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blog posts for April 2014

PTFE Tape – The Idiot Proof Plumbing Accessory

The average plumber has dozens of tools in his box: wrenches, screwdrivers, spare washers and bits of pipe. He will use all of them at any given time, but the one piece of kit he won't be able to do without is a roll of PTFE tape. PTFE tape is commonly known as 'plumber's tape', and for a very good reason. This stuff is incredibly useful. However, as useful as PTFE tape is, you do need to use it correctly or it won't be able to do its job.


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What is PTFE Tape?

PTFE tape is a polytetrafluoroethylene film made into a tape. It makes an excellent lubricant and can be used to tighten the seal on a pipe, which is why it is so useful in plumbing situations. Most plumbers use PTFE tape on metal-to-metal screw thread joints. Rather than risking ruining the thread on the joint by tightening it up too much, putting some PTFE tape on before you tighten the nut gives you a much better seal whilst protecting the thread.



What is PTFE Tape Used For?

You can use PTFE tape anywhere there is a compression joint between two sections of pipe. Compression joints on brand new pipe work should be fine without PTFE tape, but older pipework is more likely to weep when things are moved around, i.e. you are changing a radiator over. This is why PTFE tape is commonly used when fitting taps and radiators. Use of PTFE tape, plus a thin coat of plumber's jointing compound, will ensure a nice tight seal and prevent leaks.


How to Use PTFE Tape?

There is a right way and a wrong way to use PTFE tape. The right way is to wrap it clockwise around the thread of the joint. The easiest way to remember which way to wind the tape is to hold the pipe in your left hand and apply the tape with your right hand. Wrap the tape over the thread/tap or whatever else you are using it for, and unroll the tape away from your body. If you are left handed, do it the opposite way so that you hold the joint with your right hand and unwrap the tape towards your body. This means the tape will tighten in the right direction and not unravel when you tighten the nut. Wrapping PTFE tape three times around the joint is enough—any more than that and you risk overloading the thread with tape.


How to Apply PTFE Tape?


Consequences of None or Not Enough PFTE Tape



Unusual Uses for PTFE Tape

Although PTFE tape is normally used in plumbing situations, it can be used elsewhere. One unusual use for PTFE tape is in piercings. Because the tape is inert and won't cause a reaction in the body, some people use it to stretch piercings. Wrapping tape around the plug will force the hole to enlarge.

PTFE tape is readily available from all good DIY stores. PTFE tape is inexpensive, but something that is definitely worth keeping in your toolbox for when you do some plumbing work or fit dual fuel heated towel rails.

Five Simple Ways to Give a Kitchen a Makeover

Everyone knows that a brand new fitted kitchen can really add value to a property and in an ideal world we would all be having new kitchens fitted this weekend. Sadly new fitted kitchens cost a proverbial arm and leg and unless you have recently come into a nice lottery win, you are probably thinking more along the lines of putting up with what you currently have. But fear not because there are a few simple things you can do to give your battered old kitchen a new lease of life!

Revamp the Cabinets

Unless the underlying carcases are falling apart, there is a lot you can do to improve the appearance of tired looking kitchen cabinets. Solid wood doors can be sanded down, stained or painted with eggshell gloss, which will completely change the look of your kitchen. Or you could have new door fronts fitted—there are plenty of companies that offer replacement kitchen cabinet doors to fit cupboards of all different shapes and sizes. Even changing the door handles will make a difference, so give it a go.


Credits to Women24

New Worktops and Sink

Kitchen worktops usually show signs of wear and tear after a few years. Scratches, burn marks, scuffs and stains all add up to make a kitchen look less than attractive. However, worktops are relatively inexpensive to replace (unless you have a hankering for new granite worktops) and if you change the sink and taps over at the same time, it will feel like you have a brand new kitchen.

Different Tiles

Tiles can make the difference between a stylish kitchen and an old fashioned one. Are your tiles circa 1975? Do they have cute little pictures of onions and apples on them? If so you are in desperate need of a kitchen makeover. Start removing your tiles immediately and then go shopping for some nice new ones. Plain coloured square tiles look great and are not too expensive. Or if you are comfortable spending more money, opt for a glass or metal splash back for a more modern feel. Either way it will be a vast improvement on what you have already.


Shabby Chic Style

Refurbishing a table and chairs or kitchen dresser is a great way to add some style to a dining kitchen. Shabby chic is all the rage right now, so if you have an old pine dresser or table and chairs, sand them down and paint them cream or white to give them an antique feel. For a more distressed look, use several different layers of paint in pale shades and sand the item down to reveal the underlying colour. Once you are happy with the paint finish, wax or polish the piece to complete the shabby chic look.

Lick of Paint

If painting the furniture is a step too far, even giving the walls a fresh coat of paint will make a huge difference. Go for a bold colour and accessorise with a new kettle and other bits and pieces. Get rid of that greasy old window blind and buy a smart new fabric or wooden Venetian blind.

Sometimes there just isn’t enough money in the pot to do everything you want, in which case you need to be selective about the things you can afford to do. Perhaps you need to replace an old rusty radiator. If so, look at designer chrome towel rails and vertical radiators as these will give a nice modern slant to the room, and in conjunction with a new worktop and sink, it will feel as if you have a brand new kitchen. But if money is really tight, just buy some new tea towels and paint the wall a different colour. It isn’t ideal, but it is better than nothing.

The Dos and Don'ts of Adding an En Suite Bathroom

Once upon a time, a bathroom was the least important room in a home. In fact it wasn't until fairly recently that many homes had the luxury of indoor bathrooms at all.  In our grandparent's day, having a bath meant placing a metal tub in front of the fire and filling it with hot water. Everyone had to share the bath and the last person in was extremely unlucky. And as for the toilet, well as long as you didn't mind a trek outdoors and were not afraid of the dark and a few spiders, you were fine.

Thankfully times have changed and all modern homes come fully equipped with a bathroom large or small. Unfortunately, in a larger home, many families soon discover that having just one bathroom is simply not enough and everyone is forced to queue up in the morning just to have a shower.

Adding an en suite to the master bedroom can make life a lot easier, but only if the job is done properly. So what are the dos and don'ts of building an en suite and what pitfalls should you try and avoid?

Do Plan the Space Carefully

En suites are usually on the small side because you are 'borrowing' space from either the master bedroom or an adjacent room/cupboard. Because of this, you need to plan everything down to the tiniest detail. For example, say you want a large walk in shower, think about whether it will fit in the space and leave you enough room for everything else. If you are forced to work with very little space, look at space-saving sinks, bi-folding shower doors and space saving heated towel rails for small bathrooms.

Do Ensure there is Adequate Ventilation

Ventilation is always important in a bathroom of any description, but if the proposed en suite is internal, ventilation is even more important. Make sure that any extractor fan you install is sufficient for the space or you could end up with mould, mildew and all kinds of damp problems.

Don't Sacrifice a Bedroom

Whilst an en suite can add value to a property, it won't add value if you are building an en suite at the expense of a bedroom. Bedrooms sell houses and if you lose a bedroom any increase in value gained from a new en suite will be wiped out by the loss of a bedroom. You should also be careful of sacrificing excessive space in a bedroom. En suites are always a desirable selling feature, but not when the bedroom floor space has been slashed in half in the process and you can no longer reach the wardrobe without climbing over the bed.

Don't Use Dark Colours

Most en suites are very small and compact. This means that you need to be careful when planning the décor and choosing tiles, floor coverings and other decorative features. Black tiles and a dark floor might look sexy in a large, spacious bathroom, but in a tiny, windowless en suite you will probably feel as if you have been entombed every time you use the toilet. For best results, stick to white sanitary ware and light colours everywhere else. And don't forget to make sure you have adequate lighting.

Adding an en suite to the master bedroom can easily add between £10,000 and £20,000 to a property, but only if the conversion is done to a high standard. If you decide to do the work yourself, make sure you are proficient in all the necessary skills. And finally, make sure your boiler can cope with additions to the heating circuit.