A recent poll by Ipsos Mori has shown that a fifth of people (19%) have started decorating their home, or are doing more, since the start of the Coronavirus-induced lockdown. The month of May is bookended by bank holiday weekends and with this comes a pair of opportunities to tackle those burning DIY projects that you’ve been meaning to get round to. So, whether you need a project to keep you preoccupied during the lockdown, or feel that your home could do with a Spring spruce-up, try our suggestions for DIY tasks.
They see me rollin’: Paint a room
A fresh coat of paint will give a (relatively) instant lift to any room, whether it be refreshing worn out walls, or bringing a new colour to the mix. Before you get the rollers out there is some preparatory work to do. Ensure any holes are filled and walls are sanded and washed down, the extra effort will be worth it for a cleaner finish. Protect the floor and any furniture you can't move from paint splatters and spills with plastic or fabric sheeting. Remove light-switch covers, and tape off any areas you don't want to be painted e.g. window frames, with blue painter's masking tape or green Frog Tape.
When you’re ready to get painting, use an angled brush or a sponge tool to paint a two-inch strip around the edges of woodwork and the ceiling (which should be taped off). Then fill in the central unpainted space using a paint tray and a roller in overlapping W- or M-shaped strokes for the best paint distribution. Have a moist rag to hand to mop up any fresh paint splatters as you go. If the thought of dealing with the prepping and painting and inevitable cleaning up is too much, a local painter and decorator will be able to lend a hand.
Tip - the right paint for the job: Finding your perfect colour is just the beginning as it’s important to ensure you are applying the right type of paint for your project. From specialist emulsions to hardwearing matt paints, Good Housekeeping has a handy guide for choosing the correct paint.
Tile and (no) error: Clean and re-grout your bathroom
Limescale, grime and mould building up over time will make any bathroom look tired. If using a bit of elbow grease and the tried and tested mix of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar doesn’t do the trick, replacing the grout in between your tiles can give your oasis of calm a whole new lease of life. Firstly, to remove the hardened old grout from the seams between tiles use either a manual grout rake or an electric oscillating tool. Then, mix up some new grout and apply it to the tile with a grout float and clean it up with a sponge. Once the grout is dry, you wipe away its hazy residue from the tiles. An anti-mould grout-reviving pen is a handy tool to use on small areas and they come in different colours to match the original colour of your grout.
Tip – why not re-grout your entire bathroom: Take advantage of the time available and redo the grouting entirely rather than the areas worst affected by grime. Ensure you purchase a product that will help prevent staining and mould growth in the future, so your bathroom looks fresh for longer. B&Q have produced an easy to follow video guide to ensure re-grouting your bathroom is free from error. Alternatively, a local tiler will be able to do the job in a fraction of the time.
Save the chills (and bills): Draught-proof your home
With the days becoming sunnier and warmer draught-proofing your home may not be top of your list, but it can certainly help ease the early morning and evening chills and you’ll be glad you made the effort now when winter comes. Not only that, the Energy Saving Trust says that draught-proofing around windows and doors could cut your heating bills by £20 per year.
Which? have produced a detailed guide on draught-proofing your home, and we have outlined some options below depending on where your draught is coming from. If you live in an older building with single glazing you may find you could do with the help of a local professional as this can be more difficult to treat.
- Sash windows: help fill gaps around windows with sealants and metallic or plastic brush strips.
- External doors: fit a weather bar or door brush strip, or use a draught excluder.
- Letterboxes: draught excluders or plates cover the opening without stopping your post getting through.
- Keyhole cover: prevents draughts, and slides to the side when you insert your key.
- Loft hatch: foam strips around the edge of the hatch can block draughts.
- Chimneys and fireplaces: you could fit a chimney draught excluder if you don’t use the fireplace.
Tip – sourcing draughts: You can find a draught by feeling for them - dampen the back of your hand and hold it close to a socket outlet, window sash, or skirting board etc., if it feels cold then there is very likely a draught. Other simple methods of finding draughts include using a candle flame or puffing with talcum powder.
Dry this at home: Deal with damp
So, it’s not the most thrilling task to be getting on with, but no doubt it will be satisfying when it’s done and it will certainly save you money in the long run by avoiding letting a situation worsen beyond repair. There are a few types of damp - condensation, rising damp, or penetrating damp - and you first need to consider which you have so you can tackle the problem effectively. Our previous article Where to find damp in your home and what to do about it outlines the different forms and how to treat it.
Tip – a helping hand: A dehumidifier will be a useful tool against the problems caused by a dank environment. TheTelegraph has compiled a list of the best.
Now is a great time to finally tackle those DIY projects you have been putting off! Whether you want to discuss your options with a local professional, or take on the challenges yourself, make the most of the upcoming long weekends so you can get your house in order and enjoy the sunny seasons ahead!