How To Fix A Running Toilet & Tap

Is your toilet running? Well you better go catch it!

All jokes aside you really should get your leaky toilet fixed asap. If you’re a home owner, having leaky pipes can end up costing you BIG TIME when the water bill arrives and can lead to damage in other sections of your home. Not to mention, we live in a fairly drought prone country here in Australia so do your part not to waste water!

We’ve put together an easy to follow, step by step guide with the help of master toilet plumbers LJM Plumbing and Drainage that covers all the basics on how to stop your toilet running. If you’re still having problems after making it through our check list, then it might be time to call in a professional plumber to take a look at your toilet problem.

GOT A LEAKY LOO? THIS IS WHAT YOU NEED TO DOtightening toilet float arm

  1. Beside the pan of the toilet, turn the water tap off.
  2. Remove all water from the cistern by flushing.
  3. Lift off the lid of the cistern or unscrew the button on top to remove the lid.
  4. Make sure your water tap beside the pan is turned off.
  5. Look for the cistern outlet valve, this is located inside the cistern in the centre.
  6. Look at the cistern outlet valve to see what the problem is.
  7. You may need to remove the worn washers and replace them.
  8. Or you may need to install a new cistern outlet kit, these are available at Plumbing supply outlets.
  9. There are nuts under the cistern which you will need to undo. Make sure you have a bucket and sponge ready to catch or mop up any water that comes out.
  10. If the cistern outlet kit needs replacing, write down the model number and brand of your toilet and take it along with the old cistern kit to the plumbing suppliers. Do this even if you are unsure as to whether the washers need replacing or the whole cistern kit needs replacing, they will be able to advise you.
  11. When you have bought all the necessary parts, you will be able to reassemble your loo.
  12. Move the cistern outlet valve back to where it was positioned, tighten the nuts underneath.
  13. Replace your cistern lid, screwing the button back on if it was removed.
  14. Don’t forget to turn your water on again.

fixing toilet float


Drip, drip drip – very annoying; water gushing out where the spindle screws into the head of the tap fitting; or water coming out the fitting of the tap to the sink. If this is what’s occurring when you use your faucet, follow the instruction guide below and see if you can fix that sink.

accessing rubber washer leaking tap

  1. Assemble your tools, multi-grips, adjustable spanner, needle nose pliers, O rings, tap washers, and lubricant.
  2. Prevent the water from running into your house, by turning off the water at the water main which is usually in your front yard. Check the water is off by turning on some taps around the house.
  3. If the water has not stopped running, give a Plumber a call, the mains tap may be old and rusty.
  4. Once you have checked the water is not running, unscrew the head nut on the tap.
  5. Replace all three washers at this time to save having to just replace another single washer in the future.
  6. To do this, lift off the orange body washer which is located around the head nut.
  7. Very important – before you replace all washers and O rings, make sure your spindle and threaded areas are lubricated with a silicon lubricator or Vaseline.
  8. Change the O ring on the spindle, to do this get your needle nose pliers and with the help of a sharp knife (if necessary) remove the O ring. Replace it with the new O ring by giving it a bit of a stretch and guide it on the spindle.replacing inner washer on leaky tap
  9. To replace the tap washer, slide the old washer out off the spindle or if it is a bit hard to get out of the body of the tap, use small pliers to ease the washer out.
  10. Once your tap is reassembled, turn it on half way.
  11. Then turn the water main back on.
  12. When turning off your tap that has had the washers replaced turn it off gently so as not to damage the tap seat. It only needs to be turned until the water doesn’t come out. No need to tighten your tap, this will cause damage.
  13. If your tap will not stop flowing after you have done all this, please call your Plumber

So There you have it, some simple step by step instructions for all of our architect and engineer readers who are looking to do some plumbing work around the house. Always remember to turn your water off and if in doubt, call a professional!

Kitchen Cabinet Refacing: A New Look For Less

Most people cringe when considering a remodel of their kitchen cabinets. However, refacing is actually a green alternative to a full remodel, and the preferred method of updating an existing and functional kitchen. Cabinet refacing is an easy way to customize without the drama and expense of a full removal of the old kitchen framing and cabinetry. It’s also the most affordable process, costing half as much as new custom work by taking the old, dingy, and beat up cabinets and giving them a fresh, new appearance.

space saving kitchen

Kitchen Renovation For Less

Our favourite residential builders Vati Projects have been kind enough to give our readers three great cost saving ideas on how to refresh your tired kitchen without breaking the bank. After working in residential development and renovations for as long as they have, you can guarantee they’ve seen their fair share of kitchens and know exactly what works and what doesn’t, so get out your notepad and ready your tape measure, we’re about to get busy!

3 Kitchen Ideas to Get Things Started:

  • Bead Board Cabinets – the homey kitchen is coming back. In some ways it never left as a cosy cottage aesthetic is always in style. Using a new bead board cabinet face is an affordable option which can easily alter the look of your cabinets. Bead board is currently available in a variety of styles and patterns, very easy to repaint, (should the need for change arise again!) and is resistant to mould and mildew.

bead board kitchen

  • Functional Changes – it might be difficult to imagine what you could do with your cabinets other than their current configuration. However, modern cabinets can do so much more than just shelving. Drawers can contain spice racks. The doors slide open to house hidden areas for common kitchen utensils, and even larger pots and pans. Corner cabinets are now available with high-tech, space-saving storage options to make the most of “lost” or hard-to-use space. These are all ready to be overhauled with the money saved during a cabinet refacing.

corner drawers design

  • Updated Hinges and Hardware – No more slamming of drawers or cabinets. Modern hinges close slowly and gently, reducing noise, even when in a hurry. And new cabinet drawer glides can do the same for drawers. Cabinet handles and pulls can also go a long way towards updating an older kitchen.

hidden hinge kitchen


By preserving the existing cabinetry framework, you can re-route the savings into other areas until you realize your ultimate dream kitchen. Kitchen refacing allows for more options to become available that might otherwise be cut or delayed due to budget concerns. The extra cash can be used for an upgrade to the counter top, a custom, free-standing island, or additional storage space accessories and hardware options. You could also stretch the funds to finish the space with some decorative moulding, ceiling fan, custom lighting, or other personal touches like a rug.

You can save some green and be green at the same time with refacing. This eco-friendly, affordable alternative for remodelling your kitchen will keep your cabinet framework out of landfill and use fewer resources. And, a refacing upgrade will take far less time, allowing you back into new your kitchen quickly, and with far less disruption than would be created by a full rebuild. This is only possible when you consider custom kitchen cabinet refacing.

If you do decide to go the whole hog and do a complete kitchen renovation, be sure to check out this handy guide for kitchen renovations on Houzz.

Five Tips On Matching Your Home Décor With an Area Rug

Matching your home décor with area rugs may appear difficult, especially if it’s your first time playing interior designer. Homeowners often have to turn over the problem to a professional just to make sure everything will come out as expected. This can entail more expenses than initially planned; and suddenly ‘just a rug’ becomes a whole event. Before you find yourself reaching for your cheque book to commission your city’s latest and greatest interior decorator, have a read of our tips and give the designing a crack yourself.

modern bright rug matches furniture

See how the pillows match the rug? Neat!

Getting your home décor to match an area rug should ideally begin with the rug itself. These rug types normally contain a wide range of colors which can serve as a point of reference. In addition, the rug patterns of many area rugs are often interesting enough that they can combine perfectly with certain types of furniture. Classical fabrics can be continued onto the floor with classically inspired rug patterns for example.

Of course, this option will work only in situations where the home has yet to be formally decorated. In cases where the home design is already completed, the so-called inspiration piece concept is worth employing.

The inspiration piece strategy is used by several designers whenever they are in a fix as to how to match an available area rug to a given room decoration. This so-called piece can refer to any item placed inside the room which can be used as an anchor from which all subsequent designs within that room can be created. We see this quite often in T.V shows like the block or My House Rules where contestants will buy their rug online first and then get similarly coloured accompanying items like throw pillows and drapes to complete the look and style of the room.

Matching modern rug colours

Use the rug as the centrepiece for the room

Another way to effectively match area rugs with a given home design is to make good use of fabric swatches. This can be brought along when shopping around for a suitable area rug since they will serve as reminders of the type of colors already existing inside the home. Or if you don’t have time to go from shop to shop, most big name rug stores like Catwalk Rugs, Rugs-A-Million, Carpet Call, and so on have online rug showrooms you can use via your computer or phone. The Catwalk Rugs online store has some particularly good modern rugs and includes an extensive rug buying guide which covers everything from sizing to rug fibres.

In cases where the area rugs are being sold hanging up, it is best to ask that these be placed lying flat on the floor for a closer look. This will help create a better mental image as to how the rug will appear when placed inside the room. Other than that, light shines differently when rugs are placed in a horizontal position and will consequently affect their inherent appeal.

Being able to match your home décor with area rugs also has a lot to do with size. Rug colour as well as pattern is always a major consideration, but they will hardly matter if the rug is too small or too big for the intended area.

Essentially, an unusually huge rug can easily dwarf all furniture and create an unbalanced environment. On the other hand, rugs that come in generally smaller sizes will fail in getting to tie together all the existing furniture found inside a given room.

Shag rug in blue

Shaggy. The rug not the singer.

Matching your home with the right area rug may ultimately depend on how the rug complements the space where it’s to be put. Still, this is not entirely an iron-fisted rule that has to be followed by every single homeowner. At best, there should always be room for exceptions.

More importantly, no home decoration should be seen as permanent. There will be occasions when changes have to be made, and home renovation is one of them. You should relish the opportunity to redesign your old living space and using a brightly coloured modern rug may be the right choice. Or perhaps, you want a more traditional abode, in which case a Persian or Afghan styled rug might be the right choice. Whatever you decide, don’t be afraid! And remember you can always call in the professionals if you create a design disaster!

An Overview Of Outdoor Architectural Designs

For many Australians, the local weather can be quite unbearable at times, this is especially true during the summer months. In order to try and resolve the issue, a common option is to build homes that will help enhance coolness and reject excessive heat depending on the prevailing climate. However, there are emerging trends that lean towards the creation of outdoor architectural designs.

The concept of reducing incidences of extreme heat outdoors is rapidly gaining a following in the architecture world. As more and more reports of heat waves taking place in many parts of Australia roll in, efforts are being exerted towards addressing the issue not only inside the home, but outdoors as well.

using vegetation to funnel breeze

Source: YourHome Guide

With outdoor architectural designs, the focus is on promoting thermal comfort on the streets. There are a number of ways through which this can be done, but the creation of so-called urban forests is among the more effective methods.

In simple terms, creating an urban forest will involve the planting of more trees and various green plants on available street spaces or on parts of the property to funnel the breeze towards the house and provide passive shade. The planted vegetation should help bring in the needed breeze especially during summer, thus providing relief when outdoor heat becomes intolerable. You can find an in-depth guide of how to take advantage of passive cooling on the Australian Government Sustainable Homes Guide.

The concept is not entirely new and is not difficult to put into action. Spaces in between buildings usually exist, and they should serve as good starting points. In the case of buildings under construction, a so-called green infrastructure design can be considered.

Critics of outdoor architectural designs, however, claim that it will take time before the expected results can be gained. In the case of urban forests, the planting of vegetation and properly nurturing them to achieve full growth is a slow and painstaking process and many councils are unwilling to front the cost of using established trees.

Given this, there is a need to look for a few other solutions when addressing outdoor heat problems in Australia. Ideally, the solution should involve long-term planning with options for short-term or immediate results.

In this regard, street scape designs need to be overhauled to cater to the climate. Street scape designs, sometimes referred to as street-scaping, are meant to improve general road conditions. They primarily involve making changes to the overall sidewalk condition but can also require the introduction of new road cross-sections and traffic management schemes.

shadecloth covering playgroundStreet-scaping in most districts is designed by the town planning arm of the local council, and when planned comprehensively, should include the erection of street furniture like benches, utility poles, and the like. Along with planted vegetation and the appropriate tree covers, street furniture can help people to effectively handle adverse weather conditions like extreme heat. an example of this is playgrounds and areas for children that are commonly covered with shade cloths.

In the long run, street scape programs are intended to make the streets safe and habitable places where people can interact with one another. A wide range of social activities should eventually be held in these places which should go a long way in improving public health.

When viewed from a thermal comfort perspective, outdoor architectural designs like street-scaping are efficient measures by which people can learn to control their personal environment. More importantly, with access to generally safer and environment-friendly streets, people can discover various joyous activities like walking and cycling, thus effectively taking their minds off existing climatic discomforts.

Unlocking Urban Home Designs for Australian Homes

Extreme heat is hardly uncommon in Australia. However, this does not mean that local residents have come to accept their sad fate. Human comfort is, after all, a vital and important need and will always be sought no matter what. Towards this end, various urban home designs have been introduced with a view to helping Australians cope effectively with such weather conditions as extreme heat.

The distinctive Australian climate that has come to characterize the continent is most especially felt in urban areas. This should be understandable given the preference of many local residents to settle in and around the area where they can have easy access to shops, jobs, and shelter, among other things.

Wood Framed Bungalow

Nick Leith Smith Architects Eco Friendly Wood Framed Bungalow

Unfortunately, this preference has led to the deterioration of the urban climatic setting. As such, urban heat has become less and less bearable over the last few years. For this reason, it is not uncommon to find many Australians looking for ways on how to cope with an increasingly intolerable city heat.

This is where the concept of urban home designs acquires greater importance. Through these designs, it is expected that more Australian homes can eventually learn to cope with extreme heat. More importantly, they can help preserve the health of local residents especially the elderly and those who are sick.

Making use of urban home designs can mean taking the extra step to consider a few more home construction materials. For example, in areas where ground temperatures during the summer months can easily reach 19 degrees, flooring for the home should be constructed with concrete slabs that are adequately insulated.

An alternative to this is an elevated but lightweight and insulated flooring constructed alongside mass walls with high thermal settings. On the other hand, for ground temperatures that peak a little lower than 19 degrees when summer comes around, earth slabs should prove to be effective flooring materials. With today’s technology it’s possible to make these slabs from recycled building materials too!

For the roof, the common recommendation is to settle for materials bearing colours with significantly lighter shades. They offer an effective contrast to the prevailing heat especially during summer. More importantly, lightly coloured roofs help promote coolness within the atmosphere.

Beach house open plan

Herbst Architects Beach House design

Glazed windows, meanwhile, can make any home more attractive, but many experts in urban home designs believe that these should not be overused. Ideally, if glazing has to be considered as a window design, those with low U-value should be used.

Windows with low U-values have been found to resist heat flow more efficiently while offering better insulation at the same time. This should prove to be significant during summer when solar heat can be at its most extreme.

Additionally, urban home design experts have come to identify three distinct approaches when it comes to constructing the standard Australian home. These include the free running, the conditioned, and the hybrid approaches. The first involves a home where air movement is abundant as produced by fans as well as ventilation.

Conditioned buildings, meanwhile, require good insulation with the air conditioning system airtight especially when this is turned on. The hybrid urban home designs, on the other hand, are those where the rooms are fully insulated and conditioned while being surrounded by generally free and running areas at the same time. If you live in an area that tends to get the afternoon breeze then capitalize on it! Open plan living designs are a dime a dozen in Queensland so if you’re looking towards this option, perhaps reaching out to some Queensland based architects and building companies will be helpful.