Easing a sash window

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, How To Guides

Sash window look great and they are really functional, they do justice to any home particularly older homes where they were a standard fitment. However, one thing that can go wrong with a sash window, especially if it is in a very old property and that is they can stick either when just open or they will not open at all. The main cause of this is usually that it has had years of paint applied, both inside and outside, and the paint has either been liberally applied or it has been done badly, but do not despair, they can be made to work again satisfactorily.

With a sharp Stanley knife carefully score down the edge, sometimes the paint has penetrated quite a way and it’s difficult to get a Stanley knife in deep enough without damaging the paintwork. Usually with patience you will be able to free it enough, but if not then you will have to use a flexible steel scraper. Please note these are not like putty knives with wooden handles but have a steel capping on the top edge.

Use a medium sized one which is about 3to 4 inches and hold it up to the gap and gently tap with a hammer.  Because they are so thin they can get into the gap and free up the window without any damage. Do this all around the joins inside an out. Once you’ve got the window, you may have to use a hammer and chisel for this and for the lower window place the chisel only from the outside at the base, the upper one from the inside only and prize them up or down. Then use a sharp chisel or sandpaper to remove any build up of paint on the inside of the runners where the windows run on. It can be quite thick there but with a little effort the window should start to run much more smoothly.

To ensure smooth operation use an old candle to apply some candle wax to the runners this really helps the window to run smoothly. Rub the candle hard on all the parts where the window runs up and down the frame.

Picture: P.Flintandco

How to Clean and Reseal Your Deck

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Garden, Home Improvements

Your garden decking is open to the elements all year round, so it is important to maintain the wood to ensure a long and fruitful life. It is recommended that you reseal the wood on your deck at least once a year, but if you use a professional wood seal you may be able to leave it longer between applications.

In this handy guide we will teach you how to clean and reseal your decking so it looks good for years to come.

Cleaning the deck

First thing to do is remove everything from the deck including any furniture, plant pots and other decorations what will get in the way during the cleaning process.

Sweep the decking with a hard bristled brush to get the large pieces of debris off the surface and use a thin tool like a wall scraper to remove all of the debris from in between the deck boards. Once the large pieces of debris have been removed use a hose pipe or ideally a pressure washer to give the decking a deep clean.

Some areas of your decking might have a build-up of algae or mildew, in that case use a commercial cleaning agent mixed with water to remove it. Use a hard bristled brush to get the cleaning solution into all the nooks and crannies, and rise thoroughly with a hose pipe or pressure washer to remove the cleaning solution.

Allow the decking to completely dry before resealing or staining.

Resealing and staining the deck

The choice of finish for your decking is entirely up to you. Choose to match the colour to you existing garden features or make a statement with a different colour; there are many types of stains available for decking available in a multitude of colours.

Read the label of the stain fully before applying to the decking and leave to dry for the recommended time in between coats.

Once dry you can replace all of your furniture and other items to your decking area. Sit back and relax in the knowledge that your decking is protected for another year.

Picture: freestockimages

How to reupholster a dining chair

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, How To Guides, Interior Design

When your dining chairs start to look a little shabby, you might start thinking about buying a whole new set to get your dining room looking up to scratch again. But if you buy all new chairs, maybe you need a new table too; and that’s when things start to look a little expensive. In fact, it’s actually pretty easy to reupholster a dining chair yourself, and here’s how to do it.

First you need to remove the seat pad from the chair. The frame has screws on the underside of the seat in each corner holding it on; these need to be removed. Once it is lifted away from the chair, you should remove the cardboard or plywood that is stapled to the underside. If this is in good condition, save it to be reused when you put the chair back together.

Next you need to remove the fabric itself. You can used the old fabric to create the pattern for the new piece so that you can be sure that it fits. If the padding underneath is looking a little worn, you can replace this too at a very cheap cost.

To put it all back together, first lay it all out with the fabric right side down, the padding over the top, and the seat pad as the final piece. You’ll then need to staple the fabric in place, first at the centre front and back, then around the edges. The board can be reattached using staples too, which can be hammered in if need be.

And the final step is screw the finished seat pad back onto the frame of the dining chair as it was before.

Picture: Stacie

Fitting a sliding wardrobe

Author: dpinning  //  Category: Bedrooms, DIY Tips, Home Improvements, How To Guides

Sliding wardrobes have been popular for many years for their clean look and ease of use, and are now available using the latest technologies and materials to create a modern storage space.

Custom sliding wardrobes can be purchased from a range of suppliers such as B&Q and Ikea, although specialist manufactures like Slidewardrobes.co.uk wardrobes in particular seem very well built. Made to measure sliding wardrobes are designed to fit perfectly into any room and are specially designed to be easy to fit and maintain.

Measure the space

Before ordering your sliding wardrobe it is important to measure the opening accurately, there is nothing worse than having something custom built only for it to not fit properly. First measure the opening horizontally at the top, bottom and middle of the space. Use the average as your measurement for the width. Next measure vertically from the ceiling to the floor at various points (approximately 1 meter apart) and choose the smallest measurement as your height. You can now order your chosen wardrobe.

Fitting a sliding wardrobe

When your made to measure sliding wardrobe arrives the doors will be pre-fitted with the running gear, so all you have to do is mount the top and bottom tracks for the doors to fit in; this makes it easy for the DIYer and also cheaper too as there is no installation fee.

Fit the top track first; this is usually around 600mm from the back wall, but can be adjusted to fit your needs. Measure your depth from both corners of the back wall and mark with a pencil, this will be where the top track will be mounted. Next, drill some holes in the top track approximately 100mm from each end and periodically along the piece. Offer up the top track in its position on the ceiling and get a helper to hold it in place. Mark all of the holes onto the ceiling with a pencil.

Drill the holes in the ceiling and fit some raw plugs, then screw the top track onto the ceiling making sure that it is level with the back wall. The bottom track is fitted in the same way, but before screwing it to the floor it is a good idea to put one of the doors in place and check that its level with a spirit level. When you are happy with the position the bottom track can be screwed to the floor.

Once both tracks are in place you can fit the doors. Slide the doors into the top track at a slight angle and fit them into the bottom track. Check that the doors run smoothly across the whole wall and adjust if needed.

Now you can either fit a wardrobe rail or a set of shelves or both depending on your needs. Now you can sit back and admire your handy work.

Fitting cornices and coving

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Home Improvements, Interior Design

Cornices and coving are a great way to finish the edges of the ceiling where it meets the wall and has been used for hundreds of years as decoration. Cornices and coving are available in a range of different shapes and sizes from plain concave coving to decorative cornice and you should choose a style that suits your room’s style.

Fitting cornices and coving is pretty straight forward although there are a few tools that you will need before you start, these include:

•    A mitre box and medium tooth saw
•    A ladder or suitable stepladder
•    Wall adhesive

Fitting coving

Use an offcut of coving to mark the dimensions of the piece to both the wall and ceiling all the way round. If the wall has wallpaper on it remove it from the measured area and lightly scratch with a Stanley knife to provide a good key for the adhesive.

Start work from an internal corner and cut using a mitre box and saw through the face side of the piece. Apply a generous amount of adhesive onto the coving and push the piece into the corner making sure that it aligns with the guide lines. Scrape away any surplus adhesive before it has a chance to set.

Repeat this for all four corners then cut pieces for the other side using the alternative side of the mite box. Once all of the corners are done its time to fit in the gaps with straight cut coving. Use the surplus adhesive to fill in any gaps as you go along.

Once the adhesive has dried the coving can be primed and painted to match the existing rooms colours.

Picture: Ben O’Bryan

DIY safety

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Safety

It is a sad fact, but each year 70 people are killed carrying out DIY jobs and on top of that a staggering 250,000 are injured and many of those are serious injuries. With this in mind, we suggest that you look at some of the points that can help you from suffering a serious injury or worse. Most of these accidents need never happen and are simply due to either carelessness or lack of knowledge. Here we point out some simple things, such as the correct positioning of ladders, to protection from electric shocks, with some points to remember when hiring equipment.

For example and this may surprise many, the most dangerous piece of DIY equipment is the common screw, nail or tack, ten times more than an electric drill!

Don’t wait until disaster strikes to find your stop-cock, opening and closing them three or better still, four times a year will ensure they easily work when you need them to. In the event that a main fuse or trip activates, keep a torch handy and always ensure that the batteries are in good order.

Another area is underestimating the time a job will take, this is when you may take short cuts, rush and become tired, take a break and give yourself more time to do the job than you expect. Always read the instructions and warning paragraphs especially if you are using a piece of equipment for the first time. Be honest with yourself, if you think it may stretch your abilities; call in a professional, being a hero is useless if you end up in hospital.

Ladders can be fatal, get help with extension ladders don’t struggle and remember that leaning a ladder rule is that you should position the foot of the ladder one metre out for every four measures in height. Always secure the bottom and upper part of the ladder with rope or straps around the stiles.

Most major accidents are caused through using machinery such as chain saws and hedge cutters. Unless you have been properly trained, you should not hire or buy a chainsaw, get a professional in. Hedge cutters are fine, but only buy or hire a model with two-handed controls, a blade-stopping time of less than 0.5 seconds and blade extensions. Always keep both hands on the handles. Wear goggles, strong gloves and ear defenders.

Electricity is a great power saving commodity but please keep water away from anything electric. Never wash walls without turning off the power at the mains switch, water can get into sockets and never be tempted to use a socket or plug or equipment which could still have water in or on it; allowing it to dry could mean the difference between life and death.

In DIY if you act like a professional and abide by safety rules you will be accident free and get jobs completed with total satisfaction. Stay safe!

Picture: lilszeto

Plumbing tips and advice

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Home Improvements

The very first thing that you should do in your home, whether you are new to it or have lived there for years, is to establish just where the mains water supply comes into the house and where the stop cock is located, it is a little late when water is coming through the ceiling.

All domestic water is supplied by a service pipe, often called a rising main. This is connected to the local water authority’s main which runs under the road or pavement outside the house. There will be a stop cock where the rising main tees off the water authority’s main; this provides a means of isolating the supply to your property, should an emergency or any repairs be required. It is worth reminding home owners that they are fully responsible for the pipe after it leaves the water company main and any fault in that pipe such as a burst or blockage must be rectified by the homeowner.

Remember there are two stop taps coming into the house, one at the water main and a further one where it comes into the house outside or inside, usually under the kitchen sink or in the service cupboard under the stairs; find out where these two stop taps are. The one at the water company main should only be turned off if there is a problem with the supply pipe as it is can be common for the tap to supply two or more properties.

If you decide to carry out some DIY plumbing work it is necessary that you always adhere to local water authority regulations. These regulations are designed to safeguard public health and reduce risk of contamination or wastage. Also and very importantly, you must always adhere to any relevant electrical regulations; these are designed and necessary to safeguard you and others from being injured, you will find that certain sections of the plumbing must be earth bonded; if any sections are replaced with plastic then an earth bonding link needs to be fitted. Please contact a qualified electrician if you are in any doubt at all, be safe and sensible at all times.

Picture: Andrea R

Getting ready for a painting job

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Home Improvements, Interior Design

Firstly you have to be particularly careful if you live in a very old house as the paint on the wood surfaces will also be old and can contain lead. Special care is need when preparing this and if your home was built before the early 1960’s it will almost certainly be lead pint on the windows, doors, woodwork and for some metal items.

The easiest way to deal with lead paintwork, if it is in good condition, is to paint over it with a coat of modern paint. This will seal in the lead and prevent it from causing harm. However, if the paint is badly chipped use a solvent-based or caustic paint stripper, or a water based one.

Dealing with the paintwork, no matter what age, if it is in good condition and although it could be several layers thick, a quick preparation is all that is needed. If the paint is oil based, rub down with a medium coarse abrasive paper wrapped around a wood block, wash down with a solution of sugar soap, allow to dry and you are ready to apply the first coat. For emulsion paints a simple wash down with soapy water is all that is needed. For paintwork that is peeling, pitted, badly chipped or crazed then the paint will have to be stripped to the bare wood.

For a first class finish it is worth remembering the time honoured advice of the professionals; “the finish is only as good as the preparation of the surfaces before you paint”, excellent advice.

Picture: tienvijftien

Finishing woodwork with oil

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, How To Guides

Unlike standard finishes like paint and varnish which sit on the surface of the wood, oil penetrates the timber providing a durable finish that does not crack or peel over time. Most oil finishes will last for a few years and is an easy project to maintain.

Types of oil finish

There are various types of oil finish available on the market, here are the most popular ones:

Linseed oil

Linseed oil is a traditional finishing oil used for centuries to protect wood. It is rarely used nowadays mainly because it can take up to 3 days to dry. An alternative is boiled linseed oil that has dryers added and has been gently heated reducing drying time to around 24 hours.

Tung oil
Sometimes referred to as Chinese wood oil, Tung oil is water, alcohol and fruit juice resistant and is suitable to use on both interior and exterior woodwork. Tung oil takes approximately 24 hours to dry.

Danish oil

Danish oil is a commercial wood finishing product which is based on Tung oil but has synthetic resins added to improve durability and strength. Danish oil can be used for any woodwork and can even be used as a top coat for varnish and paint. Danish oils usually take approximately 6 hours to dry depending on the temperature and humidity.

Applying an oil finish

Before applying the finishing oil it is important to clean the timber thoroughly, use white spirits to wipe down the timber and leave to dry.

Apply the first coat of oil with a paintbrush making sure that the whole piece is covered and leave it to sit for around 15 minutes. Then using a soft cloth or pad gently wipe off the excess oil and leave to dry. After approximately 6 hours use an abrasive fibre pad to put on the next coat of oil making sure to rub with the grain of the wood, once full coverage has been obtained leave to dry overnight.

Picture: Daniel Slaughter

How to fix screw and nail holes in the wall

Author: dpinning  //  Category: DIY Tips, Home Improvements, How To Guides

If you’re redecorating your house and moving things around, it often means that where you once had furniture and picture frames, you may no longer have anything. This can leave unsightly nail or screw holes in your walls that are exposed. It is also a good idea to make sure any of these are fixed and covered if you’ve lived in a rental property and are moving, or else you might find that you won’t get your whole deposit back. But it’s really a very easy thing to do, even if you are new to home repair.

Using a joint compound mixture, which is available at any home or hardware store, fill the hole in the wall with a thin layer of it. Smooth it over carefully with a putty knife.

Once the mixture is completely dry, use some sandpaper or a 120 grit sandpaper block to sand the filled hole so that it is completely flat against the wall.

Make sure that you have a paint colour or primer that matches the wall exactly. If you no longer have that paint, or if you never had any in the first place, take along a sample of a picture to a hardware shop who will point you in the right direction. Use this paint to then cover the area.

And that’s all! You can make it even more simple by buying an all-in-one nail hole patch product, but these don’t usually give quite as good finish as doing it the long, but still easy, way round.

Picture: Steve Snodgrass