10 must-know DIY tricks

CALIFORNIA SHUTTERS 27/07/2016 10:26:07 DIY and How-to Guides

Ready for some home improvement? When you’re DIYing, these are the insider secrets worth knowing to make your room refreshes and renovations simpler and quicker – and your results more professional looking. Hurrah!

Pic: Tile Mountain

Stop a drill slipping on tiles

Putting up a shelf or other wall-mounted extra in the bathroom or kitchen and need to drill into ceramic tiles to put up the fixings? To stop the drill slipping on the tile glaze, mark where you need to put the fixing on the wall with a chinagraph pencil then position masking tape over the mark – which you should still be able to see. Repeat the mark on the tape then drill where indicated. If you need to drill into tiles frequently (yes, we know what keen DIYers you are), invest in a ceramic drill bit. 

Pic: Arthouse

Avoid obvious joins in wallpaper

Start hanging wallpaper on a wall next to the wall with the main window and work away from the light source. Why? That way, any small overlaps in the paper edges won’t cast a shadow that makes the joins stand out. Gone for a bold pattern like that shown? If your room has a chimney breast, centre the wallpaper on this and work outwards towards the corner.

Pic: Farrow & Ball

Make cleaning up after painting easier

Foil is your friend in cutting down on the work involved when you’ve finished painting. Use it to line a paint kettle or roller tray and you can simply remove it and throw it away rather than cleaning out the receptacle. Remember, you should never paint straight from the tin as you could get dirt or dried paint in the paint.

Fit a screw in a hard-to-reach place

This trick works whether we’re talking awkward positions or small screws. Put a blob of Blu-Tack on the tip of the screwdriver and attach the head of the screw to it. The Blu-Tack will hold the screw so you can fix it into place.

Pic: California Shutters

Measure for shutters accurately

Hanging shutters is a DIY job with results out of all proportion to the ease of fitting (as we may have mentioned previously), but before you can put your shutters up, you’ll need to give us the measurements so we can create them. Be a DIY pro by avoiding a fabric tape measure, which can stretch and make for inaccurate results. A good quality metal tape measure is essential for this and all your other home improvements.

Pic: The Winchester Tile Company

Get an expert finish with tile grout

For a neat and professional-looking finish when you’re tiling walls, run a piece of dowelling over each grout line. Wipe any surplus grout off the tiles as you go, too. Don’t have a piece of dowelling? Try the blunt end of a pencil or even a lolly stick, or invest in a specially designed grout finisher.

Strip wallpaper more easily

Time to get rid of the tired design the previous owners left that you wouldn’t even dignify with the term ‘retro’? Wetting the wall with the aid of a sponge or brush takes time so, to speed up the wallpaper removal process, put the stripping solution into a large spray bottle to apply it to the wall then leave to soak in before you test with a stripping knife.

Pic: B&Q

Get a perfect paint finish

A paint brush with splaying bristles isn’t going to give the precise finish that’s essential for beautifully decorated walls, doors and windows. Keep bristles in shape once they’re clean by wrapping a rubber band around the end so they’ll dry unsplayed.

Pic: My Deer Art Shop

Avoid expensive DIY accidents

There’s a little piece of kit that every do-it-yourselfer should own and use before drilling into a wall or putting in nails or screws and wallplugs. A cable and pipe detector can help save you from injury and your home from damage when it isn’t obvious where services are concealed, so use it before you start making holes in the wall. Need to find wall studs or floor and ceiling joists? You’ll need a stud detector.

Speed up decorating

Ready for lunch or need to nip out for a pint of milk but don’t want to wash out a brush or paint roller so you can save time and hassle? Just remove the excess paint, then wrap in tin foil to stop the paint drying out.


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