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Posted by on Nov 20, 2015 in Uncategorized |

How to Ensure Your Thatched Roof Has a Longer Lifespan

In centuries past, having a thatched roof on your home would have been a sign that you were poorer than a person who could afford slate, for example. But now the tables have turned and a thatched roof is seen as an opulent choice for people who want to achieve a rustic aesthetic for the exterior of their home.

But thatched roofs are extremely unique in their properties, and if you don’t look after your thatched roof well, you’ll find it ageing and needing to be replaced before its time. So what are some of the things that you can do to increase the longevity of a thatched roof?

Choose the material carefully. Thatched roofs are not one-size-fits-all; you can choose from a variety of thatching materials such as longstraw, ridge, and water reed. To secure the longest lifespan, you should opt for water reed because roofs made from this material can last up to sixty years without collapsing. Of course, this is nothing compared to a slate roof, but as far as thatched roofs go, this is a long lifespan.

Opt for a high roof slope. The angle of your roof slope will also affect the lifespan of your thatched roof, and generally speaking, the steeper the angle the better. This is because rainwater will run off the roof much more quickly, and water is the enemy of a thatched roof. This is because water that sticks around can cause mould. It could also attract birds, which like to peck at thatched roofs. And the longer that water is on your roof, the greater chance there is of that water leaking through, which can then also cause problems for the interior of your building.

Brush the roof. A thatched roof also needs to be brushed on a regular basis. Head somewhere that sells roofing supplies like Combined Metal Industries and ask them for a brush specifically for brushing thatched roofs and they will be able to help you out. Brushing is important because the top thin layer of the thatch will retain the most moisture, and this is bad news because mould and algae can develop. And the longer that moisture sits in that top layer, the more chance it has of penetrating deeply into the thatch. If you feel uncomfortable getting on to your roof yourself, a roofer can also be hired to take care of this task for you.

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Posted by on Nov 12, 2015 in Uncategorized |

How to Safely Remove Non-friable Vinyl Asbestos-Containing Floor Tiles

Nonfriable asbestos is basically asbestos that cannot easily be broken, crushed, or reduced to dust under ordinary circumstances. The following guide offers insightful tips to help you get rid of vinyl asbestos floor tiles while in a nonfriable state.

Recommended safety equipment

·         Safety glasses for eye protection

·         Respirator

·         Gloves

·         Coverall

·         Boots

Materials needed

·         Garden hose featuring a spray nozzle or a water sprayer

·         Thick plastic sheeting

·         Putty knives, paint and floor scraper

·         Plastic bags, containers

Step 1

Cover the entire doorway section, the floor registers, and other areas with the thick plastic sheeting to avoid contamination of those surfaces from asbestos fibers.

Step 2

The vinyl floor tiles ought to be kept moist during removal. Soak the floor section for at least 2 hours prior to the start of the removal process. This helps to slacken the tiles and thus helps create an easy removal task. Furthermore, wetting serves to minimize the chances of the deadly asbestos fibers from being discharged into the air.

Step 3

Place a flat floor scraper or a broad putty knife beneath the floor tiles and lift up the tiles one at a time. The pried up tile pieces should be kept in whole pieces and not shattered into small pieces to avoid release of the toxic asbestos fiber. Safely put the removed tiles in a separate container to avoid breakage.

Step 4

For projects spanning a very small section of one to five tiles, you may use either a heat gun or solvent to help take out the tiles. The use of a solvent demands that the area should be properly ventilated.

Step 5

Put the vinyl floor tiles in a tightly-sealed container and place a relevant warning sticker on the container informing anyone of the presence of asbestos-containing material inside the container.

Step 6

Find a landfill that is sanctioned to allow asbestos waste and be sure to ask about any particular packaging stipulations they may have.

In the unfortunate event that one of the vinyl asbestos floor tiles becomes crumbled or damaged, it is referred to as friable and there’s a high likelihood that it may release the poisonous asbestos fiber. In such a case, work should cease immediately and you should get in touch with a professional asbestos removal service provider. Friable asbestos containing materials should only be removed by certified contractors and personnel.

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Posted by on Nov 3, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Leadlight-making for Beginners: Proper Glass cutting techniques

The first thing that comes to your mind when you hear ‘stained glass’ is probably a huge cathedral with dome windows, right? Well, think a little further: imagine making a smaller version of that window, in any shape, color and style and having it in your home. That’s basically what a leadlight is.

Leadlights add an aura of beauty and sophistication to a space, and they are so easy to make you can do it as a hobby. Leadlights can be used in place of any window in your home, partially or wholly. You can create simple images like flowers, plants and birds using glasses of different sizes cut and fixed together with lead came (hence the name ‘leadlights’ or copper foil).

If you’re looking to get into leadlighting as a hobby, accurate glass cutting is one of the most important things you can learn. Glass cutting is done using a small metal wheel which creates a score-line on the surface of the glass. The glass surface is then penetrated along the score line for full separation of parts.

The following are a few glass-cutting tips to help you transition into proper glass cutting for your leadlight projects:

  • Choose a self-oiling, high-quality cutter which comfortably fits your grip. Before any cutting confirm that the reservoir has enough oil.
  • Buy a snug-fitting pair of safety goggles and wear them each time to protect your eyes from glass and lead dust and/or chips
  • Invest in clear, bright light for your work surface to ensure that you make precise, accurate cuts
  • If you haven’t ever cut glass, start with plain clear glass, which separates much easier. It’s also cheaper, so you can replace any ruined pieces and keep practicing until you’re much better before transitioning into leadlight glass.
  • Do not cut glass on padding; ensure it’s on a flat wooden surface to ensure you don’t make any cracks that will cause the glass to break where you didn’t want it to. Use paper templates to ensure you cut accurately.
  • You’ll need to stand most of the time, so ensure that your workbench is a comfortable height for standing. This is because you need to apply pressure on the cutter, which is hard to do when you sit.
  • Place your patter templates 1-2 inches from the glass edge so that you have something to hold when breaking. Always cut from the smooth side if you’re using textured glass.
  • Ensure that your score line is steady and continuous, but light. However, don’t apply too much pressure, as this may crush the glass. If you notice a bright-white score-line and chips fly from the line as you cut, you’re using too much pressure.
  • Don’t retrace a score line using the cutter. If the initial line is discontinuous or otherwise inaccurate/unusable, move a half-inch beside it and start over
  • Where possible, after scoring, break the glass with your hands. If you need extra leverage (e.g. if you scored too close to the edge), use glass-breaking pliers. Use grozing pliers’ ridges to smoothen any rough edges, ensuring that your cut glasses are the exact size of the pattern templates. This way, they will fit perfectly when you bring them together.
  • Clean up the work surface in between cuts so that the chips and shards won’t scratch your leadlight glass pieces.

If making your own does not appeal to you, contact a company like Moorabbin Glass.

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Posted by on Oct 23, 2015 in Uncategorized |

When a Tap Does Not Turn Off: Getting to Know the Isolation Valve

When a plumbing problem becomes evident, you’re going to want to have it repaired as soon as possible. If you notice the problem during regular business hours, then this is fine. You can call a plumber and they will be able to deal with it relatively quickly. But what if you happen to notice a plumbing problem late at night or on a Sunday or public holiday? You would still want to have the situation remedied as soon as possible, but calling an after-hours emergency plumber can be an unnecessary expense.

A fairly common problem is when a tap will not turn off. In some instances it can be an emergency, but you can temporarily remedy the situation yourself and then call a plumber, such as those at A and C Plumbing, for a permanent solution. This can usually be dealt with on the next business day, saving yourself rather a lot of money.

Taking Action Now

A tap that does not turn off can quickly become an emergency if the sink in question has drainage issues and there’s a very real threat of the sink overflowing. A plumber will be able to permanently fix the problem, and yet you need to take action now. You might not realise that each tap has an isolation valve, and you can cut the water supply to the tap by simply turning this valve.

The Isolation Valve

Check under the sink; in many cases the isolation valve can be turned like a tap (and it looks just like one). With smaller sinks, you might need to turn the isolation valve using a flat-head screwdriver (as there was not enough space to install a tap sized isolation valve). The tap will then be out of action until repaired, but this is a mild inconvenience when compared to the cost of an after-hours emergency plumber.

When the Isolation Valve Does Not Work

In older homes, it’s possible that the isolation valve has not been touched for years, and so it might not be possible to activate it. Don’t be tempted to try and force it using a pair of pliers, as this can damage the fixture and even rip it clear off the wall. If you cannot easily activate the isolation valve, then it’s necessary to call an after-hours plumber. There is the possibility that the continuous flow of water can overwhelm the sink, and a huge amount of water will be wasted if left for too long. If the plumber is not able to reach you within a short time, you might want to turn off your main water supply to prevent water damage.

It’s a good idea to find each tap’s isolation valve before you need to use it. If the tap should ever not turn off, you’ll know where to look and what to do. A plumber can then fix the tap at a more convenient (and less expensive) time.

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Posted by on Oct 14, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Applications of Horizontal Directional Drilling

Suppose you drilled a borehole and you now want to deliver water to people around the borehole. This requires an underground piping system, which was conventionally installed through the very disruptive open-cut method – digging long trenches to pay the pipes.

Today however, you can easily do the same thing using horizontal directional drilling, which is a trenchless drilling method that can be used to install underground cabling systems or piping through a preset pathway using highly specialized equipment.

This approach is a great alternative where open cut piping methods are impractical, prohibited or economically and environmentally nonviable. Horizontal directional drilling reduces environmental impact of drilling activity, saves costs and reduces exposure of the general public to potential hazards.

Common applications of horizontal directional drilling

1. To reach targets that are inaccessible by vertical drilling

For instance, if you have a resource reservoir under a city or public park, you may not be able to access it vertically. However, horizontal drilling enables you to be able to reach the reservoir by simply positioning your drilling pad at the edge of that city or pack then drilling at an angle so as to interest with the reservoir.

2. Draining board areas from just one drilling pad

This method is especially useful when you want to reduce the impact of drilling operations on the surface. Using a single drilling pad strategically located, you can drill more directional wells to tap into a natural resource reservoir and still take advantage of the resource, rather than drill vertical wells in multiple locations.

3. To increase “pay zone” length

If you have a rock unit seventy feet thick, vertical drilling earns you a ‘pay zone’ of only that length. With horizontal directional drilling however, you can turn the well and drill through the rock unit horizontally, giving you’re a pay zone that is as long as the length of the unit, which can extend thousands of feet across. In this way, you enjoy a huge increase in productivity with minimal surface impact from a single drilling endeavor.

4. Improve well productivity in fractured reservoirs

To do this, the angle of drilling is set such that the drilling pathway intersects with the highest number of fractured reservoirs. Usually, the drilling direction is set perpendicular to the direction of the dominant fracture. A common application is in geothermal fields within granite bedrock, which normally draw most of their water exchange from fractured reservoirs.

5. To relieve pressure or seal uncontrollable wells

If you have an out-of-control well, you can use horizontal directional drilling to create a ‘relief well’ intersecting with it. This intersecting well can then be used to relieve pressure or completely seal the uncontrollable well

6. To lay underground utility piping where excavation is impossible

This is the most common application to our daily lives, where horizontal drilling is used for the installation of gas and water piping or electric and other cabling in major settlement areas. However, the same can be applied if you need pipes and cables to cross roads or rivers.

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