While making repairs to their run-down house in Venice, California,

First Comes Love, Then Comes a Wildly Colorful Mosaic Home.

While making repairs to their run-down house in Venice, California, artists Cheri Pann and Gonzalo Duran experimented with adding mosaic tile to their bathroom. They became so fascinated with the medium that they’ve spent the last 21 years covering almost every square inch of their home — inside and out — with tens of thousands of shards of colorful clay tile.

Knowing the language of rooftop design will help you through your next repair or remodel project

Know Your House: Learn the Lingo of Rooftops.

When it comes to a roof, knowing a few terms will help you talk to your roofer next time there’s a leak or you decide to reshingle. They’ll also help you discuss a remodel project that includes an addition, skylight or dormer. For the most part, these terms cover the principal parts of a roof and the openings we commonly find going through a roof — creating the possibility of leaks.

Repair Cafe events around the world enlist savvy volunteers to fix broken lamps, bicycles, electronics, small appliances, clothing and more

Don’t Throw Away Another Household Item Before Reading This.

If you buy a $20 toaster that goes kaput after a couple of years, you probably don’t think twice about tossing it and buying a new one. After all, that seems like a pretty good deal. But Peter Skinner wants to change that. He wants people to imagine where all those toasters end up and, instead of continuously adding to the waste stream, choose to have those broken appliances repaired for free.

After reading a New York Times article in 2012 about an initiative in the Netherlands called Repair Cafe, Skinner decided to act. The organization puts together events around the world at which community volunteers pitch in to repair appliances, electronics, bicycles and more so they can be reused rather than thrown away. “I thought it was a cool idea,” Skinner says.

Patch Plaster easy to fix with just a couple of things

Cracked plaster is a sign that your house might be settling. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to fix with just a couple of things:

1. Use a utility knife to clean away loose plaster. After that is done, vacuum all of the dust out of the crack.

2. Wet a small cloth or paintbrush with some water and run it along the length of the crack.

3. Use your putty knife to push enough spackle into the crack to fill it up.

4. Smooth the repair out by running the putty knife at a slight angle along the length of the crack.

5. Let the repair dry for a couple of hours. When dry, check the crack to make sure that the putty didn’t shrink while it was drying. If it did, just repeat the process.

How to repair a minor crack in concrete – How to fill a gap in concrete – How to repair a small hole in concrete

How to repair a minor crack in concrete:

1. Clean the area so that it is free of debris. You can sweep it out, or use a wire brush or vacuum it out with a shop vac. It must be dry before you move to step 2.

2. Apply caulk into crack. Use an ample amount of caulk to fill the crack to just above the surrounding surface.

3. Take a trowel and smooth out the caulk so that it is level with the surrounding area. If the crack is small enough, you can use your finger to smooth out the caulk (make sure to wear a rubber glove).

4. Let dry for at least two hours.

How to fill a gap in concrete:

1. Make sure the area is dry and clear of debris.

2. Take caulking and apply it to the entire length of the gap. Use generously

3. You can even out the caulking with a glove-covered finger, a trowel, or the back of a spoon rubbed with oil you can use any oil—baby vegetable, olive, even suntan oil.

4. let dry for at least 4 hours.

How to repair a small hole in concrete:

1. Break away any loose or unstable material. The easiest way to do this is with a small chisel and hammer.

2. Clean up any excess debris. If you can use a shop vac, it’s best. Make sure area is dry

3. Use a paintbrush to apply the bonding adhesive to the entire area that needs to be patched.

4. Fill the area with the reinforced patching compound, only adding about ‘4 inch at a time.

5. Wait about 30 minutes for the layer to dry.

6. Apply additional layers until you have filled the hole to just above the surrounding surface area.

7. Use a trowel to smooth out the area being repaired, until it is level with the surrounding area, its okay to let the mixture feather over the surrounding area to get a good, level base.

8. Allow the mixture to cure (or dry). Although it will take months to completely cure, you will begin to see hardening within the first few minutes, and it will be hard enough to walk on within 2 hours.

How to Repair Damaged Plaster


Cold chisel, hammer, utility knife, soft bristle paintbrush, 10” wallboard knife and 150 grit sandpaper.


Latex bonding agent, mortar cement, joint compound and interior primer.


1. Make sure that there are no leaks in the area of the dam aged plaster. If there are any, fix them and allow to dry for a couple of weeks or after next rainstorm.

2. Prepare the room for work by protecting the floor with a plastic cover, take all the paintings off the wall and remove furnishings. Remember to tape around the doors to minimize the dust throughout our home.

3. Gently chip away at the damaged plaster using a cold chisel and a hammer.

4. Using a utility knife, cut along the chipped inside of the edge until the edge becomes smooth and straight.

5. Using a wide, soft bristle paintbrush, apply latex bonding agent onto the edges of the hole and onto the lath.

6. Apply 1 cm (in thickness) of mortar mix using a 10” wallboard knife. Remember that the first layer needs to be cross-scratched when it begins to set; this will help the second layer to stick better.

7. Allow 24 hours to dry.

8. Spray the first coat with water and using the same knife, apply ½ cm (in thickness) of mortar cement of the second coat and remember to cross scratch.

9. Leave to dry overnight, 12 hours minimum.

10. Using the 10” knife, apply the joint compound. Swipe the compound towards the edges evening it with the rest of the wall. Allow to dry for 24 hours.

11. Wet sand the area using 150 grit sandpaper until the area becomes completely even.

12. Using the soft bristle brush to apply a coat of interior primer and allow drying for 4-5 hours.

Complete the project with the final coat of paint.

Home Repair Glossary

Ampere: Unit of measure for the rate of flow of electrical energy (see volt); watts divided by volts equals amperes.

Anode rod: Device used inside water heaters to protect the tank against corrosion.

Auxiliary heaters: Heating devices used in addition to the main heating system, such as kerosene heaters, fireplaces, or electrical space heaters.

Awning window: A window that cranks out at the bottom by turning a crank handle; can provide ventilation even in rainy weather.

Basin wrench: Long tool with a flexible, self-gripping head that is used to turn hard-to-reach nuts that hold basins and faucets in place.

Blast bag: Slang term for hydraulic drain openers which are attached to a garden hose and pulsate under high water pressure.

Blower: In reference to forced, warm-air furnaces, the centrifugal fan driven by an electric motor that draws cold air from rooms through the cold-air ducts into the furnace and then forces warmed air back to ducts.

Blower belt: The V-belt which is used to link an electric motor to a centrifugal fan used in a forced, warm-air furnace.

Casement window: Hinged at one side, and may swing out or in as it is cranked by a handle.

Caulking: Procedure of sealing or weatherproofing cracks between materials; may also refer to the caulk material used, such as silicone caulking.

Closet auger: Special, flexible version of a clean-out auger designed for use in toilets; has protective tubing to protect ceramic toilets from scratches.

Cord clamp: Metal clamp with screws on the exterior of larger replacement plugs which is used to secure the cord to the plug.

Condensor switch: In air-conditioning systems, an additional switch that directly controls the motor which powers the fan and the compressor in a unit which is usually located outdoors.

Cotter pin: A hairpin-like fastener which is inserted through a hole (in a shaft, for example) with its two leg sections spread open to hold it in place.

Crocus cloth: Has powdered iron oxide on cloth backing; generally used for polishing.

Circuit breaker panel: Term for main service panel housing the main switches and branch circuits protected by circuit breakers. If circuits become overloaded, a circuit breaker trips to interrupt electrical flow to that circuit (see fuse box).

Cylinder lockset: Used on exterior doors; locked by key inserted into a cylinder within the outside knob, or with turn knob or push button on inner knob.

Double-hung window: Divided into two sections that ride in channels in the jamb on both sides; the top sash can be lowered, the bottom sash can be raised.

Drain cock: A faucet-like device that is turned to allow liquid to drain.

Drain (or disposal) field: A system of underground drain pipe in a private sewer disposal system which is connected to a septic tank through a distribution box.

Drive belt: The flexible V-belt which transfers power between motors and driven devices (see blower belt).

Drywall: Generic term for gypsum board used in place of lath and plaster to cover walls; Sheetrock is a brand name. May also be called wallboard or plasterboard.

Drywall tape: Narrow strips used, – along with joint compound, to finish joints in sections of drywall; may be made of paper or perforated paper without adhesive, or of fiberglass with adhesive backing.

Drywell: A device used to catch and hold water; may be a metal drum sunken into the ground, filled with rocks, and connected to drains to collect rainwater runoff.

Electrical conduit: Metal pathways that carry electric wires; may be greenfield (also known as flexible metal conduit), electric metallic tubing conduit (EMT), or BX cable (also known as armored cable, Type A.C.)

Electronic ignition: In a furnace, an electronic device which provides a direct spark to the main burner, eliminating the need for a pilot burner.

Emery cloth: Has emery abrasive, a natural mineral, on cloth backing; used for rust removal or for sanding metal.

Expansion nozzle: Another term for a hydraulic drain opener, a balloon-type device which connects to a garden hose and is inserted into clogged drains.

Faceplate: The metal plate surrounding the latchbolt that is inset into the door on the latch side.

Feathering: Gradual tapering of added material, such as drywall compound, over a distance so that changes in surface thickness are not noticeable.

Flat-wire plug: Electrical plug designed to accept wires that are flat, as opposed to wires that are round.

Float valve: A valve that opens and closes to keep water at a specific level in a container; generally actuated by the up-and-down movement of a float on the water’s surface.

Flywheel: A wheel of sufficient mass attached to a shaft to help provide continuous momentum.

Forced-air furnace: A furnace which heats and distributes air to the home using a fan to draw cooled air from the rooms through cold-air ductwork to the furnace heating chamber, and back to rooms through hot-air ducts.

Four-way switch: Used in combination with three-way switches when power must be turned on and off from more than two locations.

Fuse box: Term for main service panel that houses the main switches and branch circuits protected by fuses; if circuits become overloaded, a fuse burns out to interrupt electrical flow to that circuit (see circuit breaker pane!).

Glider window: Windows that can be opened and closed by sliding sections horizontally.

Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI): Special receptacle or circuit breaker which detects current flow changes and quickly shuts off before shocks can occur; used in circuits supplying power to outlets in baths, kitchens, laundry rooms, or outdoors.

Gypsum board: A term used for wallboard (see drywall).

Hard-wired: Electrical-powered device which is wired directly into the electrical system of the home, as opposed to one that draws power from a plugged-in power cord or batteries.

Jalousie window: Consists of several narrow horizontal glass sections that pivot in unison for either opening or closing when a hand crank is turned.

Joists: Horizontal wood members that support either floors or ceilings.

Kilowatt: Equal to 1,000 watts; watts divided by 1,000 equals kilowatts. One kilowatt working for one hour equals one kilowatt-hour (kwh).

Media pad: In a home humidifier, the thin, fibrous material that picks up water to be evaporated; may be a smaller pad wrapped around a wheel framework in a central humidifier, or a larger, wider pad humidifier running over rollers in a portable.

Media wheel: In a home humidifier, the wheel-shaped framework that holds the media pad material in place (see media pad).

0-ring: Rubberbandlike ring, generally round in cross-section, which fits between two components to provide a seal.

Octopus plug: A special plug that allows several more plugs to be inserted; its use is ordinarily not recommended by safety specialists and electricians.

Oil heating system: System employing a furnace or stove that burns fuel oil; may be a forced-air system with a blower or a system that depends on the rise of warm air.

Packing nut: A nut with an interior recess that accepts packing material to help seal in a liquid, such as water or oil.

Pilot burner: Small flame that ignites a flame in main burners when fuel is turned on in appliances such as furnaces, water heaters, or kitchen ranges.

Plumber’s friend: Plunger with rubber cup on the end of a wooden handle, used to unclog fixture drains by vigorously moving up and down.

Plumbing fixture: A receptacle, such as a sink, basin, or toilet, that is connected to the plumbing system and collects and retains water or wastes for discharge.

Plumbing stack: Main vent into which all fixtures drain; it is also the vent pipe which emerges through the roof of the house.

Plumbing trap: Special curved fitting needed under all fixtures except toilets to prevent sewer gas from entering the home. Toilets have built-in traps.

Pressure-reducing valves: Special valves that reduce pressure sometimes employed in homes to lower pressure from water mains for use inside the home.

Quick-connect plug: Electrical plug connected by inserting the wires, with spikes making contact between the prongs of the plug and the wires.

Rafters: Sloping wooden members that support the roof of a home.

Receptacle: In electrical systems, outlets within electrical boxes mostly in walls and floors that accept plugs; the most common are those with openings for two plugs, called duplex receptacles; also sometimes referred to as plug-ins.

Replacement plug: Electrical plug, available in several varieties, designed to replace original plugs or other replacement plugs that have become defective.

Roof louvers: Series of slanted slots allowing for ventilation while repelling rain.

Roof vents: Openings that allow attic air to exit through the roof; may be assisted by power fans or wind-assisted turbine devices over the vent. Ridge vents are no mechanical vents installed along the roof ridge.

Romex: Non-metallic-sheathed electrical cable which can be used without metal raceways (see electrical conduit).

Round-cord plug: Electrical plug designed to accept wires that are round instead of flat.

Seat wrench: A special L-shaped tool used to remove a faucet seat; the seat mates with a washer fastened to the handle stem that is turned to close off the water supply.

Set-back thermostats: Programmable thermostats which save energy by automatically dropping the temperature setting for specific periods during heating seasons, or by raising the temperature settings during certain periods during the cooling season.

Sheeftock: Brand name for wallboard (see drywall).

Shims: Narrow strips of wood or other material used to increase thickness; common wood shims used in homes are thin at one end and thicker at the other, and are driven between adjoining wood members.

Single-pole switch: A switch that turns power on and off from only one point.

Soffit vents: Openings within the soffits (the underside of the roof overhang on the outside of the home).

Solenoid: Electronic device that moves on command to allow, for example, the opening and closing of valves.

Spiraled auger: A flexible “plumber’s snake” often made of coiled spring material with its working end configured in spiraling, hooklike manner.

Spline: Slotted grooves, usually on a shaft, designed to accept a second part with corresponding ridges and slots.

Strikeplate: The metal plate used around the hole in the doorjamb that accepts the latchbolt of a door lockset.

Subflooring: First layer of flooring material which lies directly over the floor joints; may be diagonal rough boards or plywood.

Sump pump: An electrically powered pump which is positioned in a “sump” or hole to pump out collected water when it reaches a certain level.

Temperature-pressure relief valve: Special valve used on water heaters that automatically opens before an increase in temperature or pressure could cause an explosion.

Terminal clips: Clips that are flat in configuration and that slip over prongs to make an electrical connection.

Three-way switch: Switch used in pairs to switch power on and off from two different locations.

Tilt-turn window: Newer style which tilts in at the top to provide ventilation and can turn a full 1800 for easy cleaning.

Trip lever: Device used to initiate operation of mechanisms (such as the handle on the tank of a toilet) that begins the flushing operation when pushed.

Tubular lockset: Mostly used in interior doors. May have a push button in its knob or a small lever or button on its interior side.

Underwriter’s knot: A special knot used when replacing plugs or cords (where space allows) to help reduce tension on wires connected to screw terminals.

Volt: Unit of measure for electrical pressure; volts times amperes equals watts or, expressed differently, (pressure) times (current flow) equals power.

Water-mixing valve: A device that mixes hot and cold water to produce water of specific temperatures.

Water-resistant gypsum board: Drywall sheets with a water-resistant paper wrapper for use in areas of high humidity.

Watt: Unit of measure for electrical energy. One ampere of current flow at a pressure of one volt equals one watt of electrical energy (see ampere and volt).

X-bridging: The wood or metal braces used between joists to brace one joist to the next to prevent twisting.

How to repair a crack or hole in plaster

How to repair a crack in plaster:

1. If the crack is large, the first thing you want to do is make it bigger. What? Isn’t that more work? No, trust me. You want to extend your work area to make the repair last. If you just fill in the crack, it will come right back Make the crack larger with a utility knife.

2. Then clean the area around the crack. Scrape off any loose plaster or wall texture around the crack. Apply a thin coat of joint com pound in the crack, letting it feather out over the crack.

3. Take fibreglass tape and cover the entire crack. This tape allows for mobility so that future cracks can be avoided.

4. Apply a thin coat of joint compound with a wide dry wall knife, much like you would frost a cake, until the tape is completely covered and smooth.

5. Allow a couple of hours to dry.

6. Take fine sandpaper and smooth out the compound when completely dry.

7. Apply as many coats as necessary to assure that the crack and tape are completely covered and appear to be smooth and flush with the wall. Allow each coat to dry properly.

8. Try to recreate the texture of the wall. Do this by put ting a small amount of joint compound on a wet wash cloth. Dab it onto the wall like you would a sponge, until you have closely matched the surrounding texture, adding or subtracting wherever necessary if you have a smooth wall, just leave it smooth.

9. You are ready to prime. Make sure you use a primer before you paint because the new substance on the wall is much more porous and will absorb paint more quickly, changing the color and texture of the paint slightly.

10. Allow two coats of primer to dry before applying the paint to match the wall.

How to repair a hole in plaster:

1. Smooth out the edges of the hole with a utility knife.

2. Clean all debris from area. Make sure area is dry.

3. Brush concrete bonding agent onto the wood (lath) and old plaster surrounding the hole.

4. Attach wire mesh to the existing wood (lath) with dry wall screws. Why? Because, like the tape when you are fixing cracks, the wire mesh creates a surface that the joint compound can adhere to.

5. Fill in the hole with joint compound and smooth the outermost portion with a wide drywall knife to just below the surface of the surrounding area.

6. Where the compound meets the old edge, apply fiberglass mesh tape. You will basically be making a square box around a round hole.

7, Apply a thin coat of joint compound with a wide dry wall knife, much like you would frost a cake.

8. Allow a couple of hours to dry.

9. Apply as many coats as necessary to assure that the hole and tape are completely covered and appear to be smooth and flush with the wall. Allow each coat to dry properly.

10. Take 100-grit or similar sandpaper and sand over the joint compound until smooth.

11. Try to re-create the texture of the wall. Do this by put ting a small amount of joint compound on a wet wash cloth. Dab it onto the wall like you would a sponge, until you have closely matched the surrounding texture, adding or subtracting wherever necessary.

12. You are ready to prime. Make sure you use a primer before you paint because the new substance on the wall is much more porous and will absorb paint more quickly, changing the color and texture of the paint slightly.

13. Allow two coats of primer to dry before applying the paint to match the wall.

How to Repair Cracks and Holes in Your Walls

Painting over cracks and holes won’t make them disappear—and may even make them more noticeable—so it is important to fix imperfections before you start painting. Here are some basic steps. If you haven’t done so, cover the furniture and floors with a drop cloth to protect against dust and debris.

Before you add filler to minor or hairline cracks:

1. Use a utility or putty knife to widen the crack and remove any loose material.

2. Create a trench that is deeper and slightly larger than the crack.

3. For long cracks, remove the plaster or sheet rock material at intervals to help the filler hold.

4. For small holes, use a utility or putty knife to dig out the hole and make the inside of the hole bigger than the outside. This is to provide space for the filler and to help prevent it from falling out of the hole or crack.

5. Where sheetrock nails have popped up, countersink the nail pops with a hammer. The indentation left by the hammer head can be easily filled.

6. Brush or vacuum to remove dust and debris, and wipe the area with a damp cloth.
For best results, ALWAYS READ THE PAINT CAN LABEL. Professionals read the paint can labels to get the paint manufacturers’ most up-to-date information and instructions on the use of each specific paint. Every paint is different, and the labels provide important information, such as the average coverage area per gallon, drying times, number of coats needed, and surface preparation requirements. The labels also give specific safety information that should be carefully adhered to.

7. Use spackle or joint compound as filler, applied with a small, flexible putty knife for small areas, or a bigger one for large areas.

8. For a smoother finish, spread thin layers of filler rather than one thick layer.

9. Add as many layers as necessary, making sure that each layer is dry before adding another.

10. After the layers of filler are completely dry, lightly sand as needed with fine-grade sandpaper to smooth and blend the repair with the wall surface.

11. Wipe any dust from the wall with a clean cotton cloth before you start to prime or paint.

12. Prime all repaired areas to help seal the filler and to help prevent the filler from absorbing paint.

Drywall Repair Tips

To fix small holes in your drywall, clean the holes and dampen them with a sponge. Fill the holes with the professional’s formula for success. “Henry” Patch & Go, Multipurpose repair patch, using a narrow putty knife. You can also use patching plaster to fill the holes. Let the spackling compound dry, prime, and paint to match the rest of the wall.

Some large holes in wallboard can be patched with precut, adhesive wallboard patches. You may need to widen the hole so that the patch can fit. After you have popped it in, cover the seams and the patch with joint compound, according to label directions, then prime with a wallboard primer and paint the surface.

To fix nails that have popped from drywall, make sure the panel is secured to the studs above and below the nail. Hammer the nail in and dimple the nail; drive in and dimple a nail of the same size right next to it to hold it in. Use joint compound to cover the nails. When that has dried, sand the area, prime, and paint.

Painting tips & tricks

Rub petroleum jelly on the hinges and door knobs before you start to paint a door. If you get paint on them, they will wipe off easily.

To keep white paint from yellowing, add 2 drops of black paint to each Gallon of white.

When painting ceilings, cut a child’s rubber ball in half and put your paint brush in one of the halves to catch the drips.

An old pair of swimming goggles will protect your eyes from paint splatters and drips when painting ceilings.

When painting, protect your hands and face with moisturizer. Cleanup will be easier and the moisturizer will prevent paint from seeping into the pores.

To stop paint from dripping, punch a few holes in the rim of the paint can. When the brush is wiped against the edge, the paint flows back into the can. The lid covers the holes so the paint won’t dry out.

Before pouring paint from a can, cover the rim with masking tape. After pouring, remove the tape — the rim will be clean and the cover will fit tightly.

To remove lumps from paint: Cut a piece of screen to fit the inside of the paint can. Set it on top of the paint and let it float down to the bottom of the can. It will take all the lumps with it, trapping them at the bottom of the can.

When painting a room, dip a small card into the paint so that you have the exact colour with you and can match accessories in store.

When painting inside corners, trim the paint brush bristles to a V to save strokes and spread paint more easily.

When you poke a paint brush into corners or allow it to rest on the bottom of the paint can, the bristles curl and stray. To straighten natural bristles (not synthetics), try wrapping the brush in a couple of thicknesses of damp cloth and press gently with an iron. The steam and cloth binding do the job. Only light pressure is needed. Let the bristles cool before you unwrap the brush.

When painting old woodwork fill in the holes or cracks with a mixture of flour and some of the paint you are using. It hardens like cement and matches perfectly.