How to Drill Through Tiles
If you need to mount a towel rack or grab bar into ceramic tile, learn how to drill holes without cracking the tile.
Stones can become unstable, or may crack due to poor laying technique, frost or a material problem. In whichever case, the stone needs to be lifted and relaid. Laying stones on a bed of sand is a more straightforward procedure than shown here, where they have been laid on mortar.
Use a pry bar to lift the old stone (Image 1). If it is laid in concrete, break it with a sledgehammer and chisel. (Block of wood provides leverage.) Wear protective goggles and gloves.
Chip away any old mortar and remove debris from the stone bed (Image 2).
Lay a new bed of mortar, leveling it off with a trowel (Image 3).
Position the new slab, checking that it is level with those around it. Tap it into place with a rubber mallet (Image 4).
Repoint the stone with mortar, or a dry mix as required (Image 5).
In damp climates, paving, along with other exterior surfaces such as decking, can become covered in algae. This is very slippery and potentially dangerous. Pressure-washing these areas at least once or twice a year should keep the problem at bay. In some cases, particularly in shady areas, fungicidal washes may be useful to prevent algae from quickly regrowing.
Brick paving can often sink if it has not been laid correctly. Because it is generally laid on sand, rectifying the problem involves lifting the sunken bricks and reseating them on more sand.
Hold a furring strip across the area, and mark with chalk any bricks that do not sit flush with the underside of the furring strip (Image 1).
Pry up the bricks with old flat-head screwdrivers. Add more sand with a trowel, leveling off with a furring strip (Image 2).
Reposition the bricks, checking that they are level, and brush sand into the joints (Image 3).
Re-laying an asphalt drive is a job for the professionals, but patching holes is relatively straightforward. Use cold-mix asphalt that can be bought by the bag.
Remove any loose debris from the damaged drive (Image 1).
Trowel in some cold-mix asphalt, leaving it slightly proud of the surrounding surface (Image 2).
Tamp it down using a wooden post offcut, or a tamper if you have one (Image 3).
Capping stones can loosen over time. Reseat them so that rain cannot penetrate the top part of the wall.
Remove the loose stone from the top of the wall (Image 1).
Chip out old mortar with a sledge hammer and chisel. Mix up some mortar. Lay it across the top of the brick course (Image 2).
Reposition the capping stone using a level to check position. Repoint the joints (Image 3).
The main problem with a gravel path is weeds. They can be controlled by weedkillers, but a longer-lasting solution is to use a weedproof membrane (geotextile fabric).
Move the gravel out of the path. Pile it up alongside the path, ideally on polythene sheets (Image 1).
Roll out a weedproof membrane along the path base, cutting as required (Image 2). Overlap joints by at least 4 in (100 mm).
Move the gravel back onto the membrane, and distribute evenly using a rake (Image 3).
Hairline cracks in concrete pads are no problem, but larger cracks should be filled. Excavate the crack to a good depth, to give the repair more surface area to stick to. Repairs to the edge of a slab are shown here.
Remove loose debris and dust out the hole as necessary (Image 1).
Use two bricks to support a section of plank that will hold the concrete in place while it dries (Image 2).
Fill the crack with concrete until it is level with the surrounding area (Image 3). Allow the concrete to dry before removing the bricks and plank.