Building Your Own Slate Patio

Slate is a perfect stone for the outdoor gardener. Durable and aesthetically pleasing, it highlights outdoor spaces and is both easy and cost effective to work with. Slate patios are quite easy to create and very versatile. The creation of a slate patio is a do-it-yourself project that can come to completion in the course of a day.


  1. Measure the area where the patio will be built. Mark the area with spray paint. Transmit these measurements to a professional at your local home improvement store. Your calculations will tell you the amounts needed for each of the materials you purchase.
  2. Cut along the marked area with a shovel. Next, remove the grass in the enclosed area with a shovel. If it is a large job, or if the material that is being cut in and removed is the pavement or concrete, use an excavator. It is best to hire a professional for this segment of the job, if that is the case.
  3. Use a level to determine that the cut area is level. Once this step is complete, you are ready for the work to proceed. If it is not well leveled, spread the dirt around with a shovel to level the area.
  4. Place the slate pieces in the patio area in the desired pattern. The slate can come in two ways. It can be in individual pieces or it can come as several pieces connected with a mesh material. Either way is fine. Pour the stone dust between the pieces of slate. Compress the powder with a barrel roller. Sweep the excess with a brush.
  5. Apply grout between the pieces of slate. Wipe the excess with a damp cloth or sponge. Next, apply a layer of weather-resistant sealcoating with a brush or roller. Let it dry for six to eight hours before stepping on or placing the furniture in the slate patio.

DIY Non-Toxic Paint

If you want to make crafts focused on children with materials such as wood and want to add a touch of color, it is much better to use non-toxic paint, so that if they are put the craft in their mouth there is no danger. At we explain how to make non-toxic wood paint. Reduce costs and produce your own version of this type of paint. You will only need some kitchen ingredients. Let’s do it!

  1. Collect plastic bottles. Squeezable ketchup or mayonnaise containers will be the ideal measure to carry out this activity, in addition to having the adapted liquid dispenser. When you finish the container, clean them thoroughly with warm water and soap.
  2. Before carrying out the activity, prepare the work area. Cover the surface with newspaper and remove all objects that may stain or break. Also, put old clothes that can be stained without problem.
  3. To make the color, you will need: measuring cups, a container and a blender (or a mixing spoon), as well as a funnel. We recommend that you make each color separately, so you can place them in each of the bottles you have.
  4. In the bowl, mix a cup of salt with one of flour and another of water. Using a blender or a large spoon, mix everything until you have a homogeneous paste and add a food coloring. For example, to give it a dark brown color you can also use coffee dissolved with water.
  5. Next, it’s time to apply a touch of color to the paste. How? Using food dyes. You will find these additives in any baking section of the grocery store. Add a few drops to the dough, mix and go verifying that the tone of the dough adapts to the one you want.
  6. Once you have the mixture of non-toxic paint made and with the desired color, place the funnel in the plastic bottle and pour the paint inside. Do it carefully.
  7. Ready! You now have your non-toxic paint to paint your wood crafts.


  • It is good that after painting and applying the color you want, apply a little wood polish.
  • You will need several coats to achieve a good color. Depending on how dry or humid the climate is, along with the number of layers used, the wood should be completely dry in about 3 hours.

Replacing Rain Gutters

Over time, rain gutters in your home may have to be replaced due to damage caused by termites, extreme weather conditions or even a fallen tree branch. Making do-it-yourself gutters is a relatively easy project because rain gutters can be replaced in parts. It is only necessary to repair the part that has been damaged.

Taking down the gutter that needs replacing

Clean any debris in the old rain gutters with a garden palette. Place scrap pieces of 2 by 4 inches of wood in the gutter so it retains its shape while you remove it. With a lever and a hammer, remove the spikes that hold the gutter in place, making sure to not damage the side of the house. Check the eaves boards that were under the old rain gutter. If you see signs of water damage or termite infestation, use the lever bar to remove the boards. Cut new boards to match the size and shape of the old eaves boards. These will be installed when attaching the new rain channels to the house.

Choosing your new rain gutters

Decide what type of rain channel you will install. Vinyl gutters are the least expensive and easiest to cut yourself, but they will not last as long as a more resistant material. They have an advantage over metal gutters, as they are impervious to rust. Aluminum gutters are durable, but can rust and can bend if they are hit by tree branches or other large objects. Steel gutters are very durable, but they cost more and are still susceptible to rust – unless they are made of stainless steel. Before you get rid of your old rain gutter, measure it so you know how long the new gutter needs to be. If you are using vinyl or aluminum rain gutters, you can cut them yourself with a hacksaw.

Installation of the new rain gutters

Put your new gutters up and connect the corners. Use silicone putty to seal the corner joints, making sure the putty dries before fixing the spout to the house. If you had to replace the eaves boards in the previous step, attach them to the house with galvanized wood screws. Drive a channel peak through each of the holes drilled in the inner edge. Run the channels so there is a slight slope down, which connects with the down spout. You want the water to flow freely out of the gutter, instead of pooling and overflowing.

How to Install a Roof Vent

Inadequate ventilation can cause roofing material in your home to deteriorate. The addition of roof vents increases the air flow and can extend the life of your tiles. Substantial money can be saved by installing ventilation ducts. Homeowners who have had some experience in roof repair can save even more money by installing the same vents.


  1. Set up an extension ladder on the side of the house and go up to the roof.
  2. Look for the ridge line; this is the angle at which the two sides of the roof meet.
  3. Look for frames, which are triangular wooden structures that are used to support the roof, with the beam detector.
  4. Measure 3 feet from the center of the ridge line, centered between two roof beams. Hammer a roofing nail into the roof to mark the center of the area where the vent will be installed.
  5. Measure the area of ​​the guide holes by using the nail as your center point. Drill a hole in each mark.
  6. Cut through the roof and plywood with skill saw. Make your cut following the marked guide holes. Keep the nail in the center to catch the cut piece when it is about to fall.
  7. Remove the shingles cut and felt with a roofing knife all the way around the edges of the new hole.
  8. Apply a generous layer of roofing sealant around the cut hole where the vent will sit.
  9. Place the vent grill over the hole and center it. Nail the top, sides and bottom of the ventilation grill on the roof with roofing nails. Make sure that the tiles are placed on the flange of the ventilation grill.
  10. Caulk all the nail heads and open seams around the vent.

Tips and warnings

  • Match the ventilation holes to your ceiling color.
  • Caulk generously to prevent future leaks.
  • Be careful to insure yourself when working on a roof.

How to Build Corner Shelves

Corner shelves provide a good solution for the storage of objects to display or hold, such as towels or plants. When you build these shelves, you can make them as elaborate or simple as you’d like. Joining the shelves directly to the wall is probably the easiest way to do it.


  1. Cut a section of wood into a triangle and keep firm on the corner where you want to go your shelf.
  2. Place your conveyor so that the ends are nearby. Run the tip side of the wall and pencil on wood. This will transfer the shape of the timber wall, so that you can build a shelf corner that fits perfectly.
  3. Use a saw to cut along the line you drew in pencil. Gently sanding the edges of the shelf.
  4. Paint or stain your corner shelves as you like.
  5. Screw support pieces of wood to the corner where you want to install your shelf. Paint them the same color as the wall so that once you have installed the corner shelves they “disappear.”
  6. Keep the shelf in place and drill from the bottom of the supports and through the bottom of the shelf to secure it in place.

Unclogging a Shower Drain with Baking Soda

When the shower drain is clogged with hair, oils and other scum that gets rinsed down it, it gets stuck with a slow draining pipe system that must be handled properly. When you pour those harsh chemical drain cleaners into the shower drain, harmful chemical ingredients are introduced not only to your home, but also to your plumbing system that can often be damaged by these types of chemicals. Instead, use baking soda to unclog the shower drain.


  1. Pour about 1 gallon of boiling water down the drain, which softens the clogged residue.
  2. Plunge vigorously with a plunger for 15 seconds to loosen the residue.
  3. Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar.
  4. Watch like two elements foam, which is normal and useful in the dissolution of the obstruction. Let the solution sit for one hour.
  5. Pour another gallon of boiling water down the drain.

Making Your Home Look Ten Times Better in Ten Minutes

At Apartment Therapy, we want to show you the way that real people live. So when I show up to shoot a tour, I don’t bring a whole truckload of props with me—usually it’s just me and my camera. Still, over the years I’ve developed a few quick tricks that I occasionally employ on shoots. They’re all simple things—tiny tweaks to get a home camera-ready—and they’re all things that you can do in ten minutes or less (really!) to make your home perfect for the most important of audiences: you.

Cut the clutter

A lot of what I do on shoots is just moving things out of the way. Almost everybody has these little spots of clutter—a box over here, a pile of papers over there. You may barely even notice these things, because you’re so used to seeing them. A neat trick I’ve found for spotting clutter that you can no longer see? Take a picture of your home. This will help you see it through new eyes, and maybe inspire you to find permanent homes for things that are sitting out.

Take something away

Was it Elizabeth Taylor who said that you should get dressed, look in the mirror, and then take off one accessory? (Ok, it was Coco Chanel, which makes more sense.) I would challenge you to do the same thing for your home. So many interiors have just a little too much stuff. And it’s really nice stuff! When I shoot interiors, I often feel torn as to which things to take out. But removing one or two items creates a more breathable, relaxing atmosphere, and gives the things that are left a chance to really shine. This doesn’t mean you have to get the rid of the things you love—move them to another room, or put them in storage, and then rotate them back in (and take something else out) when you’re ready for a change.

Let your furniture breathe

Another trick I often employ is taking furniture pieces and moving them just slightly farther away from one another. Try it! Even a few inches can make a big difference. If you have the space, giving your furniture a little extra room to breathe can give your space a lighter, airier, feel. Another trick? Pulling furniture just a few inches away from the wall.

Add flowers!

If you look closely, you’ll notice a thing that many of the most beautiful house tour shoots have in common: fresh cut flowers. A touch of nature adds liveliness and texture to a room, and can help to soften the lines of a modern space. Having fresh flowers all the time could get a bit expensive, but you can achieve the same effect with a houseplant, which is (hopefully) a one-time purchase.

Embrace the diagonal

One way to make a picture a little more exciting is to take one thing in the photo and angle it just a bit. You can try this with furniture pieces like accent chairs or ottomans—there’s no rule that says everything has to sit on a grid. By looking at your home like a stylist, you can unlock the potential that’s been there all along.

How to Create a Woodgrain Finish on White Paint

Projects creating faux finishes are usually fun, but sometimes can become a challenge. The key to achieving quality work is to be bold enough to try to create it yourself. When it comes to reproducing the grain of wood, it is best to apply all the colors in a single layer. In this way, the colors are mixed effectively, creating the sensation of watching the layers that make up real wood. To achieve the desired effect, begin working with a sample of authentic wood as a guide. Surely you can find excellent examples of various types of grain in samples you would get to pick out wood stain. If you want to reproduce the grain of the wood on a layer of white paint, choose a sample of bleached oak or pine.


  1. Prepare a test piece by applying a layer of the same color of the surface and a translucent white paint using a piece of material similar to what you will cover with the finish. You can use a wooden board 12 inches (30 cm) long and at least six inches (15 cm) wide. Apply the paint with a brush using long, straight strokes along the grain. Let dry completely.
  2. Pour a small amount of white paint, light gray and black on a tray. Preferably use semi-gloss latex paints for interiors. Such formulas better adhere to most surfaces and are easy to work and clean, plus they do not emit toxic gases.
  3. Dip the end of a soft-bristled brush tip “sash” type of 1/2 inch (1.2 cm) in diameter, in a bucket or pail of water. Drag the bristles through the edge of the container to squeeze the water until it stops dripping. Load the brush to about one inch (2.5 cm) from the tip end with white paint. Submerge only the end in the gray paint and only the tip of the brush in the black color.
  4. Work in long, straight movements when applying paint to the surface, pressing the brush slightly to make the stroke of the three colors. Drag the brush back along the same path, so you paint back and forth. Applying paint in sections, one at a time, more or less the size of your test piece.
  5. Retrace the section, adding the colors that are not as pronounced. Gray and black should be seen as blurred streaks or lines. Check your wood sample to see if you combine and experiment more with the mixture to obtain a design that you’re happy with.
  6. Use a fine artist brush to paint the lines of the grain with gray and some black. Mimic the lines in the wood sample you have chosen and add some curves. Create areas where the vein becomes darker and add a thin white line along the edge to highlight it. This will help you create an effect of depth and shading.
  7. Go over the dry surface from front to back, with a clean brush. You can rinse the brush tip and use it in this step or work with a wider one. This improves the effect of the grain and mixed hues not too different remaining together. The aim is to give the impression of natural wood without knowing it’s actually is a paint job.
  8. Continue to improve the grain, giving reflections on the surface, always trying to work in the right direction. If you’re going to paint a piece of furniture or a detail like molding, make sure the lines are alternated in the same way as they would on a piece of real wood. For example, if the lines of the grain in an authentic piece or your sample have an angle of 90 degrees in a corner, try to paint the piece perpendicular to piece painted earlier.

Homemade Ant Repellent

While ants can actually help your yard by breaking down organic matter and aerating the soil, they can also be pests once they enter your home to look for food and water. Ants are the most frequent pests to enter the home. You can buy ant sprays and nebulizers to get rid of them, but these products can be detrimental to your health, and it is a hassle to cover your furniture and other objects before using them. These aerosols or sprays can be expensive. However, there is an alternative, and it can be done right at home. By using the following steps you can make your own homemade ant repellent.


  1. Put 2 cups of distilled white vinegar in a large bowl. Vinegar contains natural compounds that can alter the smell that ants use to communicate. Ants rely on odor routes left by other ants to guide the members of the colony to sources of food in their home.
  2. Add 4 tablespoons of cayenne pepper to the mixture. Cayenne pepper contains a potent substance called capsaicin that is an irritant to ants. Some commercial ant repellents contain capsaicin as an ingredient.
  3. Add a cup of grated grapefruit, lemon and orange peels in the mixture. The peels of these citrus fruits contain a potent chemical called limonene that naturally repels ants. Limonene is added to many commercial chemical insecticides. The peeling can also improve the effects of the other ingredients in the mix.
  4. Add two cloves of chopped garlic to the mixture. Apart from its strong odor, garlic contains an active ingredient called illicit that releases potent compounds that propel insects away. The addition of garlic to the mixture will also act as a preservative and increase the potency of the other ingredients.
  5. Shake the ingredients together and carefully pour in a large spray bottle. Spray the areas of the house where the ants normally gather, such as kitchen corners, bathrooms, basement floors and any doorway in your room. Spray this mixture around your house once every 2 days.

Tips and warnings

  • The strong smell of this ant-repellent home will disappear in about 3 minutes after spraying. It is a safe solution that does not harm small children or pets.

Waterproof and Water Resistant Paints

There are various types of paints that withstand water, either a wet basement walls, storms or constant immersion. Find a paint that is water repellent or waterproof. The kind of paint you choose will depend on the type of work you’re doing and the surface on which you will apply. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for preparation and priming. Even the best paint does not look good if applied on a dirty or damp surface. Never apply the paint without proper ventilation and use a face mask to help with the fumes.

Exterior paint

Exterior latex paints, enamel and oil are water repellent and designed to last several season and through storms. Varnish also creates a water resistant surface when applied correctly. Some exterior paints are formulated to particular climatic conditions. Latex paint is lower in volatile organic compounds (VOC) than paint that is oil based.

Masonry Picture

Masonry paint used on stucco, concrete and cement are latex-based or acrylic. Oil paints are not suitable for masonry surfaces. A coat of paint can help masonry waterproofing a basement leak if the surface is properly prepared; some situations require special waterproofing primer. If you are painting a concrete floor or deck, be sure to choose a recommended floor polish; they are made to endure repeated use and washings.

Marine paint

For surfaces that are frequently or constantly soaked you might consider using marine paint, also called coating or waterproofing. Marine paints are popular for use on metal surfaces and can form a protective coating that retards rust and corrosion.

Other finishes

If you are painting a wooden surface, you can consider products like varnish and lacquer finish. These mixtures of resin and solvent can be applied to untreated wood or wax, oil or stain for durability and gloss, and dry on the surface when the solvents evaporate. Applying varnish or lacquer is a more difficult process to apply than paint; you need to do your homework or get help from a professional.