LAYING CARPET

Laying carpet is something we would most certainly recommend is left to the professionals. Carpets are expensive and a mistake can cost a lot of money as well as leaving a room looking very untidy.

However we know that DIY’ers the world over will want to have a go so we have listed the basic points to remember and, hopefully, help you.

Carpet Fitting Tools You Will Need

You should hire or buy a carpet knee kicker (or carpet stretcher) from a tool hire shop. It will stretch the carpet into position and stop any “bubbles” spoiling the job.

You will also need to hire a carpet bolster which is a 3 inch bolster (the same as an electricians bolster) but with a very blunt, rounded edge. You should also wear some knee pads as you will be on your knees a lot!

You will also need a decent stanley or hobby knife and at least 5 brand new blades. We state at least 5 new blades as they blunt quite quickly and trying to cut carpet with a blunt blade will only make it frey and wreck it.

If you take a look at many other DIY Projects on this web site, e.g. plastering, you will see that we recommend practice before the final operation.

Your carpet supplier will give you a couple of off cuts and you can practice cutting a carpet into a corner or round a doorframe.

  • Carpet knee kicker
  • Carpet bolster
  • Knee pads
  • Stanley or hobby knife with 5 blades
  • Some scrap carpet to practice with
  • Enough old newspapers to cover the floor area
  • Double sided tape
Knee pads for saving wear and tear on trousers and knees

Knee pads for saving wear and tear on trousers and knees – Available from our online store

Carpet Underlay

Carpets are either supplied with a foam or rubber back which serves as the underlay or they need to be laid on a separate underlay.

There are quite a few different types of carpet underlay available today made froma range of different materialseach with positives and negatives. One of the most commonly used these days is PU Foam underlay and this has quite a few benefits such as excellent durability, acoustic and thermal properties and is also pretty eco friendly but it does tend to be quite expensive.

Different types of underlay available:

  • Rubber Crumb Underlay: Fantastic durability and suitable for non-domestic properties but lacking in thermal and acoustic insulation and rather expensive
  • PU Foam Underlay: Modern with excellent thermal and acoustic properties and very compfy underfoot but quite expensive
  • Felt Wool Underlay: This underlay type is the best in terms of being environmentally friendly as it is made from 100% recycled materials. This underlay type also has great durability and thermal and acoustic insulation making it one of the best choices
  • Felt and Rubber Combined Underlay: This type takes the best from 2 other types in that it features a recycled rubber base and recycled felt top. Again, has excellent thermal and acoustic properties and is also very durable
  • Rubber Underlay: Constructed from rubber and sponge and one of the most popular over the years, very durable and nice to walk on with good acoustic properties but lacking in thermal insulation and not very eco-friendly

How to Lay a Carpet

Roll out the Carpet

First roll out your carpet in the empty room and cut it so it has an extra 200mm (8 inches) all round the room. Make sure any pattern in the carpet is square to the walls and that you cut enough overlap through any doorways.

Now roll it up again and put to one side.

Lay Down Newspaper or Paper Sheets

The first rule when laying carpet is to use some double sided tape to hold down sheets of paper to the floor.

This can be newspaper or parcel paper, it does not matter. Should you ever have cause to remove the carpet you will find that the paper will stop the underlay or foam backing sticking to the floor.

Carpet gripper for the perimeter of the room

Carpet gripper for the perimeter of the room

Fix Carpet Gripper

Next, lay the gripper round the perimeter of the room. Wherever there will be a carpet edge, there should be gripper.

Gripper comes with nails pre-installed and is laid about 12mm or half an inch away from the room boundaries, i.e. skirtings etc. The masonry nails in the gripper will usually be tough enough to hammer into floor screed.

The sharp points on the gripper rods should always point towards the walls. These points grip the carpet as it is stretched over them and keeps it tightly in place.

Fix Jointing Strip in Doorways

Lay the gripper all round the room using a jointing strip (below) in the doorways. The jointing strip will have the same sharp points to grip the carpet.

Carpet threshold strip for joining carpets in doorways

Carpet threshold strip for joining carpets in doorways

Lay the Underlay

The underlay should now be laid inside the gripper. Use double sided tape on all joins underneath the underlay.

Roll out the Carpet

Roll out the carpet on the underlay making sure it is square to the walls if patterns are involved. Push the carpet into one corner so the overlap you have allowed folds down onto the carpet leaving a crease where the carpet meets the skirting board.

Using a stanley knife to cut carpet into edges of room

Using a stanley knife to cut carpet into edges of room – Available in our online store

Use the back edge of a Stanley knife blade to push this crease well into the joint where the carpet meets the floor.

Cut Carpet into Corner

You should be concentrating on a length of about 600mm from the corner of the room at the moment. Turn the blade round and cut the 600mm along the crease until you have reached the corner.

Then cut vertically upwards to leave the 600mm edge sitting on the gripper and push it down so it bites on the gripper nails (if you don’t have a decent sharp knife and would like to find out which knives are the best, check out our utility knife tool review and also our review of the various types of blades available).

Repeat this process 600mm along the remaining edge of the same corner. You now have one corner tight up to the skirting and fixed by the gripper rods.

Fit Carpet up to Skirting

Using the knee kicker, with teeth set so they just bite into the carpet, work along one edge of the carpet, cutting into the skirting board as you go. Always use the back of the blade to push the carpet down into the gap between gripper and skirting before you cut.

When one edge is complete go back to the starting corner and work along the other wall. Then back again to the starting point and use the kicker to stretch diagonally across the room.

Knee kicker or carpet stretcher for getting the carpet tight

Knee kicker or carpet stretcher for getting the carpet tight – Available from our superstore

Tighten the Carpet

When all the carpet is cut into position, use the kicker once more to make sure the carpet is tight to all skirting boards or threshold strips.

Finish the Edges

Now use the carpet bolster to bang down the carpet between the back edge of the gripper rods and the skirting boards. This gives a lovely neat finish and a job you can be proud of.

HOW TO FIT COVING

The following list of tools are really all essential to ensure that your job goes smoothly and the finished article is top notch:

  • A Hand Saw – Choose a fine or medium toothed saw with a stiff blade to ensure a straight cut
  • Mitre box (also called a mitre block) or you can use a mitre saw or a coving mitre template as a cutting guide such as a Wonder Mitre (see below)
  • Adhesives – You can use any coving adhesive, either ready-mixed or powder adhesive which you mix yourself. You can also use a silicon based adhesive and sealant gun
  • Pencil
  • Spirit level or chalk line – for marking out the walls
  • Hammer and panel pins – to support the coving while the adhesive sets
  • Sponge or cloth and water – for cleaning up excess adhesive
  • Filling knife
  • Trimming knife – also known as a utility knife or generically as a Stanley knife
  • Paintbrush – for blending sealant into joints

How to Mitre Cut Coving

If you would like additional information on fitting coving in the form of a Word Document you can print, click here.

Additionally, if you scroll down the page a bit there are further images and diagrams walking through the process of cutting coving.

TIP: Cutting coving is a skill that requires practice, so the very first rule about coving for the novice is: Please buy an extra length to practice on!

Mitre joints are formed in the corner of rooms or where the coving is going to finish part-way along a wall, and the end needs to be finished off with a piece of coving that returns towards the wall to give a neat finish (see image below).

External Mitre Joint

External mitre joint

Internal and External Mitre Joints

External mitre joints are formed around protrusions into a room, such as chimney breasts. Internal mitre joints are formed in the corners of the room (see below).

Fitting internal and external coving mitre joints

Fitting an Internal Mitre Joint – There is an external mitre joint visible on the chimney breast on the right

When measuring coving for a cut, make sure you measure along the edge that will be placed against the wall.

TIP: To help you keep track of which is the wall edge scribble along that edge in pencil or write the word wall at various intervals along that edge on the back of the coving.

When cutting the coving place the length of coving upside down in the mitre box, in other words with the wall edge pointing up. See the images below for an illustration.

Cutting coving external corners

Illustration of cutting external left and right corners

Cutting coving internal corners

Illustration of cutting internal left and right corners

As you can see, from the images above, this means that when you take the coving out of the mitre box you will turn it the other way up before placing it on the wall.

Angles are peculiar things, and we know it can be tricky to get it right. We get hundreds of questions on our forum about how to cut coving. One tip we can give you is that cutting coving is made considerably easier by using the right tools and taking your time to measure carefully: Then measure again.

If you do this carefully you will be amazed at how easy it is to add a beautiful feature to the room.

Cutting Coving Using a Mitre Box or Mitre Block

Coving mitre block

Mitre Block for cutting coving mitre joints – Available here from our online store

The first thing you will need is an accurate cutting guide. The traditional way of cutting an angle for a corner is to use a coving mitre block, also known as a mitre box. These are made especially for coving and will come in a variety of sizes.

Some mitre boxes have an adjustable gauge to secure the material while it is being cut. We use a 125mm box which will accommodate the largest standard size of coving, and then we use a wooden batten fitted inside to secure smaller coving.

TIP: Make sure you secure the coving in the mitre box. The material needs to be held tightly in place to get a good professional finish.

If your coving does not fit snugly into your mitre box, you run the risk of it moving when you saw. Even a small movement can throw the mitre join out and make it very difficult to get a neat job.

As you can see, mitre boxes come with a straight, or butt joint slot for the saw, and two 45 degree slots for making internal and external corners. The slots have numbers on them as you can see. This is to avoid confusion when cutting, and believe me it is easy to get confused!

More about how to use this numbering to make the joints you need in the “How To Plan Your Room for Coving” guide below.

Finding Angles in Your Room

Putting up coving in a square room is a relatively easy job. Where you have chimney breasts or other features to work round you will need to cut more mitre joints.

If you are lucky, your rooms will be square, or nearly square. Unfortunately many rooms do not have walls at 90° to each other when you check the angles, and some areas might be far from square. When cutting coving odd angles will affect the mitre joints you need to cut for the corners.

For rooms that have odd shaped corners you can buy an “angle finder” like the one below – also available from good DIY stores and builders’ merchants.

Angle finder

Angle finder to help you cut mitres for odd-shaped corners

Place the angle finder in the corner of the room and find its angle by pushing it into the corner, with the arms against the walls. Read the angle from the indicator.

Divide that angle by two and mark this on the mitre box. Cut a groove at that angle into the mitre box working gently with the saw and you will have the template for making this corner neat as well.

Use the same groove for cutting both sides of the mitre, but where you are using coving with an asymmetrical coving just turn the material over when you make the second cut; i.e. you will have the top edge facing towards you on one mitre cut and the bottom edge facing towards you on the other.

Fitting coving is not difficult. It is a question of taking your time and getting things set out as you would like them. Be prepared to sacrifice a length of coving as a practice piece to understand how the tools work, and use it to get the mitres right. It will save you money in the long run.

How to Plan your Room for Coving

The mitre box is numbered in the way that if you are facing any wall, the right hand mitre is number 1 if it is an internal angle or number 3 if it is to an external angle and the left hand mitre is number 2 or 4 respectively.

Do not be put off by any of this. Use your practice piece and all will become clear. Number the walls as described above and shown in these pictures below:

Coving cutting plan for room with numbered corners

Number the walls according to the numbers on the mitre block

You need to make sure that you carefully plan the cuts you need, to avoid spoiling and wasting material.

Measuring Up and Marking Out

Measure each section of the wall and write it onto your room plan, you can also write it directly onto the wall.

Take a small “template” piece of coving and place it flush against the wall and ceiling, mark the wall and ceiling along the top and bottom edge of the template at various intervals around the room (about a metre apart, depending on the length of your spirit level).

Make sure that the piece of coving is sitting in the correct position in relation to the walls and ceiling. That is making sure the coving is equally spaced between the the wall and ceiling, with the edges sitting flush on the wall and the ceiling, not skewed or angled.

Marking out for fixing coving

Measuring for Coving and Marking Walls for Coving

Using these lines as a guide, mark along the wall and ceiling using a spirit level to make sure your line is level and straight. Alternatively you could use a chalk line held between two panel pins at either end of the wall). These lines are what you will work to when it comes to sticking coving later.

You may want to offer up a full length of coving, to make sure it looks right by eye too. This is particularly important where you know that your walls and ceiling have odd angles, are not straight, or not at right-angles to each other. Don’t try to fit the coving to any imperfections, just make sure it is sitting straight. You can always fill gaps between the coving and the wall or ceiling later.

Make sure you remove any flaking paint or plaster and any wallpaper from the wall and ceiling between the lines.

Use a Multi sensor and mark the position of any pipes or cables in pencil below the line you have drawn on the wall.

TIP: If you are sticking coving to fresh plaster, paint dilute PVA onto the wall using a brush and allow to dry before you try to stick your coving up. This prevents the dry plaster sucking the moisture out of the adhesive to quickly, and gives you time to work with the adhesive before it goes off.

TIP: If you are working onto a painted surface, use a Stanley knife to score the area nearest your pencil marks to provide a key for the adhesive to grip to.

Start with the longest section first. Check the width of the wall you wish to start on.

TIP: It is always a good idea to work into all the internal sections first otherwise you may find yourself “boxed in”.

Mark the measurement you have taken from the wall onto the wall edge of the first length of coving.

Cutting the Coving

TIP: It is always best to start with the longest lengths first to avoid waste.

If you have a wall that is longer than a length of coving you can join two lengths with a butt joint (a straight joint) or, to make a neater finish and a stronger joint, you can use a mitre join at a 45° angle using the mitre block as a guide. (You will need to cut one internal mitre and one external mitre to join two lengths together in a straight line.)

Cutting a butt joint with a coving mitre saw

A butt joint is formed by making a straight cut

TIP: Choose a fine-toothed saw to cut smoothly through the plaster and avoid making the backing paper ragged as you cut.

Let’s start with the back wall in our illustration and work around clockwise.

Start with an internal left hand mitre: The coving will fit into the mitre box from right to left, with the wall edge facing up – so the material you are using is the left hand piece of coving and the waste material is on the right.

Make the first cut in the groove marked 2 on your block. This will fit into the left hand corner of your wall.

Mark the length you need for the wall onto the coving. (Remember to measure along the wall edge of the coving). Slide the coving through the mitre box from right to left. Make your second cut in the slot marked 1 on your mitre block. This will fit into the right hand corner of your room.

Offer up the length you have just cut to make sure the coving will fit. Make any adjustments you need to then sand the ends with fine sandpaper for a neat finish.

Now for the left hand internal mitre to fit into the right hand corner of our illustrated room. Check the measurement of the wall, mark the length you need onto the coving, slide it into the box from right to left and cut one mitre using the groove marked 3 on the box to create the left half of the external corner.

The next joint in this example is a right hand external mitre on the chimney breast so you need to cut the piece to length using the groove marked 4 on the box.

Cutting coving with a mitre block for an accurate corner

Secure the Coving in the Mitre Block for an Accurate Mitre Cut. Note the sliding metal pins that are holding the coving in place

Once each piece is cut, put it in place without any adhesive at first to check it will fit and the joint is correct. Adjust each cut if necessary then sand down the end for a smooth finish.

Continue to work your way around the room in this way until all the coving is cut.

You can stick each piece of coving in place as you go if you prefer.

See Fixing Coving Using Adhesive below – after we look at a couple of alternatives for cutting coving.

Using a “Wonder Mitre” to Cut Coving

If you don’t want to use a mitre block to cut coving, then you could try a coving mitre tool called a Wonder Mitre which is a simple guide that sits on the inside of the cove and has shaped notches that grip the plaster, holding it securely while you cut. It is suitable for all sizes of coving up to 125mm.

The manufacturers have worked out the angles so providing you place it securely inside the coving it will give you a good accurate angle cut for your corner, and providing your walls are square you will find it creates a neat job with little finishing required. They are available in a metal trade model, and a DIY plastic version.

Metal guide for cutting coving mitre joints

Wondermitre Trade cornice mitre cutting guide – Available here in our online store

Cutting Coving with a Mitre Saw

A coving mitre saw works in a similar way to a mitre block, but after the coving is secured in place the blade guide is adjusted to the correct position for sawing an accurate cut at the correct angle.

The back guide of the mitre saw is marked ‘wall’ and has stops to rest the edge of the coving against. The base of the saw is marked with the standard sizes of coving, so you can easily position the length of coving correctly into the mitre saw.

Using a mitre saw to cut an accurate angle in coving

Cutting coving using a mitre saw

Fixing Coving Using Adhesive

Mix up the adhesive to a thick paste, following the guidelines on the packet, or use a ready mixed coving adhesive.

Spread adhesive evenly along both long edges using a filling knife, like the one below – you will find a selection of filling knives and spreaders in the decorating section of our tool store.

A filling knife for spreading coving adhesive

Filling knife with a flexible blade makes spreading coving adhesive easier – Available in our online store here

Alternatively you can use a tube of silicone-based adhesive and a sealant gun to apply adhesive.

Whichever method you use to apply adhesive, there is no need to add adhesive to the centre of the back of the cove – this does not make contact with the wall or ceiling, so you would just be wasting it.

TIP: Don’t be frightened of putting on too much adhesive, you will be able to scrape it off easily using the filling knife and a wet cloth or sponge to clean the wall. You want it to just be squeezing out from the edges as you press the coving into position.

Line up the coving with the lines you marked on the wall and ceiling. Make sure the left end is just a couple of mm from the left hand wall.

Press firmly into place along the whole length of the coving.

For the second and subsequent pieces of coving you will also need to apply adhesive to the mitre joint you are forming.

Use your filling knife to press adhesive into any gaps, pushing adhesive into any joints that do not quite meet and any undulations in the surface of the wall. You might find it useful to use a plasterer’s “small tool” to do this. You will find a selection of Small Tools in our online toolstore

Plasterer's small tool can be used for coving

Small Tools come in various shapes and sizes

Scrape off any excess adhesive from the walls and ceilings, then clean off with a damp cloth, or sponge.

If you are concerned that a long length of coving will not stay up on the strength of the adhesive alone, tack in some small nails or panel pins underneath it to support it in place until the adhesive is hard. The nail holes can be filled later.

TIP: Always check for cables and/or pipes before nailing into the wall. Use a scanner to avoid costly and dangerous holes in pipes or electicals.

Fitting Coving Step-by-Step in Images

Marking out the wall and ceilings

Marking out walls and ceilings for coving

Marking Out a Right Hand External Mitre

Measuring Coving for a Right Hand External Mitre

Measuring coving for a left hand external mitre

Measuring coving for a left hand external mitre

Measuring coving for a left hand external mitre

On the back of the coving mark the wall edge

Marking a right hand internal mitre on coving

Marking a right hand internal mitre on coving

Marking a right hand internal mitre

Marking a right hand internal mitre

Cutting an external corner for the right wall with a mitre saw

Cutting an external corner for the right wall with a mitre saw

Applying adhesive to the back of the coving

Applying adhesive to the back of the coving

Applying adhesive to the back of the coving

Applying adhesive to the back of the coving

Sticking up coving

Line Up The coving with the guide lines on the walls and ceiling

Sticking up coving

Line Up The coving with the guide lines on the walls and ceiling

Remove excess adhesive from the edge of the coving

Remove excess adhesive from the edge of the coving

Make sure joints and gaps are filled

Mitre joints and gaps between coving should be filled

Apply decorators caulk to the edges of the coving

Apply decorators caulk to the edges of the coving

Apply decorators caulk to the mitre joints

Apply decorators caulk to the mitre joints

Allow adhesive to dry then decorate the coving

Allow adhesive to dry then decorate the coving

Finished internal corner in coving

Finished internal corner in coving

ADJUSTING DOORS

Is your door dropped or sagging? Is your door catching at the top, side, or bottom of the door frame? Is it worse when the sun is shining or when it’s hot outside? You may need to readjust your door hinges. Proper door alignment not only allows the door to open and close smoothly but also prevents drafts and uneven wear and tear. You can realign your doors by adjusting the hinges. However, to determine how to adjust the hinges, you should first determine what is causing your door to be misaligned.

How Do I Check if My Door Is Out of Alignment?

  1. Are the corners on the door and frame aligned? You only need to check one of the corners to make sure the miter joints on the door and door frame are in line.
  2. Is the door level? Do this by placing a level on top of the door.
  3. Are the gaps between the door and frame consistent throughout?

What Type of Hinge Do I Have?

The next step is to identify what type of door hinge you have. There are three types of hinges used on uPVC doors:

  1. Flag hinges: Most modern uPVC doors are equipped with flag hinges that allow you to make height, lateral, and compression adjustments. Compression adjustments move the door closer to or away from the door jamb.
  2. T-hinges: These hinges only allow you to make height and lateral adjustments.
  3. Butt hinges: Usually a feature of older uPVC doors, these offer either lateral adjustment only or no adjustments at all. If you have a butt hinge and need to adjust the height, you may need to reinstall your door.

Three common types of uPVC hinges.
Three common types of uPVC hinges.

Be Careful Not to Void Your Warranty

Check the warranty agreement for your door installation before attempting to do your own adjustments. Some manufacturers may not cover self-adjustments and may charge for repair or replacement services.

How to Adjust uPVC Door Hinges

Tools You Will Need

  • Allen wrenches (hex keys)
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Philips head screwdriver

Flag Hinge:

This hinge has three different adjustments.

  1. Height: The height adjuster on flag hinges is on the bottom and may or may not be covered by a plastic plug. You’ll need an Allen wrench for this. The typical size is 5 mm, although this can vary depending on the manufacturer.
  2. Lateral: The lateral adjuster can be hidden behind a plastic cover (the “flag”) or behind a small plug on the side farthest from the door frame. The plastic cover is usually held on by one or two Philips screws on the inside of the hinge—visible when you open the door. Remove the screws carefully to release the cover, and look for the Allen bolt on the side. Turning it clockwise will move the door towards the hinge, while turning it counterclockwise will move it away from the door hinge.
  3. Compression: The compression adjuster is located at the top of the hinge under a plastic plug. Carefully pop the plug out using a flat head screwdriver to reveal the Allen bolt underneath. Tightening this bolt brings the door closer to the door frame, creating a tighter seal.

If your door is too low or too high (consistently along the width of the door), then you probably only need to adjust the height.

If the handle side of your door is too close or too far away from the door frame (consistently along the length of the door), then you probably only need to adjust laterally.

If your door doesn’t close all the way, or you notice a draft even though the height and sides are adjusted properly, then you probably need to adjust the compression.

If your door has dropped and is tilted downward (i.e. the door isn’t level, and the gaps around the door are consistent all the way around), then you need to use all three adjusters. This is common as time goes—helped on by gravity, heat, and humidity. Usually, the door can be squared up again by adjusting the top hinge towards the frame and the bottom hinge away from the frame. The compression is also usually tightened to restore the seal lost through wear.

T-Hinge:

This hinge only has two types of adjustments.

  1. Compression: Adjusters on the top and bottom will move the door closer to or away from the door jamb, tightening or loosening the seal.
  2. Lateral: Like the flag hinge, the lateral adjuster is hidden behind a plastic cover that can be removed in a similar manner.

Butt Hinge:

Some butt hinges are non-adjustable, but there are some that can be adjusted laterally. If you look on the side, you will see a Philips head screw. But before you try to turn this screw, check to see if there is a small grub screw as this locks the hinge in place so the door won’t move. Not all butt hinges have a grub screw, but the door won’t move unless you loosen it.

I Adjusted the Hinges, but My Door Is Still Not Aligned

Note that it may take a few tries to properly adjust all the hinges. If you still cant get your door squared up after a few attempts, you may just need new hinges. Hinges are usually inexpensive and aren’t hard to replace. Most companies will do the replacement for you at a low cost. You should ring at least two companies to compare service prices.

If you’re going to replace the hinges yourself, you will find it’s a lot easier if you leave the door sash on the frame and replace one hinge at the time. This way, your hinges will all line up.

Also make sure the diameter of the screw is the appropriate size for the holes on the hinge. Otherwise, over time, your door sash will sag down, forcing you to adjust or replace them again in the future.

HANGING YOUR ARTWORK

A step-by-step guide to hanging art prints on a masonry or plasterboard wall.

We’ve been in the business of making framed art prints since 1982, so when it comes to hanging them, we know a thing or two. Here’s our step-by-step guide on everything you need to know about how to hang a frame.

What you’ll need:

  • Hammer
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Screwdriver
  • Power drill for masonry walls
  • Spirit level
  • Wall fixing suitable for your wall type (see step 4)

1. Choose the perfect wall position

Unless it’s a very large statement art piece, avoid hanging your framed picture in an empty space. The best position is usually above a piece of furniture or feature, such as a table, sofa or fireplace. Art prints look great at eye level, it’s the reason art galleries and museums display works like this. So hang your artwork approximately 1.4m from the floor to the centre of the art print. If you’re hanging a group of prints, check out our guide to hanging a gallery wall.

TOP TIP! DO NOT HANG YOUR FRAME ON NEWLY PLASTERED OR DECORATED WALLS. MOISTURE MAY BE TRANSFERRED FROM THE WALL TO THE PICTURE AND COULD RUIN THE FRAME. AVOID AREAS OF POTENTIALLY HIGH HUMIDITY, FOR EXAMPLE BATHROOMS.

2. Measure the frame hardware position

Frames can come with a variety of hanging hardware. The most common way to hang a frame is by a hanging cord but some larger frames come with metal hangers. To measure, lay the frame flat and measure the distance between your hanger and the top of the frame. If you have a hanging cord make sure you pull it taut first.

GOOD TO KNOW: KING & MCGAW FRAMED PRINTS UP TO ONE METRE SQUARE COME WITH A HANGING CORD. EXTRA-LARGE ITEMS ARE FITTED WITH ONE OR TWO HANGERS, DEPENDING ON THE FRAME SIZE AND WEIGHT. THE SERRATED HANGER HAS BEEN SPECIALLY DESIGNED SO YOU CAN ADJUST THE FINAL HANGING POSITION BOTH VERTICALLY (BY SLACKENING THE SCREWS) AND HORIZONTALLY.

3. Mark the fixing position on your wall

Next you need to make a mark where the fixings will go, a friend comes in handy here. Hold the frame up to the wall and make a pencil mark at the top corners of your frame.

If your frame has a hanging cord, you need to make a second mark in the middle of the first (see photo above).

Next, transfer your hardware measurements (from the previous step) on to the wall. Measure down from the pencil markings you’ve just made, so you now have the exact spot where your hanging fixing will go.

4. Choose and insert the right fixing for your wall type

Different wall types require different fixings. Knock on the wall or use a stud detector to find out what type of wall you’re dealing with. A hollow sound indicates a stud wall (otherwise known as a drywall) consisting of a wooden, brick or metal frame with plasterboard panels on top. A solid sound suggests your wall is a masonry wall, made from brick, breeze-block, concrete or stone.

Stud Walls

Double headed hanger screw If you’re using a double-headed hanger screw with a stud wall, there’s no need to make a pilot hole first. You can insert your screw using a screwdriver directly into the wall where you’ve made your pencil mark. The double-headed hanger screw is an option for both lightweight and medium weight frames. Alternative fixtures for stud walls

Masonry Walls

Double headed hanger screw & wall plug Whatever masonry wall fixing you use, you’ll need to drill a hole to fit the wallplug you are using. Make the hole using a power drill with a suitably sized masonry drill bit and then push your wall plug in. We like B&Q’s handy guide on fitting a wall plug. Once you have your wall plug flush against the wall, insert your screw all the way in. The double head will be left protruding from which you can hang your print. Alternative fixtures for masonry walls

HOW TO BUILD A FLOATING SHELF

These shelves are handsome, easy to build and inexpensive. And they’re strong even though they have no visible supports. They appear to float on the wall, no clunky hardware or brackets. We made them from only two parts—half of a hollow core door and a 2×4.

Mark the shelf position

Trace the horizontal location for each shelf using a 4-ft. level as your guide. Use a stud finder to mark the locations of the studs and lightly press masking tape over each one. If you don’t have a string line, use a long straightedge and mark the wall with a pencil. Check your marks with the 4-ft. level. 

How to Build Shorter Shelves

Build shorter shelves by cutting the shelf to length. Glue a filler block flush with the end and nail each side with small brad nails.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY floating shelves project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration. 

  • Circular saw
  • Glue
  • Hammer
  • Level
  • Socket/ratchet set
  • Straightedge
  • Stud finder
  • Table saw
  • Tape measure
  • Wood chisel

40-tooth carbide saw blade

Required Materials for this DIY floating shelves Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list. 

  • 1-in. brads
  • 1/4-in. x 3-1/2-in. lag screws
  • 18-in. wide hollow core door
  • 2 x 4 x 8 ft.
  • Masking tape

CHANGING A HEADLIGHT

When driving at night or traveling in inclement weather conditions like fog, snow and rain, you count on your headlights to lead the way. Having two properly functioning headlights is paramount to your safety on the road. Driving with one of your headlights out not only cuts down on your field of view but it reduces your visibility to other drivers.

Don’t put yourself or your passengers in jeopardy by driving with just one headlight. If you have a burned out headlight bulb, the time to take action is now. Grab a Champion headlight bulb, follow the instructions in this installation guide and in no time you’ll have two headlights shining brightly down the highway.

Designed to deliver reliable performance, your vehicle will shine bright when you use Champion headlights. From factory-replacement headlights to HID and premium headlights, you can count on Champion to light the way.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step One

Determining how to access the headlight bulb is easily the most challenging part of the job. While it seems like you should be able to just pop the bulb out, often times you have to remove other parts just to get to the bulb.

On most vehicles, you reach the headlight bulb through the engine compartment. Open the hood and look for the headlight sitting in a bulb holder. Also check your owner’s manual for information on the best way to get to the headlight bulb and what parts you might have to remove to reach it.

Step Two

Assess how to remove the old bulb. On some vehicles, the bulb is secured in the headlight assembly by a wire assembly while other cars have the bulb positioned directed into the headlight assembly. Once you know how the bulb is held in the housing, you’ll know how to remove it.

At this point, you’ll also be able to determine what tools you’ll need to complete the job. Many headlight bulbs can be removed without tools, but some do required the use of a flathead or Phillips screwdriver.

If there are power wires connected to the back of the bulb, remove them. There might also be a dust cover that you need to remove from the back of the headlight. There could also be a clip(s) that holds the bulb in place.

Step Three

Remove the bulb by holding the bulb housing and pulling it out. On some bulbs, you might have to use a twisting motion to remove it. Use a gentle touch when doing this so you don’t risk breaking the bulb.

Step Four

Before installing the new bulb, clean it with an alcohol wipe or by using rubbing alcohol and a lint-free cloth.

Grasping the new bulb by the housing, line it up with the open socket and insert it. Avoid touching the bulb, the oil from your skin can leave a hot spot that may cause it to burn out faster. You may consider wearing gloves to avoid this issue.

Reverse the process you used to remove the old bulb. Attach any wires or clips and replace the dust cover on if necessary. Put the headlight housing back in the frame. Replace any additional parts that you had to remove to gain access to the headlight bulb.

Step Five

Start up your vehicle and turn on the headlights to ensure that the new headlight is working properly. Also take time to check the aim of the headlights. If your lights aren’t aligned correctly, they may not be focused on the road – where you need the light to shine brightly. If they seem to be out of alignment, consult your owner’s manual for tips on correcting it.

HOW TO BUILD A DECK

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A raised timber deck can offer the perfect outdoor space, providing a seemless link between the home and garden and helping to bring the outside in. Whether you just want to relax in the sun, entertain guests or you need an attractive feature to break up a large expanse of lawn, decking could be the answer.

Building a simple timber deck is a reasonably straightforward DIY job. It also tends to be a quicker and more affordable option than investing in hardstanding patio materials, such as flagstones of block paving.

 

This step-by-step guide reveals the stages involved in building a raised timber deck. Many of the skills you’ll learn can also be applied to more complex projects, such as curved decks – but for elaborate designs you may prefer to call in the professionals.

For this step-by-step, we’ve used pre-finished decking boards, which typically won’t need re-treating for at least two years after installation. Before you begin, ensure you plan your deck carefully – ideally the boards plus expansion gaps (usually 5mm) should finish completely flush with the outer facings of the framework.

You will need

  • Decking boards
  • Tanalised timber (100mm x 50mm)
  • Exterior wood screws
  • Weed membrane
  • Concrete blocks
  • Tape measure
  • Square
  • Pencil
  • Spirit level
  • Hammer
  • Jigsaw, hand saw or chop saw
  • Drill driver

Prepare the deck sub frame

Step 1:

Prepare a level, weed-free area for the deck. To create a framework, cut the 100mm x 50mm tanalised timber to the required length, then join using exterior wood screws. Check the frame is square by measuring from corner to corner. Adjust if necessary

Raise the deck frame with timber blocks

Step 2:

To raise the frame, cut four blocks of tanalised timber to the desired height. Screw these to the inside fo the frame at each corner, ensuring they’re flush with the top. Use at least three screws per block, as these legs will be taking all the weight

Check for level with a spirit level

Step 3:

If your deck will be sitting on grass or soil, you’ll need to place blocks or slabs underneath edge leg to spread the load and provide a level, stable base. Position and adjust accordingly, checking the frame is level with your spirit level

Joists are usually positioned at 400mm centres

Step 4:

On a small deck, three joists is sufficient (one in the middle and the others at the centre-point between the edge of the frame and the centre joist). Mark across one side of the frame first, then repeat on the opposite side. On larger decks, set joists at 400mm centres

Tap the joists into place with a hammer

Step 5:

Measure across the inside of the frame at your joist marks, then cut lengths of the tanalised timber to suit. To fix the joists, tap them in with a hammer until flush with the top, then screw them in place from the outside of the frame

Support the joists with tanalised timber legs

Step 6:

Support the joists with additional legs, spaced at 1m intervals. Follow the same method as shown in steps 2 and 3 for these legs, ensuring each is supported by a suitable block or slab

Fix facing board to the frame

Step 7:

For the facing, measure the length of the outer sides of your frame and cut the decking boards to suit. Mark the cutting lines with a square to ensure a straight edge. Countersink the facing and screw to the frame, ensuring the facing is flush with the top

Lay the decking in sequence, starting from one end

Step 8:

To begin laying the deck, measure across the top of the frame and cut a board to length. Place the first board flush with the outside edge of the frame and facing, and perpendicular to the joists. Mark the location of each joist on the board

How to countersink screw holes

Step 9:

Mark and countersink screw holes over the centre of each joist. Be sure to use a sharp countersink that will leave a clean hole. If necessary, drill a pilot hole to prevent splitting. Use at least two screws per joist for each decking board

Leave a 5mm expansion gap between each decking board

Step 10:

You should incorporate a 5mm expansion gap between each board (as timber expands and contracts according to outdoor temperatures). You can user a spacer to do this, such as an off-cut of wood or plastic – or simply drop a spare screw in as shown here

Your completed raised timber deck

Step 11:

Continue the process until you finish your raised timber deck. If you’ve used pre-treated decking boards, they shouldn’t need any further painting or staining

PREPARING WALLS FOR PAINTING

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Wash Down With Sugar Soap

If the walls and ceiling are in a good state and you just want to change the colour or freshen it up, you can just wash them down with a sugar soap and water solution. This will remove any dust and grease, and help the new coat of paint to adhere to the wall. Make sure the walls and ceiling dry out completely before you start painting.

Fill any Cracks in Walls

If there are any cracks in the walls, these should be filled. Cracks often appear over time in corners and around windows, and sometimes between the wall and the skirting, so be sure to check over the whole room carefully. See our Filling Cracks Project for help with this.

Mask up Your Skirting

Get some masking tape or decorators tape, and tape all the way around the skirting so that you don’t splash any paint on it. You can also mask around window and door frames.

Light switches and plug sockets can be masked, or just cleaned off with a sponge once you’ve finished painting.

Sand Down any Lumps and Bumps in Walls and Ceilings

If there are any imperfections, lumps or bumps on the wall or ceiling, you will need to sand it down. If you don’t sand the walls before you start, you will only enhance any imperfections and make it look worse.

If there are lots of rough areas, a mouse sander will make the job much easier and quicker for you.

Make sure you finish with a fine grade paper to create a smooth wall ready for painting. Brush down the wall well after sanding to remove any dust, and rub down with a damp cloth for an even better finish.

How do I Sand Down my Ceiling?

To sand ceilings, you can use a piece of sandpaper attached to a pad on a long handle, or get up close using a step-ladder.

Do I Need to Remove Wallpaper Before Painting?

If the walls are currently papered, unless it’s a plain, smooth paper in good condition, you’ll need to strip it off before you start. See our Wallpaper Stripping Project for help with this.

If you have any problems with mould, damp or condensation in the room you are painting, see our Damp and Mould Project for help.