A QUICK THANKS TO YOU
We just wanted to thank all our regular users on our forum for making it such a wealth of useful information for other users of the site.
When we originally started DIY Doctor in 2000 (wow 13 years ago – really?) the DIY Doctor tradesmen were able to answer all the questions that came via the site on a personal level by email.
As the site grew this became impossible to sustain if we wanted to remain a free site (which we do), so we set up the forum to allow our users to contact builders, GasSafe fitters, roofers, plumbers, gardeners and, well, any tradespeople in any trade really.
In addition we also welcome constructive feedback from users who have experience or want to share their knowledge on a particular Home Improvement subject.
USING DIY DOCTOR’S FORUM
Our forum is easy to use (we hope) it is divided into different home improvement and trade sections and you can search for subjects in the search box. There are links to active topics and unanswered questions if you want to get involved with someone else’s questions.
We picked this one out of yesterday’s DIY Doctor forum questions as an example. Garden abutting gable wall question on DIY Doctor Forum
We often get questions about damp including condensation, rising damp and (in this case featured above) ground levels causing a breach in a Damp Proof Course (DPC).
Damp can have very damaging effects on your house, if you would like to find out more about causes of damp then do visit our Damp Causes and Solutions in the Home DIY Project.
When you are reading through our Projects section you will also see related projects featured in a box to the left hand side. This makes it easy for you to read all the information we have on a subject, and if you still cannot find the answer that is the time to post a question on the DIY Doctor Forum.
You will need to register, but it is quick and free.
We have been concentrating on the Green Deal that will come into force later in the year but what about funding improvements to your home before then?
The Warm Front scheme is still running until March 2013 in England and allows households on qualifying income related benefits to have insulation and heating improvements carried out up to the value of £3,500.
If your house is poorly insulated or without working heating you will not have to pay providing the work costs less than the grant, but you must either own your own home or rent it privately and you must live in England. Other schemes are available for the rest of the UK.
People who may qualify include those in receipt of Pension Credit, or income-related Employment and Support Allowance that includes a work-related activity or support component.
Other people who qualify are those on Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support or income-related Employment and Support Allowance in the assessment phase. Who also have a pensioner premium, a disability or severe disability premium, an award of child tax credit (that also includes an element for a disabled, or severely disabled child or young person), or a child under the age of five living with them
The 4 steps for applying for the scheme are
Step 1: Application
Step 2: Technical survey
Step 3: Allocation of a Warm Front installer
Step 4: Installation work
Anyone who has a gas heating system will also get an aftercare service including an annual service visit.
Apply for a Warm Front grant by clicking on the link or email to email@example.comIf you prefer you can telephone 0800 316 2805 (or textphone 0800 072 0156) Lines open weekdays 8-6 and 9-5 on Saturdays.You can download and print a Warm Front application form Download a Warm Front application form (PDF, 394K) and send it to Carillion Energy Services, Freepost NEA12054, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 1BR
Other useful information
Other countries within the UK have their own schemes – click below
Periods of sustained rain are not great news for any of us, but you will easily be able to spot any leaks in your gutters and downpipes.
Water running down external walls and pooling on the ground below the leak will cause damage to decor and may cause water to seep into walls. So it is important to prevent the causes as soon as possible.
Use a camera to pinpoint the problems
It is not advisable to try to repair or replace leaking gutters while it is actually raining but if you take photos of where the are leaks or areas that overflow while it is raining, it will be easier to remember where the problems are once the weather dries up.
Before you assume that gutters need replacing you should check to ensure whether the gutters are simply blocked with leaves or other debris washed off the roof, rather than items that need repair or replacement such as faulty joints, or split or damaged sections of gutter.
If you simply need to empty gutters of leaves and debris you may find our video tutorial on an extending ladder useful. These new videos showcase tools that we have reviewed for our customers. You can also find a quick roundup of the review, a link to other customers’ reviews, and you can click through to buy the product if you are tempted.
When replacing gutters is the best option
From time to time you will need to replace gutters, as they will eventually perish due to exposure to the elements. Plastic gutters will deteriorate more quickly whereas aluminium gutters usually come with guarantees for their lifetime. Speak to your supplier about how long you can expect their rainwater goods to last. You can then balance the cost of each product against the length of time before it might need replacing again.
See our project on replacing plastic gutters, otherwise you might consider aluminium gutters.
We may only be in the first half of September, but it would definately appear that summer is over, and so we should all be turning our minds to any autumn jobs that need attention before the weather turns more wintery.
Our project on Autumn Maintenance Checks gives some good pointers including attending to any external decorating, making sure you get your boiler or other heating serviced, do any loft insulating needed, check all windows and doors are draught proofed, make sure any extractor fans are working to avoid condensation, checking and clearing guttering, cleaning patios and paths and making sure any exterior lighting is working. There is also instruction on dry lining walls.
As with last weeks blog post on painting woodwork, painting masonry requires as much, if not a little more, preparation.
Brickwork, render, stonework and blockwork can crumble during the winter as the water gets into tiny fissures and freezes. As water freezes, it expands. The expansion process cracks the masonry a tiny bit more. The crack then lets in a little more water and the process repeats itself all through the winter.
preparing brickwork for painting
This, in construction physics terms, is called Freeze-Thaw action.
To guard against this, regular summer maintenance is called for and our blog post on repointing brickwork will help here. We also have a project called preparing brickwork for painting and you can get there by clicking on the link.
At the bottom of this page you can find out how to replace a damaged brick, how to clean surplus mortar from bricks and we even have a project on how to clean efflorescence