DIY – How to Paint

Brushing is a job to others but if you are on a budget it could be a game to do it your own way, This a comprehensive guide on how to paint like a pro from Maramani

The very initial step in painting is estimating how much paint you need, grab a tape measure and measure all the walls ready to receive the painting, usually one gallon of paint covers 400 square feet

Painting Checklist


Interior emulsion paint – also known as wall and ceiling paint
Decorating cloths
Masking tapePrimer paint in some cases


Tape measure
Paint pad and paint pad tray – if needed
Stepladder or work platform
Retractable knife
Paint kettle and paint kettle hook – to keep your paint in place whilst you work at height
Paint roller, sleeve, and trays
Roller extension poles – useful for both ceilings and walls
Paint can opener alternatively you can use the flat-head screwdriver
Paint stirrer/ a stick would do
Paint guard – also known as a decorating shield
Radiator roller – if needed
Roller cleaner

Safety kit

Decorators overalls – to keep your clothing clean
Shoe covers – to avoid treading paint into other rooms

Before starting the actual painting have someone assist you in moving furniture outside or to the center of the room in case of heavier furnishings, cover them with drop clothes to avoid accidental  staining,Cover furniture and move to the middle of the room.

If you intend to paint the ceiling disengage the chandeliers and all lighting fixtures, that way,  you will work faster

Prepare your walls 

It’s necessary to allocate a few hours prepping your walls; patching holes, cleaning, and sanding are all relevant to achieving the best result. This isn’t the fun part of painting a room, but it is the most important part. No paint, regardless of its cost, color, thickness, or manufacturer’s claims, will hide a cracked surface.

You will need few tools for the preliminary works

• Filler  & spatula – Use to cover any holes.

• Metal paint scraper – Use to scrape off any peeling or cracking paint (if necessary) before sanding.

• Fine 80 grit sandpaper – Use to even out rough texture and smooth down any bumps, choose one that indicates suitability for plastered surfaces on the packaging

• Mild soap & water solution – Use to clean any dirt or grease off walls before priming.

• Painter’s tape – Use to tape off borders so paint doesn’t bleed into areas you are not painting; also use painter’s tape to cover hardware and outlets.


step 1  

If surfaces have been freshly cemented or are discolored from nicotine, rainwater or mould decay , offer a sealer or prime coat first. This extra step will help the paint to adhere to the surface and will minimize the total number of coats required.

Prime coat  sometimes known as stain blockers. will help to reduce the likelihood that staining will leak through the top coats of paint over time so that you won’t need to repaint in the near future. For freshly plastered walls, choose a specialist plaster sealer.

step 2

Cut in around the edges of the room.

This will include;

  • coving ( top of the wall meets the ceiling )
  • skirting (where the bottom of the wall meets the floor )
  • windows and door frames.
  • You may also have light switches, sockets, heaters and radiators you’ll need to cut in around.

Use a good quality 38mm (1½”) or 50mm (2”) precision tip or angled brush for this. These brushes should help you to paint a neat, straight line.

Step 3 

Pour emulsion paint into the storage of the paint tray until it is approximately one-third full. Dip the roller sleeve into the paint, and spread evenly by rolling it firmly on the ribbed incline of the tray. To reduce splatters as you work, avoid overloading the sleeve with paint.

You can use a roller with or without a roller pole to paint walls – whichever you find most comfortable. A roller pole can make it easier to reach the top of the wall, but you can also use a step ladder or work platform to reach if you prefer.Use a roller grid with a bucket.

Step 4

Work out from the ends by rolling paint in 1m wide ‘W’ patterns and go back over the W to fill in the open areas. The intention is to apply the paint evenly and always work from a ‘wet’ edge.

Always work from top to bottom

Roll the paint in a zig-zag pattern.

step 5 

Once you get some paint on the walls you can go back along the edges. Turn the roller sideways to get really close to the ceiling and baseboards.

To remove buildup and runs, lightly roll over the painted area from the ceiling down to the floor. Apply very little pressure.

Lightly roll from ceiling to the floor.

Now that you’ve finished your painting, it’s time to give your brushes and rollers a good clean so they’re ready for use next time.

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Inside one of China’s largest ghost towns: Development next to nuclear power plant left deserted as locals fear radiation poisoningWhere is everyone? The complex in Huizhou in Guangdong province in the southeast of China is one of the country's largest white elephants
  • The complex in Huizhou, in the southeast of China, is one of the country’s largest white elephants
  • Named Dayawan, the buildings stand near to a nuclear power plant which has put people off living in the area
  • Recently at night lights were seen on in only two out of 2,328 apartments

This is one of China’s ghost towns – a 14 square mile development where no-one wants to live.

The complex in Huizhou in Guangdong province in the southeast of China is one of the country’s largest white elephants.

Named Dayawan, the buildings stand near to a nuclear power plant.

Where is everyone? The complex in Huizhou in Guangdong province in the southeast of China is one of the country’s largest white elephantsImage result for china ghost town


Locals fear radiation poisoning and have kept away.

The development is also at least an hour’s drive from the nearby major metropolis of Shenzhen, another factor for keeping it empty of residents.

Despite the fact that the homes are low cost, developers have been unable to sell them.

The development is also at least an hour’s drive from the nearby major metropolis of Shenzhen

White elephant: Rows upon rows of apartment blocks stand empty in Huizhou in Guangdong provinceWhite elephant: Rows upon rows of apartment blocks stand empty in Huizhou in Guangdong province

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Why Kenyans Needs to invest in solar energy

Last night Kenya and Uganda were plunged into darkness following a blackout in major towns. The power outage comes months after a similar blackout was experienced in Kenya but this time Kenya went down with Uganda.  Kenya power and The utility firm in Uganda confirmed on their twitter. 

It just about the time we invest in solar farming and other sources of renewable energy, I thought should highlight the benefits of solar energy because it is readily available. 


There are many reasons why you should go solar, but improving the environment and cutting energy costs are the most common. Whether your motivations for going solar are economic, environmental, or personal here is why you should go solar. 

  • Reduce your electric bills 
  • Increase your property value – Realtors whose homes are fully equipped with solar systems are rated highly in the price tags 
  • Protect the environment – Solar is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. The burning of fossil fuels releases harmful toxins into the earth’s atmosphere, and drilling for geothermal energy could lead to earthquakes. However, one of the most important benefits of solar energy is that it does not harm the earth.
  • Sustainability – The sun generates 10,000 times more energy than the earth needs annually and using this energy does not affect the performance of the sun therefore solar energy is a clean source of energy that has a much lower environmental impact than conventional energy technologies.
  • Finally, One of the benefits of solar energy that many people appreciate the most is that it is available off the national grid. In other words, people can become self-sufficient and enjoy all of the power they need for their homes and businesses and avoid all this mess of national blackouts.  

Always remember technology does not cost money it saves money. 


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Futuristic Plastic Roads

Plastic roads are roads made either entirely of plastic or of composites of plastic with other materials. Plastic roads are different from standard roads in the respect that standard roads are made from asphalt concrete, which consists of mineral aggregates and asphalt. Currently, there are no records of regular roads made purely of plastic, although In India things are quite different .

The indian Government order in November 2015 has made it mandatory for all road developers in the country to use waste plastic, along with bituminous mixes, for road construction. This is to help overcome the growing problem of plastic waste disposal in India.Plastic composite roads, however, have existed and demonstrate characteristics superior to regular asphalt concrete roads; specifically, they show better wear resistance. The implementation of plastics in roads also opens a new option for recycling post consumer plastics.

Back in India, The plastic composite roads is not an ideal method, since the plastic is not exploited for all of its properties. So far, no large scale,  methodical approach has been employed to build roads entirely of plastics.

Imagine that constructing a road would take days instead of months. That roads would last three times as long. That maintenance and traffic disruption are things of the past. And that cable and piping problems as well as the urban water problem are solved overnight.

This may sound like a scenario in the distant future, but nothing could be further from the truth. An innovative concept proposed by a Dutch company, Volkerwessels, aims to create roads entirely of recycled plastic. Every component of the Plastic Road is being designed to make its application completely circular, with the goal of using recycled plastic as much as possible.

The Plastic Road concept consists of a prefabricated, modular and hollow road structure made from (recycled) plastic. The prefabricated production, the light weight and the modular design of the Plastic Road make construction and maintenance faster, simpler and more efficient compared to traditional road structures

The Plastic Road has a hollow space that can be used to (temporarily) store water, thus preventing flooding during extreme precipitation. The hollow space can also be used for the transit of cables and pipes, thus preventing excavation damages.

Plastic-bitumen composite roads have better wear resistance than standard asphalt concrete roads. They do not absorb water, have better flexibility which results in less rutting and less need for repair. Road surfaces remain smooth, are lower maintenance, and absorb sound better.

Volkerwessels in conjunction with total and KWS  are currently working hard on the business case and is investigating the best way to produce the Plastic Road. The development of a first prototype will start soon. Once the Plastic Road meets all the technical, environmental and safety requirements, a pilot installation will be built to perform practical tests.

The expected lifetime of the Plastic Road is two to three times as long as that of traditional road paving.

The expected construction time of a new road will be reduced by approximately 70%

The Plastic Road is four times as light as a traditional road structure

The Plastic Road is 100% circular and is made from recycled plastic as much as possible.


Next time we zero in on Permeable roads  Thank you for reading .

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SmartFlower Solar Panels !

The Smart Flower’s name comes from its design – the solar cells are arranged on individual “petals” that open at the beginning of each day. After the sun goes down, the Smart Flower’s petals fold up and a self-cleaning process kicks in.

In addition to solar cells, the Smartflower system contains a dual-axis tracker that makes it possible for its “petals” to follow the sun across the sky throughout the day. Thanks to this tracking capability, the Smartflower can produce significantly more electricity than a similarly-sized rooftop solar panel system – up to 51 percent more, according to Smartflower’s website. The 12-petal, 194 square-foot structure comes with 2.5 kilowatts (kW) of electricity production, which is equivalent to a 4 kW fixed rooftop array.

There are two versions of the Smartflower available in the U.S., both of which are manufactured in Austria: the Smartflower and the Smartflower-Plus. The Smartflower-Plus offers energy storage capabilities via an integrated battery in addition to the standard solar electricity generation that the Smartflower offers.

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World Bank values Dar es Salaam’s real estate $2.7 billion more than Nairobi

World bank has ranked Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam’s real estate ahead of Nairobi and Addis Ababa in its latest report. According to the report, the economic value of the real estate industry in Dar es Salaam is approximately US$12 billion above Nairobi’s ($9 billion. According to the report, Nairobi lags behind as a result of weak property rights and land fragmentation. Addis Ababa is ranked third at $6 billion, Kigali fourth at $2billion. The report does not include Uganda and Burundi.

The report describes Dar, Addis and Nairobi as having low economic values in comparison to similar cities.

“The low economic value comes from the way land is organised – in small fragments – reducing the scope to scale up investment in housing and commercial complexes. Small scale urban development increases cost of construction and makes it costly to lay down supporting services and infrastructure,” Somik Lall of the World Bank said, adding that there is need to clarify property rights – “because in many parts of Nairobi, land is not utilised to its full potential.”

The report also urges Nairobi and Dar to co-ordinate land and transport development in order to create value.

“As you will see in cities such as Nairobi, the share of land allocated for mobility – is limited. This further reduces the extent to which the city can support economically dense structures.”

In Nairobi, for instance, commercial and industrial structures account for 55 per cent of the total value of building stock — even though these structures occupy just four percent of the city’s area.”

“Residential development is urgently lacking,” it says, adding to a growing chorus on Kenya’s housing deficit of about 200,000 units annually.

Property development has more recently been seen as a safe investment bet in Kenya, making it a popular cash-generating option for investors.

This is evidenced by the numerous giant cranes on the city’s commercial districts such as Upper Hill and Westlands.

Property experts yesterday acknowledged that office space charges are higher in Dar at an average of $22 per square metre compared to Nairobi’s $12 – $14.

They, however, said that rents have been falling in Dar even as growth remains steady in Nairobi, making the Kenyan capital more lucrative in terms of return on investment.

“Honestly, we are struggling to sell space in Dar. So based on a long-term view, Nairobi’s capital value will be higher,” said Ben Woodhams, the managing director of Knight Frank – a property firm with a footprint in Kenya and Tanzania.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much it costs to construct a building but how much returns it generates,” he added.

The World Bank report, however, says Nairobi has the highest replacement value for its built-up area and built-floor area ahead of Dar, Addis Ababa and Kigali, even as it lags the global standards.

“Our analysis of imagery from satellites and geographic information systems (GIS) confirms that in African cities, capital investment not only appears low near the urban core, but rapidly declines outside it.”

Mr Woodhams said property markets in Dar and Nairobi tell of different stories since the majority of new buildings in Tanzania are government-funded while Kenya’s is private sector-driven.

He said that the swanky public buildings in Dar are likely to generate near zero-returns in the near term since they are occupied by parastatals and government departments, meaning Dar is expected to record a drop in capital value should the lull in the private sector activity persist.

The shine on Kenya’s property market has in recent years pulled in multinationals in droves, especially Chinese firms that now dominate the construction sector.

Chinese investment firm Avic International is, for instance, constructing a Sh9.6 billion complex in Westlands, comprising a 35-floor five-star hotel, apartments and 43-floor office blocks.

Besides, Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani has a big presence in Kenya through his local company Delta Corporation East Africa.

The firm has recently developed the Iconic Delta Corner twin towers in Westlands and another tower in Upper Hill that it sold to the World Bank.

“The urbanisation of people has not been accompanied by the urbanisation of capital. This manifests itself into cities not being able to fully tap into their economic potential. We use various metrics to make this point, including some new analysis based on calculating the replacement value of building stock in the city,” the study says.

The World Bank purchased Delta Centre from Mr Ambani to host its Kenyan offices at a cost of $22.8 million (Sh2.3 billion) while consultancy firm PwC bought one part of the Westlands towers.

Multi-billion shilling Garden City Mall, which opened its doors in 2015 on Nairobi’s Thika Road, is owned by British investment firm Actis.

Investment firm Centum opened Two Rivers Development on February 14, a multi-billion shilling real estate project in Kiambu that is designed to host the largest shopping mall in the region.

Two Rivers, which comprises a shopping mall, hotel, office blocks and apartments, sits on a 102-acre piece of land on Limuru Road in Kenya’s capital city.

Also in the top end of commercial real estate market is Dubai-based real estate company Abcon International LLC, which plans to build a Sh5.52 billion towering complex in Nairobi comprising a shopping mall, office block and a hotel modelled on Singapore’s Iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

The 35-storey skyscraper will be located in Nairobi’s commercial district of Upper Hill. The mixed-use development will also feature luxury apartments and an amphitheatre.

Kenya’s property market has boomed in recent years, catching the eye of deep-pocketed foreign developers from China, India, Britain and United Arab Emirates.

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Honeycombs in concrete

Honeycombs are hollow spaces and cavities left in concrete mass on surface or inside the concrete mass where concrete could not reach. These look like honey bees nest.

Honeycombs which are on sides are visible to naked eyes and can be detected easily as soon shuttering is removed. Honey combs which are inside mass of concrete can only be detected by advanced techniques like ultrasonic testing .

Honeycomb is due to non-reaching of concrete to all places due to which cavities and hallow pockets are created, main reasons are:

1) Improper vibration during concrete.

2) Less cover to reinforcement bars

3) Use of very stiff concrete (this can be avoided by controlling water as per slump test).

4) Places like junction of beam to beam to column and to one or more beams are the typical spots where honey combs are observed. This is due to jumbling of reinforcement of beams and column rods at one place; special attention is required at such place during concreting and vibrating.

5) Presence of more percentage of bigger size of aggregate in concrete also prevents concrete to fill narrow spaces between the reinforcement rods.

Remedies for Honeycombs in Concrete

Strictly speaking wherever honeycombs are observed concrete should be broken and the portion should be re concreted after applying grouting chemical to the old surface. Honeycombs as a defect not only reduces the load bearing capacity but water finds an easy way to reinforcement rods and rusting and corrosion starts. Corrosion is a process which continues through reinforcement rods even in good concrete, this result in loosing grip between rods and concrete, which is very dangerous to safety and life of concrete structures. R.C.C. structures have failed with in 20 or 30 years of their construction which is less than half their projected life. Especially no risk should be taken in case of columns, Machine foundations, Rafts, Beams etc., where breaking and recasting is the only best way.

In case of honey combs on surface pressure grouting with cement based chemicals which are non-shrinkable can be adopted after taking opinion of the designer and acting as per his advice.

It will not be out of context to point out that contractors and their supervisors are in the habit of hiding honey combs by applying super facially cement plaster on the honey combs, hence site engineer must be very cautious.

At places of junction of columns and beams concrete with strictly 20mm and down aggregates should be used with slightly more water and cement to avoid honeycombs. Taping with wooden hammer the sides of shuttering from outs side during concreting and vibrating will help minimizing honeycombs to a great extent in case of columns and beams. Use of thinner needle say 25mm or less with vibrator at intricate places of concreting will also help in reducing honey combs.

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Zoning restrictions in Runda

Residents of the upmarket Runda estate in Nairobi have opposed the development of a multi-billion shilling luxury hotel associated with wealthy businessman Ahmed Jibril.

Officials of Runda Association (RA) claim the proposed 200-bed hotel and conference facility that Paddock Investments is developing in the affluent neighbourhood is in breach of security and requirements of controlled development.

“The proposed development is located in a gated residential community of single dwelling homes within Runda Estate. Each house sits on approximately 0.5 of an acre and the developments are controlled.

“The amalgamation and change of user is against zoning restrictions and is in breach of other applicable special conditions regulating the parent grant of Runda Estate,” the residents’ association chairman Isaac Gitoho said in a letter sent to Nairobi governor Evans Kidero, Nema director-general Geoffrey Wahungu and John Mwatu, the general manager, design and construction, at the Kenya Urban Roads Authority.

The letter says Mr Jibril, who is Foreign Affairs secretary Amina Mohammed’s brother, purchased 18 plots for which he sought amalgamation of (15 of the plots) and also sought change of user from residential to commercial (Hotel and Hotel suites).

“This negates all planning regulations, compromises security of the neighbourhood, will contribute to ground water pollution and cause degradation of the Runda residential roads,” said Mr Gitoho.

Paddock Investments plans to build the 200-bed hotel and a conference centre in Runda targeting business tourists and diplomats working in the neighbourhood such as the United Nations, the US and Canadian embassies.

Paddock Investments directors include Amina Mulik Ali, ARJ Capital Limited, Sudhir Jayantilal Patel and Billow A. Kerrow. 

Documents obtained by the Business Daily show that the Nairobi county government has cleared development of the hotel.

Runda residents have, however, maintained their opposition to the project questioning how the county government approved amalgamation of the 15 plots and change of user from residential to a hotel.

“We as an association make a resolution to petition the county government to stop construction of the hotel,” former anti-graft chief PLO Lumumba, who is a resident, said at a meeting held at Lord Eroll Hotel last week.

Mr Jibril, who identified himself as the chairman of Paddock Investments, however maintained that the planned investment is above board and would not breach the set standards as claimed by the residents.

“I have good intentions and the area needs such an investment. All the approvals have been above board,” he said, even as he disassociated the Foreign Affairs secretary from his investment activities.

He said the proposed hotel would eliminate the need to approve numerous medium-sized hotels and guesthouses that expose the area to serious security lapses.

Runda Association, however, says in a letter to the Ministry of Land and Mr Kidero that there was no public participation in approving the change of use for the plots purchased as required by law.

Houses in Runda: The residents argue that the proposed development would irreversibly alter the character of the neigbourhood

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