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How to Cut Concrete

Monday, October 6, 2014 2:52:30 PM Africa/Johannesburg

Abrasive vs. Diamond Blades


Abrasive blades are still the least expensive, “up front” cost alternative to cut concrete. However, with the continuing decline in diamond blade pricing, diamond is becoming the lower “total” cost solution. There are a number of other benefits that can be derived by using diamond instead of abrasive blades:


  • Diamond Blades are at least two times (2X) faster cut. (This gap widens as concrete mix gets harder.)
  • There is less downtime due to fewer wheel changes with diamond blades.
  • There is no shelf life for diamond products.
  • Diamond Blades have a constant depth of cut.

Since diamond blades are rimmed with a diamond section mounted on a steel core, the wheel diameter can wear only to the rim diameter allowing a constant depth of cut through the life of the blade.


1)    Lay out the area to be cut

Use a chalk line to lay out the area that needs to be cut.



2)   Safety

With any project safety comes first. The cutting of any material using power tools creates dust and flying chips. We recommend the use of safety glasses with side shields or safety goggles, work gloves, a work apron or close fitting clothing, hearing protection, and an approved dust/mist respirator.



3)    Cutting the concrete

Cut concrete to the correct depth. Proceed slowly, maintaining minimum RPMs of the cut-off saw. Slow speed, allows the saw to keep from overheating the blade and causing shrapnel-like pieces to be tossed into the air from a broken blade. If you have helpers, have them keep the chalk line free of concrete dust made by the saw cut.



4)    Blade longevity advice

While there is no rule of thumb to advise on how long your diamond blade should last or how fast it should cut through concrete, there are some relative measures based on concrete hardness. Harder concretes include precast and concrete pilings. You should expect a slower cutting action from your diamond blade but you should see longer life. Medium hardness concretes include concrete pipe, sidewalks and curbs, and green concrete (5 - 30 days old). With medium hardness concretes, you should see average life and average cut rate from your diamond blade. Soft concrete is pre-stress. It is very abrasive and will cause short blade life but a very fast cutting action.


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How To Waterproof a Wall

Monday, September 29, 2014 2:03:47 PM Africa/Johannesburg

For any wet-area makeover, one of the key preparation points is to ensure the surfaces are properly water proofed. Apply the appropriate primer to the walls and floor then a bead of wet-area silicone to all floor and wall joints up to tiling level.


Protect areas prone to movement such as wall and floor joints, by embedding an elastic joint band or mat into the first layer of waterproofing membrane.


1)    Apply membrane to joints

Select a suitable waterproofing membrane and use a paintbrush to apply a 1.5mm film to a width of 75mm either side of all vertical and horizontal movement joints.



2)    Set the corner bands

Use manufactured waterproofing corners to take the guess work out laying the banding in tricky areas and ensure a rupture free seal. Set internal and external corner bands plus pipe sleeves into the first coat of membrane while it is still wet.



3)    Finish the banding

Cut lengths of straight of waterproof banding to seal joints, overlapping the corner bands and bedding it into the wet membrane. Apply a first coat of membrane to the walls and floor and let dry, then apply a second coat to the entire area.



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Replacing Drawer Runners

Monday, September 22, 2014 2:52:46 PM Africa/Johannesburg

A drawer slide, also called a runner, is made up of two parts, one secured to the drawer and the other to the inside of the cabinet. These will need replacement if they become sticky, rough or the rollers break.


1)    Measure the slides

First remove the drawer from the cabinet, remove the slides and then measure them in order to buy the correct length slider.



2)    Secure the drawer

Position the new slide along the base of the drawer, butted against the front, with the wheel facing the rear. Then secure it to the drawer using the screws provided.



3)    Secure to the cabinet

Position the drawer to check the slide and mark a centre line. Position the line on the cabinet with the wheel at the front and set back 2mm in order for the drawer to close flush. Then drill pilot holes and secure with screws.



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How to Fill Small Holes and Cracks in Plaster

Monday, September 8, 2014 12:34:58 PM Africa/Johannesburg

1)    Rake out the crack

Rake out the crack with a filling knife. If the crack is in the plasterboard and the paper surface has been torn, cut off jagged edges with a sharp trimming knife.



2)    Brush the crack

Now brush the crack with a dry brush to remove any dust from the raking.



3)    Filling the crack

Load the filling knife blade with filler and draw the blade across the crack.

Scrape the excess of the blade, then draw it down the crack to remove excess filler from the wall and smooth the surface.


4)    For deeper holes

For deeper holes, build up the surface in layers, starting from the edges. Give each layer about 2 hours before applying the next.


5)     Sanding

When the filler has completely dried, you can use a medium or fine sanding paper for sanding it to the perfect finish.



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Fixing a Faulty Flush Cistern

Monday, September 1, 2014 1:10:51 PM Africa/Johannesburg

Leaking toilet cisterns waste water, as well as possible cistern overflows can occur if the inlet valve doesn’t shut off when the water reaches the correct level.


1.  If the water level is too high, adjust the float arm.

2.  Replace the inlet valve if needed.

3.  Dismantle and clean the inlet valve if clogged.

4.  If the float fouls on the inside of the cistern, adjust it to clear obstacles.

5.  Replace the outlet suction valve if faulty.

6.  Contact a plumber for advice.


1)    Checking for leaks

Remove the cistern lid. Leaks can go undetected, add some vegetable dye into the cistern and I there is a leak the dye will appear in the bowl. Locate the cause of the leak and if the float level is incorrect, follow steps 2 and 3.



2)    Lower the float arm

If the cistern overfills and continuously flow into the bowl, adjust the float arm down so the ball sits lower in the cistern, causing the inlet to shut earlier. With older systems you can bend the brass arm down.



3)    Adjusting the float levels

On newer toilets with plastic float arms, turn the adjusting screw on top of the float arm and ball, raising or lowering to the correct position for shutting off the inlet valve.





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How to cut plywood with a straightedge guide

Thursday, August 28, 2014 10:57:58 AM Africa/Johannesburg

1)      Clamp a straightedge

Clamp a straightedge to a scrap of lumber. Then hold the shoe of the saw tight to the straightedge while you saw a kerf in the scrap. Measure and record the exact distance between the straightedge and the inside edge of the saw kerf.



2)      Time to measure and mark

Measure and mark the desired width of the cut board. Then use the measurement obtained in Photo 1 to make a second set of marks for the straightedge on the “keeper” side of the first marks. Align the straightedge with the second set of marks and clamp it tight.




3)      Cutting

Slide the saw's shoe against the straightedge to rip the plywood. To ensure a straight cut, press the saw firmly against the straightedge as you push it along.


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How to Replace a Broken Floor Tile

Monday, August 18, 2014 1:26:43 PM Africa/Johannesburg

1)    Chisel out the old grout

Remove grout from around the edge of the tile. A grout raker will be ideal for simplyfying this process.



2)    Time to remove the broken tile

Drill a series of holes into the tile using a drill and masonry bit in order to break up the tile, making it easier to remove.



Then using a heavy hammer and cold chisel start removing the tile, the tile will now come out section by section.



3)    Remove the old adhesive

Scrape any old and hardened adhesive off the surface.



4)    Apply new adhesive and install the tile

Apply new adhesive to the back of the tile and ensure the tile sits flush by using a spirit level to check.



Then allow the adhesive to dry and re-grout the tile, wiping clean any excess with a moist sponge.



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How to Caulk a Tub Surround

Monday, August 11, 2014 9:51:53 AM Africa/Johannesburg

How to clean out old caulk and apply new, durable caulk to your bath tub.


1)    Loosen the old caulk

Push in a razor scraper in all the way under both edges of the caulk bead to release its grip. In order not to break the razor refrain from prying the old caulk.



2)    Scraping out the old caulk

After loosening the old caulk, scrape it out of the joint using the pointed end of a can opener or putty knife.



3)    Time to Re-Caulk the joint

Pull the caulk tube down the tub/wall joint form the inside corner of the tub. Keep steady pressure on the tube by pushing the caulk forward and folding over the empty part of the tube.



4)     Smooth the caulk with your finger

Dampen your finger in the tub and drag it over the freshly laid bead of caulk. Press the caulk into the joint with the tip of your finger and scrape away the excess with the sides of your finger (it may take a few swipes). Wipe excess caulk off your finger with a damp rag.



5)    Remember to include the tile corner joint

Caulk up the tile corner joint if the old caulk has cracked or deteriorated.



Tip For cutting the caulk tip to size

Cutting the right size opening at the tip of the caulk tube is critical for a clean, smooth bead. A large opening will spread too much caulk into the joint and you'll wind up getting it all over the place. It's better to cut the tip too small at first because you can always re cut it if necessary. Use a utility knife to cut the tip of the caulk tube at a 45-degree angle so the opening is about the diameter of a wire coat hanger.

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How to Remove a Door

Monday, August 4, 2014 12:54:47 PM Africa/Johannesburg

 1)    Loosen the hinge pin

First close and latch the door then tap the hinge pins loose with a nail and hammer.



2)    Tap the pin up

Tap the pin up until its loose enough to remove, using a hammer and screwdriver.



3)    Remove the door

Open the door only partway and then pull it to the side so it drops of the hinges.



4)    Remount the door

Replace the door on the hinges, with the help of a pry bar if needed to get the hinge leaves to fit together.



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How to Cut a Hole in a Bench Top

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:03:12 AM Africa/Johannesburg

If you are installing a new kitchen sink top you can use the following handy tips to save some money by cutting the hole yourself.

These steps can be used for either laminated particle board or timber, but for granite you will need different tools. Use the same techniques when cutting holes for hot plates or bench mounted waste bins.

1)    Tape the outline

Place your sink upside down with the edge 80mm from the front of the bench top, positioning the tap hole to point to the front in order to mark an outline using masking tape. 

2)    Drill the corner holes

First use masking tape again to mark another outline 10mm inside form the first outline. Use a drill and 8mm drill bit to drill the “starter holes” in all four corners. 

3)    Cut the hole

Now you are ready to start cutting the hole, first apply masking tape to your jigsaw base plate to protect the bench top. Then fit a coarse timber blade and start cutting from one of the starter holes.


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