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Get clued up to water hazard risk; DIY donny with Donny Sheridan Email your questions to: Sorry but Donny can't reply to every email: It pays to know how to avoid flooding disaster by familiarising yourself with the pipework in your home.

MATERIALS PVA TOP TIP: Always remember to PVA first 8 Job done How many people actually know where the water pipes run in their home? I'm talking heating pipes - hot and cold supplies to bathrooms and showers, hot water tanks and, of course, your mains.

The most basic thing to know is how to turn off your water supply in case you accidentally puncture a water pipe.

When you have a disaster like that on your hands, you are running around frantically looking for the main stopcock and you don't have a clue where to look.

In older properties, such as tenements, it's not uncommon for the stopcock to be covered over or concealed by a new kitchen. Then the only way to stop the flow of water is to turn the supply off from the street.

Don't wait until there's a problem to locate the main stopcock.

You will usually find it under the kitchen sink or sometimes behind the skirting/kick plate below the carcass that supports the kitchen sink.

This is a pain as well as you need to remove the kick plate, grab a torch and fumble about. If you can't find the main stopcock, have a plumber locate it or, better still, fit a new one where it is easy to get to.

The age of your home will determine the kind of problems you might encounter and a plumber will instinctively know what to expect.

With modern homes, if there is a problem, it is usually something like a repair to a concealed cistern that has been tiled over and the tiles need to be broken to gain access.

For older properties, there comes a time when the cost of minor repairs mean you are better off just starting from scratch.

The main concern is lead pipes, which are toxic and will need to be replaced. Even if you have copper in your main cold water feed pipe, there could still be lead feeding the mains from the street.

Most councils offer a grant to replace the lead pipe that feeds your home from the street to your house.

Older properties also have the problem of insufficient plumbing and a maze of different pipes.

You could have lead pipes from when the property was built, some galvanised steel pipes from 1940s alterations, copper pipes from the 1970s and then all the pipework that comes with central heating.

My central heating pet hate is mini-bore pipes coming up from the floor into a radiator and the accidental damage done to these skinny pipes by a vacuum cleaner.

My advice is not to add to this mess of pipework which just makes things more confusing than they need to be.

Simply replace any pipework that is more than 20 years old and start from scratch, especially if you are in the market for a new central heating system and all the floorboards are being lifted anyway.

DONNY'S LITTLE HELPER KITCHEN CROWN BATHROOM AND and all the is coming that go Winter problems a problem condensation consider with it. If you have mould, with bathroom new bathroom Crown's It's durable range. using and and kitchen resistant and grease-not to turn promises mouldy.

RELEVANT PRODUCT TILE AND GLASS BIT DRILL drill bits look like mini the These because and work carbide spears hard tungsten ultra-the hole to be drilled and with light tips allow to the at low speeds water Adding makes pressure. drilling tip when all the difference.

Stop whining and go with the flow Q When I flush my toilet , a loud highpitched whining noise comes from the cistern as it refills. The whining noise can be eliminated if I turn on the cold water tap on my washhand basin to a certain pressure. Do I need a plumber? A Before you go for a plumber, turn down the flow rate of water into the cistern. You will see the supply pipe coming up from the floor and there should be a valve on it.

Q The sandstone mullion between my two front bedroom windows is badly cracked where it meets the outside sill. I wondered if this requires a specialist repairer who can restore the stone to its original state without leaving any sign of the repair? A Contact Campbell Stone on 0141 621 4401. They will be able to inspect the mullion and if it is only a repair needed you will be surprised at how these guys can match it to the existing stone work.

QI have had timber decking at my back door for five years. I stain it twice a year with Cuprinol decking oil in natural cedar. Recently the oil has not been able to cover the worn-out timber. Now some of the decking looks smashing and other parts are looking worn and tired. Got any suggestions? A Cuprinol is a good product - it's just wear and tear of the decking. Sand the top of the decking and restain.

Q We have inherited a house where the panel of an Aqualift bath seat has been glued and bolted to the wall tiles. Any idea how we remove it without damaging the tiles? A The bolts will leave holes in the tiles and you will probably pull some from the wall when you are removing the seat, but give it a go as you might get lucky.

QI am getting rid of my rotary clothes dryer from the garden. The base was concreted into the ground and there is around a foot of metal pipe sticking out. How can I get rid of this? A Dig around the concrete and try to get to the base, then pull and push the metal pipe and it should work loose. Just a bit of graft required really.

QI would appreciate any advice on how I should deal with weeds that are growing up the side of my slate roof.

A Some weed killers can stain building materials but boiling water works. Rake out the joint that they were growing from and repoint with mortar or lead mastic.

Trowel PVA Step by step guide REPAIR A HOLE IN PLASTER Repairing a hole in lath and plaster is a common complaint from many a reader.

The main problem is stopping a small hole from turning into a large hole or even the full wall crumbling away. Lath and plaster became obsolete around the 1930s, gradually being replaced with plasterboard.

The key to success is to know where to stop stripping the plaster from the wall because, as soon as you remove one section, it loosens the plaster immediately next to it.

I'll show you how to prevent this happening and keep the repair as small as possible so you can avoid having to hire a plasterer.

1 This is the important part. Use a bradawl or small screwdriver to punch small holes around the damaged section of lath and plaster, then use the bradawl to pick the plaster away from the wall.

2 PVA the hole to kill any dust and leave to dry.The PVA will also form a gritty surface over the lath when it gets mixed with the dust.

Make sure all of the old plaster is removed from the gaps in the lath.

4 Use a small, straight section of wood to flush off the bonding undercoat plaster so it is even with the wall. Then clean the surrounding existing wall with a damp cloth and leave overnight to set.

3 Mix up a small amount of bonding plaster in a bucket and force it into the hole. Make sure the plaster is pushed into the sides of the existing plaster to tie it together with the new plaster.

5 Mix up a small amount of finishing plaster and skim it over the undercoat plaster.

Don't worry about the plaster going on to the surrounding wall as this will get cleaned up later.

6 As the bonding plaster has been left overnight it will have a bit of suction in it, so apply some water with a large paint brush and trowel over the plaster four to five times while adding water.

7 Once the plaster is smooth, take an old cloth and clean the surrounding existing plaster of all the dirty water splashes. Allow to dry and paint. Remember there is no need to sand once dry.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 12, 2010
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