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DIY Safety Tips for the Easter holidays

Easter is the busiest time of year for DIYer’s planning to do up their homes, with an estimated 9.5 million Brits doing some kind of home improvement over the weekend. As always, doing a DIY project that has been bugging you can be really satisfying, but remember to be safe.

bathroom

Transforming your bathroom

There are some simple ways in which a competent DIY person can transform the look of a bathroom without having to dig into the credit card and spend a lot of cash. Creating the effect of more space can be achieved by some simple and easy additions.

Grout

Types of grout

Grout is usually a cement-based material that is used to fill in the spaces between the tiles and can be the normally seen white or in colour. This is an important piece of a tiled surface but it is usually the one which shows the most wear, tiles will last forever or just about anyway. Grout, rather than tile, accounts for some of the worst problems associated with tile. A beautiful white marble floor is not very attractive when the white grout is black and dirty.

Cellular shades

How to hang cellular shades - inside mount

Cellular shades can add warmth, style and privacy to any bathroom.  The top-down-bottom-up option is a fantastic way to let light into a bathroom, no matter how small it may be, but still maintain privacy when needed.  Shades can be ordered in almost any colour in order to complement the existing fixtures you have, or you can find fresh new fixtures at UK Bathrooms.

radiator cover

How to improve the appearance of a bathroom radiator

Do you have a radiator in your bathroom?  If so, you are sure to appreciate the warmth it provides on a cold winter morning. You might not care for the appearance of your radiator, however, especially if you live in an older flat or house.  How then can you improve the look of your bathroom radiator without detracting from its purpose?

Tiling

Cutting ceramic tiles

No matter what shape your room is, you will have to cut tiles to fit around obstacles such as window frames, fixtures and to fit narrow margins at the edge of the tiled area.

Cutting ceramic tiles is relatively easy, but what sort of tools you use can make a big difference to the finish that is created.

sliding wardrobe

Different types of wardrobe explained

While there are many different styles of wardrobes on the market from ornate and traditional to sleek and modern designs, wardrobes usually fall into two categories, freestanding wardrobes and built-in wardrobes.

Draining a header tank

Draining a header tank

There may come a time when it is necessary to drain the header tank, normally situated in the roof space. This might be because you need to carry out some maintenance to the hot water system. In modern homes the cold water system is also fed from this header tank, with the exception of a tap in the kitchen which has direct cold water feed from the mains. This practice is now considered to be necessary, because in the event of a loss of supply from the mains, there would always be water available for use by the family for cooking, drinking and making some hot drinks, until such time as the supply is re-instated.The header tank is normally placed at the highest point in the home, this is necessary to create pressure within plumbing systems by the laws of gravity. The weight of the water naturally wanting to flow out of the tank forces the water out of the taps and showers when they are opened. We should point out that great care should be taken when climbing or working within the roof space, because unless it has been boarded out it will be necessary for you to walk on the ceiling joists, these should of course be well covered with at least 250mm or ten inches of insulation material.First turn off the water feed coming into the house, if this cannot be found, or perhaps is faulty, place a piece of wood across the top of the head tank and tie the float valve up to it, to stop the head tank filling. Now, unless you have a direct water feed to the cold taps in the bathroom, turn these or the hot water taps on and you will then drain the header tank and be able to carry out the maintenance such as washer changing to the taps.If however, you are replacing the header tank itself, remember there will still be a small amount of water at the bottom and to get this out you will have to bail it into a bucket, using a cup or plastic jug.

Draught proof and save fuel

Draught proof and save fuel

With all the price hikes in fuel costs that are due to descend upon us all shortly, it could be a time to look at ways to keep our homes warmer, without turning up the thermostat; keeping out draughts is without doubt the most effective. Of course you cannot hermetically seal your home but doing something about the cold wind coming in, under and around external doors is the best, cheapest and most effective thing to do.Now even if this has been done at some time in the past, the chances are that the sealing material will have become tried, consequently not doing the job very well. Not a lot of skill is needed to replace this and as long as you have a few simple tools the job can be easily undertaken by an average DIY person.Do not be tempted to use cheap internal door sealing kits as these are not suitable and the material will not work well in the colder months and can become so brittle they may break. Ensure that you use an external door sealing kit, these are readily available from most DIY suppliers and are not very expensive. This kit should include an aluminium extrusion with a rubber strip that is used in pressing against the external side of the door, across the top and down on both sides which should be trimmed to size using a hack saw.Fitting it is simple and is done from the outside of the door; you hold the strip firmly and evenly against the door; make sure that the strip makes a seal with the door and then mark this and secure with the screws provided. This is repeated for all the door sides and you should then ensure that the door opens and closes properly.Seal all external doors in this way and notice the difference to the room temperature, particularly when there is a strong wind blowing, you may even have to turn down the thermostat!

Repairing a copper pipe compression joint

Repairing a copper pipe compression joint

It usually happens when you are not expecting it or it has been ok or gone un-noticed for months, but the compression joint between two pipes or an elbow do sometimes begin to leak. The reasons for this are that they were maybe over tightened or under tightened when they were first put onto the copper pipe.  To determine which it is, see if there are any threads showing if so try to tighten the nut half a turn only. If the leak is still apparent you will have to dismantle the joint, only on the side that is leaking. See if the olive is okay and not cracked, if it looks alright first try to wrap this with about eight turns of PTFE tape and tighten the joint together, if this does not work you are left with no alternative but to remove and replace the olive. If you cannot remove it by hand, which is unlikely, you must cut this off by making a diagonal cut three quarters through the olive using a junior hacksaw but be very careful not to damage the pipe. With a flat bladed screwdriver open the joint and this should split the olive, if not cut a little deeper.Once the olive splits, it can be prised apart with the screwdriver and removed from the pipe. Clean any surface dirt off the end of the pipe with a cloth and re assemble with a new olive which you should wrap with PTFE tape.

Wallpapering stairs

Wallpapering stairs

It has to be the most difficult DIY project that you may wish to undertake and it is worth saying that you may consider that for this area of the home, hiring a professional, who will have the correct equipment, may be a sensible move.However, it is still a project, which if approached sensibly, can be worthwhile and very satisfying. The first thing to consider is to use a high quality paper as you may not want to tackle this job again for a long time.Getting access to the high part of the wall is the challenge that you must overcome and it is here that it is worth looking at hiring proper access ladders specifically designed for the purpose. These ladders are specifically designed to work on stairs, where the bottom of the ladder is adjustable so they can stand on different levels.Ladders and scaffold boards can be adapted to suit the most common situations, whatever your arrangement make sure you can reach everywhere you will need to without stretching. You will have to have the use of a ladder as well as a pair of steps, the ladder will be placed on the staircase and the steps on the landing this way you will be able to place a batten on the ladder and the steps to reach the well at the top of the stair. Important, the stair carpet must be removed and a wood stop screwed to the tread at the foot of the ladder to prevent it from moving. Please remember the most important part of papering the stairs is having a safe working platform.

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