or plastic beakers under the taps to catch any drips. Then brush on a thin layer of undercoat. When this has dried, brush on the first top coat – as thinly as possible – and leave it for a day. Work from the bottom up. Then apply a second top coat, this time leaving it for two days. Keep the bathroom well ventilated, as the fumes of the paint can be dangerous.

Finally, fill the bath up to the overflow with cold water and leave it for a further forty-eight hours.

DEALING WITH CRACKS IN PLASTER

When filling cracks in plaster which is to be painted, mix a little of the chosen colour with the filler to help it blend in with the paint.

USING EP°XY RESIN ON A MORTISE-AND-TENON

When gluing mortise-and-tenon joints with an epoxy resin, apply the hardener to the mortise and the adhesive to the tenon. This procedure is particularly useful if a number of joints are being glued at the same time. As the setting-process begins only when the two parts of the glue are mixed together. It allows more time to fit the joints.

DEALING WITH DAMP WALLS

One hint to remember if dampness appears along a stretch of wall above a skirting board is that it may be caused by the plaster simply having come away from the wall. The moisture-content of the air in the gap created – which need be only the thickness of a cigarette paper – condenses when the heat of the room works its way through the plaster.

Cut back a 60cm 2ft square area of damp wall and apply a new coat of plaster. Leave it for a few weeks. If it stays dry, cut back the remainder of the damp wall surface. And replaster. If not. Cal1 in a professional to check the damp course.