Published July 7th, 2014 by

Rising damp is widely misdiagnosed in existing buildings, based on the incorrect interpretation of visual evidence and the readings of moisture meters. Because of a highly successful sales campaign for over 30 years by specialist remedial contractors installing injected ‘chemical dampproof courses’, this misdiagnosis of rising damp has also become synonymous with a diagnosis of a lack of an ‘injected chemical damp-proof course’. Although this has been very good for business, it has often resulted in a waste of the clients’ money and resources; original plasters and finishes have been destroyed in the process of installation, and unnecessary damage has been caused to original structures by the drilling of irrigation holes. In addition, money that might have been spent on more cost-effective maintenance or repair works has been wasted.

Whilst injected chemical damp-proof courses may provide some protection for certain types of structure if properly specified, their general application is rarely the most cost-effective way of controlling damp problems in buildings, and may be wrongly specified and ineffective. In particular the more generally available water based products may only form an effective ‘hydrophobic band’ if applied to a dry wall after it has dried out. This can prevent their effective installation in damp walls.


Published July 2nd, 2014 by

Traditional timber decks are a wonderful way to compliment a home’s architecture and surrounding landscape. For those homeowners who already have wooden decking, or might be considering new construction, care and maintenance is an absolute must. While certain composite materials may only need an occasional power wash, timber decks should receive annual maintenance to ensure an extensive service life.

wooden decking johannesburg here

Wooden decks in Johannesburg are subject to a variety of weather that will eventually take its toll on any structure. Whether it’s harsh sunlight, heavy winds, or driving rain, a properly maintained deck will provide homeowners with years of value. Depending on your particular situation, you might be repairing or upgrading an existing deck or building a new structure around your pool or patio. In either case, there are steps that should be taken to ensure you get the most out of your outdoor living space.

Hiring a professional maintenance or construction crew will save both time and money in the long run. It will also guarantee homeowners that work is performed correctly and in a timely manner. For older pool or patio decking, this means taking an inventory of any repairs that need to be performed. When working with traditional wooden decks, this involves replacing cracked or warped deck boards, repairing unsafe railings, and making certain that stair treads and framing are in the best possible condition.

This type of deck maintenance will also include securing or replacing deck screws, repairing outdoor lighting, and inspecting the condition of awnings and built in pergolas and shade structures.

Staining or sealing wooden decks in Johannesburg should only be done after the structure is thoroughly cleaned using a commercial power washer. This will ensure that any mold or ground-in dirt has been removed, and that paint and stain will have a clean surface to adhere to.

Once your pool deck, patio deck, or traditional porch area has been sealed, it’s ready for a season of fun and entertainment with family and friends.…

Published June 30th, 2014 by

Clerestory, in architecture, any fenestrated (windowed) wall of a room that is carried higher than the surrounding roofs to light the interior space. In a large building, where interior walls are far from the structure’s exterior walls, this method of lighting otherwise enclosed, windowless spaces became a necessity. One of the earliest uses of the clerestory was in the huge hypostyle hall of King Seti I and Ramses II at the Temple of Amon (1349–1197 bc, Karnak, Egypt), in which the central range of columns, higher than those on either side, permitted clerestories to be built of pierced stone slabs.

In Roman architecture many great halls were lighted with clerestories. Usually, groined vaults over the central hall allowed large semicircular windows to be built above the side roofs, as in the tepidarium of the Baths of Diocletian (3rd century ad) and the Basilica of Constantine (ad 310–320), both in Rome. This device was used in Byzantine and Early Christian architecture, as exemplified by the clerestory walls under the side arches of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (532–563).

The clerestory became most highly developed and widely used in the Romanesque and Gothic periods. The Chartres cathedral (1194), for example, has pairs of lancet clerestory windows that are almost as wide as the aisle windows.


Published June 24th, 2014 by

Every now and then, you may find yourself needing a little help when it comes to home repairs and maintenance issues. It is in such instances that handymen may prove useful by helping you fix issues related to plumbing, electrical, painting or other home repairs that you can’t handle. Well, there are handyman in cape townnumerous handy men in Cape Town, but it would be best if you took your time before hiring one for the job. You need to be sure that you get a professional and competent person who can guarantee you quality work at an affordable rate. So, let us look at some of the top tips you should consider when looking for a handyman in cape town.

Know the work you need done and make a list

Handymen usually have different skills according to the type of job you need done. Therefore, you should first be upfront with your expectations and create a list of the repairs that should be done prior to contacting one.

Make sure that the handyman is licensed and insured

If you want quality work done on your home, you need to have someone who is skilled and licensed by relevant government bodies in South Africa. You also need to be sure that incase one injures themselves in the course of their job, you will not be liable in anyway whatsoever.

Compare different handymen and their charges

As much as it is true that you get what you have paid for, it’s good to keep in mind that there are numerous handymen in Cape Town and they charge different rates for their services.

You should compare a number then decide on one who is more likely to offer good services and at an affordable rate. However, remember quality comes first and don’t compromise it just because you have found someone who charges less than you expected.

Watch out for scams

Just like anywhere in the world, it’s not a surprise to receive unsolicited phone calls from people claiming to be professional handymen in Cape Town. You should avoid one who cannot guarantee the price for the job as well as someone who asks for an upfront pay.

Hiring a handyman in Cape Town can be an arduous task especially if you don’t know where to start. Lucky you, with these top tips, you will always find a competent and a skilled professional to do all your home repairs and maintenance issues.…

Published June 23rd, 2014 by

What is a chimney breast?

A chimney breast is the brickwork which encases the chimney as it rises through a property. Usually the chimney breast is inside the property and takes up space within rooms. With semi-detached and terrace properties, chimney breasts are often built ‘back to back’ between individual properties – where this is so, 4 fireplaces in property will appear as 2 rows of 4 chimney pots on the chimney stack which will be shared by adjoining properties.

Why do people remove Chimney Breasts ?

Chimney Breasts are often removed by property owners when fires are no longer used to give increased living space. Older properties were built with fireplaces in every room – with modern central heating, chimney breast are often unused and considered as wasted floor space.

What problems are involved when removing Chimney Breasts ?

The main problem is that a chimney breast forms part of the structure of a house and carefully considered needs to be taken before starting work to remove it. Unless the whole chimney, from the fireplace to the roof stack is going to be removed, suitable support beams will need to be incorporated to support any masonry above to avoid structural distress or damage or even the collapse of the building. Special attention needs to be used where the chimney breast is on a party wall with a neighbouring property or where the chimney breast of an upper floor is going to be removed while leaving a working fire in the room below – in the latter case, partial removal is possible but a smaller chimney breast for the fire below must be left in place.
Once a chimney breast has been removed, there will be the need to make good the floor where the chimney breast once was.


Published June 18th, 2014 by

If you have a brick house built after 1940, there’s a good chance you are the proud owner of cavity walls. What does that mean, you may ask? It’s simple: your exterior masonry is actually double-reinforced. These particular structures consist of two brick walls placed approximately 2-4 inches apart, forming a small gap of air between them. Unlike brick facades, both walls are load-bearing but are connected together through the use of small masonry ties. This double-construction not only gives your exterior frame more strength, it also comes with several other energy-saving advantages.

Water Resistance

Brick is very susceptible to water penetration. Moisture has a way of finding tiny hairline cracks in between the masonry and mortar, which eventually makes its way into the home. In cavity walls, the water will infiltrate the exterior facade but, due to the air gap, the moisture won’t be able to jump across to the actual interior wall. Instead, the water collects along the surface of the exterior wall and finds its way back out again through specially designed weep holes drilled into the brick.

Wind, Fire, and Rain

Not only are cavity walls resistant against rainfall and moisture penetration, it’s also impervious to other natural hazards. Due to the double-protection, the exterior barrier can act as a shield against the elements that would normally affect the home. Brick is fire-resistant, which helps to protect the house and lowers your insurance premiums. It acts as a buffer against high winds, saving money on utility bills. Plus, their solid construction creates additional structural support against any damage that may ever occur.

Thermal Insulation

The most important benefit of cavity walls is their energy-efficient capabilities. Even if the interior gap is not filled in, the cushion of air between the two partitions can act as a natural insulator. During the winter, the hollow space between the two structures acts as a reservoir for air escaping the house, helping to reduce energy loss by holding in the heat. But, during the summer, it traps warm air and naturally moves it away from the house through the exterior wall. But all of this is greatly helped if the gap is filled in with cavity wall insulation.