January 17th, 2014
Have you noticed water leaking from around the edge of your bath? Do you see spots of mould growing at the section where your bath meets the wall? If so, it may be time to replace the sealant around your bath as generally these problems arise when the sealant or caulking around the bath begins to break down or loosen.
So, how can you change your bath sealant? First of all the sealant that is currently in place needs to be removed. This job is actually quite simple, as long as you have a flat knife and a few minutes of time. Simply run the flat edge of the knife between the sealant and the wall and move it slowly around the bath to loosen the sealant completely. Go back around and peel the sealant away bit by bit.
Once the edges of the bath are completely clean, a new layer of sealant can be applied. Prepare the work surface by laying masking tape above and below the edges that are to be sealed. Place a tube of sealant into a caulking gun, snip off the tip at an angle, and slowly depress the plunger to release the sealant from the tube.
Move the caulking gun around the edge of the bath to seal it entirely. After the entire bath is completed, go back and look at the sealant edge to make sure that there are no gaps. Wait for a few minutes, and then run your finger along the caulking to smooth it out. Take the tape off and the job is finished.
When you are ready to put the finishing touches to your bathroom, be sure to pick up a Cleargreen eco-friendly bath panel to cover the space below the bath.
Picture: Timothy Takemoto
December 29th, 2013
Bedrooms contain more of our personal items per square foot than any other room in the house, and as you can expect become cluttered in a hurry. In this article we’ll go through some great space saving ideas to help keep your bedroom organised.
The bed is the single biggest item in any bedroom and has lots of untapped storage space underneath. Some beds come with storage built in, such as a divan, but most of the time you will have to find out your own type of underbed storage.
Underbed storage is available in a range of different types including boxes, drawers and vacuum bags, but it is important that you don’t just stuff everything under there or chaos will ensue. Instead, lay out your items in an organised fashion in boxes, drawers or bags with labels on them so that you know what’s in them, that way you will always be able to find what you are looking for.
Shelves are a great option for a cluttered bedroom and utilizes the vertical space in the room too. There are plenty of sizes and styles of shelves available on the market, but it is best to choose some that are specific for your needs while still fitting in with the overall theme of the room.
Furniture with built in storage
Furniture with built in storage is a great option for a small bedroom. Accessories such as ottomans and bench seating come with handy storage compartments, great for keeping the room tidy anf free from clutter.
Clothes and shoes take up the most room in any bedroom, and unless you have a dedicated dressing room you’ll need some kind of wardrobe to store them in. Standard wardrobes have doors that are on hinges which take up a lot of room when opened and are not recommended for small bedrooms, instead think about getting a sliding door wardrobe.
Sliding door wardrobes can be custom built to fit into any room and because the doors slide they take up far less room than a standard wardrobe. Sliding wardrobes can also utilise the vertical space in the room so that no space is wasted, and can be fitted with built-in storage and shoe racks.
December 23rd, 2013
The average UK household uses around 600 litres of water each and every day. This figure does not include ‘invisible’ water use, which covers the water used to irrigate imported crops and in the clothing industry. Water is the most valuable resource we have and we cannot survive without it. Saving water wherever possible could and should be part of every UK resident’s daily routine. Whilst we should never stint on drinking water, the bathroom is one area where savings can be made on a regular basis.
The bathroom is one area where saving water is easy. Flushing toilets are one of the biggest consumers of water in the western world. Fitting an eco-cistern from Geberit to the toilet saves water each time you flush. Opt for a cistern with a dual-flush mechanism to save even more water. Taking showers rather than baths saves a huge amount of water and energy, giving a double boost to the environment. However, this is not often true in the case of power showers, which produce a full bath-tub of water in only five minutes.
Today’s children are fairly eco-aware, so get them on board with the water saving as well. Not leaving the taps to run during tooth-brushing can save litres of water each day, as can filling a basin with hot water for washing rather than leaving the tap running. Making water-saving a family activity can be fun, and children who are encouraged to think about the environment from a young age are more likely to grow up to be eco-aware consumers.
Picture: stop that pigeon!
December 14th, 2013
The first windows were openings in roofs, and were recorded in medieval dwellings in the 13th century. The word window comes from an old Norse word meaning wind, as the holes were unglazed and allowed the passage of air. The Latin word “fenestra” describes a window fitted with glass, and the fenestration of a building describes how windows are fitted into a building facade.
The first windows in walls were simply holes, which were later covered with hides, cloth or wood. Shutters were the first form of structural window coverings, which could be opened and closed. Later, worked animal horn, paper or thinly sliced marble was used in windows, however, the Romans placed the first glass in windows.
Paper windows were placed in dwellings in the Far East, whilst mullioned windows with small pieces of glass patched together with lead, predominated in Europe. In England animal horn formed windows from the 14th century, and glass was not used until the 16th century.
The origins of blinds
Blinds are so-called as they limit the view of those outside and inside a building when the blinds are closed. Solid blinds which are not separated into slats, either vertically or horizontally, can also be called shades, as originally blinds were developed to shade dwellings from the mid day sun in hot countries. They were in a simple style, using fabric to cover the window. These blinds can only be moved up or down, so either completely block out the light, or open up to allow ingress of light as well as to enable people to see through the window. In Ancient Egypt, blinds to shade the light were constructed using reeds.
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