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If you’re like many of your neighbours, your front garden may be neglected. While UK homeowners once took pride in maintaining a lush front garden, many have decided to transform the space into a parking area instead.

However, these gardens are making a comeback. There are plenty of people who will have the know-how to transform your front garden and if you choose the right one, they will also have great ideas for small front gardens. If you are reasonably fit and have some free time you can make this a good DIY project that will boost the curb appeal of your home.

Create a combo design

Off road parking is important for many homeowners, and there’s no reason to give up your parking space if you want a garden. You can have the best of both worlds. Consider planting a ground cover, like creeping thyme or big root geranium, in a geometric shape.

You can easily park your car over the green without needing to lay concrete. Add a few evergreen bushes to the borders and you’ll have both a functional parkway and a green garden.

Match your garden to your home

There’s nothing more beautiful than a garden that complements a home’s exterior. Choose colours that don’t clash with the paint or trim. For example, evergreen plants look striking against red brick. Bold colours like orange and red create the perfect pop against a white background.

Make sure the different plants you select go well together. Don’t worry about keeping your garden pruned perfectly. An overflowing bush against your fence will add the perfect texture and colour to your small garden.

Save space and go vertical

Some of the best ideas for small front gardens are unconventional. If you’re limited on space or still want to add a parkway, consider growing a vertical garden instead. This is one of the best ways to make good use of a small area.

Trees used perfectly in a small front garden


Climbing plants are the perfect choice for a vertical design. Add depth with layers of greenery and blooms. Choose a selection of annuals and perennials to ensure your front garden looks beautiful all year round. Don’t forget about trees

Trees are beautiful and they play a vital role in the environment. To create a front garden that really stands out, plant a small tree. If you plant a fruit tree, you’ll not only get to view the lovely flowering blossoms, but you can also taste the fresh fruits. Flowering dogwoods grow vertically, which is ideal if you have limited space. Even a pruned magnolia will add much-needed colour to a smaller front garden.

Easy-to-maintain evergreen shrubs

Some homeowners worry about maintaining a garden that is always on display. If you need something that requires little to no hands-on work, consider planting evergreen shrubs. Line the borders of your parkway and walkway with these perennials.

Besides keeping them watered, you’ll only need to prune them seasonally. These bushes will provide you with a boost of green and can survive even harsh weather conditions.

Go colourful with flowers

One of the best ideas for small front gardens is to add more colour. Flowering bushes are the perfect addition to any garden. Not only do they provide depth, but they also bloom each season. While rosebushes are always a favourite, you can think outside the box.

Consider adding hydrangeas or lilacs. Not only will they catch the eye of anyone who passes by, but flowers will also provide your garden with an aromatic scent.

Beautiful Hydrangea Shrubs

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Laying your own carpet can save you time and money. It is not very difficult – however using the right type of carpet grippers and positioning the grippers correctly is essential. You will also need a good quality utility blade to neatly trim the carpet to size. Interfloor (https://www.interfloor.com/) is the only carpet gripper manufacturer in the UK. They have sent us this infographic which explains in simple terms how to choose and use carpet grippers.

Interfloor is experienced in both private and commercial carpet gripper installations all over the world. That’s why they’ve put together this handy infographic that makes it easy for you to properly install your carpet grippers. Follow this guide to ensure your grippers hold your carpet taught and in place for years to come. Once your carpet grippers are in place, use a carpet stretcher tool to stretch fit the carpet over the gripper pins. Do this around the perimeter of the room and make sure you have enough excess carpet to tuck between the gripper and the wall.

The final step is to trim the excess carpet with a sharp utility blade and use a carpet tucker tool to tuck the carpet neatly between the gripper and the wall around the perimeter of the room.

Download the infographic.

How to use carpet grippers

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Many of us have loft areas in our homes and it is often unused. Lofts are the space above our plasterboard ceilings where the supporting beams for the roof are. In most cases, these beams are untreated rough wood which doesn’t look great and also can give you some pretty nasty splinters! If you venture into this space you have to be careful to walk and place objects on the wooden supporting beams. If you stand on the plasterboard below your foot will most likely go straight through and into the room below. This makes the loft space dangerous and unusable. However, you can make some or all of your loft safe to use fairly easily.

Safety First

First of all before venturing into your loft make sure you put on a good quality face mask. Your loft will be dusty but it could also be full of insulation fibres or even asbestos – so don’t take unnecessary risks. Secondly, make sure you have a small supporting board to stand on while you inspect or work in the loft space. The board is laid across a few supporting beams and you can then stand on it without the risk of your foot going through the ceiling of the room below.

Insulation

It is sensible to assess the insulation of your loft before you do anything. Insulation is cotton wool like material that is light and easily compressed. It should be laid in between the supporting beams and there could be another layer over this hiding the beams from view entirely. If all you can see is insulting material then walk with care – finding the beams will be hard and you risk putting your foot through the ceiling. Make sure you get a long piece of wood that you can lay over the insulation and across several beams to give yourself something safe to stand on.

Lay a second layer over the supporting beams in the opposite direction

If you don’t have any insulation – get some. Insulating your loft will make a big difference to how warm your house feels and also how expensive your energy bills are. If you are at all concerned with the environment then maximising your insulation is a great way to do your bit. The government recommended depth of mineral wool insulation is 270mm which is usually 100mm between the floor beams and then 170mm over them running in the opposite direction to the beams. If you don’t have this thickness or your insulation is old and worn, then get more or replace it. You can buy this from any DIY shop or order it online. It will come in rolls and it is easy to lay down and cut to shape.

Board It Out!

Compressed insulation can reduce its efficiency

The first step to making your loft area usable is to add a layer of floorboards. These large wooden panels fit over the supporting beams and insulation. You can simply screw or nail the boards into the supporting beams. Now you have a continuous and safe floor which you can use to walk on and also that will provide support for furniture or any items you want to store in your loft. If the supporting beams are uneven you might want to place another layer of wooden supports onto it to form a flat wooden skeleton which you can screw the boards into securely.

If you laid your insulation properly you will have a layer of it over your supporting beams. If you were to screw the floorboards directly into the supporting beams you would need to compress the top layer of insulation. This is bad! It can reduce the effectiveness of the insulation by up to 50%. So what are you supposed to do?

Loft Raisers

Loft legs prevent insulation compression

You can buy raisers or loft legs which fit between the supporting beams and floorboards. These spacers provide a gap for the top layer of insulation so it is not compressed. We said before that the second layer of insulation which laid over the lofts supporting beams is 270mm thick so you need loft raisers of that size. You may want to add even more insulation in which case you need larger loft legs. You can buy ones that allow a top layer of insulation 400mm thick.

The base of the loft legs are screwed into the supporting beams, then the top layer of insulation is laid around them and then the floorboards placed over and screwed into the top of the loft legs. The Loft spacers should be placed according to the size of the floorboards so that two boards meet in the middle of a loft leg and can be secured to it. Check with the manufacturer for instructions on how to space their products. You don’t need to board the whole loft space. You can choose to board a small area near the loft hatch for storage. This is easier, faster, cheaper and still gives you some good extra storage that is easily accessed directly from the hatch. The video below shows you how and also how to fit loft spacers or loft legs.

Fitting Loft Legs - YouTube

Thermal Wrap

Now your flooring insulation and boards are in place you can decide to go one step further. You can buy thermal wrap and staple it to beams that raise up to support the apex of the roof. This will improve your insulation even more and can box off the unusable and unsightly corners of your loft space. You could even board over this layer.

Finishing Touches

Your loft is now ready to go. If you don’t have electricity up there you can install battery powered lights. Go to town with storage boxes make it nice with a rug and fit a good ladder so you can access your new room easily.

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Tiles are a wonderful material – hard wearing, they withstand damp, don’t stain, they are easy to clean and available in a huge range of colours and finishes. For all those reasons they are also hard to remove or cover so what do you do if you have an area of tiles that you hate? There are actually quite a few ways you can cover tiles so don’t despair! In this article, we will tell you how you paint over tiles.

Re-Tile

Before you paint you should think carefully about the practicality of re-tiling. If your room has a shower or bath in it then tiles are great material. There are thousands of options – wood panel effect, metallic tiles, mosaic tiles, high gloss huge porcelain tiles, marble, stone effect and concrete effect. The options are endless. If you are working to a tight budget then you can find good looking tiles for very low prices. You can also save money by tiling over your existing tiles rather than removing them first and you can also do the tiling yourself rather than hire a professional. Of course, there are plenty of reasons that you might not want to re-tile. So what else can you do?

Paint Them

Yes, you can paint over tiles and the effect can be rather good. This option is cheap, fast and requires very little skill however the preparation and the correct choice of paint are essential. You can’t paint tiles that will get wet regularly – so don’t try this on tiles around a bath or in a shower enclosure. However, you can paint the tiles in the rest of the bathroom or in a kitchen.

This is not a very long lasting solution. It can work well for the period of time it takes you to save up for more tiles or it can fix an unattractive area while you sell your property. The paint will start to come off though. If the tile paint gets wet and is cleaned regularly the paint will come off faster. Some touching up will be possible but if you have a flat colour it will be noticeable.

From nasty green to clean!

How to Paint Tiles – Preparation

You are going to need to roll up your sleeves and use some elbow grease. Preparation is vital – if you don’t do it your paint will simply not stick to the tiles and you will end up with a complete mess. Here is what you need to do;

1) Clean the tiles and grout well to remove all dirt, soap and grease. Get a nice firm scrubbing brush and a small headed one for corners and tight spots. Use an abrasive degreasing cleaner. Scrub every tile and crevice well and then rinse off all the detergent.

2) You need to fill all the cracks and missing grout. This is really easy and fast. You can buy squeezable tubes of tile grout. Squeeze some onto your finger and run it over the holes or cracks forcing the grout into the holes. Leave for a minute and then wipe the area with a damp cloth to remove the excess grout. Leave the grout to dry for as long as it says on the tube.

3) Protect your bathroom fixtures. You should use decorator tape and plastic sheeting to cover your sinks, toilets, shower trays etc. It really doesn’t take long but it will save you loads of time and prevent you from ruining your bathroom fixtures with paint splotches.

4) Sanding the tiles is essential. If you have a large area buy or rent a handheld sander. We always advise you to use a facemask while sanding. Use fine sandpaper and make sure you have a good system for remembering where you have and have not sanded – on most tiles you won’t be able to see where you have sanded and if you miss a patch your paint won’t stick. Keep checking your sandpaper and replace it if it looks worn. If your tiles have angled edges a handheld sander might not get them – run over them with sandpaper manually. Clean off the tiles with lots of water and leave to dry.

Preparation is now complete.

Choose Your Paint

You can either buy a special tile paint or buy an undercoat and topcoat. High gloss finishes are best avoided as they will show up any drips or slight imperfections in the tiles or your paint coverage.

All paint shops now stock at least one range of tile paint which do not need an undercoat. If you are painting a floor you should buy ceramic paint for floors – these are a bit more hardwearing than the wall versions. Many of these paints suggest you only need one coat. In reality, if you want flat perfect coverage you should expect to apply two coats.

Tile paints are usually only available in a small number of colours and finishes. If you don’t want any of them then you can choose any paint but use an appropriate undercoat first. You need to buy an acrylic primer. It might be marketed as a primer for ceramic, a tile primer or tile bonder. If in doubt ask the shop assistants to make sure you have the right paint. You will need to apply at least one coat – if you can still see the colour of your old tiles after this apply another coat. Once the primer has dried you can apply your top coat. Epoxy paints are the hardest wearing and you should consider these for areas that will get dirty or wiped regular – round sinks or behind hobs.

Apply Your Paint

Here’s how you apply the paint.
1) Mix your paint really well, a quick shake or stir will not do it. Use a spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the container and fold the paint over and in a figure of eight pattern. You might notice darker colours or oils on the bottom or top – you need to keep stirring until all these different colours have blended evenly. Specialist tile paints may come with a small bottle of resin that you have to mix into the paint before you use it – DO NOT miss this step. Add the resin and give it a really good stir in.
2) Paint in small sections as the paint can dry quickly. If you try to do a large area and run the roller over paint that has started to dry you can get wrinkles and bumps. Use a small brush to work the paint into the corners and grout lines Then use a small, tight foam roller to apply paint over the rest of the surface of the tiles.

Left to right; before, undercoat, first coat. No matter what it says on the tin you will probably need a second coat!

You might choose to apply your paint with a sprayer. If so wear a mask!! Apply the paint in several thin coats, don’t be tempted to apply a single thick coat to save time – all you will get are drips and an uneven, unsightly finish.

Sealant

Kitchen and bathroom edges are usually finished with plastic sealants. Paint will not stick to these. You can remove the sealant first, do your prep, paint and then reapply fresh sealant once your paint has dried. An alternative is masking off the sealant and only painting up to it. You can also try using denatured alcohol and a brush to wash the sealant – this creates tiny pits in the sealant which can help paint stick – for a time – but don’t expect it to last as long as the paint on the tiles. You can buy denatured alcohol in any DIY shop, it will be with the paint thinner and white spirit.

Be Creative

There are loads of different paint effects and you can use them on tiles as well as walls. An effect is good on large walls to add interest and draw attention away from imperfections in the tiles or paint coverage. You can buy textured rollers for your second coat to add a variation in colour. You can use stencils to add patterns. You can use a can of spray paint in a slightly different colour to your base layer to add variation in colour or texture. Metallic and glitter sprays add a really attractive top layer and sparkles look particularly good over a flat base colour. We would recommend you practice on some spare cardboard so you know how thinly to apply the spray paint or how to work the textured roller for best effect.

Other Alternatives

If the tiles are not going to get wet you can wallpaper over them. You still need to complete the preparation but rather than undercoat – you use a thick backing paper. You may also consider filling in the gaps between the tiles with tile cement to create a completely flat surface before you paper. Then you can apply any wallpaper over the backing layer. Thick and textured papers are best as they will hide the tile pattern better.

You can use bathroom panels to cover tiles. These are bought in packs of 3-6 and they are full height and around 40 cm wide. They are very tall wide tongue and groove! The finishes are faux marble, cement and wood. They are completely waterproof and are a good solution for showers.

You can buy a wide range of stick-on floor and wall tiles – these are usually plastic and they come in a range of finishes; very nasty shiny plastic; thin layers of natural material or high-quality vinyl and ceramic effects. The cost varies widely with quality – some are self-adhesive and some require specialist glues.

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You can’t just throw a waterproof or ski jacket in the wash. A normal wash cycle combined with washing detergent will damage or remove the waterproof coating. For that reason, many people put up with very dirty jackets or pay high prices for professional cleaning. First of all lots of dirt can reduce the waterproofing on your jacket so just not washing it is not a good option. Secondly, you can wash these jackets yourself saving you time and money – but you need to do it the right way.

Read The Label

First of all, read the washing instructions on the label to your jacket. Not all materials and waterproofing treatments are the same and as a result, neither are the washing instructions. Some jackets might simply say wash at 40C others might insist on professional cleaning and others might have restrictions like a 30C or 20C cycle and may specify that you can’t use detergents. Others might need re-waterproofing after washing.

Detergents and Softeners

Most waterproof jackets cannot be washed with normal detergents or fabric softeners. You can decide to use no detergent at all however it is better to use a specialist product as these will not only aid cleaning but they will add back some of the waterproofing properties to your jacket. Search for products for “waterproof outerwear” – Nikwax and Grainger’s both make suitable products.

Waterproof Jacket Detergent


If your label says to use an alkaline free detergent then a pH neutral one will do – detergents for silk and wool are pH neutral so these will be fine.

Check the label, but Gore-Tex can usually be cleaned with normal LIQUID (not powder) detergent.

NEVER EVER USE FABRIC SOFTENER OR BLEACH.

Loading the Machine

Make sure there is no detergent build up in your detergent drawer or around the door seal. If your jacket was very expensive it is a good idea to put your machine on an empty hot cycle with no detergent first to give it a thorough clean.

Make sure every single pocket of your jacket is empty. Fasten all zips and seal all the velcro. This will reduce the likelihood of your jacket being damaged in the wash cycle. Also, do not overload your machine – only one or two jackets should be washed at the same time.

Re-Waterproofing

Some jackets might say this is an essential step but it is a good idea for all waterproof or ski jackets. Once your wash cycle has finished you simply put it on a cold wash (20C) with a specialist re-waterproofing product. Again check the jacket label and product instructions before you buy to make sure it is suitable for your jacket.

Some specialist cleaners might wash and re-waterproof in one go so this extra cycle may not be necessary. Check your cleaning product to see if this is the case.

Drying

Again check your jackets label as drying instructions vary. Some jackets can be tumble dried on low others should only be air dried.

It sounds complicated but it isn’t really. All you need to do is check the label and you might need to buy a specialist cleaner. You can get them easily online or from outdoor clothing shops.

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To keep your house dry, warm, and free from mould, it is essential to keep it as watertight as possible. There are a few key areas where water can enter your house, and its important to understand what these areas are, and what checks you can perform to ensure everything is as it should be.

External Checks

On your external walls, check to see if there is evidence of any of the following:

  • Are the windows and window frames in good condition? Check for signs of rot in wooden windows also gaps around the window frames that could be letting in cold air and damp.
  • Mortar in brickwork – is it up to scratch? Mortar joints should not have pieces missing or be eroded, this can cause structural weaknesses and penetrating damp.
  • Does your property have damp proof course and is it working effectively? Look for a line of plastic bedded into the mortar joint approximately 150mm above you external ground level. In older buildings this could be a line of bitumen or even slate.
  • Are any air bricks blocked? Look for bricks with horizontal holes in them normally placed at approximately 150mm above the external ground level, they should be free from blockages and obstructions to allow air movement through them.

Check your roof to find out if there are any of the following issues:

  • Are your gutters blocked or broken? Leaves and debris can collect in gutters causing them to block, once blocked water overflows and often runs down walls creating moss and algae down the wall and possibly internal damp patches.
  • Do you have any missing, broken or out of place tiles? Check for spaces on your roof where tile should be, they may have been displaced by storms or heavy winds.
  • Is the chimney and its surround in good condition? Flashing around the chimney should be sealed into the chimney and flat over the tiles. Any lifting or damaged flashing should be replaced immediately to stop roof leaks.

It’s also important to be aware that if you have any climbing plants on your house, they could be hiding some of the above problems. Roots of trees near to your home may also cause damage to your foundations or damp proof courses.

Internal Checks

Internally, there are a few areas to look out for:

  • Check windows and walls for condensation. Normally you will see water drops on windows or cold surfaces, in more severe cases you may even experience black mould on various substrates. Kitchens and bathrooms are the areas where condensation is most likely to form due to cooking washing and drying of clothes. If you spot condensation, it is important to take positive steps to control the condensation. This can be done by installing ventilation systems to control the relative humidity (amount of moisture in the air) and using anti mould products to remove mould and stop it occurring the future.
  • Is all your plumbing in good condition? Is there any damage or are there any visible cracks or leaks around sinks or toilets? Damp patches across floors and on walls can quite easily be from a leaking or damaged pipes. Normally damp patches will look like dark areas on walls, floors and even ceilings. Often once the leak has been rectified the damp patch will disappear. If the leak has been prevalent for a long time this may have caused rot within timber that will require remedial treatment by a professional.

If you spot any internal or external problems, it is important to take steps straight away to dry out any damp, and prevent further problems.
Where they is any doubt about the causes source or risks associated with water ingress, talk to a damp proofing specialist.

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You might be in the fortunate position of being able to downsize and free up some cash by moving, but for most of us, moving to a new house is a financial stretch.  It’s not just that you’ve maxed out your mortgage capacity to its limit, there are all those add-ons, surveys, fees, utility bills to be settled and then on top of that comes the cost of moving.  Without careful planning you can waste a lot of money and make your life much more stressful, so here are some suggestions for ways to save money and make your move go smoothly.

Move yourself

You will need a suitable vehicle, which will probably mean hiring a van.  What size van will you need?  What mileage is involved and how long will you need the van for?  Don’t underestimate the difficulty of the task or the time it will take.  Make sure that you have hired the van for a sufficient amount of time, you don’t want to be racing to get a van unloaded in order to return it on time.

Remember that by the end of the day you and your helpers will be tired, and your work rate will slow down.  Moving heavy objects requires expertise as well as physical strength.  If you or a companion injury yourself whilst moving it could end up costing you far more than hiring professionals in the first place. Investing in some key equipment will reduce the risk of injury and make moving heavy objects easier.  An upright, two-wheeled hand truck is a great way to move heavy objects over flat surfaces and a flat base with swivel wheels will make moving furniture easier.

You can also buy or rent furniture sliders which will help protect floors when you are dragging furniture. These are small round or oval plastic discs that slip under the feet of furniture. They have a soft base which slides over the floor without catching or scratching. It is possible for one person to move large pieces of furniture with these sliders. However they will not help you at all if you need to lift furniture over a doorway or step. Shoulder harnesses / moving straps enable two people to carry a sofa (and other large objects) without taking all the strain on their hands and arms (see video below). 

TOP 4 Best Moving Strap | Lifting Straps Reviews 2018 - YouTube

You’ll also need old blankets and duvets for protecting furniture when it’s loaded and some elastic straps and ratchet straps so that you can tie things down securely.  Work gloves will help protect those tender hands of yours and a toolkit is essential for dismantling beds and shelving etc.

Secure all bolts, screws and fixings in clearly labelled bags and make a note of how things come apart in order to avoid wall punching frustration when you reassemble! Use your phone to take pictures as you take furniture apart so you remember how to re-assemble it.

It is a big job and there are costs to doing it yourself – buying and hiring equipment and the van. Do not underestimate the amount of work involved and be honest about your physical capability to undertaking your own move. Can you rely on people to help you? Before you even start to consider the DIY option, you should compare quotes from a range of removal companies so that you can decide if the DIY option makes sense.

Get boxes from local businesses

Start collecting well in advance.  You want sturdy boxes which are not too large.  Packing will always take far longer than you imagine so give yourself plenty of time.  You’ll need a supply of newspapers and magazines for wrapping things and be sure to pack similar items together and label the boxes accordingly.  Don’t overpack boxes, it’s easy to over-pack especially when packing books.  When you come to pack the van, you need to do so with considerable care.  You want a tightly packed interior with no room for things to slide about and of course, fragile items need to be on top.

Moving is an opportunity to trim your possessions

All that stuff you’ve had for years and never used, get rid of it.  Sell it or give it to charity, either way, getting rid of it will save you time and that means it will also save you money.  There may be certain items, such as furniture, for which there is no place in your new home, so don’t waste time moving them.

Save money on broadband and utilities

Don’t just sign up with the existing providers at your new property.  Before you move in compare quotes for broadband and utilities.  Even though you might consider a house phone unnecessary, you may find that including a phone in your broadband deal can make it cheaper.  When you’ve so many things to do, this may seem like an unnecessary hassle but switching providers can save you hundreds in the long run.  Remember that companies always reserve their best rates for new customers.

Time your move

Depending on where you live, parking and loading a van can be a tricky business.  On busy roads, you should inform the police and put out cones around the vehicle where you are loading.  Try and time your move so that you avoid rush hour periods, this will save time and stress both during loading and on the journey itself.  The less time it takes you to move, the less you’ll spend.

Your new home may need things you don’t have

The last thing your bank balance needs is for you to go on a spending spree for carpets, curtains and a new dining room set.  Don’t feel that you must get everything at once, be prepared to make do for a while until you find what you really want.  Keep an eye on your local charity shops or use sites such as Freegle to help you furnish your new home in the short term without a big cash outlay.

Don’t Forget
    • A suitcase packed with everything you need for the next couple of days will mean that you don’t have to go searching boxes to find a toothbrush or rush out to buy supplies.
    • Keep your paperwork for the house and move secure and readily available.
    • Make sure you have all the important numbers in your phone – solicitor, removal company, van hire, utility companies etc.
    • Make sure you have clearly agreed on how, when and where kets will be exchanged and make sure you have a number so you can contact the person who should be collecting or handing over the keys.
    • Make sure you label all your boxes so you know what is inside and what room they need to be left in.
    • Consider insurance to cover losses or breakages during the move.
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Whether you’ve been into for DIY for years or you are only just starting out, there’s nothing better than finding a solution that cuts down the time, energy, or expertise needed to pull off a job. There are hundreds of different tools out there most of which you probably haven’t even heard of let alone know what to do with. If you are about to do a big DIY job it is worth doing a bit of research to see if there are any specific tools for the job. In some circumstances they can drastically increase the speed of the job, they can greatly reduce the effort you need to put in too. Finally, some tools will deliver a quality of finish that simply isn’t possible without them.

There are lots of cheap hand tools but you can find they don’t always give the best results. Don’t forget that tool rental provides you with the opportunity to rent well maintained and professional quality tools for the same or less than the price of a brand new cheap hand tool. So if you are doing a one-off job find your local tool rental depot rather than buy.

In this post, we’re introducing you to 4 handy tools that’ll transform your DIY experiences by making things a heck of a lot easier. Have a run through this list to see if you’re missing out!

A compact sprayer

Painting is often one of the most impactful yet time-consuming stages of any DIY project. Still think a good roller is the best way to cover large areas? Not anymore it isn’t. With a compact sprayer, you can make light work of painting huge areas with maximum control and minimum levels of spillage. They’re expensive pieces of kit so it’s probably best to hire one if you’re working on a one-off project.

Compact sprayers will work with most water or solvent based paints, they allow you to stay relaxed and demand far less physical work than having to throw around a paintbrush. The condensed air ensures the spray is applied as neatly as possible, without the risk of splash back or any nasty accidents. A must for anyone that loves a fresh coat of paint but hates the horror of stone-age painting tools.

You will need to buy some plastic decorating sheets ing and decorators tape to protect floors and adjacent walls or ceilings however these materials are cheap and easy to fix in place. You should also buy a decent quality face mask to prevent you from inhaling any of the paint vapour.

Beginner Tutorial How to Set Up and Use a Paint Spray Gun - YouTube

Dot & Line Lasers

Gone are the days of drawing marks on the walls to ensure you’re lining up that elaborate set of special shelves without error. Now technology comes to the rescue in the form of dot & line lasers! These bad boys will save you hours of torture whenever you need to measure, check alignment, and ensure every aspect of your project is positioned exactly where it needs to be.

The device is compact enough to sit wherever you need it. It then projects a laser dot on an adjacent object or casts a line across a surface to give you the bearings you need to achieve absolute precision. You’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll be able to line up edges, work out angles, and measure distances with a dot laser at your side.

There is literally no DIY you can do that this tool won’t make faster or give you a better finish – from measuring up for a kitchen, curtains, tiles to getting a good level for pictures, mirrors and wall hangings. In many cases it is really hard to measure accurately or get a level without a second person so if you are completing a project alone one of these tools will be a lifesaver. As a result, it is probably a good idea to invest in one of these and buy rather than rent.

How to Use a Laser Level - YouTube

A roof crawler

Need to fix a couple of roof tiles or installing a new satellite dish? No doubt the biggest fear you have is traversing those pesky slopes to reach wherever you need to be. Most people think it’s just a case of getting up there and being as careful as you can to avoid a nasty slip. The thing is, it only takes one uncontrollable moment for the very worst to happen.

Don’t fancy taking the risk? We don’t blame you! A roof crawler has a structure similar to a typical straight ladder but has an extension at the top end that bends to rest along the surface of the roof. What you get is a stretch of the ladder that lets you travel across your roof far more securely. With one of these in your inventory, you’ll have far less reason to ever fear working on the roof again. Cheaper models are affordable to buy but more pricey models are bound to offer a more secure design. If you have a lot to do up there, it might be worth renting a premium roof crawler for however long you think the job will take you.

A Hand-held Sander

This is a tool that’s definitely worth having around if you find yourself working with a lot of wood. Without a sander you’ll be doing things the old fashioned way, taking a sheet of sandpaper in your palm and rubbing down for hours on end Cinderella-style. Nobody likes manual sanding, especially if you have a good volume of surface space to get through. If you are filling holes or cracks in plastered walls than? A hand-held sander will give you a much neater finish than manual sanding.

Dodge all that unnecessary grafting by getting yourself a reliable machine sander. The best models are light enough to hold in one hand, give you much greater ability to sand hard to reach areas like ceilings, and many come with features to help vacuum up dust. Hate the fact that walls, furniture, and wooden work surfaces take days to smooth out? You can put those days behind you once you’ve invested in a good sander.

Hand Held Sander

There you have it! These are 4 modern DIY tools that are sure to have a beneficial impact on your DIY projects. Some other tools that are worth looking up are torque wrenches, stud detectors, routers, oscillating multi-tools, soldering irons, reciprocating saws, non-contact voltage testers, contour gauges, right angle drill attachments and workbenches.

Don’t get involved in DIY that often? Look to rent premium models for odd jobs to gain from maximum performance. Consider yourself a DIY fiend? Then all of these tools are well worth the investment and promise to save you immeasurable amounts of time and energy over the years.

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Which is the best solution for getting waste out of your home quickly?
Maintaining a clean home can a challenge in a family household. Young families create a lot of waste which takes up a lot of space – especially if you are trying to sort rubbish into different types. You then need to dispose of each type of rubbish in the right place at the right times. Rubbish removal can quickly become a very time-consuming chore especially when local authorities seem to be reducing the frequency of rubbish collection and increasing the complexity of waste disposal whilst also increasing fines for people who don’t dispose of their waste as directed. It can be tempting to avoid recycling entirely and just take everything to the tip each week!!

There are some things you can do to make your domestic waste management easier whilst also being able to play your part to help the environment. The most effective of these is minimising the things you bring into your home in the first place cutting down on your waste.

Less Packaging

Most of your household waste is actually product packaging. Try buying food that does not need to be unwrapped or un-tinned which often means avoiding ready meals and buying loose fruit and veg. You will find that rice, beans, cereals, teas and spices are often in paper or glass packing which can be recycled and they can also be bought in bulk which saves packaging. Use a butcher than uses wax paper rather than plastic wrapping, the same goes for cheese and fish.

Plastic Bottles

One of the main sources of waste can be from consumers buying bottled water and soft drinks in plastic packaging. Many of these plastics are not even recycled and are simply left to decompose, taking around 450 years to do so. Invest in a water filter – they are cheap and do not take up much space and will give you unlimited clean drinking water. Re-use water bottles rather than buying a new one each time you go to the gym or pack your kids a lunch. If you really can’t live without your soft and fizzy drinks, why not consider making your own? There are some fantastic recipes on the internet and cheap home soda makers.

Coffee Pods

THiose coffee pods are nice and easy but they produce a huge amount of waste. Is it really that hard to boil a kettle and use a cafetiere? If you can’t live without ‘press of a button’ coffee then consider getting a bean to cup machine. These work in a very similar way to coffee pod machines but use less waste because you use whole beans. Every week or so you add whole beans to a storage container. Each time you want a coffee the machine grinds fresh beans for your cup. No pod waste and also the freshest coffee you will ever drink. These machines are not much more than the pod machines so you should really consider getting one.

For Bulkier Supplies

Furniture and IT equipment are so cheap these days it can be very tempting to simply throw away things you don’t want any more and buy new ones. This is incredibly wasteful – all that energy and those materials that were used to construct these items are wasted. Not only that they will be taking up space in landfill and causing pollution too. There is always a suitable home for old furniture or IT equipment. Why not take it to a charity shop for donation, local school, home for the elderly. The fastest way of taking it from your home is by hiring a van. Be sure to look up the correct size you need online, by looking up comparison websites like Man and Van Size Guide, as you should only hire a van based on the size of your objects you are donating. You can consider the cost of van hire to be a charity donation. You can also advertise your items on a site like preloved or freecycle and simply insist that the person who wants the goods arranges for them to be collected from you.

Toiletries

Many of the cosmetics we use every day are liquid and they are mostly made up of water. All this water bulks up the active ingredients using loads of energy in transit and requiring loads of plastic to make up their containers. You can vastly reduce your plastic waste from these products in four ways;
1) Buy refills which come in soft thin packaging rather than always buying a new hard plastic bottle. You can reduce your packaging use by over 70% doing this.
2) Buy concentrated refills rather than diluted versions
3) Don’t overuse. Big squirts of washing up liquid and handfuls of shampoo or shower gel are excessive. Get used to only using what you need rather than wasting most of your product down the plughole.
4) Consider using good old fashioned soap and newfangled shampoo balls. Hard soap lasts and lasts. You will find a single bar of soap will last longer than 4 bottles of hand wash. Eco-providers are now also starting to sell shampoo bars – it looks like soap but you rub it on wet hair instead of using shampoo. Get your family used to use these products and you won’t be generating any plastic waste from them at all. You will also find that you don’t need to buy anything like as much making your weekly shop simpler.

You should aslo have a good rummage through your bedroom and bathroom. How many bottles of perfume, shampoo and body lotion have you built up over the years? Make sure you store it where it is easliy accessible and don’t buy any more until you have used up everything you have got.

Food Waste

About 40% of the food we grow actually ends up in the bin. This is a huge waste of energy, water, packaging and fridge space. Review your fridge every couple of days and make sure you use up anything that looks like it is getting old. Soups, stir-fries and risottos are a great way to use up pretty much anything. Review your freezer every month and your dry goods every couple of months. You will also find that this saves you a fortune on your weekly shop.

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Flooding a home with natural light instantly makes it appear larger. Natural light also has a positive psychological impact and it can make us feel healthier and boost our wellbeing. Below, you will find some practical tips and easy-to-apply techniques that will bring more light into your home and make the space feel brighter.

Use Bright Colours

Swapping dark block shades with lighter hues will help give the place a more airy feel. This is because brightly-coloured walls reflect the natural light coming through the doors or windows rather than absorb it (which is what darker tints do). The same applies to wallpaper and carpets – choose something lighter with more vibrant colours for the same reason. However, opt for a warmer, off-white shade when planning to paint your walls as pure white can make a room feel a cold. To create the illusion of space and height, consider painting the ceiling slightly lighter than the walls. Remember that matt paints reflect less light than those with a satin finish.

Go Glossy

Opting for bathroom and kitchen units with shiny surfaces (i.e., highly-reflective tiles) will contribute to making the rooms look bigger and brighter as the light diffuses on these glossy surfaces, turning them into mirrors. You may also add mirrored, glass or metallic accessories and even furniture with a reflective surface blended with other matt surfaces to create a statement look. Besides helping you maximise available light, they also make a stylish addition to the home décor.

The same applies to flooring, surfaces with a polished finish (whether stone, ceramic or wooden) are an ideal choice. However you should choose your material carefully, high gloss surfaces can be slippery and this can be dangerous when used for flooring. You can choose a matt surface that has light reflective flecks in it you can also buy a rough surface like ceramic tiles or slate and then apply a speicalise gloss floor sealant.

Replace the Windows

If you have the budget, adding new windows or enlarging existing ones can make a tremendous impact on the amount of light that flows into your home. For example, installing large bi-fold doors can immediately transform an entire wall into glass, leaving you with optimal light levels and a gorgeous view of the outside. If this isn’t possible then you can consider a smaller project like a skylight. Adding one of these can dramatically improve the light levels in a room.

Install Blinds

Replacing windows is too expensive and messy for many people. In this case, the best (and less disruptive) alternative is to replace the fussy curtains with a beautiful set of roller blinds. The good news is that this is a rather simple task for DIYers. You can do that with either inside mounts that fit on the inside of the frame or outside mounts that attach to the trim or the wall.

Take a look at how to install blinds with these easy steps:

  1. Measure the windows and select the right size depending on whether you will mount your blinds outside or inside the windows. Read the directions on the package for directions (size-wise). Take into account those guidelines and mark the width.
  2. Mark the centre of both the blind head rail and window opening.
  3. Slip the mounting brackets on each side of the headrail. This will create a frame. Centre the blind inside it (the frame) and then mark the locations of the brackets.
  4. Remove the blind and mark the holes. You can easily do that by holding the brackets in place. Drill pilot holes and use screws to lock in place.
  5. Drill pilot holes again, after you mark the centre bracket location.
  6. Attach the bracket and put the blind head rail in the brackets. Don’t forget to secure.
  7. Attach the wand to the hook and then snap the clips of the valence on the headrail.
  8. If the valence returns don’t fit, just cut them.  
  9. Place the bottom end caps of the rail.
Play with Light

Artificial light can work wonders on enhancing any natural light that enters the home and boosting brightness. An excellent idea to achieve that is by installing dimmer lights. That way, you will have better control over how an area is lit. Dimmer lights also enable you to change the light levels per your preferences (i.e., improve brightness after sunset).

Install Glass Blocks

Not the simplest task for a DIYer but it is definitely an effective fix to bring more light in areas that lack natural light and give the space a different stylistic direction. The job includes adding glass blocks to sections of the exterior wall. You follow the same procedure as with fitting a door or window, which means that you need to install headers over the glass block sections. Giving any glass surface a good clean (i.e., your glass door or your windows) will also increase the amount of light that fills your space.

It doesn’t take much to bring more natural light into your home. From simple tricks to more labour-intensive projects, these handy tips will help you boost the light levels inside your house or apartment.

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