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Renovating a child’s bedroom

Designing a bedroom for your child can be a bit tricky because you want it to last for many years without becoming outdated or grown out of especially if tastes change. Here are our handy tips to creating a child’s bedroom. Painting the walls Fight the urge to paint a big mural on the walls because you may find yourself painting it sooner than you think when your child’s tastes change. Instead paint the walls a natural colour and use posters and paintings for decoration; these can be easily changed depending on what your child wants. Adding furniture Childs bedrooms are usually smaller than other bedrooms in the house so choosing the right furniture is essential. A wardrobe and bedside table are great additions to the room and some under bed storage keeps the room from getting cluttered. Bed and bedding A bed is of course the most essential part of any bedroom and choosing one for a child can be a painstaking task. Choose a bed that your child can grow into because you don’t want to be buying a new bed every few years when it gets out grown.

Types of laminate flooring

Types of laminate flooring

Laminate floors have been popular in some European countries for a good many years. In Sweden for example laminate wood floors using a thin layer of oak adhered to a cheap softwood base was used in public or social housing as long ago as the late 1960’s.Today laminates of many types are in common use as the cost of solid hardwood floors become scarcer and the cost increases. With technical advances it is now possible to produce laminates which can accurately mimic any type of material and so they can be used in a variety of rooms, kitchen, bathroom living room etc.Laminate is graded according to the likely use to which they will be put and these are in two categories, residential and commercial with three sub categories in each, so when you decide to lay a laminate floor it is useful to know the different categories. These are: Residential Class 21 – Moderate Loads, ideal for bedrooms etc., Class 22 – Normal Loads, ideal for living rooms etc., Class 23 – Heavy Loads, ideal for anywhere in the house with the exception of bathrooms. Laminate flooring is a floating floor, which means it does not fasten directly to the sub-floor. Instead the planks are clicked together. This enables the floor to be fitted fast and with no real mess.Most laminate floors today fit together with a tongue and groove system, simply place the tongue of one plank into the grove of another and lightly tap together. The accurate milled shape makes it possible to create a very tight connection during the installation. The floor can be walked on straight away.If you are laying laminate flooring over a concrete sub-floor then you will fist need to lay down a damp proof membrane (DPM). On top of this goes the foam underlay this acts as sound absorption and also helps even out minor irregularities in the sub-floor.

Shower Booster Pumps

Shower Booster Pumps

Showers installed to many homes are inadequate due to the water supply [pressure and although the pressure may be adequate at the bath or basin, because the shower hjead is positioned higher and in consequently nearer the header tank, the pressure can drop and the result is a trickle or weak spray. Now it may be possible to raise the cold water tank in the roof to a higher point, this will increase the pressure at the shower head, the higher the tank is the greater the pressure at the shower head. However, in many lofts such a change would not even be practical.It is possible to overcome this by fitting a twin impeller booster pump to the hot and cold supply. This does not have to be difficult and a competent DIY person will be able to fit one without a problem. However, the electrical connections must be carried out by a qualified certified electrician. The pump works automatically when a tap is turned on and it is not necessary to switch this on and off manually.The first requirement when fitting a booster pump is where to site this, the two best places are either in the airing cupboard where the hot water tank is, or under the bath, this makes it easy for it to be connected to both hot and cold supplies. The pump sits on rubber ‘buffer’ pads to reduce vibration noise, and must not be screwed down to the floor. There are four connections to the pump two inlet connections and two outlet. Usually the inlet connections are at the end of the pump and the outlet either side of these. Use one end of the pump for the hot water, the other for the cold and when fitting the pump remember that you must use flexible connectors as the pump vibrates. Do not clip the pipes down for at least half a metre after the pump and do not use metal clips, plastic are better in this case.

Installing smoke detectors

Installing smoke detectors

A smoke detector is something that should be in every house, and many houses require more than one. They can save your life in emergencies, but a lot of people don’t know where they should be installed in order to work properly.

How to fit a new bath panel

How to fit a new bath panel

The need to replace a bath panel at home may arise through damage to the existing panel or be simply an aesthetic choice.  In either case, anyone with a basic knowledge of DIY and the right tools can complete the job quickly and satisfactorily.Bath panels are sold in standard sizes and in many cases will need to be cut to fit.  After removing the old panel, the space should be measured before purchasing the new one to ensure it is either the same size or slightly larger.To fit a solid panel that will last for a long time it is essential to build a timber support frame.  This will reinforce the side of the bath and make it less likely to suffer damage from bumps and knocks which occur through use.  A strong timber of around 50mm by 25mm is ideal.  It may be possible to use the frame from the old panel if there is one already in place.Once the frame is fitted it’s time to measure the bath panel and cut to size.  Begin by measuring the void under the bath left by the removal of the old panel.  Take measurements carefully and do not begin cutting until you are absolutely certain you have them right.A handsaw or fine blade jigsaw is needed to cut the panel to the correct size.  Saw gently to eliminate the risk of damage to your new panel during the procedure.  Once the panel has been cut to size it can be a good idea to apply a coating of PVA glue to the cut edge, as this prevents water seeping in.  Once the panel is the correct size it is simply a matter of using the screws provided to fit it to the existing framework according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. You may now wish to add new tap fittings from Sagittarius to complete the look.

Soldering pipe joints

Soldering pipe joints

After a little practise soldering pipe joints is relatively easy and will save you money in the long run. The great thing about pipe fittings is that there cheap meaning that you can easily practise your technique before tackling the real project.Tools you’ll need for pipe soldering include:•    A gas torch•    Pipe solder•    Flux•    Wire woolPreparing the copper pipePreparation is key when soldering and each of the pieces to be soldered must be cleaned thoroughly before use. This is done by cleaning the pipe ends and fittings with wire wool until the piece is shiny and free of debris.SolderingApply flux to the pipe ends and pipe fittings then assemble the pieces together. Next, heat the joint evenly with the gas torch until the flux starts to bubble. Remove the flame and touch the solder onto the joint; the joint is full when a bright ring appears around the whole joint.That’s basically all there is to it, so why not give it a try for yourself.

Choosing the right timber for the deck

Choosing the right timber for the deck

A deck is a popular addition to a garden and choosing a sunny spot, where a barbeque can be within easy reach is an ideal way to spend a sunny afternoon, but choosing the right material for the decking is just as important as the position in the garden. The deck is perfect for family and friends to sit on the warm sunny days or evenings.The most common timber used by most of us is softwood as this is easy to work and it is relatively cheap compared to hardwoods. However, it is vital that softwood is treated to prevent decay and the best way is for this to be pressure treated. There are basically two types of pressure treatment, water based chemicals or spirit based solvents.The most common is the water based type and this is often referred to as “Tanalised” and it certainly is effective. The one downside to this is that it can warp as it is not water repellent, it also will need to be stained each year after it has been pressure washed, this is why it may be better to choose a pressure treated spirit based solvent.The ultimate choice for a deck is hardwood and the choice is wider and varied, cedar or eucalyptus species will last and require minimal refurbishing, they will not distort and can stand up to hard ware, but it is more expensive.An alternative to both of these is a composite which is made from a combination of wood and plastic to mimic the appearance of aesthetic wood. However ensure that any cut ends are well protected as they are the vulnerable part of the composite, but nonetheless virtually maintenance free.

Cutting laminate flooring

Cutting laminate flooring

Now that laminate flooring is growing in popularity, many more people are fitting this themselves as it is an item that is on display in DIY supply stores. Today most homes have central heating so inevitably there will be piping to cut round and as the floor level is being raised it will be necessary to remove doors and reduce them to accommodate the new flooring height.With door height reduction place a board against the door and mark the door just above the height of the board. The door will have to be removed before cutting but ensure that you do not cut into the door casing, remove only the architrave section.Piping presents a different problem but it is simple if the correct procedure is followed. Mark the board to be cut by drawing on the face of the board using a straightedge either side of the pipe, then, using a tape or ruler, measure the distance from the wall to the front to the pipe then mark this on the board. Now put the board into a workbench or other suitable clamping arrangement. Select a suitable drill the size of the pipe and the mark where the centre of the pipe would be, for example a 20mm pipe will have a 10mm centre. Drill out the hole and the very carefully cut along the marked lines and save the piece of cut laminate. When the board is fitted into place, glue that cut section behind the pipe and you have a neat cut around the pipe.

Screws and their uses

Screws and their uses

Screws are stronger in use than nails and when you are taking on a DIY project using a screw is always preferably to a nail, although of course it takes longer to complete your task. There are many specialist screws available to suit a whole range of applications; today most screws are measured in millimetres, but traditional ones still use imperial or inches to measure them.Oce there was only one type of screwdriver in use, the flat blade to fit into the slotted head of the screw, now we see a variety of the newer crosshead type comprising either Philips or Pozidrive. With the Philips head only a Philips screwdriver will fit properly, but with Pozidrive either a Philips or Pozidrive screwdrivers will fit. These types of head allow more power to be applied to the screw without the screwdriver slipping, thus no damage will occur to the head, just as long as the correct size screwdriver is used.There are three types of common head used in screws, countersunk, round head and raised head. The countersunk heads are used where the head must end up being flush with the surface, to make the hole for the countersink head to fit into use a countersink bit, or a special combined drill bit that drills the hole and countersinks at the same time.Round head screws are used for assemblies that may be dismantled and material that is too thin to be countersunk, the head can be covered with a cover giving a nice appearance. Raised head screws are a combination of the above two and are used for areas where a neat finish is needed. With any of these it is important that the correct screw size is used but more so the right screwdriver for the screw.

Causes of mould and mildew

Causes of mould and mildew

In most cases of mould or mildew the reason can be traced to a damp and badly ventilated room, both of which are symptoms of this. Is the mould localised to one part of the room, in which case it could be due to a leaking gutter, pipe or drain. If there is an external source of dampness, this should obviously be fixed before you start to treat the mould.If you have a room, or rooms that regularly get damp through condensation, these will always be prone to having problems with mould and mildew and obviously the best way to prevent this is to improve the ventilation. If possible, open a window at least once a day, for about an hour, not always possible in cold winter months. Bathrooms are very prone to condensation which is the cause of mould and mildew and ventilation is really necessary here to ensure condensation does not linger on surfaces. Always ensure that a window is opened after the shower or bath is used, better still have a ventilation fan fitted and always used when taking a bath or shower.If a room is cold as well as damp, consider introducing a heater to the room. This could be a portable storage heater, but remember that portable gas heaters produce large quantities of water when burning, better still have a radiator fitted to the bathroom, electric ones are very efficient and can include towel rails to them. If you have a towel warmer in the bathroom, consider replacing this with one that has a radiator in the design.

A guide to creating shabby chic furniture

A guide to creating shabby chic furniture

Shabby chic furniture and accessories are very in at the moment. It’s a great way to get some use out of old or antique furniture that’s looking a little tired or out of date, and it ensures that your piece is unique to you too. It’s also very easy to do, only needing a bit of paint and a few other things to get that antiquated yet modern look.First things first, choose your piece of furniture and prepare the surfaces to be painted. You need to ensure that you’ve removed any handles and hinges from the piece first. Then use sandpaper or paint stripper to remove any existing paint or varnish from the surface of the piece. The sandpaper will also help to roughen the surface so that the paint will stick better. Use a cloth wet with warm water to pick up any dust and allow to dry. You’re now ready to move on to the next stage.Now ensure that anything you don’t want painted on it is protected; use masking tape to cover these areas. Some people use a primer, some don’t. It depends on the condition of the wood and what colour you will be putting on top as the primer can slightly lighten it. Use a nice thin layer if you do use primer, and apply it evenly.Once the primer has dried, you can start painting. You’ll probably want to apply two or three layers of paint to get an even colouring, and make sure to allow each layer plenty of time to dry before starting on the next.Now it’s time to get a bit messy with it. Using rough sandpaper to begin with, distress your furniture piece in the places where it would be most worn. Don’t go over the top as it’s easier to do more later than reapply paint to do it all over again. Use a fine sandpaper to go over the sanded areas again so that they will blend into the paint more naturally.To finish it off, you can use beeswax or varnish to seal the paint in place, or you can just leave it as it is. Don’t forget to reattach all hinges and handles you removed earlier, and you’re done.

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