Henry’s Building Tips & Advice

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Set concrete quickly?

Ever needed to reduce your concrete or cement setting time? Try hot water in your mortar and concrete mixture for earlier setting time as opposed to expensive additives.

Colour differences in Face Brick walls

Brandon from Randburg writes – We recently completed a series of face-brick walls and looking at the walls there is a different colour to the cement that is quite visible – Why would this be?

Henry’s Response: This most often happens when the sand used does not come from the same batch of soil – it may be the same supplier, but batches of soil can differ in colour. If you have a face-brick project, it is best to buy all the mixing sand you need at one supplier and at one time to avoid this issue. Cement can also vary in colour, so it is also advisable to use the same cement for the whole project.

Avoid hammer pain

To avoid striking your finger with hammer, hold hammer with 2 hands or use clothes peg to hold the nail, alternatively use an assistant to avoid pain to yourself.

Ant problems

Izzy From Northcliff writes – I have ant nests in my garage walls and want to repaint – how can I get rid of the ants without using harmful pesticides?

Henry’s Response: Ants have a very good sense of smell and hate the smell of cinnamon. Add half a teaspoon of cinnamon oil to a cup of water. Soak some cotton wool in it and rub these near areas where the ants live. Repeat the procedure until the ants have gone. You can also put the cinnamon oil in a spray bottle and use it on any ants you encounter. Some also recommend lemon juice or vinegar as ants leave a scented trail that other ants follow. Sweeping or mopping isn’t enough to eliminate the scent. Instead, mix one part vinegar or lemon with three parts waters in a spray bottle, then spritz wherever you’ve seen ants.

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