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Posted by on Sep 22, 2015 in Uncategorized |

How To Salvage Old Ceramic Tiles

If you’re planning a kitchen or bathroom renovation, you can save yourself a lot of money by salvaging existing ceramic tiles instead of throwing them away.  Here’s how.

How to remove ceramic tiles

Ceramic tiles require careful handling.  Although ceramic has good compressive strength, its tensile strength is comparably low.  This means that although you can gently place heavy objects onto ceramic tile without damaging it, the material won’t withstand bending or twisting.

Your first job is to remove any existing grout from around the tiles.  Tile grout effectively connects all the individual tiles into one sheet.  If you stress just one of the tiles with the grout still in situ, you’ll stress those adjacent to it and risk breaking them.

What you’ll need

  • flathead screwdriver
  • hammer
  • thin putty knife  
  1. Work on one tile at a time.  Place the screwdriver against the grout and tap it gently with the hammer to create a small void.  Angle the screwdriver so that you are chipping at the grout in the direction of the void you’ve made.  Take your time and gradually get rid of all the grout around the tile.  
  2. Now you need to remove any trim that’s concealing the edges of the tile.  Do so by prising it loose using your flathead screwdriver, taking care not to twist the tile as you do so.  
  3. Once the grout is gone, place the putty knife at a slight angle to the tile and the surface to which it’s affixed, and tap it gently with the hammer.  Begin at one corner and work your way along the edge of the tile.  Try to keep the knife as flat as possible so as to avoid bending the tile and cracking it.  
  4. Gradually tap the putty knife further under the tile.  When the knife will go halfway under, apply a firm upward pressure.  This should be sufficient to release the tile.

Removing tile adhesive

When you’ve removed the tiles, you’ll need to get rid of any mastic or old tile adhesive that is still clinging to the back of them.  It’s very important the the backs of the tiles are completely smooth, otherwise any new tile adhesive that’s applied won’t achieve full coverage, and the tiles will not lay flat when your builder attempts to re-fix them.

What you’ll need

  • adhesive remover (available from good DIY stores)
  • coarse grain sandpaper  
  1. Lay all the tiles out flat with the back side uppermost.  It’s a good idea to lay the tiles on an old towel or cloth so that the good sides don’t get scratched. 
  2. Apply a proprietary adhesive remover product as per the manufacturer’s instructions.  Wipe the tiles clean using an old rag.  
  3. Any remaining scraps of proud adhesive should be sanded off using coarse grain sandpaper.  
  4. Wash the tiles in a mild solution of washing-up liquid and warm water to get rid of any dust, and dry them off.

In conclusion

By taking the trouble to salvage your old ceramic tiles you’ll be saving money both on new tiles and on your building contractor’s time.

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Posted by on Sep 22, 2015 in Uncategorized |

What to Discuss With Your Roofing Contractor Before Getting a New Roof

Before you get a new roof installed on your home, ensure that you’ve covered every detail with your roofing contractor. This is because your new roof is meant to last for decades and can be an expensive investment, so ensure the job is done right the first time to avoid calling back the contractor after the job is finished. Note a few things to discuss with your roofing contractor before any work begins.

1. Type of roof to be installed

Don’t assume that standard asphalt tiles are your only option for a new roof, even if every home in your neighborhood has this type of roof installed. A metal roof may provide better insulation and last longer, and metal is easier to recycle than asphalt shingles. If you’re very eco-conscious, you may find recycled metal pieces that can be used for your roof or know that the roof you install now can easily be recycled in the future when it needs to be replaced. You might also take the opportunity to look at slate tiles, as these can enhance the overall look of your home and they too are very easy to recycle.

2. Solar panels

Since your roofing contractor will be on your roof and tearing up its surface to install your new roof anyway, you might discuss the option of installing solar panels. Many roofing contractors offer solar panel installation services, and these can cut down on your energy consumption and utility bills. You may even qualify for a government rebate or credit for the cost of solar panels, so talk to your roofing contractor about this option.

3. Energy efficiency checks

Many roofing contractors will offer an energy efficiency check for your home. They may note if there are cracks in the chimney that may be letting in cold air, and may check for drafts around windows. They may also evaluate the type of insulation you have installed and if an upgrade to blown foam insulation can better insulate your home. 

4. Other repairs

A roofing contractor may be able to repair your home’s gutters and downspouts and have you change them to something larger and wider, if needed. They might also make repairs to cracks in the chimney if needed. If your home needs a new roof, it may also need new gutters or may have an older chimney that is starting to crumble, so ask if the roofing contractor can make these repairs while they’re at your home and on the roof.

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Posted by on Sep 8, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Things to Consider during Site Analysis

Site analysis is an important step during any construction process. Site analysis precedes the actual design phase and bears critical importance on the ultimate implementable design. A site analysis is done by architects before laying down a design so as to eliminate chances of future errors brought about by the surrounding features of a site. When conducting a site analysis, it is important to pay attention to several factors about your site. There are, however, key features in the site analysis that prove crucial to the final design and orientation of a house.

Soil type

Different sites have different types of soils. These soils further possess different qualities. During the site analysis, it is important to note the type of soil in your site. From that, you can comfortably determine the soil’s load bearing characteristics and determine whether your structural design is suitable for the area. Information on the load bearing capacity of the soil is also useful for foundation digging specifications. Some soils could also be problematic in future courtesy of their water retention characteristics and drying style.

Temperature, wind and sun path

The sun path in the area is important in determining different orientations of the design. The side which faces the sun more will always heat up more. To minimize conductive temperature buildup, the design should make this side smaller. The wind paths, in coalition with the sun’s path, also determine features such as location of rooms and even windows. In colder regions, information on the sun’s path during site analysis is used to determine the side that will be made larger to trap more of the sun’s incident rays.


Topography defines how the land slopes and in what direction. Generally, a more sloped site will require much more work than a fairly level land. It is important to also observe the contour lines of the area. It is easier building within contours than crossing contours. Slope also determines the orientation most suitable for your design. This takes into consideration the fact that slope will also determine the direction of drainage.

Once the slope has been determined during the site visit, it is also crucial to determine if the slope will hold the design. Some slopes may not be suitable for some building types. The stability of the slope will determine to a great extent the height of the building as well as the acceptable weights.  Some slopes are too unstable to permit any form of construction on them.

For more information, contact site analytics companies, like Steve Palmer Surveys.

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