The Venetian Plaster, is almost a dream, something that you may see only on the art magazines or when you go visiting countries rich of history and art as Italy or France or few others.
But the Venetian Plaster is also something else, is a way to intend the life, a way to live your house and finally a way you deal with yourself.
WHAT IS VENETIAN PLASTER
The Venetian Plaster, Stucco Veneziano, also known in the past times as Ancient Stucco or even as Roman Plaster (Stucco Romano) it is a decorative technique, still used, that employs slaked lime to which is added fine sand, marble dust up to form a compound called Marmorino with a plastic consistency to which sometimes is also added natural pigments in order to give the preferred colors.
The above are the ingredients used by the great Italian artists who decorated the gorgeous ancient buildings of the cities. You may find samples of that specifically in Venice, where due to the persistent humidity it was necessary to find an effective kind of treatment of the walls for the fabulous palaces, churches, noble houses, castles, but also normal houses of rich people, trying to avoid the damage of the stain and mold. In reality we may find traces of these techniques, very popular in the European Renaissance, also in more remote times, like for instance around 4000 years ago in the Middle East and something similar also with the Ancient Egypt.
But the most unbelievable aspect is that these techniques have proven to be still actual even today.
As of today the need to preserve the walls from the humidity damages and the capillary rise of water from the the foundations is less important that in the past, as we now have other technologies helping us to dry our environments like the aircon, nevertheless, the Stucco Veneziano technique is still appreciated from the people that love sophisticated solutions and specially they want for their homes only the best, without forget, obviously, the intrinsic utility of the good protection of the walls that the Stucco Veneziano is able to give.
To understand the reason as this technique is so expensive and at the same time largely requested, it could be useful to know that the Venetian Plaster or Stucco Veneziano technique consists in a finish thick plaster obtained trough at least six coatings of materials. The thick plaster in the past was motivated by the need for the artists to create bas-reliefs or sculptures on the ceiling, while now it allows to the modern professional masons to obtain aesthetic effects of remarkable beauty.
TECHNIQUE OF THE VENETIAN PLASTER DECORATIONS
The technique of Venetian Plaster, the Stucco Veneziano, is a method of drafting and finishing of the plaster, which, as handed down from ancient times, originally provided the classic application of six layers, of which three for 0,80 inches each and three of 0,20 inches each.
The first layer was composed of a combination of water and slaked lime mixed with sand (as inert material), while the outer layer is composed of slaked lime with marble dust to give the final effect of polished marble.
The function of the slaked lime is to ensure a good grip on the wall and the hardening of the amalgam of the mortar (Marmorino) thanks to the chemical reaction that is going to determine.
Ultimately the true Venetian Plaster is now quite less used as it is very expensive because of the quantity of work required. In fact the application is very tiring and also because, for those who just do not want to give up, there are similar techniques that may offer a quite satisfactory result at a cost significantly more affordable. Among the latter the most common is the one that involves the use of plaster of lime or slaked lime known as Grassello di Calce which is a product based on natural mineral binder that gives a glossy finish among soft color shading, with the advantage of a good breathability and an effective barrier against bacteria.
In any case, the filler has a texture reminiscent of normal stucco wall and is laid with more handscoating with the spatula through rotating movements. When completed, the Stucco Veneziano is smooth to the touch and can be waxed and polished.
PROCEDURE FOR HOW TO APPLY VENETIAN PLASTER
Normally, after a coat of aggregation is given a first coat with white stucco and, after 7/8 hours, a second hand that should be given by using a spatula with colored stucco creating the characteristic marbled effect streaks of the ancient precious Venetian Stucco.
The use of spatulas of different widths allows to have different effects, (is quite understandable that more the blade is closer and more veins you may get on the plaster). Usually it is better to use first a wider spatula and then pass to a most narrow one.
It is frequently used to adopt fillers with contrasting colors to try to get new effects.
The yield of the Stucco Veneziano (the Venetian Plaster) is very small and this is one of the reasons of its high cost. To give an idea, with a 2 pound Venetian Plaster you can cover approximately up to 100 sq. feet, while with the normal chalk plaster you can cover at least 500 sq feet.
But the real reason for the high cost of the Venetian Stucco technique is given by laboriousness of the application that requires good professionalism and we say that is not exaggerated to assimilate it to a forms of art.
Finally, as we are a DIY blog, we must say that if you decide to make Venetian Plaster by yourself, then the costs will be very low and satisfaction, on the other hand will be absolutely higher.
We live in a difficult world and for many of the problems that affect our planet the only responsible is the human race. Today each one of us is asked to do something to try to repair (at least partly) the disaster that we have done in the past. We can start with small things like our home, saving on fuel that’s means contribute to save our planet and …our wallet!
WALLS HUMIDITY: HOW TO DEAL WITH IT
To effectively combat the problems related to the umidity and mould on the walls of your home, it is necessary to first understand what the condensation is and where it is coming from, only then it will be possible to establish and set up a strategy to deal in order to avoid it.
The sensation of cold that we feel usually depends largely on the temperature, but also there is another factor that can make us uncomfortable: is the moisture of the walls, floors and ceilings that surround us.
This phenomenon is known as radiation and works exactly like the radiant heaters do, that means they heat only the air strip stright in front to them. In the same way when you stand in front of a fireplace you feel warm your front body while your b-side is cold.
Exactly the opposite if you stand in front of a window on a winter day.
The temperature that is felt is called ‘Operating Temperature‘, but to get the feeling of warmth also walls, ceilings and floors should not be cold. To have this it is necessary to create a barrier with insulating coatings.
The moisture is determined from the steam that is deposited on the surfaces. This is due to the heat shock that occurs only below 68° F (20° Celsius).
The air around us consists of various elements and between them a certain amount of steam that comes from the evaporation of water in the environment. The air soaks up the water vapor until it becomes saturated. The higher the temperature the more pronounced is the phenomenon.To give an idea of this, we must know that 35 cubic feet (1 cubic meter) of saturated air, at sea level and at 32° F contains 1/8 of an ounce of water at 32° F (0 ° Celsius), almost 1 tbsp at 50°F, almost 1 cup at 68° F. and almost 3.3 ounces at 122° F..
The Relative Humidity is the percentage of water present in the air (measured by the hygrometer)
If we cool the air the water vapor is expelled. If cooling process is made very fast, the steam turns into water giving rise to the Condensation drops that are deposited on the cold surface. In fact, the temperature at which condensation starts is called dew point. Pratically, the steam water remains in the air until its quantity is appropriate to the humidity level, when it exceeds the excess is deposited on the cooler surface in the form of drops.
When it rains, there is foggy or it’s snowing, the outside air humidity is high and usually higher than inside, then there is a good chance of condensation.
To this also contribute several other factors such as the presence of living people, animals or plants in addition to the production of steam from the normal daily activity, such as cooking food, use of toilets and showers, etc.
It is confirmed that each home usually produces more than 10 liters of water per day that are poured into the air.
In addition to the above, other factors also contribute to the formation of moisture and condensation as for example the modern construction techniques that greatly reduce the step of drying of walls, plaster, ceilings, floors and tiles. Add to this the insulating effect of the materials used that, if on the one hand are useful to prevent ingress of moisture and cold, the other does not allow an adequate exchange of air with the outside environment.
Drops of condensation on your windows are a signal that the problem exists and must be solved as soon as possible. A delay in finding the proper solution will result in risk to your health and possible money loss.
SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM OF CONDENSATION
Clearly, if an environment result moistly it will be necessary find and reduce the source of moisture and not to over heating.
But there are two fundamental factors:
- create air circulation
- avoid or reduce the thermal shock
While the first point is not so hard to do, for the second it could be another story.
Let us make a statement: in practice it is mandatory to avoid that an inner surface comes to be in contact with an external environment with temperature lower than the dew point inside.
For example, for an environment with internal temperature of 68° F and humidity 50% , the dew point is located at +49.3° F so if the surface (for example a tile) maintains a temperature over the dew point, the danger of condensation is avoided.
It is possible to get this result by reducing the steam produced through installation of double glazing on your windows, outer coat, coating the inner walls with insulating materials like polystyrene, extruded, cork or similar, by creating a ventilated heating system.
All homeowners are familiar with the problem of space and, given the cost of the houses and the efforts that a family has to sustain to buy a home, any solution that allows us to gain space is certainly welcome.
With this in mind we want to deal with how to install a sliding door or a folding door, in our apartment by modifying the existing ones.
You can ask the question whether to change or modify a door in a house during the renovation or decide, while the house is under construction, to ask to change the doors type as a variant to the terms provided for the real estate contract.
Obviously we are not considering the last case, but since we are on a DIY site, we aim to make sure you do not have to use the services of a mason because otherwise it would be enough to address you to the Yellow Pages.
So here we are trying to understand what types of sliding or folding doors are available, what is the difference and what you need to do to install them.
We have talked about home ownership not because you can not install a sliding door or a folding door in a rented house or apartment, but simply because that is a work that represents an investment and as such has more meaning for your own home.
We also mentioned the advantage of increasing the space available in your home, but this is not the only reason why you may want to install a sliding door or a folding door. This type of door definitely has a practical advantage, however, we wish to emphasize also that they are an improvement of the quality and the style of the unity.
A sliding door or a folding door, when installed in a workmanlike manner, constitute an element that enhances the apartment giving to it a touch of uniqueness improving his value.
Another advantage of both doors is given by the fact that, unlike traditional doors, sliding doors or folding ones can serve a much wider surface, we can say that, theoretically, there is no limit to the possible width of the door.
SLIDING DOORS AND FOLDING DOORS
The difference between sliding doors and folding doors is already explained by their name itself. We have to say that for both is not necessary to change or modify deeply the old frame. It is enough to make some minor changes and moreover you are not forced to create dust, dirt and breaking anything, things of which your wife will surely be happy.
- Sliding door: is a door that slides along the wall. The sliding doors can be:
- sliding door sliding external, that is, the swing of the door slides parallel to the wall.
- sliding door with interior swing, so called pocket doors. These are doors where the door’s leaf remains hidden inside the wall. This type of door is very interesting and offers many advantages: we will deal with it in another post.
The sliding door has the advantage that it does not need of space for the closing of the leaf, however, must be taken into account that you cannot use the part of the wall at the side of the door itself.
- Folding door: it is a door that folds back on itself and offers the advantage of occupying less space. It is a very good solution and it can be adopted for small apartments because the furniture can be placed also in close as there is no need of space for the opening of the leaf.
HOW TO INSTALL A SLIDING DOOR
First you need to remove the old door, do that you have to lift the door off its hinges. You then remove the old hinges, both those on the jamb and on the door. Usually, both are secured with screws, so it wont be a difficult task. Then you must seal tightly with wood putty the holes left on the door and on the jamb. Smooth well with sandpaper and finally finish with a brush with the same color as the door.
In some cases it could be necessary to repaint the entire door and the jamb.
At this point, we have to build the system on which the door will scroll. This can be done by purchasing a kit for sliding doors. This kit is composed of a guide, usually made of anodized aluminum, which serves as a track on which slide the brackets that support the door.
For aesthetic reasons the metal guide should be subsequently covered by a wooden strip with the size of the double length of the door and with the same thickness. You must choose the same type of wood or something similar, looking anyway for a seasoned and sturdy wood.
The kit mentioned above is not hard to find on the market, you can see at the DIY Centers or with the best hardware stores.
The guide is equipped with two adjustable brackets to be fixed to the wall above the door frame by using simple screw anchors.
It is very important having taken accurate measures, in fact the lower part of the door, once mounted, must be positioned at least at one-tenth of an inch above the floor level.
To be sure of that, before tightening the screws on the rail brackets, it would be a good idea to make a test with all the door in place, resting on some pieces of wood with a thickness of 1/5 of an inches which will then be later removed.
Normally, the kit also includes a stop race to prevent the sliding door getting off the rails. If the kit does not have one, just put a screw that will make the same function.
The old handle and lock have to be removed, to be replaced with a nice knob or fake handle with the function of allowing the socket to slide the door.
FOLDING DOORS OR BELLOWS
The folding doors are structural elements of the flat and consist of several panels that are closed to each other providing often solve those problems of space that are becoming more and more important in modern homes.
HOW TO INSTALL A FOLDING DOOR
Here things are perhaps even more simple than for sliding doors as the folding door replaces the existing traditional doors, keeping almost all the jamb and, where possible, using the same lock.
You will have to remove only the parts where the old door was hinged with hinges to the jamb, then proceed to stare directly into the folding door jamb using the kit.
Moreover, as regards the portion of the scroll, it is ensured by a guide, preferably made of anodized aluminum, which is screwed onto the lower face of the jamb at the top, and within which slide the hooks of the folding door. Generally are all provided in the purchase of the folding door.
We want to add a last small but important hint that concerns the measures of the folding door which must be a little bit less high compared to the traditional one in order to avoid that the lower part of the door can touch the floor, creating friction.
The cement is a material ’til now considered ‘poor’. Wrong, because if we use the concrete in combination with building structures made of wood or we add to cement powder some colored pigments, we can get incredibly beautiful effects.
CONCRETE AS FINISH PLASTER: POLISHED PLASTER CONCRETE
Using concrete to finish a wall or floor, until a few years ago, was only limited to environments like closets, garages and cellars.
But as of today, as everybody is searching for new solutions and also the architects show a certain openness to novelty, we may see housing solutions, especially in prestigious properties, where the use of concrete as finish plaster for walls is currently not only accepted but, indeed considered as a touch of good taste and elegance.
The use of concrete as plaster to finish the walls can be considered a practical response to the need of having a pleasing aesthetic result and at the same time a good wear resistance.
HOW TO APPLY THE POLISHED CONCRETE ON A WALL
Obviously, if we are talking about a wall, it is necessary to cover the brick wall with an usual finish plaster. That’s means a mix of sand and concrete (Portland cement) where the thickness of the sand determines how glossy the surface will be. In fact, the fineness of the sand depends on the smoothness of the final wall, usually replaced by lime or gypsum for finishing. The technique of finish the plaster only with cement is somewhere known as ‘parge‘.
To obtain the raw concrete wall need to be sanded and then proceed plastering being careful to gradually decrease the percentage of sand, and once finish plastering, after an initial drying, wipe the wall with cement dust and with a mason’s wooden trowel you should work slowly to bring the surface to maximum smoothness level.
At this point many prefer to leave the wall as it is, means natural semi-gloss shape, while more are often used to pass, after the wall is well well dry, two or three coats of flatting transparent.
Let’s say that the effect of the flatting paint on the concrete is,’without any doubt, very interesting and amazing because the paint is partially absorbed creating a very pleasant shades. This way of doing makes any wall different from any other and.. unrepeatable!
Of course until now we have here spoken of walls, because if we intend use this technique for a floor (which is possible of course) it will be necessary carefully calibrate the thickness of the parge and the possible use of an iron net, depending on the resistance’s requirements. In addition, in case of large areas it will be more appropriate to consider performing in defined portions of limited size in order to avoid problems of cracks. But more about this item will be treated in another article specifically on concrete floors.
The advantage of cement spatula techniques is also that it is by sure much easy for using in houses restructuring as it’s not necessary to remove old coatings and it can even put directly over existing tiles saving time and money.
HOW TO STORE THE WOOD
The wood for the firewood is a small capital that you must keep carefully in a very dry and ventilated place in order to store it safely and to obtain the best seasoning of wood.
For an adequate wood’s seasoning it would be more appropriate stacking the wood in a way that it does not have direct contact with the ground, indeed it would be even better if it is placed over concrete blocks or on little log well debarked placed sideways so as to make the air circulation easier.
The best way of stacking the wood is by crossing layers, providing a cover to prevent the rain, water impregnating the wood, triggers the phenomenon of putrefaction.
In the past, because of the extensive use of firewood in the absence of other fuel, our ancestors were accustomed to preserve the wood on the place where it was cut, just leaving it only covered with a sheet or a towels to keep it dry and repair the piles from the rain.
Obviously a better solution for the proper conservation and adequate curing of the wood is by far, to store the wood under a real roof, this is the reason because we want a real woodstore.
HOW TO BUILD OUR WOODSTORE
Of course there are various kinds of shelters and the choice depends on
- what we need,
- the space available
and not last
- how much we are planning to spend for this purpose.
The woodshed can be built by using a wall of your house to which you may build and lien two perpendicular walls.
Then you cover the three-walls-construction with a simple roof and you have the job done. Easy to think it and easy to do it.
One more thing: it is better not put the logs directly in contact with your home’s wall, because you do not want ants, bugs and possible umidity contact your home. Moreover it is always better make the air circulation free.
If you have enough availability of space, you can build a self-standing structure with one or two sides opened. The evident advantage of that solution with two open sides is that, with this way it is possible access to the shelves of the wood logs from both sides in addition, obviously, to promote the exchange of air.
Whatever the type of woodshed you want to achieve, if possible, it is always preferable to build it over a strong concrete slab foundation. The thickness of the concrete base, the consistency, armor depend on the size of the shed which we intend to build, besides other important factors such as the consistency of the ground.
Once the foundation is done, you can follow the same procedure as for the construction of a roof or a pergola.
One last tip: if you can, it would be a good idea to build a woodstore big enough to allow to stow the amount of wood you need for two seasons, so that you will use for you firewood always the wood stored 2 years before, well seasoned and dry, with obvious advantages on yield.
Tiling floor shower or install mosaic on floor of your shower are work that denote a special sensitivity and a taste for the beauty that is not heritage of many people. And that is what we are looking for: something special, same as we are.
Everything you do to make more beautiful and efficient your house, like replacing window or doors, lowering the ceiling with plasterboards, Stucco Veneziano walls or special floors, are all works that make your home more special and unique and increase also its specific market value.
Therefore, if you are tired of taking a shower in an oldfashion bathtube or in your meaningless shower (anonymous as that of thousand of others), maybe the time has come to design and create your own personal and unique mosaic tiled floor shower adding style and fashion to your bathroom and creating a smooth surface, warm and pleasant to the touch and most of all, unique ..and yours!
Install a mosaic tiled floor in your existing shower room it is not certainly a very easy job, but you can do it by yourself and with it you will add personality to your house and you will be proud to have done it.
THE BATHROOM, FLOOR SHOWER TILES AND MOSAIC
The bath, or Salle de Bain as French people say, is the room of the house that perhaps tells you more than others about the apartment standing and even about the temperament and sensitivity of the people living in that house.
The refinement not always necessarily it means of expensive, more often it is enough customize small details to make the house beautiful and unique.
Just to have an idea of what we are talking about, here there are few solutions that can be taken, easy and effective.
HOME CUSTOMIZE, BATHROOM DETAILS AND ACCESSORIES
- sanitary suspended
- unusual basins
- bathroom accessories of quality
- ceiling with spotlights
- half-mirrored walls
- particular types of plaster or coating
…..and also an original shower like a
SHOWER FLOOR MADE OF MOSAIC TILES
A good solution to give a personal touch to your bathroom can be to transform the shower tray into a base finished mosaic or also a base finished with tiles, where you may, for example, extend the color and the design of the tiles of the shower walls or even use the same color and shape of all the rest of the bathroom.
To make this, there is one important thing to keep well in mind in order to avoid future problems:
A good rule of thumb should be to have the work of reconstruction of the shower executed by an expert tiler installer, better if he is expert in mosaics, but the most important is that he is able to properly seal the base of the dish, the platform where it should fix the mosaic (or the tiles).
In fact, one of the most important aspect of the entire work of laying a floor shower mosaic, in addition to the aesthetic side, is definitely the one that concerns the prevention of future potential, dangerous leaks.
Let’s say that, according to the most recent dictates of the current fashion and architectural criteria, the floor shower should be (if possible) at the level of the bathroom floor. This gives the most pleasant effect.
So, once you have determined the shape of the base of the shower (which is not always easy because the maximum result arises with the atypical shapes, depending of course on the type and size of the corner where the shower is located), you must set up the trap and the exhaust pipes of the water. Then it is time to make the first pouring of mortar around the siphon system, taking care that it should be easily accessible for later inspection and cleaning. The surface must be well prepared and ready for the next step.
Now you will have to waterproof the bottom of the shower tray with a sheath or a sheet of linen rubber, polypropylen or specific products commercially available as the sheaths bicomponent spreadable, type Weber Dry Flex or bituminous sheaths, all readily available in the centers DIY like The Home Depot, Sears, Lowe’s.
After that you can complete the job with the tiling or with the laying of a mosaic or even with an alternative and economic solution, using the same tiles used for the walls of the bath specially fractured into pieces and then used as mosaic .
In this case, when the work is finished, we must apply a thin coat of waterproofing paint transparent finish to further ensure the watertight integrity.
Another solution very fancy and not too hard to be made is a floor shower of tick glass through which you may see, for example, white rocks when taking your shower. But, of course, there is no limit to the fantasy.
First of all, what is an AWNING? The Awnings are secondary covering, generally composed of canvas woven acrylic, cotton, polyester yarn, polyester fabric stretched firmly over a light aluminium structure, sometaime of wood or other materials.
Together with a good quality of window (we discussed in another post about replacing a window) the awnings provide a good insulation against the sun rays. This is most important because we always are (and we must be) eager to find more and more ways to save energy for our wallet and for our planet and everything we do in this direction will be well rewarded to us.
INSTALLING AWNINGS AND BALCONY BLINDS
The weather recently is more and more strange and every year the Spring is late to come, but after a cold winter the will for mild weather is so intense that we all are eager to prepare for the warm season.
Now the summer is here and if we do not have yet done, is better to speed up.
Housework, garden work and even those whitout a garden are planning to make their balcony the more welcoming as possible and people are preparing to face the big summer sun.
Who does not dream of being able to protect himself and their family from summer heat relaxing in the shade of an awning or a pergola?
However, dreams aside, the awnings are an excellent solution, inexpensive, functional and decorative. Also do not forget the ecological aspect, in fact repairing the dwelling from the rays of the sun contributes to the reduction of energy costs by reducing the need to use fans or air conditioners.
Let’s see how you can do by yourself the installation of awnings.
AWNINGS, HOW TO CHOOSE
We must first say that if you owe a villa or an independent house, you must only meet the requirements of good taste and find the appropriate placement for the awnings, both as regards the shape and the color, in the context of the building style, the neighborhood and the environment where you live. Even though it is always better verify with the municipality whether some specific requirements should be followed in that district.
Different may be the case if you live in a condominium or in a multi-family house: in fact very often there are specific provisions according to the Condominium Regulations, that dictate the rules that each tenant must follow, color and shape, to conform to others and have a nice overview.
Said that, there are different
TYPES OF AWNINGS
- Stationary Awnings: the fixed frame awnings are popular with homeowners because they can be easily customized according to different needs. They are ideal for entryways and balconies, in addition they require less maintenance because there are no moving parts.
- Awnings or curtain rail: they have the same system for opening curtains of the house and maneuvering through the curtain cords that move along tracks or channels.
- Awnings canopy: it is a distinctive kind of tent that was once used mostly by hotels and shops, but now it has caught on in condominiums and makes it look a bit ‘retro’ and very chic.
- Drop Side Awnings: are tents or awnings attached to the curtain rail top and sides of the loops that have wires running down to underlying vertical sides.
- Retractable Awnings with arms extensible: are tents that open towards the outside thanks to the pantograph movement of extendable arms by sliding the cloth wound on a roller attached to the wall of the house with the brackets.
INSTALLING AWNINGS PROCEDURE
The installation of awnings does not involve insurmountable difficulties, provided that you should operate with care and respecting the basic criteria of verticality and horizontality, directly affecting the mechanisms that drive the tents.
The awnings mechanisms, the most of the times, are based on systems of levers and winches operating electrically or by means of cranks which have the function to demultiply the effort required to open and close the curtain. The lack of a perfect plumb may seriously compromise the operation by increasing the wear of the individual parts.
As we have seen above, there are different types of awnings, each with its opening and closing own system and, therefore, there is a specific mounting system.
Trying to make simple, the procedure basically consists to fix the curtain rail, the track or the brackets that support the arms (for the retractable tents) using expansion plugs, having carefully measured and reported on the wall the points where you should drill the holes with a power drill.
As far this kind of awnings (retractables), which obviously require more manual dexterity, it must be said that usually the package contains the producer instructions for proper assembly of the extendable arms, to which it is better make reference as the mechanisms may vary from model to model.
Insulation: insulating roofs, floors and walls in a newly built building it is very important and ensures a better comfort as well as an appreciable energy savings.
Insulating floors of your house it is not only usefull, but it is to be considered very smart as it lead to a consistent energy saving and therefore money saving. We have already discussed on the post ‘The Zero Cost House‘ about these advantages.
It is always very important to respect the required parameters in order to obtain the best performance possible, therefore, from the beginning, when you start planning the work to insulate your house, check that the thickness, the quality and the shape of the insulating panels are appropriate to the space that you want to insulate, check also the degree of fire resistance and, last but not least, provide that the characteristics of the materials to be used are adequate to the climatic conditions of the area.
FLOORS AND ROOF INSULATION
With regard to the floors, it is important taking into account the kind of flooring tiles of floor that we want to insulate, the type of room, if that room is well heated or not, if it is in between of two floors or is at ground floor.
Also for the roof insulation there are different systems and these may vary depending on whether the attic is used or not for living, whether it is heated or not and, finally, what kind of roofing is in actually place.
Well, let’s now go to see all the
DIFFERENT TYPES OF INSULATION
- Insulation made from hemp and kenaf, a tree coming from the same family trees of the African cotton, of which only the bark is used for this purpose. Are all environment friendly products for the entire life cycle, the fibers are intertwined and thermally fixed, with the addition of a small portion of polyester fibers.
- Cork. It is used for interior and exterior coatings for thermal coat and dehumidification and it is easy to use, natural and environmental friendly product.
- Blocks multilayer system with high thermal and acoustic insulation. Normally it consist of an internal block of expanded clay concrete, a panel of extruded polystyrene and a block exterior concrete. The system supply a very well thermal as well as acoustic insulation.
- Ductwork, normally consist of a metal frame system with inside panels of glass wool with different thicknesses, a layer of vapor barrier to prevent condensation from forming and a coating of gypsum plaster boards.
- Mineralized wood-wool panels with chalk. These panels, due to their high compressive strength, ensure consistent performance even with varying loads. They have a thickness of 5/16” are environmentally friendly and fire resistant.
- Felt roll non-woven fabric, coupled to bitumen or panels of glass wool on a band of overlap. Over this is achieved through allocation of adequate thickness of the slab and complete the paving.
We may say that, as far as the insulation system it concerns, in order to properly insulate internally a solid wall there two are the most used ways :
- with rigid insulation bords
- with stud wall
RIGID INSULATION BOARDS
Usually the insulation board is less thick than a stud wall therefore you do not loose the size of the room. It is to be said that on the other side the stud wall provides a better support and it represents a strong wall where you may attach also heavy fittings, like kitchen units, other appliances or even a radiator.
The insulation board can be tick as 2.5” up to 4”, but it depends on the kind of insulation material you use:
- Extruded Polystyrene
- non-woven fabric
- plastic laminate
- foamed plastic
About the above mentioned material there are few that are natural and others not (recently few doubts are circulating about the opportunity of using polystyrene and similar petroleum derivatives due to their potential armful effects)
STUD WALL INSULATION
Stud wall consists of a metal or wood frame that it should be attached to the wall and then filled in with mineral wool fiber or other insulation material like plaster mixed with polystyrole in order to make it lighter (in this case the strength is reduced to some extent.
The insulation boards must be fixed onto the wall firmly by using continuous adhesive ribbon and then can be plastered over to be ready for final painting or wallpaper.
Be aware that, due to the fact that the mineral wool is less insutating than rigid insulation board, it is necessary increase the thickness (at least 5” is recommended).
It is to be said that only very experienced DIYers may install solid wall insulation, so if you are not, it could be a good idea to find a professional installer in order to avoid loose instead of saving money.
There is another reason to make our best efforts to insulate our home, is the protection of our environment as suggested by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (the Office of the US Department of Energy) that invests in clean energy technologies that strengthen the american economy, to protect the environment and reduce the dependence on foreign oil (and , most important, also on the oil in general, to preserve our planet).
The windows and the doors in a house are the major points of heat exchange (heat loss) and therefore who pays attention to energy saving and wants a house with an acceptable environmental impact, have to devote much attention to them.
If your home is not new and was not built with the modern criteria of respect for the environment, you can intervene to try to improve its insulation to get closer to the ideal zero cost house which we discussed in another article.
The replacement or the installation of a door or a window is a work not really suitable for DIY enthusiasts as, ususally, it would be preferable to rely on professionals.
However, as all of us, DIY lovers, know very well, there is (almost) nothing that can stop us!
In the DIY centers, like The Home Depot, Sears, Lowe’s and others primary sellers, you can buy complete sets of frames at very reasonable prices: and these are products of excellent quality, certified by the manufacturers that ensure the high quality and provide full and comprehensive instructions for an easy assembly.
Therefore with a little manuality, a little patience and a little knowledge obtained from the advice of friends and consultation on the web, we will be certainly able to install our window by ourselves.
When you install a window or a door, you are connecting two different surfaces, the frame of the window and the wall. Since the two surfaces generally do not perfectly match, the installation needs to take account of the slight imperfections and compensate this gap through the use of suitable tools and various materials such as plaster or foam of polyurethane foam.
The installation approach is necessarily different when it comes to new construction or if you must replace an existing window or door in a restructuring.
For new or very recent constructions it is preferable to use the so-called sub-frames. These are frames of wood that are walled up during the construction phase so as to have an opening more ‘regular’ on which, as a result, you can proceed to easily mount the window frame. The subframe is made according to the characteristics of the window or door which will be retrofitted (any screens, shutter or other). In case you want to change the type of door you will need to adapt the frame to accept the new sizes of ther door.
As regards instead to restructuring, it should be taken note with precision and accuracy of the measurements and characteristics of the existing window frame and what we are going to replace. In these cases it will normally be masonry, but will be better to try to get some additional space between the old and the new window frame to mount it easily. The spaces are then closed with covers both internal and external.
A detail not negligible is represented by the fact that during the replacement of the window or the door, typically the people continues to live into the house and then it will be necessary that the supply of the frame is complete and ready to be installed at the right time, to reduce the discomfort to a minimum.
Also in this case (as done for the previous) the frame fixing system is quite similar to that used with the sub-frame and is carried through screws and polyurethane foam which provide the best sealing of the door/window.
To mount a door or installing a window, you should have the following tools ready to use:
- a level
- mason’s hammer
- chisels and joinery wooden wedges
- canister of polyurethane foam
- cement quick-setting grout and trowel
To mount the door or window we proceed by inserting the frame of the window in the compartment in the wall by using wedges to secure it.
Then with a chisel you drill few holes to insert anchor bolts.
The next day all the gaps, both interior and exterior side, should be sealed and closed with polyurethane foam and or plaster.
If you want to achieve a successful result, it must be said that the installation of a tile floor is a work that should be done by persons that have a full knowledge of laying tiles.
WHY USE CERAMIC TILES TO COVER?
A tile is a manufactured material such as ceramic, stone, marble, onyx, granite and an endless number of other materials. Tiles are used to cover floors, walls, roofs, terraces and are one of the house’s component that makes your home unique and special.
The technique of laying tiles requires years of professional experience and a good knowledge of the basics of carpentry and materials, but with patience, a little care and following the easy instructions given here, everyone could get good results. In fact, also this work could be considered an activity suitable for DIY lovers.
First you must calculate the size of the floor that you are going to cover, regardless of the joints and the cuts necessary. In this step it is not essential to take an accurate measurement while is enough to have an approximate idea of the quantity of tiles that will be necessary to do the work.
It is also good habit to take into consideration that
- with a floor of square tiles, jointed straight, you must add 5%
- with joints staggered square, you must add 10% to the total area
- with oblique joints you must add 15%.
Just to get an idea of the quantity of the materials needed, it is good to know that for the mortar, for 10 square feet you need 5.5 lbs of cement and 15 to 17 lbs of fine sand.
There are two ways of laying tiles:
- the laying sealed: it means when you want to lay a tile floor on a clean and level cement surface
- the glued installed: when you have an existing floor on which you want to place on top the new tiles.
LAYING TILES – PREPARATION
To streamline the work and save on the cutting of the tiles (which is money saving too) you sketch out two perpendicular lines AB and CD that depart from the middle of the side walls and pass through the center of the room.
Then flush with the plaster cast must draw a line XY parallel to the center line AB (see fig. 1) at a distance of about one inch from the wall opposite the front door of the room.
The work must always begin by placing the first tile in the center of the room heading toward the wall opposite the door (fig. 2).
Then you start to have a row of tiles along the line XY pinstripe starting from the middle of the side and going towards the side walls.
It is always necessary maintain the same distance beetwen tiles by using the appropriate spacers (crosses).
- to soak into the water each tile before laying it down
- moisten the base of the concrete before placing the tile on it
Spread with a trowel the quantity of mortar enough for 2 rows of tiles (thickness approx. 3/16”) or, if you are placing tiles over an existing floor of tiles, it is better to use a specific glue (for laying gtiles) and spread it with the notched trowel.
Place the tiles well spaced through the ‘crosses’ and gentle tap with the wooden handle of a hammer or with a rubber mallet.
Wait at least 12 hours then brush again the joints with a mixture of cement, lime and fine sand (in the following proportions 1/3, 1/3, 1/3) duly diluted in water, or, if you prefer, with a mixture of cement and water only, or still other products present on the market.
No matter what you use, you can always add a colorant according to the tiles color.
It is necessary to stretch well the dough to fill completely the joints, then, after fifteen minutes, the whole floor must be sprinkled with sawdust that will be later gently removed with a broom and slightly with a damp sponge. After 1 hour the floor may be wiped out with a dry cloth.