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DIY jobs – The right tool for the job :: Posted by: Admin on July 22nd, 2014

Hammer and screw

DIY jobs – The right tool for the job

When it comes to tackling DIY jobs it is best to be planned and prepared, whether it be a building job, gardening, a simple handyman job, plumbing or woodworking job, it is best to be prepared with the correct tools. By using the wrong tool for the job you run the risk of personal injury, damaging equipment or the job you are working on, and more often than not using the wrong tool makes the job harder to do and makes the job take longer to complete.

The right tools for the job

It maybe an old saying and a bit of a cliche but, by having the right tool for the job, will make the job far easier, safer and produce a far superior job. Rather than struggling without the correct tools and in an unsafe way and finishing up with a botched job that you’ll more than likely end having to redo, or calling in a professional to do the job properly for you.

A clean workspace is a safe workspace

If you have a clean environment to work in, without clutter and dangerous hazards such as extension leads and tools all over the floor, the DIY job will be a far safer place to work and a easier place to work, so you will enjoy doing some DIY rather than hate it and shudder at the thought of any DIY tasks. It doesn’t take long to move stuff out of the way and tidy up.

Be prepared

Take time to think about the job, gather the tools you will need, remove any dangers (this includes small children and pets) from your work area. Think about how you are going to do the job, have you got everything that you require to complete the job, the last thing you want to do is have to rush out and buy something in the middle of the job.

If you are doing a plumbing job don’t forget to turn off any water supply before removing taps or cutting pipes. Make sure electrical supplies are turned off before touching wires or removing socket face plates.

Gardening

If you decide to do a DIY job in the garden you should still think about the right tool for the job, and of course safety, such as using an extension lead with a RCD plug (residual-current device) so that if you run over it with the mover the power will be cut immediately.

Power tools

Lets face it we all love power tools, right? Well in the wrong hands they can cause serious injury and damage. However, having the correct power tool for the job will again make life easier, quicker and far more enjoyable.
Wallpaper and heat gun

Your stories

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10 things that can devalue your property :: Posted by: Admin on August 7th, 2013

Graphic of a house with money going down a drain

10 things that can devalue your property

You can do thing’s that improve your property but you can also do things that will devalue your property, obviously this isn’t a good thing and when selling your property could affect how quickly you sell your property.

You have to think like a buyer and what they maybe looking for, offer a plain canvas so they can put their own mark on the place. The following 10 items maybe good reason for the buyer to knock your asking price down, so take a read and see if you can improve your property before a buyer views your house.

First impressions

First impressions count so make sure your property has good kerb appeal, make sure the frontage is tidy, keep it clean, if you have a garden have some nice shrubs of flowers and keep the weeds and grass down, don’t let the grass get so high you can lose a small child in it. If your property is in need of decoration either do it yourself of call on the services of a professional decorator to do the job for you.

You only get one chance to make a first impression, make it a good one, not a bad one. Bad first impressions are hard to change.

Kitchen

Is your kitchen taken out of the ark? Is it greasier than a chip shop? If your kitchen has seen better days it maybe time to have a new one or at least retrofit it by fitting new door and draw fronts to it. If the walls are greasy use some strong de-greaser to remove the grease.

A clean bright modern kitchen will add value to your property, a run down old one will reduce it’s value. The kitchen is the hub of any home, it should be a nice place to be.

Another thing to consider is if you fit a kitchen that nobody else likes this could also devalue your home, that’s not to say you can’t be modern or contemporary with your choices but when people come to view your property they will have in their minds, “Needs a new kitchen”, and knock your asking price down accordingly.

Bathroom

Much the same as a kitchen the bathroom should be clean and bright. If you have carpet is it in good condition or stained and mouldy, an alternative is a tiled floor, which is easy to keep clean and mob up water.

If you still have a bathroom suite from the 1960’s or 1970’s that is chocolate brown, avocado, turquoise or pink unless you have a retro styled bathroom it could knock a little more of the asking price. White is very popular today with more attention being spent on the accessories such as waterfall taps.

A tiled bathroom is often found nowadays rather than papered due to the fact of the dampness you get in a bathroom from the steam, if you have wallpapered walls that is coming off at the corners, invest in some paste and stick them back.

Decoration

There is nothing wrong with bright colours or big bold patterned wallpaper, but all things in moderation, especially from a buyers point of view. If your decoration is in good condition then you don’t have to worry too much but if you haven’t decorated for the past 15 years consider digging out the paint brushes and roller to give your house a lick of paint to freshen it up.

If you have bright bold colours, consider taming them down a shade or two before putting the house on the market, it won’t be such a shock to the viewers then.

Garden

Both front and rear garden’s are important to maintain, mow the lawn, weed the border and plant some nice shrubs and bedding plants in the border. If you have fast growing Leylandii conifers in the garden make sure they are well maintained and trimmed, the last thing you want to do is end up with a dispute with a neighbor, especially if you are trying to sell your property.

If you have a patio area or decking, give it a clean. Sweep up the fallen leaves. Fix and broken fencing or replace fence panels and mend gates. Put the kids toys away.

Bad workmanship

If you have done any work or had any work carried out on your property make sure it is of a good standard, bad shoddy workmanship shows up and will put people off as they know they will have to redo the work again correctly.

You should never do the work yourself unless you have a good knowledge of what is required, any gas, electric, plumbing and heating should be carried out by a qualified person. If bad workmanship is seen people will wonder what else hasn’t been done right or how much is this going to cost me to put right, all of which devalues your property.

Bad or illegal building

If you have had any building work done in must of been passed with the local building authority, if it isn’t you’ll have real problems when it comes to selling, plus it’s illegal and you could be asked to take it down.

Another issue arises if you live in a listed building, there are rules you have to follow and things you are and are not allowed to do to a property, go against this at your peril and at the expense of devaluing your home.

Building with no planning permission when permission is required will make your property untouchable for many buyers, it just isn’t worth the hassle, so make sure all the paperwork is in order and that the local building authority are happy with your new build before trying to sell.

Woodchip and artex

If you still have woodchip wallpaper or artexed walls this could certainly devalue you property as it isn’t in fashion any more and it can be fairly costly to remove it and have the walls plastered smooth again.

Having woodchip or artexed wall could also show to potential buyers that you haven’t decorated in a while, it could be a deal breaker so consider removing them if you still have them before selling, or be prepared to drop the asking price accordingly.

An Englishman’s home is his castle

As the old saying goes, “An Englishman’s home is his castle”, but that doesn’t mean you have to ram in every period feature into one house, it is good to have original period features but if you adding features be careful not to over do it.

You don’t want to have a ceiling rose with a large light fitting, a picture rail, a dado rail, ornate eight inch skirting boards in a 1960’s end terrace, it just won’t look right and may put people off buying your house as it doesn’t look like a 1960’s end terrace it may look just a bit, over done. So it maybe a good idea to try and keep true to the period of your property when you do it up.

Smells

If you have pets such as cats, dogs and you let them run freely around the entire house you may have pet smells in your house, to avoid this try keeping them downstairs and maybe to one or two rooms to keep smells to a minimum.

Also be aware of leaks, a slow drip from behind the concealed toilet cistern or a leaking kitchen tap will make the surrounding area damp and in time this will smell, if you know you have a leak try and fix it as soon as possible, if you have rotten wood caused by a leak, replace it.

Smells can also come from leaking drainage, you should fix these as soon as possible, not only because of the smell but because of hygiene also.

In summary

I hope this post has been thought provoking as well as useful and pointed out some things that could devalue your house but maybe you hadn’t thought about before.

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How to Install an Outdoor Tap :: Posted by: Admin on July 20th, 2013

How to Install an Outdoor Tap

Outside taps are essential if you use a garden hose to water the garden, use a sprinkler, irrigation system or even just a pressure washer to clean the patio or car. If you have not already got one you may be thinking it is going to cost a lot of money to call a plumber in to do it. Well if you are confident enough you can fit an outside tap yourself by using an outside tap kit readily available in hardware stores.

In this post I will describe how to fit an outdoor tap but you can also watch the included video to see how it is done. As with all plumbing jobs, if you are not sure how to do it, call a professional plumber to give advice or do the job for you, you do not want to end up ankle deep in water.

If you buy an outdoor tap kit you will have everything you need to install the tap, including an isolator tap.

Outside tap with hose fitted

Tools required

You will need the following tools:

  • An Outdoor Tap Kit
  • Masonry Drill Bits (6mm and 16mm)
  • Screwdrivers
  • Adjustable spanner
  • PTFE (thread tape)
  • A Sharp Knife

Installing the water supply pipe

To install the water supply you need to connect to an existing copper water pipe. This is done by using a self cutting isolator tap to cut into the copper pipe. You should clean the copper pipe, remove any paint with a scraper or knife in the area you are going to install the isolator tap.

Remove the isolator tap from the clamp and attach the clamp to the copper pipe in the place you wish to have the isolator tap. Ensure the clamp seal washer is correctly in place before tightening the clamp to the copper pipe.

When the clamp is in place take the self cutting isolator tap and place it into the clamp hole making sure the isolator tap is turned off, be careful not to cross thread the tap, screw the isolator tap clockwise until the cutter has cut a hole into the copper pipe.

Once the isolator tap has cut a hole into the copper pipe you need to secure the tap by using the back nut onto the clamp. You can test the isolator tap now by turning it on, catch the water in a bucket, the turn the isolator tap off again.

Once you are happy the isolator tap is fitted OK and working, you can connect the water supply flexible hose to the end of the isolator tap.

You should now drill a 16mm hole through the wall if you are having an external tap, but if you are having the tap in say a garage you do not need to do this stage. If you are drilling a hole, do so now and push the water supply flexible hose through the hole.

You can now move on and fit the outdoor tap.

Installing the outdoor / garden tap

Once you have the water supply to the location of your outdoor tap you can then install the tap.

Take the backing plate / wall mounted connector, the water inlet and the tap and wrap some PTFE (thread tape) around the threads to ensure a watertight seal. Wrap the PTFE tape around the thread a few times of both the inlet and the tap. The screw the inlet onto the backing plate / wall mounted connector and use an adjustable spanner to tighten this onto the backing plate.

Now decide where you wish for the tap to be fixed to the wall, mark the holes using the backing plate and drill and rawl plug the holes, then screw the backing plate onto the wall.

You now need to cut the water supply flexible pipe to the correct length, you can cut the pipe with a sharp knife, once you have done this you can push the pipe onto the water inlet on the backing plate, secure the pipe using a hose (jubilee) clip.

Next you can screw the tap into the backing plate / wall mounted connector, tighten the tap into the connector with adjustable spanners.

Now the tap is fitted and you have the water supply connected up you can attach the hose adapter or whatever fitting you have for the tap.

Finally, you can turn on the isolator tap to allow water down the water supply hose and to the outdoor tap, then undo the tap and test the function of the tap.

You have just fitted an outdoor tap.

How to Install an Outdoor Tap video

Watch this video to see step by step stages of how to fit an outdoor / garden tap.

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10 ways to improve your property :: Posted by: Admin on July 11th, 2013

Graphic of house on scales with money on other end

10 ways to improve your property

If you are thinking of selling your property or simply want to give it an update but wish to add value to your property also, the following 10 ways to improve your property is a good start. They are in no particular order of importance, cost or value adding potential.

As with all improvements you need to decide the reason behind them, if it is to add value to your house you should always research the local area to find out if doing a job will actually add value. If you just want to update your house for you then it is less of a consideration but be careful not to do things to devalue your property.

Garden – Do you have kerb appeal

Is your garden in need of some work, is the grass up to your knees or does it resemble a jungle? The first thing people see as they come to your property is your garden. Simply by keeping it neat and tidy will increase the kerb appeal. Simple things such as weeding the borders, cutting the grass and having well planned all year round plants is maybe all you need to do. If you wish to go a stage further you could use weed control membrane and coloured slate, some coloured pots and maybe even block pave the driveway, this is obviously more expensive but will improve the look and initial appearance of your home.

Environmentally friendly house

Is your property Environmentally friendly? Many people are looking to buy houses that are Environmentally friendly nowadays, for example short flush toilets, double glazed windows, water collection devices such water butts to recycle rain water or condensing boiler. All these things could not only benefit you, the home owner, but also the environment and are all good selling points.

New kitchen?

The kitchen for most homes is the hub of the house, it is where you make meals, maybe eat, and often meet other family members from the household passing through, it can be the organisational hub also with notes stuck on the fridge. A kitchen is also a great selling point of a property, does your kitchen look old and tired, is it 20 years old? There is nothing wrong with an old kitchen, they will often last for years it’s just the fashion and trends that change but the carcass or the kitchen maybe nearly as good as new.

Instead of ripping the entire kitchen out why not consider either having it painted or just replace the doors and worktops to give your kitchen a modern look and feel. There are lots of companies offering replacement doors and worktops online. And you can save yourself a small fortune at the same time.

Bathroom

Everyone likes a nice bathroom, a nice suite and well heated. So if your bathroom isn’t that welcoming you may consider doing it up, especially before selling. You don’t, unless you want to, need to install an entire new suite, replacing taps and getting rid of that old wooden toilet seat and replace it with a new one or a plastic one could be an idea.

Adding a few tiles could brighten up a bathroom and make it easy for mopping up splashes, especially around the bath or basin. Re-grouting your existing tiles could make the bathroom look cleaner and more appealing to potential buyers.

Another consideration is flooring, carpet may seem a good idea and feel nice on your feet in the morning but if your selling your house people may prefer a tiled floor or a vinyl flooring as it is more hygienic and easier to keep clean.

Flooring – carpets or hardwood flooring

Flooring is a large expense so you have to make to right decision, do you go for carpet or a laminate or hardwood floor? If you have cats or dogs a laminate or hardwood floor maybe a better choice than carpet. A dark carpet rather than a light coloured one would be best in a high traffic area, such as by a front or rear door. Hardwood and laminate floors are quick and easy to keep clean, simply brush them over with a broom.

The expense has to be a consideration also, especially if you are thinking of moving. Saving that worn out carpet will not help sell a house whereby a nice hardwood floor may do.

Storage

Storage is always a problem in most households, there is never enough space to keep everything we have nowadays. If you can build storage space it will certainly improve your properties look as all the clutter can be put away. For example, can you make a window seat with storage under the seat? Maybe you can build cupboards under the stairs, or build a toy box for the end of the kids bed.

Any space that can be utilised for storage will make your home run better and could add value to it also, as people always look for storage spaces when viewing a property.

Build

If you have the money you could always build, either an extension or convert the loft maybe, but you don’t have to go for a full on build, simply re-thinking a house and altering it may make the house work better and add value, for example adding an en-suit. A garden room or conservatory is another way of extending and would make a great play room for the kids, or a nice quiet place to relax in an evening.

You could also consider a garage conversion if you don’t use your garage for a car, but consider this carefully as it could affect the selling price later on.

Redecorate -Interior

It may seem obvious but redecorating is a relatively cheap way of improving your property, all houses need to be decorated from time to time as the d├ęcor gets tired and may suffer from the knocks and scratches of everyday life. Buying a tin of paint and painting a room can transfer how it looks, bringing it up to date by using a fashionable colour perhaps.

Adding wallpaper, even a feature wall can make a room more sophisticated and doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Redecorate – Exterior

The exterior of your house is just as important if not more so to maintain. Keeping the exterior paintwork such as fascia’s and soffits, doors and windows painted will keep the weather out and reduce the risk of them rotting.

Masonry also needs to be kept in good condition to stop damp from getting in.

Having a well maintained house gives a property great kerb appeal and could help sell a house.

Insulation

Cavity and solid wall

Sounds boring doesn’t it? But a well insulated house will have smaller energy bills than those houses with minimal or no insulation. Cavity walls and loft insulation can be done at any time and you may even be able to get a grant to help with the costs. If you haven’t got cavity walls you could line the walls with a thermal liner to reduce heat loss.

Upvc windows and doors with special coated glass will keep the cold out, look for the highest rated glass when you have them fitted. Also adding Upvc windows and doors is nowadays a great selling point as not only does it reduce the energy bills but also noise and or course there is no maintenance except cleaning them.

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