Creative home design ideas for fabrics — walls and ceilings

Filed Under: Crafts, Do it yourself, Redecorating, Remodeling    by: ITC

All sorts of textiles can be hung on walls—tapestries, tweed, suede, hessian, silk, flannel and, of course, kilim rugs. Fabric panels can be used to cover one wall or to line a whole room, acting as a kind of insulating wallpaper. Single pieces of fabric look effective hung individually as a feature.

You can use a staple gun to attach fabric directly on the wall but a better method is to fix the fabric to battens. It is hardly worth buying a staple gun for this but they can sometimes be hired from tool hire stores. If the fabric is plain, pictures and prints can be hung on top so you will not have wasted any display space.

Individual hand-woven tapestries can be hung from rods or poles fixed to a picture rail. Kilims make excellent hangings, being weighty and in colors which coordinate with many interior styles. If you have a lighter-weight hanging, such as a batik, you could weight the bottom by sewing small ball bearings in the hem so that it hangs well.

Ceilings can be softened, and ugly ceilings concealed, with looped fabric. This is specially suitable for halls where a very little fabric can conceal a multitude of gas and electric meters and other unfortunate sights. Muslin is cheap and effective because it drapes prettily and is unobtrusive. All you have to do is make a hem at each end wide enough to get a rod (a bamboo or a narrow wooden batten) through and fix the rods to the ceiling. You could perhaps create another channel halfway along the length of fabric for an extra rod, allowing plenty of fabric to loop between them.

Narrow rooms can be treated in the same way, with the fabric caught at intervals to create a scalloped effect. This is very good for concealing unsightly ceiling treatments and for lowering the ceiling to make the space less box-like. It does not matter if the fabric is not quite as wide as the ceiling—a few centimeters each side will not be noticeable.

Remodeling Your Basement

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Plumbing, Remodeling    by: ITC

The basement always seems to be the number one home improvement that everyone seems to want to do but they just do not seem to know where to start. What might be a shock to many of these people is that it can be actually one of the easiest as well as one of the most affordable ways to add value to their home.

If you are a beginner to the home improvement world you may be better off to hire a professional for certain aspects of your basement home improvement. But one thing that you will soon discover is that with a little planning and preparation remodeling your basement can actually become a very simple project overall.

The first thing that you will need to consider in your basement home improvement project would be the plumbing and patching. If you are looking at a place to entertain your family and friends you will need to definitely need to make sure that you have adequate plumbing. You need to make sure that you have all the pipes that you are going to need installed before you even begin your remodeling project. After you have finished your entire plumbing project you will then want to make sure that you patch up all of the cracks in your floor and walls patched.

The next thing that you will want to do in your basement home improvement project would be to work on the electrical portion of the project. It is important that you make sure that you install enough outlets to fit all of your needs.

After you have made sure that you have all of your plumbing, walls patched and electrical finished you are then ready to begin on the drywall. This is one of the easiest methods that you can use to form a tight seal between the cement and your new wall. You need to be sure that you use an industry grade cement sealer to be sure that the drywall adheres to the wall correctly. While you are working on the drywall you will also want to take the time to drop your ceilings as well. When you are looking at the variety of different ceiling tiles that are available the acoustical tiles have been the most popular choice. They are both appealing to the eye and also gives the household easy access to certain utilities.

The final thing you need to consider on your basement home improvement project would be the flooring. Due to the fact that the floors of basements are most generally cold it is a very good idea to add a subfloor. This will provide you with more warmth as well as a dryer environment for your basement space.

As you can see undergoing a basement remodel as your home improvement is not a difficult task. It can be a very rewarding project when you reach the finish project and you know you did it all by yourself.

Catering for Drain Pipes

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Plumbing, Remodeling    by: ITC

An important consideration when building an extension is the position of any drainage pipe run — either an existing one from the house or any new waste pipes from fittings in the new extension. You must sort out the route the pipes will take before the walls are built since they will pass through them below floor level, and openings must be left in the walls as they are built.

Lintels will need to be incorporated to support the wall above the openings. If the extension is to have trench-fill foundations, ducts should be made in the concrete to allow the passage of pipes. A simple method is to set slightly larger pipes in the concrete as it is poured and then run the pipes through these round openings later.

The positions of the inner and outer leaves of the walls should be marked centrally on the concrete of the foundations with chalk. The center lines of the wall and foundations being within lin of each other.

As the walls are built, stringlines are stretched between the corners to make sure each course of bricks or blocks is laid in a straight line.

Although you can use brick for both inner and outer leaves of the wall, in practice it makes more sense to use lightweight concrete blocks for the former since these will provide a certain amount of insulation — a requirement of the Building Regulations.

With this type of construction, the inner leaf is the load-bearing part of the wall, carrying the weight of any floors and ceilings so lintels must be fitted across doorways and windows. Steel boot lintels are best since they are relatively lightweight and their shape ensures that any water that penetrates the outer leaf of the wall is prevented from reaching the inner leaf and is channeled out over the toe of the boot.

The two leaves of the wall should be constructed simultaneously, laying a few courses of each at a time. As construction proceeds, the two leaves must be linked together with metal or plastic wall ties to prevent them leaning away from each other.

Ties are designed to prevent water running across them to the inner leaf but they must still be set in the mortar joints so that they slope downwards slightly towards the outer leaf. Ties should be set about 18in apart vertically and 3ft apart horizontally, the positions in each horizontal row being staggered with those above and below. At door and window openings, ties should be set one above the other at 12in intervals.

Water penetration must also be prevented from below and this is achieved by inserting a flexible bitumen damp-proof course (DPC) in a horizontal mortar joint around the base of each leaf, at least two courses of bricks above ground level.

When the floor is laid, a damp-proof membrane (DPM) is taken up the walls and tucked under the DPC. Strips of DPC must be fitted in the vertical mortar joints where the inner leaf is turned to close off the cavity at windows and door openings, and below the threshold of the door, linking to the DPC in the outer leaf.

The walls must be toothed into the existing house walls at alternate courses to ensure permanent stability.

Fitting a New Ceiling

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Remodeling    by: ITC

Gypsum board for ceilings comes in two thicknesses: 3/sin and 1/2in, the former being suitable for use where the joist spacing is no more than l8in and the latter where the joists are up to 2ft apart. The standard sheet sizes are 8 and 10 x 4ft. You may find the smaller sheets easier to handle and you can cut them in half to make them even more manageable. The edges should meet on the joist centerlines, so you will probably have to trim them slightly anyway.

The first job is to nail lengths of 2in sq or 2 x Sin wood along the walls parallel with the joists so that its lower edge is level with the undersides of the joists. Then fit more short lengths of wood to the walls between the ends of the joists to provide support for the edges of the boards.

The sheets of gypsum board must be fitted with their long edges at right-angles to the joists. Toe-nail more lengths of batten to act as bracing between the joists so that the inner edges of the sheets will fall on their center lines. A length of batten marked with the board width will help position them accurately.

Finally, mark the position of each joist on the walls as a guide for nailing the sheets in place.

To cut sheets to size, use a utility knife and steel straightedge. Cut down through one face of the board, snap back the waste against a batten and run the knife blade down the crease from the other side.

If you intend plastering the ceiling, fit the gypsum- board gray side down. For painting or papering directly over the top, leave the ivory side showing.

Holding large sheets of board against the ceiling for nailing can be difficult so nail lengths of 2 x lin batten together to foiiu T-shaped props with which a helper can support it while being nailed in place.

Nail the first board in place, working from the center outwards and spacing the nails at 6in intervals. Drive them home so that they just dimple the surface; to be filled later. Use 11/4in gypsum board nails for thinner sheets and 11/2in for thicker kinds.

Continue in this way, working across the ceiling. Keep any cut edges up against the wall, but if this is not possible make sure they meet on a joist with a slight gap in between for filling; stagger the joints.

When you have clad the entire ceiling, seal the joints between the sheets and, if you prefer, apply a thin skim coat of plaster.

Repairing an Old Ceiling

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Remodeling    by: ITC

There are two types of ceiling construction, depending on their age. Early ceilings were made by nailing thin strips of wood (laths) to the joists so that there were narrow gaps between them. Plaster, often reinforced with animal hair, was then spread over the laths and forced through the gaps in between. The ridges so formed are called “nibs” and these hold the ceiling together.

The more modern method of constructing a ceiling is to nail sheets of gypsum board to the joists and cover them with a thin skim coat of plaster.

Cracks are the most common form of damage found in a ceiling and if they are only fine they can be filled with a filler compound. However, if they are wide and cover a large area of the ceiling the structure will be dangerously weak and should be replaced.

If a plasterboard ceiling sags it is probably because the fixing nails have loosened. Refix the affected area by renailing with 2in drywall nails spaced 6in apart.

If plaster has fallen away from the laths but they appear to be in good condition, replaster them after cutting back the original plaster to make a regular shape and reach sound plaster. Undercut the edges of the plaster and make sure there is no old plaster left between the laths. Then treat the area with an adhesive.

When plastering always work across the laths, spreading on a thin coat of bonding plaster first and keying it with a scratch comb made by knocking a row of nails into the edge of a short batten. Apply another coat of bonding plaster and key this with a devilling float, pressing it down to allow for two thin finishing coats. Polish these when hard with a wetted steel trowel.