Posts tagged "DIY"

How can I reuse or recycle louvre doors?

We’ve had an email from Stuart:

Dismantled some fitted cupboards, six tall louvre doors leftover. Ideas?

I really like the idea of louvre/louver doors as indoor window shutters, an alternative to blinds. I’m not 100% sure what they’re called but you can get hinges to fix them together so they fold at the joins, rather than needing a pocket recess/recess space.

Similarly, you can use them to make a concertina room divider and there is a lovely Instructable which explains all. The same principle could be used to make a sun-screen/privacy shade for the garden.

They can also easily be transformed to get rid of the dust-attracting louvre slats – a flat piece of wood over the top of the slats modernises them quickly or, if the outside frame is pretty sturdy, knock out the slats and replace with cute gathered fabric for a country-cottage feel.

Any other suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle old plaster board/drywall?

We’re finally having some damp-proofing work done on our lower ground floor – in what will become our awesome office. I say “finally” because it was supposed to be task #1 when we bought the house, finished before we moved in, but we’ve been living here for four months now…

The room is damp because it’s partially underground on one wall but, more importantly, it was used as a bedroom for years and was made completely draft-proof. The chimney was blocked up, then covered with a wall, the floor was completely sealed with asphalt, all the windows/doors UPVC double-glazed and the outside walls were sealed with render – the damp air had nowhere to go but sit in the walls. Stone-built Victorian houses like this used to breathe, were built to breathe – but they suffocated it.

It’s already improved loads since we opened up the chimney but the work we’re doing now will stop the problem happening again. Unfortunately though, it involves a lot of destruction and mess – all the old water-logged plaster and plasterboard (drywall) has to be pulled away and replaced. The last lot of rumble we generated became filler for the sloped area we’ve levelled up in the garden but we don’t need any more for that. So what else can be done with it? Can it be used for anything more productive than its ability to take up space?

I seem to remember reading somewhere that about 15% of it is wasted during manufacture/installation and new stuff – offcuts – can be reclaimed and repressed into new boards. Can this be done with old boards too?

UPDATE: Oh, it seems plasterboard is now classed as hazardous waste in the UK so it can’t be landfilled – does that have an impact on its reuses?

How can I reuse or recycle bits of plumbing pipes?

copper-pipeAs I mentioned the other week, we currently doing some work on our new house before moving in – the stuff that is far, far easier to do when the house is empty.

One of the biggest jobs has been taking down a 1970s style cemented-up crazy-paving stone wall in the dining room – it made the room look like a tiny dark cave. We’ve kept the better condition stones for using in the paved bit of the garden and the rest will form the foundation under where our chickens will live.

For some reason though, someone, at some point, thought it would be a great idea to put loads of pipes behind and embedded in the cement and actually across the open hole of the fireplace so we’ve had to have them moved around into more sensible places. The old pipes have now been removed and are lying in small sections in the garden.

They look like copper pipes so they *might* clean up and there *might* be enough of them to make something like this wonderful copper pipe pan rack. I also could keep the pipes and try using them to protect my veggies next year – there seems to be some disagreement about whether or not copper at the border keeps slugs out of raised beds but if it’s there and not doing anything else, it might be worth a try.

What else could I do with the bits though? I realise there is a high value to scrap copper and the like at the moment but I would rather reuse it around the home/garden instead of selling it for scrap, have it shipped off halfway around the world then brought back to again, so we can buy it again in another shape.

So any suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle worn out sandpaper?

sandpaper.jpgWe’ve had an email from Jack:

Probably a long shot but i was wondering if anybody could think of any uses for old bits of worn-out sandpaper (i.e. once that have passed their optimum sanding potential). I’m a carpenter and go through loads of the stuff!

A good question and for once I’m completely stumped – I can’t think of anything. Recycling is probably a troublesome too.

Any suggestions?

(Photo by Simon Eugster)

How can I reuse or recycle a broken step ladder?

step ladderWe’ve had an email from Kit:

how can I reuse a broken step ladder? the rungs are alright, it’s the support bit at the top that hold it in the upside down v shape that is broken. i could just give it away for scrap metal but i wondered if there was anything i could do with it instead.

I’m presuming it can’t be fixed or at least not fixed well enough to be trust-worthy (an important quality when you’re 8ft off the ground) – might be worth Freecycling it in case someone is a step ladder fixing expert though.

Aside from that, could the rungs be used as a shelving unit maybe?

Any other suggestions?

(Photo by hortongrou)