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Top tips on DIY

Easter provides us with a 4 day long weekend with Good Friday and Easter Monday Bank Holidays. Easter is traditionally a time when the nation starts thinking about getting on with all the DIY jobs around the house, perhaps even more so now the nation is being told to stay at home to protect the NHS and help delay the spread of the Coronavirus. Thankfully online DIY stores like B&Q have all we need to enable successful DIY project with home delivery or click and collect options. In this article we will look at some of the most popular projects and give some handy hints and tips to make them go more smoothly.

Painting

Painting is perhaps the most popular DIY activity and nothing says Spring like a fresh lick of paint and some new colour in the home. Surprisingly painting a room isn’t as simple as it seems at first, especially if you are painting the whole room. Here are some simple hints and tips

·        Ceiling first! Although this sounds obvious, quite often people will put off painting the ceiling and attempt to paint the walls first. When painting your ceiling ensure you cover all the carpets and furniture to prevent splatter. Use a roller with a double arm frame as this gives better support across the roller and will give a more even coat.

·        Walls will need cutting in gently around the ceiling, especially if you are using a different colour. You don’t want to have to go back and cover up any excess paint smudges on the ceiling. If you are feeling brave you could use masking tape on the ceiling to prevent this from happening. If not then buy a good quality cutting in brush with an angle on it and follow the guide given here. It might take some practice before you perfect it but a good cutting in technique will give you lovely straight and crisp edges. Don’t worry about painting onto the woodwork as you can correct this when you paint that.

·        Woodwork can be painted once the walls are dry. For skirting boards you can mask at the top to prevent your gloss paint getting on the walls. If you’ve had to sand the wood to remove cracked or flaked paint, then ensure any bare wood is primed properly before glossing. Make sure any nail holes are filled and that the corners are properly filled if they have cracks or gaps. You will also need to protect your carpet, you can use masking tape to protect this area too.

Wallpapering

Wallpapering is another popular decorating job for the Easter weekend as we refresh our homes for the lighter months. The key to wallpapering is to have the right tools and plan a little in advance. Tools you need are:

·        Dust sheet

·        Filling knife and filler

·        Sandpaper

·        Spirit level

·        Tape measure

·        Pencil

·        Wallpaper scissors

·        Seam roller

·        Pasting brush

·        Pasting table

·        Bucket

·        Wallpaper smoothing brush

·        Trimming wheel or sharp craft knife

·        Ladder

·        Screwdriver

·        Wallpaper paste

The first thing you need to do is calculate how much wallpaper you need, the last thing you want is to run out of wallpaper before you have finished, check batch numbers on the paper you buy as you’ll want them to all be from the same batch to avoid potential colour variations. Prepare your walls for papering by filling in any holes or cracks and sanding them down to leave a smooth finish. For particularly bad walls you can apply lining paper first to make the wall surface better, remember to hang lining paper horizontally. Give the walls a good clean to remove any dust and debris which might prevent the wallpaper adhesive sticking properly causing bubbles in the paper.

Where to place the first piece of wallpaper depends on what you are doing. If you are only doing one wall then start in the centre and work out towards the corners. If you are doing the whole room then start in an inconspicuous corner as this is where the last seam will be and it is likely that the pattern won’t match up at this seam so you want it to be as unobtrusive as possible.

Use a spirit level to draw a straight line on your wall. If starting in a corner draw the line so that you will have a small overlap onto the adjoining wall, e.g. if your wallpaper is 53cm wide then draw the line 50cm from the corner to allow a 3cm overlap. It is vital to have this straight line to ensure that your wallpaper is hung perfectly straight. Measure the height of the wall from the skirting to the ceiling and add around 10cm to allow for wonky floors and ceilings. Cut your paper to size and apply the wallpaper paste. Make sure you apply a good amount and don’t miss anywhere. Give the paste a few minutes to soak in before offering the paper to the wall. Position the paper exactly against the line you have drawn and smooth it onto the wall with the wallpaper smoother working from the top to the bottom and the centre to the edges to remove any bubbles. Once the paper has been hung use the seam roller to press the seams to the wall. If you don’t do this the seams can separate and leave gaps. Trim off excess wallpaper at the top and the bottom using either the sharp knife or the scissors to get a nice straight edge. For the second piece, match the pattern but allow enough paper at the top to overlap the ceiling. This will cause waste but is a necessary evil. Once you have the paper cut to size repeat as for the first piece ensuring that the pattern matches perfectly. It is important to smooth the paper and to roll the seams. Here is a great guide to walk you through the rest of the room and some of the harder parts to wallpaper.

Laying new flooring

Carpets wear out over time and trends have changed over the years and wooden or laminate floors are more fashionable than ever. If you are considering ripping up the old carpet and laying laminate flooring, here are a few pointers, as always is making sure you have everything you need:

·        Saw – can be a hand saw or a jig saw with a specific laminate floor blade. Using other types of blades will damage the flooring

·        Pencil

·        Tape measure

·        Underlay

·        Spacers

·        Pull bar

·        Hammer

·        Tapping block

·        Square

·        Pipe collars

·        Floor trims

·        Laminate threshold bar

·        Laminate Flooring

Prepare your boards

You will need to allow your boards to acclimatise to the room environment for about 48 hours before laying them. This is very important as the flooring has time to adjust to the temperature and humidity in the room which will reduce the amount of expansion or contraction once the floor is laid. Please check the humidity in your room, if the room is too humid, after plastering or painting work, for example, then wait before laying the laminate as the humidity might be too high to suit the laminate.

Prepare your floor

Take up any previous floor coverings and give the floor a good sweep. Fix any issues with gaps, large holes or nails or screws protruding if the floor is wood. If you have a concrete floor then it would pay to lay a dampproof layer over it before laying your laminate. Do, however, check the moisture level in the concrete as moisture can cause expansion issues with the laminate. Less than 3% in concrete floors is where it needs to be.

Lay the underlay

Underlay is important for several reasons: It smooths out minor imperfections in the floor; it adds some thermal insulation and it will absorb the impact from footfall and reduce noise as well as wear and tear on the laminate floor.

Laying the Boards

Place spacers against the skirting board to ensure there is a 10mm gap around the board. You need this gap as the boards will naturally expand and contract as the temperature varies, without the gap the boards will have nowhere to go when they expand and this could cause the whole floor to buckle. Before you lay the first board measure your room. You need to ensure that there is at least 300mm of board after a joint so you need to ensure that the final board is at least 300mm long. You might need to cut down the first board to ensure you have the 300mm at the other end of the room.

Continue laying the boards, using spacers against the skirting board for every board. If, when you click the boards together, there is a small gap, use the tapping block to tighten up the join. Be careful not to damage the board. When you get to the end of the room you will likely need to cut the board. Rotate it 180° and lay it on top of or next to the last board you laid. Make sure you have a spacer against the skirting board. Use a square to mark the board and cut to size. You can then install that final piece. If you have a small gap in the join, use the board pull to tighten it up. Start the next row and ensure there is a good overlap of the joins, just like in bricklaying as this will give strength to the flooring.

There will be some tricky parts to lay around such as doors or radiator pipes which are covered in this great guide.

DIY is a national pastime at Easter and many of us will be rolling up our sleeves and doing something around the home. We hope this guidance has helped a little in terms of making the DIY jobs a little easier but the most important piece of advice we can give you is please work safely to avoid injuries. Use the right tools and don’t rush.

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