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.


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 cover hairline cracks in plaster

When it comes to redecorating there is nothing worse than finding a long hairline crack on the surface you want to paint.  This does not, however, need to pose a disastrous problem and even the worst DIY people can fix this issue.

All you need is some filler, such as Polycell Hairline Crack Polyfilla, a small paint brush and some sandpaper.  Begin by removing loose plaster and dirt from the surrounding area. Then, using the brush, simply paint the filler into and over the area of the crack.

Do not over-spread the filler or apply too much in one go, just gently build up the level until the crack is no longer visible.  Wait until the filler has dried and then use the sandpaper to smooth the surface down so that it is flush with the surrounding plaster.  Clean off the area once you have finished to remove any dust particles that could get trapped in the paint and give an uneven finish. Now get your paint out and re-decorate the wall, it really is as simple as that.


Roman blinds – key facts

What are roman blinds?

Roman blinds are fabric blinds with a cord which raises them into a soft layered pleat, and lowers them to cover the whole window.  When the blinds are raised, the cord is attached to a cleat which is secured to the wall or the window frame, to keep them raised.

Why should I choose roman blinds?

Roman blinds are luxurious blinds that are perfect for giving your room an elegant look.  They can be made out of fabric to match the décor of your room.  They are a contemporary alternative to traditional curtains, and have good blackout abilities.  They can be easily cleaned of dust using a vacuum cleaner.  Roman blinds can also help to keep your room warm and private.

What are the negatives?

Roman blinds can be quite complex to take down and put back up for thorough cleaning, so they should be kept clean and hoovered regularly.

Where can I use roman blinds?

Roman blinds are a great choice for your bedroom, living room or dining room.

As roman blinds are made of fabric, they are probably not the best choice for your bathroom or other locations where they may become wet.

What are my choices?

Roman blinds give you plenty of choice, just like curtains.  You can choose from different fabrics, patterns, and colours, including faux suede and fur.  In addition, if you want to match your roman blind to fabric you already have in your room, it is possible to have your blind especially made from the fabric of your choice.

Most companies offer custom made blinds so they will fit your window perfectly, and you can choose which side you want the cord to be.

You can also choose whether or not you want a blackout lining.


How to Fix Phantom Flushing

One of the most common problems for any bathroom suite, phantom flushing is basically an involuntary sound that comes from the toilet.  This involuntary flushing can waste water, and it can certainly make an irritating sound.  Luckily, it is a problem that can be fixed fairly easily.

More often than not, the cause of phantom flushing is the toilet’s stopper failing to seal against the seat of the flush valve as tight as it should be.  This causes water to seep into the bowl at a slow but steady rate, and also causes the sound known as the phantom flush. 

The first step to solving this problem is to turn off the water source for the toilet.  Once the water is off, the toilet should be flushed.  The seat of the flush valve should then be cleaned thoroughly with a scrubbing pad.  This method usually serves to fix the problem, but more persistent phantom flushing may be the result of an improperly centred stopper on the flush valve seat.  Moving the stopper around may solve the problem, but a replacement stopper may have to be purchased.