December 3rd, 2013
One of the biggest problems that the DIY person struggles with is fixing something to a plasterboard wall such as a cupboard or a coat hanging series of hooks. This should not be difficult as there are a variety of specialist fixings that are made for this task.
First you have to determine how heavy the item you wish to fix is, a lightweight fixing is useless for hanging a radiator, but would be suitable for a hook to hang a picture or small mirror for example.
Rawlplug and Fischer are amongst a number of companies that supply plasterboard fixings, all work on similar principles. The item is not unlike a standard plastic fitting used in walls but is also made in metal. The plug is inserted through a pre-drilled hole and the rear part of the plug is drawn into the back of the plaster board as the screw is tightened giving a tight and secure fixing, that is suitable for all but the heaviest of items.
For heavier and bulkier items such as a radiator, a heavy duty fixing is essential and you should be looking at a butterfly or spring toggle type of fixing. This has a captive screw which pulls the two arms of the toggle back into the plasterboard and it does require a much larger hole to allow the folded toggle to be initially pushed through. Care must be taken to ensure that you do not let the toggle go all the way through and of course the radiator fixing bracket also has to be attached. This can be a simple matter if the bracket has slots and not holes, but it can be done with care.
Your DIY store will advise you about the various fixings that are available for plasterboard and they should be able to tell you the load that they will comfortably carry.
November 16th, 2013
When creating an opening in a dividing wall in between a living room and dining room for example, a great way to finish it off is with a curved archway. This isn’t as daunting as it sounds, as there is a range of tools and accessories available that make creating a curved archway simply and cheaply.
Before you start creating your opening you will have to decide on an arch profile. These are available in a number of shapes and sizes, so choose one that closely resembles the size of hole you want to create. Because an arch will lower the height of the ceiling slightly it is also recommended that you measure to see if there is enough head room before fitting.
What you will need to create an arch is a set of metal-mesh arch corners and 90 degrees corner pieces for the straight parts of the wall. These are available at any good DIY store and are a quick and inexpensive way to create a professional looking archway.
Once you have your opening its time to fit your mesh forms to the wall. Make sure that the mesh pieces are flush against the wall and level and attach into place with nails and connect the different pieces of mesh together with wire to hold it all in place.
Once you are happy that all the meshes are in place you can go ahead and plaster the surface as you would a wall using a steady motion from bottom to top. Once the plaster has set you can prepare the whole wall and decorate it to suit your needs.
October 19th, 2013
Ask most people what is the best way to keep wood looking good as well as protecting it, usually reply varnish it. Well to a certain extent that would have to be true but the problem with varnish, especially when applied to outdoor furniture, or to items that are in full sunlight indoors, is that it cracks.
The secret for homeowners and DIY handymen is that Danish Oil is the best way to look after wood, a natural and non-cracking product. So what is the basic difference between the two materials? Unlike varnish, which can craze or chip over time, Danish Oil is a special blend of natural oils and resins which soaks into the wood itself and hardens. The result is a low lustre, water resistant finish that leaves the original texture and grain clearly visible.
Danish Oil is equally effective inside or out and because it’s food safe and non-toxic, it is perfect for kitchen worktops and chopping boards as well as banister rails and other wooden surfaces. For outdoor use additional ingredients are added that give weather and sunlight protection, ideal for items such as garden furniture or hardwood window frames.
Application of Danish Oil is very easy, far easier that applying varnish. All you have to do is to brush or wipe on with a cloth; remove any excess oil after a few minutes; then leave to dry for four to six hours. The product can be used on all types of wood, which includes teak, cedar, oak and pine and you will find it in any good DIY store.
Picture: John Clift
September 11th, 2013
When a room is changed, either by taking down a partition wall or more often perhaps converting a garage or utility room, it will be necessary to replace or add a new radiator. Before you embark on this, it is essential that you buy the right size of radiator, too small and it will not do the job, too big and it is a waste of heat and the room can be unbearably hot.
Calculating the size of radiator is not difficult, all you need to do is to know what the room is to be used for, then use a simple calculator and you will have a radiator that will be just right. The size of the wall can determine whether you may need a double or single radiator, it may be that there is only one wall that can be used.
To determine the size you need you will have to first take some measurements. You will need to know the height of the room in metres, Width in metres, the length in metres and importantly the area of any windows in the room. A number of other factors need to be put into the calculation, the type of room, the floor, the space above the room, construction of outside walls, type of windows, and the number of outside walls to the room.
For example: The room is to be a study and the floor is a ground floor of concrete, above is a flat insulated roof and the walls are brick cavity not insulated. The windows are wood and double glazed and there are three outside walls. The radiator will have to be one that delivers about 1386 watts or 4730 BTU’s so it will be fairly large or will need a double panel convector.
If you take your measurements to your radiator supplier, or put them into their online calculator, they will be able to calculate the size of radiator that you need, as we have done here.
Picture: Evan Prodromou
August 29th, 2013
It comes as no surprise that vertical blinds are a popular choice for today’s modern homes. Vertical blinds are versatile, practical and attractive, making them an excellent window covering for every room in your home.
In the family room, vertical blinds create a clean, contemporary look, while providing good control of the ambient light. Fully adjustable, vertical blinds allow you to control the amount and angle of light coming into the room. The insulating qualities of vertical blinds help keep rooms warmer during the cool autumn and winter months, while filtering the sun’s harsh rays, making the room cooler in summer.
The availability of a variety of materials, colours and patterns means that vertical blinds are versatile enough for every room in your home. Bold colours are a striking accent in contemporary rooms, while soothing neutrals add an unobtrusively attractive accent to a classic décor. PVC and aluminium provide extremely practical materials for humid environments such as the bathroom or kitchen, while fabric louvers go well in a bedroom or family room.
No matter your family’s taste, budget and needs, classic vertical blinds are an excellent choice for every room in your home.
August 23rd, 2013
Once it was normal to just string a few lights around your Christmas tree in the sitting room and outside decoration was to be frowned upon, no longer! Now for many it is all part of getting into the Christmas spirit to light up your home to an extent that it could probably be seen from outer space! But seriously, very many of us like to put some festive lights on a tree in the garden or decorate the outside of the house, but you have to be careful.
The first thing to remember is that indoor lights that you have used to decorate your tree should not be put outdoors. Modern outdoor light usually takes the form of a rope and the best type now are the modern LED lights which come in a variety of colours and last a lot longer than the traditional filament bulbs. Also LED lights do not all burn out when only one bulb blows they are far superior. Yu should always test the lights before you put them up, but make sure that you unwind them first to avoid overheating tp make sure that hey are all working, replacing blown bulbs is far easier that when they are fixed, you can bet it will be the most inaccessible bulb that want replacing if you don’t!
Follow the planned route you want the lights to take, clipping them in place and straightening the rope as you go, using cable ties to fix them to branches or gutter brackets and ensure that you clip the lights securely every metre. For larger branches or post it may be necessary to use wire cut to size, then twisted to secure the rope to the branch. Finally use an RCD at the plug to make certain that if a short circuit occurs, the trip on the RCD will function making the lights safe. Do not attempt to switch these on again until the problem is investigated by a competent person.
Picture: stephen jones
August 19th, 2013
Basins are one of the most used pieces of the bathroom and as so are more likely to get damaged or chipped and need replacing. Before calling out a plumber and spending a load of money for them to fit your new basin, take some time to read this how to article. Fitting a new bathroom basin is a relatively easy DIY project that most people will be able to complete.
Removing the old basin
First thing to do is turn of the water supply before you start. If you are keeping the taps unscrew them from the basin using an adjustable spanner and keep all of the nuts and washers in a safe place. Disconnect the waste and unscrew the old basin from the wall.
At this point it is a good idea to clean the area to get rid or any debris and left over sealant so you have a nice base for your new basin.
Fitting the new basin
Fit the taps to the basin before you attach it to the wall, as trying to fit them afterwards can be a fiddly job. Take your new basin and line it up on the wall using a spirit level, once you are happy with the position screw it to the wall checking that it is level through the operation; it is recommended that you have an extra pair of hands to help you with this stage.
If you are lucky then the pipework will line up with the taps and new basin, if not then you will have to fit some flexible pipe with a tap connector; these are readily available from hardware shops and can be cut to size.
Once the taps have been plumbed in attach the overflow and waste pipe and turn the water back on to check for any leaks. If there are no leaks then the last job to do is seal the unit with some bathroom sealant to provide a waterproof barrier.
August 14th, 2013
Moving home can be a stressful time, but it is also an opportunity to sell some of your unwanted items that you don’t want anymore. Selling big items like furniture can be expensive to ship and finding the right courier can make your life a bit easier. Delivery Quote Compare specialises in shipping big items and gives you the option of choosing the right courier to fit you needs; they can also give you quotes on moving your items to your new home.
It is important to save money where possible, whether you send a lot of parcels or are sending your first one. That is why we have put together this article on the best ways to ensure your postage does not cost more than it needs to.
Be exact in your details
During the arrangements for your collection, you will be asked for the specifications of your package; i.e. the dimensions and the weight. Ensure you take these accurately, as providing under-estimations can lead to extra charges, especially if the difference is substantial. All you need is a standard set of scales and a tape measure.
See if you can negotiate a deal
If you are planning to work with a courier on a long-term basis, there is no harm in asking if a deal can be struck, such as a 10% discount on bulk orders, or a free delivery for every ten sent through. It might not be possible, of course, but there is no harm in asking.
Ensure you package your items properly
One of the most common ways that people incur charges is for their item to suffer damage during the delivery, all because it was not packaged properly. Ensure you use a strong cardboard box, and pad out all the spare space with packing peanuts, bubble wrap or old newspaper, and bubble wrap the item itself.
Finally, ensure that you plan out your sending. It is quite common for people to have to pay more for a 24 hour delivery service when they could have used 48 hours simply by not procrastinating. Ensure you do not spend more than is necessary.
August 9th, 2013
Masonry comes in many styles from smooth texture to heavily textured; painting a smooth texture is relatively easy, so in this guide we’ll show you how to paint heavily textured masonry with a variety of tools.
First thing to do is prepare the wall for painting, protect any downpipes and widow/door frames with newspaper and give the wall a good scrub down with a hard bristled brush to get rid of any loos debris.
Using a paintbrush
Using the right paintbrush is key to painting textured masonry and a good quality brush will last longer and fit nicer in your hand. A banister brush is a great choice for heavy textures and pebbledash and it’s recommended that you choose one between 4 and 6 inches long; any longer and the brush becomes heavy and unwieldy especially if you are painting above your head.
Using a roller
A paint roller is much faster than a brush, although wear out a lot faster so make sure that you have spare rollers handy. Use a long-piled roller for heavy textures and vary the angle of the roller to ensure an even coverage. Use a brush to paint any edges and places where the roller can’t reach like behind the downpipes and around obstacles.
Using a spray gun
A spray gun is the easiest and most efficient way of painting a masonry wall, although you will have to mask up everything that you don’t want painted and lay dust sheets on the floor. Spray guns can be rented from most building supply shops and full instructions are included. Spray the wall with slightly overlapping vertical bands from top to bottom for best coverage and results.
August 4th, 2013
There is no doubt that cooking outside on a pleasant warm day is fun but to get the real benefit from your barbeque it should be kept clean, not only will the food taste better a grilling surface that is coated with gunk does not look very nice for your guests.
Of course “shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted” is the best and prevention is better than cure. Your barbeque can be kept in reasonable order if you prevent this sticking to the surface and it is best achieved by coating the surface or rack with a good layer of oil before you start to cook. This will help you to keep your food from burning and sticking to the grill, while making cleanup much easier.
Here are some simple and effective tips for cleaning a barbeque and ensuring that you enjoy the cooking and of course eating. Wire brushing is the most effective method of removing the burnt on deposits although you may have to use a scraper as well, it may be easier to remove if you warm it up first. A really quick method is to use a wire wheel attached to a drill, but watch out for flying debris and wear eye protectors. A proprietary grill stone could be useful, but it is unlikely to be better than a wire brush and scraper.
Many DIY suppliers have chemicals that can be sprayed or brushed onto the surface of the grill, much in the same way as an oven cleaner but this will involve washing the grill afterwards which should be done in soda crystals. If all else fails then an overnight soak in a soda crystals solution can loosen the deposits sufficiently for these to be wire brushed off the surface.
So once the barbeque is clean remember to oil the surfaces and you will find that after cooking, it will clean easily and quickly by a simple brushing alone.
Picture: kid missile