Carpet Buying Guide – Looking at The Label

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There is no universally accepted system for the labeling of carpets — British manufacturers generally follow a similar code but about half our carpets are imported. However, you should find most if not all the following information on the label. Design or Pattern Number (the name of the carpet), Color, Pile (the fiber/s used), Construction, Width (feet or meters), Backing, Pattern Repeat (distance between top and bottom of the pattern), Suitabil­ity, Treatment (moth-proofing, stain pro­tection etc) and Recommended use (room-by-room suit­ability). The Carpet Foundation Quality Mark is a guarantee of the durability stated on the label.


Some carpets have a built-in under­lay, but these foam-backed types are not meant for heavy-duty wear. Put down lining paper before laying a foam-backed carpet. With all other carpets you should always use a separate underlay — softness is increased, insulation is improved and life expectancy is extended. The most resilient underlay is the crumb rubber type — sponge and foam rubber products are also available. Match the grade to the quality of the carpet. Never use old underlay or old carpeting — uneven wearing of the carpet is bound to result.


Shading is a peculiar phenomenon. Light and dark areas appear due to the tufts leaning in different directions, and the effect on a plain carpet can be an eyesore. It is a feature of cut pile carpets with straight fine-textured yarns — velvet piles are most affected. It is more notice­able on plain carpets than patterned ones and the effect is heightened by pastel shades rather than strong colours. Pressure marking is easy to understand — the area along traffic lanes tends to be affected by shading. But true shad­ing remains a mystery — in some (but not all) velvet carpets an irregular-shaped patch will suddenly appear to turn a darker shade as the tufts change direction, and nobody seems to know why it happens.


Stain protectors: Scotchgard protector is available as an aerosol for treating new or shampooed carpets. The coated fibers do not absorb stains and dirt penetration is inhibited. The need for frequent cleaning is reduced, and the protective film will withstand several shampooings.

Anti-static sprays: Most synthetic fibers generate static electricity in a dry atmosphere, and the result is a mild shock when a metal object is touched. This can be unpleasant — increase the humidity of the room or spray on an anti-static product which contains metal particles which earth the fibers.

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Tools Needed For Ceramic Tiling

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Some of the tools needed for tiling are to be found in your basic kit – spirit level, hammer and pincers, for example. You will need to buy a tile cutter, and there are various types from which to choose. The simplest cutter has a hardened cutting tip. You draw the tip across the glazed face of the tile to leave a score line. Then you place the tile on a flat surface with a matchstick aligned below the score line, and press evenly on either side; the tile should break cleanly along the line.

However, for any sizeable job, it is worth paying a little more for a pincer-like tool, which will both score and cut the tile. You use the hardened cutting wheel at the business-end of the tool to score the line where the tile is to be cut. Then you place the tile in the jaws of the tool so that the jaws are aligned with the scored -line. A gentle squeeze on the handles and the tile will snap cleanly – efficient and quick.

A more expensive cutter that also scores and cuts is a guillotine-like device. Slightly easier and quicker in use, but the extra cost may not be justifiable for a one-off job unless using dual wall/floor tiles which are thicker.

Almost inevitably you will need to cut L-shaped tiles or a curved shape to fit around a basin, bath edge or similar feature. Here a tile saw is very useful. This comprises a tungsten-carbide coated blade in a simple metal frame. With a tile secured in a vice, any shape can be cut from it accurately and cleanly, albeit slowly.

Without a tile saw, you would have to nibble away with pincers to remove the waste and leave the desired shape. This is a slow exercise and tends to be frustrating, since the tile can easily be broken while chipping pieces away.

A tile file is a simple strip of abrasive coated metal. It is used to clean up cut edges, but is not an essential tool, as rough cut edges are normally concealed by the grouting.

An adhesive spreader – a plastic comb with notches in it -is usually supplied with the adhesive. It spreads the adhesive on the wall into a series of lines of the correct depth, which gives economical use of the adhesive.

An all-over coating of adhesive is unnecessary and wasteful.

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Different Types of Blinds

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Blinds have been used traditionally in bathrooms and kitchens where curtains may be inconvenient. They have also been used on tiny or sloping windows where curtains could be impractical, but blinds are not used where a highly decorative effect is required.

You can forget these prejudices — blinds can be as luxurious as any curtain. There are all sorts of styles available, ranging from no-nonsense roller and Venetian blinds to billowing Austrian blinds with exaggerated flounces. Kits can be bought which require no special skill for construction — you can also buy made-to-measure blinds or fabric and the necessary accessories from your department store. The darling of the interior decorator is the curtain and blind combination. Dress (or non-closing) curtains are used to frame the window, and so there is a saving in fabric cost compared with standard curtains. The role of the blind is to provide privacy, light control and extra interest to the room.

Blinds are fitted either inside the window recess (especially when part of a curtain and blind combination) or outside on the ceiling or wall. Most are easy to install, but use a spirit level to make sure that the fall is perfectly vertical.

Choose the fabric for roller or Roman blinds with care. Avoid flimsy material which will stretch easily and also heavy fabric which will not roll or fold properly. Plastics and synthetic fibres are frequently used, but perhaps the best choice is stiffened cotton or cotton blends. You can buy specially prepared blind fabric, or you can treat ordinary closely-woven cloth with a liquid or aerosol stiffener. Fabric is not the only material for blinds — wood, metal, plastic and paper are all widely used. Illustrated here are the main varieties of blinds, but there are others. An example is the slatted blind — strips of wood or cane woven together with cotton. The colour range is not large, but then neither is the price.

Roller blind

A roller blind kit consists of a spring-loaded roller (which can easily be cut to fit the exact space) plus a bar for the bottom of the blind. There are also brackets and a pull cord. The fabric can be chosen to match the wallpaper, curtains, carpet or any other feature, and the bottom edge can be plain, fringed, braided or shaped. Where money is no object, you can have the fabric hand-painted to match your room decoration

Venetian blind

Slats of plastic or metal are controlled on a 2-pulley system, one to tilt the slats and the other to move the blind up and down. Once associated with offices and public buildings, Venetian blinds are now widely used in the home. The colour range is large, and this style fits in well with a curtain and blind combina­tion. There are no kits available — you must buy a standard model or have the blind made to measure

Austrian blind

As the cording raises the lightweight fabric a series of ballooning swags appears at the base. With a festoon blind these swags are apparent even when the blind is fully closed. These blinds are at home in an ornate living room or bedroom where the billowy effect of the half-closed blind adds a welcome touch of luxury. Buy them ready-made or you can make your own by using a special track and Austrian blind heading-tape

Plisse blind

This type is at the other extreme from the Austrian blind. Thoroughly practical, limited in both style and colour, its purpose is to provide privacy whilst allowing some light to enter. The aluminium-backed version provides heat insulation. The plisse blind looks a little like a Venetian one, but is in fact a sheet of folded paper or stiff fabric which is raised by side cords which pass through punched holes

Roman blind

When fully extended a Roman blind looks somewhat like a roller blind. Pull the cord and the difference is seen immediately — the fabric rises up in a series of flat folds. The pleats are formed by horizontal wooden slats which are sewn in at intervals. When fully open the pleated fabric forms a pelmet. The fabric is always lined, which means that it keeps out light and cuts down on draughts better than a roller blind

Vertical blind

Wide strips of stiffened fabric hang from the headrail — as with a Venetian blind the ‘vanes’ can be swivelled by one cord and the whole blind moved aside by means of another. The advantages over Venetian blinds include less dust on the strips and less interruption of the view, but they are expensive and the range is quite limited. The vertical louvre blind is highly recommended where a large picture window is to be clothed.

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Ceramic Tiles and Quarry Floor Tiles

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ceramic tiles and quarry tiles

Preparation, planning and setting out for ceramic and quarry floor tiles is as for other floor tiles, except that you need to strengthen a timber floor by covering it with plywood.

Ceramic Tiles

Work out where the last rows of full tiles will fall at the corner of the longest side and adjacent wall of the room and nail straight timber battens to the floor to get these edges straight and at right angles to each other.

If you loose lay a block of 16 or more tiles in the corner, these will help to confirm the battens are at right angles.

With a notched spreader, apply ceramic floor tile adhesive direct to the floor, and push the tiles into this with a slight twisting action to ensure firm bedding.

Floor tiles rarely have built-in spacers, so they must be accurately spaced using plastic spacers. Spacers for floor tiles tend to be thicker than those for wall tiles. They can be left between the tiles and are grouted over.

Floor tiles are cut by scoring and snapping in the same way as ceramic wall tiles, but as floor tiles are thicker, it is best to use a professional type of cutter

Special grout for ceramic floor tiles is available in various colours and this is worked into the gaps between tiles using a rubber-blade squeegee.

Quarry Tiles

Quarry tiles are bedded on a one part cement to three parts sharp sand mortar mix, which is laid to approximately the same thickness as the tiles.

To get this bedding layer even, the mortar is smoothed out with a levelling board, notched at the ends, and drawn between two battens that are laid level and spaced exactly four tiles, plus spaces, apart.

Dusting the mortar with dry cement helps to ensure the tiles stick firmly. The action of tapping them down level with the battens (the levelling board lays mortar to leave them 3mm (78 in) above the battens) brings some mortar into the spaces between tiles.

When the mortar has set, the edge tiles can be cut and fitted. The easiest method of cutting is to deeply score both sides of the tile using a masonry cutting disc fitted in an electric circular saw or in an angle grinder tool. Then the tile will snap if tapped with a hammer and cold chisel.

Use a small piece of board notched to the tile depth less 3mm, to ensure an even depth for the bedding mortar for the border tiles.

Grout tiles with a cement-based waterproof grouting compound. Finally, apply quarry-tile sealant or a non-slip liquid wax polish as recommended by the supplier.

Popularity: 1% [?]

Wall Murals – Reproduce an Image

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wall murals


Prepare the wall by having a clean emulsion surface in the base color. Use vinyl silk, from which mistakes can be easily washed off while the mural paint is wet. Prepare your drawing by sticking lining paper flat to a board and drawing the outline of the wall in proportion, so that your finished design is made to the same scale.


A mural is usually drawn with a pencil, which can be readily wiped off a vinyl silk surface with a damp cloth as long as it is done fairly soon. It is also pale enough to be hidden by the paint. Do not make the marks too heavy if you are using light-colored paint, or the graphite will discolor it slightly. If it helps – and suits the type of mural you are doing – you can go over the outline with a thick permanent marker pen. (Do not use a water-based one, which will leak into the paint and discolor it.) Make sure it is dry before you start applying any paint on top. You may need to go over it again, at the end, where paint has overlapped the edges.

1. Create your image on the board, working to the same proportions as the wall. Ensure that all the colors and outlines are in place.

2. Scale the picture by drawing a grid over it, or on tracing paper laid over the top. It can then be transferred to a chalk grid.

3. For a character mural photocopy the outline, enlarging it to the size you want.

4. Lay the paper on to a polystyrene tile and punch holes with the knitting needle or skewer at regular intervals. Hang the picture on the wall and draw lightly through the holes, leaving marks on the wall to give the outline shape.

5. Join the dots to make a full outline. This method can be” combined with others so that the characters have a background, which can be produced from plain paint and a rag or bright squares or circles, or by the more elaborate method using a projector.

Popularity: 6% [?]