3 common house problems and their solutions

3 common house problems and their solutions

The house is where you spend most of your time, when you’re not at work or school. Over a period of years, the frequent use of some homewares or fixtures in your house will eventually take a toll on them and cause them to wear out or break. Careless use can also affect the efficiency and condition of these items, and can end up with you spending a lot of money.

There are so many things that can go wrong in a home at any given time, but there’s always a solution to everything. Read on below for the usual troublemakers and how they can be taken care of.

Chipped paint

Chipped paint

When the paint on your walls or floors starts to crack, it’s probably because of the improper application of paint. It can also be because of problems in the humidity. The adhesion of the exterior paint is lost when moisture is absorbed through the wood siding’s back part and passes through the surface under the paint.

When this happens, the first thing to do is to control the problems in moisture or humidity. Air sealing should be applied so the moisture doesn’t leak. If you’re just about to start painting, apply a primer to the surface first to guarantee adhesion and the durability of paint.

Macerating toilet

Blocked toilet

If the toilet doesn’t flush right away, it’s possible that the toilet has a blockage. Wet wipes, disposable nappies, and cardboard products are the usual suspects when such things happen. Don’t keep trying to flush the toilet, though, as that may cause it to overflow.

The simplest way to unclog a toilet is to use a toilet plunger. For better suction, spread petroleum jelly around the ring of the plunger, or use a plunger with an extension flange.

Start by pumping lightly since the plunger is initially full of air. Plunging vigorously straight away will force air back around the seal. This will result in water flowing back and splashing up on you.

After pumping the plunger, release its handle slowly, allowing a little water to pass. You may pump more forcefully in the next few tries. Usually, it takes fifteen to twenty tries before the toilet is unclogged.

For more persistent clogging, the problem may lie in the sewer lines. This usually happens when the toilet is located in a basement. Here, the toilet is way below the drain line, which is why gravity can’t pull the waste down.

In such cases, it’s best to install a macerating toilet instead. This kind of toilet has a macerating unit, which is found behind the toilet. The waste is sent to this unit, where high-power blades will grind the waste until it’s liquefied. The waste will then be pumped out through a normal pipe that’s connected to the main sewer line.

Steamy window

Musty smell

If you notice a mouldy odour in the air, there may be problems with the humidity in your home. There may also be water leaks you haven’t discovered. High humidity, which can be caused by daily activities like showering or cooking, may cause walls or rooms to become damp.

Water leaks can cause moisture stains to appear in certain areas at home. In that case, you should locate the leak, seal it and and add insulation. You can hire a contractor to do it for you if you’re not confident of doing it yourself.

Another way to reduce indoor moisture is to open the windows at home to let the dry air outside mix with the humid air inside the house.

Put a few drops of your favourite essential oil into the furnace filter so that its scent permeates the house. Similarly, you could burn incense sticks or scented candles in the affected rooms. They’re a temporary solution, of course, so you should still find and remedy the source of moisture and leaks.

Important to remember

If you do have these problems in your home, don’t panic just yet. There are experts who can help you remedy these problems, and if you can’t contact them right away, you still have online articles to turn to for help. Aside from that, checking your house regularly for damage and carrying out repairs will help you avoid getting caught off guard and save money.

Have you ever had a particularly tricky house problem to crack? How did you solve it? Share your story in the comments section below.

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Improving your home: When to hire and when to DIY

Improving your home: When to hire and when to DIY

It’s no secret that a lot of money can be made from buying a property that is in need of some work and doing it up yourself. However, depending on the amount of work necessary, this can soon become a costly affair.

Therefore, when you embark on a house-remodelling project, and you’re looking to set a budget, you should consider just how much of it you can do yourself. After all, if you save some money on stripping your own wallpaper, you may be able to afford that beautiful ceramic sink you’ve had your eye on for the kitchen.

The main three questions to consider when deciding whether to DIY or hire a professional are: do you realistically have the time to complete this project? Do you realistically have the skills to complete this project? Could it be dangerous to yourself or damaging to the property if you attempt to complete this project on your own?

Below is a list of some of the most common tasks associated with doing up a house, as well as some recommendations on what you should DIY and for what jobs you should hire professionals.

Opening cans of paint

DIY: painting

Although it can seem daunting, learning to paint a room isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Have a look at tutorials online and perhaps find a more experienced friend or family member to assist you.

Wooden shelves against a grey wall

DIY or HIRE: cabinets and shelves

It may take some practice, but hanging cabinets or shelves isn’t too difficult once you’ve got the hang of it. Again, there’s a wealth of tutorials online on this subject for you to watch and learn.

Repairing a thatched roof

HIRE: roofing

As a rule of thumb, anything that may damage the structure or integrity of your home should be done by a professional. If you need your roof fixed, for peace of mind hire a professional roofing company that has a number of good reviews.

Laying laminate flooring

DIY or HIRE: flooring

When it comes to flooring, you can either DIY or hire, depending on what kind of work you are looking to have done. For example, laminated flooring is much easier to install than hardwood flooring.

Installing plumbing in a house

HIRE: wiring and plumbing

Although most people are capable of doing minor electricity jobs such as changing a plug themselves, all the major wiring should be done by a professional. Getting wiring wrong can cause a lot of damage – not only to yourself but your property. Similarly, plumbing mistakes can seriously damage your property, and the property value along with it, so make sure you hire a trusted professional for all your plumbing needs!

Small jar of chalk paint

DIY: furniture

This doesn’t refer to flat-pack or self-assemble furniture, but rather to a project where you buy a cheap piece of furniture and do it up to your liking. Most people have seen IKEA furniture hacks, and while they may look easy online, it can be difficult getting the desired result. Nevertheless, failed furniture DIY projects would never damage your home and seeing as IKEA furniture is very budget-friendly, you can easily try out your DIY skills without breaking the bank.

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How to remove stains from rugs

How to remove stains from rugs | H is for Home

With Christmas coming up, you’ll undoubtedly be a little apprehensive about all of the family traipsing their way through your house. It’s unfortunately inevitable that there’ll be the odd food or drink spillage as we get a little merry with the festivities. In between cooking the Christmas dinner and making sure the kids aren’t scoffing all the the chocolates, a red wine spill can feel catastrophic. But don’t panic, there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure that the ‘cream carpet meets red wine stain’ nightmare doesn’t come true. The team at Rug Mountain has put together a list of crucial don’ts when it comes to spills on your rugs.

Wet & dry vac

Don’t wait

It’s imperative that you act as soon as a spill happens. This reduces the time that the spill has to soak into the deeper fibres of the rug. If you have a carpet or hardwood floor underneath your rug, always make sure to check that the stain hasn’t seeped through to cause permanent staining on other surfaces.

Red wine spill from a wine glass

Don’t scrub

It’s hard to resist the temptation to grab the nearest cloth or sponge and start scrubbing away. This actually causes more damage as all you’re doing is pushing the stain further into the fabric. Instead, make sure you blot the stain to absorb the majority of the liquid. This will then leave you with the residue that won’t be deep set into the fibres.

Red wine spill

Don’t use hot water

When normally cleaning, hot or warm water is your go-to. When it comes to pigmented spills on rugs however, always use cold or room temperature water. Heat will only intensify the colour and cause further staining. Colder water will instead lift the spill ready for cleaning with stronger chemicals. Once the area has dried, you can then apply heat to remove any residue or cleaning solutions you may have used.

Soap on an Afghan rug

Don’t use products without testing

We’ve just mentioned using chemical cleaning products, but always make sure you’ve tested these before you use them. The worst thing you could do is to apply a cleaning product straight to your rug without testing, only to find it bleaches or damages the texture of the rug. Try instead, testing a product on a hidden patch of the rug or on the underside. The reaction of the rug to the product on your test patch will give you an indication as to whether it’s safe to use on the affected area. Never use bleach. This causes long-term damage that’s irreversible.

Laundry powder

Other things to avoid

As said previously, never use bleach. As well as this, avoid laundry or dishwasher detergent. While this might seem like common sense, in the panic of lifting a mulled wine stain, for example, we’ll desperately opt for anything to see if it will work. These products only cause damage to the rug and are notoriously good at attracting dirt and dust. The powdery formula deep sets itself into the fibres giving you a build up of muck, which of course you really don’t want.

And there you have it, the top ‘don’ts’ when it comes to spills on your rug this festive period. It’s important to always check the manufacturer’s guide for your rug to ensure you’re best caring for it. Most rugs will have a label telling you the basic of cleaning, if it’s machine or hand-wash, for example. It will also tell you things to avoid, such as bleach. Other than that, try not to let a little wine spill get the better of you this Christmas!

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Why you should hire a skip instead of travelling to the tip

Why you should hire a skip instead of travelling to the tip

A lot of hard work is involved in getting rid of large amounts of household waste. There are many options available to make this task less stressful with the two main ones being either to hire a skip or driving the rubbish to the tip yourself.

When it comes down to choosing an option, a decision needs to be made about which choice is practical for you. We’re going to go through some reasons why hiring a skip can be highly efficient and environmentally friendly.

Skip in front of a row of terraced houses

1. Convenience

The disposal of large amounts of waste can be much more convenient when choosing to hire a skip rather than doing it yourself. The clearance company will arrange and deliver the skip – and then you decide when it will be taken away. All you have to do is dispose of the waste at a time that’s convenient to you.

To many, it may seem like driving waste to the tip is a cheaper option, however, once you factor in time and fuel everything adds up – and you pay a lot to just get rid of a few bags. Breaking the waste down and placing it in the designated containers uses a lot of precious time that you may just not have. This task can be left to a reputable and responsible waste company. It can become even more costly if the tip is far away from your doorstep as the cost goes up with every return trip you make. Also, you may not have access to transportation, meaning this complete service could be a total godsend.

By hiring a skip from websites like Envirowaste.co.uk who can deliver and collect at a suitable time to you could be very beneficial – freeing yourself from all the hassle and strain of doing the job yourself!

Skip beside a red brick house

2. Affordability

Affordability is another major reason why people opt for skips, especially if you think of all the trips you are going to make if you have a lot of waste. Driving to and from tips will not only cost you money in terms of fuel, but waste time as you will also have to load and unload the items in your car, sort recyclables and deposit the waste in the correct areas. The weight of the waste in your car can also impact fuel consumption.

Many consider the cost of hiring a skip is only offset by the convenience it brings, but it’s worth noting that there are many competitive skip hire companies offering a variety of services at highly affordable rates.

Skip full of plastic VHS video tapes

3. Type of waste

You need to consider the type of waste you’re moving and throwing away when deciding between a skip and a tip. Dirty and dusty waste can easily find its way into the fabric in your car and be a potential source of permanent damage. As this is not a one time job, days of moving around with the waste can result in holes and tears in the seats and leave them stained. Added to that, loading and unloading heavy objects can cause scratches and dents in the paintwork.

Hiring a skip is a stress-free service that gives you peace of mind and saves your vehicle from potential damage.

Skip full of domestic waste

4. Sanitation

Dusty and dirty waste can leave your vehicle filled with unwanted germs and odours. Sorting all the waste is not an easy task and can be dangerous if the disposed items consist of broken glass or leaking liquids. Hiring a skip will ensure careful handling of all the waste as the company can take appropriate action in a safe and hygienic way. They will know how to handle and dispose of the items with great care so you don’t have to get your hands dirty!

Large number of large yellow skips stacked one on top of another

5. Protecting the environment

Hiring a skip is one of the best ways of conserving the environment by discarding unwanted materials properly, instead of them ending up in landfill. You can even hire a skip according to the type of items of which you need to dispose. Be it glass, metal, plastics, or any kind of household or commercial waste, it will all be taken care of in an ethical and environmentally friendly manner as the provider will have access to many recycling depots, waste treatment plants and dump yards. This way, the environment not only stays safer, but cleaner and healthier.

These multiple advantages of hiring a skip seriously outweigh travelling to the tip to dispose of unwanted items.

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How to organise a self-storage unit

How to organise a self-storage unit

Self-storage units can be an absolute godsend when trying to keep a cluttered house under control. Unfortunately, attempting to store a large number of items in a plain concrete room tends to lead to more clutter than you started with at home. How do you manage to keep things organised and be able to find anything in storage?

Having all the right storage supplies as well as a bit of a plan for your unit is the way to go. You can get your self-storage unit in ship shape with just a few tips.

Different sized seld-storage units

Right sized space

Before you can start planning on organising your unit, you really need to be sure you get one that’s large enough for your belongings. Trying to jam too much stuff into a tiny space makes organising almost impossible. Before renting space, make a list of what you want to keep in it and make some realistic estimates. Perhaps even gather everything up in one spot first and measure how many square feet it all needs.

Stack of banana boxes

Proper containers

Don’t resort to the hasty (and cheap) solution of jamming things into big garbage bags. They are very difficult to manage in terms of organisation because they don’t have a rigid shape. You can’t pile or stack bags, and they’re notorious for tearing at the wrong moment. The best option is plastic totes with lids, but even sturdy cardboard boxes are better than bags. Not only are boxes easier to label than bags, they are a lot more secure for your belongings. Moisture, dust, insects or even rodents can get into your stuff if it’s not well protected.

Labelled files on shelves in storage

Label and list

This is probably the biggest key to keeping your self-storage unit organised. Label everything in clear, large letters. Never assume that you will always remember what’s in certain boxes. Add more detail whenever you can as well. Labelling a box “Kitchen Stuff” is minimally helpful, so tape on a label or sheet of paper that has a quick bullet list of what’s actually in the box.

To be really on top of things, go one step further and put together a master list of the contents that you can keep at home. Knowing what’s in your unit without having to go back and paw through boxes can (and will) save a lot of time.

Shelves with numbered boxes

Shelves

If you’ve taken our earlier suggestion and stored your stuff in boxes or totes, it can be really tempting to just stack one on top the other. That can work if you are storing things you don’t access much. In situations where you do need to get at things periodically, having to move 4 or 5 boxes around because what you need is invariably at the bottom can be irritating and difficult. Having your boxes organised on shelves means you can pull out the one you need without having to shuffle everything else around.

So, taking these ideas into account, you should be able to put your storage unit to better use and have your important belongings right to hand when you need them.

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How to refresh your out-dated home and be proud of it

How to refresh your out-dated home and be proud of it

When we’re proud of who we are, we reflect in the space we live in. When we’re proud of the home we’ve built for ourselves, we feel at home. Homes, however, require constant maintenance. It’s hard! When wear is starting to show in your home, it’s time to consider some easy DIY projects. When your windows or your doors are rotting and in disrepair, you need to reinvest in your home for more than just its kerb appeal. Your home means so much to you. Put a little love back into it (and maybe save some money in the long run).

Painting wood

Repainting

Nothing is a better instant fix than a fresh coat of paint. If your home has beautiful features like wood or brick that you absolutely do not want to paint over, a good power wash is the way to go. For wood, however, remember that unless you treat and take care of it, it will rot. Constant upkeep is an absolute must! In most cases, however, especially if your home or fence was already painted, a fresh, clean coat of paint will instantly brighten the look and feel of your exterior.

Tip: Ce sure to fill holes, fix cracks and other sources of disrepair before you paint!

Brass dolphin knocker on a bright blue door

Installing new fixtures

Rusting fixtures, or even just out-dated ones, can really bring down the look and feel of your home. Installing a uniform set of doorknobs, door knockers, and outside lights will really make your home look like new. Having a set of fixtures (meaning they all look similar, or are sold as a set) will make your home look like a professional did the job!

Cream room with light streaming through a window

Install new windows and doors

Single glazed windows and doors that let a draught in are often not only a bit old and sad looking, they can also cost you a lot. Updating them is an absolute must! This investment can save on heating bills in the long run, too, so over time, your investment will have paid for itself! Choose energy-efficient doors and windows, and find the right scaffolding equipment and installation team for you. Sourcing a lot of the materials yourself, instead of through a builder, is a great way to save money (if you have the time to find the best deals). Just make sure that everything is to the correct specifications!

Watering plants in a garden

Landscape your garden

Nothing will make you feel more relaxed and at home than having a perfect getaway in your back garden. Fixing the cracks and getting rid of the weeds between paving is a quick and easy way to make your garden look well cared for. Replace any dead or sad-looking plants with architectural or flowering plants for a new look!

Tip: Buy flowering plants that will bloom throughout the year, so you’ll always have colour and interest!

Being proud of your home is something for which to strive. It means coming home and loving the feel of it. Keeping your home fresh and updated is how you’ll continue to be proud of your home throughout your life.

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Can existing tiles be tiled over?

Can existing tiles be tiled over?

If you want to give your bathroom or kitchen a fresh look, laying some new tiles can be a great way to do it. There are plenty of interesting tile designs and colours out there to choose from; click here for some inspiration. Once you have decided which tiles you like, can existing tiles be tiled over?

The good news is that you can tile over ceramic tiles that you already have in place. You just need to make sure you follow all the necessary steps. We’re going to take you through those steps, in this post.

Laying tiles over tiles

Deciding whether the current tiles can be tiled over

Even though it’s possible to tile over ceramic tiles, this doesn’t mean that you should always do so. You need to check that the tiles are in reasonable condition and aren’t lose. If the current tiles are damaged or wobbly, they’re not going to create the firm surface you need for the new tiles.

Laying tiles over grout

Preparing the current tiles for the new tiles

Once you’ve established that you have a suitable surface in place, you need to take certain actions to prepare it, so that you can successfully complete your tiling project. Here’s the preparation that’s necessary:

  • Get rid of any areas that are higher than the rest of the surface. In order for your tiling job to be successful, you need to be working with a flat surface. If there are any spots standing proud, they have to be ground away before you progress.
  • Smooth out the surface, now that it’s flat. You can smooth the surface simply by sanding the area.
  • Make sure that the area is clean and that there’s no loose grout on the surface. The best way to get rid of any surface dirt is to take a vacuum cleaner over the area. You then need to wash the entire surface thoroughly. After the washing is complete you need to give the area time to dry completely.

You may think that all this preparation sounds like a lot of hard work, but it’s necessary if you want the tiling to look good, and to be durable, once the job is complete. After completing the preparation, you then need to apply the thinset so you can put the new tiles in place.

Tiling over tiles that are currently in place is certainly possible, and it’s often a simple process. If you come across any problems, or you don’t feel confident of doing a good job, you may want to hire a professional tiler, instead of doing the job yourself. They have the experience to put to use in ensuring you get the successful results you’re after. New tiling can give a fresh feel to a kitchen or bathroom on its own, or you may want to include it as part of a bigger renovation project, to liven up your home, and increase its market value.

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