Setting Out For Plaster

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

One problem the beginner faces when tackling a plastering job is that of producing a floating coat that is uniform in thickness and level over the entire wall. The answer is to divide the wall into sections and use the dividers as depth guides.

Space the dividers as close together or as far apart as you like, but a suitable distance is about 3ft.

There are various methods for dividing the wall into bays, and a traditional way is to trowel narrow strips of plaster from floor to ceiling. Known as “screeds”, these strips of plaster are allowed to harden, then more plaster is spread on the wall between them and brought up to their level, using a long straightedge placed across the screeds to check.

The problem with the screening method is being able to get the plaster strips to the right thickness in the first place. Small blocks of wood, known as “dots”, can be fixed to the wall at the top and bottom of the screed position and used as thickness guides by setting a straightedge between them.

An easier way is to use wooden “grounds”. These are lengths of planed, %in thick by about 2in wide softwood, which are fixed to the wall with masonry nails. Since you plaster only one bay at a time, you need only two grounds per wall and, therefore, you can move them along as you work.

After setting out the first bay, you can apply a floating coat between the two wooden grounds, striking it off level with a long wooden straightedge called a “rule”. Then, having let the plaster harden off for a while, you should carefully pull one ground from the wall and nail it back on further along the wall to make a second bay.

Continue applying the floating coat in this way until you have completed the job.

When fitting wooden grounds it is essential that they are set vertically, otherwise the plaster surface will be out of true. Use a long mason’s level to check that they are upright and, if necessary, slip small wooden shims as packing pieces behind the grounds to bring them into line.

An alternative to using wood grounds is the metal screed bead which you can buy from your builder’s supply house. It does the same job as the ground but is designed to be left in place on the wall; it disappears under the finishing coat of plaster.

The center of the bead is formed into a raised, inverted U-shape, the depth of which is equal to the depth of the floating coat, and on each side there is expanded metal mesh. You can cut it by snipping through the mesh with metal snips then sawing through the bead with a hacksaw.

Beading is fixed to the wall with “dabs” — blobs of plaster troweled on to the wall. Push the beading into the dabs then check with a level.

Allow the plaster to harden off and then use the beads as thickness guides for the floating coat.


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

Plasterboard is a sandwich of gypsum plaster held between two layers of thick paper. You can plaster lower it, paint or paper it to match other walls. It is ideal for cladding a timber framed partition, the panels being simply nailed in place.

Always handle pasterboard carefully; it is easily broken. If you intend plasteringit, fit the gray side outermost, but if you want to paint or paper over it leave the ivory colored side showing.

Fix all the full size panels to the framework first then the smaller pieces, completing one side at a time. If the partition does not span the rppm filly, work from the outer end towards the wall.

To cut plasterboard, use a sharp knife and steel straightedge; after cutting through one side, stand the board on edge and snap it back to break the plaster. Cut through the remaining paper layer. For right-angle cuts mark both sides of the panel and cut through from both sides. Trim full panels to measure about 1 in less than the floor-to-ceiling height; this will allow you to push them up tight against the ceiling with a “footlifter” before nailing.

Fix the board to the frame, using 11/4in galvanized plasterboard nails or screws, spacing them at 6in intervals and working outwards from the center of the panel. Keep the fixings at least 11/2in from the edge of the panel to prevent them from breaking the edge. Drive the nails or screws in so that their heads come just below the surface. This is enough to allow for a thin skim of filler.

To fill the joints, apply a layer of proprietary joint filler then press in a length of paper or fiberglass jointing tape. Apply more filler up to the level of the surrounding plasterboard, feathering the edges with a damp sponge. When dry, apply one or two thin layers of joint finish, again feathering the edges.

Home Repair Tips – Glazing

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

When working with glass, pay attention to what you are doing and be careful. Wear safety glasses when breaking scored glass. Clean up all debris, broken glass, and glass splinters immediately.

Cutting and fitting glass is called glazing Glazing is actually done in three steps:

• Measuring the frame

• Cutting the glass

• Installing the glass

Begin by removing the old glass. Wear heavy work gloves. Spread some newspaper on the floor to catch small pieces of broken glass. Remove all old glass, putty, glazier’s points, and old paint from the frame. Sand the frame if it is wood or paint it if it is metal.

Measuring is the most important step in replacing a pane of glass. If the piece is cut too small, the glass will fall out of the frame. You cannot trim less than 3/16 inch from a piece of glass that is just a little too big. Measure twice, cut once is a good rule.

Start by measuring exactly the inside of the frame into which the glass will fit. Then subtract 1/8 inch from each measurement (length and width). This allows for irregularities in the frame or glass. Lightly mark the edge of the glass with a three-corner file.

Place the glass on a flat table or special cutting board. Use a T-square or straightedge to make the cut. Allow for the distance from the edge of the cutter to the center of the cutting wheel. Kerosene along the cut line will prevent the glass from splintering.

When replacing a piece of glass, cut the glass 1 /8 inch shorter and 1 /8 inch narrower than the frame.

Use a three-cornered file to mark the dimensions on the glass.

Spread putty over the frame and press the glass into place. Then insert glazier’s points and cover with putty.

Press down hard enough for the cutter to dig into the glass. Once you start moving the cutter, don’t stop until the cut is finished. Use kerosene to lubricate the cutter and prevent the glass from splintering.

Score the glass with the cutter. Then slide the glass over to the edge of the table and tap gently on the bottom side while bending gently. This should be done right after glass is scored! Otherwise the glass should be scored again just before it is finally cut.

Install the cut glass in a wood frame window with glazier’s points and putty. Glazier’s putty or glazing compound dries hard. The putty used on wood frames can be softened with linseed oil. If you’ve used too much oil, remove some by rolling the putty on newspaper.

First spread a thin layer of glazier’s putty inside the frame. Place the glass and press firmly into the putty. Small pieces of wood, called shims, can be. inserted below the glass to center it.

Press glazier’s points into the wood along each edge of the glass. Only a few points are needed because the glass is held in place by the hardened putty, not the glazier’s points. Do not use a hammer to set the points. Press them into place with a chisel or piece of wood. Casement windows use spring clips instead of glazier’s points. Place the clips into the holes provided.

Take more putty and roll it into a rope about 1/4-inch thick. Press it into the joint between the glass and frame. Then finish by smoothing and removing the excess putty with a putty knife.

Glazier’s putty takes a week to harden completely. After that it may be painted. You can scrape off paint smears on the glass with a single-edge razor blade. But it is easy to mask the glass with newspaper and tape before painting.

Glazier’s points are usually set by pressing them into place with a chisel or screwdriver.

Metal frame windows use spring clips in place of glazier’s points. Linseed oil is used to soften putty. Excess oil is rolled out on newspaper. Then the putty is pressed down and the excess removed with a putty knife.

Home Repair Tips – Floor Coverings

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

Hardwood floors are usually oak or maple. Softwood floors, usually made of pine, wear better when they are covered with

• Rugs or Carpets

• Linoleum

• Tile

Carpeting is fastened down professionally. A damaged section can be cut out and a new patch sewn, glued, tacked, taped or stapled in place.

Today linoleum is made of vinyl. It is thinner and softer but more durable than the original oil cloth linoleum. If water seeps under linoleum, the edges will come loose and begin to curl. Dry out the area and work cement under the loose edges. Pile on sandbags. Some excess cement will ooze out. Clean it up before it dries.

To lay a patch, cut the new piece the exact size of the hole. Match the pattern and cut the piece with a slight bevel. Remove all of the old cement or the patch will bulge. Set in the new piece and hold it down with sandbags.

Vinyl and asphalt are the materials most often used for floor ’tiles. Vinyl is soft and pliable. Asphalt tile is thicker, harder, and tends to chip. Remove a damaged tile by heating it with a hot pressing iron over a cloth. Scrape up all the old cement while it is warm and soft.

You may have to trim the new tile. Use a knife and straightedge to trim vinyl. Asphalt tile should be placed in a vise between two wood blocks and shaved down with a rasp.

A new tile may have to be trimmed to fit. Trim vinyl tiles with a knife and straightedge. trim asphalt tiles place them in a vice between wood blocks and file them down with a rasp.