Maintaining rain gutters.

It is very important to keep all gutters clear from any blockages by doing so you prevent water damage/stain to all walls, windows and doors.

To clean, ensure that you have a safe and correct ladder, wear gloves and use a trowel to scoop out loose debris. It is easiest to get the loose debris out while slightly damp.

Use a water hose to clear out any remaining debris.

3 ways to reduce condensation in your home.

1. Produce less moisture:

Cover pans and do not leave kettles boiling, dry washing outdoors if possible, tumble dryers must be ventilated.

2. Ventilate to reduce moisture.

Open windows in kitchens and bathrooms and close the doors of these rooms when in use. Where possible position wardrobes and furniture against internal walls.

3. Draught proof and insulate your home.

Both will keep your home warmer which will reduce condensation levels. It is most important that your attic is well insulated.

Energy Saving Tips.

Installing or upgrading your attic insulation to a 300mm level will reduce your heating bill by up to 20%

Using insulated dry lining on your walls will reduce heat loss by up to 33%

Fit a lagging jacket on your water cylinder, if replacing your cylinder purchase a pre insulated cylinder.

Painting tips.

Preparation is Key! To ensure that a paint job is going to look well and last a long time it is essential that the following happen.

– If the surface is poor or dirty it is important that it is washed down with a detergent solution to remove dirt and grease.

– Any areas that are affected by algae, mould or moss will need to be treated with a fungicidal wash.

– Any defects need to be filled to be the appropriate filler.

– Do not use a glossy sealer on a new or bare surface if it does not require it. Most masonry paints allow the wall the breathe, sealers will inhibit the passing of vapour causing condensation which will lead to paint flaking and blistering.

Brush or Roller?

The brush is the traditional method of applying paint and avoids the mottle effect and splashing that you get with a roller. However it is slower and requires some skill to get the best results.

– Rollers come in many different forms but in general a medium pile roller is suitable for general purpose use. You will still require a paint brush for cutting in and reaching awkward areas.

To reach behind radiators there are specially designed rollers that will enable this, these rollers are also very useful to quickly cover areas that large rollers cannot reach.

Painting Skirting boards.

Skirting boards should be the last thing painted in a room. Hoover carpet before starting to reduce fluff from the floor sticking to your paint brush. When painting near the carpet ensure that only the minimum of paint is on the brush. Use a paint scraper to peel back the carpet allowing you to paint below the carpet line.

When finished painting.

Strore paint brushes on handle or flat, standing them on their ends will bend the bristles and spoil them. To reseal a can of paint, wipe the rim and securely replace the lid. Immediately invert the can to form an airtight seal to prevent skimming.

To Varnish a table.

Ensure all surfaces are free from wax, grease and oil by wiping with a cloth dampened with white spirits. Sand to a smooth finish. Always brush the varnish in the direction of the wood grain. Apply 2 – 3 coats, allowing 2 hours in between coats.

To re varnish an existing wooden floor.

Replace or turnover any damaged or marked floorboards .Level off any nails or screws. Sand the floorboards with an electric sander in the direction of the grain. Fill any holes with wood filler, allow dry and sand. Clean the floor with a cloth dampened with white spirits. Apply varnish with a varnish only brush. Complete 3 -5 floorboards at a time.

Unblocking a basin or sink.

A plunger is the most simple and often most effective device. First run the water so that there is enough to cover the base of the plunger. With a wet cloth cover the over flow. Pump the plunger several times, repeat as necessary.

If this is not effective it may be that the trap below the sink is blocked. The quickest and easiest way to remove the blockage is to open the trap and clean it. Turn off the water and place a pan under the trap. Once cleaned check that the trap is airtight by running a little water thought it.

If the blockage still exists remove the trap and use either a straightened clothes hanger or rods to push down the pipe and clear the blockage.

Fix  a stripped screw hole with a golf tee

If you’ve ever done any DIY around the house or even if you’re a maintenance guy looking after a building you’ll almost certainly have come across something that won’t sit straight or still because of a stripped out screw hole. Sometimes the screw is left sitting there in a kind of useless limbo, sometimes it’s lost completely and sometimes its screwed back in again sideways where there is fresh wood. You might also find it replaced with a bigger screw which in turn will probably get stripped out as well.

Here’s a quick tip to save you and those that come after you a whole pile of pain. If you have a cupboard hinge a bathroom door bolt or even a cover plate for a doorknob that has this problem going on then follow these steps.

  1. Remove the piece of hardware that’s in the way
  2. Dig one of your old wooden golf tees out of your bag
  3. Apply some wood glue to the pointy end and the sides of the tee
  4. Shove in the hole and tap it with a mallet or hammer until it’s in as far as it will go
  5. After the glue is dry use a light saw like a coping saw to cut off the bit that’s still sticking out
  6. Bonus Tip: If the Golf tee is too big then try toothpicks. PAck as many as will fit, into the hole.
  7. There you go new wood to fix your hardware to.

Remember here that it really doesn’t have to be pretty because the hinge or fixing or faceplate will cover up the job when you’re done. And when you’re done you can excuse yourself for a game of golf as a reward.

5 great tips DIY home painting

Ever wanted to paint a living room or bedroom? Ever done it and wondered how you got about as much paint on yourself and the floor and everything else as you did on the walls? Here’s some tips from the experts to put you on the right track to getting it all done quickly and neatly.

1. Use a Poll for your roller

Ditch the ladder when you’re painting large areas of ceiling or the upper parts of walls. Much better to get a telescopic arm for your roller. They come in all different sizes check out your local Topline store for varieties in your area.

Most rollers have a threaded hole or the extension pole will have a wedge shape end to attach it to the roller. A solid metal core and a metal end are important here. Many of the plastic poles are too flexible. Make sure the telescopic shaft locks itself securely as well, you don’t want it collapsing while in use.

2. Primer with a tint

Primer, primer, primer! Most people painting their own walls dont’ bother with it and it’s often hte reason their walls end up looking blotvchy, washed out or with stains or wood features bleeding through. Primer serves three main functions: First, it blocks stains and resinous knots from bleeding through; second, it provides one-coat coverage for the paint topcoat; most importantly, it improves adhesion, which greatly reduces blisters and extends the life of the topcoat.

Pro Tip: Mix a small amount of topcoat paint into the primer to tint it towards the colour of your topcoat. (Be sure the primer and topcoat are both latex-based or both oil-based.)

3. Invest in Canvas

We’ve all used cheap plastic drop cloths opened out bin liners or even newspapers as dropcloths while doing a bit of DIY painting to protect the floors from paint spatter.  If you’ve ever employed a professional painter you might notice they nearly always use canvas.

Canvas drop cloths are durable, they don’t rip and are less likely to be punctured. They lie flat as you walk on them, so they are less of a trip hazard; you hardly ever have to tape canvas down. Canvas is also absorbent making paint drips less of an issue, unlike plastic that becomes slippery when spattered with wet paint. You’re much less likely to pick up paint on your shoe soles from canvas as well. Canvas can easily be folded around corners and doorways–something that’s virtually impossible to do with plastic sheets or the disaster that is newspapers.

4. Write the Colour down

If you do a lot of DIY or foresee that you might make changes in a room then recording the brand and colour of the original paint is a good idea. Whether it’s to freshen the current decor or repaint around a new doorway. Writing it on tins or in diaries that get thrown away seems a bit futile. So here’s a tip that will help you better next time.

Before you replace all the fixtures and fittings in a newly painted room, write the vital information (brand name, paint color, paint number) onto a piece of masking tape and stick it to the back of a switch plate. Then it’s there for next time unless the next person to paint doesn’t bother taking the switch plates off, but then that’ll be the price of laziness won’t it.

5. Use a Grid for your paint not a tray

Roller trays are possibly the most frustrating things you will ever use and cause as many paint spills as anything else and they are a nightmare to keep clean as well. Try rolling directly from a 10ltr paint bucket and using a Paint Grid. A paint grid is a rectangular rigid metal or plastic screen that hooks onto the rim of the paint tin. Just dip half of the roller into the paint, and remove the excess by rolling against the grid, which drips back into the bucket. When you’re done you can just drop the grid into the bucket and snap the lid closed.

I hope you enjoyed these few tips on painting and decorating they are certainly ones I would have liked to have way back when I first painted a room in my early twenties. Remember you can get your paint supplies at Topline store around the country. Happy painting.