Having a workshop at home is great! Whether you are pursuing a creative hobby, saving money by doing DIY projects or need space for fixing your old car, keeping your workshop tidy is key to having a stress free and accident free environment.
Planning is key
Before you convert your garage or utility room into a workshop, you will have to plan out the space depending on what you want to achieve. Take some time to evaluate the space you have and how it could work for you.
Think about the tools you will need, how big they are and where they will be stored, as well as other storage and worktops. Flooring is also a big consideration as it needs to be easy to clean and maintain.
Install a pegboard
Without a doubt one of the most useful items to have in your workshop is a pegboard. These are great for storing an array of tools on to keep your workshop clean, tidy and organised. A pegboard is a piece of wood with a grid like array of holes drilled in it; by using hooks and other inserts you can hang just about any tool you have, they are cheap, easy to install and customisable.
Colour coding and labelling
Many people have a large amount of working materials that they need during a project such as screws, pins or different types of fabric, and it is important to keep these items organised. Compartment storage is ideal for small items that have a tendency to get misplaced, whereas racks and drawers are better for bulky items.
Once you have a storage solution for your items it is important to label them so that you know exactly what is in each one. Self-adhesive labels are great because you can write on what it is and stick it on the storage box, they are also easily removed if you need to change it too and provides a quick reference to aid productivity.
Regular clear outs
If you work with wood or fabric then you will inevitably be faced with scrap materials, and although there may be a need for some of it in the future there becomes a point where you will have to be a bit ruthless and get rid of it.
At least once a year it is a good idea to look through all of your scrap items and really decide if you need them or not. Be honest with yourself and get rid of what you don’t need. This doesn’t mean throwing them in the trash, if you have some useable items why not sell them at a boot fair or online; this will not only create more space and less clutter, but could also provide you with some money for other projects.
Updating your kitchen needn’t be expensive. In this article we’ll show you how to update your kitchen on a budget.
Fit new hardware
If you are happy with your current kitchen units one of the most cost effective ways of revamping the kitchen is to fit new hardware. Cupboard and drawer handles are available in a range of different styles and sizes, and are also really easy to replace. Simply unscrew the old handles and fit the new ones, easy!
Paint the cabinets
If you budget can’t stretch to new kitchen cabinets, then painting your existing ones will make a drastic difference. For wooden cabinets you can use standard paint, but if your cabinets are made from melamine you will have to use some specialised primer in order for the paint to stick.
The great thing about painting your kitchen cabinets is that you can choose any colour you want, some of which wouldn’t be available if you were buying new ones. Stick to just one colour for a consistent look or choose different colours to create a funky theme.
Change the floor
When thinking about vinyl flooring most of us hark back to those horrible kitsch floors of the 70’s and 80’s but flooring technology has improved immensely since then. Vinyl flooring is now available in an array of different patterns and styles, some of which look like real stone and wood.
Vinyl flooring is cheap and easy to fit yourself; it’s easy to clean, durable and warm underfoot as opposed to tiled flooring.
Add new dishes and pans
Something as simple as adding some new dishes and pans to your kitchen or a new appliance can also give it a new lease of life. Again available in a wide range of styles, these accessories can tie in a theme or create a new look altogether.
The recent gales have caused havoc in many of our towns and cities and for many of us we have seen our fences either blown down or waving around and leaning over at crazy angles. Many fences are erected by the builder of the house any is very common for the all-important fence post that is set into the ground, often with concrete to be untreated timber, the result a rotten post at the bottom. It has to be said that if a fence post is properly treated it will last for thirty or forty years, possibly longer.
So if you find that the fence between two properties had fallen you first have to first make sure it’s yours. There is an unwritten rule that a good neighbour puts up a fence with the post and rails’ facing their own property, but this is not a legal obligation. If the odd post has failed it could be possibly to repair this without taking the fence down. Support the fence with lengths of timber on either side. Dig a hole around the base of the post, cut the rotten part away and remove any concrete.
Place a concrete spur in the hole against the remains of the post. Then drill holes through the post at the marked spots. Push the bolts through the post and spur side. Put on the nuts and tighten with a spanner. Brace the post with lengths of timber, checking it is vertical with a spirit level. Fill the hole with concrete, leaving the timber supports in place for 48 hours while it sets. This is likely to be a temporary measure, because if one post has failed, in all probability the other may follow soon after, so consider taking the fence down completely and replacing all the posts with good well treated new ones. If the panels are sound, treat them with a spirit based preservative and you will have a fence that will last for many years.
It might seem like a silly question, but think about – how do you remove the lid on a push button toilet? There are no obvious screws and it doesn’t just lift off. You could do damage to yourself and the cistern by trying to force it up, so instead read this simple way to get it off quickly and easily.
You should first check a manufacturer’s guide if you’re unsure, but most push button cistern lids lift in one of two ways. First try gently pressing down the outer ring of the button and turning it anticlockwise in order to remove the button. If this doesn’t work, use the edge of a flat screwdriver to gently prise the button upwards. This should reveal one or more screws.
You now need to remove this screw. This will allow you to lift the chamber that surrounds the flushing button. If it is a little stiff, it can be prised off with a screwdriver as before. It is then very simple to lift the whole lid away from the cistern.
Replacing it is simply a matter of putting the lid back on, replacing the chamber and the screw, then finally the button and the ring surrounding it.
Wetrooms have become increasingly popular over the past decade as people look to a stylishly modern, but simple design for their bathroom. As the name suggests, wetrooms are just that, watertight rooms that are simply furnished with a shower and possibly a shower screen to create a luxurious and minimalist environment.
Wetrooms work really well for ensuite shower rooms as they are generally smaller than the main bathroom, but any sized bathroom can be made into a wetroom.
Because a wetroom must be watertight it is recommended that you use a specialist company to do the ground work; this involves creating a gradient for proper drainage and laying some sort of waterproof membrane or underlay on all of the walls.
Once the preparation work is done the walls and floor are tiled to your specifications; this can be done by yourself and will save you lots of money compared to getting a professional in. The shower fittings, radiator and other fixtures such as a shower screen or towel rack are then fitted to finish the look.
Adding a wetroom to your house will ultimately add value to your property as they are really thought after, but bear in mind that you may need some planning permission if you plan to make any structural alterations or change the layout of the drainage system.
If done correctly, a wetroom can add a touch of luxury to any house and will last for many years.
Picture: Stephen Thomas
Thinking of becoming a plumber? Then this is what you need to know:
What does the job entail?
Plumbers are often called out in an emergency and can be faced with a variety of tasks, the main ones include:
• Installing, maintaining or repairing heating systems
• Installing, maintaining or repairing sanitation systems
• Fitting domestic appliances that need mains water such as dishwashers and washing machines.
• Installing air-conditioning units
• Fitting bathrooms and ensuites
• Emergency repairs
Plumbers spend most of their time with customers or on site so good communication skills are a must, as well as being good at finding the route of the problem and solving it.
A plumber typically works 40 hours a week, although many also work overtime. A self-employed plumber can, to a certain degree set their own hours, but note that if you are on call as part of a 24 hour service you will be expected to work when needed, even at 3am in the morning.
How much money does a plumber make?
Newly qualified plumbers can expect to earn up to £21k per year, while experienced plumbers can earn between £30k and £40k, although it does depend on your local area and workload.
Do I have to study?
Yes, to be a plumber you have to be committed to the job; it takes about 4 years to become a plumber and to be fully qualified and be able to work in the UK you will need:
• An NVQ Diploma (Levels 2/3) in plumbing and domestic heating
• A work placement while you study, as you will not be able to complete the Diploma unless you pass practical parts of the course.
Another great way of becoming a plumber is through an apprenticeship; you will need three GCSE’s (A to C) in mathematics, English and science to be accepted.
The UK is crying out for skilled tradesman like plumbers and electricians; it is estimated that there is an employee shortage of 30,000 and those who qualify are earning high wages as a result, so if your interested head to your local job centre or talk to your career adviser.
Decorating is probably one of the most popular home improvements, decorating is the easiest way to change the appearance of your surroundings relatively easily and quickly without too much cost.
When deciding on a new look, bear in mind wall coverings tend to follow trends and fashions, so be careful how you choose the wall coverings or it could quickly become outdated. Naturally remember to choose a paper that is appropriate for the location. The type of paper will depend upon where you intend it to be hung, for a children’s bedroom you wouldn’t normally pick a delicate silk or foil type paper. If it is going in a kitchen, take into consideration the possibility of heat and steam where a vinyl would be better.
As with any DIY project planning is the key and it is best to spend some time planning your new look, it is better to spend an hour or so deciding what look and effect you want to achieve, unless of course you would want to spend hours taking it all down because you got it wrong, look at magazines or in the decorators supply catalogue to pick up ideas.
As always, the finished item is only as good as all the preparation work that has been done before hand. A rough and chipped painted door will still look rough and chipped when it is painted, although it might be a new or brighter colour. The rule of thumb is that it takes as long to prepare a paint surface as it is to apply the new paint. A wall which is to be papered also needs to be prepared and to ensure that lumps and bumps are not evident on a new paper that is thin or delicate, consider putting a good lining paper on first.
Wet and steamy conditions are ideal for fungal spores to grow and the shower cubicle is just the place where they grow, which is what mould on the tiles is. Why do they choose your shower tiles then, the answer is the grout that is used as a waterproof sealant to fill the cracks between individual tiles. This mixture of cement and sand and is what is needed as a very effective barrier against water seepage. Over time the waterproofing capability of the grout diminishes with constant exposure to moisture.
The way that this is treated will depend upon how long you mould has been forming, it can be removed from shower tile grout with both natural cleaners and traditional household bleach. In very severe cases it may be necessary to rake out the old grout and re-grout this with a new waterproof grouting mixture.
There are a number of proprietary spray cleaners that are very effective, but it is possible to clean the tiles using simple household products. The first thing to do is to clean the tiles thoroughly using hot water and a scrubbing brush, use the shower head to rinse off the mildew.
Now you should mix some baking soda, about half a cup to a bucket of water, baking soda won’t harm your plumbing or tile but it will dry our your hands, so make sure to wear gloves when scrubbing. Make a paste using some baking soda poured on to the shower tray and then dip your scrub brush into the baking soda/water mixture and scrub the tile grout completely, working the paste into the grout.
Allow this to remain on the affected grout for at least an hour, remember if it has been affected for a long time the mildew could be hard to remove. Rinse a small area to check how effective it has been and if necessary rinse all of it off and reapply more paste solution, it will not harm your grout to leave this solution on overnight.
If this does not seem to have worked effectively, you can soak some paper towels with white vinegar and place these wet cloths directly on the most stubborn mildew stains. Let the vinegar sit for 15 minutes and scrub the mildew spots. If the spots still prove stubborn, pour vinegar directly onto the mildew stains and scrub. Rinse and repeat until the mildew is removed. If all fails it is possible to try household bleach, this has been known to work well, but remember if you are using bleach in a spray bottle, ensure that the room is fully ventilated, allowing the bleach to work for no less than fifteen minutes.
Your bedroom houses most of your personal items and your clothes and can get cluttered quickly, so what can you do about it? Here are some bedroom storage ideas to keep your room organised:
There is a lot of space wasted under a bed, so why not use it? There are a tone of options when looking for underbed storage from vacuum bags to storage boxes and it is important that you don’t just shove everything underneath your bed; this will make it harder to get to items that you might need in a hurry. Instead place your items in boxes with labels so that you know what is in there, or alternatively get some transparent boxes so you can see what’s in them.
You can even make your own underbed storage to maximise the space.
Storing your growing collection of clothes and shoes can be a nightmare, but having the right wardrobe can help. Sliding wardrobes are a great option for making the most out of the space on offer as they can be built to fit the room exactly, and can even be built into alcoves or fitted into oddly shaped corners.
Aside from giving the room a focal point, sliding wardrobes can also utilise the vertical space in a room, meaning that you can store your items all the way up to the ceiling.
Don’t worry about the width of your chosen space either because although bigger brands seem to offer standardised size doors, there are companies that you can find online that do offer bespoke sliding wardrobes that you can have created to fit almost any space.
Talking about vertical space, shelves can also be utilised in the same way. Again, make sure that you organise your items properly so that you can get to them whenever you need them. Take a look at what you want to store on the shelves i.e. CD’s, makeup or shoes and build the shelves to match; this will in turn help to keep the room organised.
An ottoman is a great piece of furniture for any bedroom and consists of an upholstered seat or bench that typically opens at the top to reveal a handy storage space. Ottomans are available in a range of different styles and fabrics to suit just about any bedroom theme. As well as gaining some much needed storage space, you also get another seat for your room.
Vacuum Storage Bags
Vacuum storage bags are great for bulky clothes and duvets that are only used for part of the year. These space saving bags can save you up to 75% space and have the added bonus of protecting the items inside from water, dirt and those dreaded clothes moths.
So, whether you have kids with lots of toys or an ever growing clothes collection bedroom storage it the best solution for keeping things organised and clean.
Picture: Moyan Brenn
Need to update your tired looking hardwood floor? Then why not add an attractive faux-marquetry boarder to make it stand out from the crowd. The following steps look great on a hardwood floor, but can also be used when you’re refinishing old furniture to create a focal point in any room.
Repairing and sanding the floor
Once you have cleared the room it is important to check every floorboard to see if they are in good condition. Any boards that are split or show any signs of wet or dry rot should be replaced, and all raised nail heads should be hammered below the surface.
Once this is done you can start sanding the floor; by far the easiest way is to hire an orbital sander, these are available from a range of different tool hire companies. Read all of the instruction carefully before starting and make sure you wear a dust mask and safety glasses.
Lay out your design
The design you choose for the border is entirely up to you, it could be a simple geometric shape or a complex and unique design. Mark out your design on the floor using a pencil or painter tape. If you are using paint you can go ahead and paint the design straight onto the floor observing drying times in between coats.
If you’re staining the floor to make it look more like inlaid wood it is a good idea to use a Stanley blade to score the edges of your design. This will prevent different stain colours from bleeding into one another.
Once you have created your design as per the instructions take up the painters tape (if you used any) and cover the whole floor with two to three coats of clear varnish to lock in the design. You floor is now ready for years of service.