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Painting, decorating and home improvement tips blog

Getting your home ready for winter

Posted by admin
December 8th, 2014

Getting your home ready for winter

After such a mild autumn we could be in for a harsh winter, so being prepared in advance is vital. Doing essential jobs before the winter sets in could prevent any issues during the winter months.

If you own property and rent it out it is advisable to get your rented property checked over as well, prevention is better than cure as they say.

leaking pipe

What to check and fix before the winter

Things such as heating, boilers and radiators are the most obvious things to check and service before the winter, but less thought about things such as gutters and drains also need to be looked at.

Boiler, radiators and pipes

Getting your boiler serviced (by a qualified engineer) could not only prevent a break down when you need it most, but if it runs efficiently it could also save money on your gas bill.
Radiators should be bled to ensure no air is in the radiators and they can supply you with efficient heat, you can tell if your radiator needs bleeding as they will have a cold spot at the top, if it is cold at the bottom, this indicates a buildup of sludge and rust, this should be flushed out to get the most from your radiators this winter.
Pipes, these should be lagged including any pipes outside such as in outbuildings or garden taps. If pipes are not lagged and they freeze, they could burst and cause flooding.

You can read about how to avoid freezing pipes on our Rayfields site.

If you are going away, or you have a empty rented property, it is a good idea to leave the heating on low just to prevent pipes from freezing. Now is also a good time to know where stop cocks and valves are, just in case of an emergency.

leaves blocking gutter

Roofs, gutters and drains

Roofs take a battering in the winter with strong winds, rain, sleet and snow. It is a good idea to give it a visual inspection from the ground. If you have access to a ladder you could look at it closer but don’t get on the roof without the necessary safety equipment. Look for missing or broken tiles including ridge tiles, look at the state of the chimney if you have one. If anything needs repairing get it done sooner than later as roofers can get busy.

Gutters get full of falling leaves and can block the downpipes, clear guttering out and fit a downpipe leaf guard to stop debris falling down the downpipe. Also check where the downpipe goes, is it an open drain, does this flow well or is it blocked? A blocked drain could cause damp to your property.

You can read a post I did about cleaning out your gutters on our Rayfields site.

Frosted up window

Insulation, doors, windows

Does your loft have enough insulation in it? Are any pipes and hot water tank properly lagged all these should be looked at for both rented and private owned properties. Are you walls cavity insulated or can they be, you may even be able to have it installed for free. So it is worth a little time checking.

Do your windows and doors fit and close as they should? If you have draughts you could fit draughts excluders around windows and doors. If your windows don’t shut well because the handle is broken, get it fixed, reducing draughts will help keep the heat in and cold out, thus saving on heating bills.

Flood and ice road sign

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Recent listed building exterior job summer 2014

Posted by admin
September 15th, 2014

Grade II listed building

Recent listed building exterior job summer 2014

As the summer draws to a close I thought I would post about a recent job I have completed. The job was a 17th century Grade II listed building property in my local area. I viewed the property in mid April 2014 with the intent to do the job late summer.

The property required some repair work to woodwork but was also in need of two new windows, a box sash window on the front elevation and a small window to the side elevation. These windows were made by a local joinery company and fitted by a local builder.

The building is timber framed that originally had weatherboard on the exterior but was rendered some year ago. The roof has a catslide style, this means one side is longer than the other.

Decorating the exterior

The rendered walls had algae growing on them so the first job was to treat this with a algae and anti fungicide wash, this was applied, left for a while, and then thoroughly washed and scrubbed off.

Once the walls were dry I could apply the masonry paint, two coats were applied to the walls of a Dulux smooth masonry paint in Magnolia. Once this was done it was time to do the windows.

There were nine windows in all to paint, the frames were painted in Sadolin Superdec Walnut, and the windows themselves in Sadolin Superdec Magnolia, the front door was also painted in the same Walnut and magnolia.

The guttering and downpipes were painted in a black gloss, the plinth was painted in a black bitumen to finish off the bottom of the property.

The customers were very happy and as you can see by the pictures below, there is a big difference between the before and after shots.

The before and after pictures

Grade II listed building side elevation

Grade II listed building frontelevation

Grade II listed building render


Grade II listed building side elevation

Grade II listed building side elevation

Grade II listed building side elevation


Grade II listed building side elevation

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How to paint new wood

Posted by admin
April 30th, 2014

How to paint new wood

It is important when painting new wood to prepare the wood and paint it correctly, this will ensure the wood lasts for a long time. Most interior wood is softwood, such as skirting boards, door frames, architraves and doors. Whereas exterior wood can be both softwood, such as in fascia boards, but maybe hardwoods for windows and doors etc. This post mainly deals with softwood, such as pine, and painting the wood rather than staining or varnishing.

Preparation is the first job for any new wood, a rub down to ensure the surface is smooth and ready for painting. If you are going to be painting the wood, that is to say not going to varnish the wood, you should apply kotting solution to the knots. This can be applied with a brush or rag. Some knotting solution comes with a brush. Apply two or three coats to the knots and let it dry.

Primer

One the knotting is dry you can apply a suitable wood primer. This can either be solvent or water based, I prefer water based as it dries quickly. Once the first coat is dry, lightly rub down the first coat and then apply a second coat of primer.

Once this is dry, again give it a light rub down, you should now have a well coated piece of wood ready for an undercoat.

Undercoat

An undercoat is used to allow a topcoat such as gloss or satinwood to be applied. Apply one or two coats of a suitable undercoat, for some paints a coloured undercoat can be used, such as a dark grey undercoat for a dark blue or black topcoat for example.

If you are applying more than one undercoat, leave to dry fully and give the wood a light sanding between coats. You may have to give the wood two undercoats depending on how well the wood is covered and how porous the wood is.

Topcoat

Topcoat can be gloss, satinwood, eggshell, solvent based or water based they all come under the heading topcoat as it is the last coat or finishing coat to be applied to the wood.

Once you have applied the primer and undercoat you need to rub the wood down a final time in preparation for the topcoat. Dust of the wood and make sure the wood is free from dirt and grease, then apply the topcoat to the wood. In some cases a second coat may be required, if this is the case allow the first coat to fully dry and then lightly rub the first coat with fine sandpaper and then remove any dust and apply the second coat.

Giving a second coat can give a better gloss in the case of water based paints, it can also give a deeper, fuller finish.

Painting new hardwood

To paint new hardwood, such as a front door, the process is the same, you may not require any knotting solution as hardwood has far less knots. Again, rub down, prime, undercoat and topcoat ensuring you rub down between each coat to ensure a good smooth finish.

graphic of wood

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