Fitting And Sealing Pebble And Stone Mosaic Tiles

Red, black, honey and white river peggle mosaics
For stone tiles like pebble mosaics, marble and travertine

  1. The stone pieces are glued to a flexible backing so you can glue them in place using tile adhesive like you do with other tiles.
  2. Seal the stone tile after the adhesive has completely dried. This action will prevent the pebbles and stone tiles from absorbing the grout color. Allow the sealer to dry.
  3. Apply grout to the pebble tiles by pushing it into the spaces between the pebbles. Work slowly when doing this to fill in all gaps. When you have finished the entire area will be properly covered with grout.
  4. Allow the grout to set up and dry for around 20 minutes.
  5.  Sponge away the grout from the surface of the stones. The sponge should be damp, not dripping wet and dont push too hard, you dont want to remove the grout from between the stones. Rinse the sponge regularly.
  6. Leave the grout to dry for 24 hours.
  7. Apply sealer to the grout and stones.

Mosaic tiles that feature natural stone

Advertisements

Kitchen Sink Stainless Steel Grade 304 18/8

Stainless steel grades used for kitchen sinks explained
OK so you want to buy a kitchen sink and all the sinks have these numbers but what do the numbers mean? Could they mean the weight in kgs that you can pile the dishes up before washing them divide by the maximum number days you can leave dirty dishes…. are you also confused? Never fear, here is a very simple explanation.

There are many grades of stainless steel but since we are takling about kitchen sinks here we will deal just with 18/8 and 18/10 which are the two most common grades of stainless steel used for food preparation and dining. They are also known as Type 304 or grade 304 and are part of the 300 series. 18 refers to the amount of chromium present and the 8 or 10 represents the amount of nickel. For example, 18/8 stainless steel is comprised of 18% chromium and 8% nickel.

304 grade stainless steel is also comprised of no more than 0.8% carbon and at least 50% iron. The chromium binds oxygen to the surface of the product to protect the iron from rust. Nickel also enhances the corrosion resistance of stainless steel.  Therefore, the higher the nickel content, the more resistant the stainless steel is to corrosion.

DIY Nail Art

IMG_4217

You need:
A hammer
A pencil and ruler
Nails
A board (not chipboard – fairly sturdy wood)
Colourful twine/string
An awesome place to hang the final product

Start by marking out the points where each nail needs to go on the board. I chose to create the word ‘art’ but you can pretty much string up any design, word, picture, shape, (whatever floats your boat), (you get the point), that you would like to.
After plotting your design on the board, begin hammering in each nail. It can become a tad noisy after a while but the final product will be worth the headachey-loud-noise. With each nail secured and upright, you can begin the threading process. It’s pretty simple really, tie a knot around a nail on one end of your design and simply twist the twine around the nails to create a woven look. Try keep the thread even so as to keep it looking neat and evenly covered. Try keep it a colour palette of sorts, it’ll make the final product look just that more professional and somewhat less crafty. Once all the nails have had some twine twisted around them tie a final knot to secure the string.

Yay! And that, folks, is how to create a simple (and creative) piece of artwork for your home.

IMG_4221

IMG_4228

IMG_4239

IMG_4297

The Cost And Return Of Home Improvements

Where To Improve Your Home To Make The Most Return On Investment
With the housing market stagnant in many areas and buyers harder to come by, it is important to improve your home to make it more sellable. This could mean little projects such as laying new carpets and redecorating or undertaking bigger improvements such as kitchen extensions and adding a conservatory.   Such improvements can increase the value of a property and make for a quicker sale should you decide to sell or re-mortgage.

However, whatever home improvements cost money. So is it best to use your savings, tap into the equity you have by re-mortgaging, take out a home improvement loan or use a 0% credit card?

For instance, a big improvement such as a conservatory can be quite expensive, so it might be best to save up for it or get a low-cost loan.

A smaller improvement such as replacing the kitchen tap could be done using a 0% credit card, but make sure you pay it off during the interest-free period if you can.   Here are some home improvement suggestions with guide prices…

Home improvement return on investment 2

Home improvement return on investment 3

Home improvement return on investment 4

Home improvement return on investment 5

Home improvement return on investment 6

Source: http://www.moneysupermarket.com/loans/

Quick Fix Tap Replacement Heads With Valves

Replace Your Tap Valves And Heads

Are those old taps bugging you? Are they stiff and weeping from the joints? Are they ugly?
I have a quick fix… New tap heads. Not as good as replacing the complete tap and not as cheap as replacing only the washers but rather a best of both solution.
You can buy just the tap heads in different styles that will screw straight into your existing tap body. These replacements include the handle, collar and valve complete with new washers. You can get for the bath, basin and shower.
I found mine at the local plumbing store and you can get a big choice online.
The image here does not do the final result justice because it doesnt show the weeping joint or the stiffness of the handle or the scars of many years of use on the old tap handle, believe me there is a big difference.

There Is A Demand For Female Plumbers

Move over boys, there’s a gap in the plumbing industry for women and they are ready to fill it!

Watch this cool music video:

An article in The Independent reveals this quite clearly with statements like “Anyone who can give birth is stronger than they look”, “women can do the heavy work” and “women make the best plumbers because they realise the importance of respect” by experienced West Yorkshire-based plumber, Hattie Hasan.

Why female plumbers?

Female Plumbers are in demand

Carol Cannavan, secretary of the Institute of Plumbing and Engineering’s Women in Plumbing Group, once told the BBC that there is a great demand for female plumbers and that more women should be supported into the industry. She said that some sections of society feel more comfortable with a woman plumber, such as certain religious groups. In her experience, customers have often asked specifically for female plumbers and this shows a need for them.

An Equal Opportunities Commission report has stated that 12% of people would feel safer and more relaxed hiring a female plumber.

Plumbing companies have said that there is a need for woman plumbers as customers feel secure around them and can relate to them. The elderly, in particular, feel more comfortable allowing a female plumber into their home.

Some say that men are happy because it’s a woman at home with their wife or, if they’re the ones at home, they feel that they are less likely to be judged because they cannot perform the plumbing task themselves.

How easy is it for females to enter the plumbing industry?

The Equal Opportunities Commission is trying to combat skills shortage and the under-representation of females in this industry by encouraging more women to complete plumbing courses.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills has reported that £23 billion could be added to the British economy if more women enter into the workplace, thus helping the nation to recover from the recession.

The UK’s biggest name in vocational education, City & Guilds, places no restrictions on the number of women allowed to take their plumbing courses. In fact, the organisation is actively encouraging more women to enrol.

Why aren’t there more female plumbers?

Summit Skills, the Sector Skills Council for the building services engineering sector in the UK, has estimated that there are approximately 160 000 plumbers in the UK but less than one percent are female.

In Hong Kong, Equal Opportunities Commission chairman, Lam Woon-Kwong, has said that, in his years in the public sector, he has seen females holding back their career advancement as they don’t want to outshine their spouses and want to devote more time to their families. At the launch of a women’s leadership program, Woon-Kwong said, “It’s free choice but I hope that is not a conscious choice conditioned by social stereotypes disguised as free choice”.

Hasan is aware of the myths around female plumbers that are holding them back from entering the industry and realises that the industry still has a long way to go. She has said that many people mistakenly believe that women are not strong enough to deal with the manual labour aspect of plumbing and that it is not a job that is economically sustainable as only women hire women plumbers.

Cannavan believes that more needs to be done to challenge the perception that plumbing is strictly a male profession. She said, “I think it is about getting information into schools and making it clear that it’s not just one career, there are so many different things you could become within the industry.”

So for all women who are interested in becoming plumbers but are allowing those myths to get in the way, maybe it’s time to prove society wrong? The economy, workplace and educational institutions are all desperate to have you after all!

Here are links to some promo videos from Stopcocks Women Plumbers, a national organisation of highly skilled Women Plumbers:

Here are contact details for some female plumbers in the UK:

Plummy Plumbers

Tel: 020 8670 0342

A1 Plumb

Tel: 020 7684 2006

Girlz on Tap

Tel: 01273 248 744

Pink Plumbers

Tel: 01923 283 421

How To Install A Bathroom Basin Mixer Tap

Chrome Basin Mixer Tap ICE

Turn the Water Off First!

The mixers are relatively simple to install although we do recommend you get a qualified person to do the installation.

Basin Tap Installation Diagram

2 flexi pipes connect your hot and cold water into the bottom of the unit. Prefferably hand tighten the pipes, do not use tools that will damage the connection.

The unit is attached to a one-hole basin using a threaded rod and nut.

A Rubber O-ring is placed on the top of the basin and then rubber and metal gaskets are placed under the basin.

The type of connection required from the flexi hoses to the water supply depends on the size and type of pipework or couplings that are already in place in your bathroom.
You may need to connect using a brass male coupling (pictured here)

brass coupling
if there are no existing connectors on the pipes or you may need to fit a reducer if the existing connectors are larger than required.
If you are lucky the existing connectors will be a perfect match.
Use PTFE tape on all connections to ensure a good watertight seal.

PTFE Plumbers Thread Tape

Plumbers PTFE Thread Tape

All these items can be bought from your local plumbers merchant.

Here is a diagram showing the layout for installing a basic basin mixer tap with pop up waste:

basin pop up connection diagram

How To Install A Kitchen Sink Mixer Tap

Aero Kitchen Tap
Turn the Water Off First!
The mixers are relatively simple to install although we do recommend you get a qualified person to do the installation.
2 Flexi pipes connect your hot and cold water into the bottom of the unit. Prefferably hand tighten the pipes, do not use tools that will damage the connection.
The unit is attached to a one-hole sink or counter using a threaded rod and nut.
A Rubber O-ring is placed on the top of and a rubber then a brass gasket is placed under the counter.
The type of connection required from the flexi hoses to the water supply depends on the size and type of pipework or couplings that are already in place in your kitchen.
You may need to connect using a brass male coupling (pictured here)

Brass Coupling To Connect Monobloc Tap Flexi Pipes
You will need couplings if there are no existing connectors on the pipes. You may also need to fit a reducer if the existing connectors are larger than required.  If you are lucky the existing connectors will be a perfect match.

Ensure Watertight Connections With PTFE Plumbers Thread Tape

Plumbers PTFE Thread Tape

Use PTFE tape on all connections to ensure a good watertight seal.
All these items can be bought from your local plumbers merchant.
Here is a diagram showing the layout for installing a basic kitchen mixer tap.

Kitchen Sink Tap Installation Diagram

Whats That Filter Thing In A Tap Spout?

Bathroom and kitchen tap aerator diffuser

In the spout opening of many taps there is a filter thing. It is not actually a filter at all but this is what it gets called a lot of the time.

So, what is it Supposed to be called?

and what is it for?

Call it an aerator or diffuser and you will be on the right track. I have heard it referred to as a filter and gauze sieve but these are not correct.

This clever piece of technology changes the way water exits a tap spout. The Aerator is either wire mesh or plastic grate and is screwed to the tap spout end, often with a chrome collar (the pics above show the aerators inside chrome collars). The water is agitated in the aerator and mixed with air that enters through tily channels in the side so when it comes out of the spout it feels luxuriously soft and bubbly.

Aerated water is gentle and pampers your hands.

Aerators also act to direct the water flow straight out of the tap spout and minimise splashing.

The aerator also restricts the water flow along with adding air to the water so it is also a water saving device.

Aerators are common on kitchen taps and basin taps where the spout shape allows. Square and waterfall spouts often dont have. You can easily see the aerator in tap pics, it either protrudes from the spout or you can see the screw collar line on the spout end.

They are not so common on bath taps as the restriction will slow down filling the bath tub and you dont usually wash your face or hands direct from the bath tap spout.

Aerators often get clogged by debris, especially in new installations or after pipework repairs or maintenance. This gives the impression that the pipes are blocked and often leads to major investigation and costly plumbers bills when all that is needed is to unscrew the aerator and rinse it clean.

Taps that usually have aerators:

Taps that often dont have aerators:

Swivel Spout Servicing On Kitchen And Bathroom Taps

Swivel Spout Sink Tap

Most kitchen taps and some bathroom taps feature convenient swivel spouts.
These taps usually have rubber orings and a nylon bush in the spout for water seal and swivel action. To maintain good spout swivel action try the following:

  • Turn off the water supply to the tap
  • remove the spout (normally held in place by a grub screw at the back)
  • clean the exposed part of the spout and the open hole where it came out of
  • apply some vaseline to the o-rings and nylon bush
  • replace the spout