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.


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.


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.


Garden offices bringing work home

You have been longing to work from home for years, and finally your boss has offered you the opportunity to try out remote working from home. You leap at the chance to avoid the daily commute, see more of your family and work more efficiently.

Then you realise that your home has no room to accommodate an office. You have already extended into the loft space for the kids’ bedrooms, the second bathroom is in the extension and the kitchen is in the basement – you have nowhere left to expand.

Oh yes you do! Garden offices are where the smart homeworkers are investing their money these days. Companies such as OECO provide garden office solutions that allow you to work from the comfort and convenience of home, albeit a short stroll across the lawn. Super-insulated using advanced, breathable materials, OECO garden offices are usable all year round, not just in the warmer months. Timber-clad, beautifully-designed contemporary garden office buildings blend seamlessly into the natural environment, bringing work much closer to home.


How to fit a kitchen splashback

Splashbacks are becoming increasingly popular.  They are an easy way to inject life and colour into a simple, monotone kitchen without overpowering it.  The most popular form of splashback is the glass version, however, tiled splashbacks can be used as well.

The items you will need before you begin are as follows; neutral colour silicone, silicone gun, tile spacers, drill and rawl plugs (only if you are screwing it on), cloths, warm soapy water, tester pot of paint that matches the colour of the glass, and a small paint brush.  Make sure that the wall is even before you begin, any bumps or dips of more than 2-3mm should be addressed prior to fitting the glass splashback.

Before you begin using your tester pot of paint, paint a strip of colour onto the walls anywhere that there may end up being a small gap.  By doing this you make the gap less noticeable as both wall and glass will be the same colour.

Apply circular blobs of silicone onto the reverse side of the glass; about 20mm in diameter should do it.  Repeat the process of the entire surface keeping the blobs about 100mm or so apart and not too close to the edges.  Now press the glass into place and if feels a little ‘bouncy’ anywhere, remove the glass and apply some more silicone at that point.

Use tile spacers to ensure there is an expansion gap around the edges of the glass, especially if it is close to wooden surfaces or cupboards as these can expand when warm.  Once the glass has been fitted, leave it for a full 24 hours before removing the spacers.  You can now seal the splashback with a clear silicone sealant and wipe the surface down to make sure it is clean.