ADDING THE FINISHING TOUCHES (PLASTERWORK)

For many people, plastering is one way or another considered to be an art form, and rightfully so, as even some expert builders and keen DIY enthusiasts will not tackle a plastering job, favoring instead to hire a professional plasterer. However, undoubtedly, plastering is a skill that can be acquired quite quickly and easily even for the amateur DIY individuals. Follow these steps to master the method of applying finishing plaster.

Step 1
The method for applying finishing plaster is the same whether you skim over drywall sheets, render, or undercoat plaster, though the surface preparation differs. An undercoat should be a bit damp when applying the plaster; if necessary, try to use a mister to dampen it. Practice using plastering methods on a small area first before doing a whole wall.

Step 2 – Covering board
You can skim a drywall with plaster to make the surface appropriate for painting or papering. Use tape to protect the joints between boards. Apply a layer of plaster throughout the whole surface. Then follow the steps below to accomplish a smooth surface result. The same kind of plaster should be used for every layer.

Step 3 – Smooth dry wall joints
Use drywall tape to protect the joints between drywall sheets, attaching it with a little prepared plaster. Cut off excess tape with scissors to get a neat edge. Fill any gaps greater than 1/8 inch with pre-mixed plaster.

Step 4 – Prepare the plaster
Fill a bucket up to half its height with clean tap water, and add the plaster slowly, carefully following the manufacturer’s instructions. Mix more if there’s a need to. Use a power stirrer to mix the plaster. Dip the stirrer before starting the drill and use at a low speed. You may also mix manually. Keep adding plaster and mix until it has a creamy consistency. Run a trowel around the edge of the bucket to incorporate all the dry plaster. Pour the plaster onto a board. It should be thick enough to spread evenly over the board without running over the edge

Step 5 – Applying the plaster
Use a trowel or a piece of clean cloth to cut away a section of the mixed plaster, and transfer it to a hawk. Use a small amount at first to get used to handling the hawk. Holding the hawk in front of the wall, cut away a section of plaster, using the plastering trowel. Push the plaster up and onto the wall surface.

Spread the plaster across the wall surface, pressing firmly and distributing it as evenly as possible. Work from the top of the wall to the bottom, in broad, vertical and horizontal strokes. Aim to work quickly to cover the surface before the plaster starts to dry. Continue to add more plaster, building up a rhythm of loading the hawk and transferring the plaster to the wall surface.

Step 6 – Smooth the plaster
Once the surface is covered, go back over it, smoothing the plaster to an even thickness. Do not try to achieve perfect smoothness yet. Leave the plaster to dry for another half hour, until it is harder, but still slightly damp.

Sweep a clean, dampened trowel blade across the entire surface, smoothing the plaster and redistributing any excess to fill small indents. Hold the blade at a slight angle with only one edge on the plaster to achieve a smooth finish. Leave the plaster to dry for at least half an hour, until the surface is firm enough to touch without moving the plaster, but is still damp. Repeat the smoothing process, again using any excess surface plaster to fill small depressions. If necessary, use a wet brush or garden spray gun to dampen the plaster as you work. Aim for a smooth finish at this final stage; it is more effective than trying to sand rough plaster when dry.

GIVE NEW LIFE TO YOUR KITCHEN WITH A STONE WORKTOP

Stone as kitchen worktops has been becoming a favorite all over the world these days as more homeowners are abandoning laminate and wood in favor of this alterative with multi-features. This popular material can provide your kitchen a timeless and luxurious feel as well as having the endurance and strength needed to withstand any kitchen environment whether you opt for manufactured stone or natural stone. In addition, there are numerous patterns and colors that you can choose from making it easy for you to find the suitable stone that will fit your kitchen’s design theme. Here are some of the advantages why a stone worktop is the perfect choice to give new life to your kitchen.

Low maintenance
These material is easy to keep clean and to wipe down which makes it simple to maintain any hygienic standards that are required for a kitchen. Little effort is required in cleaning it and you will only need a damp cloth, some warm and neutral soapy water and a soft towel. Factory-made stone, quartz, is nonporous which prevents entry of liquid and bacteria into the stone itself. Natural stone, granite, has some degree of porosity depending on the type chosen, but with occasional sealing it can become relatively resistant.

Adds and retains value
Kitchen and bathrooms are the rooms in a house where most buyers pay the most attention to when looking at properties. Your home’s value can be boosted with the high-end aesthetic of the stone, especially if it will be incorporated into a well-designed space complete with modern appliances. In addition, if you will maintain your stone worktops properly and to a high standard, this value will not get lost as the years go by.

Hard-wearing
A kitchen environment can be rough on your surfaces, and the movement of hot pans, knives and heavy crockery are likely to damage your worktops. The high strength and sturdiness of stone lets it, with care, to withstand this every day wear and tear, making it a material that is well-suited to this highly used area of the home. Thus, the possibility of chips, cracks and scratches is lessened, leaving your worktops with a nearly blemish free finish.

Porosity
As a fusion of natural stone and chemical resin, quartz holds a low porosity that grants it exceptional stain-resistance. Whilst natural granite is porous, it can attain high levels of stain resistance if regularly treated with readily available proprietary sealers. This stain resistance is an essential feature in a food preparation area where spillages are likely.

Striking aesthetic
True to its name, natural granite offers an outstanding look that can be both opulent and rustic depending on the style or color you will choose. No two pieces of granite are the same, making it the perfect choice if you’re looking to put a distinctive stamp on your property. Factory-made stone, such as quartz, is a combination of resin and natural stone, and thus numerous colors are available. This gives homeowners a greater degree of control over the appearance of their worktops, letting customers to easily complement their new or existing design theme.

FINDING TRADERS FOR YOUR HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

Without some help from a professional, it can be hard to manage your home improvement project. In a perfect world, it would be nice to think that your professional tradesman would be able to do your home improvements without any interruption from you. When it comes to selecting the correct tradesman to help you out, it can be really overwhelming decision. With so many options, you might be wondering where you should you start. Here are some steps to help you find traders for your home improvement project.

Ask recommendations from family or friends
Your family and friends should be your very first port of call. It is advisable to ask them if they had undergone home improvement projects done recently and how would they rate their tradesman. This will give you some options and ideas as well as rule out some traders who were not able to deliver the results they promised.

Do your research online for local options
One of the benefits of the internet is making these tasks very easy. You literally have a database of local professionals and experts with just a few clicks of your mouse. You will be able to know who are the experts operating in your local with just a few quick search and you will also be able to read reviews from their previous clients.

Acquire quotes from a handful sources
You may have a tradesman come to your home and offers what seems to be a fairly good price for the project, but it is always a good idea to get a second opinion. It is perfectly acceptable to acquire quotes from some professionals before hiring someone. Avoid feeling pressured into agreeing to the first tradesman who will provide you a quote before you have looked at some available options. A good tradesman will be able to understand this and will never make you feel bad about looking around.

Ask about their area of expertise
There are some who are good at laying out brick tiles and there are some who might be lacking in skills in fitting a kitchen sink. Do not assume that every tradesman will be great at all the tasks they will be presented with. Make sure to ask about their recent projects, and if possible, you can try to use various individuals for different tasks that needs to be done.

Check out previous clients for reference
An ideal tradesman will be happy to provide you with information of their previous clients as well as photos of their project testimonials. You may ask them upfront for these before making a final decision and again, never assume that not all will be great at what they do. Completed project will always be your best proof when it comes to the quality of their work.

Find out if there are any approved trader scheme in your locale
This will depend on your location. These will be inspected carefully and they will only recommend experts with a superb track record and top quality work. If your locale provides this service then make sure to take advantage of it.