Simple concrete mixing
Being able to mix small amounts of concrete is very handy for repairs to walls and paths in the garden, driveway patches and other areas of hard-standing. You can use it to fix fence posts in place and even patch internal concrete floors without having to employ contractors.
The real skill with concrete is knowing which components to use, which percentages of sand, cement and other aggregates to use, then where and how to control the setting, particularly over large areas and in different weather conditions. But mixing up a small batch for a repair job is something that should be within the capabilities of most DIY beginners, although you are encouraged to practice first.
We aren't going to attempt to turn you into a master of concrete in this
article, that would be foolhardy. So we will restrict ourselves to hand mixing of small amounts to use around the garden and home. There won’t be any need for a mixer either.
Sand and Cement
Get hold of your materials first. We will forget about any added aggregates and stick to a simple sand and cement mix. Six parts of sand to one of cement is a good general purpose mix for a mortar for laying bricks or blocks, but you need to go as high as four to one for an area that will be permanently wet, like a pond liner. You'll need a supply of water as well, of course.
A thick sheet of plastic or tarpaulin over a wooden board makes a good platform for mixing. You need the wood to give a hard surface to shovel against and the sheet helps to keep everything together and uncontaminated. Put the sand and concrete on the tarpaulin and mix it all together thoroughly with a spade or shovel.
Preparing the Water
Shape the dry mix into a hummock and make a well in the centre. This is where you will add the water, but that needs preparation first. You need to add a plasticiser which will help the mix remain malleable while you work it into whatever you are repairing. A few drops of washing up liquid in a bucket will work, or you can buy a commercial plasticiser.
Get a bucketful of water and mix the plasticiser in, then pour some into the middle of your hummock. Then gradually draw the cement and sand mix into the well, mixing thoroughly as you work your way round. Add water slowly and keep the mortar mix on the dry side initially. It's much easier to add some more water than it is to mix up a new dry sand and cement load to add if you've already made it too damp.
Getting the mortar to the right consistency is something that comes from experience. You need to be able to modify the amount of water you add depending on all sorts of factors -- how dry the materials are to start with, whether there is more or less water in the atmosphere, and of course the job you are doing. But generally you should be aiming for a consistency that will pour slowly. Then apply it to the job in hand.
Composite decking :
TACTILE & BEAUTIFUL – Made to last!Composite decking is made from modern innovative wood plastic composite material from Luna wood, called LunaComp Deck. Recently installed in Marbella, we’d like to share this example of how composite decking can be laid directly up to pool edges to give a seamless transition between your villa and your pool, or garden. The main raw materials are high quality plastic polymers & Thermowood sawdust which are both weather and decay resistant materials. Lunacomp decking is easy to install, water resistant and is available in 2 colours : Graphite Gray or Mocca Brown. The hollow structure prevents warping and can also conceal cables for lighting or audio equipment to your terrace. There Is No Need For Extra Wood Preservatives! DURABLE · LOW MAINTENANCE · NO PVC · OVER 60% RECYCLED Composite decking can be installed to compliment villas, pools, balconies, terraces, lawns or Jacuzzis. Whether you need 10m2 or 100m2, AIM British Building Supplies can offer you design advice and fitting options, to make the very best of your available space. Situated in Marbella and Alicante, AIM can offer either SUPPLY ONLY composite decking, or SUPPLY & FIT including our own delivery services.
THE CAMO HIDDEN DECK FASTENING SYSTEM
How to tile a floorYou will need: Step One: Find a Starting Point
Find the mid-points of the two longest walls and draw a chalk line across the floor room between these points. Repeat for the shorter walls but adjust the line so that it passes through the centre of the first line at right angles.Step Two: Experiment with the Layout
Lay tiles along the two lines to check if they look right from the doorway. If any gaps at the walls are less than half a tile wide, shift the line across to make more of a gap. Also, move the guide lines so that tiles around a dominant feature (i.e. a fireplace or French windows) are symmetrical and there are whole tiles at the doorway. Try to work with as many whole tiles as possible, even if it means adjusting the grout line width slightly.Step Three: Spread the Adhesive
Spread about one square metre of tile adhesive/grout into one of the right angles made by the two crossing chalk lines. Scrape the notched edge of the trowel across the mix to form ridges of the same thickness.Step Four: Lay the First Tiles and Spacers
Lay the first few tiles along the edge of the longest centre line. Gently press the tiles into place, making sure they also line up with the other centre line. Add plastic spacers at each corner to keep them exactly the same distance apart for grouting.Step Five: Lay the Remaining Whole Tiles
Work outwards from the middle of the room until you have laid all the whole tiles on one half of the floor. Use a spirit level to check the tiles are at the same level. Now move across to the other side of the longest centre line and add the rest of the whole tiles. Leave to set for 24 hours.Step Six: Cut the Tiles to Fit Gaps
Use the tile cutter to trim the edge tiles to the right shape. Measure the space at both ends in case the walls are uneven and remember to allow for the grouting gap. Always wear goggles and gloves when cutting tiles.Step Seven: Seal and Grout the Tiles
Buy all the tiles you will need at one time if possible to avoid any differences between batches. Shuffle packs of natural or handmade tiles to ensure any colour or pattern differences are spread evenly over the floor.
If you want to form a pattern, draw a plan of the room on graph paper to make sure the pattern will look in proportion and symmetrical.
To tile a room which has to be used every day, tile one half of the area at a time so you can still walk across the bare floor while the tile adhesive sets. If you find you are working slowly and the adhesive is beginning to set, only spread around half a square metre at a time. It's essential the adhesive is still wet when the tiles are being fixed.
Skimming is a term used for applying a thin coat of plaster to a wall or ceiling to provide a smooth uniform surface. The amount of plaster needed can be worked out by area/weight. 10kg should be sufficient to cover about 5 sq m at a thickness of 3mm. Only buy plaster when you need it, as the shelf life is minimal, and ensure it is kept in a dry room away from damp.1: Preparation Before starting, you should clear out the room and dust down the plasterboard. The idea is to get rid of as much dust as possible since all surfaces need to be kept clean. Dirt and dust can cause problems later and it only takes a short time to clean up. Clear the area of furniture and spread plenty of plastic sheeting over the floor. If you are plastering over new plasterboard, press scrim tape over all the board joints and screw metal reinforcing angle bead to all external corners. 2: Mixing the plaster Mix your plaster according the instructions on the bag. Always add the plaster to the water and use a clean mixing bucket. It’s essential to mix the powder and water thoroughly so that you have a thickish, creamy consistency with no lumps. A paddle accessory fitted to a corded electric drill is the best method of mixing. Plaster can set in minutes, especially in the summer, so only mix as much as you can use immediately. Don’t add new plaster to an older mix and don’t add water to the plaster to try and make it more workable. 3: Applying the base coat Scrape a trowel full of plaster off the mixing board and onto your hawk. Next, transfer half the plaster to your trowel. Keep your trowel wrist straight and use a flicking action with your ‘hawk hand’ to move the plaster from hawk to trowel. Working from the bottom of the wall, use smooth strokes to press the plaster onto the wall. Gradually narrow the gap between the trowel’s top edge and the wall as you move the tool upwards. Always keep the trowel at a slight angle to the wall at the end of the stroke. If the trowel is flattened against the surface it may pull the new plaster away from the wall. Work over the whole area aiming to apply a base coat - don’t worry about any uneven areas or holes at this stage. This coat should be around 2mm thick. Use the angle beading as a guide when plastering up to external corners. 4: Smoothing the surface Clean around the edges of the wall with a wet paintbrush to remove lumps and lines of plaster that are on the ceiling or adjacent walls. The next stage is to level and smooth the surface but this can only be done when the plaster has hardened slightly but is still pliable. This working time will vary from a few minutes in summer to twenty minutes or more in very damp cold environments. Use your trowel at a very shallow angle to the wall and work over the surface smoothing the surface. You can add a thinner skim of more plaster to fill holes and even out depressions. 5: Drying And Polishing Leave the plaster to dry once more - for around 30 to 40 minutes. Now the plaster can be polished. Wet the face of your trowel and flick water onto the wall with a large paintbrush. The idea is to provide just enough lubrication for your trowel to float over the surface and fill tiny holes and imperfections. Work in regular sweeping strokes and finish with long continuous strokes across the wall. Wash your mixing board and tools as soon as you’ve finished work. Don’t keep opened plaster bags for more than a couple of weeks.
Seal porous surfaces either with diluted wallpaper adhesive or with a wall size, following the instructions on the packet, and allow to dry – this seals the surface, improves adhesion and makes it easier to slide around wallpaper for pattern matching.For a neat finish, centre the paper on the wall. Start papering in the middle of the wall and work outwards – this is particularly important on a small area such as a chimney breast. Decide where this centre piece will be, then hang a plumb line against the wall and mark along the length of the cord with a pencil. Measure from above the skirting board to ceiling, add 10cm, and cut paper this length. Lay the paper pattern side down on a pasting table and thoroughly paste the back, making sure the paste goes right to the edge of the paper. Fold carefully into a concertina and leave for a few minutes to allow the paste to soak in (check times on the label). Hang the paper with the edge along the vertical pencil line with about 5cm overlapping on the ceiling and at the skirting then smooth it onto the wall removing any bubbles with a pasting brush (work from the centre out). Score a crease neatly along the ceiling and skirting board lines with the edge of your scissors, lift the paper then cut off the excess and smooth flat. If the edges or corners lift, apply more paste with a small brush and smooth down. Wipe away excess paste with a damp sponge. If hanging a patterned paper, measure the second piece on the wall against the first once it is hung, as the pattern may fall in such a place that a very large overlap may occur at the ceiling. Trim this overlap to a manageable size before you paste. Work your way along the wall, carefully butting up the edges of the paper drops but do not overlap. Run a seam roller over the joins where two pieces of paper meet to ensure they are totally flat. On the last drop, crease the paper into the corners and trim. A wallpaper trimming wheel makes this easy. Top tip When cutting wet wallpaper only use scissors or a cutting wheel. Do not use a knife as this can drag through the paper causing an uneven torn edge.
Aim British Building Supplies, in conjunction with Elite Glass Curtains, once again had a well-visited stand at the Homes and Gardens Show, held in the Palacio de Congresos, Torremolinos in April. Tommy Walsh of Ground Force fame was at the show and came to visit us at ABBS to see what we had to offer on the decking front!
Removing old paint - complete all stripping and rubbing down before you start painting so that dust and flakes will not fall on wet surfaces. Start from the top and work down, clean out gutters and paint if necessary. When removing old flaking masonry paint, use a scraper where possible then for small flakes a stiff bristle brush will remove residual flakes. It is important NOT to use a wire brush on the masonry surfaces as metal particles can become embedded on the surface, these react to the water based masonry paint thus resulting in potential rust spots that will make the walls look unsightly. When removing old paint it is recommended that you wear safety goggles / glasses, gloves and a mask, this will reduce the risk of damaging your eyes or breathing in dust particles.
Organic mould growth - Often you can encounter a problem with mould growth on an exterior wall, it is important to effectively treat these contaminated areas as the mould will come through newly painted areas. Where there is a particular mould issue initially remove any surface contamination with a scraper then use a stiff bristle brush. Once the surface is sound you must apply a fungicide solution, these should be diluted with water according to the pack instructions. As they are usually a bleach based material, for safety, use gloves and goggles or safety glasses.
Apply the fungicide solution to the affected area plus an overlap to ensure the solution penetrates the surface and kills the organic growth. Again check the manufacturers pack instructions as to the recommended time prior to painting over the fungicide solution, this is usually 24 hours. This will ensure a clean surface for a better adhesion of the masonry paint. Mould tends to grow in damp conditions so it is important to deal with not just the mould problem but also the cause of the problem as this could be a leaking gutter concentrating water on the wall creating a damp area.
Unstable surfaces - One of the problems that can occur when painting an exterior wall is that of a chalky / dusty unstable surface. If you apply paint without effectively treating this problem the paint will dry and stick to the loose dust particles and not get a sound adhesion to the wall resulting in the paint blistering and failing. To check for this issue wipe your hand on the surface to be painted and if you have dusty particles on your hand then you will require to use a stabilising solution. The stabilising solution is very easy to apply using a 3” brush direct to the surface, allow to dry for 24 hours prior to painting. The stabilising solution seals, and stabilises to allow for good adhesion of the masonry paint, it also allows the paint to cover further.
How much paint do you need? - Having enough paint to complete the job sounds obvious yet getting this wrong results in a trip back to the store for another tin can prove time consuming plus stopping part way across a wall results in a ‘wet edge line’ that can be unattractive. So ensure that you have plenty of paint to complete the task. Painting edge to edge will ensure an even paint application. To work out how much paint you will need to paint your house, follow this simple calculation: Measure the length of each surface and multiply by the height. This will give you the square metre area (e.g. a wall which measures 5 metres long and 3 metres high will give you a wall surface area of 15 square metres). For doors and windows do the same then subtract this area from the total wall to achieve total square metres to be painted. The information on the back of the can will advise of the square metres per litre coverage, take into account that you may require a second coat.
Painting - Planning order of painting - Starting at the top, paint in sections working from right to left or left to right. Work your way across the house, first the top, then the middle and finally the lower part. Ensure where possible you maintain a wet edge so you don’t have stripes or blocks appearing on the on the wall where the paint has dried unevenly. Follow the sun, this will ensure that the surfaces are free from dew and in warm conditions, do not paint in direct sunlight as this can lead to blistering whilst drying..When applying exterior masonry paint the use of an appropriate applicator will ensure that you achieve a good finish, also get the job done with the minimum of effort and time. Brush application - 3” or 4” masonry brush is ideal, this allows you to cut in on edges and control the paint application ensuring a suitable amount of paint is applied, especially on textured surfaces.
Rollers - The use of a roller, usually a medium to high pile sleeve will be a quicker way of painting a larger area. Adding an extension pole is a great way to apply over a larger surface more quickly. TIP: When using a roller the pressure should be greater on the upward stroke asthe roller delivers paint to the surface and less on the downward stroke as this direction of the roller is taking paint away, this potentially causes the paint to splatter.
ALICANTE, Costa Blanca.
TEL: +34 965 791 740
AIM British Building Supplies & DIY Centre . www.abbs.es
The Benefits of Guttering in SpainIf you are generally DIY savvy, guttering is an installation which you can carry out yourself at home for a minimal cost and without the need for specialised tools. Installing guttering can help to protect your foundations, reduce erosion, minimise staining to your painted or rendered walls, and also prevent leaks in your basement. Or just at the most simple level, it can allow you to enter your house in a heavy rain storm without taking a shower on your way in. This is a two-man job due to the length of the components and ladders should be made secure at all times. With the weather so contrasting in Spain and of course the general lack of damp-proofing measures in typical constructions here, guttering can significantly help to improve the lifespan to your property. Arid ground conditions dried out by the strong sun, leave buildings vulnerable at ground level as the surrounding land contracts and compacts when the ground water evaporates. This means that the land becomes extremely hard and less receptive to absorbing water quickly allowing rain or storm water to run off very quickly and find its way into air spaces left around the building. By directing the water away from your property or collecting the water, this can be minimised. Guttering systems work very much like Meccano® as a kit of component parts which are slotted together. Lengths of guttering tubing (sometimes called half-pipe) are hung using roof tile or fascia brackets along at the bottom of each section of pitched roof to collect the rainwater. These gutters collect and direct the rainwater horizontally on a fall towards rainwater downpipes normally located at a corner, which take the water vertically down, via a series of connecting guttering junctions and away from the property at ground level, keeping the base of your house, or building, drier. Standard guttering connections make this installation very simple and by measuring the height and width of each roof section of your house, you can easily write a short shopping list of guttering materials required. It is also possible to collect the rainwater for use in your garden into a tank or water butt. This is particularly advantageous in Spain where water is at a premium and can easily be connected to your irrigation system. We should note that guttering maintenance is important and you should clear out the debris inside the guttering tubes and hoppers once or twice a year depending on the number of surrounding trees that you have. Clogged pipes are ineffective and can become blocked or damaged as weight and force builds up without a clear flow. It is possible to protect pipework from debris blockage etc. by installing leaf guards for example, but this is optional. AIM British Building Supplies have a wide range of guttering products in stock, in a variety of colours. Please visit our new website page for more information: http://www.abbs.es/building-materials/guttering/ Or if you would like to know more about protecting your property from the rain and damp proofing, roofing products, sealants and other building products, please call in for a chat with our experienced in-house team to advise you on the best components for your project see website for directions http://www.abbs.es/contact-us/ We include a wide range of the best building products on the market in our stores in Marbella and Alicante, with delivery options across the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca. AIM - Your Building Merchant in Spain MARBELLA, Costa del Sol. TEL: +34 952 835 172 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ALICANTE, Costa Blanca.
TEL: +34 965 791 740
Email: email@example.comAIM British Building Supplies & DIY Centre . www.abbs.es Image source: http://www.safehomeimprovement.com/guttering-installation-do-it-yourself-guide
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AIMs offer the very best in branded building materials that you know and trust. We are the only distributor of Crown paints in Spain, including Sandtex Masonry Paint and we can mix paint on site while you wait to any colour and specification you require. We bring high quality decking from around the world, including Bamboo and Thermowood, to the Costa del Sol and the Costa Blanca, making us now the largest decking supplier on the coast, offering the best prices for trade or DIY.
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Popular stand at this year's show, AIM British Building Supplies and DIY centre in conjunction with James Brewer construction constructed a full size pergola with decking and thatched parasols. Show held 9-10 Nov.12 in the Palacio de Congreseos, Estepona. www.abbs.es
We have 2 stores, ABBS in Elviria, Marbella and ABBS in Javea, Alicante with largest stock of timber decking including Thermowood and Bamboo and only stockist in Spain of Crown Paint including Sandtex exterior masonry paint.