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Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Simple steps on how to disguise unsightly drains!

Disgusting Unsightly Drains
By Michael King
building a granny flat in the backyardSometimes, after finishing a back yard project there remains unsightly details such as drains that spoil the look of the completed work.  Having spent a substantial amount of money creating that perfect backyard experience, that last thing you want to notice first is things that do not belong in the garden landscape, such as drains.  All that should be visible to the eye is the beauty of what you have accomplished. The eye should focus on the building or the greenery in the garden or the sound and sight of water in the pond. Maybe you retiled or laid stone to an area, then the eye should be drawn to the colour and feel of the stone or tile. Maybe its a combination of different things that have been done. Yet when a small thing is out of place, that can spoil everything. 

Using the wrong materials

What spoils a project more than anything else, is when someone tries to disguise something like a drain and uses the wrong material. For example, I have seen installations where builders have gone to the trouble and expense to add “brass” drain covers to their installations or zinc coated grates.  Don't get me wrong, I love brass. However the inherent beauty of this metal does not disguise the fact that it covers a drain.  Brass does not fit in with the surrounds. Instead of hiding the drain it actually calls attention to it. Granted a brass cover is better than a plastic drain cover, but a more sensible approach would be to HIDE the drain permanently!

Proper drainage

Proper drainage is very important in most installations. It allows for excess water from splashing in the pool or rain storms to be diverted to more appropriate areas. If no drainage is provided, the excess water is likely to find its way into the pool, carrying dirt from the deck. This can cause extra and unnecessary pool maintenance.
The drainage is usually provided by buried drainage lines which are installed with an adequate amount of slope allowing gravity to pull the water and small debris down to areas away from the deck and pool. Drain covers carry the important function of restricting larger debris, which may clog the drain lines, from entering the system. Drainage of storm water need not be a ugly affair.

Drain Covers

preparing for a granny flat in AustraliaDrain covers are usually round plastic grey or black covers. By using a square drain cover which has the facility to incorporate a lid into which one can place materials such as stone, concrete, ceramics or any materials to match your surrounding landscape, and address the problem of having visible ugly plastic drain covers that do not blend in.
With the installation complete, the drainage covers no longer calls attention to themselves or distracts from the beauty of the surrounds! More importantly, you can relax, enjoy your new creation, and pay attention to the details you will really want to see.

The Nova Group are specialists in designing for renovations, kit homes and granny flats throughout Australia.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Do You Need a Licensed Builder?


A common question asked by many people. In most countries where regulations prevail, the answer is yes!
In Queensland, the BSA is the licensing authority but any Building Authority Department in any state or country will recommend the use of a licensed contractor even for small jobs. The reason is that the “license” indicates that the builder has met certain minimum standards and is licensed to carry out the contractual work. It is very important to check the credentials of any contractor that you want to engage to carry out work on your behalf.  
Make sure that you do your own thorough search with your local Building Authority to ensure that the builder (or contractor) is fully licensed and has no bad credit rating.   Choosing an inexperienced contractor can cost you dearly in more ways than one. Don’t rely on the fact that the contractor works within a company, still do your check.
Most building work will require plumbing, electrical, or structural work at some stage. For example, if there is some rewiring needed to be done, this calls for an expert who understands electricity. With the dangers involved, it is not necessarily a job that you would consider doing yourself, or to have just anyone doing. The same principle applies for all of the building industry whether it’s to do with plumbers and drainers, gas fitters, pest control, fire protection, residential design, builders or interior design.  They need to have a good track record, have experience in their field and be licensed.  

Don’t be fooled, there are many contractors operating without a license who might offer their work cheaper than others.  Beware and be forewarned that in most countries the building industry holds high expectations of the work carried out that needs signing off in order for buildings to be sold.   If you hire the service of someone who is not qualified then you run the risk of faulty workmanship that will not stand up in a court of law if you have to take the situation that far.  

As a rule of thumb, if jobs are of a minor cost factor, then you will not generally need to employ a licensed contractor.  Say for instance, you want to change the doors within a home.  

This kind of job will not require a licensed builder.

Whereas changing windows, adding a room which is more structural would require a licensed contractor.

Where in doubt, always  yourself a favour and check with your local Building Authority. 

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Tips on painting a long fence!

The quickest way to paint a long fence is to spray it. While you could use a handy electric spray gun, you’ll be constantly refilling the tank.

An airless spray gun, that sucks paint directly from a paint tin, is much faster. The hiring costs for a weekend are about $250, so it’s only worthwhile for large jobs.

You’ll be so fast, it’s worth doing a few other jobs such as a neighbour’s fence, the shed or even your house!

You will need:
  • Cabot’s water-based Exterior Varnish Stain
  • Sander
  • Airless spray gun (we hired a Wagner SF31
  • 2 (or more) buckets
  • Small paint roller
  • Notes: Mask everything you don’t want painted, even if it’s not in the direct line of the gun, as there’ll be droplets of paint in the air that go everywhere.

    Here's how:
    Step 1: Lightly sand fence using electric sander. You’re not after a baby-bottom finish, but need to remove major splinters, flaking old finish and dirt. Read more here
    Compliments Better Homes and Gardens - Australia