Category Archives: construction advice

The Future of Trades People?

In these days of technological advancements it can seem as if physical trades people are becoming redundant. It is clear that many businesses are moving to online platforms. For example, the number of brick and mortar casinos are dropping each year, while record numbers of people are enjoying Betway casino and other pic1 (1) online gambling apps.

So where does this leave the humble carpenter, or plumber? As ever, the world is changing and trades either have to adapt or become redundant. Some trades are actually thriving these days, with electricians and plumbers in constant high demand. The need for functional electrics is rising, and we’ll be relying on waterworks for the foreseeable future.

It’s more traditional trades such as joinery that are suffering most. With large factories producing anything from windows to staircases in bulk, at a fraction of the price a joiner could, they’re standing on shaky ground. There’s also the worry that PVC is becoming increasingly more popular than wood. As such, joiners are slowly becoming redundant.

Fortunately, they have a couple of aces up their sleeve. The quality of their work far surpasses that of mass produced factory works. They’re also able to work to custom specifications with no problem. While PVC doors and windows can be seen more or less everywhere, a high quality wooden equivalent is becoming rare. As a result, they’re becoming far more desirable than they were previously.

Big spenders are happy to pay more for a stunning, top quality solid oak staircase or front door. This is a niche that joiners are evolving to fill. Bespoke pieces of work that far outclass the competition allow them to keep afloat.

But where does the future lead us? Already, we’re seeing less brick and mortar houses and more constructed from cheaper, more workable materials. In twenty years time will there be a need for bricklayers? Traditional trades are certainly dwindling, but fortunately not disappearing forever. There are now new trades to learn, while old fashioned ones become more niche and bespoke.

Solid Wood or Man Made Substitutes?

When embarking on a new project, it’s important to consider your choice of materials carefully. This is especially true when woodworking, as unlike in days of old, there are now man made alternatives to solid wood. These can be easier to work with and more durable in the long run. However, it can be hard to beat the quality that oozes out of a beautiful solid wood object.

Solid Wood

Years ago solisoildwoodd wood was used in almost every type of construction, from large buildings to tables and chairs. Have a look around any old village and you will see solid oak beams, one piece mahogany bar tops and old wagon wheels. Nowadays, wood is still used a lot in construction, but other more modern materials are slowly taking over. If you’re thinking about creating something from wood, it’s a good idea to consider the following advantages and disadvantages.

  • Looks beautiful if finished well
  • Solid, stable construction
  • Wide variety of different woods you can use, each with different characteristics
  • Stains and finishes are easily applied
  • Wood will move and change over time
  • Possibility of defects in the woods, such as bowing, warping or splits
  • Some harder woods can be very hard to work with

Man Made Alternatives

There are a number of man made boards available nowadays that are strong and sturdy and are less prone to movement and defects. These can be used in a variety of ways in construction, they’re easy to work with and water resistant finishes are readily applied. The downside is that they don’t look as nice as solid wood. Also, their uses are limited, as they’re normally only available as sheets or boards.

  • MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard)
  • Plywood
  • Chipboard
  • Blockboard

Best of Both Worlds

Of course, it need not be one or the other. When looks aren’t everything, man made boards can be used as panels for cupboards or garden sheds. Solid wood can be used to create a frame for the boards to be mounted on. For a nice finishing touch, use wooden veneers to cover any boards that are visible.

Essential DIY Toolkit

If you’re looking to do a bit more around the house, rather than relying on getting the builders in for every little thing that needs attention, you’re going to need maxresdefault (11)some basic tools. For most jobs, you’ll only need the bare basics, so you can start off with a small but useful toolkit. Of course as time goes by you will want to add to it.

It’s well worth investing in higher quality tools, rather than cheap alternatives. Cheap options won’t last long and you’ll find yourself wasting more money replacing them again and again. A good quality tool will last many years of regular use and will pay for itself many times before it gives up the ghost.


A typical, medium weight claw hammer will be useful for a vast array of jobs. It won’t be too heavy for delicate work, but it should be heavy enough for most normal tasks. It will pale in comparison to a sledge hammer, but you’re unlikely to need such a heavy tool for most jobs.

Tape Measure

No matter how long your tape is, you will wish it was longer. Eight metres is a good start. Look for tape lock features for ease of use and a belt clip to ensure you don’t lose it.


There are several saws you might require, though a good selection would be a tenon saw, a crosscut and a hack saw (for metal work). You’re not likely to need anything bigger that a crosscut saw, which is ideal for cutting boards and larger lengths of timber. A tenon saw is ideal for finer work.

Cordless Drill

An 18 volt cordless drill, with a hammer drill function will ensure you have a tool for any situation, from screwing to boring into masonry.

Adjustable Wrench

This is invaluable as you can adjust to fit almost any size. It’s worth having a few spanners as well, but for most nuts and bolts, one of these will do the job.

Crow Bar

Always useful when dismantling structures or even removing stubborn nails.

Building a House From Scratch

To have the freedom to make your own, unique space that is perfectly suited to you and your family is a dream that most consider almost impossible. At the very least you’d need to be extremely rich, or so you might think.

Flat Pack Wooden Houses

This fairly new concept gives the traditional prefab house a face lift. They are pre constructed and subsequently deconstructed, before being shipped to you to erect. There is a huge variety available, in a range of materials, Wooden-House-Design-ideas-Minimalist-modern-Classic-elegance-for-best-modelsizes and styles.

The most basic are very compact, but can be built within a few days with just a screwdriver. These are normally less than four metres tall with just one room, and a sleeping space in the “attic”. They’re ideal for anyone looking to live off grid and can be fitted with solar panels.

With developments in the materials and tools used in the construction of buildings, it’s becoming ever more affordable to build your own house from scratch. No longer do you have to dream of winning the lottery or scooping the jackpot on and, in fact, it can be far cheaper than buying a normal house.

At the other end of the scale are larger, more luxurious full sized houses, featuring as many rooms as you wish. In fact the whole design is down to you. They’re typically constructed from solid wooden logs and are fully insulated and ready to connect to the mains. You’d typically need to get builders to erect larger models. The downside with any flat pack house is that you need to have land on which to erect them first.

3D Printed Houses

With advances in 3D printing technology the day was bound to come when buildings too would be printed. Companies are now able to print simple, spacious houses in as little as 24 hours. These are structurally sound and can be quickly insulated and finished inside and out. They’re not widely produced just yet, but it seems like 3D printing will become a quick, affordable way to construct houses in the near future.

Three Useful Building Tips

When building anything from a shed to a house, there are many issues and problems that can arise, many of which are easy fixes!

Mixing Concrete

The following mix creates a typical mortar that is useful for brickwork and paving slabs. For large amounts, mix in a wheelbarrow, using an old bucket to measure.montazh

  • Three to four parts coarse sand
  • One part cement
  • One part water (give or take)

First, thoroughly mix the dry ingredients together. This can be done by hand with a shovel, or you can use a drill attachment. Next, add the water bit by bit, mixing as you do until you reach the desired consistency. It should be wet, but capable of holding a peak. Be sure to get in the corners of the container and ensure that all the elements are well mixed throughout. If the mix is too dry, it will be prone to crumbling, so more water should be added. On the other hand, if it’s too wet, mix in more sand and cement. Bear in mind that the weather plays a part and on hotter days, a wetter mix is better.

Repairing Plaster

Prepare the damaged surface by removing any loose bits and scratching ridges onto where you’ll apply the plaster. As with cement, the mix should be wet but firm, apply the water little by little, stirring constantly. Apply with a scraper, but be quick! It’ll need at least 12 hours to dry fully before sanding down.

Decorating a room

Preparation takes the most time when painting and decorating. Remove as many objects from the room as possible, such as curtains, and be sure you’ve covered everything else in dust sheets. Use masking tape to cover light switches or any other features you don’t want to paint and repair any damaged plaster a day in advance.

  • Clean and dust the walls
  • Remove any loose or chipped paint
  • If necessary, apply a layer of primer – not necessary if you’re painting over previously painted walls.
  • Allow at least two hours between coats to allow for drying, otherwise you’ll suffer from air bubbles.

How Can You Become A Qualified Tradesperson?

More and more people are quitting the day job in favour of joining the ranks of tradespeople. The idea of working for yourself is certainly appealing, and the joy of physical work is a big lure. But what does it take to become a trades personprogetti? First it’s important to work out which trade you would like to learn. Some require far more intensive courses and training than others and some are very location specific.

Many people opt for home renovation type work. Having done work in their own homes and enjoyed it, it seems a no brainer. There are no set requirements other than a CSCS card for those wanting to work on construction sites, though it may be worth taking a part time college course in the evenings to learn the basics.

On the other hand, to become a qualified plumber requires hands on working experience as an apprentice, plus completion of a training course. To become Gas Safe registered there are even more steps and courses necessary. In addition, there are additional steps to be qualified in other countries

Indeed, in the majority of trades it’s well worth completing an apprenticeship to really learn the ins and outs of a job. These range in length, from a year to four years in most cases.

If you don’t want to complete an apprenticeship you can probably rule out a lot of trades. However, there are evening classes you can take to learn a number of basic skills and gain basic qualifications to get you started.

For anyone who wants to work on construction sites, you will need to possess a CSCS card (Construction Skills Certification Scheme). There are different types of cards relating to varying trades and you will need to show proof of your qualifications. You will also be required to pass a health and safety exam.

You can of course create your own workshop making whatever you are capable of, with an aim to sell online or locally. Just beware it can take a while to get your name out there.

Three Easy Self Fixes

There are many things that can go wrong around the house, leaving you pulling your hair out in frustration, before calling in a handyman to fix it. However, with just a little know how and some basic tools, some common problems are not so difficult to fix yourself.

Bleeding a radiator

When one of your radiators is cold but the rest are working, it’s time to bleed them. You’ll need a radiator key, though some valves can be turned with a screwdriver. To check, look on the top side of your radiator. You’ll find the bleed valve on the top side of your radiator – the smaller of the two valves. If 1200px-Radiator_op_blauw-wit-gestreepte_tegelsyou need a key, most hardware shops stock them.

  • Turn off the heating, then open the intake and outtake valves on your radiator.
  • Next, open the bleed valve. You should hear a hiss of air, followed by sputtering water.
  • When the water is squirting out without air, close the bleed valve.
  • It’s worth repeating this for every radiator in the house.

Periodic bleeding of all your radiators should be done annually to prevent any problems. Be sure to check the pressure as some may have been lost during the bleeding process.

Spinning screws

These can really make your door stick if the hinges have dropped. A quick, cheap and easy solution is to snap a toothpick in half and insert both ends into the screw hole. Then simply screw in a new screw, which will bite on the new wood.

Sealing a sink

When the silicone around your sink or shower begins to fail, there’s no need to panic. All you need to do is grab a tube of silicone and a sealant gun.

  • Remove any remaining silicone and clean the area fully.
  • Dry the area to be sealed and ensure that it can remain dry for 24 hours.
  • Use your silicone gun to run a thin bead around the problem area.
  • You can use your finger to press it gently into the gap.
  • Re-apply silicone anywhere additional sealing is needed.
  • Leave to dry for 24 hours.

Who’re You Gonna Call? A Rundown of the Trades

Whether you’re finally getting round to replacing those old windows, or need urgent work done, it’s a good idea to know which trades person to call. The term builder is rather broad and it encompasses many separate trades.


Plumbers don’t only deal with all things wet. Gas Safe registered plumbers are qualified to install, repair and maintain gas systems as well. This includes hobs, boilers, central heating and water heaters.


Working with wood, carpenters are responsible for constructing wooden framed structures, as well as putting finishing touches to rooms, such as skirting boards. Carpenters can specialise in roofing, or fitting staircases among other skills.


Rarely seen on larger sites, joiners spend most the time in the workshop constructing anything wooden. From doors, frames and windows, to cabinets, staircases and conservatories, if it’s wooden, it’s likely been crafted by a joiner. So if you need a new door or window, it’s worth seeking out a joiner. They will often fit their own work as well.


Most electrical problems can be repaired by a decent electrician. They also specialise in the installation of new electrical systems, such as security lights or complete rewiring of light circuits.


Give these guys a call whenever the kids smash another window. More often than not they will come and measure out the damaged window and replace it on site. However, their skill set is not limited only to broken windows. Glass for doors, showers, shopfronts, mirrors, table tops and cabinets will all be replaced or installed by a glazier.

Painter and Decorator

When your rooms are looking drab and in touch of a lick of paint, these are the guys to call. Most painters are efficient in plastering and light repair work as well.


The clue is in the name.. yep, bricklayers, or brickies work with bricks, breeze blocks and other such materials to construct a range of structures from garden walls to complete houses. Masters of mortar, a decent brickie will put up fantastic, straight, pointed walls.