Can I lay a concrete slab

Lay a concrete slab

You can lay a concrete slab yourself with a few basic tools.

We’ll tell you how to lay a concrete slab in this post.

Before you start

Decide if the concrete slab you want is small enough to be completed by one person or if you require a professional to get the job done.

Concrete slab dug out

Generally slabs up to 3m2 can be done by one person, anything bigger will get away from you and requires more hands to lay the slab properly. Also if the concrete slab requires a specific grade of concrete, a professional is required.

You can do garden shed slabs and small paths easily with no help.

Once you have decided where you want your path or slab, measure the job and calculate how much concrete you will need. As an example if you are going to lay a 3m2 slab, you multiply 3m x 3m x 100mm, which equals 0.9m3.

There are many sites that have concrete calculators you can use to estimate your requirements.

A general guide for deciding which method of mixing concrete is right for you is. Concrete up to 0.1m3 can easily be mixed with bags of premixed concrete you mix yourself. For concrete slabs between 0.1m3 and 0.5m3 consider mixing the materials yourself, using 1 part cement, 2 parts sand and 3 parts stone. Slabs over 0.5m3 should consider getting pre-mixed concrete delivered by truck.

Tools required

  • Metal or wood screed
  • Wooden float
  • Magnesium float
  • Steel trowel
  • Edging trowel
  • Jointing trowel (groover)
  • Spirit level
  • Tape measure
  • Shovel
  • Turf cutter (if required)
  • Mattock
  • Measuring jug
  • Hose
  • Broom
  • Bucket
  • Hammer
  • Timber saw
  • Carpenters’ square
  • Rake
  • Wheelbarrow or concrete mixer
  • Tamper or plate compactor for compacting the base material
wood float
Wood float

Materials you will need:

  • Bags of Concrete Mix 20kg or Bags of cement, sand and stone
  • Lengths of timber for boxing/formwork
  • Timber stakes
  • Clean water
  • Reinforcing mesh (& bar chairs if required)
  • Double headed or clout nails for easy removal
  • Road base or crusher dust to bed slab

Prepare your site

Peg out the area you want to concrete and remove any grass from the area. Dig out the area to the required depth of concrete wanted. 100mm is the usual depth of a concrete slab. As most sites are not level, you will need to work out areas that need building up and areas that need to be dug out. Roughly dig out the area and check your levels.

The easiest way to work out your levels for your slab is to build the boxing for your slab and use this to help find your levels. Boxing for concrete slabs is usually 30mm x 100mm wet pine. Once you have dug out your area, place the boxing down and put your level on it. Raise the boxing in low areas and fill and dig out more if the boxing is to high.

When your boxing is level, secure the boxing onto the ground by driving wooden stakes into the ground next to the boxing and nailing it together. Fill in any low areas in the slab area with sand or crusher dust and tamper down to ensure a stable base for your concrete slab. You can line the slab area with black plastic but it isn’t necessary for paths.

Place your reinforcing wire on plastic chairs so that it is in the middle of the slab thickness and not resting on the ground. Reinforcing wire helps stop concrete from cracking structurally.

Boxed out concrete slab

Mix your concrete

If your using premix bags of concrete, grab your wheelbarrow and empty 2 or 3 bags into it. Dig a well at the front of the wheelbarrow in the materials and tip your water into this well. Then mix in the dry ingredients into the water, continue until all the dry material is wet. Never use to much water as this will weaken your concrete mix. Your better off adding small amounts of water until you get your concrete mix to the right consistency instead of to much from the start.

You can use a shovel, rake or hoe to mix your concrete.

When mixing cement, sand and stone, use a shovel and measure out the number of shovel fulls to get the right ratio. For example, 2 shovels of cement plus 4 shovels of sand and 6 shovels of stone. Another way is to buy the sand and stone already mixed and adding it to your cement.

Before placing your concrete wet the area so that the ground doesn’t suck your concrete dry and gives you more time to finish your slab properly.

Lay your concrete slab

When you have mixed your concrete and are happy with the consistency empty your concrete mix into your boxed out area. As you place your concrete, screed it level to the top of your boxing, filling up any low areas and re-screeding to get it level. Continue filling your boxed area until it is completely filled and screeded level.

You now have to wait for any bleed water to evaporate from the concrete before finishing the slab off. Once the bleed water has gone you need to float the slab with your wooden float to smooth out any ridges from the screeding process. A metal trowel can be used if you want a smooth finish, however this will be very slippery when wet. To provide a textured finish use a broom to give your slab some rough surface.

Use a edging trowel around the whole edge of your slab to compact the edge and give a finished look.

Screeded concrete

A jointing tool is used on large slabs to control cracking. Jointing is usually at 1800mm intervals and generally 20mm deep.

Allow your concrete to dry for a day or two before removing your boxing. Keep your slab moist for 7 days by misting water over it daily. Concrete takes 28 days to fully cure. Don’t walk on your slab for 24 hours but avoid heavy loads on it for 7 days.

Got an old path or slab that needs renovating, checkout this post how to renovate your concrete

Build a chicken coop

How to grind concrete

using a concrete grinder

How to grind concrete

We’ll show you how to grind concrete in this post. There are many reasons to grind concrete. For repairs, renovating concrete and for decorative purposes. Concrete can be ground to a polished finish for decorative and maintenance reasons or ground roughly to make a better key for renovating your concrete.

See our renovating concrete post here!

Types of concrete

There are 2 types of concrete for grinding, new and old concrete. Grinding new concrete is best done by professionals and in consultation with your concreting professional and concrete supplier.

The new concrete should have properties that will deliver the best results for grinding. Plus you can add specific stones or objects and colors to your new concrete to enhance the ground concrete.

Old concrete will be a bit of a Pandora’s box, not knowing what will be revealed by grinding the concrete. You may not be able to get a polished finish on old concrete, but the blemishes and other issues will add character to the finished job.

Concrete grinders can be used either wet or dry depending on the results desired.

A dust removal system plus PPE should always be used when grinding concrete using the dry method.

Types of grinders

There are several types of concrete grinders available, from hand held grinders to large planetary grinders.

planetary concrete grinder
planetary concrete grinder

For general grinding a terrazzo grinder or a single cup grinder will do a decent job. Larger planetary grinders are used by professionals for large jobs with better results. To get the edges and corners of concrete slab ground down, hand held grinders may be used.

single disk concrete grinder
single disk concrete grinder

All concrete grinders use diamond cutting disks or wheels. To get a polished finish the diamond wheels or disks are range from coarse to very fine for the final passes.

The grade of diamond cutting disks used need to match the type of concrete being ground. For hard concrete you need a soft compound for the diamonds and for soft concrete you need a hard compound for the diamonds. If your not sure if your concrete is hard or soft, you can test it. Another way of determining if your concrete is hard or soft is to assess the concrete when you start to grind it. If the grinder isn’t doing much to the surface you probably have the wrong diamond compound for for grinding diamonds.

Using a concrete grinder

For the DIYer using a single cup concrete grinder is much like using a floor polisher. However when starting a concrete grinder always lift the grinding disk of the ground and lower onto the surface once it is started. Then grind in a sideways back and forth motion and pull back as you grind, never leave the grinder going in one spot.

To get an even surface may require that you grind one way and then at a 90 degree angle to the first pass. You will only achieve a coarse finish with a single disk grinder. These grinders are good for grinding concrete that is going to be resurfaced.

Always turn on your dust extraction system before starting your grinder if you are dry grinding. You may have to empty your dust extractor several times when grinding concrete.

Unless your grinder will grind up against the walls or edge of your concrete, you will need to use a hand grinder to finish the edges.

Dust extraction

Your dust extraction system can range from a shop vac to a dedicated dust extraction system. For small jobs a shop vac will suffice, use of a separator will help save your shop vac from an early death when concrete grinding. A professional dust extraction system will set you back a couple of thousand dollars, so unless your going into the concrete grinding business you won’t be needing this.

concrete grinding

Clean up

You will need to clean up your concrete surface after grinding to remove any dust or debris. Vacuum up as much dust as possible and then mop several times to remove any fine dust left from vacuuming.

If you use the wet grinding method , you will need to mop up the slurry and then re mop several times to remove all slurry produce when grinding.

After cleaning up you may need to repair parts of your concrete before you proceed to the next step of your concrete grinding project. Fill any cracks or holes and re grind these areas to match the surrounding surface.

Want a easy side hustle? Check out this side hustle!

Finishing ground concrete

There are several options to finish your concrete grind project. You can resurface the concrete with a thin layer of resurfacing compound, or use concrete sealer to put a clear wet look on your concrete. Or you can keep grinding using finer and finer grade diamonds for a polished finish.

How you finish your concrete depends on what type of surface you want and whether the concrete is in the elements outdoors or under cover. Some finishes are not UV stable and are only suitable for interior use.

Looking at these options on how to grind concrete should help you determine if you are capable of grinding your own concrete or not. Small areas such as garages are good size grinding projects for DIYers, anything bigger should be given to professionals to complete.

Build a chicken coop

How to renovate your concrete

resurfaced concrete

Renovate your concrete

We’ll show you how to renovate your concrete surfaces in this post.

Have you a old driveway or patio that has seen better days. There are many ways to rejuvenate your concrete. You can repair, resurface and or replace your concrete depending on how badly it has deteriorated.

Inspect and assess

The first step in renovating your concrete is the inspect and assess your current concrete.

It may be cracked or worn, maybe discolored or you just want to freshen the concrete up.

If your concrete is badly cracked, it may be more economical to rip the old concrete out and replace with new concrete. For concrete that has the usual cracks that all concrete develops, there are products that will repair the cracks.

Your concrete may have been resurfaced originally and needs a spruce up. Or someone might have painted the concrete and it has started to flake. There are several methods to renovate these types of issues with your concrete.

After inspecting and assessing your concrete, you need to assess your skills. Are you capable of carrying out the repairs or processes required to reach your desired results. Your better to work this out before you start than finding out part way through that you can’t achieve the result your after. Some tasks are quite easy, such as sealing concrete but if you need to replace concrete it will be better to get a professional in to get the job done.

Repairing concrete

Repairing cracked concrete is one of the most common issues with concrete. The size of the crack determines the process required to repair the crack.

Hairline cracks up to a 1-2 mm can easily be repaired with a slurry of neat cement or a chalking filler. However the repaired cracks will stand out because of the difference in color to the old concrete. Coating or resurfacing the repaired concrete is the only way to have a uniform color of the concrete.

Large cracks

Larger cracks need to be assessed to determine if there is any movement still in the concrete or not. If there is no evidence of movement, gouge out the crack with a crack chaser or concrete saw. This will enlarge the crack and allow you a better key for your repair material. Remove any loose concrete and dirt from your crack and make sure the crack is dry before filling the crack. Mix up your repair material and trowel it into the crack, removing any air pockets by stabbing your trowel into the crack. Leave the filling material a little proud of the surface, so you can grind the repaired crack level with the surrounding concrete.

Where concrete with movement has cracks, you will need to fix the cause of the movement and then stitch the crack with metal and epoxy resign. Once you have stabilized the concrete you chase the crack out as explain in the previous paragraph. Removal of all debris from the crack with air pressure will also help dry out the crack. While chasing out the crack, you need to cut cross slots over the crack to allow for steel wire or rod to be in bedded into the epoxy resign. Place the steel in the cross cuts and mix up the epoxy filler to fill the cracks. Again leave the filler a little proud of the concrete surface to enable the crack repair to be ground level with the old concrete.

Chipped concrete

For chipped out concrete on edges you may need to place some boxing around to fill in the chipped out piece. Fixing chipped out concrete may require you to chisel out a little more concrete to get a better key. Mix up your concrete and lay it in the usual way, using your trowel, float and egder.

Painted concrete

Never paint your concrete! If you have painted concrete, you will know it is dangerous when wet and it will always peel.

Renovating painted concrete requires a concrete grinder to remove the paint. A grinder will remove a few millimetres of the concrete surface and allow you to resurface the concrete with a good key.

Concrete grinders work much the same way as a floor polisher works, only much more abrasive.

Check out our post on grinding concrete!

Colored concrete

Concrete can be colored in different ways, oxide may be thrown on once the concrete is laid. Or oxide made be added to the concrete when it is batched at the concrete plant. the concrete may be colored with a colored concrete sealer.

These can be renovated with out having to grind the surface. Usually a mild acid wash will give a good key for renovating colored concrete.

Thrown on oxide is only troweled into wet concrete and only goes down a millimetre or two, but chipped out concrete will be grey. Oxide added at the concrete plant will color the concrete all the way through, so any chip out will still be the same color as the rest of the concrete.

Sealed concrete needs to be maintained to remain in good condition. Most concrete sealers are not UV stable, meaning they deteriorate in sunlight, and will be eaten away over the years.

Resurfaced concrete

Resurfaced concrete can incorporate designs and multi colors. Concrete resurfacing adds a thin layer of concrete which is usually stronger than the concrete slab it covers. There are many stencils and colors available for resurfacing concrete.

If you are happy with your resurfaced concrete but it is looking a bit drab, resealing may be enough to make your resurfaced concrete look like new.

Exposed concrete

Renovating exposed concrete is one of the hardest things to do. Due to the stones being exposed and weathering over the years plus the fact that the stones vary in color from year to year, repairing exposed concrete is never going to look good.

If you want to stay with exposed concrete, you are best to cut out and replace whole sections. They will not match but will be better than blotchy patches.

Sealed concrete

Another option to rejuvenate your concrete is to use a concrete sealer. You can use the concrete sealer as a clear coat or add a tint to color your concrete. Sealing your concrete is relatively easy if your concrete is in reasonably good condition. There are many tint colors available for concrete sealers.

Looking for an easy side hustle? Check out this post!

Which option should you choose to renovate your concrete

The condition of your concrete is the major factor in which option you should choose when renovating your concrete. If your concrete is reasonable to good condition, you can choose any of the options discussed in this post. For concrete in poor condition, you are better off getting a professional in to complete the project.

Sealing concrete is the easiest and cheapest option to renovate concrete as you don’t require many tools and it’s pretty much the same as painting anything.

Resurfacing concrete requires a fair bit of experience and special tools, probably best left to the professionals.

Unless your concreting job is small, your better off getting professionals in as they have the resources and knowledge to do the job best. Small slabs up to a 1m square can be easily done by a DIYer in a weekend.

This will help you to renovate your concrete.

Build a chicken coop

How to clean a paint brush

Clean a paint brush

To clean your paint brush is an easy task.

There are two types of paint, oil based and latex/acrylic. Oil based paint needs turpentine for brush clean up, whereas latex/acrylic paint is water based clean up.

Water based paint brush clean up

First scrape off as much paint as possible from the brush into the paint tin. A paint scraper or a 5 in 1 tool is a good tool for this. Then wipe your paint brush with some toilet paper, squeezing out any left over paint.

When you have got as much paint off the brush as you can, you then wash the paint brush. Warm soapy water in a bucket is the best method. Work any paint left in the bristles with your hands and a brush comb or wire brush.

Rinse your paint brush and check for any paint still present on the bristles. If the bristles are paint free, spin the paint brush between your hands. This will get rid of excess water.

Wrap your brush in the original wrapper if available, if not, wrap it in a paper towel and store flat.

Oil based paint clean up

As with latex/acrylic paint, scrape off excess paint from the brush. Then use toilet paper to wipe and squeeze excess paint from your brush. This may take several wipes to get as much paint out of the brush as possible.

Now put a small amount of turpentine into a glass or tin container about 1/2″ or 10mm and dip your brush into the turpentine. Swill the brush around in the turpentine and then use toilet paper to squeeze out the paint from the brush.

Empty the turpentine into another container and wipe out the brush container with toilet paper. Refill the container with another 1/2′ of turpentine and do as before, swilling the brush around in the fresh turpentine.

Again empty the turpentine into your other container and wipe it out with toilet paper.

Continue doing these steps until the turpentine you use in the first container is no longer becoming tainted with paint.

Give your paint brush a spin between your hands to remove excess turpentine and store the brush in it’s original container, or flat in a paper towel.

The turpentine in the second container that is full of paint should be left for a couple of days. After 2 or 3 days you can recycle the turpentine for future clean ups as the paint will have settled to the bottom of the container.

What type of paint to use for your project
Build a chicken coop

What type of paint to use for your project

What type of paint

What type of paint to use

The type of paint you need for your project depends on several factors.

Factors include whether you are painting inside or outside, if the area you are painting is high traffic or low traffic area and what type of finish you want.

You have the choice of oil based or latex (acrylic) paints.

Oil based paint

Oil based contain either linseed oil (natural) or alkyd oil (synthetic). Oil based paints are more durable than latex/acrylic paints, but take much longer to dry and require mineral turpentine for clean up.

Alkyd based paint is less expensive and tougher than linseed oil based.

Oil based paints are better for trims and doors because these take a lot more abuse than walls.

You cannot paint oil based paint over latex/acrylic without sealing the latex paint, however you can paint directly over latex/acrylic over oil based paint.

Latex/acrylic paint

Latex/acrylic paint is good for general wall and ceiling painting, being easier to use and clean up with water. Latex/acrylic paint dry much faster than oil based paints, but are as hardy as oil based paints.

Acrylic paint is less likely to yellow or fade than oil paints do.

You can paint latex/acrylic paint over oil based paint.

Paint finishes

There are several types of paint finish, flat, satin, semi gloss and gloss.

Flat paint has a high pigment ratio making it better for covering your project and helping camouflage any defects in the surface. However flat paint is the hardest to keep clean, so shouldn’t be used in high traffic areas.

Because flat paint is very porous and shouldn’t be used under satin or gloss finish paint, it may cause flashing (patches of different sheen).

Satin finish paint is the most popular to use for interior walls because it hides small imperfections and is easy to keep clean.

Semi glass and gloss paint is best for the bathroom and kitchen. Gloss is the easiest to keep clean but gloss does show up imperfections really well. Paint preparation is very important when using gloss.

Other factors

Painting new work requires a sealer coat to seal the material used. Sealers give the surface a better key for your paint to stick to. Use oil based sealers for oil based paint and latex/acrylic sealers for latex/acrylic paint.

Surface preparation is critical for getting the best paint finish. It may take a lot more time in preparation than actually painting your project. But the time spent on preparation is time well spent.

Is your project inside or outside. check out our post below.

How to paint your house exterior
Build a chicken coop

Drywall hole fix

Drywall damage

Fixing a hole in drywall is a skill all handy people should develop. We’ll show you how to fix damage drywall from a small ding to a large hole.

Before you start your repair, determine what tools and products you will need to complete the repair.

Tools and products

Tools you will require for drywall repairs are Stanley knife, paint scraper, drywall saw, sanding block and painting equipment. These can be added to your basic tool kit, check out our post on basic tools a handyman needs below.

Products you will need for fixing your drywall are plaster or gap filler, drywall tape and paint.

Small hole fix

To fix small holes up to 20mm made by picture hooks or scratches, you’ll only need some filler and spatula plus a small brush and paint.

First sand the hole to remove any protruding edges, rub your hand over the hole to check. Then wipe with cloth to remove any dust prior to adding filler to hole.

Now put a small amount of filler on your spatula and apply the filler with the spatula at a 45 degree angle to the hole. Then hold the spatula at a 90 degree angle and scrap away excess filler. Leave for about half an hour to dry.

Lightly sand the repair once dry and wipe away any dust with a cloth. Apply a light coat of paint to the repair and feather the edges to the surrounding area. It’s better to apply multiple light coats of paint than a single heavy coat.

Quick Tip: 

For pin hole repairs all you need is a bar of soap. Rub the bar of soap over the hole and this will fill until next time your painting and you can use filler to fix before painting.

Medium hole fix

For holes between 30mm – 50mm caused by door handles or the like.

You’ll need a utility knife, sandpaper with sanding block, fiberglass drywall mesh, spatula, filler and painting equipment.

Use your utility knife to remove any torn paper or crumbly edges and the sand the area smooth. Wipe away any dust with a cloth.

Apply a piece of drywall mesh tape to the hole and push in slightly. You may need a more than 1 piece of tape.

Push filler into the mesh and hole with spatula until the hole is completely covered. Smooth filler to remove any excess filler and allow to dry. For deep holes, apply in multiple layers allowing each layer to dry. Feather out the filler 20mm out from the hole.

Using your sanding block smooth the filler and check for any low areas that may require more filler. When repair is flush with surrounding area, wipe away dust with a cloth and your ready to paint.

Apply 2 or 3 light coats of paint feathering out the edges to blend into the surrounding wall.

Online side hustle for free

Big hole fix

Big holes up to 120mm, you’ll need a piece of drywall, filler, joint tape, 120-grit sand paper, utility knife, drywall saw and paint scraper. Paint and a paint roller and tray.

Quick tip

To make small patches of drywall, use your utility knife to score 1 side of the drywall and then snap the board along the score mark.

Cut a piece of drywall slightly larger than the hole to be repaired, this will be the plug. Put the piece over the hole and make around the piece with a pen. Now saw diagonally into the corners from the hole. With your utility knife, bevel the edge of the square hole to allow room for filler. Check for any obstacles behind the drywall.

You’ll need another 2 pieces of drywall the width of the hole and twice as high as the hole as backing boards. Coat each of these pieces with filler and apply to the backside of the drywall hole each covering a 1/3 of the hole and allow to dry.

After an hour you can coat the drywall plug with filler and push onto the backing boards in the hole, wiping away any excess filler. Leave to dry for an hour. 

Now coat the drywall repair with filler and add tape to the repair, spreading the filler out around the repair. Scrap away any excess filler and allow to dry for an hour.

Once the filler is dried, sand the area with 120-grit sand paper, wipe away dust and paint the repair with a light coat of paint. 

For big hole repairs you are best off painting the whole wall to finish off the repair without a patchy finish.

Build a chicken coop

Hand Painted Santa Shoes

Custom painted Santa shoes

Hand painted Santa shoes

These hand painted Santa shoes are easy to make. Below is what you’ll need and how to paint your own Santa shoes.

What you’ll need

A pair of canvas shoes – These can be picked up for as little as $3.50 a pair.

Acrylic paint – Red, Black, White & Gold

paint markers

Pencil – A “B” lead pencil makes it easy to draw the design on the shoes

Paint markers and Sharpie pens – to even out painted edges

Paint brushes

Masking tape – to mask off the soles of the shoes

Draw design on the shoes

Using a B lead pencil, draw the design you want on your shoes. I used a Santa belt and buckle design.

Pencil design on canvas Santa shoes
Santa Belt and Buckle design
Taping off soles of Santa shoes
Mask off the soles

As you can see in the photo above, the shoe soles have been masked off with masking tape. This makes painting the shoes a little easier. It takes a bit of time to mask off the soles. To follow the contour of the soles, I use small pieces of masking tape as seen here..

Painting the shoes

I started painting the Santa shoes red. To get a good cover of red took 3 coats. Allow about an hour between coats.

Next I painted the belt black and once it was dry I painted the gold buckle.

Custom painted christmas shoes

When you’ve finished painting, get your paint makers and Sharpie pen and outline all the painted edges. The Black line on the scalloping was done with a Sharpie pen.

Build a cubby house
Check out how to build a cubby house on my blog here!

Protecting your Santa shoes

After painting and edge marking your Santa shoes, remove the masking tape. Use Beeswax to give your shoes a little bit of protection.

Beeswax protection for Christmas shoes

Scrub the Santa shoes with the Beeswax, giving it a good cover. Then heat the Beeswax with a hair dryer to melt the Beeswax into the shoes. this will give your shoes a natural coat of protection.

Want a easy sideline to earn more money, checkout this post “How to set up an online T shirt shop”

TA DA! You have yourself a fun pair of Santa shoes

finished christmas shoes
Build a chicken coop

Build a Cubby House

Build a cubby house

I will show how to build a cubby house. This will include a time line and photos of progress.

The cost of this cubby house was kept to a minimum using recycled pallet wood for the exterior cladding and flooring and wood that lying around. It took a couple of days to cut all the chamfer boards on a table saw. I have already posted the details of how to make weatherboards from pallet wood on my blog here.

Day 1 June 1

The first day of building a cubby house involved making the base and putting up the wall frame.

Black plastic was laid down and the sub floor was then built. Bearers were old hardwood fence rails and joists were 70x35mm pine offcuts. Wall frames are new 70x35mm treated pine. Flooring was plywood from pallets.

Want a easy sideline to earn more money, checkout this post “How to set up an online T shirt shop”

Day 2 June 9th

Second day of building a cubby house was dedicated to finishing the wall frame and getting the roof structure up.

The ridge board is a piece of recycled pallet wood and the rafters were 70x35mm treated pine.

Cladding

Day 3 & 4 June 15th-16th

Spent 2 days cutting recycled pallet wood into chamfer boards for the exterior cladding. 

Day 5 June 22nd

Started putting cladding on cubby house.

50x25mm boards are attached to each corner to frame the cladding. This give you a good line to finish your cladding to.

cubby house edge boards
Edge boards outlined in red

Day 6 & 7 July 13th-July 14th

Finish putting cladding on the walls and get the roof on. Pine fence palings are used for the roof. The palings are cut to chamfer board profile.

Day 8 & 9 July 20th – July 21st

Finishing of the roof and getting the cubby house painted.

Day 10 August 4th

Had to lay recycled pallet wood for the flooring as the plywood was not solid. The pallet plywood was made of pieces of timber that were not laminated but sandwiched between to sheets.

A fancy fascia was also added to the cubby house. A old 20lt bucket was used for a template for the scalloped fascia.

Day 11 August 31st

We’ve added a side patio to the cubby house. It has clear roof sheeting and pine decking for the flooring.

Day 12 September 6th

Change of colour and the side patio is finished off.

Day 13 September 15th

The windows and door are installed. Windows were hand made from recycled pallet wood and 3mm perspex. Door was left over plywood from cubby house fascia.

Day 14 September 27th

Windows and door are painted. A heart has been added to the door with a perspex window.

Day 15 October 5th

Finally finished.

So, to build a cubby house like this will take about a fortnight if you have that much time to dedicate to the project. As you can see from the time line, this took me a bit over 4 months. This take into account such things as weather and other commitments like work and family time.

Tools used for this project include compound mitre saw, table saw, nail gun, air compressor, hammer, hand saw, chisels, cordless drill and circular saw.

Build a chicken coop

How to choose a pressure washer

Pressure washer

How to choose a pressure washer? We’ll show you which pressure washer is best for your job.

What is a pressure washer?

Pressure washers pumps water at an increased pressure and speed of water to clean many different surfaces. A typical pressure washer will deliver 50% more power and use 80% less water than a garden hose.

Water blasters can be electrical or petrol powered, and deliver cold or hot water. Most pressure washers come with accessories such as different nozzles, brushes and detergent pickups.

Water blasters are measured by their PSI (pounds per square inch).

1000 – 4000 PSI pressure washers are good for general domestic jobs. Such as washing cars or decks and washing down siding. Washers in this range are usually electrically powered. Being electrically powered means that you are restricted to places with electricity and the length of your electrical cord.

The next step up in power is around 2500 – 4000 PSI. To get this sort of power the washers are powered by petrol engines. Petrol powered pressure washers are much more versatile than electric models. With petrol engine washers you are able to use them almost anywhere.

Bigger and more powerful pressure washers are over 4000 PSI. Some of these models can also produce hot water to clean tougher stains and chemicals. Models over 4000 PSI are used by professionals for commercial cleaning jobs.

Stanley pressure washer

Which pressure washer is best for you?

Questions to ask yourself are:

How often will you use a pressure washer?  If your only going to use your pressure washer on the odd occasion, maybe hiring a pressure cleaner is your best option. You may want to regularly clean your car or a outdoor deck. Then a electrical powered pressure washer could be the best model for you. Are you going to be using your pressure washer on a daily or weekly basis. A petrol model will be the model for you as these are more suited to commercial applications.

How big a job do you want use the pressure washer for?  The size of the area or job will also help you determine which model is best for you. If your only going to clean your car or have a small deck area, a electrical 1000 – 2000 PSI model would be suitable. Petrol powered washers are better for large jobs such as driveways and trucks and tractors.

What is it that you are trying to clean?   Electrical pressure washers for backyard decks or patios and cars.  For ground in dirt or oily stains a petrol power washer is the way to go. Commercial cleaners will often have pressure washers that heat the water to around 90 degrees Celsius to clean difficult stains without using harsh chemicals.

Do you have access to electricity and water?   Access to water and electricity allows you to use a electrical pressure washer, but this doesn’t mean you can’t use a petrol powered washer. If the area that needs to be cleaned is out of reach of your power cord and or hose, use a petrol powered washer.

RECOMMENDED PSI FOR APPLICATIONS

What’s the difference between PSI and GPM?

PSI is the pounds per square inch of pressure a washer puts out and is the usual method of rating pressure washers. Another measurement that helps determine the power of a pressure washer is GPM which stands for gallons of water used per minute. You get a deeper clean from a pressure washer with higher pressure and more water. Hence the best all round pressure cleaner has a high pressure output and uses more gallons per minute.

For example, you have a large driveway to clean. Using a pressure washer with a high PSI but low GPM will take a lot longer than using a high PSI and high GPM. A pressure washer with 3000 PSI and 4 GPM would be the ideal washer to clean your average driveway.

The PSI is what gets the dirt and grime off your surface, GPM is what washes the grime away.

Accessories

Most pressure washers come with accessories such as different nozzles, brushes and scrubbers.

Interchangable nozzles allow you to apply different amount of pressure to your cleaning surface. Red and yellow nozzles are hard and fast cleaning. Green nozzles are not as hard and white nozzles offer the widest spray. Black nozzles are generally for applying detergent and very light pressure. Turbo nozzles operate in a spinning fashion and increase the cleaning efficiency.

PRESSURE WASHER NOZZLES

Brushes are good for washing your car and usually have a spinning action.

Scrubbers are for cleaning large flat surfaces, such as decks, driveways and roofs.

Want a easy sideline to earn more money, checkout this post “How to set up an online T shirt shop”

Pressure washer safety

Pressure washers exert high forces when in operation. Always use two hands, don’t point the lance at people or animals. Test surfaces to determine pressure required for the job. Don’t blast electrical wires or power points. Keep the nozzle moving to avoid cutting into the surface. Take extra precautions when using a ladder or on a roof.

Don’t use petrol or diesel powered pressure washers in enclosed areas.

Check out my post on How to set up a small workshop

Which pressure washer should you choose?

If you only have small, lightly soiled surfaces around the home, a electric pressure washer is for you. These are light and easy to handle.

You need a petrol powered pressure washer for your larger jobs. The PSI and GPM will depend on the type of jobs you want to carry out.

If you are going into the pressure washing business, you’ll need an industrial model.

I hope this has helped you choose a pressure washer for your specific needs.

Build a chicken coop

DIY How to make a raised vegetable garden box from pallets

raised garden box

DIY How to make a raised vegetable garden box from pallets

Follow the steps in this post to DIY how to make a raised vegetable garden box.

What you will need

Follow the steps in this post to DIY how to make a raised vegetable garden box. You will need to get 2 pallets to dismantle and recycle to make a raised vegetable garden box. Make sure they are not chemically treated. You can determine if they are chemically treated by looking for the initials MB stamped on the pallet, somewhere.

Tools you’ll need include a wrecking bar, hammer, saw and power drill.

Check out our post on  basic tools handyfolk need here

Materials needed beside the pallets for timber, you’ll need galvanized screws, geo mesh or shade cloth and soil.

Dismantle pallets.

The easiest way to pull your pallets apart is to start with the bottom side. This way allows you to get the most boards from the pallet without to much damage.

A good tip when pulling a pallet apart is to soak the pallet or wait until the pallet has been soaked by rain. The timber will swell and it allows the nails to loose some of their grip in the timber.

Pallet terms

Use your wrecking bar to get the bottom deck boards off. When you have the 4 or so boards off the bottom of the pallet, the stringers are able to be levered off. I find hitting the stingers with a club hammer helps to loosen them. Because this gives you a small space to get your wrecking bar in between the stringer and deck boards.

From a good pallet, you should get around 10 deck boards and 3 or 4 stringers.

Plan for DIY raised vegetable garden box from pallets

The raised vegetable garden box should be a comfortable height for you. So that you don’t have to bend or reach to far. We make the length the same as the shortest deck board.

Here is a drawing of the raised vegetable garden box.

garden box plan
Woodworking app
Need a woodworking app to calculate mm to inches CLICK HERE!

The length is 1000 mm allowing you to cut off split ends. Your stringers are cut to your comfortable height. We cut cross braces from the stringers and check them into the legs.

Mitre saw
Sliding compound mitre saw

A deck board runs between the cross braces and forms the bottom of the garden box. You can have the sides go straight up & down or have them on an angle. Deck boards are used as diagonal braces and give you somewhere to screw rest of the deck boards. An example is the image below.

Raised garden box

Putting it all together

Screw your legs and cross brace together with galvanized bugle screws. you’ll need 50 mm and 75 mm screws. Then connect the 2 sets of legs together with a deck board.

frame

The rest of the raised vegetable garden box will use the deck boards from your pallets. Therefore use these for the top cross bars and diagonal braces for each end. Like so.

garden box frame

Once you have the diagonal braces at each end, you simply fill in the rest with deck boards. Then place some geo mat or shade cloth in the box before filling with soil because this helps contain the soil..

Want a easy sideline to earn more money, checkout this post “How to set up an online T shirt shop”

raised garden box

That’s all there is to DIY how to make a raised vegetable garden bed from pallets. You just have to plant the vegetables that are in season. We made several of these which let us have vegetables all year round. Furthermore recycling pallets helps the environment.

TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects
Build a chicken coop