How to install a leaf catcher to your down pipes

We’ll show you how to install a leaf catcher to your down pipes and what tools you’ll need.

Tools required

Drill and drills

Recommended power drill

Tape measure

Multi tool or hack saw

Pencil or marker

Sealant

Screws or pop rivets

Leaf catcher

There are many styles of leaf catcher available, but the basic design is a large collection area covered with a wire mesh.

Leaf catchers are generally used to reduce leaf and and other contaminates from going into your rainwater tank.

Leaf catchers are also handy for reducing down pipe blockages caused by leaf build up.

Installation

Locate where you want to install your leaf catcher. It can be directly under the eaves or midway down your down pipe.

Remove your down pipe from the roof guttering system.

If connecting directly under the eaves, hold the leaf catcher against the fascia and below the guttering to mark out where to cut the hole for the leaf catcher.

Use a hole saw and tin snips to cut your new gutter opening.

Screw the leaf catcher to the fascia under your new hole in the guttering.

Connect the down pipe to the bottom of your leaf catcher and secure the down pipe to the wall.

If your placing your leaf catcher midway down your down pipe, mark the position and measure where on your down pipe will have to be cut.

Cut your down pipe with your oscillating mutli tool to meet your leaf catcher and and the down pipe below the leaf catcher.

Connect the bottom section of down pipe below the leaf catcher with a PVC socket.

Secure the down pipe to the wall with screws.

Tips for buying a cordless drill

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DIY How to change a wheelbarrow tire

In this post I’ll show you how to change a wheelbarrow tire.

What tools you’ll need and a video that shows you how to change a wheelbarrow tire.

Usually you have to change or fix your wheelbarrow tire when it gets a puncture. You can either repair the inner tube or buy a new inner tube depending on how badly damage your old inner tube is.

Tools

Tire levers or sturdy screw drivers – 2 are handy

Rubber mallet

Air pump or air compressor

Parts

Inner tube repair kit

Or new inner tube

New tire if your wheelbarrow tire is damaged

Video courtesy of The Durbin Compound

1. Remove tire from wheelbarrow

Your wheelbarrow tire and wheel are usually kept in place with split pins through the axle. Straighten the split pin and remove from the wheelbarrow axle. This will allow you to take the wheel off the wheelbarrow.

2. Removing the inner tube

First deflate the inner tube as much as you can if is not entirely deflated.

Next break the bead of the tire from the wheel rim, you may need to use a rubber mallet for this. Once the bead has come away from the wheel, use tire levers to lever the tire off the rim.

Now you should be able to remove the inner tube and make your repair or replace it with a new inner tube.

3. Repairing the inner tube

To find the hole in your inner tube, reinflate the tube and dip in a bucket of water. This will allow you to find where the hole in the inner tube is easily.

Mark the hole with chalk and roughen up the inner tube with the rasp supplied in the repair kit. Then clue the repair patch over the hole and allow to set.

Once the repair has set remove the clear covering on the repair patch and replace the inner tube back into the wheelbarrow tire.

4. Put tire back on the wheel

When you have the repaired inner tube back in the wheelbarrow tire push the tire back onto the wheel rim. You may need your tire levers to do this.

After getting the tire back on the rim, inflate the tire and check for any leaks.

If there are no leaks replace the wheel back on the wheelbarrow and replace the split pin.

That is how change a wheelbarrow tire.

How to lay concrete

If you have any tips or questions please contact me.

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How to prune roses for beginners and get more flowers

A beginners guide how to pruning roses.

Why do you need to prune your roses? It’s important to prune roses for 3 reasons. To remove and reduce disease or damage parts of the rose. Allows more air to circulate through the rose bush and lets more light into the center of the rose bush.

When to prune your roses

Roses should be pruned twice a year. Lightly prune in summer and your main pruning in winter after frosts have finished.

Your summer pruning is called dead heading and involves just snipping sent flowers a couple of centimetres below the flower. This encourages your roses to concentrate it’s energy in producing more flowers for a better display.

Winter pruning depends a lot on your climate. In temperate areas you can prune pretty well any time during winter. If you get frosts in winter your better off waiting until the frosts have finished to prune your roses.

What you need to prune your roses

You don’t need many tools to prune rose bushes. A pair of clean sharp Bypass secateurs, a pruning saw and a bucket for the off cuts is all you’ll need. A pair of gauntlet gloves and a heavy long sleeved shirt will save you from most thorns.

What are Bypass secateurs?

This is an example of Bypass secateurs https://amzn.to/3wVEgsT

Be sure to clean your secateurs before cutting each of your roses so you don’t spread any disease from one rose to another. You can use your secateurs for any cane up to the thickness of your finger. For thicker canes use a pruning saw or long handle secateurs.

Always clean all you pruning clippings from around your roses to stop disease and thorny injuries. Clippings should be put in the rubbish bin to stop any disease from spreading.

How to prune your roses

Start by cutting any dead, diseased or woody canes. Next cut any canes that are crossing through the center of the bush. And lastly cut about a third of last years growth.

Cutting the dead,diseased and woody canes will give your roses more energy to produce more and better flowers. Cross canes should be cut out as they can cause damage to your rose bush and reduce the air circulation. When you cut back last years growth, you encourage a stronger bushier rose bush. Every few years cut your rose bush back severely to rejuvenate new growth.

Always cut about a centimetre above an outward growing bud as below. Some people believe you should cut your rose canes at a 45 degree angle, but this isn’t necessary. Cut woody or dead canes down until you come to a green stem.

Cut any suckers from around the base root stock as these will sap growing power from your rose bush.

You can seal your pruned rose bush with glue or chemicals, but healthy rose bushes will heal themselves.

How to build a raised vegetable garden

After pruning care

Mulching is required after you prune your roses. This will help retain moisture and allow slow release of rose food. Only put enough mulch to cover the ground, ideally 3-5cm, any more and the mulch will absorb all the moisture leaving none for your roses.

Never use pebbles or rocks for rose mulch as this will heat up the ground and have the opposite effect the mulch is being used for. Avoid using eucalyptus or pine needle mulches as these change the soils acidity and may eventually kill your roses.

Hose down your mulch so it settles into place around your roses.

Mulch depth should be 3-5 cm

Yes, you need to feed your roses after you prune them. After mulching allow a couple of weeks before fertilizing your rose bush. Rose food can be bought from any decent gardening center.

Pruning climbing roses

Climbing roses are easy to prune as you can prune them severely and they will come back.

Cut them back to the main cane and maybe 2 or 3 others. This will stop the climbers becoming a tangled mess.

Getting more flowers

By looking after your rose buses and following the tips discussed here you will enjoy healthy and beautiful flowering roses for many years.

How to prune roses for beginners

For those beginners who are afraid of damaging their rose bush, please have a go at pruning. Roses are a hardy plant and can take a fair bit of punishment, they bounce back from most issues.

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How to start a handyman business from scratch

Do you dream of working for yourself? Are you a handy sort of person? This post will detail how to start a handyman business from scratch.

Many people dream of the freedom that comes with working for themselves but are afraid to move forward or are unsure how to put their plan into action.

Follow this guide and you will be able to get started on the road to freedom by working for yourself.

1. Are you up for the journey

Ask yourself if you have what it takes to work for yourself? It can be a lonely journey as you are where the buck stops.

Do you have the positive attitude to take on the many aspects of running a business. Can you motivate yourself or do your need encouragement to get things done.

Being positive and motivated will enable you to push through tough times as having your own handyman business has it’s ups and downs.

What do you envisage your handyman business look like. Will you want to do mostly small commercial work or are you looking at servicing the domestic market, working for home owners.

What goals are you wanting to reach, for example do you want to build your handyman business into a large business with employees or just a one man business. What services will you offer, you can’t do it all, pick 2 or 3 services and excel in these.

Do you have the energy required to run your handyman business? Besides fixing and building things you will have to market, keep records and many other tasks to keep your business doors open.

Once you have determined that you want to get into your own handyman business, the next step is to decide what services you will offer.

2. Choose what services you will offer

First figure out what skills you have, are you good at woodwork, may be you enjoy putting flat pack furniture together or use skills you’ve learnt from your previous jobs. What services can’t you offer, like electrical and plumbing as these require a trade licence. Do you like working indoors or outdoors? Will you offer only yard services or house hold services such as painting and fixing things inside the home.

What tools do you need check out our post here

Make a list of services you can offer now, this will give you a starting point. As you learn more skills you will be able to offer these in the future. You may want to specialize and only offer niche services.

Some handyman specialties include concreting, fencing, painting and gardening. All of these only need basic skills to complete competently.

3. Define your market

What does your ideal customer look like? Do you want to work for people that appreciate your services and pay you accordingly.

You can’t please all the people all the time, but you can do the best job you can for the services you offer. Determine what you can deliver and excel in this niche, you’ll be happier, your customers will be happy and you’ll build a better business.

Some clients only want the lowest price, others may live out of your area of business. Other clients just want the job done and are happy to pay for a professional handyman.

You can make a profit serving all these customers, but not all at the same time and you must decide which segment of the handyman market you want to serve.

By deciding on who your ideal customer is will help you succeed with a minimum of frustration and financial struggles.

4. How much should you charge

How much to charge as a handyman can be one of your first challenges when starting out.

You need to charge enough to make a profit, otherwise you won’t have a viable business.

There are many expenses to take into account when working for yourself from vehicle and equipment costs to insurances and running costs such as accounting fees and income insurance. Get your free self employed hourly rate calculator here. You can edit the calculator with whatever figures you wish.

5. Get your first customers

By now you should have worked out what services you are going to offer, who your customers will be and how much you will charge for your services.

You need to get your business name out into the market place. Tell everyone you know that you are now offering what ever services you have decided on and start a social media page.

The best advertising is word of mouth by getting referrals from happy customers. To ensure your customers are happy always exceed your customers expectations. Good customer service can come down to telling your customer what they can expect and making sure that you deliver more than you said.

Always communicate with your customers so they are not left wondering what is going on. If you are running late, let your customer know, you will be far ahead of your competition as your customer will appreciate you thinking enough of them to let them know you’ve been delayed.

It’s the little things that your customers will remember and make them your best source of new customers. Remember it’s cheaper to keep a current customer happy than to go looking for new customers.

How to budget, checkout our post here

Tips for marketing your unique handyman business

  1. Letterbox drop – always have a few business cards you can drop into the neighbors letterbox. It doesn’t take long to drop 5 to 10 cards around your customers home when you’ve finished their job.
  2. Community bulletin boards – put a flyer on your local community boards with your business name and phone number.
  3. Sponsor local kids sports – sponsoring local junior sports is an excellent way to get your handyman business in front of people in your community.
  4. Social media pages – start a Facebook page and Instagram account with your contact details. You can show case your work on these social media platforms, giving your potential customers a good idea of your workmanship.

6. The most important step

Now you know how to start a handyman business from scratch, you must put your new knowledge to work.

By following this guide you can plan how and when to put each step into action. Without action your dreams will always remain dreams and the future you want will never come to fruition.

Have a go, you’ll never know financial freedom unless you try, even failures can be seen as a learning experiences giving you new skills and knowledge.

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What is a drill press?

A drill press is a stationary power tool designed to drill precise holes in wood or metal.

A drill press is a power tool designed to bore accurate holes in wood, metal or plastic. There are 2 types of drill press, bench-top and stationery. Bench-top drill presses are used by handymen and stationery drill press are used in industrial situations. Stationery drill press are heavy and large, and bench-top drill press are smaller and better suited to small home workshops.

You can use all the usual drill bits and use it for sanding curved wood projects. When you need to dill precise holes a drill press is the tool for you.

How a drill press works

The drill press is a drill on a pole. It has a electric motor which transfers it’s power to the chuck via a set of spindles and belts, allowing you to vary the speed of the drill bit. There is a rotating handle to lower and raise the spindle, which holds the chuck. A depth stop is a feature that allows you to drill holes to a consistent depth.

Which drill press should you get

There are several factors to consider when choosing a drill press. Such as type, size, power and speed.

First choice is either bench-top or stationery. Bench-top models are smaller and easier to move if needed, where as stationery models are large and heavy and don’t get move around much.

A drill press is a significant investment with some variables that you need to understand to purchase the right tool for you. Here are the main things to consider when shopping for a drill press.

The size of your drill press will determine the maximum width of material you can fit on your drill press and the depth of holes you can drill. Bench-top models usually only have 50mm to 75mm (2 to 3 inches) of downward travel, where stationery models can have up to 150mm (6 inches) of travel.

Power of your drill press is dependent on whether it is a bench-top or stationery model. Bench-top models are usually have around one third of the power that stationery models have. Stationery models are normally about 1,000 watts.

Speed is another consideration when choosing a drill press, bench-top models have five or six speeds, where as a stationery model can have up to sixteen speeds.

Other features

LED or laser guides is another handy feature you may want. All drill press have an adjustable table where your work piece sits. The table moves up or down and can be tilted to all angles, the large stand alone drill press tables can rotate 360 degrees.

Projects that drill press are used for

You will use your drill press for many projects you undertake. Any project where boring accurate holes is important, is a job for your drill press. Stair railings, coat racks and boring dowel joints are just some jobs ideal for your drill press.

Sanding curved wood projects is another job for your drill press.

In conclusion

You will not appreciate a drill press until you actually have one and realize how much you use it. A drill press is a great addition to your workshop and need not be an expensive model to be of great use.

Here is a great model at an economical price.

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DIY How to build a timber fence

I’ll show you how to build a timber fence to define your home’s boundary. Timber fences are a classic DIY project most handymen can achieve.

Planning your fence


Consider what you want your timber fence to look like and what the fences main objective. You should consult your neighbour regarding the fence height and costs. Neighbours may agree to help with the cost of the fence, but are not bound to make any payment.

Fences can be a cause of conflict between neighbours for many reasons. Check your boundary and if there are any doubts, consult a surveyor for professional advice.

Also check with local authorities regarding fencing in your area, and check that there are no underground services that may be impacted.

A standard timber fence is 1.8m high, but can be 1.2 or 1.5. Corner posts are 100 x 100mm and posts in between are 100x75mm. Fence rails are 75 x 38mm and 4.8m long.

Tools needed

You’ll only need basic tools tools to build a timber fence, but power tools will make the job a lot easier. See my post on basic handyman tools here.

A post hole shovel and crowbar or a power auger.

Saw, hammer, level and a string line. Or circular saw, nail gun to make the job easier. A coil nail gun is very handy for fencing and a circular saw is a must for any handyman.

Setting out your timber fence

Once you have found your boundary, stake each end of the fence and run a string line the full length of the fence line. Dig holes for the post 300mm diameter by 600mm deep. Place 50mm of gravel in the base of the post holes for the posts to rest on.

Place your posts in the ground and put a couple of stays on the posts to keep them straight and upright. Use your level to make sure the posts are vertical and straight. Fill each post hole with post mix available from your local hardware store, or mix your own.

When you have your corner posts in, run a string line between the two posts and mark out the post holes for the rest of the fence. Posts are usually 2.4m apart and the posts are set flush to the string line you have between the corner posts. Place your post as you did with the corner posts and fill the post holes with post mix, keeping the post straight with stays.

Allow 24 hours for the post mix to set.

Placing the rails

After your fence posts have set, it’s time to put the fence rails on the posts. Each post needs to be checked out for the rails to be put in. This requires you to saw the fence posts the width of the rails, so they sit flush with the face of the fence post. While you got your saw, cut the tops of the fence posts off about 75mm from the finished fence height.

Generally the check outs will be 38mm deep and 75mm wide.

Fence rails are 4.8m in length and you need to stagger any joins on posts.

On standard 1.8m timber fences there are 3 rails, the top rail is 150mm from the top, the bottom rail is 175mm from the ground with the middle rail centred between the top and bottom rail.

Putting the palings on

Basic paling fences a butted up together, make sure your 1st paling is vertical and check every 4 or so palings adjusting as required. Using a coil nail gun makes this job very easy and does not knock the fence around to much.

You need to saw the top of the palings off to the correct height once they are all nailed on. The easiest way to do this is to nail a batten onto the fence and use a circular saw to cut the paling tops.

Types of palings

There are 3 styles of palings, standard flat top, colonial and paddle pop.

Colonial profile palings
Paddle pop profile palings

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Ways to use your smartphone for DIY

In this post I will show you many ways to use your smartphone for your DIY projects.

As a Camera

There are many reasons to use your smartphones’ camera, from taking before and after photos to recording specific details about your project.

Before and after photos of your DIY project is a great use of your smartphones’ camera. You can also record steps along the way to completing your project. As an example you could check out my post on building a cubby house, I only used my smartphone for all the photos in that post.

If you need to pull something apart, using your smartphone to take photos of the parts and how they go together is an invaluable tool. Also taking photos of the serial or part number makes getting the correct part alot easier. Maybe taking a photo of the dimensions of your project would be handy.

Another way I’ve used my smartphone camera is to take a photo of the back side of an object I cannot see due to no room for my head to fit.

As a Measuring tape

Most smartphones come with several utilitiy apps, one is measurement on newer smartphones.

Opening your measurement app will enable you to measure things when you don’t have your tape measure at hand.

To measure an object:

  • Launch the Measure app from your Home screen.
  • Move the white dot to your start point. …
  • Tap the + button to select your start point.
  • Move the white dot to your endpoint.
  • Tap the + button to select your endpoint.
  • Look at the final measurement located in the middle of the line.

As a level

Another utility app is a level which you get to through the measurement app. This can be handy when you only need a approx level hanging pictures on the wall or getting an idea of where level will be.

Not quite level
Spot on

As a Calculator

Having a calculator handy is also useful at different stages of your DIY project. From figuring out the area of a slab or floor to how many cubic metres of concrete you need for your slab.

To calculate your area, simply times the length by the width of the area, as an example 3m x 3m equals 9 square metres.

3m x 3m = 9m

Calculating cubic metres is taking the area m2 and multiplying it by the depth, for example a slab 3m x 3m x .1m would equal 0.9 cubic metres.

3m x 3m x 0.1m = 0.9m3

Maybe your at the hardware store and need to work out how many lineal metres of decking you need.

To calculate the lineal metres required for a 3m x 3m deck with 90mm boards, times 3 x 3 and divide it by .093 allowing 90mm for your board and a 3mm gap. This will give you 96.77 lineal metres, now to allow for wastage and offcuts times 96.77 lineal metres by 10%, which is 9.67 lineal metres to add to the 96.77 lineal metres, giving you a total of 106.45 lineal metres of decking required.

3m x 3m x 0.093 = 96.77 l/m then 96.77 x 0.1(10%) = 9.67

96.77 + 9.67 = 106.45 l/m

As a torch

The torch app can be useful when looking into dark spaces in an attic or roof or behind a sink in a cupboard. You can use the camera app at the same time and get a clearer picture that you can see in the dark.

Iphone torch app

These are just a few ways to use your smartphone for your DIY.

If you have any more ways that use your smartphone for your DIY projects, please email me at thehandymancentral@gmail.com

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Can I 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.

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

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.

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.

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

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How to grind concrete floors

How to grind concrete floors

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

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

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.

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.

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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.

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How to renovate your 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.

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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.

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