As we all know, New Year’s is a notorious occasion for promising ourselves that we’ll finally do this and that but rarely do we ever go through with our resolutions. However this year it may well be worth investing a little time in some home improvement to capitalise on the latest housing bubble and increase the value of your home, or you can see it as a great way to escape from the extended family over the festive season. We’ve come up with a list of our top DIY tasks for the New Year as some inspiration for your own resolutions.
One of the more common household problems that sadly very few of us get around to fixing is leaky taps. You could save yourself a tidy sum on your water bills by fixing any leaky taps in your home and it’s a relatively simple DIY task to accomplish. Leaks are usually caused by a worn out washer which can easily be replaced without the help of a professional, we’ve even prepared a handy guide to help you out.
Another regular problem that tends to be ignored is squeaky floorboards. The bane of many a late night reveller trying to sneak back into the house, all though this one is a little more labour intensive than fixing leaky taps, you’ll appreciate the results immediately. Most squeaky floorboards can be dealt with by fixing the loose board to the joists, 60mm screws are generally the best fit for the job, make sure to drill pilot holes at the ends of the boards to stop the screws from splitting the wood. In the event that the squeaky board isn’t supported by a joist you’ll need to prise the board up and attach an appropriately sized batten to the side of the joist, which you can screw the board to in the same way that you would with a joist.
If your kitchen and bathroom sinks are taking an age to drain properly then they may well be blocked up. While most blockages can be dealt with very easily by using a plunger to dislodge any unmentionable substances that might be blocking your drain, if this doesn’t solve the problem you might have to get messy and remove the blockage further down the pipes. Get under the sink and start by placing a bucket beneath the pipes and plastic trap, drain as much of the water as you can before unscrewing the plastic collars at either end of the trap. Next you need to remove and clean out the trap; you should also use this opportunity to check if any debris is stuck closer to the plughole. Once this is all done, reattach the plastic trap and fasten tightly, run the taps for a few minutes to ensure that the blockage is clear.
If you’re worried that your gutters might be blocked and causing water flow problems then clearing away any blockages is a relatively easy task though you may want to enlist the help of a friend for safety reasons. To start with you’ll need a good ladder to reach your gutters, this is where the friend comes in handy, helping to steady the ladder and keep an eye on you. Give the gutter a good inspection and find out where the blockage is occurring, you can then use a trowel or scraper to remove any debris. However if the blockage appears to be in your downpipe then the job becomes a bit more complicated, you’ll need to buy some drainage rods to push out the blockade from above, leaving any debris to come out at the bottom of the pipe. One way to help prevent a blockage in your downpipe in future is to install a wire mesh across the mouth of the downpipe, allowing water to travel down but blocking most kinds of debris, though of course this will need semi-regularly maintenance to stop a build-up at the mesh.
Our final DIY resolution is a bit of a tougher one but well worth the time investment, removing old grout can give your tiled rooms a much fresher look to see in the New Year. Start off by covering the surrounding area with old blankets or some sort of protective cover, the removal process can often send chunks of grout flying off so it’s important to protect the rest of the room as well as yourself, wear rubber gloves and safety goggles as a precaution. You’ll also need a rotary tool, a utility knife and flat head screwdriver for this job. Hold the rotary tool horizontally or vertically depending on the direction of the grout seam, turn the power and lightly press the blade against the grout, allowing the power tool to do most of the work move the tool along the seam as it removes the grout. Once you’ve done this step, use the flat head screwdriver to manually remove any leftover chunks of grout in the seam. In the event that the screwdriver can’t get every last bit, use the utility knife as a last resort and be very careful so as to not damage the tiles or the knife. Once you’ve removed all of the old grout and cleaned up any mess you can begin applying the new grout, start by mixing up a batch of powdered grout according to the instruction on the packet. Start applying the grout to former seams with a grout float or triangular trowel, once you’ve spread the grout out, firmly pull the float across the tile which will force the grout into the appropriate spaces. Use the side of the float to remove any excess grout and wipe down the tiles with a damp sponge, being careful to avoid the grout lines so as to not remove the still soft grout. After a few rounds of cleaning, stand back and admire your handiwork.
There you have it, our list of top DIY tasks to see in 2014. So from all of us at Eurofit we’d like to wish you a Happy New Year and hope that this one is even better than the last!