Laminate Flooring Installation

February 28th, 2006

Laminate Flooring Installation Instructions
The following guidelines are for general use when installing laminate or wood flooring as a home improvement, always check the manufacturers information and installation details before any work commences or it may lead to the invalidation of any guarantees of you laminate floor

laminate flooring in your lounge

Make Sure the Floor is Even
Before laying your laminate flooring you will need to prepare the surface you are working on, it must be clean, dry and flat before any laminate flooring is laid.

lounge laminate flooring

Laying laminate flooring over Concrete Floors
When installing laminate flooring over concrete floors you must always use a polyethylene film as a vapour barrier, lay the film with at least 200mm overlaps at the seams.

The next stage is to layout the underlay foam, this makes the floor more comfortable to walk on and substantially reduce impact noise. it can be laid in the same direction as the boards or at right angles if you prefer with the edges butted together with no overlap and make sure to leave a 5 - 10mm gap around the edge of the room.

The foam underlay can be trimmed easily with a sharp craft or ‘Stanley’ knife

laminate flooring in your hallway

Before You Lay your Laminate Flooring
Purchase your laminate flooring at least 48 hours prior to laying and place the packs in the middle of the room in which you intend to lay it so that the planks can acclimatise to humidity and temperature of the room and allow at least 5% extra on the total room area for cutting shaping and any waste

kitchen laminate floor

Lay the boards out on the floor without gluing them to get an idea of the layout and fit. The longest dimension of the planks should run parallel with the longest dimension of the room. Starting from the longest, straightest wall in the room helps you to get a good straight line to carry across the whole room.

Each row of planks should be staggered by at least eight inches to the row preceding it. The installation can be finished off with skirting boards or quadrant molding to hide the gaps and allow the flooring to move if necessary.

light oak laminate flooring

Cutting your laminate flooring
Make sure all cutting tools are sharp before commencing any work, cut the laminate flooring face up if using a Hand Saw or Circular Saw and face down if using a Jig Saw. Use a cardboard templates to mark out awkward shapes or around pipes.

Tools Required
Installation kits are available from the laminate flooring suppliers and these vary in their content but tend to contain a Tapping Block, spacers and Pull-bar, you will also need:-

Stanley knife or craft knife
A tape measure
Hammer
Cross-cut Hand-Saw or Jigsaw
Drill and Hole-cutter (for fitting round pipes)
T-square
Pencil
Mitre block (for cutting skirting boards or beading)
Glue
Panel pins

For more information on laminate flooring and details of your nearest stockist Click Here

Kitchen Replacement or Kitchen Revamp

February 3rd, 2006

Kitchens are at the heart of the modern homes yet there are so many essential items and appliances that need to be located in the kitchen.

If you are happy with the position of storage sink and appliances within your kitchen then you could just revamp which is more cost-effective than a full replacement of all the kitchen units, wall cupboards, sink unit and kitchen appliances

Fully fitted kitchen

You can give your kitchen a new and fresh look by replacing work tops, replace kitchen unit doors and cupboard handle, re-painting or re-papering walls, fix tile or replace existing splash-backs and install new kitchen appliances

fitted kitchen

If you do plan to install a brand new kitchen just think about it before you decide to do it yourself because of the plumbing and electrics what are involved as well as just having to assemble the cupboards, its one thing being able to use a battery drill to fasten the units and work tops together but plumbing and electrical work does require a professional person and trying to get someone to come and finish off your half started work is a lot harder than getting a tradesman to come in the first place

When you are thinking of redesigning your existing kitchen or fitting a brand new kitchen it’s always advisable to shop around and get at least three quotations as the cost of the kitchen design and installation of all the kitchen units, work tops and kitchen appliances can vary so much

Planning a new Kitchen

January 21st, 2006

The most important part of Kitchen Design is the planning, a visit to your local kitchen showroom will give you ideas on what is available either on display in the showroom or choose an ideal layout from a kitchen brochure.

Take your measurements with you
Draw the shape of your existing kitchen on a piece of paper including any windows, doors or radiators which may cause an obstruction and ask your local kitchen showroom to design it for you, they may also give you ideas what you had not thought of making your kitchen design unique

Kitchen Units
You can choose from a wide choice of colours, styles and finishes of kitchen units, doors and cupboard handles

Worktops
Choose the perfect work top for your kitchen with a wide choice of laminate wood, granite and colour decors all available in a variety of edge profiles either curved, rounded or a square edge styles using natural products like marble or granite and man-made materials such as high quality laminate or corian

Appliances
kitchen appliances such as built in ovens, hobs, integrated fridge and freezer, sinks, taps and many other things to compliment your new kitchen

Stihl TS400 14″ Portable 2 stroke Petrol Cutter

January 16th, 2006

Stihl TS 400 Portable Petrol saw

The Stihl TS400 14″ Portable Petrol saw is an indispensable tool for the rapid cutting of all block paving gardening or landscaping products, with a cutting wheel diameter of 14″/35cm it will cut through steel, concrete or rock to a maximum cutting depth of 100mm. The Stihl TS400 is compact and lightweight at only 8.9kg making it suitable for all civil engineering, building or road construction and even the emergency rescue services.

Features of The Stihl TS400

    2 stroke 64cc engine
    Decompression valve for easy starting
    built in water dust suppression
    Power output 4.4kW
    Weight 8.9Kg

Stihl TS760 Disc Cutting Saw

December 7th, 2005

stihl cutting saw

For the ultimate in a cutting saw when laying block paving, there is no better manufacturer than Stihl for making power tools that are not only of great build quality but easy to use and handle too. This Stihl TS760 has the same size cutting blade as the Partner K700 at 14″, with the same cutting depth of 125mm, but has a 6.5hp petrol engine.

Not only will the Stihl TS760 cut block paving it can also be used to cut steel, concrete, asphalt, rock and other materials. It’s filtration system is efficient at ensuring that the engine receives the same fuel to air ratio at all times, even when the filter becomes dirty the Stihl maintains the great performance. The Stihl has all the added features that you would expect from this quality power tool manufacturer and it has an electronic ignition and an anti vibration system. It’s well worth the extra money for the Stihl brand.

Partner K700 Active III 350mm Saw

December 7th, 2005

partner k700 Active III

When laying block paving, it makes the job all the easier if you have a good disc cutting saw. For the best performance and power get one with a 2 stroke engine. The Partner K700 Active III is a good choice and retailing out at around £500, for a builder is a worthwhile investment. If you are going to lay your block paving yourself we would recommend hiring one.

The Partner K700 Active III is very durable and reliable and incorporates the Active Air Filtration system which makes it efficient, increasing the filter life up to 5 times. The filtration system also helps it keep going for long periods of time without needing servicing. It’s design has made it a favourite piece of equipment in the trade and for contractors and hire companies alike.

It has a 2 stroke air cooled engine, giving 4.8hp, and it’s fuel tank, which has a fuel indicator will hold up to 0.70 litres. The general weight of the Partner K700 Active III is 9.3kg which is without the fuel or the blade. The blade size is 14” or 350mm and will cut to a depth of 5” or 125mm. We would recommend investing in a diamond edge cutting blade for quality and durability. The blade is all protected with the easily adjustable blade guard. The great part about the Partner K700 is the Easy Start function which makes it a quick task to get this saw going.

Installing a block paved manhole cover

November 14th, 2005

Hot dipped galvanised recessed manhole covers can be used to hide existing manholes, block paving is fitted inside to continue the pattern of the surrounding paving.

Hot dipped galvanised recessed manhole covers can be used to hide existing manholes

The cover is bedded into place using a 3:1 mixture of sand and cement making sure its at the correct height and fall, this can be acheved by using a tight string line from one side of the drive to the other and adjust the height to suite, haunch both the inside and outside of the manhole to hold it in place

The cover must be bedded using a 3:1 mixture of sand and cement making sure its at the correct height and fall

The recessed cover showing the main area of the drive now completed

The recessed cover showing the main area of the drive now completed

A 3:1 mix of sand and cement to form a bed for the paviors inside the manhole cover

A 3:1 mix of sand and cement to form a bed for the paviors inside the manhole cover

Cover the total area of the manhole cover and lightly compact using a steel trowel

screed the total area making sure its perfectly flat

Using a notched piece of wood as a guide screed the total area making sure its perfectly flat

Using a notched piece of wood as a guide screed the total area making sure its perfectly flat

screed the total area making sure its perfectly flat

The semi dry cement bed has been screeded to the correct height ready to lay the paviors

The semi dry bed has been screeded to the correct height ready to lay the paviors

Use a straight edge or piece of timber to line up the block with the surrounding laying pattern and start to place the full blocks into position

Use a straight edge or piece of timber to line up the block with the surrounding laying pattern

Mark and cut each of the pieces

Mark and cut each of the pieces

The manhole cover with all the cut blocks in place

The manhole cover with all the cut blocks in place

Brush kiln dried sand over the blocks and tap lightly on the top of the blocks using a block of timber and lump hammer to vibrate the sand into position, the manhole lid was removed from the frame to put the sand in place as extreme care should be taken to avoid any sand getting in between the cover and the frame

Brush kiln dried sand over the blocks and tap lightly on the top of the blocks using a block of timber and lump hammer to vibrate the sand into position

The finished manhole cover is now placed in position, once its completed all you see in the 4 corners are the heavy gauge lifting eyes to accept standard profile lifting keys which are used to lift out the cover

The finished manhole cover is now placed in position

Tools and materials required to lay block paving

November 13th, 2005

Available from most hire shops
vibrating plate compactor
2 stroke saw with diamond blade
block splitter

steel tramel/screeding rails or timber laths 1″ (4 metre long galvanised steel electrical duct is ideal and is available from most electrical suppliers)
steel float
spade
wheel barrow

Protective clothing
Before using any plant or machinery always read the safty instructions and always wear protective clothing
gloves to protect your hands
dust mask to prevent dust from being inhaled
ear protectors to protect your ears

chalk, felt tip pen or pencil for marking any cuts
tape measure
spirit level
straight edge either aluminim or timber
string line
stiff brush

Skip hire and waste disposal
A 4 cube skip will take approx 4 - 5 ton
A 8 cube skip will take approx 8 - 9 ton

As a guide the average sized drive on a semi detached or detached house is between 35 - 55 square metres so you will need at least 1 large and 1 small skip to remove an existing drive what is 40 square metres. This will also depend how you fill a skip and how tight you manage to place everything, if you have large voids between things it will be filled in no time and you will have to get it replaced with another at a cost of between £125 - £140

Materials
your choice of blocks, choose from a wide variety of colours and styles with blocks manufactured by Marshalls Bradstone and Plaspave all available for delivery from your local builders merchants

Zone 2 grit sand
1 ton will cover approx 10 square metres at 50mm deep

MOT type 1 sub-base stone material
1 ton will cover approx 5 square metres at 100mm deep

jointing sand/kiln dried sand
1 bag will cover approx 10 - 15 square metres

manhole cover (if required)
cement (as required)

Step by step guide on how to lay block paving

November 13th, 2005

Compacting the hardcore
Once you have removed the existing drive patio or path and excavated to a minimum depth of 200mm (100mm hardcore, 50mm sand, 50 mm block) your hardcore needs to be compacted to give a stable sub base for your new block paving

compact the hardcore using a plate vibrator

Fixing a firm edge restraint
Any area of block paving must be surrounded by a firm edge restraint to prevent the blocks and the sand on which they are laid from creeping, either the house walls, fence base panel or new edgings along any side which require the paving to be held in place.

fix the block pave edging

Using a tight string line to keep the front edge of the edging block in a straight line, the blocks are laid on a semi dry mix of 3 parts sand to 1 part cement and hauched front and back to hold in place

closeup of the block paved edging

Zone 2 grit sand
Zone 2 grit sand is layed to the entire area approx 30mm higher than the finished height to allow for compaction. Different parts of the country have different grades of sand and as a rule of thumb get the coarse grit sand rather than a fine grain sand

zone 2 grit sand

Using a spade level the sand roughly to the correct height

level the grit sand

Continue over the toal area untill you have covered all the hardcore

level the zone 2 grit sand

As a rough guide 1 ton of sand will cover approx 10 square metres at 50mm deep

total area covered with sand

zone 2 grit sand to the total area

Compact the grit sand
Once you have filled the entire area with sand this needs to be compacted with your vibrating plate, you will see the lines and your footprints going less and less after going over your sand 2 - 3 times. It’s advisable to have your sand harder and higher than to leave any low soft spots

compact the zone 2 grit sand

Getting the correct finished height
Using a block as a guide push back and forwards and down into the sand until it is 5mm higher than the finished height to allow for the final compaction

getting the right height for the block paving

Steel poles for a perfectly flat finish
Use a tight string line as a guide cut a channel in your sand to allow the 18mm steel poles to sit, they can be bedded up or down to the required height. The top of the screeding pole is the underneath face of your block so allow 55mm to the finished height

using steel poles for a flat finish

Using a tight string line to get the pole to the correct finished height prior to screeding, check the poles for being level or falling towards any drains, 1:60 fall is required, that’s 1″ in height to 60″ in length

check for the correct fall using a level

The string line can be held in place either by using 2 - 3 blocks or alternatively you can use steel road pins

use a string line to make sure its straight

Screeding the sand
Once your steel poles are in place you can begin to screed the sand to the correct height prior to laying your blocks. When finished remove the poles and fill with sand using a steel trowel to give a smooth flat finish

screed the sand to the correct height prior to laying your blocks

Laying the block paving
The block can be laid either square to the house or on a 45 degree angle. On this drive the full blocks started at the front corner of the house working towards to boundary edge restraint. It was done this way so full blocks showed all round the house and any cuts were only visible at the garden side of the drive

The block can be laid either square to the house or on a 45 degree angle

The main area of the blockwork completed showing the border, the next step is the cut blocks

The main area of the blockwork completed showing the border,

Cut in the edges
When you have completed the laying of your full blocks you need to cut in the edges, this can be completed either using a 2 stroke brick saw or a block splitter. These can be hired from your local hire shop. Using a straight edge or string line mark the width of the border using a block as a guide and mark a line onto the full block

When you have completed the laying of your full blocks you need to cut in the edges

Remove the marked block and place on the block splitter lining up the marks with the blade of the splitter

remove the marked block and place on the block splitter

With a sharp pull down the block splitter will cut the block

using a block splitter to cut block paving

Alternatively you can use a 2 stroke brick cutter with a diamond blade, this can be very noisy and dusty so make sure you wear a dust mask and ear protectors

using a 2 stroke brick saw to cut block paving

Finishing off
Kiln dried sand is brushed over the entire area making sure all the joints are full to the top.

Kiln dried sand is brushed over the entire area

The vibrating plate is run over the total area 2 to 3 times to ensure the blocks are fully bedded into place

compact the block paving using a vibrating plate

vibrating plate compactor to bed the block paving into place

Your new drive or patio is finished and ready for use

Close up detail of the straight border to the edge of the block paving

closeup detail show straight border to the edge of the block paving

Curved border with edging detail

curved border edging detail

Classic and elegant in design

November 11th, 2005

The Victorian conservatory is classic and elegant in design and its versatility and pleasing aesthetics make it suitable for all types of homes, new or old

white pvc-u conservatory

All styles are tailor made to your requirements and you have complete control over the look of your new Victorian Conservatory such as the position of the doors, the colour of the materials in white, woodgrain, or light oak and to keep it’s traditional appearance why not add ornate finials and crestings to the ridge.

wite upvc conservatory

The roof covering can be either clear, bronze or opal white polycarbonate sheeting or if your after something a little special why not have a double glazed glass roof with self cleaning glass on the outside and Pilkingtons K glass on the inside to keep your new conservatory warm all year round

square victorian conservatory on a stone dwarf wall

Your new conservatory not only compliments your home but makes the most out of the extra space with the addition of elegant cane or wicker furniture or for the modern approach a leather suit.

internal view of a lightoak victorian conservatory with wicker furniture

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