There’s a huge amount of pleasure to be had from doing it yourself. Indeed psychologists have found that some of the best remedies for depression include exercise and productive work, well, you certainly get that when you get involved in some DIY! I think it probably has something to do with our primate ancestors building themselves a new nest every night, we like to improve our environment to suit ourselves and like to see a job well done by our own hands.
If you’re new to Doing It Yourself the thought of tackling power tools, timber or plumbing can be a little daunting. Indeed, I have heard people actually say that: “it’s not possible to bleed your own radiators, you have to get a professional in to do anything like that.” I think I bled my first radiator when I was about ten and I still don’t have a certificate. Perhaps DIY’s more about common sense.
So, if you’re new to DIY what are the quickest, easiest and most important jobs that you should know how to do to avoid calling out a professional unless it’s actually necessary.
Lets start with bleeding a radiator!
You’ll know when your radiators need bleeding at this time of year as your central heating comes on. You’ll find that the top of your radiator remains cold while the bottom gets to the required heat. At the top of one end of the radiator you’ll find a nipple or nut, with a spanner or pliers turn the nut or nipple gently anti-clockwise. You’ll hear the air hiss out and when the water reaches the top a little will dribble out. When that happens immediately close the nut again. You should perform this operation while the heating is off and with a bowl or bucket under the nut as the water is generally filthy and can stain.
If the bottom of the radiator is cold there is an entirely different problem: Sludge. As the system ages it will gradually become filled with metal oxides from the inside of plumbing and minerals from the water, especially in hard water areas. In these cases a professional may be necessary as cleaning sludge will require either removing the radiator from the wall and sluicing it out or cleaning the entire system with a pressure flush. The first option can be extremely messy if done wrong and moving large heavy objects such as radiators into the bathroom or garden can be dangerous if you’re not used to handling them.
Another job every-one should know how to do is re-hang a shelf or door.
Overloading shelves and swinging on doors can eventually lead to them falling off the wall or sticking in their frames. As soon as a problem starts to appear you should deal with it. And here’s how. If you have a shelf that is coming away from the wall remove everything from it and take the shelf down. Remove the loose Rawlplugs and vacuum the holes to remove any unstable cement or fragments of masonry. Once that’s done fill the holes with good quality filler and leave to dry. Once dry drill out the holes and re-inset new Rawlplugs hammering them in gently. If they’re tight re-drill with the next bit size up, if loose use a larger plug and screw, don’t re-fill and drill out again.
Re-hanging a door is a similar process, after time, particularly in new builds, the top hinges can start to come away from the door frame. To fix this unscrew the hinges from the frame and fill the holes with wood glue. If the damage is so bad that the wood has started to split it could need a joiner to come and re-fit the frame but try fixing it yourself first by filling any gaps with wood filler or a product like No More Nails. Once the filler is dry position the door so that the hinge plate fits into the original rebate and replace the screws. Standing the door on a wedge or even just a box of matches will keep the space at the bottom of the door, meaning that the door will hang properly.
Replacing a broken ceramic tile.
Replacing a broken tile was never going to be an easy job but it’s more a question of making sure you perform every step properly than the overall job being hard. If the tile is on the outside of the tiled area simply use a chisel and hammer to remove the tile and all the grouting that held it down. It’s essential that ALL of the tile and grout are removed and there is no rubbish left where the new tile is going to be placed as even the smallest fleck of rubbish will stop the tile sitting properly meaning it will come loose or break again straight away. If you have to cut the tile make sure you have a good supply so that you can practice getting it wrong.
Take your time re-grouting and make sure it’s even and that you’ve got the right product. The adhesive which stops your kitchen floor tiles might not be the right product for your kitchen tiles and almost definitely not right for your bathroom tiling needs.
Use battens or even matches to ensure that your tile is evenly spaced when you set it in situ and if you notice a mistake fix it immediately, grout and adhesives, like time and tide wait for no-one.
If the broken tile is surrounded by good tiles the job is a little trickier. Personally, and every DIYer will tell you a different trick, I would use a ball peen hammer to GENTLY break the broken tile down into much smaller pieces. Once that’s done use a sharp chisel to go around the edges of the gout to get the tile loose. Again make sure all detritus is gone before applying new adhesive and then carry on as above.
@DanCash is a DIYer of varying degrees of skill, however, any job is much easier with the right tools in your hand. That generally means Draper for brushes, Stanley for knives and screw drivers and Hitachi power tools. There are some real deals out there and now Christmas is approaching, maybe it’s time to scribble out a list that the whole household could benefit from!