Need to complete a plastering DIY job but have absolutely no idea where to start? Considering a career change to plastering but lack the expertise to make it happen? Fear not, Access Training is on hand to help prepare you for whatever it is that lies ahead. Like with all trades, the first step is to take a look at exactly what it is and understand some of the terms and definitions you'll come across. To assist with this, we've put together a brief list of some of the common plastering definitions to get you started;

Accelerator: A material that shortens the setting time of plasters and other cement-like materials.

Admixture: Any substance added to a plaster component or plaster mortar for the purpose of modifying its properties.

Aggregate: Granular material that does not contribute to the hardening reaction of the mortar.

Bonding Mortar: A mortar to produce a first bonding coat in a multicoat system. Usually applied in a thin coat.

Correction Time: The maximum time interval during which adjustment is possible without significant loss of final strength. This may be also referred to as adjustability.

Dot and Dab: A technique used to attach plasterboard to walls using small lumps of adhesive.

Float: A tool or procedure used to straighten and level the finish coat, to correct surface irregularities prodDouced by other tools, or to bestow a distinctive surface texture.

Grout:  A mortar or paste for filling crevices, esp. the gaps between wall or floor tiles

Hawk: A tool used by plasterers to hold and carry plaster.

Mortar: A plastic mixture composed of water and a cementitious material, which may be machine or hand applied, and which hardens in place.

Screed: To level or straighten a plaster coat application with a rod, darby or other similar tool

Setting Time: The time after which the mortar begins to harden. After this time the mortar is normally stable in the presence of water.

Substrate: Immediate surface to which the mortar is to be applied. In the case of a coating to be applied to an existing render, the render would be the coating's substrate.

Unsound: This refers to the condition of plaster where the hardened mass has lost internal strength, exhibiting cracking/spalling/delamination/etc. This general state may be contributed to by excessive aggregate addition, water damage, poor drying conditions, overwatering and other factors.

Now that you know some of the definitions you may come across when plastering, its time to have a go at the real thing. However attempting a job without proper training could not only prove expensive, but you might end up doing lasting damage to the wall or surface you're working on. To get the most rounded plastering experience the best option is a comprehensive plastering course from Access Training. With a variety of different courses for different skill levels, our experienced teaching staff will either fully prepare you for future DIY work or help you attain the vital qualifications needed to gain employment as a professional plasterer. With our courses open to people of all ages and backgrounds, you could just be a phonecall away from gaining a valuable new skill that will stay with you for the rest of your life. To find out more please take a look at our courses page or call us on 0800 345 7492.

To round of the week we turn to capentry for our quick definition guide. Hopefully this post will give you a beginner understanding of some of the more basic terms carpenters use, and you'll be able to use them to build up your own DIY knowledge or even as the first step in becoming a professional carpnenter!

Architrave: The ornamental mouldings fitted around a door or window frame. These also cover the joint between the plaster and wood framing.

Auger: A long drill-bit-like tool turned with the hands, usually by means of a handle.

Bead: A rounded shape cut into a square edge to soften the edge and provide some protection against splitting. When several beads are placed together, they are called Reeds. If the bead lies below the surface, it is referred to as a Sunk Bead.

Bench Hook: A workbench accessory used to provide a stop against a piece of wood being worked can be placed to hold it steady whilst cutting, planing, or chiseling that piece of wood.

Brace: A part of a timber or metal structure spanning a diagonal space that adds strength and stability, and resists compression or tension.

Dado: Decorative panelling applied to the lower part of an internal wall.

Dado Rail: Decorative moulding applied to an internal wall at a height of around 1m. 

Dowel: A short length of wood, round in section, used for a variety of purposes such as joining timbers, plugging fixing holes etc.

Eaves: The bottom edge of a roof that meets the walls of the structure. This is also where the water is collected into the gutter.

Fibreboard: A lightweight and weak manufactured board often used when making cheaper furniture.

Grain: The appearance, size and direction of the fibres of the timber.

Hardboard: Manufactured board made with compressed particles of wood formed together. One side of the board smooth with the other side rough. Hardboard in sheet form is often used and subfloor covering to give a smooth and flat surface.

Joists: Lengths of timbers that support ceilings and floors, usually fixed in parallel.

Mitre: A 45 degree angle joint that neatly joins two pieces of timber together.

Stud wall: A timber framed internal wall faced with plasterboard that is non-load bearing.

While this should be enough to get you started on the theory side of things, the next step is to find the correct carpentry training that can offer you exactly what you need. You might want to gain qualifications and seek employment as a professional carpenter, or alternatively you could simply be looking tp build up your DIY skill set properly. Access Training offer a range of carpentry courses to suit both parties, and are available to everyone no matter their background or skill level. To find out more about what we can give you, take a look at our courses page or give our team a call on 0800 345 7492.

Continuing our series of glossaries to help getting budding tradesmen and DIY enthusiasts on their way, we next turn to the world of tiling. Can't tell a grout from an adhesive? The term "base row" got you confused? Here's a list of some of the most common tiling definitions to help get you started;

Base row: This is your first row of tiles. Laying this is an important stage of tiling, as this provides the foundations for the rest of the tiles. These tiles must be straight, so be sure to use a spirit level.

Bond:  The adherence of one material to another. Effective bonds must be achieved between the scratch coat and mortar, between the mortar and tile, and between the backing and adhesive.

Border Tile: Borders add colour, pattern and texture to a tiling scheme and are available in porcelain, ceramic, glass and natural stone.

Fixing Time:  The length of time, after applying an adhesive, that the tiles can be fixed.

Grout: A cement-like setting mix used for filling in the gaps between tiles once the adhesive has set. It is available in a range of different colours.

Grout sealant/sealer: Most grouts are porous, meaning they absorb water over time which can cause problems with mould, damp and dirt. To prevent this, a grout sealant is applied over the grout once it has set.

Mounted Tile:  Tiles that have been assembled into sheets or units onto suitable material to facilitate handling and installation. They may be back-mounted, face-mounted or edge-mounted.

Set Time:  The time, usually in hours, after which a bonded tile can be grouted and/or walked upon without affecting the bond. The set time for ready mixed adhesives varies greatly depending on the materials used.

Spacers: Cross-shaped plastic pieces that are used to ensure an equal gap between tiles when laying them.

Tanking:  Applying a liquid waterproof membrane, usually incorporating a mesh, in areas such as showers to protect moisture sensitive background substrates from water impregnation.

Tile Adhesive: A special type of glue used for bonding tiles to a surface. There are different varieties available depending on the area to be tiled, such as standard, waterproof and heatproof adhesives. Standard adhesive should only be used if the area you are tiling will not come into contact with water.

However knowing these definitions is only going to help you so much. To be able to tile kitchens, bathrooms and more to a professional standard, what you'll need is an intensive tiling training course. Access Training offer a number of tiling courses that will not only provide DIYers with the skills they need for their latest home rennovation project, but also the qualifications trainee tilers need for a long and rewarding career in the tiling industry. For more information visit our courses page or contact us on 0800 345 7492 to book your place today!

Following our plumbing glossary yesterday, Access Training have also put together a brief post covering common electrical terms that will be handy for all the aspiring electricians out there - whether they're DIY enthusiasts or aiming for a professional career.

Bonding: The process by which all metal parts in a circuit are electrically connected together and then linked to a real earth. This is done to prevent any metal component within a building becoming dangerous should it become live due to an electrical fault or damage. Any fault should cause the circuit protection device to operate and isolate the incoming mains.

BS 7671: Currently in its 17th Edition, this is the UK national safety standard for electrical installation work.

Consumer Unit: These are used to control and distribute electricity around the home. They usually contain a mains switch, fuses/circuit breakers and one or more residual current devices.

Earthing: In the event that there is a fault in the circuit, this will minimise the risk of an electric shock. It provides a path for the faulty current to flow safely to earth, causing the protective device (such as a fuse) to disconnect the circuit and stop the danger. An electrician should check that the earthing and bonding is satisfactory before starting any work.

Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR): A report on the condition of your electrical wiring, containing an overall assessment of the safety of the wiring, observations on its condition, and a number of recommendations (in order of priority) for action (if any is required) to restore the wiring to a satisfactory condition for continued safe use. These were formerly known as Periodic Inspection Reports (PIRs).

Flush-fitted: These are electrical switched or sockets that have been installed so that their back boxes are contained within the wall or ceiling, making only the front plates visible. This often looks nicer than surface mounted connections but usually requires chasing to complete.

Miniature Circuit Breaker (MCB): These are automatic protective devices fitted into fuse boxes. They will disconnect a circuit should there be a fault or overload.

Part P: The specific section of the Building Regulations for England and Wales, which relates to electrical installations in domestic properties.

Surface-mounted: This is when switches and sockets are installed on top of a surface rather than behind it. While it is less seamless than flush-fitted installations, it causes less disruption to any decoration that surface may have.

Two Way Switch:  Switches which can be used in pairs so that either can turn a light on or off. Each switch has terminals allowing them to be linked using Three Core and Earth cable.

Of course once again this is only a very brief look at some of the things electricians come across on a daily basis, and is no substitute for proper comprehensive electrical training. If you would like to find out more about what it takes to become an electrician, earn valuable skills and the qualifications to go professional - Access Training have exactly what you need. With courses suitable for both trainees and homeowners looking to do a spot of DIY on their property, now has never been a better time to gain a better understanding of the electrical trade. Please visit the courses section of our website or alternatively get in touch with our team on 0800 345 7492.

While good practical training may be the most vital quality to have in a plumber, it's important that they also have a good grasp of the common terminology they may come across while on the job. So Access Training have put together a very basic glossary of various plumbing terminology, which will hopefully be of benefit to some of you.

Actual capacity: The amount of water contained in a cistern or other container when it is full to its practical working level.

Air-lock: Air trapped in pipes, causing a reduction or complete stop in the flow of liquid.

Back-siphon: A condition where the flow of liquid is reversed and siphons back towards the source, which can lead to contamination.

Bar: The unit that water pressure is measured in.

Bleed valve: A valve that releases air from the central heating system.

Cistern: A contained used for holding water at atmospheric pressure.

Flow rate: The volume of water that is delivered to a tap, recorded in litres per minute (l/m) or litres per second (l/s).

Grey water: Waste water from domestic processes.

Hard water: Water which contains a higher level of calcium salts, making it an alkaline. When heated it deposits the salts on various components in a system, causing "furring up".

Main water valve: The main water shutoff that prevents any water from going into any of the pipes or plumbing. Plumbers may refer to it as the main shutoff valve.

Nominal capacity: The amount of water contained in a cistern or other container when it is full to the top edge.

Soft water: Rain water that falls on peaty, moorland and sandstone areas and is acidic. Soft water is better for washing, but can lead to many corrosion problems.

Stopcock: A hand operated on/off valve permitting water flow in one direction. The house stopcock is located where the supply enters the property, and can be used to shutoff water to all fixtures in the house.

Storage cistern: A specific type of cistern used for storing water to be used, such as delivering hot and cold water through pipework.

Supply pipe: A pipe that carries mains cold water around the home.

Tank: A container that is not open to atmosphere, usually a non-cylindrical closed vessel.

Vent pipe: Pipe that allows the release of air or water from a hot water system.

Of course this is only a very brief glossary, and missing many of the things you'll need to know as a professional plumber. If you would like to learn more and perhaps even gain the qualifications needed to become a plumber, an Access Training plumbing course could be exactly what you're looking for. To find out more please visit the courses section of our website or give us a call on 0800 345 7492.

With more and more news concerning the Green Deal emerging every day, we thought it would be a good idea to provide a glossary of some of the terms and acronyms that pop up regularly in these articles.

Combined Heat & Power (CHP): Energy generation where both heat and power is collected for use, providing a much more efficient use of resources.

Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG): The UK Government department responsible for community and local Government affairs. Their roles include overseeing policy areas related to planning and building.

Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC): The main Government body responsible for the Green Deal. They are responsible for reducing climate change by managing the country's energy consumption and carbon footprint.

Display Energy Certificate (DEC): A certificate displaying the energy usage of a building. By law, these much be on display in all public buildings across England and Wales.

Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA):  Person accredited by an EPBD Accreditation Scheme to produce an Energy Performance Certificate for domestic properties in England and Wales.

Energy Act 2011: The bill of Parliament that originally set up the framework for the Green Deal scheme.

Energy Company Obligation (ECO): A measure to ensure energy companies pay greater focus on improving energy-efficiency in lower income and vulnerable homes by providing funding. These dwellings inparticularly have not benefitted from similar measures in the past.

Feed-in Tariff (FIT): A government incentive scheme offering payments to households producing their own electricity. This could be various renewable methods, including solar panels and wind turbines. 

Green Deal Assessor Organisation (GDAO):  The organisation that manages the delivery of Green Deal assessments by qualified advisors, taking responsibility for meeting the requirements of the Green Deal Code of Practice and all related standards.

Green Deal Advisor (GDA):  An energy assessor who is qualified to undertake Green Deal assessments, if working for a Green Deal Assessor Organisation.

Green Deal Advisory Report (GDAR):  The report issued by an advisor that provides the outputs from the Green Deal assessment.

Green Deal Installer (GDI): Fully authorised installers that are able to install energy efficient improvements using the Green Deal finance mechanism and mark of approval.

Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS): A scheme developed by the DECC to ensure products meet a certain standard in cutting down Britain's carbon footprint.

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI): The Government's financial incentive relating to renewable heating methods. This includes heat pumps, solar thermal, biofuels and energy from waste.

Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP):  A Government incentive scheme that helps householders to buy renewable heating technologies such as solar thermal panels, heat pumps and biomass boilers.