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DIY Building Project Questions & Answers     Page:  1  2  3
Note: This section is now in the archives, and the question and answer service has finished. Although some of the material is outdated and some only relevant to certain areas, you may still find some segements useful.
#20
Q:   If a acrylic shower lining has been fitted to meet the floor tiles and no tray system used. What membrane should be installed behind the tiles and acrylic wall lining according to the building code?
   Peter


Answer: Paul Gavin.    The answer depends on the floor
Method 1
Concrete A
- When the concrete floor is poured, a shower well is boxed below floor level, usually 100mm. Then plastered to shape and tiled. The linings must also finish below floor level.
Concrete B
- If the floor already exists and there is suitable access and no structural considerations you could cut out the concrete floor and proceed as above.
Concrete C
- Where there is no well in the floor the usually trusted method is to have a stainless steel tray made, it will just be flat on the bottom with no fall. A fall is plastered inside the tray and tiled. Care must be taken to ensure that there is a good seal around the easy clean waste, which you must use in all these cases. The sides of the tray must be high enough so that the plaster tiles and shower linings all finish inside the tray. It can also be a good idea to design the tray so the shower screen sits just inside the tray as well, the outside can be tidied up with tiles or vinyl ect.
Wooden floor A
- Much the same as "Concrete C" , but you also have the option of lowering the tray into the floor creating a more aesthetic look. Bear in mind if joists need to be removed equivalent support will have to be replaced. If its a new house this can be allowed for when building. If it's existing, a single level house where you have access to under the floor is best suited.
Wooden floor B
- A shower base can be formed out of tanalized timber lined with cement based sheeting. The whole surface is coated with fibre glass and flexible acrylic sealer. This method is often used to form a waterproof membrane in second story bathrooms where the floor is tiled. I would not recommend this method unless an experienced installer does the job and guarantees it.

#19
Q:   I have seen your plans for a gazebo and they are the best on the net. My problem is that I want to build it off the ground and then put a spa in it. Can you advise on what I should do as I am new to DIY stuff.
   Colin


Answer: Buildeazy.    Make the gazebo posts long enough to allow plenty of headroom above the spa and build a deck around the spa. The gazebo posts can double as deck posts but more deck posts would need to be placed closer to the spa.

#18
Q:   I am making a coffee table, out of MDF or similar. It is almost a closed boxed apart from 2 sides where baskets can be pushed in either side. My main concern is how l can make it stable enough RE:the 2 side panels securing into the top and bottom of the table.
   Gavin


Answer: Buildeazy.    Advice from a cabinet-maker: You will need some sort of rail (example 75x25 at least) along the underside of the table top and fixed securely to both end panels to stabilize the unit.

#17
Q:   My handyman and I are building a shower seat attached to a shower pan to enlarge the shower area - we will build all but the 36X36 pan - any advice or direction?
   Margaret


Answer: Paul Gavin.    If it's what I think you mean. This method would be for a tiled shower You could construct the seat out of tanalized framing timber. Line your seat with 9mm Villa board running the villa into the shower tray. Have a small amount of fall to the seat so water wont lay. At this point silicone all joints carefully.You will now have to lay fibreglass strip matting to the joints after which paint the whole area with 2 coats of Dribond flexible sealer (these products and advice are available at most tile suppliers). Tile as normal. If you wish to use hardie glaze or similar you could fit in place instead of the tiles, in a seat situation using only sheet products with plastics jointers would in my opinion not be watertight.

#16
Q:   Hi - What a geat site. About your new article, 'how to build a wendy house'. Are their any rules or consents required for play houses. What about tree houses or boys play houses built on poles. I am of the opinion that consents, permissions etc are not required for any of the above, but would like expert advice before my husband goes amuck with his hammer and nails. Appreciate any help.
   Sandra.


Answer: Mark Ranfurly.    This is an easy and hard question to answer. The Building act's 3rd Schedule (Works not requiring a Building Consent) advises that a singe level structure less than 10m2 and not containing any sleeping area or sanitary fixtures(basically a non-habitable building) does not need to have a consent but is to be built in accordance with the Building Act, which means it is to be safe and sanitary. You need to contact your local Council to find out what Town Planning restrictions there may be and if the Building Control section of the Council has a policy in relation to these structures which may change the way you plan your playhouse.

#15
Q:   Raised vegetable garden. I have a sloping back yard and I intend to build a 3m x 5m raised veggy garden about 30 cm high at one end and 60 cm at the other. I believe that I will need 100mm x 100mm H4 posts each meter, but what are my best options for the retaining boards? As a great deal of people live on sloping sections I thought that this sort of thing would be a great addition to your articles.
Many thanks for a great website

   Giles Jones

Answer: Buildeazy. The retaining wall is not very high so Any H4 treated retaining timber could be used with a thickness of 40mm or more. If you run the boards on the inside of the posts, fix with nails. If you run the boards on the outside of the posts, fix with bolts.
#14
Q:   Can you help. My concrete drive (smooth finish) has a couple of very noticeable cracks across it. Can they be repaired without having to re-concrete the area?
   Andrew


Answer: Paul Gordon.    You can fill those cracks with a cement mix. How ever you won't enhance the asthetics of you drive. I suspect the cracks are cosmetic rather than structural, especialy if the drive is reinforced. If not, in time you will get movement which you may have to repair. If that is the case you will want to cut 500mm each side of the crack. You will need to drill and epoxy some steel dowls to stop any movement further down the track.

#13
Q:   The concrete floor in my garage is very rough, trowel marks etc. What would be the best way to fix it? Would appreciate any advise. The floor is about 10 years old and 6 metres by 6 metres in size. Thanks.
   Jon


Answer: Paul Gordon.    You may be able to grind the floor if trowel marks are not to great. Concrete Surface preparations could give you a cost for this. The other alternative would be to give it a 50mm overlay with 20/10 concrete, so long as this does not reduce your headroom to much

#11
Q:   We have notice a lot of mould buildup in the eastern end of the house at the floorline. In one bedroom the floor is wet to the point the carpet has rotted away. We have checked the ceiling space (dry) and under house (dry). There is a window but condensation would have caused water marks on walls. What else could cause such a problem and can we fix without ripping out the wallboard and replacing floorboard!!!
   Ant


Answer: Buildeazy    If you are absolutely certain the leak is not coming from the roof and that underhouse is dry (as water can evaporate out of the ground and become absorbed into the floor structure, this is usually contributed by lack of subfloor ventilation), then it is possible it is coming in from the exterior around the window area. It is often difficult to pinpoint where a leak comes from. Are there any gaps above or below the window head flashing? Or between the sides of the window and the house cladding? Check elsewhere for cracks, gaps or splits. On a fine day use a garden hose starting from the bottom and working up to try and find the source of the leak. Once the leak has been found and sealed, any rotten timbers should be replaced.

#10
Q:   I want to take out a window and put a second hand ranchslider in its place, but the ranchslider is slightly wider than the window. Can it still go in?
   T.T. Auckland


Answer: Buildeazy    Yes, but you will need to reframe. On top of, and spanning every window is a lintel or beam which supports any structure above that window (roof, second story, etc). In turn, the lintel is supported at each end by a stud and jackstud (pieces of timber that hold it up). The lintel supports are usually close to the sides of the window. The wall below the window and inbetween the lintel suports is (in most cases) not structural and can easily be removed. To replace that window with a wider unit, entails removing enough interior wall lining (usually plasterboard) to give a working area, taking out the existing lintel and lintel supports and any other relevant framing (noggings) and replacing with a longer (and possibly wider) lintel. Check with the local building authority to see if consent is required. click here for more info

#9
Q:   I want to tile around my bathroom wall about a metre high. The walls are painted, and in good condition. I presume gib board. Can I glue the tiles to the wall or do I need to put some sort of backing up first?
   Tom. Auckland


Answer: Paul Gavin.    If the walls are sound and free of flaking paint you should be alright. The paint will act as a moisture barrier. You must prepare the painted wall by scuffing the surface all over with a coarse grade sandpaper, say 60 grit, to remove any gloss. You will be able to tile normally from there. (Tip - When you have finished your tiling and the grout has dried it is a good idea to seal the grout joints with a grout sealer, this will keep the grout cleaner and easier to maintain and keep mould at bay a lot longer!)

#8
Q:   Can an existing 8 year old formica benchtop be upgraded with new laminate over the old formica or does a completly new benchtop have to be made ?
   Tom. Auckland


Answer: Paul Gavin.    It would be possible, but to do a resonable job you would need good skills and the right tools and even then it would be difficult to to finish the top to a factory made standard, especially if the top has curves rolled edges or drip lines. It would be worthwhile getting prices from several benchtop manufacturers, Some building supply companies sell kitset kitchens and all there benchtops come in standrd lengths which they will cut to size, fit the sink, and clash the end to suit. There are a limited range of colours, but the prices are very reasonable.

#7
Q:   Hi just a quick question regarding drainage. I have recently moved into a new home and note that there is water draining under the house. The water flows across the clay surface from the front of the house to the back where there is a drainage pipe at ground level to take it out to the paddock. How much water under a house is acceptable, and is it legal to do what they have done and do the drains affect the code of compliance cert. Thanks. I hope that you can help.
   Jane.


Answer: Mark Ranfurly.    NZS 3604;1999 clause 3.6 states that water shall not be allowed to accumulate in the building's subfloor and such methods to ensure this does not happen are outside that code, so you need to go to the NZBC E1 Surface Water where it states you need to direct the water away and it shall not enter buildings and you could classify the subfloor as part of the building. You will need to contact your local TA to check what was approved as the disposal system and if it was built as per approval. This could be the only thing to effect the issue of a CCC.

#6
Q:   What is the difference between a single phase and a three phase circuit. Is it just the no. of live wires?
   Ray.


Answer: Gavin Smith.    Single phase has a Neutral wire as a return path. The voltage between the the phase and neutral and Phase and Earth is around 240Volts AC. Give or take a few volts.
Three phase has three live wires with a voltage of 415Volts AC between any two phases and a voltage of 240Volts AC from any phase to Earth or Neutral if used.

#5
Q:   Whats the easiest way to remove glass panels from wooden joinery without breaking the glass.
   Rob.


Answer: Buildeazy    No real easy way. Just remove the putty using a chisel or hacking knife tacking care not to hit the edge of the glass panel and go with the grain so the chisel or hacking knife wont cut into the wooden joinery.

#4
Q:   Can you paint directly on top of benchtop tiles or are you better to skim coat with something first?? What type of paint do you use if so??
   Rob.


Answer: John Turner    Thoroughly clear the tiles, then apply a coat of Smooth Surface Sealer. Follow this with two coats of Uracryl 403, gloss or Uracryl 402 semi-gloss to colour of choice. Naturally this will only "paint" the tiles, it will not be thick enough to hide the tile profile.

#3
Q:  I am looking at installing a rainwater collection tank (250-400L)and use this water for the toilet, laundry and garden. In dry spells the tank would be topped up with mains water (via a float valve).
1) Do I need a council permit to do this?.
2) Is there any advice anyone can offer?. Thanks

   Colin


Answer: Mark Ranfurly    You would need a consent for all of the new pipework but not the tank. You would need backflow protection from the tank to protect your potable water that you use in the remainder of the house.This could be a testable device(expensive) but the best thing would be an appropriate Airgap as stated in the NZBCode G12 where you fill the tank from 25mms above the overflow point of the tank, not the overflow pipe.

#2
Q:   I believe that a building (an attached garage in this case)on a property boundary can be built with a block wall with out the usually required 450mm high parapet if the first metre of the roof (under the rafters)is lined with 16mm fyreline Gib to meet the 30/30/30 fire rating requirements. If this is true how is the fyreline installed so that the fire rating is meet at the rafters meet the ceiling joists and stringer attached to the top of the wall? Also what is the requirement (extended distance for fire rating) for extending the boundary block wall horisontally beyond the timber garage structure?
   Mark. Wellington


Answer: Mark Ranfurly    The requirement for a parapet or the firerating of 1m of the roof is no longer part of the NZBCode C documents for housing, all you need is a 30min rated wall(see winstones technical bulletin 13 for timber) with 200mm firerated returns at each end of the wall, as your question states the use of blockwork the 200 thick block is a sufficent return by itself and the wall does not need to carry on past the framing with block as a return.

We give thanks to the panel that helped answer the wide range of questions that were put to us. They were: Paul Gavin (builder); Mark Ranfurly ( Technical Officer C&I Building Consents ); John Turner ( Resene Technical Advisor ); Gavin Smith ( Electrical Contractor ); Glenn Wells ( Drainage Contractor ); Paul Gordon ( Concreter ) and of course, us.

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