How to replace skirting boards

A skirting board is the piece of wood that runs around the room from the floor upwards to about 12cm to 17cm or so.  It is there to protect the wall from damage and also breaks up the wall and floor.  Over time these can become damaged, worn or so heavily painted that they would look tired and ugly. The process of replacing the skirting boards is relatively simple.  In order to remove the old skirting board you will need a crowbar and a block of wood.  Place the wood against the wall to prevent accidental damage and carefully pull off the existing skirting.  Start at a corner or where the skirting meets a door frame, as it will be easier to remove from these points. Once all of the pieces that need to be replaced have been removed, carefully measure them to get an accurate measurement.  The new sections of skirting will need to be cut as per those that have been removed.  So look to see if any of the ends are angled to accommodate external wall corners.  Use a mitre box to cut these sections as they will have the guides needed to create the correct cut. You will also need to pay attention to the profile of the skirting if it is moulded to ensure a snug and proper fit.  To achieve this simply place one section of skirting at a 90 degree angle to the other and mark out the profile, then use a jigsaw to cut the profile.  Fix to the wall as per the boards that were removed and you are done.


A new bathroom

There are many good reasons for renovating an existing bathroom.  Existing features and plumbing may be dated and outmoded and in need of replacing, or the style of the bathroom set may be old-fashioned and in need of modernising.  Sometimes the use of a bathroom may change such as the arrival of children or when children become teenagers.  The design or function of a bathroom can be adjusted accordingly.  A new modernised bathroom may have the added advantage of adding to the value of home which incentivises many owners to renovate their old bathrooms, or indeed, install a completely new bathroom with a view to putting their house on the market.

Nowadays people have become used to having plenty of bathrooms in a home, as well as the choice of a shower or a bath.  Many people prefer having separate toilets to bathing amenities for added privacy.  Existing bathrooms can be re-designed, and minimal renovation work can separate these facilities into different rooms with reasonably little effort or cost.

Bathrooms are no longer simply functional entities within a house.  Stylish bathrooms are an integral part of every modern home, and with such a wide choice of bathroom furniture and fixtures to suit every budget, redecorating a bathroom is within every home-improvers scope.

A bathroom provides an essential function within the home and one which is used on a daily basis.  To many home owners a stylish yet functional bathroom is as important as a good kitchen or decent bedroom and when moving into a new house bathrooms are often given priority as far as renovating and redecorating is concerned.


How to fit a dimmer light switch

Before beginning work, make certain that the electricity has been turned off at the mains or that the fuse for the circuit you are working on has been removed, or the circuit switch flipped to the ‘off’ position..

Remove the old switch by unscrewing the screws holding it in place and pulling it away gently. Beneath it, there will be two terminals (if there are three, you are dealing with a two way switch, which cannot be swapped using this method). Unscrew these and remove the conductors, putting them in place within the dimmer switch being installed. Screw the terminals back into place and check for the existence of an earth terminal – usually present on dimmer switches made from brass or chrome. Attach any earth terminals to the earth on the mounting box, using a small amount of wire.

Check your connections once more and secure in place using two screws. Replace the fuse or return the circuit switch to the ‘on’ position and turn the mains back on. If unsure about the switch, make sure to call in an electrician to prevent shocks when using the dimmer.


What to look for if you’re a First Time Buyer in Cardiff

Looking at the houses for sale in Cardiff for the first time may be daunting. If you are a first time buyer, you will need to do some research before entering into your search seriously to see what properties in your preferred areas are selling for; it is also wise to spend some time looking around potential neighbourhoods to get a feel for the areas, and to seen if you could live comfortably there. You may wish to talk to local residents if you don’t know the area well yourself, to get a feel for the neighbourhood.

This sort of groundwork also enables you to note any “For Sale” signs in your chosen areas, and is a good time to begin looking at the relevant property ads in local estate agents or by using an online facility. Cardiff has several local agents, as well as good representation of the major national chains, so it is worth looking around and talking to a few agents to see which ones you would like to purchase from. While estate agents are there to sell properties, don’t be afraid to refuse to use an agent who is too pushy and does not listen to your requirements. Even if you think that agent has your dream house on his or her books, there will be others, and you need to protect your own interests.

Don’t be afraid to ask the sellers or estate agent questions if you are interested in a property. The types of answers you get will be very illuminating, though if your questions concern the material state of the property, you should also organize your own in-depth survey to obtain impartial expert advice.


DIY: How to make climbers add something special to your garden

Planting climbers is a great way to add variety and beauty to your garden.  They are ideal for covering walls and creating beautiful arches.  With such a large variety available, it is possible to create simple, yet elegant, flair to any corner of your garden.  All you need are a few tips, determination and a little bit of patience.

Steps to follow:
•    Area:  You will need to select an area with good sunlight to encourage your plant to grow. Climbers tend to be delicate, so limit exposure to wind.  If you are building a structure, make sure that it is firmly placed in the ground to offer support.  If you are choosing a wall, ensure it has enough places for the plant to grip onto, or provide a wire or rope framework to support and guide it.
•    Variety:  There are many different plant varieties that do well as climbers in different climates.  Depending on whether you want to cover an unsightly wall, add some colour or span an arch, the variety you select will differ.  Consult a local gardening website or nursery for advice.
•    Good foundation:  When you have decided on the climber you wish to plant, it is very important to create the right bedding.  The plant will span wide and be exposed to the elements, so ensure that you dig a good-sized hole and fill it with plenty of organic matter. This will help to give the plant enough nutrients to grow fast, create important roots and allow enough water retention.  It will also protect the roots from the cold weather.

Climbers add beautiful colours and scents and can be used to spruce up unsightly areas in your garden or walls.  These plants grow fairly fast and have soft stems, so make sure to check that they gets enough moisture during the drier months and provide deep bedding to protect it during the winter season.


How to remove rust

Removing rust can be done with the help of some mechanical procedures or chemical substances. First of all, paint strippers can be used to remove old paint by following a simple brushing procedure. These can be purchased from both online and high street stores. They should be left on for the time specified by the manufacturer, and then simply scraped off. It is recommended that gloves and goggles are used while performing this procedure, since it could be harmful to your skin.

Rust can also be removed with the help of a wire brush. Hand and power drill mounted brushes can be used as well. An angle grinder brush is another alternative. Scraping will help remove larger loose rust particles and rusted paint, and this procedure should be used prior to the use of wire brushing. Sanding can also remove old paint and even light rust. Pay special attention to the potential paper clogging that might occur when using the sand paper.

Sand blasting and even shot blasting are two professional rust removing procedures you could also try. They are costlier than the procedures mentioned above, but are highly effective.


How to lift floorboards

Lifting floorboards may be necessary for a number of reasons.  You might want to have exposed floorboards, and find that some of them are badly worn; you could be checking that the joists underneath are sound, or considering replacing the whole floor.

Older houses usually have floorboards with straight edges, which are relatively straightforward to lift.  Use a wide-bladed chisel and insert it at one end of the floorboard into the gap, gently prising it up.  When the gap is wide enough, slide in a claw hammer and move along the board, pulling it up gradually until you reach the end.

Tongue and groove floorboards present a little more of a challenge because the tongue needs to be sawed through on at least one side.  You can do this with a flooring saw that has a convex blade, or alternatively use a circular saw or pad saw.  When the tongue’s full length has been cut the floorboard can be pulled up.  Take care not to damage any joists with the saw because they will become weakened and may have to be replaced.

Floors made of chipboard sheets can be unscrewed and lifted away.  If the chipboard is tongue and groove, use the same method of cutting the tongue as with ordinary tongue and groove floorboards.

If you are just checking a piece of pipe work under the floor you may not need to lift the whole floorboard.  Lift the board over whichever section you want to get to, then cut it off with a floorboard saw, making sure the cut is right above the joist so it is supported when put back.


Cheap blinds

New blinds don’t have to be expensive.  In fact they can be a much cheaper alternative to curtains.  When comparing the price of curtains and blinds, remember that with curtains you will also need to buy a pole if you don’t already have one.  However blinds can be fixed straight onto the wall, so the price of the blind is the total price you need to spend.

One of the cheapest blind options is venetian blinds, which are usually made from PVC.  There are still plenty of colours available, so it is possible to match the colour scheme of your room exactly.

Roller blinds can also be bought very cheaply, and again many different colours and patterns are available, including eyelets, scallop and castle edgings.  Cheap roller blinds are usually made from fabric and are not usually made from blackout material.  However, you can usually buy cheap blackout blinds for a little more than the cheapest roller blinds, and they will offer valuable light proofing and thermal properties.

It is also possible to buy cheap roman blinds, although these are not likely to be as cheap as venetian or roller blinds.


Decorating your garden

Providing your new garden with a new lease of life has never been easier. From hanging baskets to pots and planters there are many ways of displaying flowers other than the traditional flowerbed.

Most people tend to use hanging baskets around the corners of their houses or over their front doors. As long as you have brackets fixed to the masonry this is an easy way of planting and watering flowers. Bedding plants are the best to use, as they won’t dangle too far down. Some people, though, have been known to plant slightly more exotic plants in their hanging baskets, including strawberries.

Portable pots and planters can look very handsome, especially if the old trick of painting the pot with yoghurt to promote green mould to age the ceramic’s appearance is used. Architectural salvage yards are great places to seek out pots and so are car boot sales. If you don’t have the time to trawl around these venues then a quick dash to a local garden centre should solve the problem.

Herbs are very popular and some homeowners plant bay trees in their pots. The easiest way to secure these pots is to put a chain around the pot or planter, or even concrete the base in order to deter thieves.

If your garden has an external eating area, why not erect a loggia and then plant some climbing plants to provide a beautifully cool haven for the summer?


Tips on installing granite tiles

Granite tiles are becoming an increasingly popular option, as they are great looking and are incredibly durable. It is entirely possible to lay granite tiles yourself. However, you should be aware that they are very heavy, so if you think it might be too strenuous for you consider bringing in a professional. Furthermore, granite tiles are expensive and they can break when you drop them.

Granite tiles should only be installed in an area that is going to remain relatively clean, or one that can be cleaned very easily. If you are unable to keep the tiles clean they will soon need replacing.

The tiles should only be laid onto a flat surface; any bumps in the surface can easily damage them. If the tiles are laid on an uneven surface then it is possible that when people start walking on them they will crack.

When purchasing granite tiles you must remember that because they are not processed you will not have perfectly matching colours and you will not be able to find them at any retailer.