Monthly Archives: October 2012

Boxing in pipes cheaply

Many handymen like me have to box-in pipes usually where these have been untidily fastened along skirting boards. The job often calls for a good measure of carpentry ability but there are easier alternatives.

You could use ready-made boxing like this:
but it costs quite a bit (£25 for a 1250mm length) with delivery on top at maybe an additional £15.
Plus it is not readily available other than online.

Alternatively you could use something like this:
It doesn’t look like boxing but it is fairly easy to cut it along opposing corners with a sharp saw which makes two 1000mm lengths for just £2.22   …that’s just over a quid per metre.
It is a bit fiddly to cut and you also have to glue small overlapping strips on the insides to make nice neat joins. My preference it to trim it vertically to the exact height of the skirting and then fix the top face (with white plastic capped fascia nails) directly onto the actual top edge of the skirting pressed snug against the wall. You might also need to fix a batten to the floor to keep it in place.
Two other things to be aware of:
1) It is not perfectly white (more of an off-white)
2) Some edges are moulded quite sharply but others are more rounded so you have to match up your lengths when you join them.
Note: Screwfix do similar ducting.

Why engage a handyman?

Male excuses to wife/partner for not starting a job

I don’t have the right tools
I really don’t have the time for this
It might aggravate my bad back (or bad anything)
I don’t like heights, my ladders won’t reach, we don’t have ladders (certain jobs only)
The kids want me to do stuff with them
Your mother is coming round at the weekend

Male excuses to wife/partner for not finishing a job

This job turned out to be more complicated than it looked
I didn’t have the right tools
It aggravated my bad back (or bad anything)
I got vertigo, my ladders didn’t reach (certain jobs only)
I got distracted by the kids wanting me to do stuff with them
I got distracted by the prospect of your mother coming round at the weekend
I couldn’t be arsed to finish it because I have a low boredom threshold (use with caution)

Male general excuses to wife/partner

Can’t be arsed (use with caution)
I have a low boredom threshold (use with caution)
I have better things to do (be prepared to prove it)
I think you could do this job better than me

Female excuses for contacting a handyman

I’ve been asking my husband/partner to do this job for weeks
My husband/partner is not great at DIY apparently
My husband/partner doesn’t have the right tools apparently
My husband/partner has a bad back (or bad something else) apparently
We don’t have suitable ladders apparently
We have a busy social life and demanding children apparently
We’re getting a divorce

Avoid mosaic tiles in a shower

Having investigated many showers for an all-to-common leak they usually fail in one of two ways.
Either the sealant is poorly applied or, less likely, the tiling allows water to get behind.
Since the tiles themselves are not usually porous it will be the grouting that is the culprit allowing the water behind the tiles and then under the shower tray.
Note: Don’t use travertine tiles in a shower because they often are porous.
So logically the bigger the tiles, the less grouting there will be and the fewer places where it can fail.
Consequently, if you use tiny mosaic tiles which usually come stuck onto a mesh and which require a huge amount of grouting you are asking for trouble (and leaks).
If you do intent to have the ‘mosaic look’ then try to find tiles that have false grouting lines engraved into the surface of the tile and which can only allow water behind at the junctions of the tiles.