Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tile Samples - Where to Get Them For Free

Can't make up your mind which tile to buy? Get tile samples! With samples, you can explore your tiling options better and faster. After all, with samples on hand, you won't just see the tiles you are trying to choose from, you get to touch them.

But where do you get tile samples and how?

The good news is that these samples are easy to find and even easier to ask for. You don't even need to step out of your house unless you choose to. You can simply do a quick search online and check out the different stores selling tiles. Most of these stores have a gallery so you can pick out which items you like the best and ask for a sample.

Now, this is where it gets a little bit difficult. Not all stores ship tile samples for free. Your sample is free (all you have to do is request for one) but not your shipment. You'll have to pay a small fee for getting your package delivered. But so what? Shipping fee is a small price to pay for making sure you get tiling you won't be hating.

On the upside, shipped samples arrive within 24 hours.

Another option is for you to check out retailers. The local hardware and home supply stores often carry a selection that is to most homeowners' liking. Note, though, that visiting retailers eat up time. Then, too, retailers often carry identical brands so visiting several retailers for tile comparison may be a waste of time. Save yourself the aggravation by calling these stores first and asking them about the brands they have. This will help you narrow the list down. Be warned that not all retailers offer their sampling for free; some charge about $4 per block.

Your third option is your local manufacturer. I love this option the most for many reasons, foremost of which is the discount I end up getting. After all, who better to give me discounts on tiling than the guys who made them?

Autor: Gabriela Hudson

About the Author:
Looking for tile samples? Gabriela Hudson is an expert on expert on all things tile-related and she writes articles on the subject for Tile Central. Get honest tips, advice, and suggestions --- check out the website today!

Added: April 29, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Be Your Own General Contractor - Save Big Money on Your Home Improvement Project

Planning a much needed renovation, but working on a budget? What if you could manage the project yourself and save as much as 50% to 70%? Would it create some opportunities you hadn't thought possible? Chances are, you may already have some experience. If you've ever hired a painter or had an electrician install some new light fixtures then followed up with them to make sure the work was done correctly, then you've had a small taste of what's involved. It is basically planning and managing the project from start to completion.General Contractors (GC's) provide a valuable service, but it can be an expensive way to go. If you have some knowledge of the work involved in your project and aren't afraid of a challenge, then all you need is a little technical advice and guidance. Keep reading and I'll show you how.. Let's take a look at the basics.

  • Cost Estimating-Having an understanding of the basic measurements and formulas that are involved in writing a construction estimate will enable you to plan an accurate budget for your project and negotiate better deals with suppliers and contractors. Learn to understand the units that are used for measuring different materials including: Carpet (square yards), tile and counter tops (square feet), cabinets (linear feet), and concrete (cubic yards). Just having a small amount of knowledge of this process will allow you to evaluate quotes and compare competing bids or plan a budget for your DIY project.
  • Finding the Right Contractors-Whether you're managing the project yourself, using subcontractors, or hiring a GC to oversee the work for you; there is a right and a wrong way to do it. In order to avoid being the victim a scam or just poor quality work, you need to have an interview and qualification process. Starting with selecting a few good candidates, through referrals from friends, relatives, and co-workers, to interviewing and checking references until you've narrowed it down to the best choice. This step of the job will determine the final result.
  • Buying Supplies and Materials-When you're doing a large job, knowing where and how to buy your materials can make a huge difference in what you pay. professional contractors use wholesale suppliers and vendor accounts to save as much as 50% and you can to.
  • Scheduling-Understanding the sequence of the work will enable you to plan a construction schedule before starting the work. You can then revise it as the job progresses and use it as a tool to insure that the job is completed in a timely manner and doesn't drag on forever.

Having some insight into these basic elements of project management will make it possible to have the improvements and renovations that otherwise may have been out of reach. For more in depth information on these topics, as well many other home repair and improvement ideas visit my visit my website by clicking on the link below. Thanks for reading and good luck.

Autor: Glenn Whitehead Glenn Whitehead
Level: Basic
Glenn Whitehead is a former general contractor with over 25 years experience in the construction industry. He is currently the owner and webmaster of, ... ...

Glenn Whitehead is a former general contractor with over 25 years experience in the construction industry in Houston, TX. He is currently the webmaster of, a do it yourself home repair and improvement site with how to articles, tips for finding contractors, and help preparing contract documents

Added: April 28, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Moisture - How it Affects Your Home

Every week I receive calls from people asking for advice of information about wall movement, drywall cracks and humps in floors. Usually I try and answer these questions on the phone although some people are quite insistent that I visit their home to see for myself.

Most builders and contractors are professional and will take responsibility for their workmanship, others are quick to point the finger at somebody else, usually any other trade will do as long as it is not them. Tarion allows your house to settle for one year before they will look at or discuss any drywall cracking issues.

First problem is, your load of lumber used to build your home. Un-like myself when buying lumber, choosing the straight lumber takes up most of that time. On the other hand, your home package is dumped off in one large skid at the construction site. So your framer has just the right amount of lumber to build your home. Most framers won't bother checking moisture content and straightness of the lumber, he will make do with what he has. A good framer will use most of the warped pieces as fillers etc where they won't matter as much.

Most homes in the Barrie, Alliston, Orillia area have 2X8 floor joists. If it is raining when your package is delivered these joists will be exposed to extreme moisture until the roof is completed. This is a recipe for high moisture content and eventual shrinkage and possible warping etc.

As the lumber gives up this moisture, the change in size can be dramatic. But it is important to know that a standard piece of lumber does not shrink the same amount along all of its dimensions. The greatest amount of shrinkage occurs across the face of the grain.

Let us assume that a standard 2�4 that is 8 feet long will be exactly 96 inches long, 1.5 inches thick and 3.5 inches wide. Once this 2�4 has been in your house for 6 months and had a chance to acclimate and dry out if it was wet, it will still be nearly 96 inches long. There is very little shrinkage along the length of the lumber.

The thickness of the 2�4 will change slightly, but not by much. But the width of the 2�4 will experience the greatest shrinkage. It may only measure 3 and 3/8 inches in width. Imagine how much shrinkage might happen with a large 2 x 12

Wood shrinks only when moisture content falls below about 30%. A 6-in. wide treated southern pine deck board should shrink by about 3/16 in. if it reaches 12% EMC, so laying wet decking boards tightly against each other should result in a 3/16-in. gap when the boards dry (photo top right). For redwood or cedar purchased at 20% MC, a nominal 6-in. decking board will shrink only about 1/10 in. when a 12% EMC is reached. If the lumber installed is drier than the local EMC, and if the boards are laid tight, there's potential for the wood to pick up moisture. swell and buckle.

Truss uplift is a condition where the bottom chord of a truss lifts or cambers in the winter and then lowers again in the spring. The movement of the truss is caused when there is a temperature and moisture difference between the top chord and the bottom chord. The wood in the top chord expands with the absorbed moisture from the attic space. The bottom chord remains stable with the heat from the space below. Structurally this is not a problem but it can produce cracks in the tape joint at the ceiling and wall junction on partitions near the center of the truss span. If the truss is connected rigidly to the to the top plate of the partition wall it can even lift the wall revealing a gap under the baseboards.

Two items need to be addressed during construction to prevent problems caused by truss uplift. First the partitions should be connected to the truss bottom chord with a slotted 'L' bracket to allow vertical movement of the truss. Secondly the ceiling drywall should not be connected to the truss within 183 of the partitions. The simple use of 2�6 blocking on top of the 2�4 wall plate will provide a fastening point for the drywall which will stay with the wall. The ceiling drywall will flex from the blocking to the first fastener to the truss.

After two years all your lumber has settled and your house should not be moving either. Some houses will settle more than others. New homes are required to be built on un-disturbed soil but when building sub-divisions, who is there to ensure the ground level was not altered exactly where your house was built?

If you are not willing to have possible humps in your floors I would recommend upgrading to the engineered floor systems. Some builders offer Silent Floors as one of many upgrades thrown in when the real estate market tightens up a bit.

When the builder does come in after your one year period is over to repair those drywall cracks, pay attention to what he is doing. Some builders will want to trim your door rather than re-level your frame. This is totally up to you but I would rather have a square door than one which has been trimmed to fit a jamb that is no longer square.

Autor: Roger Frost Roger Frost
Level: Basic
Roger is a member of Nachi and Ontario Building Officials Association, where he is a Certified Building Code Official. With over 6 years in the ... ...

The Orillia Home Inspector has over 26 years of combined real estate, construction and inspection experience. Certified Building Code Official with Ontario Building Officials Association and WETT certified. First company to utilize Thermal Imaging as part of residential and commercial inspections in Simcoe County and Orilllia property market. Visit for further home information.

Added: April 25, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

DIY Home Solar Energy

Record prices at the gas pumps in 2008, affected even the most ecologically naive. Most people were forced to acknowledge that our current sources of energy are not infinite. If we continue to use these resources at the rates that we have been been using them, we will, sooner or later, run out.

With the higher gasoline prices came higher prices for almost everything else. Household budgets were pushed to their limits.

In times like these, many of us start taking a closer look at how many things in our lives are dependent on our current energy sources.

As we look at ways we can become more energy efficient, we might consider alternate energy sources for our homes.

One of the ways to do this is to use solar power as our primary energy source in our homes. It is free, storable and low maintenance.

The simplest way to convert your home to solar power is to have it professionally installed. However, professionally installed solar panels can cost up to $20,000 the average family sized home. This expense can be quite prohibitive in today's economy.

But, if you can follow a few simple instructions, you can build your own solar panels for about the cost of an average family's monthly electric bill, approximately $200. The panels are lightweight and portable. The materials and supplies are inexpensive and easy to find. About all you need are a few basic materials such as plywood, copper wire, salt, sandpaper and metal scissors. These materials can be found at your local hardware store. Once the panels have been constructed, choose a good sunny spot outside of your home, to place the solar cells. The cells are storing the solar energy used to power your home, so you'll want to assure they capture the maximum amount of sunlight. It's also good to note that the cells still collect and store energy on cloudy days.

You can use solar energy to; cook, heat your water, light your home, run your appliances, watch TV, listen to music, surf the internet and even go camping.

With solar energy we can become more energy efficient. Solar energy is a free renewable resource because it's source is the sun. It doesn't pollute like most of the methods energy giants use to generate the electricity we're currently using. Simply put, solar energy is a clean, green, free, renewable source of power. It is the most abundant form of energy available for our use.

Autor: Charlene Zatloukal Charlene Zatloukal
Level: Basic PLUS
I am, first and foremost, a mother and grandmother. I am a self taught professional artist, free lance writer, and a semi-experienced entreprenuer....

Added: April 23, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Building Hand Railings - The DIY Trap

Finish carpentry and building hand railings has given me some interesting and some times humorous experiences. I call this the DIY trap. With my experience the trap usually occurs with more advanced trimming projects like a hand railing. I have rescued a few homeowners out of this trap and here is one experience of the DIY trap.

I received a phone call one afternoon. It was a friend of mine he was very persistently asking me if I could help him out this week-end. We traded favors back and forth all the time so I agreed. The story goes; his dad who is retired and is a modest DIY'er that had pretty much built his own house from the Finish carpentry and building hand railings has given me some interesting and some ground up actually needed the help. One of the last projects in this house which never got completed for years was the hand railing going up to the upper level.

One day his dad spotted a picture in a magazine portraying a beautiful elegant hand railing and decided that this was the one to build in his house. Being the DIY'er he was he promptly started ordering all the materials with out doing any research or asking for help or advice. The materials for this hand railing came at a hefty price, as this was going to be a higher end railing but his mind was made up.

Soon the materials started arriving. He was extremely anxious to get started and had two weeks to finish this project before leaving on a vacation. What happened in the next two weeks is typical of a homeowner relying on common sense to carry him through a project that requires research and knowledge that goes beyond common sense.

Now I know this man fairly well and he is the type of person who rarely loses his temper over anything. Needless to say my friend explained the atmosphere around him over the past two weeks went from one extreme of being happy and determined to a more tense and apparent aggravated state to a quiet period and finally to utter misery, uncertainty and just pure disgust.

The DIY trap got him. He didn't know what to do. He did not know how or even if he could move forward with the project yet he would not go back and redo what he did. He was extremely upset and disappointed by the time he and his wife left on vacation with expensive hand railing parts laying all over and worse yet an unfinished hand railing without knowing how to proceed.

My folks are gone and I want this to be a surprise my friend explained. I was actually pretty excited to do this project. I could save his dad from a lot of anxiety and I knew I could build exactly what he had pictured in his mind provided he had the same and right materials according to the picture.

I arrived on site, walked in the door to meet my friend and take an assessment of the situation. It was instantly apparent to me that his dad had struggled quite hard with what was done with the railing. String lines were put up apparently where the top rail would go, papers were laying around with math figures scribbled on them which I believe was him trying to figure out the angle of the stair way. Two newel posts were mounted that were not sufficiently solid and sturdy yet had as many as 10 screws in each one. Other obvious evidence told me of the anxiety he must have gone through.

Unfortunately everything had to be undone and starting over was essential. Obviously he had no prior knowledge of this type of project nor did any research before or during the process. Let me see the picture I said.

Next we did an assessment of all the hand railing parts. Everything seemed to be there and match the picture also we were able to reuse almost all the materials. Almost is the key word. Unfortunately a critical error was made when he was measuring for the top rail and he cut it too short for the span we needed to cover. No wonder he was upset. Off to the lumber yard we go to see if we could match this certain style of hand railing as I don't believe a wood stretcher is invented yet.

Yes, we were able to get a close match but it was a costly mistake. This particular piece of top rail was $85 for the length we would need. This was at the time a style that I had never built before. It had a variety of different decorative iron balusters with a wood top rail and of course wood newel posts. We went back and built this hand railing and it turned out extraordinarily nice. It was almost a mirror image of the railing in the picture.

My friend and I were extremely happy with our work when we were finished. I had to stand and look at it for a while as it never ceases to amaze me the feelings of pride and accomplishment every time I build one of these. More importantly was the feelings I got when I ran into his dad shortly after. He could not say thank you enough and I had earned a type of respect and friendship with him that is indescribable. All in a days work helping people out of the DIY trap.

Autor: Pat Fisher

Pat Fisher is a professional carpenter and woodworking craftsman. Sitebuild it has afforded him the instructions and tools to put his knowledge on the internet to help the DIY homeowners. For more information on finish carpentry and household carpentry projects, visit - Also available is a comprehensive eBook for building hand railings.

Added: April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How to Replace a Kitchen Sink

Need to replace your kitchen sink? well you've come to the right place. The kitchen sink sit on the true throne of the home, your counter top. These days kitchen cabinets are the pinnacle of the place and that rusty old kitchen sink you have isn't helping them show their shine.

To replace a kitchen sink, You will need a few tools. Each sink is a little different so you may need a few more tools than I am listing and you may not need some.




assortment of wrenches


The first thing you need to do is select a new sink. If you haven't done so already, try to pick a sink that compliments your countertop and most importantly fits closely to the same dimensions as the old sink. Don't forget to consider replacing your faucet as well. After all what good is a new sink with a crusty old faucet.

Once you have your new kitchen sink, it's time to remove the old sink.

First turn off the water supply to both the hot and cold lines. Then turn both the hot and cold knobs to relieve any line pressure.

Next, disconnect the lines carefully using the appropriate wrenches. disconnect the drain pipe as well. Also remove any accessories, garbage disposals, dish washer line ect.

Check under your sink for any brackets that may be holding it in place. Some sinks have em some don't. If there are brackets go ahead and remove them now.

Using the hammer, gently tap the putty knife under the edge of the sink to help work it free from the countertop. Once the sink is free from the waterproof sealant that holds it to the countertop you can remove it.

Scrape any remaining sealant from the countertop using your putty knife. Try not to damage the surface area.

Check to be sure your new kitchen sink is going to fit properly by gently placing into the cut-out. Remove it. If it Seems a little too large and your countertop is formica, you can trim the cut-out with a jig saw. Apply masking tape across the areas you will be cutting. this will keep the jig saw from scarring the surface and help prevent cracking the formica laminate.

Apply new waterproof sealant such as clear silicone around the cut-out and set your new sink in place.

Attach any retainer clips (if any) that your sink may have been packaged with.

Install your new faucet on the sink following the directions that came with it then install your drains,garbage disposal, drain and water lines by reversing the removal directions.

Turn your water supply back on and check for leaks.

Congratulations! You have a brand new kitchen sink.

Autor: Mark Wynn

Mark Wynn has been around construction his entire life. He come from a line of contractors starting with his grandfather. He has worked in the construction industry himself for the past 16 years. His construction firm specializes in remodeling, refurbishing, and damage repair. Mark also hosts Web Rock City , a diy home repair resource for beginners.

Added: April 21, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

How to Make Best Use of Home Shows

Home Shows are pretty neat events. From the local region, to the state and national, you can see the latest advances in building science and talk with the pros who know the most about these products. There are so many advances in the energy end of the materials scene, you can find many new options for your home building that will tickle your fancy and save you plenty in operating costs.

It is fun to bring your whole Home Team to the Home Show, so that you can all be informed about the exciting new developments, and your discussions later on can refer to more details than if you must explain everything from scratch. Plus, the event is fun, safe, and very interactive for the whole family.

You can help your children develop their interests in building by exploring the aisles together. They will like that they can ask questions, touch things, and even enjoy some demonstrations. They will love collecting the colorful handouts and samples, and later enjoy contributing their impressions to your discussions about which products were advantageous for your applications.

You can ask all your questions about the newer products you wish to explore. The folks at the home show represent the product specifically. So they know how it performs, what the manufacturing process is, and whether it would be appropriate for your proposed application. They will know about its impact on indoor air quality, intricacies of installation, sizes available, shipping and delivery issues, and how to properly store the item until it is used. Many times you can get samples to feel and later match with your own home's materials.

Now at the show - the new exciting developments of building science will surround you at these shows. It is wonderful! Solar heating, water supply, electrical generation are just a few of the new realm of products that are well represented at the Home Shows. So many advances have made these reachable for the Northern winters and the homeowner, even with a modest budget. The science makes it efficient in Northern winters; and the manufacturing makes this technology affordable to the homeowner that previously was only accessible to institutions with large product research budgets.

Payback periods will be a term you will hear often. This refers to the time it will take for the cost savings to overtake the expenditure on the product. Just a side note, the Stimulus package (regardless of what you think of such things) does extend and expand the energy tax credit to provide a 30% tax credit for energy saving remodeling. That can apply to $5,000 of your energy renovation, yielding a maximum credit of $1,500. Pretty good, when you calculate that into your payback period. Makes it much shorter too!

You will hear many great ideas, have so many questions answered, and collect a good number of pamphlets. Be sure to take breaks, organize your stuff, and make a note of new questions that come up and booths you want to see again. You may indeed get tired. Plan a comeback trip and you will be refreshed and ready to do serious follow-ups.

At home, sort the materials again. Put them into piles for the different parts of your project. As you look at the piles for parts that need to be addressed sooner, you will study those more carefully. Yet some long-range plans do impact the early designs, so take a detour for those to see if you need to account for sizes, chases, barriers, conduits and so on as you begin your earlier phases of design.

Now, get to the more immediate piles. Keep the stuff for each product together. I like to use clear kitchen food storage bags. Often the right size, they keep things together while allowing you to see what's inside. You can even put sticky notes just inside the bag facing out, with pricing estimates, service support impressions, questions, and hot points you wish to note.

You are preparing for a return to the Home Show, with information under your belt, having evaluated what you have seen and armed with new questions to allow you to compare products and fill in the gaps so that you can evenly consider your options.

Now, let yourself sleep on it. Many things will settle out in your mind as you sleep. The brain is fantastic and can sort and process so much even when we are not looking.

In the morning, talk with your Home Team and see what their second impressions are too. Catch some notes, make a list and game plan for your second run at the show, and bring the pile with you for your immediate project and you are ready to return to the show, a newly refreshed and prepared pursuer of the best info available today.

Your second day can be solo, or bring your helpful sidekick. It is a new level of teamwork and, cooperation. It relaxes and encourages you. Whether you debrief there or when you return home to include the rest of your team, it develops stronger bonds of coordination and trust. Communication can flow from there, as you build your house and your happy Home Team!

Autor: Dr Debi Warner Dr Debi Warner
Level: Basic PLUS
Dr. Debi Warner has combined her three decades of family practice in psychology with her love of home renovating to bring you a great resource ... ...

Dr Debi Warner is a Clinical Psychologist with a lifetime of home renovating in her toolbelt. Dr Warner invented Renovation Psychology� to help people gain skills and improve domestic harmony while involved in building projects.

With three decades of family practice, Dr Debi saw many situations gone awry, so she focused her expertise on developing the skills and teamwork that will help people fully enjoy their home projects, for true home improvement. See more about how to gain harmony on your home team while doing home projects at

Added: April 20, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Loud Music? Complain No More

Rattling windows. Shaking floors. Deep rumbling from behind the walls. If it sounds like an earthquake outside of your home, but in fact is your child practicing with his band or your neighbor's loud music, complain no more. We know that loud music and hearing loss go hand in hand. So if it's not your loud music, why should you have to suffer the consequences?

According to the American Hearing Research Foundation, noise induced hearing loss is a permanent hearing impairment resulting from prolonged exposure to high levels of noise. One in 10 Americans has a hearing loss that affects his or her ability to understand normal speech. In addition to this alarming news, the American Hearing Research Foundation also states that there has recently been an increase in hearing loss in youngsters, caused in most part by loud music along with increased use of portable radios with earphones.

With so much at stake, and the likelihood of your children giving up their loud music being so slim, it's important to protect your home against such sound.

There are two simple ways to do this:

The first would be to use Peacemaker Sound Insulation. Peacemaker Sound Insulation is a material that can be installed between walls in a home, on ceilings, as well as under floors to reduce noise while also protecting against moisture. It is an eco-friendly, sound deadening material that is also an affordable option to soundproofing your home. It is mostly used to reduce the transmission of sound between walls, floors, or ceilings, thus is the most permanent and viable option to blocking outside noise.

If it just so happens that you or someone you live with is the source of loud music, and hearing loss seems unavoidable, you may want to consider using Audimute Sound Absorption sheets. Audimute Sound Absorption sheets reduce volume levels by as much as 60 percent by reflecting noise and absorbing echoes and reverberation. These sheets can be easily hung using Megaclips, which provides a highly effective yet portable sound absorption solution. The material has also been tested in an acoustic laboratory and recorded an impressive NRC rating of .70. (Please refer to our website for an explanation of what this rating really means and why it is so important in soundproofing)

Using one of these two options will help ensure that you and your family will not be one of the ten Americans reported as having permanent hearing loss due to loud music.

Autor: Jenni Ramminger

If you happen to be one of the unlucky people suffering from hearing loss caused by loud music, complain no more! Turn to Audimute for your soundproofing solutions- visit us at our website: or call our office at 866-505-6883. We'll make soundproofing simple.

Added: April 19, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Self Build UPVC Conservatories

An Online Buyers Guide

Designing and building your new conservatory has never been easier - with access to the internet you can have your new conservatory designed and priced - often in minutes! It is easy to have your conservatory even at a distance without the need of a salesman sitting in your home for hours on end telling you how brilliant their product is compared to everyone else's! You can take control and be your own project manager (with a little expert help).

The cost savings can be huge! You can save thousands of pounds and the quality of a self building conservatory from some of the online specialists is every bit as good as the quality from national companies. Many online sellers offer you a free quotation service, some of them will have a webpage with 'Drop Box' options for size, shape, colour and style - fill this in and press send.

Remember that online sellers rarely employ sales people so give your details in the knowledge that there will not be anyone knocking on your door. Your reply will be by email or by telephone (always give a number that you can be reached on). Ask them to send you an information pack and brochure. The quality of the package and its presentation will give you a good idea of the quality of the supplier you are dealing with. Look at your pack: has it got a colour brochure? Information sheets? Guides for measuring? Is it easy to understand and printed clearly?

Material Choices

uPVC - Hardwood. Aluminium.
uPVC - Affordable, accessible and medium skill levels required. Possible on a DIY basis.
Hardwood - Much more expensive and high levels of carpentry skills required. Not a DIY project.
Aluminium - Similar price to hardwood but not recommended for DIY without a hugely skilled tradesman present.

Co lour choices for uPVC Conservatories will include white as standard, then oak or mahogany wood grain, either: double sided or white on the inside.

This year, many uPVC extruders are producing wood grain finished in colour (for example, the 'Artisan' range from Synseal - one of the UK's leading extruders).

Creams, greens and, yes, even blue! Many wood grains, including white, are now freely available (at an extra cost). This type of colour finish was normally reserved for the expensive and exclusive hardwood market.

A new uPVC conservatory has more security features than ever before: multi-point lock door systems; anti-bump locks; anti-jemmy devices for patio doors; door restrictors built into the head (so doors don't blow back); shoot bolt key locking windows and internal beads on the frames so the glass units can only be replaced from the inside. Ask about all these and are standard or extras. Look out for the following British Standard Kitemarks.

Conservatory Roofs

BS 6399 - Your assurance that wind, snow loadings and stress calculations have been achieved.

Window Frames

BS 5750 - The industry benchmark for quality UPVC extrusion.

Glass (Usually toughened but ask)

BS 6262 and BS6209 - These are essential Kitemarks to avoid cheap foreign imported glass which does not always meet safety standards.


There is a huge choice of glass sealed units. Look out for safety glass firstly for the side of frames and if you want a glass roof (as opposed to a Polycarbonate roof) choices will include: 'K' Glass of' Low E' glass. This is a mineral coating which reflects heat back into the room. Also, argon gas filled sealed units have superb thermal efficiency (the lower the 'U' valve, the better the thermal efficiency but it does carry an added cost). The sealed unit or IGU (Insulating Glass Units) should be 28mm in width.

Roof Systems

Nearly all UK conservatory roofs are aluminum structures with a strong eaves beam and all bars and ridges in aluminum. There are clad or capped inside and out with UPVC (color match to your side frames) and nearly always have their own integral guttering system. Watch-out for color matches between roof and side frames and ask if they are from the same uPVC extruder! Roof glazing will be a choice of polycarbonate (should be 25mm thick) or glass.

Roof glass options can include anti-sun glass (if you are South facing) and self cleaning glass (and yes it really does work!) such as Pilkington Active Blue or St. Gobain Planitherm - an extra charge will occur for these options.

When web browsing, look out for the supplier who offers downloadable information and self help guides. A glossary of terms is useful and guides you through the 'conservatory speak' of the salesman. Look at the overall quality and appearance of the website.

Questions to ask

Will they deliver to your door and is there a charge? How long from order to delivery? (Max. 21 days in UK) Is there a meaningful Guarantee Insurance underwritten and by whom? Check out how long they have been trading and have they had a name change over the years!

Ask if they have expert advice available by telephone - can they offer a fitting service? Many quality firms will give you a separate quote for installation; although, with the growth in DIY skills, many straightforward conservatories can be built over a couple of weekends using friends and one skilled helper.

Bespoke Designs

Some online sellers will offer a bespoke service for more complicated designs. Don't be afraid to be adventurous. A 'P' shape or Gable front or a Hip back to a bungalow or a Glass Box often seen on Grand Designs may well be available. Remember they should provide you with all the base and building plans free of charge and all elevation drawings.

Information Packs always ask for an information pack. Do they provide one and not just a standard industry brochure? A good information pack will reflect the quality of the company you're dealing will.


Look carefully at their website - is it quality? Is it east to use? Can you contact them by freephone? Are the images in their gallery their own of just industry 'standard' pictures?

Their websites may have links on it - are they useful to you and do they further explain the quality of their own business and business partners?

Planning Permission - Do you need it?

A simple guide is that if the house has not been extended since it was built and you have a garden, the chances of you needing a full application (usually 110 or more depending on the local authority) are small. To be on the safe side, put in a Planning Development Inquiry (PDI) it is usually free and they will reply in writing advising you if you do or do not need an application. Keep this letter safe as it will be important if you sell the house as a solicitor will do a land registry search.

Building Regulations

As a rule of thumb, if there is a door or French doors between the conservatory and the house, you will not require Building Regulation Approval. If the conservatory is to be left open or your kitchen extends into the conservatory, you will need the correct approvals and there are fees to pay to your local authority (see the 'Building Control' pages of your local council. There will be a menu pricing system for fees).

Please remember the rules for planning application can vary from one local authority to another. Houses in a terrace or in conservation areas, National Parks. If there is a local plan in place, it may have certain restrictions.

All local authorities have the same government blue cook 'A Guide to Planning' - get hold of a free copy. Remember: if in doubt, ask for advice. A recent national survey showed that up to 55% of householders world consider DIY as a serious option to create their new kitchen, bathroom or conservatory rather than having someone in to do it. Self build is not daunting! Go online and ask for an information pack and ring them up and talk to them about your project. You will be pleasantly surprised at the quality of the advice they can give you. Deal with established businesses and your self build conservatory will be a realistic and affordable dream come true.

Autor: Nick Schofield Nick Schofield
Level: Basic PLUS
I am a UK (Manchester) based SEO/Website Promotion expert....

DIY conservatories
Self Build conservatories

Added: April 15, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

Build Your Own Backyard Pond - What is the Most Cost Effective Method

There are three established methods for building a backyard pond or body of water which are:

1) Building a concrete basin
2) Building a basin with a vinyl liner
3) Using a preformed plastic pond

Concrete Basins:
Using concrete to build a backyard pond is the most expensive method as well as requiring the highest degree of skill overall to successful achieve. Concrete working requires experience, and waterproof concrete working is a vastly more complex subject that simply mixing and placing cement. For the average DIY pond builder concrete seems to be a poor choice in many respects.

Liner Basins:
Building a basin with a vinyl liner is less costly than concrete basic construction, and on par with preformed plastic basins in terms of overall project costs. The skill level required to build a pond with a liner as your primary source of waterproofing is much higher than using a preformed plastic pond as the basis of your backyard pond project, however fantastic and realistic pond and waterfall landscapes can be created using this method.

Of primary concern to building a pond with a vinyl liner is creating a supporting layer that will protect the liner from puncture or damage once the weight of the water is on top of the liner. Additionally the possibility for damage due to mice, rats, raccoons, dogs, birds and other animals as well as overhead trees and wind swept debris being thrown into the pond is a concern.

The liner itself is expensive and the installation process is somewhat difficult and labour intensive so this might be a poor choice for a water retention material if you are looking for a durable and long lasting pond solution. You could potentially install buffer layers such as foam or even a second layer or thicker liner, but the cost of doing this is somewhat prohibitive to DIY enthusiasts trying to get the most out of their landscaping budget.

Preformed Plastic Basins:
The most cost effective and DIY friendly backyard pond is a solution that uses a preformed plastic or resin shells as the basis for the pond and waterfall. By recessing the pond below grade, or by landscaping with artificial rocks you can actually build a huge pond and waterfall feature that is the central focus of your backyard for a few hundred dollars. You can even use second hand items for building materials and work your costs down much further.

The pond shell itself is easy enough to find and install, and building your own artificial rock waterfall and landscaping rocks is incredibly inexpensive since concrete and sand are the two most readily available and inexpensive construction materials on the planet. The options for the different methods of building ponds can also be noted by looking at swimming pools. As with ponds the three most common and proven methods for creating waterproof bodies of water are concrete basin, vinyl liner basin and fibreglass resin pools.

Choosing the correct DIY project to match your skill and budget is critical when deciding how to build your own pond landscape. If you are looking to build a long lasting, cost effective and easy to complete backyard waterfall then a preformed plastic pond with an artificial rock waterfall and landscape is the way to go.

Autor: Steve Goodale Steve Goodale
Level: Basic
Author and DIY guru for swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, artificial rock, landscaping and home renovation. Steve has published dozens of DIY tutorials and ebooks ... ...

Learn more about artificial rock, ponds, waterfalls and swimming pools by reading the tutorial series written by Canadian author and second generation swimming pool expert Steve Goodale. - Tutorials on artificial rocks, ponds, waterfalls and statues. - Concrete vs. Vinyl vs. Fibreglass swimming pool buying guide.

Added: April 14, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Finish Carpentry Tips and Tricks For the DIY Trimmer

In finish carpentry the trim wood around doors is called casing. When casing a door you want to try and get the miters as tight as possible. A miter joint is the point where two pieces of casing meet at a corner. At a 90 degree corner where two pieces of casing meet each piece will be cut at 45 degrees to make this 90 degree corner. In theory this should work perfectly every time but little variables and imperfections throw this theory out of whack. Here are some tips and tricks to use to combat these little variables for almost perfect miters every time.

In order to have two pieces of casing cut at 45 degrees to make a 90 degree corner the casing has to be perfectly flat. A lot of times this isn't possible because the jamb of a door either sticks out past the inside sheet rocked wall or doesn't come out flush to the inside sheet rocked wall. This causes the casing to be tipped either inward or outward and when the casing is tipped in or out this will change the degree at the corner because of the distance of the miter to close the gaps. For example; if the casing is tipped inward or outward the miter will be open slightly to the inside or outside of the joint depending on how much it is tipped. Chances are you will run into this problem while doing finish carpentry but there is a solution.

In finish carpentry when casing a door or window always start with the top piece of casing. If the casing will be fairly flat when applied in place go ahead and cut each end at 45 degrees with a slight bevel back at the cut so the face of the casing is just slightly longer then the back of the casing. To get this slight bevel at the 45 degree cut slide a small piece of card board under the casing and close to the blade before cutting to slightly lift the end of the casing up the thickness of the card board. This piece of card board should be about an inch or so wide and the length of the width of the casing.

Another technique to get this bevel is to cut the casing upside down at the saw. If you have traditional type casing the casing will be thicker on the outside edge and go thinner to the inside edge. By cutting the casing upside down you automatically will create a natural back cut or bevel to the 45 degree angle cut.

Now you have the top piece of casing tacked in place with the ends cut at 45 degrees, it's just a bit of trial and error now. Cut a piece of scrap casing at the 45 degree angle and hold it in place. This will show you where the gaps are at the joint and you can adjust the miter saw to the correct degree to close the gap. When you have the correct degree adjusted to the miter saw you are ready to cut the next piece of casing that will be installed and have a nice tight miter. Be sure to apply the bevel technique to each cut.

Always apply glue to your miters before making the joint. Then each miter will be pinned together with a small nail at the outer corner so the nail goes through the miter to hold the two pieces together tightly. I use an 18 gauge nailer for nailing the inside of the casing to the door jamb as well as at the outside miter joint. After everything is pinned with the small gun I will use a 16 gauge gun to solidly nail the outer edge of the casing to the wall. When using the bigger gun to finish the nailing process stay away from the miter joint so you don't disturb the miter.
Finish carpentry has many little tips and tricks and these little tricks can have a big impact to the over all quality and the time it takes to finish a project.

Autor: Pat Fisher

Pat Fisher is a professional carpenter and woodworking craftsman. For more information on finish carpentry and household carpentry projects, visit - Also available is a comprehensive eBook for building hand railings

Added: April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Amazing Faux Granite Paint Finishes - A How to Guide

By using a layering process with spray bottles you can easily create incredible faux rock painting effects. There is a little more to it than simply spraying paint onto whatever it is you are painting - to get a realistic faux granite finish there are a few key steps to remember:

1) Water down your paints
2) Choose complimentary colors
3) Allow time to dry between layers
4) Always finish with black

If you follow these four steps you are sure to create realistic looking granite colors. Once you have mastered this art of faux rock painting you will be amazed at how realistic you can make a two dimensional surface like a wall or a concrete floor - just think of the 3-D results like making artificial rocks with concrete.

Water Down Your Paints
The type of sprayer you use will depend largely on your budget, but for most people trying their hand at faux granite painting would likely use regular hand held spray bottles like normally used for water. There are available everywhere and relatively cheap. The down side of these sprayers compared to more expensive pressurized models is their inclination to clog or spray in less desirable splotches as opposed to a fine mist which is preferred.

By watering down the water based paints you are using you can get most sprayers to pump them. A mix of 3 parts water to 1 part paint as the minimum is a good starting point for trying your mixture. Practice adjusting the stream of your paint into a bucket to get as fine a mist as possible before painting your subject matter.

Choose Complimentary Colors
To create a realistic looking faux rock pain finish you need to decide which color you want your subject to be overall. This is usually gray, red, light brown and dark brown which are the most common faux rock color choices. If you were to choose light brown as the color for your rock you will need to have at least two or three different shades of brown to use. Since you want a light brown coloured rock you would start with the light brown applying a heavy misting layer to cover at least 80% of the total surface.

Be sure not to have the paint drip or run. You can apply two coats of the same color one after another to avoid the paint running. Once the main base layer has been applied the remaining layers are all painted in a much lighter - misting fashion.

In addition to the light brown, and then a light misting of dark brown, you will want to add two or thee highlighting colors which you will apply sporadically to your subject. These highlighting colors are usually blue, red, yellow, tan, orange, gray and green and are intended to provide inconsistency and depth overall. Not every color goes well together and you must learn and practice to develop a strong feel for color combinations.

Allow Time To Dry Between Layers
By allowing the paint to dry in between layers you can create a much more dynamic finished product where the different colors overlap each other but remain sharp overall. If you add layers when the paint is still wet you will find that the colors will bleed into one another which detracts from the desirable speckled look of a faux granite finish.

Worth noting is that you can use the color bleeding as another artistic tool choosing to blend together colors - especially in the base color stages where you are applying a heavier coat of paint.

Always Finish With Black
If you have one sprayer that works better than all the rest, you should use that sprayer for your black paint. Once you have achieved a color combination that you are happy with and are ready to proceed to the final layer which is a list misting layer of black overall. Some areas you can go slightly heavier on to create an interesting finish, but ultimately the entire surface receives as light of a misting of black as possible.

The goal is to have the black speckles to be as small as possible which will transform a mediocre looking faux granite finish to a magnificent and realistic colour. There are hundreds of different color options and applications for faux granite paint finishes including stamped concrete, artificial rocks, statues, fireplace covers, drywall, decks, stairs, patios and much more.

Autor: Steve Goodale Steve Goodale
Level: Basic
Author and DIY guru for swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, artificial rock, landscaping and home renovation. Steve has published dozens of DIY tutorials and ebooks ... ...

Canadian author and second generation swimming pool expert Steve Goodale has a tutorial series that covers how to build artificial rocks, planters, statues, ponds, waterfalls and much more. - Over 250 photos of step by step artificial rock construction, sculpting and painting.

Added: April 11, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

DIY Concrete Mixing - Advanced Mix Ingredients Techniques

Once you have established a basic understanding of a simple concrete mix you can begin to learn more about new concrete technologies and the true limitations of this incredible building material - hint, there are not many!

By changing the volume and type of aggregates that you use in your cement mix you can create many different types of concrete suited to different applications. In general the goal of substituting aggregates is to have the concrete remain consistently strong as a finished product. Some examples of concrete advanced techniques are:

1) Color or dye in the concrete
2) Lightweight concrete
3) High strength concrete
4) Decorative concrete

Even all of these options are just the tip of the iceberg for what concrete is capable of. The extreme limitations of current concrete technology being researched and developed are transparent (translucent actually) concrete which will show a silhouette through concrete that is meters thick! Limitations of concrete strength is self supporting concrete which does not require the mechanical assistance of steel grid work. Concrete strength used to be measure is PSI however mPa or mega Pascals is the current unit of compressive concrete strength referring to the amount of force the concrete can ensure before failure.

Coloured Concrete
You can add powder or liquid pigments to your concrete to achieve interesting and dynamic colors. Common colors would be brown, red, dark grey, tan and other similar earth tones. To get more vibrant concrete colors you can use pure white Portland cement in place of regular cement, as well as pure white sand instead of regular sand. This white mortar mix will react well to more vibrant colors and pigments. The amount of pigment or dye that you use will depend entirely on the brand that you choose. The best method is to purchase from a specialty concrete supply store which will have a far better selection of quality concrete color additives than your local hardware supply store.

Lightweight Concrete
You can replace all or part of the sand in a 3:1 mortar mix with aggregate materials that are much lighter in nature than sand. The result will be a concrete that is much lighter, but also vastly weaker than a 3:1 sand mortar. There are many applications for lightweight concrete with many of them being decorative such as planter pots or garden statues. The most common lightweight aggregate material substitutions for making concrete are:

Vermiculite - which is a mineral and often sold as "pool base" in larger quantities from pool stores which will make a relatively strong, but compressible concrete. The insulation value of vermiculite is very high, more than ten times as high as sand, so vermiculite concrete mixes are often used for sound dampening and insulating.

Peat Moss - Using peat partially in place of sand will result in a concrete that is much weaker than traditional 3:1 mortar and even much weaker than vermiculite concrete. The texture of the concrete is somewhat earthy and finishing and detail work con be slightly difficult by comparison with other mixes.

Saw Dust - This is another readily available and cheap aggregate substitutions used to achieve a lightweight concrete. In addition to providing a rough and inconsistent texture to the concrete, the wood ingrained will often stain and discolour creating an interesting and unique pattern. Too much sawdust can make the concrete unacceptably weak very quickly - more so than vermiculite and peat moss.

Perlite - This is commonly used for gardening and is recognisable in that it is completely white and very similar in texture to styrofoam beads. The main advantage of this aggregate choice is the fact that it is white. It has a similar overall feel as vermiculite however the concrete produced with vermiculite is much easier to work and finish than concrete made with perlite.

Usually you can replace up to two of your three buckets of sand with an alternative aggregate. Vermiculite can be mixed with straight cement without sand and still remain strong enough to suit several tasks such as swimming pool floors. The other aggregates will yield a concrete that will break under its own weight.

High Strength Concrete
The current strength for concrete is measured in mPa with the average sidewalk concrete being 10-15 mPa where as foundations for homes usually start at 20-25 mPa. High rise commercial concrete is closer to 35 mPa as is swimming pool construction concrete.

The strengthening of concrete over and above what a 3:1 mortar mix will yield requires engineering and testing. If you order concrete from a ready mix or bath plant you can specify precisely how strong you want the concrete to be. If you are mixing it yourself and want to make the concrete as strong as reasonably possible there are a few things that you can do.

Glass Fibres - Glass fibres and fibreglass are two different additives which you can put into your concrete to help make it cohesively stronger as well as minimize hairline cracking in the concrete during the curing process.

Water Reducer - is a liquid that you can put into the concrete in place of water. The water reducer will increase the viscosity and workability of the cement dramatically without affecting the finished strength negatively. The more water that you put in concrete the weaker the finished product will be. In place of water reducer you can also use the absolute minimum water possible to get the concrete workable to make it as strong as possible.

Powder Additives - Combinations of highly dense powders such as silica fume and fly ash can potentially help to make concrete stronger by filling in some of the microscopic spaces left in regular concrete by the larger sized aggregates. These tiny aggregates are dangerous to work with because the airborne particles are small enough to damage your lungs should you breathe them. Most of these powder additives will be hard to locate for the average DIY enthusiast.

Decorative Concrete
In place of sand you can also add just about any other substance such as glass or coloured beads, pieces of plastic or metal, rubber or anything else you can think of. Most commonly you would use this concrete to create an exposed aggregate where loose aggregate is imbedded into the top of partially cured concrete. Exposed aggregate with small coloured stones is very common and you likely have seen this before. Exposed aggregate with marbles and microchips is less common to be sure - but not any less possible.

With some basic practice you can learn to create incredible things such as statues, pool decks, artificial rocks, ponds, waterfalls and decorative art.

Autor: Steve Goodale Steve Goodale
Level: Basic
Author and DIY guru for swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, artificial rock, landscaping and home renovation. Steve has published dozens of DIY tutorials and ebooks ... ...

Canadian author and second generation swimming pool expert Steve Goodale has written dozens of online tutorials for swimming pool and artificial rock construction, renovation and repair. - Tutorials on how to build artificial rocks, ponds, waterfalls, statues, planter pots and more

Added: April 9, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Build Solar Panels to Harness the Sun's Energy For Free!

Solar panels used to be considered quite exotic and brought up visions of space ships and future ways of getting energy. They were also relatively inefficient compared to today's modern versions. The panels are a collection of photo cells designed to take in the sun's rays even when the sun isn't out and store those rays in batteries to be used to power electrical systems in homes of businesses. These days panels are smaller more efficient and produce a lot more power. That power is free and that is certainly the main attraction for most people to going solar.

There are solar panels all around you and you may not even realize it. If you look around you will see panels on street signs, timed lights, even those signs you see on the highway telling you to slow down. Local and State governments save tons of money using those things. All that kind of equipment was formerly powered by gas generators or electrical batteries. With solar, that equipment is totally self-contained and once set up costs absolutely nothing to run. Even car shades made to keep the sun off of windshields have solar powered fans to keep the car cool in the summer. That would have been unheard of 20 years ago because of the size of the panels.

Now everyone can use solar panels to power their homes and businesses. Panels are so advanced these days that it's easy and affordable to set up a solar system unlike in the old days. The panels are small and provide and amazing amount of power. Just a few panels can power your entire home. You can even install them yourself. There are kits available that show you exactly what to do to get going with solar. It used to take a technician to install solar panels in homes.

Solar panels are great for so many reasons but probably what strikes people most is that once installed there are no more costs. The Sun's power is free and the equipment will pay for itself in months because there are no more electric or hot water bills to deal with. And, since the Sun's power is clean and renewable you are doing the economy a favor to. Not being reliant on fossil fuel based electricity means you are reducing your carbon foot print. That means you're saving green all over the place!

Autor: Craig Shockman Craig Shockman
Level: Basic
Craig Shockman is a 20 year veteran of the construction industry. Over the last 20 years Mr. Shockman has witnessed the growing concern that energy ... ...

Craig Shockman

Added: April 8, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

DIY Home Theater Additions - Home Theater Soundproofing

DIY home theater additions are quickly becoming the thing of the future. With the economy in its present state, many homeowners are looking to add value to their properties while maintaining their budget. This translates most oftentimes into three little letters: DIY. Home theater construction is just one of the many DIY projects homeowners are undertaking in an effort to add value to their homes.

When it comes to building a home theater, homeowners need to remember one thing: You can't underestimate the importance of do it yourself soundproofing! No matter how good your home theater looks, it's likely to disappoint you if you don't take care of the sound.

Why is Home Theater Soundproofing so important?

Home theater soundproofing decreases the amount of noise that escapes from your theater room into the rest of your house. Peacemaker soundproofing insulation is one type of soundproofing material that is ideal for your DIY home theater project. Installed within the walls, floors, and ceiling, these eco-friendly insulation sheets and rolls come in various thicknesses to help keep sound where it belongs.

Peacemaker's impact extends beyond the area you are soundproofing. The rubber soundproofing material puts old and recycled tires to sound use, keeping them out of already-overflowing landfills. In using products such as these to soundproof your room, you are making a difference not only in your immediate environment but in the greater one as well.

Beyond Home Theatre Soundproofing - Improve Home Theater Acoustics

When it comes to DIY home theater projects, do it yourself soundproofing is not the only requirement. Adding absorptive material to the walls of a finished home theater room is necessary to improve room acoustics. This acoustic treatment will aid in reflecting the sound that leads to echoes and reverberation. Absorptive products such as acoustic panels and sound absorption sheets work to acoustically tune a room, bringing out the sounds you want to hear and absorbing those that you don't.

Bass traps and Sonipad Anti-Vibration Isolation Platforms are other acoustic elements that can be added to your DIY home theater. Bass traps capture low-frequency sounds whereas Sonipad Platforms "float" a device (for example, a speaker) to reduce surface vibration, resulting in tighter, fuller sound.

Autor: Jenni Ramminger

To learn more about do it yourself soundproofing products or to see how other DIY home theater owners soundproofed their spaces, visit

Added: April 6, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Installing Baseboard Trim Tips and Techniques

Installing baseboard is one of the easier facets of finish carpentry. By learning just this part of finish carpentry you will be surprised at how easy and fast you pick up the other aspects regarding trimming. For instance, taking the basics of installing baseboard and applying them to installing shoe or quarter round or even chair rail and crown molding really works. In a sense it is the plat form or starting point to learning this trade. Of course installing doors and casing doors and trimming windows is a little more complicated but is not really that tough with a little research or guidance. This information for research is all over the web and is free, abundant and invaluable for learning. Here are some quick tips for installing baseboard.

When installing baseboard where future carpeting will be installed you want to keep the baseboard up off the floor so the carpeting can be tucked in under the baseboard. The way to handle this is to cut a few short pieces of baseboard about 3 inches long or so and lay them down next to the wall so the piece of baseboard that will be installed and nailed in place rests on these short pieces. This will create a space about 3/8 of an inch under the baseboard after it is installed.

When you come up to a 90 degree outside corner always trial fit the baseboard in place and let the baseboard run past the corner. Then take your pencil and trace the corner up the back of the baseboard. This will give you the exact measurement of where to cut. When you cut this piece always try to split your pencil line with the blade and for a 90 degree corner cut this piece at exactly 46 degrees. Sheet rock corners are never perfect and your line most likely won't be perfectly vertical on the back of the baseboard so split the line at the most outer point or at the longest point.

When you come to an inside corner there are a couple ways to handle these. One way is to miter the joint. The other way and most preferred is coping the joint. Coping is cleaner and neater looking and just plain easier. To start from the beginning for doing a cope read careful, you only cope one piece and that is the second piece that leads out of the corner.

The first piece of baseboard goes squarely and tightly against and into the corner. Then the actual cope goes onto the second piece of baseboard that meets the first piece that was previously installed. Take this second piece of baseboard and make a 45 degree back cut on the end that goes into the corner. On this piece there will be a natural cut line or profile line. Simply use a coping saw and cut off the material by following this natural profile line.
This will create the exact profile of the baseboard and this piece will fit exactly into the first piece like a glove. When you are cutting with the coping saw be sure to be creating a bevel so the back of the baseboard is slightly shorter then the face or front.

For quick nailing or attaching baseboard to a wall a stud finder works well. You really need to be hitting studs every time so the baseboard is secure and stays securely fastened. However if you do not have a stud finder another quick method is by simply using your tape measure.
Find one stud in the wall towards the center of the wall, then on your tape measure the 16 inch increments are well marked, just lay your tape down the length of the wall and put one of the 16 inch increments at this one stud. Then at each 16 inch increment shoot a nail through the base and into the wall. You should hit a stud every time provided the wall studs are framed at 16 inches on center. Some times walls are framed at 2 feet on center and some times the framing may be off slightly so check the baseboard after each time you nail to be sure it is secure.

There are other tips and tricks to installing baseboard but by just doing it and getting more practice these little tricks can and will be picked up naturally and automatically. Almost everyone develops their own little unique techniques when learning and doing finish carpentry.

Autor: Pat Fisher

Pat Fisher is a professional carpenter and woodworking craftsman. For more information on finish carpentry and household carpentry projects, visit - Also available is a comprehensive eBook for building hand railings

Added: April 5, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

Characteristics of Spirit Stains

A number of years ago a few firms put lines of spirit stains on the market. These were manufactured from various colors that are soluble in alcohol. At the present time the colors or dyes which are used are almost entirely spirit soluble basic coal tar dyes.

Spirit stains dry very, very quickly, and do not penetrate deeply into the wood. Pure spirit stains dry with such great rapidity that it is difficult to apply them evenly. Laps, streaks, and brush marks are likely to disfigure any large surface stained with spirit stain. The trouble is due entirely to the rapid evaporation of the alcohol which is used as the solvent for the colors.

These stains are more expensive than water stains, because the solvent alcohol, costs much more than water. They are sometimes used for quick work, especially for touching up spots and streaks, and in making repairs or renewing old finishes. The expert can occasionally use them to advantage, but the beginner always has trouble with them.

Another difficulty with spirit stains is that they may "lift" with the filler-coat, or with the application of shellac, which is a spirit varnish cut with alcohol. Such stains are liable to mix with the shellac under the brush without any sort of mixing or measuring tools and produce a muddy effect which spoils the transparency and beauty of the finish.

You can also purchase mixed spirit stains and volatile oils. Some manufacturers of spirit stains have changed their formulas and do not use alcohol exclusively as a solvent. Turpentine and benzol are sometimes used as solvents or thinners in addition to alcohol, and these oils slow down the rapidity of drying of the spirit-stain. Benzol also causes the stain to penetrate more deeply than if alcohol alone is used.

These stains can be thinned with either alcohol or turpentine, but turpentine is preferable when it comes to stains and supplies and a sort of ruler of stains because of its slower rate of evaporation. Some of the best liquid stains on the market today are really a combination of volatile oil and spirit stains and wood finishers are having satisfactory results with them even though they are rather expensive on account of the high cost of the solvents. Water is also sometimes used as a thinner for spirit stains, reducing the rapidity of drying to some extent.

You cannot leave spirit stains in open vats because of the rapid rate of evaporation, which increases the risk of fire. Such stains should be kept in tightly closed glass bottles, if possible. The method of application for spirit stains is to apply them with a brush and them to wipe and spread the excess in order to achieve more even tones and brilliance. You can obtain the best results in one of two ways:

1. By working rapidly with a brush loaded with color, rather than with an almost dry brash; and
2. By evening up, by wiping before the stain has set or dried.

A word of caution about using spirit stains is necessary - they do fade. Spirit-stains made from aniline or other coal-tar dyes arc considered by many experts to be the most fugitive of all stains, although they are much more permanent than they were a few years ago. Their tendency to fade, and difficulty in application, has caused them to be used much less than either water or oil stains. Compare the difficulty level of using a simple tool, such as a tape measure to using a cumbersome saw to get an idea of the difference.

The spirit stains are made from basic coal-tar dyes, which the manufacturers know to be fugitive. Where a temporary brilliant effect is desired, and fastness to light is not a requisite, such stains may be used to advantage.

Whenever spirit stains are used on articles of furniture the fresh colors should not be exposed to bright light until after coats of shellac and varnish have been applied. Such impervious finishes keep out the air and prevent fading to a large extent.

Autor: Allison Ryan

Allison Ryan is a freelance marketing writer from San Diego, CA. She specializes in do-it-yourself home improvement and remodeling. She is an expert on everything from measuring tools to the ideal tape measure. For a variety of these products for home improvement projects, please visit

Added: April 3, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Free Plans For Homemade Solar Panels

Wouldn't it be nice if you could get your hands on free plans for homemade solar panels and start creating your own home energy solution? Many people initially thought so too, but with all things free, there's usually a catch. Let's examine this closer!

If you do a quick search online, you should be able to find quite a number of free plans for building and installing solar panels. But how reliable are these?

You see, I've done plenty of research and testing on these. Here's what I found. Many of these free plans appear to have been put together hastily by some DIY fanatics all too eager to show off what they have discovered. But here's the problem. Take a closer look and you'll notice these are usually lacking in crucial details and proper instructions. For a start, these are not written for the typical layman and are almost impossible to follow, unless you're already technically experienced.

Well, the adage "what you pay is what you get" is all too true. If you're really serious about creating homemade solar panels that work, I'd suggest that you get yourself a professionally-developed plan. Some really excellent ones can be downloaded online for a very small fee. But it will quickly pay off for itself, if you put it to action and start saving on your monthly electricity bills.

Unlike free plans for homemade solar panels, a professional plan/guide will offer you complete instructions that are designed for the average homeowner. They are easy-to-understand, contain full illustrations and even video instructions. A good manual will also provide a complete component listing and the places where you can get them on the cheap.

Technical support are often included in professional plans, usually through email or phone contact. Many people find these especially useful. You won't get technical support from free plans for sure.

So my advice is, if you want to build a solar panel that works (and lasts), forget about those free plans for homemade solar panels. A professional guide would be the wiser... and eventually more cost-effective choice.

Autor: Dave Keller

Want to make your own homemade solar panels but don't know where to start?

Fret not! Many people just like you have successfully built these on their own to DRASTICALLY cut their monthly electricity consumption. They are already shaving $1000s off their energy bills every year. If you need STEP-BY-STEP guidance in installing one, I have reviewed the Best Online Guides on Homemade Solar Panels for your convenience. These highly recommended guides provide EASY-TO-FOLLOW instructions that will help you save money in no time.

P.S. Did I also mention that state governments are now offering GENEROUS tax incentives for homeowners who convert to using homemade solar power?

Added: April 2, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Good Solar Panel Plans - Fail-Proof Approach to Choosing the Right DIY Plans

Good solar panel plans are far and few in between. If you decide to build your own solar panels as a home energy solution, then getting your hands on a good set of plans is critically important. The last thing you need is a plan that confuses you more than it helps. Read on as we take a closer look at what goes into a set of good solar panel plans.

Ease Of Use

A good set of plans should give you complete instructions that walk you through the entire process, step-by-step. If you lack technical or DIY experience, then a 'dummies' guide will be very helpful. This can come in the form of instructional videos that show you everything you need to know.

Parts & Material List

Ideally the plan should also contain a full listing of components, materials and tools that you need. You may already have these around your home. Otherwise, most good plans will tell you where to get these easily and cheaply.

Technical Support

How would you like if you need technical assistance halfway through your project and there is no one to turn to? The availability of technical support is an absolute must. Help should minimally be available either through phone call or email.

Money-back Guarantee And Lifetime Updates

I must say this is something lacking in the home energy efficiency market. But there ARE some instructional plans that come complete with unconditional money-back guarantees and lifetime member updates, without additional charges. Without a doubt, this is product quality assurance at its best!

The best thing about building your own solar panel system is the huge cost savings you'll gain over professional installation. And choosing a set of good solar panel plans will also put you well on the way to massive savings on your monthly utility bills!

Autor: Dave Keller

Want to build your own solar panels but don't know where to start?

Fret not! Many people just like you have successfully built these on their own to DRASTICALLY cut their monthly electricity consumption. They are already shaving $1000s off their energy bills every year. If you need STEP-BY-STEP guidance in installing one, I have reviewed the Best Online Plans on Homemade Solar Panels for your convenience. These highly recommended guides provide EASY-TO-FOLLOW instructions that will help you save money in no time.

P.S. Did I also mention that state governments are now offering GENEROUS tax incentives for homeowners who convert to using homemade solar power?

Added: April 1, 2009