Archive for the ‘diy’ Category

Boxing in pipes: How to remedy ugly plumbing

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

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No two ways about it, exposed pipes and plumbing gubbins are just plain ugly. The bathroom, cloakroom and kitchen will probably be the worst affected rooms, but it’s a potential eyesore in all areas of the house with radiators, boilers, sinks, loo’s, stoves & fires all requiring connection to services.

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Boxing it all in is a neat and cost effective solution with numerous advantages. The first and most obvious plus side is the cosmetic improvement to a space – clean, neat lines replacing the chaos that lies behind; Boxing in also has an obvious safety element – protecting the exposed gas and water pipes; and best of all, it can provide valuable shelving and storage spaces.

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The boiler is a large area to box in – so add shelves and cupboard doors to provide the perfect home for linen & laundry; under-sink areas in the kitchen can be transformed into cleaning product stores… and bathroom pipe boxing can provide useful shelving for lotions and potions. With a bit of care & creativity, the actual reason for the boxing in becomes almost secondary!

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Wallpaper the boxing in or paint it the same colour as the wall to blend in and make it unobtrusive. No knobs or handles need spoil the look or get in the way either – use push latch or magnetic mechanisms to make everything neat & flush. You can completely disguise where possible too – for example, if it’s low level and only narrow, the boxing can actually be made to look like skirting boards.

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You can get the professionals in – or perhaps take it on as a DIY project. If you’re boxing in pipes yourself but aren’t confident with your carpentry skills try ready-made uPVC pipe covers . Companies such as Screw Fix or B&Q will have everything else you’ll need.

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Just remember a few basic points: Use waterproof materials where appropriate – ceramic tiles, uPVC glue, silicon sealant and so on; ensure there’s some kind of access to stopcocks or important pipe joints; and allow appropriate spacing & ventilation as required.

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Let your imagination flow and follow a few simple rules to achieve fabulous results – those ugly pipes will be a thing of the past!

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The importance of wearing a hard hat

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

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Every now and again, we get involved in DIY. Nothing heavy you understand. Perhaps a friend needs a hand repainting a room, changing their kitchen doors or demolishing a wall.

Our work also takes us to homes that are being refurbished and it’s clear that some people are far more skilled and adventurous than us. People will turn their hands to all kinds of things as a way to turn a shell into a home.

A lack of money is driving more people to do things themselves. Often they will sell or donate their old furniture to us as a way to raise funds or simply to make space for new furniture.

For the most part, things turn out well for these people. It’s amazing to see what people manage to do when they decide to learn new skills and carry out all kinds of home improvements themselves.

Sadly, every once in a while, things go array and unfortunately accidents happen. One such accident is prompting me to write this post. A friend of ours was knocked out when he was hit with the end of a scaffolding pole. It wasn’t a hard blow, no bones broken just a nasty bruise and a bit of a bump, but he still ended up in A&E being checked for concussion.

When I heard about the accident, it struck me that it wouldn’t have been serious if my friend had been wearing a hard hat. Of course, the accident could still have happened, but the consequences would not have been so serious. A hard hat would have absorbed more of the blow and potentially my friend would not have been knocked out and have needed to attend the hospital.

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Use the right safety equipment

When we work on a project or piece of furniture, we’re usually quite careful. We use gloves, safety glasses and wear a mask when sanding down furniture.

Over the years, the cost of safety equipment has fallen and these days, sites like Safetystock.co.uk sell to the public as well as professionals. On sites like this, it’s possible to buy industrial-quality safety equipment for a low price.

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Keeping yourself safe while doing DIY

Staying safe while carrying out DIY is very much a matter of common sense, you just need to stop and think. It’s very important not to work with power tools when you’re tired, on medication, or after a night out when you’ve been drinking. Remember, it only takes a moment of inattention for an accident to occur and for someone to get seriously hurt.

It makes sense to wear gloves and safety glasses when using power tools. If you’re working in a confined space or somewhere where there are loose fixtures and fittings that could fall on your head, you need to wear a hard hat or helmet. Remember to protect your feet too. Wearing safety shoes is a wise precaution.

Next time you set out to do a DIY job in your home, stop and think about safety and take the necessary steps to keep you and your family safe.

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10 ways to help your home sell faster

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

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You’ve made the decision to move on – and now the hard work begins. You may have great memories of the property where your children grew up or you progressed in your career, but to the home-buyer that means nothing; their memories are still to be created. Here are ten quick ways to help your home sell faster and boost your chances of moving to your next abode.

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De-clutter for visits

If you’ve made the decision to move, then your personal effects will need to be packed up at some point – so why not start now? Pack away the personal photographs and travel memorabilia, wall certificates, photographs and kids’ paintings, with the aim of creating a canvas onto which a visitor can mentally stamp their authority.

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Let other people love your home

Garish room colours such as dark reds, purples and blues might be perfect for your lifestyle, but for a potential buyer it represents redecoration at best, and rejection at worst. Regard it from the viewpoint of someone coming into the home fresh, with new ideas for rooms, which they’ll visualise more easily if they’re pastel colours.

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Get those jobs done

The niggly, nasty little jobs that you’ve been putting off for months or years need to be done if they’re a real barrier to the sale. Guttering upgrades, crack repairs, and broken windows might need professional help, but replacing doorknobs and skirting boards could be done in a day or so by the owner and could tip the balance in a buyer’s eyes.

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Update the kitchen

Alongside the bathroom, this is the one room where old age can’t be hidden easily by removing items for the photographs. Dirty units and old-fashioned trimmings will drag down the overall picture of the house; while a modern, clean kitchen might catch the eye. We’re not talking big money – just enough for it to become a positive talking point for the estate agent.

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Leaving behind?

Transporting some items is more hassle than benefit; sheds, integrated TVs, cookers and the like are the types of furniture that might not add value to your home, but might a) give a good impression, b) look nice and prevent disruption and c) enable the buyer to sell their own counterpart items.

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Get recording

You’ve got a mobile phone or a small video/DSLR camera, so make use of it. A walk through your lovely home is one thing, but why not go further by taking potential buyers on a leafy tour through the local amenities, pubs, shops, leisure facilities, parks and other attractions. If they’ll agree, enlist neighbours and friends as well.

'Easy Guide to Selling' web page

Go online

The quick house sale and online estate agency markets are booming, with much of the donkey work such as photography, floor plans and advertising on property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla done for you through sites such as HouseSimple.com. It’s certainly worth a look if time is of the essence – for example, if one needs to move to start a new job.

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Utilise social media

That video should not only find its way to YouTube and Vimeo, but other social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Accompany it with lovely pictures, a PDF of particulars for downloading and contact details. The trick is to make something that’s interesting enough for friends & followers to share, encourage and positive comments.

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Don’t forget the exterior…

The external walls and the garden are part of your home, and a spot of weeding/raking to the latter and painting of the former – and therefore protecting it from sun, wind and rain for future owners – could be worth it. Keep a tin of the paint and the receipt if completed by a professional decorator, to prove the job has been done recently.

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…and additional space

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (as reported in The Independent) three times as many front gardens are now completely paved over compared to a decade ago, for reasons such as people can’t be bothered with gardens and need parking spaces. If your property boasts its own parking space make sure this is highlighted, and emphasise that it is near to any attractions (if true). A happy medium would be a combination of parking and grassed area, of course; shout from the rooftops if you possess this treasure.

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