Ask the Diva

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. Fill out the form below or email us at

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Sent: 08 April 2014 10:04 AM

Painting over enamel paint

Hi there
I would just like to know how do you get that shiny enamel paint on walls off so as to paint with new matte, washable paint.

Hi Christa,
The best way is to sand down the walls with 180-grit sandpaper to remove or de-gloss the shiny finish on the paint. If it is a large wall area you could give a light sanding and then apply Plascon Multi Surface Primer.



Sent: 02 April 2014 10:04 PM

Water leaking through floor from shower above

Hi Janice
We have added a room with a shower upstairs, the shower however is leaking through the floor into the TV room downstairs, through the concrete floor! How do I fix this? I was wondering if I could use some membrane and waterproof roof paint (as one does for sealing a leaking roofs) on top of the current mosaic tiles of the shower floor. I was thinking of then re-tiles over that. Or will it be best to remove the current tiles first? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks for a great website.

Hi Anneline,
If the water is leaking through the mosaic tiles on the shower floor, take a closer look around the edges of the tile to find out where there are gaps, or check that silicone sealant is applied around the bottom of the shower door or other areas where water can escape. There must be a small gap somewhere.

Alternatively, remove the tiles and apply a waterproofing products (plenty available at your local Builders Warehouse) and tile over the top of that.


Thanks Janice!
Some of the grouting between the mosaic tiles did come out. My husband wanted to replace the grouting but I am scared the problem would re-appear, hence my preference for a more permanent/better waterproofing solution. I will pay Builders a visit.


Sent: 02 April 2014 02:12 PM

Cracks keep coming back

Hi Janice
About a year ago we added an en-suite. The existing exterior wall was “Crete stoned” as it was very rough stippled plaster. The “new” walls were all plastered as normal with cement plaster. We now have large vertical cracks in the corners were the two plaster mediums join (or in this case don’t). How can we repair these cracks.

Hi Colleen,
It sounds more like the walls weren’t joined together properly. Normally either bricks are removed every alternate row to allow for the new wall to be ‘tied’ into this. If this isn’t done, the walls remain separate and any movement will cause the walls to split or crack along the join (or lack of).

Without knocking down the new wall, a solution would be to chisel away plaster down to the brick and install a wire mesh over the old and new walls to ‘tie’ the walls together. You need to chip away the plaster on both sections of wall – at least 30cm – to be able to nail the wire mesh to the walls. Once attached you plaster over the top of this.

The only other alternative is to continuously fill in the cracks and live with it, but that’s not really a solution to the problem.



Sent: 02 April 2014 12:24 PM

How to paint rattan and cane

Dear Divas and team
Many years ago I bought a cane/rattan lounge and dining room suite. I would like to paint this now. Please could you advise whether this can be done, the products and the process.

Thank you for all the great advice and ideas on your website.

Hi Bertha,
You can most definitely use Rust-Oleum 2X or Universal spray paint on the cane/rattan furniture. You will find these tips helpful.



Sent: 02 April 2014 12:49 PM

Using Plascon Velvaglo waterbased enamel

Hi Janice,
Thanks so much for a great website!!

Just read the article on the Plascon Velvaglo water-based enamel and I have a question: We have a dark wood dining room set and I really want to paint it white, since our new home we’re finishing building will have white furniture rather than dark. Can I use this paint for the set and can I use a brush without it leaving brush strokes or would it be better to use a spray gun? My husband does have one somewhere in storage!

Hi Janine,
There should be no problem painting the set, as long as you do the prep beforehand. Use a foam roller rather than a paintbrush to avoid brush strokes. If you already have a spray gun, this does leave a much nicer finish if you follow a few tips and because Plascon Velvaglo is now waterbased, it is far easier to clean the spray gun after use.



Sent: 26 March 2014 02:13 PM

Re-enamel inside washing machine tub

Hi Janice,
Your product for refurbishing a tub and tile refers: I need to recoat the inside of my washing machines tub. The existing surface looks like a baked enamel, with some rust patches. The new coating needs to be temperature resistant to about 80 deg C, and chemical resistant. The tub metal is thin, approx. 0.5mm thick and will have bearing on the performance of the coating. Any ideas and cost implications? Your supplier may have solved this problem and have some advice to give.

Hi John,
I have been waiting for technical confirmation from Rust-Oleum regarding your query. They do not recommend using Tub & Tile in this situation. You are correct that a baked enamel or powder coated finish is applied to the drum, and the only way to refinish is to remove the drum and have it re-coated.



Cooper Family
Sent: 28 March 2014 09:47 AM

Painting window frames and burglar bars

Hi there,
We are wanting to paint our window frames and burglar bars. We are limited to colours (body corporate). Is it best to paint with enamel and make the window frames and burglar bars the same colour or could we use brown enamel for the window frames and maybe use the Duram hammered look for the bars? We are thinking of painting the security gates in the hammered but there is quite a difference in the enamel brown and the hammered brown…..don’t know what to do…..

Hi Cooper family,
Rust-Oleum offer a range of Universal spray products in solid, metallic or hammered finish. The hammered finish is ideal if you need to hide small imperfections, which are the norm on window frames and burglar bars.

Use newspaper and masking tape to cover the areas not to be painted. I personally think that painting the frames and burglar bars the same colour works best. Burglar bars are a fact of life, but if they are the same colour as the frame they aren’t as visible.



Sent: 30 March 2014 01:49 PM

Why can't I sand Rhinolite or Cretestone?

Thanks for your article on the use of Rhinolite and CreteStone. Our builder has finished work and left me with two problems:

1. There are some minor bumps in the finish of the cretestone (or Rhinolite - I don't know which was used over the cement plastered walls) which I would like to sand down, reseal and repaint ( or chip out and fill with pollyfilla). However your article says " Under no circumstances should CreteStone be sanded. " Why do you say this? What will happen if I sand it?
2. I have a problem that the outer edge of the cretestone around the door way chips off easily. What should I do to treat this? Should I chip off the whole edge (90 degree corner) and re-plaster the edge with normal cement plaster?

Hi Haco,
Both Rhinolite and Cretestone are finishing plasters that are formulated specifically for application onto dry wall or ceilings. As a finishing plaster, only thin coats of both are applied and then finished by floating with a trowel for a smooth finish.

Rhinolite can be lightly sanded to remove small imperfections. ( )

Cretestone is a finishing plaster that is floated with a steel trowel after application. This gives is a sheen finish, which is why it cannot be sanded.( )

I would recommend that you view the links above and download the technical data sheet for both products. This will advise of what can and cannot be done.



Sent: 26 March 2014 09:30 PM

Making my own cement pavers

I have a square paver mould that I bought to make my own pavers. What is the best cement/ concrete mix to use. I bought the premix from builders but it's too grainy and doesn't give a nice smooth finish

Hi Jo,
The best mix to use is 1 part cement – 4 parts sand. I also like to add a bit of gravel to the bottom – just under the level of the mix – as this makes extra strong pavers.



Sent: 24 March 2014 10:36 PM

How to remove tile adhesive from wall

My fiancé and I have just started renovating our first house! Our builder is having problems removing the current tile glue from the wall and their perseverance is even causing plaster to come the wall in the adjacent room (is this uncommon?). He has now suggested we rhinolite directly over the existing tiles (the tiles have been painted) instead of removing them first. I have done some Googling and my findings suggest this is not a good idea. What would you recommend?

Hi Karen,
I have personally experienced times when tiles adhesive simply refuses to be removed, but a less aggressive approach can be used. Rather than use a hammer and cold chisel let them try using a paint scraper instead. Butch force isn’t always the answer and can cause damage to other walls, but by placing a paint scraper along the edge of the hard adhesive you can have success. If that fails then plastering would be an alternative. However, I would not plaster over tiles and definitely not painted tiles.

You don’t mention if this is in a bathroom, but if it is, Rhinolite absorbs moisture and is not recommended for areas with any humidity. It is considered more of a finishing plaster and a conventional plaster mix is required for bathrooms.


Hi Janice
Hanks so much for getting back to me. In response to your question – yes this is for a bathroom. Can’t believe our builder hasn’t recommended not using rhinolite in that area! Luckily they haven’t started yet so we can ask them to change their course of action. Can you use rhinolite in kitchens?

Hi Karen,

You will find some tips and links for Rhinolite in this article:


Sent: 24 March 2014 06:47 AM

Can Pratley putty be used on braai?

Can pratley putty be used to seal a stainless steel spit braai on the in side so that the joints dont leak? And if so, which one?

Hi Jacques,
I'm not sure whether a steel epoxy putty would be able to take the constant high heat. Having someone do stainless steel welding for you would be the recommended solution. You would need to consult online classifieds or do a Google search to find someone in your area.



Sent: 23 March 2014 04:02 PM

Painting over mosaic tiles

I am working on a project and the client is on a limited budget. There is one wall in her dining area which is clad with mosaic tiles. Not the prettiest, so I would like to give it a paint finish. Can you recommend what options I can use? My aim is to allow the grid of the tiles to show through ( similar to when a brick wall is painted) and to use a translucent kind of paint that will give it a nice effect. Am open to suggestions too.

Hi Sonali,
Before any painting takes place you need to clean and prime the tiles. Plascon has Melamine and tile primer. After primer, you could use a product such as Plascon Pearl to give it a shimmering pearl effect.



Sent: 19 March 2014 10:38 PM

Painting fabric

Hi there
Absolutely love your sight and so much inspiration. Thank you!

Would just like to enquire whether one can paint fabric with Plascon Sure Coat Matt Acrylic or Plascon Velvaglo waterbased enamel? Which one would be best? You featured an article where you painted patterns on scatter cushions using Rust-Oleum matt. However I am unable to obtain this product as non of our paint shops stock it in Phalaborwa and the nearest Builders is in Polokwane, which is 200km away.

Hi Ashleigh,
Although you can paint fabric with almost any matt paint, when using paint other than spray paint I normally recommend that you water down the paint to make it easier to use. If you don’t, the paint fabric will be very stiff and may even peel off. Have a piece of fabric to use for testing so that you get the right mix of paint and water.



Sent: 20 March 2014 07:11 AM

Paint colours used in projects

Hi there Janice
Thanks again for some tips - always enjoy the ideas. Tell me, in the easy painted panel headboard, what colours were used? These two colours (or similar) are used in my guest bathroom. If you do know, please do let me know.

Hi Fyrne,
The colours used in this projects are never true when shown on a computer screen or mobile. My suggestion is always that you pop into your local paint store and select colour swatches that best match your existing bathroom decor. That way, you are guaranteed a perfect colour match.



Sent: 14 March 2014 01:21 PM

Upholster headboard with padded squares

Good day, Janice
I need your advice. I attended a DIY Divas upholstered headboard workshop about two years ago. I’d like to do another headboard on my own. The idea I have is small square blocks upholstered and mounted to create a large headboard. Is there a way to create that effect without cutting square blocks and covering them separately and then individually screw the blocks to the back board of the headboard.

Hi Anneline,
I don’t know of any other way to replicate the square panel headboard design, and I have looked at various other options without success. You could use a staple gun to attach the fabric to the back of the individual panels and then use No More Nails to attach to a backing board.



Sent: 17 March 2014 07:48 AM

Cover chipboard with wallpaper?

Hi, I just discovered your site and I'm in love LOL. You have such great tips making dreams look possible now. I am a struggling single parent and I would like to start my 1st diy project. Making a headboard for my teenage daughter. Can I use chipboard or should I use hard board? Will normal wallpaper sold @ mr Price stick to wood? Please advise. I simply cannot afford to waste money.

Hi Alexis,
So glad you like the website.

Definitely use chipboard for the headboard. Masonite is far too thin. If you want to stick wallpaper to wood use a PVA glue rather than wallpaper glue. Squeeze onto the wood and spread out evenly before applying the wallpaper.



Sent: 16 March 2014 08:52 PM

Rejuvenation and maintenance of natural stone tiles

I need help on how to clean and maintain the natural stone tiles in my bathroom. Over time the surface of these tiles have had grime build up and have become dull. What can I use to remove this dirt that everyday cleaning doesn't remove? After removing the grime, what can I use to restore the glossy, shinny look? I have searched for solutions on Google but most of the suggested products are not stocked in South Africa. Your help will be highly appreciated.

Hi Ophelia,
You need to use a product specifically designed for natural stone tiles. See the entire range of TFC products at These products are available on the shelf at your local Builders Warehouse and other hardware stores. In the TFC range you will find cleaners and sealers.



Sent: 11 March 2014 01:48 PM

DIY issues with a slab ceiling in kitchen

Thank you to your wonderful, easy-to-understand and an informative website. I always visit the site for some DIY ideas.

My question is: My wife and I have a double storey house with a concrete slab ceiling. Our kitchen is on the ground floor and has a centre island with a stove.
1. How do I install a stove hood onto the slab?
2. I need to add more ceiling lighting in my kitchen, how do I do that on a slab ceiling

Hi Richard,
I also have a slab above my kitchen and it is impossible to drill through, especially since the slabs are normally reinforced with steel bar. When installing an extractor hood you will need to take the ventilation piping to an outside wall to vent without drilling into the slab ceiling. You could cover the piping with aluminium sheet. Alternatively, if you are also installing additional lighting you might consider adding a false ceiling that allows a minimum of space to run electrical cables and venting for the extractor fan.



Sent: 11 March 2014 08:51 AM

Orbital sander hire to restore parquet floor

Hello Janice
I found your DIY article on restoring parquet online and was wanting to know where I may be able to hire an orbital floor sander in Cape Town. I previously restored parquet flooring in our lounge - the only floor sanders for hire were drum sanders and I was forced to use one of these machines. The problem is that this (industrial) machine was large, bulky and cumbersome to use. In addition it kicked up a lot of dust even with the dust bag fitted and the brown dust, fine as talcum powder, settled in virtually every room in the house.

Hi Julian,
Unfortunately most of the floor sanders you can hire these days are of the industrial type. The only problem with these machines – and the drum-type – is that they do remove a lot of wood and create a big mess. The solution would be to cover doorways with plastic drop cloths taped around the edges, to prevent dust from spreading everywhere.



Sent: 08 March 2014 12:49 AM

Cutting into bed base for storage

Is there a way of cutting the base of base set to create storage space. I have single base beds so I need to know if I cut open the base and create drawers, will the base not collapse? Could you suggest someone who can help as I am not very handy?

Hi Dolly,
Since most bed bases are simply pine frames covered with cardboard and fabric, you can install storage drawers in this normally wasted space:

If you don't have the skills I would suggest you employ a handyman or someone who has carpentry skills.



Sent: 07 March 2014 07:17 AM

Change mounting on light fittings

Hi Janice
I am doing African contemporary décor with purple accents…so I want the lighting to be very modern – but still stylish and classy. And since lighting options aren’t that affordable anymore I need something that is classic and will not bore me easily. I would like to do the following. The lights are available but the ceiling mounts are larger than in the picture – and it looks silly with four large ceiling mounts. I love the ball look – and think it would work fantastic on the stair case and in the dining room? The primary problem is the stairs.. I still have to get lights – and don’t want to buy anything until I have settled on a mounting design.

Hi Leanna,
Depending on how the existing ceiling mounts are fitted, and if they can be removed, you could look at taking these off and replacing with mounts that you will find on cheaper fittings, or loose at your local Builders Warehouse. I would suggest that you pop into your local store and take a stroll down the lighting section. You might have a ‘lightbulb’ moment when you see what’s available!



Sent: 05 March 2014 08:49 AM

Paint old chair with metallic effect

Hi Janice
I would like to paint an old chair with the metallic effect. After using my Rust-Oleum primer and Satin Granite, what paint must i use to mix the scumble glaze with? A water based paint or not. My husband is most concered about putting a water based product over the sprayp aint.

Hi Sharon,
Your husband is correct to a degree – in most cases you can’t put a water-based paint over oil-based. However, Rust-Oleum are latex paints, which means they are rubber-based. If you give the finish a light sanding with 180-grit sandpaper beforehand, it prepares it for painting. [ ]

You can spray with Rust-Oleum Universal pure gold and then sand back to reveal the satin granite beneath, or you can use Plascon Metallic gold paint and do the same. The Plascon paint is more transparent and not as bold as the Rust-Oleum.



Sent: 03 March 2014 10:12 PM

Can I paint vinyl floor tiles

Good Day Janice,
Can I paint over these tiles?

Hi Pumla,

We never recommend painting over any type of floor tiles. It really is a waste of money. The paint rubs off with foot traffic. The image you sent looks like vinyl tiles – you could consider ripping these out and putting new tiles in.



Sent: 02 March 2014 05:15 PM

Chalkboard wedding menu

Hi Janice
Wanted to find out this chalk board paint, can it be used for chalkboard writing? I would like to use it for my weddingbut cant find a decent recipe.

Hi Rochelle
You can definitely use the chalkboard paint recipe for wedding boards for your wedding. Use black acrylic matt paint to mix. It doesn’t come out as black as Rust-Oleum chalkboard spray paint, but close enough and you will be able to write on it.



Sent: 26 February 2014 12:14 PM

Problem with horizontal cracks

I have a horizontal crack about 15cm long before it turns into the door frame, rises another 15cm going to the top of the frame. This is the second time in about 3 - 3.5 years. The first time we removed the old plastering, fitted building netting over the brick work then re-plastered. One person said we need to drill into the flooring test for dampness, another said that this type of product would bind the crack permanently. Would this secure the wall from sagging? The house is almost 20 years old.

Hi Chris,
Have you noticed any subsidence or cracks in the floor/foundation. A horizontal crack normally is an indication of movement in the ground.

Hi Janice
When we bought the house 10 years ago we did notice that the kitchen floor had quite a roll to it. There had been some movement before we bought but it has not worsened at all in the 10 years we have had the house. The thickness of this crack is the width of a match stick but NOT the head of the match. It was a structural engineer who wanted me to drill in the bathroom floor to about a meter or so deep to test the ground. He did a test in 3 areas of our garden and was quite satisfied with the firmness of the soil.

Hi Chris,
If it’s not the floor – is there any movement in the door frame itself? Something has to be rocking the walls to cause a crack to keep repeating. If you originally chased out to the source of the crack and then filled this in it shouldn’t keep coming back, especially if you added the net as well.

You shouldn’t have any sagging in the wall after 20 years, unless there has been ground movement, or rising damp – both of which you say are not the problem.

Has any signs of damp been seen in the walls, as this could cause the mortar layer to deteriorate?

Hi Janice
I do remember having to readjust the shower door frame last year. There is a 19cm space between the top of the shower door and the top of the door frame and I now remember the guy who adjusted the frame said the wall had sagged. On remembering this, what would you suggest? Will the FT FLEXTEC 101 hold the wall from sagging again or do we need to drill into the ground and check for wetness? What would you suggest. Thank you so much for taking this time to advise me.

Hi Chris,
I would recommend that you get in touch with the guys at They have some excellent products that are normally used in construction, and that you can buy at a hardware store, and they can also give you advice at the same time.



Sent: Tuesday 25 February 2014 6:09 PM

Advice on an awkward space

Hi Janice - attached some pics of my awkward room. It does look a bit like a tornado hit; I have just moved the dining room furniture back into the room. I have tried the table in various ways, not sure if the blue wingback should go... would really appreciate help.

PS. What do you think if the heart-shaped mirror that I mosaiced with buttons? :)

Hi El,
It’s actually a nice big space that you have to work with, and I think it’s perfect for a dining nook.

I think you can ditch the wingback [it looks out of place] and perhaps turn the table lengthways, so it looks like it belongs in the space. Hang your artwork so that it sits centrally on the wall in line with the table. That will help create more of an ‘area’.

Have you thought about painting the table to match the console table? It wouldn’t be so obvious if you did and would match the space. Although, having said that, you do have quite a bit of wood/rattan in the room already. Or, add a white centrepiece that brightens up the table.

Love the mosaic mirror!



Sent: 24 February 2014 04:36 PM

Help with designing kitchen

Hi Janice
My kitchen is currently as per the pic below, which I feel is outdated. I think the cupboards are superwood/melawood. Can one paint over this? Could you suggest any ideas for colour to revamp the kitchen. The rest of the house is painted in “Husks of Wheat” by Plascon, which is a warm-grey / greyish-cream!

Hi Rose,
Depending on the style that you prefer there are quite a few options to consider in our Kitchen Craft section for updating or revamping kitchen cabinets. See article here for more details.

For painting the cabinets, I wasn’t able to find ‘husks of wheat’ on the Plascon Inspired Colour System, but I would suggest that you:

1. Look at colours from the same swatch card or,

2. Use complementary or adjacent colours if you want to add a splash of bold colour

Once you find the swatch code for the colour used in your home, enter this into the Plascon Colour System to see the colour options.

Scrub the cabinets clean and then sand with 180-grit sandpaper to de-gloss the finish. Paint with Plascon Velvaglo with a paintbrush and foam roller, or use one of the Rust-Oleum colours in Protective Enamel Spray. You will find both products at your local Builders Warehouse.



Sent: 24 February 2014 07:12 AM

How to freshen dirty grout

The grout in between my white tile on bathroom wall has turned a brownish color. I tried bleach & a tooth brush & didn't work. Any ideas?

Hi Gail,
Dirt has probably already stained the grout, which is why the bleach and toothbrush won't work. You could try using a Plascon Grout Pen over the grout lines. The pen contains a paint formula that soaks into the surface of the grout to brighten.



Sent: 22 February 2014 09:18 AM

Replace pan seat on toilet

I have a closed couple toiled installed in a very narrow place and a seal that started to leak where the pan connects to the outlet(main drain. My problem is that one cannot access the seal in any way but to break out the toilet. Question:Is there any substance i can use from the inside of the toilet to stop the leak before i break out the toilet. Please assist.

Hi Johannes,
Must be honest, I don’t know of any product on the market that can be used from the inside of the toilet, and this isn’t any way that you can get past the bend even if there was a product. What a pity that you have to rip out a toilet just because the pan seal has failed.



Sent: 15 February 2014 03:32 PM

Painting built-in cupboards

Hi Janice,
Thank you very much for all your awesome and handy tips, tricks and advise on all levels! I have a query regarding a previous post - 'Alison Tuesday, 30 October 2012 12:33 AM Painting built in cupboards' - In the article you mention that one can paint laminate furniture with 'Plascon water-based enamel paint for kitchens and bathrooms' - Do I need to apply a primer first before I can use that or can I apply directly onto laminate?

Hi Annette,
When painting laminate or melamine I do normally recommend that you scrub clean and de-gloss first. This is done by lightly sanding the surface with 180-grit sandpaper.



Sent: 13 February 2014 02:46 PM

Fix hole in roof

Hi Janice
Compliments of the season and all the very best to you and the Home Dzine team with all the projects and DIY ideas for 2014. I love all the projects. I would like to remove a freestanding fireplace in my home, how would I close the hole where the chimney is - the roof is asbestos - the hole in the roof (from the top of the roof) that measures about 30cmx30cm? Highly appreciate your advice and thank you for an awesome website and the talented people who create such fantastic things. Congratulations to you Janice for creating this fantastic website.

Hi Wilfred,
What about cutting a piece of shutterply to fit in the space and then applying tar paper over the top? Not sure if you can buy tar paper at Builders, but if you can you can apply this with a blowtorch. Alternatively, patching up with membrane tape and waterproofing paint, but not sure about the efficacy of this method.



Sent: 10 February 2014 05:31 PM

Safe to use pallets indoors?

Is it really safe to use pallet furniture indoors.

Hi Thabo,

As long as the wood is rot and woodworm free and has been exposed to air for a while, there's no reason why you can't use pallet wood indoors. I always recommend that wood be treated with Plascon Wood Cleaner before use.



Sent: 09 February 2014 10:53 AM

Repair cane chair

I have a can chair which needs repairing. I have tried all over to obtain the can which I would like to use to rewrap an area around the bottom of the chair and cannot find a supplier who will sell me some other than in 50KG. Do have any idea who would be able to supply to me with this as I would like to repair the chair myself and not send it to someone else as I enjoy DIY challenges.

Hi Yvonne,
I’m not sure if there is a spelling mistake here and that you actually mean cane to wrap around the bottom of the chair? If it is cane you are referring to, unfortunately this is imported and that is probably why the supplier will only sell in bulk. I not sure what to recommend as an alternative. If the chair is being used indoors, you could look at using hemp or coir twine/rope instead.



Sent: 06 February 2014 09:35 AM

Shower door has turned opaque

How can I revamp a shower - the glass has gone off colour.

Hi Yolanda,
I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'glass has gone off colour' since glass is clear. Do you perhaps mean that the glass has got a milky-white film over the surface. If so, this is hard water and mineral deposits from the water that build up over time, and you should be able to clean this off.

Fill a spray bottle with white spirit vinegar and start spraying at the top of the shower door, letting it drip to the bottom. Work your way down to the bottom. Repeat this every 5 minutes or so, and you will find that the vinegar breaks down the hard water stain and you can use a kitchen sponge scourer to clean off.



Sent: 06 February 2014 01:17 PM

Dress of plain gold mirror frame

I have a large gold framed mirror that I want to refurbish. I have bought a pewter kit but the frame is plain and I would like to add some detail to it. I was thinking of maybe sticking polystyrene moulding on to the frame, please help with some ideas.

Hi Magalie,
You can stick polystyrene moulding to the frame, but can then only use acrylic paints on the polystyrene, unless you use extruded (hard) polystyrene. I would suggest that you rather look at the variety of pine and supawood mouldings and trim that you will find at your local Builders Warehouse. These can be painted with any paint, including a pewter kit.



Sent: 06 February 2014 10:03 AM

Advice on choosing paint colour

Hi Janice,
Firstly thank you for this great site.

I have a big paint dilemma - I have a open plan area that is my lounge, dining room and kitchen (it's a duplex). My walls are painted in a yellow/mustard colour which I can't look at anymore. I am trying to find a nice earthy colour such as brown, but all the samples I bring home (and you don't want to see all my samples.....i can start my own paint shop:-)......have a pinkish undertone or it turns out to look to grey or like a purple colour. I see so many shops and houses with the brown warm earthy paint on their walls, but I really battle finding this. Will the brown colour make my space look bigger?

My house is all open plan. My colour scheme at the moment is red and orange and browns, but I am slowly trying to change it too more earthy colours.

Advice on choosing paint colour

Hi Lizelle,
Thanks for getting in touch, and thank you!

Choosing paint colour is always tricky and even though you take paint swatches home to try them out, making the right decision is not easy.

First off, I wouldn’t recommend a brown colour for the walls. Your furniture and accessories are already dark and adding a dark colour would make the space feel very cramped and claustrophobic. It would be better to lighten up and give the illusion of a larger, brighter space – one that you can live in and enjoy.

Advice on choosing paint colour

Although the colour in the images you sent through is not true, in the one image that you sent the colour that shows on the staircase – and how it display on the screen here – would be the perfect colour. I can match this to Plascon Pale Linen [Y1-C2-3]. It is a pale creamy mushroom colour that would blend perfectly with all your existing home accessories and let your artwork stand out.



Sent: 05 February 2014 01:52 PM

Stains on leather couches

My name is Eleanore and I have a big problem with my couches, I bought new genuine leather red brown couches last year. I thought that it was the best in terms of low maintenance and that we could just wipe it clean, but to my surprise the chairs are leaving marks if certain things falls on it. I do not have a TV room, so we use our living room for both tv and relaxing. I bought leather cleaner, but it only works if I clean up immediately, which is not possible with kids in the house.

Hi Eleanore,
Some leather is treated with a protective finish during manufacture, and some isn’t. Since leather is a natural material it does absorb spills and, unlike upholstered fabric which can be treated with a stain-prevention formula, this can’t be done on leather.

There are leather products on the market that can aid in the reduction of stains: and to assist in keeping a leather couch clean, and Saddle Soap does offer a fair amount of protection.



Sent: 03 February 2014 08:11 PM

Painting supawood / MDF furniture

Dear DIY Divas
We are trying to start a business which involves kids furniture, we are trying to paint on MDF wood but we are struggling quite a bit with the rollers and the finish. I wanted to find out if you have a workshop on painting wood or if you can recommend someone that can help us. We are based in Gauteng.

Hi Tanya,
First off, when painting supawood always add water to the first coat to make it slightly - not too - runny. You want a small amount of absorption, so that the wood sucks up the paint but still leaves some on top for bonding to the next coat of undiluted paint.

You also need to do some sanding between coats. I normally apply two coats and then sand with 240-grit sandpaper before applying another two coats. The top coat is also sanded with 1000-grit sandpaper before I apply sealer or antique wax, depending on the finish you want. Wetting the 1000-grit sandpaper and lightly rubbing in a circular motion also gives an ultra-smooth finish.

Hope that helps.



Sent: 31 January 2014 03:09 PM

Concrete floors and Coolcrete article

Dear Janice
I read your article on Coolcrete stain for conrete floors. We are busy making plans / investigating options to convert the floors in our open plan living room area and kitchen to cement. We lifted all the tiles (as they were cracking and the majority made that dreadful hollow sound when tapping them) and also removed the carpet in the living room.

Our initial product of choice was Stone Cote (a cementitious overlay system of ± 3 mm), however, when the contractor came to site he indicated that the screed/topping is unstable and of poor quality. We completely agree, as the existing cement screed is almost crumbling and has a lot of places where it also makes the hollow sound. Shocking the quality (or the lack thereof) in townhouses in complexes. They just build for quantity and not quality. His suggestion was that the existing topping be removed, and a new cement topping be installed and wood floated, which would allow him to install his overlay. Due to a limited budget, we informed him that we will not be able to install a new topping, AND have him install the overlay. He responded by saying that he will work on a new quote based on a dry-shake (type of colour hardener) which can be floated into the wet screed once poured. Unfortunately we have been waiting for the amended quote since last Friday.

In the mean time, I have done quite a lot of reading, trying to find ways to 'decorate / finish' a new cement screed/topping to produce a floor. Along came your article on Coolcrete (by TFC) and when I saw the photo in the article, I thought that floor that would fit like a glove with our existing decor and the plans we have to redo the boring townhouse kitchen. Could you please confirm what colour of Coolcrete was used to produce this floor? And with which of the TFC sealer products it was sealed?

Hi Pieter,
Have looked at the image and this is a Coolcrete stain that has been applied over a floated, untreated concrete floor. The colour is very subtle and has been enhanced by an application of sealer over the top. If you visit you will be able to see the various colours options, as well as the full range of products available for use on concrete.



Sent: 31 January 2014 07:42 AM

Countertop finishing options

Hi Janice
Your website is such a wealth of inspiration and education. Thank you!

At present I am tiling a whole wall in ‘shattered mirrors’ – I have a tiny kitchen (a corridor actually!) and I have tried so hard to visualise how to replace the existing standard white tile splashback with something more dramatic. The problem is the wall does not have an even surface so no matter which tiles I choose and no matter how well I tile, the result will not be perfect unless I have the wall re-plastered. Then I saw a shattered tile splashback on the Internet and I had the answer – the’ tile mosaic’ hides all imperfections and is most definitely wow! I haven’t finished yet – I keep a bag of mirror pieces and a tube of No-More Nails on the counter top and whenever I have a spare moment, I add a few more pieces – I will send you the finished result. I am doing the whole wall – floor to ceiling so it may take a couple more months. ( If you recommend this project to your readers, please insist on the safety factor when breaking the mirrors – gloves, safety googles and break the mirror inside a very thick cloth)

I am really writing to ask if you know where I may find Rust-Oleum Countertop Renovation kit – I have approached Boman but they say they have discontinued the line. If I cannot find the Rust-Oleum kit, can one paint and seal the countertop? Can one decoupage a countertop – is there some kind of resin finish one can apply to make it durable?

Secondly, it is my birthday next week and I am giving myself (and my daughter whose birthday is the following week – we share resources) a Dremel multi-purpose craft tool. May I ask which one you would recommend? Should I go big straight away or should I be more modest and add-on?

Thanks so much for your fabulous ideas and help – really appreciated.

Hi Shirley,
Thank you!

Your shattered mirror backsplash sounds like a great idea and I would love to share the project with readers. I know my backsplash is uneven – the whole wall in fact – and I am looking at a mosaic option as well... when I finally find the time!

The Rust-Oleum Countertop was discontinued for a while, as it worked out more expensive than actually replacing countertops if you used Formica LifeSeal tops. However, they might be re-launching the product here in SA and I will definitely be posting details on if they do.

I have tried various ways and means to cover a countertop, from decoupage to mosaic. The latter worked out beautifully but decoupage was a disaster. The problem is finding the right product to seal the top. I tried polyurethane and 2-part liquid glass, but the liquid glass works out far too expensive. Having tried both however, I am now going to be replacing my countertops with new Formica LifeSeal countertops, since new ones only cost between R500 to R800 per 3.6 metre length at your local Builders Warehouse.

As for the Dremel, if you want to use the tool to its fullest (eg. Engraving on glass) go for the Dremel 4000 as it has high speed essential for engraving glass. The newest model is the Dremel 4200 with EZ-click system, but the kit doesn’t include the extension, which I find extremely handy when doing detailed work.



Sent: 29 January 2014 02:22 PM

Concrete or tiles on patio?

I am looking for advice. I currently have a small patio area thats only 3 x 3 metres. We recently removed our old dingy umbrella and installed a lovely patio roof that makes the area look so much bigger. The bricks that we currently have there are outdated and they gather lots of dirt and I'm looking for a more modern and sleek look but wanna do it as money friendly as possible.

I was thinking about simply laying concrete in this area beacuse it will be much easier to keep clean. Is it possible to paint over any type of concrete? What cement could you reccomend and what paint will not leave marks easily if I paint the concrete?

I was also looking into possibly laying wood grain finish tiles? Any suggestions or advice will be much appreciated, you have such amazing taste - I know any advice from you will help.

Hi Anna,
Adding the patio roof will make such a difference to the amount of use you will get out of your patio.

If you are looking to lay down cement it might be a far better option to add pigments (different colours available) to colour the cement, rather than paint it. That way you don’t have to worry about damaging the paint finish by moving chairs in and out. It also works out far less expensive than having to re-paint every year or so.

You can buy pigment powder for cement at your local Builders Warehouse.

For wood grain tiles, you can get in touch with your local Tile Africa.



Sent: 29 January 2014 08:54 AM

Rejuvenate plastic and ceramic pots

Do you know any way to rejuvenate old plastic and ceramic plant pots and make them look presentable again? I have lots of really big pots that I can’t afford to replace but as they are outdoor plants the sun tends to make them look very tatty. I tried to repaint them, but the paint peels off the plastic pots and I get brush strokes on the ceramic ones and they just look so dull. I love crafts and projects around the house – not that I am any good at them!

Hi Terri,

Rust-Oleum spray paint !!

The stuff is amazing and nothing like yesterday’s spray paint. Give the plastic pots a light sanding with 240-grit sandpaper before you spray. You will find the full range at your local Builders Warehouse.



Sent: 28 January 2014 12:50 PM

My floor tiles are very dull

Dear Janice,
I have ceramic floor tiles - can I paint these as they are fading and dull. If not, what products do I need to buy for stripping and re-sealing my floor tiles?

Hi Denise,
Unfortunately you can’t paint floor tiles, as the paint simply wears off. However, you can use an epoxy paint on ceramic tiles, but it is extremely expensive and time-consuming to apply, not to mention that it only comes in limited colour options. You will find quite an extensive range of TFC products at any Builders Warehouse. Just tell them you want to strip and reseal ceramic tiles.



Sent: 27 January 2014 03:28 PM


Hi Janice
I have subscribed a while back and always collect your online magazines and keep for future reference. I recently lost all the data on my hard drive and since gone back to your website and saved all the issues again. I am so happy that I can have these with me again. Also, we should be getting our first home soon and I am so excited because now I will have a chance to try some of the projects that I was unable to create before. Thank you so much for an awesome newsletter and a wonderful website.

Hi Pearl,
Thank you ever so much for getting in touch. When I receive emails like this it makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Although I have stopped publishing the magazine, I now make every effort to add even more content onto, so that readers can stop by whenever they feel like it.



Sent: 25 January 2014 09:11 PM

Fibreboard ceiling plaster falling off

Hi there,
I have recently used contractors to fix a ceiling to my patio, they used fibreboard and used plaster to smooth the ceiling out and then painted it white. The snag is in a few weeks it have large cracks in the finish to the extent I have chunks of plaster falling down. They claim they used a bonding agent and blame the heat from the patio roof. The patio is approx 23 squares. What has gone wrong and what can I expect as a remedy?

Hi Dylan,
I can't see why heat would have any effect. It bonding liquid was used and the plaster cement mixed right heat has nothing to do with it. My first thought is that the boards are not supported enough and you are getting movement, which would definitely cause the plaster to crack to the degree that big chunks fall off.

I have a cement fibre board ceiling applied underneath an IBR roof, and there isn't a crack in sight.



Sent: 23 January 2014 11:14 PM

Repaint and makeover old fridge

I have an old Fuchsware Fridge (weighs almost 1 ton....) - jut kidding. The fridge is 45 years old and still in a good condition and working perfectly. I want to have it "re-sprayed" to give it the new 'tero look'. Is there somebody in Pretoria you can refer me to for this job. I inherited it and I want to use it as a centrepiece in our new living/bar area.

Hi Teresa,
If you use Rust-Oleum appliance spray, there’s no reason why this can’t be a quick and easy project for you to do yourself (and save some money!)



Sent: 22 January 2014 01:25 PM

Decorating a boring mobile office

Hi Janice,
I work in an aluminium exterior, wood panel interior, mobile office. The walls inside are as said wood panels, and are VERY boring and uninspiring. The finish is very smooth, almost like laminate flooring. What can i do in order to paint them?

Hi Shaun,
If the finish is very smooth as you say, you will need to sand then down with 180-grit sandpaper to de-gloss the finish. Once that’s done you can paint with a quality acrylic, such as Plascon Wall & All in your choice of colour.

Rather than painting, what about hanging colourful art? Much cheaper and easier to do!



Sent: 20 January 2014 04:57 PM

Resealing glazing in wooden cottage pane windows

Please can you advise what product is best and how do you go about resealing cottage pane windows and doors that are in urgent need of maintenance? What sealant would you recommend for basic treatment of all wood? Your assistance in this regard would be much appreciated.

Hi Sandy,
Most wooden windows have a small strip that is inserted to hold the glass in place. If this has deteriorated or broken away, you can use an exterior sealer (similar to silicone) and apply this around the edge of the glass: This product comes in different tints that can be matched to the wood frame.



Sent: 07 January 2014 02:12 PM

Wood dining table advice

I was reading through your website and thought I might get a expert opinion on what to do to my dining room table before I mess it up for good. I recently made myself a dining room table from Oregon Pine. At the moment the wood is still in raw form. We are scared to use it at the moment because we are afraid of stains/marks that it can get. I wood like some protective layer on it and would like your opinion on what I should use. Also, I am not so fond of the orange/pinkish/yellow color that the wood has at the moment. Is it possible to get it more browner/darker?

Hi Carl,
My compliments on the work you have done on the table. It looks amazing.

Firstly, you can use a variety of Woodoc gel stains to change the colour of the table. Plascon Woodcare offers several products in matt, satin or gloss finish for interior and exterior wood. Because it’s a dining table and needs to be able to handle heat from time to time, Plascon Woodcare Ultra will be the best choice.

If you get the chance, please send me pics of the finished table. Would love to share with readers.


After countless hours of research I decided to go with Danish oil. The "golden/yellow" shine of the table came out a bit more than I would have liked. But with so many options and advice I suppose you will never know if you made the correct choice. Please see attached picture. This is with one coat of Danish oil. I still need to apply another two. I guess no matter what product I chose the natural yellow color of the wood would have came out either way. Let me know what you think.


Danish Oil is always a nice choice, but do bear in mind that the table will need regular applications to protect from spillage and heat. I would definitely apply more coats, so that the oil is absorbed into the cells of the wood. You know when you have applied enough when the surface stays wet for longer than 5 minutes.

If you still want to try to tone down the yellow colour, wait a month or two until the oil has had time to degrade and then try a gel stain. Antique oak should balance out the yellow.



Sent: 05 January 2014 02:11 PM

Dresser makeover with Rust-Oleum

Hi Janice
I recently gave a very old dresser a face lift and enclose herewith the before and after photos. I really enjoyed the hard slog and it took me about 4 weekends to strip off all the old varnish, wax etc. Used Rust-0leum heirloom white spray paint to finish.

Hi Loraine,
What a wonderful transformation. The piece now looks so bright.



Sent: 05 January 2014 12:44 AM

How to drill straight hole

Good day,
I want to install a new sleeper wood door . The carpenter who made the door for me did not install any hinges. I now want to install a pivot hinge in the door but I am scared to drill into the door with a hand drill without the proper control to keep it level. Is there perhaps some jig or drill guide that you are aware of that I can use? I could not find any jigs from our Mica / Builders Warehouse to assist me with the task.

Hi Duan,
You don't mention where you are located, but try What you need is a drill press, but I only know of ones that are used on a benchtop.

A quick tip you can try is to attach a small spirit level to the top of the drill with Prestik. You find the small ones at Builders Warehouse.


Thank you so much for the rapid reply Janice!

Thank you for the website as well. I am situated in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng. I agree that a drill press would have worked best if it was able to 'mount' it to the door. I will try the spirit level idea it might be slightly demanding but it will work thank you. I saw a very nice tool on internet that would have worked perfectly but I cannot find it anywhere (see attached picture). My Dremel has a similar attachment but obviously it cannot take the size bits required for the hardware.

Love the website, brilliant- keep it up!



Sent: 04 January 2014 01:31 AM

Fix up scratched interior door

I have a couple of doors that my EX-roommate's puppy scratched and tore up the face of the white door. I was looking for something I could overlay to cover the damage. The door is a white bathroom door that I am concerned about mainly. The other is a storage room door.

Hi Stephen,
The cost of a new door is only around R300 at your local Builders Warehouse. But if you are looking for just a fix up I have previously used wood filler to fill up scratches. Apply a thin layer of wood filler and let this dry before sanding smooth. Plascon have launched a new product – one coat - that you can use to paint over the door once done.



Sent: 03 January 2014 09:26 PM

Using damask stencil

Hi Janice,
Thanks once again for your awesome site!

I'm a seriously NEW beginner in DIY, I've got the imagination but not the hands :-). I want to create a homely living area and a really romantic bedroom space. I love the Damask design in metallic paint for my bedroom,but unsure what colour paint will suit the wall paint. Can I please send u my living room wall and bedroom wall,for u to have a look and advise if possible?

Hi Michelle,
Please DO send through pics for me to take a look at.

The damask design is lovely once done, and there's also the option to do it with a satin basecoat and the stencil design in a clear gloss, which also looks stunning.

For the peach wall I would go with a slightly lighter or darker shade of the same colour, or a pale colour such as Plascon O4-A2-1- Nursery Rhyme. The burnt orange wall with a black stencil and black frames sounds like a good idea.



Sent: 03 January 2014 11:16 AM

Share projects on Home-Dzine

You have the most amazing site on the internet. I visit your site daily, and steal most of your ideas. In fact, I recently made the tufted headboard using the peg board. Will send you pics.

Hi Dawn,
Always love to hear from someone who enjoys visiting the website.

Please DO send through pics of your projects – I wish more people would share. It’s nice to see the projects that other people do.



Sent: 02 January 2014 05:50 PM

Paint varnished brick

Good day thanks for useful tips on painting brick wall.

1. I have bought a house that has had the exterior face brick painted with varnish which is in good condition and not flaking but I desperately need to change the look. My concern is the bonding ability of paint onto varnished brick - any suggestions on preparation and type of paint to use?

2. A similar interior brick wall possess the same problem but I would like to get a whitewash look on this surface, again concerns about paint bonding onto varnished surface. Your help will be appreciated

Hi Carrie,
When painting over varnish (both interior and exterior) the normal procedure is to sand the surface to de-gloss, or remove the shine so that the new layer of paint has something to bond onto. However, you are talking about painting a large area of exterior wall, which is going to involve far more work and sanding isn’t really an option. There are primers/undercoats that you could apply to the wall before painting, but there’s no guarantee that the process will work 100% and it will also be costly to apply primer and then paint.

My suggestion would be to look consider a small area as a test area where you can try various options to see which works best. Cleaning with a high-pressure spray is recommended as an alternative to sanding, but you have to be extremely careful not to damage mortar joints. After spraying, apply Plascon Multi Surface Primer before painting over with Plascon Wall & All or Micatex.





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