Category Archives for "Project Advice"

How to Install Roof Slates

Slate roofs are beautiful, natural and long-lasting, but like any construction job, they need to be installed correctly and by someone with experience and knowledge, to ensure a job well done that will last for many years.

Get the right slates

Picking the correct roofing slates is key to any good roofing job.  There are masses of differences in slates available, according to size, price, colour, thickness, type and manufacturing quality, so always do your homework first. Thick slates will be harder to cut, and will require more expertise to install.  Small slates take longer to install because you need more of them.  Some slates contain pyrites, which will run red stains down the roof.  So, really do get to know your roofing slates before starting on any job.

Do your homework

Installing roof slates isn’t something that you can pick up as you go along; you really need to know what you’re doing beforehand.  So, this is going to require some studying.  Whether you scour books, manuals or the internet, ‘how to’ video clips or speak to experts, get savvy on slating as much as you can.  As well as how to install slate tiles, get to grips with common problems that can occur, so you can try to avoid them as you go along.

Felt first

Install roofing felt first, to ensure water is kept out, until the roofing slates are in place.  It makes a good surface on which to chalk lines.  The roofing felt is only temporary and should not be relied on as a permanent measure to keep water out, nor should it be installed on top of the slates.

Get the right tools

It might sound obvious, but if you want to do a decent job, you’ll need the correct tools to help you. You’ll need a slate cutter, slate ripper and a slate hammer.  Roof brackets, scaffolding, ladder hooks and other equipment will also be required.

Don’t walk on the slates

Walking on the roofing slates as you’re installing them, is one of the biggest no-nos of this job.  It can cause the slates to break and fall after the roof has been installed.  Use a roof jack and planks instead.  Stage the roof properly to avoid shedding slates.

Mark your lines

To ensure accuracy and consistency, install every course of slates along a chalk line, measured from the bottom of the roof.  Get your headlaps and sidelaps right, and don’t chalk on the slates themselves.

Slate perfect

If you’re installing a new slate roof needing several pallets of slate, blend the slates by taking some from all the pallets at once, before sending them up onto the roof. Lay your starter slates back side up, to allow the edge bevel to merge flush with the edge bevel of the first course.

Nail it

Try to avoid using too much pressure when nailing the slates, as it can damage them.  At the same time, don’t under-nail them.  Thicker slates, however, can get away with drilled holes and are less likely to be damaged.  Use copper or stainless steel roofing nails for the slates, and electro-galvanised nails for the roofing felt.

Flashing material

As with other materials and equipment used for this job, make sure you use good quality flashing material.  Copper flashings or stainless steel are the best.  Sheet lead is also a good flashing material.

The Next Task On The List – Roofing

You have trimmed the hedges, mowed the lawn, cleaned out the garage, and finished all of your usual chores. You finally have time to give that poor, old roof some attention. It’s been several years since the roof has been redone, and maybe it is time to look into roofing options.

Do It Yourself Or Hire Out?

The first decision that you’ll have to make is whether or not you will be tackling the job yourself. This decision mostly depends on how much experience you have with roofing, and whether or not you could get the task done yourself in the amount of time that you need it completed. Also, roofing goes much easier when you have help, so it could also depend on whether or not you have friends that are willing to assist you.

If you want to hire someone else to do it, it will cost more money but it will be much easier. You can find many roofing companies by simply going to your favorite search engine and typing “Roofing” and then your city and state. This will bring up some of the best companies available in your area.

Getting The Supplies For Your Roofing Project

If you decided to hire someone else to do it for you, then you’re already done. However, if you did decide to do it yourself you’re going to need to get your supplies. Before you get your supplies, you need to figure out how much you need of everything. If you have prior experience roofing this should be easy. If you have no idea how to figure this out, you should probably reconsider hiring someone else to do it for you.

Once you know how much you need, simply check out different stores and find which one offers the best price at the level of quality you want. Don’t sacrifice quality to save money, as you may end up roofing your home again within only a few years!

Get That Project Off Your List!

Alright, you found roofing supplies, and you can finally get started on the project. It will take several days, but your home will look wonderful when you’re done! You won’t have to worry about leaks or ceiling damage anymore, which gets rid of that stress factor.


Don’t wait to get this done, or you could face serious damages. When you start seeing leaks then it is far past time for you to roof your home again. It is usually best to get this done before any leakage starts, but it’s better late than never!

Should You Project Manage Your Own Construction Project?

If you are planning to renovate your home or even build a new building from scratch, you may be keen to project manage it yourself. However, there is a lot to think about before you make this big decision. Here is a quick guide to the advantages and disadvantages of managing your own construction project.

Advantages of Project Managing Your Own Project

The main reason why people like the idea of project managing is because of the potential to save money. After all, it makes sense that if you do not have to hire a professional project manager you will be making a large saving, and you may be able to put this extra money towards aspects of the project.

If you know that you are the sort of person who likes to stay in control, making yourself project manager allows you to have complete control over all of the key decisions and the progress of your project. This may make you feel more comfortable and avoid the stress caused by knowing that your project is in someone else’s hands.

On top of that, project managing can be a real challenge and a lot of fun. If you are good at organising, seeing your project come together through your own hard work can be very rewarding, especially if the project is very personal to you.

Construction Project

Disadvantages of Project Managing Your Own Project

Despite these potential advantages, it is important to consider the possible disadvantages as well. The main one is that it can be easy to underestimate the sheer amount of work involved in even a relatively minor project.

Staying in control of inspections, supervising the labor, contractors and suppliers, quality control, communicating with the builder and architect, making sure there are no holdups, ensuring that Health and Safety regulations are respected, and everything else that is involved can all become very stressful and time consuming.

Even the little details like arranging skip hire are things that you have to consider. A project manager may already know which company to use and where to get the best price through experience and industry contacts, but you will have to start from scratch.

This may have a negative impact on other areas of your life such as your job or your family life, and if you have other commitments it can become quite disruptive.

In addition to that, there is also more chance that something might go wrong. A professional will have done this many times before, and they will also be 100% focused on the job, whereas you may have other things to think about in your life. Your own project is not the best time to learn on the job and make mistakes, some of which could prove to be very costly.

Should You Go It Alone?

Be realistic when you are considering whether to project manage your own construction project. If you think you will enjoy the challenge, make sure you know what is really involved. It is a very challenging job, so just make sure you do your research and know what you are letting yourself in for before you decide to manage your project yourself.

3 Tips for Cutting Building Expenses on your New Home

Building your own home is tremendously exciting. Instead of having to buy an existing home and adapt it to your needs, you can start from the ground up and create the home of your dreams. The process, however, will be difficult, and there will likely be setbacks along the way.

In addition, it can be difficult to predict the total cost of your project. While it is always important to ensure that you can cover any additional fees incurred, it may be wise to take steps to cut costs as much as possible.

Here are three tips for cutting costs when building your home.

Cutting Building Expenses

1. DIY

Some tasks, such as wiring and plumbing, will require expert assistance. Those who are handy, however, may be able to do some of the hard work themselves. In particular, interior work can often be done by those with little experience, and painting, laying flooring and installing accessories will not require expert workers.

In addition, doing work yourself helps give you an additional sense of ownership of your home. Before proceeding, it is important to ensure that the work you do will not need to be redone later; when in doubt, ask experts for some advice and guidance. Having a friend or family member who has done similar tasks before can help tremendously.

2. Buy Used

When most people build their own homes, they purchase all new equipment. However, there may be ways to save considerably on your home. Used cabinets, for example, can be restored and painted. In many cases, they can look even better than new cabinets.

Hardwood flooring can often be purchased used, which can lead to significant discounts. When it comes to furnishing your home, buying used furniture may be a great way to offset any extra fees incurred during the construction phase.

3. Shop Around

One of the best ways to find the lowest prices possible is to ask for multiple bids. Constructing a new home is expensive, and contractors and construction companies will want to earn a contract from you. Take advantage of this and try to start a bidding war if it is possible.

In many cases, it is possible to lower the amount you pay substantially by engendering competition. Of course, it is also important to ensure that those you hire are up to the task. Always ask for examples of previous work before hiring a contractor or construction company.

Owning your own home is tremendously exciting, but building a home can be an intimidating task. Unfortunately, setbacks are sometimes unavoidable, and many people encounter a considerable amount of stress along the way.

The benefits of owning your own home, however, can outweigh the disadvantages, and a bit of perseverance can go a long way. By asking for help and taking time to ensure that you are proceeding correctly, you can build the home of your dreams.


7 DIY Air Conditioner Fixes

Having a broken air conditioner unit can be very inconvenient during the warmer months. Professional repair, from a company like Alek HVAC, may seem like an unnecessary cost for small repairs. The good news is that several small repairs are easy DIY projects that can be completed in a weekend.

Here are seven repair projects that you can do yourself.

1. Clean Filter

If your air has started to smell musty or mildewy, that is an indication that it’s time to disinfect the filter. This is a fairly simple process. Slide the filter out of the unit, and vacuum off any loose particles. Rinse the filter with a detergent solution that kills mold and allow to thoroughly air dry.

2. Repair a Duct Leak

A leaky duct can cause expensive air escape and leave you with a warm house. Locate a duct leak by carefully examining all ductwork. After you have found the worn duct, repair the rip with duct tape. Apply fab mesh, and paint over it with a mastic sealant. The air should be back to normal as soon as the sealant dries.

3. Clean Your Ducts

Ducts carry a lot of air on a regular basis and can get quite dirty. Air ducts should be periodically purified to prevent dirt and mold buildup. To wash ducts, remove duct vent covers, and swish a long brush into ducts as far as you can reach. Use a vacuum with a hose attachment to remove the remaining debris.

Air conditioner armaflex insulation

4. Repair Bent Coil Fins

If you have noticed the temperature rising in your house, bent coil fins may be to blame. Bent coil fins can severely inhibit the airflow on your unit. Straightening bent fins is fairly easy. Repair coil fins by removing the unit cover to expose the fins. Remove the filter, and run a fin comb along the length of the fins. This action should gently straighten out any bent fins. Replace the filter and cover, and test your unit for improved efficiency.

5. Adding Freon

Units sometimes lose Freon through the cooling process. Adding coolant to your air conditioning system can greatly improve efficiency and save money. This is a very delicate process that requires care and precision. Slowly pour the coolant into the low side of your unit. If you are at all wary about attempting this process yourself, it is best to consult a professional.

6. Change the Thermostat Battery

A dead battery on the thermostat is a common reason why your air conditioner will not run. This is an easy and inexpensive problem to correct. Locate the battery holder, and remove the batteries. This sometimes involves unscrewing the thermostat from the wall. Replace old batteries with fully charged ones, and your unit should turn right on.

7. Repair a Squeaky Fan

A squeaky air conditioner can be very annoying. The fan is usually to blame for this bothersome noise. This is a very easy problem to fix. The fan has ball bearings that allow it to spin and cool off your house. A liberal spray of lubricating oil on the ball bearings should bring the squeaking to an end.

10 Steps To Building A Fence

A great way to boost the curb appeal to your home is by adding a fence. Fences help to provide you with additional safety and security for your yard as well as giving you some needed privacy. Some people choose to purchase a fence from a builder where others add them on their own. With the right supplies, you will find that building a fence is not as hard as you might think.

Here are a few steps to help you create your own wood fence:

  1. First, settle on the area you want the fence to cover. Do you want it to go around the entire home or are you adding it to a garden area only?
  2. Take measurements to enable you to produce an organized structure. The measurements you take should include that of your posts, as well as the spacing between the holes you are meant to dig.
  3. Head to a home improvement store to pick up all of the supplies you need to build a fence. If you do not like the idea of building the posts, many stores will build it for you and all you need to do is then follow the directions to install it. Look at the costs and type of work that you need to do in order to justify if this is worth it for your situation.
  4. Place markers to indicate the exact spots for the holes. To do this, you can drive sticks into the ground, at each spot. It is important that you get the right measurements for each section of the fence or else you will end up re-doing the entire fence!
  5. Dig the holes, and then gather your posts. Place each post into the hole and then secure the section of fencing to the posts. Secure your posts firmly on the ground by ensuring that at least a third of their length goes beneath the ground.
  6. Make certain that the planks are aligned to allow for a neat finish.
  7. Upon the post and plank installation you can add the railings to the fence.
  8. Treat the wood with a termite sealtant and water sealant to prevent the wood from rotting and aging rapidly.
  9. Paint the wood fence to the desired color. A simple stain may look great for your home. Look at the various types of stain and paint that will match your home and will help to improve your curb appeal.
  10. After the paint and sealant has dried, add a second coating to make the fence really stand out. A fence will require yearly upkeep with a sealant to prevent the fence from aging rapidly.

Building A Fence

Putting up a fence is definitely not a complex project but it may require multiple people in order to secure the fence in the right manner. Brands such as Delta will provide you with what you require for a fencing project.