Painting, decorating and home improvement tips blog
Posted by Adrian
May 5th, 2013
Spring decorating ideas
As the weather begins to warm up and the first signs of spring start to appear you may start thinking about doing some jobs around the home and garden. After what feels like an eternity since last years washout Summer and a very long Winter the house may well have been neglected for a year or so and in need of some decorating.
If the weather turns for the worst or we get more frosty nights it is not the time to be painting your house outside, so why not turn to those decorating jobs inside. It’s time to clear out the spare room and give it a lick of paint, or give the home office new modern look. After such a long dull cold winter any room would benefit form a nice bright Spring like makeover.
If you are looking to keep your house looking ‘on trend’ then how about looking at the colour trends for 2013 and using some of the colours from this years palette, such as the colour of the year 90BB 09/186 or indigo blue to give it its name. This could be used as a feature wall to create a stunning modern look to any home.
You may want to do a little more than just paint the walls, you may want to do some repairs or make a room look more modern. If you have a nasty crack around the ceiling and wall line you could put some coving up, it will hide the crack and give a softer edge to the ceiling and wall line.
If your house needs some attention outside, wait until there are no more frosts before painting. Otherwise your hard work will not last long and the nice gloss finish on your front door will end up with a lovely bloom over it by the next day, and you will have to do it all again.
Wait for a day that is going to be dry and not windy ideally, not always easy in the UK! But for best results it is best to pick your day.
If you are thinking of painting your fascia or soffits or maybe the masonry there is an order in which to paint, if you paint in the correct order you will get the best results and make your life easier.
If you have algee, mould or dirt on you house, ensure you wash all of this off first, and never paint over it. If you have lead flashing that isn’t paint, don’t paint it just treat it.
If you have plants growing up the outside of your house, be aware the plants could damage your house. Ivy for example can suck the moisture out of the mortar or render and pull it out. Plants can also hold moisture against the house and cause damp issues, so be aware of this.
If you do not have rendered walls and you have plastic Upvc windows, do not forget the other exterior parts of the house, the fascia boards, soffits and bargeboards, these will need painting every few years. If you neglect these for long enough they will rot, birds will be able to get in and nest and they will be able to get into your loft space. You could also get other unwanted wildlife in your loft space such as squirrel’s.
Spring and Summer decorating
Hopefully this post has given you some ideas for decorating this Spring, and if the weather is bad there are always jobs inside you can do. I hope you found his post interesting, please feel free to leave a comment and share on Twitter and Facebook.
Posted by Adrian
April 10th, 2013
How to wallpaper around light switches and sockets
If you are wallpapering an entire room or simply a feature wall, more than likely you are going to come across a light switch, a socket, a TV Ariel or satellite point or a telephone socket. These may seem difficult to wallpaper around, but they don’t have to be.
The first thing to remember always is safety first, turn of the power to light switches or sockets before undoing any screws, yes this is a pain because you have to re-set clocks etc. But it’s far better to do that than get an electric shock. Wallpaper by it’s very nature is wet, the paste makes the wallpaper wet, this conducts electricity very well, so be safe, turn off the power.
The first thing to do is identify which kind of fitting you have, if your sockets or switches have the socket or switch box on the wall they are surface mounted, if just the face plate is showing then the box is sunk into the wall, this is flush fitted. You tackle these two types slightly differently.
Wallpapering around surface mounted sockets and switches
Wallpaper down to the switch or socket, support the wallpaper with one hand and smooth the paper into the switch surface mounted box, cut along the top of the box, then carefully, pull the paper away from the wall slightly so you can smooth the paper to the edge of the box, trim this edge, now do the same with the other edge. Finally cut with scissors the remaining ‘square’ out of the sheet of wallpaper but leave enough to trim. Smooth down the paper and it should go around the switch box, finally trim the bottom edge.
Clean off any excess paste off of the wallpaper and switch, making sure not to get too much water on the switch, then allow to dry for a bit and turn the power back on.
Wallpapering around flush fitted sockets and switches
As you wallpaper down to the switch or socket, make a small hole in the wallpaper, about the centre of the switch, now from the centre hole you have just made, cut from the middle toward the corner of the switch, so diagonally. Now smooth the wallpaper down onto the wall and trim the ‘triangle’ sections off but leaving enough to tuck behind the switch. Do this to all the ‘triangle’ sections. Now loosen, but don’t remove the face plate, and tuck the wallpaper behind the switch. Smooth out and air bubbles toward the switch. Finally screw the face plate down again, making sure not to over tighten and crack it.
Clean off any excess paste on the wallpaper and switch making sure not to get too much water on the switch, leave the power off long enough allowing for the wallpaper to dry out enough and any paste to dry.
Posted by Adrian
March 24th, 2013
How to fit coving and why use it
Coving or cornice is very popular, it comes in a wide range of styles, sizes and made from a variety of materials such as plaster or polystyrene. A lot of you may have coving in your house, it helps break up the hard edge between the wall and ceiling and gives a nice aesthetic decorative look. You may have a plain concave coving or something more fancy such as egg and dart or Swag and Bow.
How to fit coving
To fit your chosen coving you will need the appropriate cove adhesive, this maybe a lightweight coving adhesive or a powder ‘mix your own’ adhesive for heavier paper faced plaster coving or just plaster coving. You will also need to cut mitres in each or the internal and external corners, it is easier if you use a mitre block or mitre tool that the coving manufacturer make.
Mark the ceiling and wall as described in the instructions as your guide lines, where the lines go will depend on the size of coving. You will need to measure the length of the wall and cut the coving and mitres accordingly, do this around the room until you have all the lengths cut, now mix enough adhesive up (if you need too) to fix a couple of lengths of coving as the adhesive will harden fairly quickly and be unworkable.
Apply adhesive to both edges of the back of the coving noting which is the wall and ceiling edge, this will be printed on the back of the coving. Once the adhesive is applied, push the length into place. Push the coving fairly hard to squeeze out the adhesive so it has a good bond to wall and ceiling. Use a scraper to remove the excess adhesive and a paint brush or sponge to wipe down the face of the coving.
Use adhesive to fill in joints and mitres, continue with the coving in this way until you are done. Leave the coving to dry overnight and then lightly rub down the joints and mitres, then apply 3-4 coats of emulsion to get a good coverage.
Why fit coving
Coving is primarily used in modern homes as a decorative item but it does cover up the nasty looking crack you often get between the ceiling and wall line, this crack is caused my movement in the house, nothing to worry about it is perfectly natural. The house expands and contracts as it gets hot and cold, the crack is caused by the movement of the two.
Coving can also add a nice soft edge rather than a hard edge and make a room look softer and more welcoming. If you are thinking of decorating a room, why not consider adding some coving.
Rooms with low ceilings suit smaller coving such as a 90mm but high ceiling rooms can go for 127mm or larger.
For a list of types of profiles and a little more information about coving, take a look at Wikipedia.
For more in-depth instructions on fitting coving, take a look at the article I wrote on our DIY By Design blog about how to fit coving.