If you have a query relating to home improvement, home maintenance, home DIY or decorating a home then this is the place! Send your queries to our DIY Diva and we will answer them as best we can. If we don’t know - we’ll find out for you. Submit your question and we'll post and answer. In this way we can build up a comprehensive library of information that everyone will be able to access.
Sent: 19 January 2015 02:46 PM
Finding a reputable electrician / plumber
I really at my wits end trying to find and honest, competent and reasonably priced plumber and electrician. It seems that because I am a woman who lives alone they think they can pull the wool over my eyes. Do you have both a plumber and an electrician that you can recommend please?
I have previously used a service: http://plumberselectricians.co.za for both a plumber and electrician. This service has access to various plumbers and electricians that they call upon, depending on your location. The problem is that you will most probably not use the same ones that I do, as mine are dedicated to the Honeydew area.
I know how difficult it is to acquire a reputable contractor and that’s one of the reasons I established www.DIY-Divas.co.za. No two contractors will give the same quote and may even offer up a different explanation for the problem. It’s unfortunate but does happen. You are under no obligation to use their services and they offer a free quotation, so perhaps let two contractors call and offer advice and decide which seems the most honest and trustworth.
Sent: 19 January 2015 11:53 AM
I’m looking for the supplier details for the recycled glass counter tops, I am interested in the product and cannot seem to find one in Gauteng for a quote or pricing.
If you refer to the article you will find links and a list of suppliers for glass countertops in South Africa. http://www.home-dzine.co.za/kitchen/kitchen-new-tops.htm
I’m not aware of a particular supplier in Gauteng, but you could contact any glass supplier for information on their products that could be used for countertops.
Sent: 13 January 2015 06:23 PM
How to waterproof driveway
What is the best product that one can use
apply to seal/waterproof a flat concrete roof.
The roof is also our driveway and there is a
flat below, so the product needs to be durable.
I don't mind if I need to reapply the product
every couple of years.
We have tried the whole torch on membrane story but the leak has persisted. Someone also suggested we get a black mat (as used in dams) to place over our driveway, which currently has concrete pavers as a surface. Any idea where one can get this?
The best method is the bitumen coating (membrane and torch method), but if you have already tried this without success, my recommendation would be to get in touch with a reputable waterproofing contractor and let them assess the situation. Even if you don’t ask them to go ahead with the work, at least you know what they recommend and can proceed from there.
Sent: 12 January 2015 09:05 AM
Stains on travertine tiles
We are in the process of building a house. During the December holidays, painters were on site and spilled cooking oil on unsealed travertine tiles. We only found out about the spill this weekend. Please advise how one gets the oil stain off the travertine tiles.
You are going to find it very difficult to remove the oil from unsealed natural stone. You will find a range of TFC (Tile & Floor Care) products at your local Builders store that offer the best method of cleaning, stripping and sealing natural stone. Ask for advice on a TFC product that will break down grease and remove as much of the oil as possible before you apply a suitable sealer.
Sent: 11 January 2015 08:32 AM
Paint oregon pine furniture
I have varnished oregon pine bedroom which I would like to either paint or wax to give it a rustic or French look.
If you plan to apply paint to the floor you will need to de-gloss the finish by sanding with 180-grit sandpaper. There is no need to remove all the varnish, but you do need to remove the gloss before you can apply paint. For a waxed or whitewashed floor you need to remove all the varnish to get down to the wood. Do this by sanding with 80-, then 120-, and finally with 240-grit sandpaper.
You will also find helpful tips here: http://www.home-dzine.co.za/decorating/00DECORATE-index.html
Sent: 08 January 2015 10:45 AM
Best paint to use for project
I have two Imbuia Milkmaid stools which I would like to repaint a matt black - should I sand them down or use a paint remover to remove the old varnish. What paint will give me a good matt black finish, and must it have an undercoat.
It isn't necessary to remove the varnish if you give it a good sanding down with 120- and then 240-grit sandpaper to de-gloss the finish. I recommend Plascon SureCoat Matt Acrylic for the project and it is available in black.
Sent: 07 January 2015 08:08 PM
Contractor to cover tiled floor
I'm wondering if you could recommend a reputable contractor to replace or cover our existing tiled floors with polished cement/ screed?
I don’t know of anyone offhand, but I would recommend that obtain three quotations and make sure that they have references that can be followed up, preferably for work done over a period of a least a year. There are plenty of fly-by-night contractors who claim to do a good job, but the only way to truly find out is to ask someone who has had work done.
Sent: 07 January 2015 04:50 PM
How to lay self-levelling screed
Hope I am not troubling you. I came across your site when looking for Self – levelling cement screed flooring which I found very imformative. We are tossing and turning between doing this ourselves or getting a contractor. Do you have any idea where we can buy the products required in Durban? And is this something we can hope to do ourselves without making a mess of it?
Must be honest, I have received a lot of queries from homeowners who have attempted this as a DIY project, only for it to go wrong. There are too many variables involved to guarantee success and it would be my recommendation that you let a reputable contractor do the job.
Sent: 05 January 2015 04:47 PM
Help with yellowwood table
I have a yellowood table which is full of stains etc. I would like to restore the top and seal it so that it does not stain. Please help with a procedure I can follow. It will be my first piece of woodwork .
You don't mention if the table has been previously oiled, varnished or waxed. The first step would be to use fine steel wood and mineral turpentine to clean the table. This alone might remove quite a bit of the damage. If there are still stains after this process you will need to sand with 120- and then 240-grit sandpaper.
For a dining table the best product to use is a polyurethane varnish, as this is able to resist a reasonable amount of heat as well. Plascon have an excellent range of Woodcare products for interior wood.
Sent: 01 December 2014 07:12 PM
Advice on settling dispute
Please could you assist in settling a dispute. If a builder has not specified in his contract or any additional documentation that he will fit any new soap holders, toothbrush holders, shower shelves, soap dishes, toilet roll holders and bath towel rails; is he expected to do this as part of the contract.
We have renovated two bathrooms for a client (the 2nd one is almost complete) where we had to remove all the old ceramic soap dish holders; ceramic toilet roll holders ; towel rails and shower roses, but did not include in our contract that we would either supply or fit any new fittings relating to these items (except we would fit the new shower roses and arms that client should choose). My client in the meantime has purchased new soap dish holders, toothbrush holders; towel rail holders and shower cubicle shelving and is expecting us to fit all of these and absorb these into our costs.
In my opinion, and that of many of my building colleagues, this is a decorating item, and does not form a part of the contract unless specifically mentioned in writing in the contract or any addendum thereto. We are not talking a huge amount of money, but we have gone the extra mile here by supplying the same client with many other fixtures and fittings, and repairs that we have not charged for, and we now feel we are being abused.
Could you please provide me with your feedback, as I would like to respond to the client as soon as possible with another take on the matter.
This is a catch-22 scenario: you did not specify in the contract that these smaller items would be fitted, but because these are part of the final design the client expected that they would be fitted. Both parties are right and wrong at the same time and it is going to be very difficult to sort out unless one party gives in.
You mention that the fitting of bathroom accessories was not specified as part of the contract, but does the contract cover the renovation or improvement of the bathroom, in which case small items like these would automatically be covered.
While I can side with you if you have already gone out of your way to satisfy the client, would it not be a quick and easy solution just to drill a few holes and mount the accessories. Better to have a very satisfied client and a good reference.
Sent: 29 November 2014 01:58 PM
Fitting parquet flooring blocks
I have just fitted wooden blocks on my floor. What can I use to seal the gaps in between them and on the edges before I sand them?
Hi Professor Arosi,
When fitting blocks for flooring there should be no gaps between the blocks. The only gaps should be around the perimeter of the room, with spacers fitting to allow for expansion and contraction of the wood, and which can be covered up with skirtings.
Gaps between the blocks can be filled with an acrylic sealer in a matching colour, but this is definitely not an ideal solution.
Sent: 03 January 2015 12:21 PM
Can I use MelaWood for countertop?
I found the perfect colour for my kitchen worktop but it
is melawood. The colour is Etimo. Can I use melawood for a
worktop? This colour does not appear to be available in any
other material. Is there anything you can suggest?
I used Etimo for my kitchen cabinets. You could have problems using melawood for the countertop. The material used to laminate the doors is nowhere near as thick and tough as the Formica laminate used for countertops.
There are other options:
Melawood is manufactured by PG Bison, but Sonae Novobord also have an excellent range: http://www.sonae.co.za
Sent: 02 January 2015 03:21 PM
DIY outdoor patio set
I came across your website in December and immediately my husband and I started planning when we could make your DIY dining or patio set. I thought I would send you a photo of our end result. We made slight changes to suit our patio and we are so happy with it. We are busy browsing your website to find our next project.
Thank you so much for sharing your project, which, by the way is amazing. I do so love it when readers share their projects and hope that you will share any future projects as well, perhaps even with step-by-step how you did it. Good luck with the next one!
Sent: 02 January 2015 02:17 PM
DIY removing carpets
I have full floor carpets throughout my home (old & dirty!). I discovered when I lifted one corner that there is wooden parquet floors underneath. I need to rip out the carpets and restore the wooden floors. What can I use to remove the carpets without damaging the floors and clean them?
What a surprise to find parquet floors underneath your old carpets. These floors have become valuable and sought-after if they are restored to their original beauty.
If it was easy to lift up a corner you should be able to remove the carpet in the same way. You might have to remove skirtings if you find it difficult to lift up, and will also find carpet strips (metal strips with nails) that are nailed to the floor to hold the carpet in place. Where you encounter these carefully prise out the nails and try and fix the holes in the blocks underneath with a tinted wood filler that you can buy at your local Builders.
If the underfelt sticks to the blocks you can use a spray bottle filled with water to lightly dampen to make pulling the felt away from the blocks easier, without wetting the blocks too much. If the underfelt was glued to the floor you can buy Genkem glue remover at your Builders as well.
Sent: 02 January 2015 2014 04:37 PM
Advice on painting kitchen floor
I would like to find out how to paint my kitchen floor. The floor was originally tiled, then a screed was laid and then painted with a product specially made for floors, Fired Earth Trendy Floors and on top of that Bonding Liquid. But what a flop.The floor is cracking badly and the paint start to come off 2 days afterwards. We will have to remove the paint and screed and start again.
Sounds like you had quite a bit of fun with the floor!
Floors are always a problem and a tiled floor even more so. Painting a tiled floor is definitely not a permanent option, unless you look at using an epoxy paint product such as that used on factory floors. The only problem with this is the limited colour choices.
If you have already gone to all this trouble, would it not be better to rip out the tiles and put down new tiles to match your style and décor. There are so many gorgeous tiles now available with the introduction of inket-printed tile designs that resemble wood floor, whitewashed wood, etc.