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HANDY MAC: Choose the best product

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While surface preparation is key when tackling a paint job, making sure you choose the right type of covering is also essential for the best results

A week after the night before, my 65-year-old body has recovered from the bachelor’s party of last weekend, including the drive back from Stanford and up to Paternoster on the same day for two nights with my son’s British future parents-in-law.

Sadly, they had to endure load-shedding and a break down of the town’s water supply. We are all now petrified about the possibility of load-shedding at the wedding venue.

Seriously, where are we heading? We cannot be apathetic.

This week I’m finishing off our painting tips. I have brought you right up to applying the finishing coats, including being careful about colours.

Now we need to discuss types of paint. The mainstream suppliers all make extremely good paints and my belief is that if you have done your preparation properly, going for a good quality, top-of-the-range paint is the answer.

There are reasons why some paints are more expensive than others, and that is because they contain much better ingredients. All paints generally have four main ingredients – pigments, binders, solvents (liquids) and additives.

Pigments provide covering colour while binders work to “bind” the pigment together and create the paint film. Solvents are the liquids that suspend the ingredients and allow you to place the paint on the surfaces, and additives provide specific paint properties, such as mildew resistance.

All four ingredients combine to provide a paint that meets your specific design needs. If you want to establish how much your paint supplier knows, ask him what the “scrub resistance” of his paint is.

The property of scrub resistance is measured as the ability to resist wearing or degradation of a dried paint film. The wear or degradation is assessed either visually or by weight loss when using a scrubability instrument or an abrasion tester.

According to the ASTM test methods governing scrub-resistance testing, the paint should be formulated to withstand scrubbing with a nylon brush or cloth for a set number of cycles of washing/cleaning when using a non-abrasive or abrasive cleaning medium as outlined in the methods, or another cleaner specified by the end user (common household cleaners).

The better the product the longer it will last, but the higher the sheen on the paint the more difficult it will be to touch up. Please remember paint is not meant to be cleaned with abrasive products such as Handy Andy, but rather by the Handy Mac method of cold water and a bar of Sunlight soap applied with a soft cloth.

Q and A

Water tanks should be emptied and cleaned once a month. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

Jutta needs assistance with her water tanks.

Q: Well, now that we’re back to everyday life after the holidays – load-shedding included and no water twice today already – problems are turning up. Mine are two 5 000litre water barrels. Since the barrels are pretty much empty, I notice a lot of sludge collected at the bottom. The barrels are interconnected but are not “communicating”. The outlets to the booster pump are about 5cm above floor level. How do we get the sludge out of the barrels?

There is no drain. Must we disconnect the outlet pipes? They have a diameter of about 5cm. There is a handle to shut off the outflow from the barrel, but that won’t help.

A: I am not sure how your barrels are fed, connected or how they discharge, but a build-up of sludge will always be a problem. I had a similar problem as the pump that takes water from my tanks into our toilet cisterns started acting up, and I noticed the water in my second (holding) tank was not as clean as during the build-up to Day Zero.

Yes, you must get the sludge out and with the outlets set slightly off from the bottom, this is difficult but not impossible. My efforts were hampered by the fact I had concrete blocks in the bottom of my tank supporting the submersible pump to avoid it sitting in sludge.

Over 18 months the pump had slowly slipped off and was starting to suck sludge. The tanks are relatively light when empty and, once you have taken off your connecting pipes, with assistance it is easy to get the barrels on their sides, drain the remaining water and then rinse with a hosepipe. My tanks are close to a manhole, so we tipped them at a slight angle.

One of my employees is slim and can fit through the top manhole, so we could also remove sludge manually without wasting water. Now I have suspended my submersible pump so there is no chance of it picking up sludge. I also suspect the filters on the well-point are working better and I am picking up less sand. For all of you with tanks, I suggest you completely empty them once a month and check the bottoms. 


David replied to my comment about hurting yourself while undertaking DIY chores:

I had a deep cut on my calf and left this to our former GP to fix. After four weeks of pain I was referred to the wound clinic in Hermanus. They prescribed three months of treatment twice a week and a compression bandage (no swimming or a shower boot). Please make your readers aware of the necessity to properly treat a wound that doesn’t heal timeously.

I agree. It is now over two weeks since I hurt my leg and the wound is refusing to heal, despite antibiotics and regular dressing changes.

I appeal to you all to observe the correct safety precautions when carrying out any work around the home. Accidents happen in a flash and if you are not wearing the correct personal protection equipment, you have no one to blame but yourself.

When did you last check your first aid box to ensure you have everything you need in case of an accident? Do you have a fire blanket and when was your fire extinguisher last serviced?

* Please keep your questions or comments coming to or WhatsApp or SMS only to 082 4463859.


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