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 February 2015 09:31 AM
Repair chipped screed floor
I have white screeded floors that are now looking horrific as it is chipping and leaving grey patches. How can I rectify?
You may need to consider having a new screed applied over the existing floor if it is badly chipped, as any repairs you do will be visible. Alternative, use a product such as Polycell Rockset and cover this with an epoxy paint. If the screed floor was steel floated (leaving a polished finish) you may need to apply a concrete etch to the floor before doing any repairs. Did you have someone do the floor for you?
Sent: 22 February 2015 09:47 AM
Laminate on cabinets coming off
The wrap on my kitchen cupboards is coming off. It is very stiff and difficult to glue on. Any tips on how to do this?
The laminate has probably become stiff and brittle with age. You can try using a hairdryer or heat gun to soften the laminate and then use 5-minute epoxy glue to secure back in place. A spring clamp or quick clamp will come in handy to hold the laminate in place until the glue cures hard.
Sent: 20 February 2015 10:45 AM
Modernise a dated dining room suite
We would like to modernise it in some way if possible. I am relocating and will be living in an apartment. The apartment is quite modern, but the dining room could be a little dark. I thought of doing the table and chairs in a white?. Possible duco finish. I was advised not to as it would compromise the integrity of the Imbuia. What do you think.
Duco would definitely destroy the wood underneath. This type of paint blocks the surface and the wood dries out and becomes very brittle. If you invested in a Bosch PFS spray system you could apply an acrylic PVA paint that would not do as much damage and look just as good. I prefer to use a matt paint and then apply 3 to 4 coats of clear acrylic sealer over the top to protect. You will need to sand down with 80-grit (if varnished) or rub with mineral turpentine and fine steel wool (if oiled or polished). After this, sand again with 120-grit and then smooth with 240-grit. Wipe clean before painting.
Sent: 13 February 2015 08:26 AM
Epoxy resin for wood floor?
I am about to lay a pine wood floor and and wanting to protect it as it is a soft wood. Is there an epoxy resin out there that is recommended for this?
I I haven’t come across an epoxy sealer for floors but there are polyurethane varnishes that are specifically for use on wood floors, and you will find a fairly comprehensive range at your local Builders Warehouse. Pine is a softwood and you will need to take precautions to protect the finish. Put felt or rubber pads on legs or feet of furniture and ban heeled shoes!
Sent: 11 February 2015 09:07 AM
Permanent mouldy spot
I need a solution to improve/repair damp mouldy slasto that does not receive full sun for most of the day.
Not sure what you can do if there is damp in this area. Perhaps a regular scrubbing with warm water and household bleach will help to keep the mould under control. The only permanent solution would be to find the cause of the damp that is causing the mould.
Sent: 10 February 2015 12:36 PM
Connect a Generator to house circuit
How to connect a portable generator to the home distribution board so that I can switch between generator and Eskom power.
Only a qualified electrician can perform the necessary wiring to link a generator to your home electrical supply. This information is not available for public use.
Sent: 09 February 2015 09:43 PM
Standard length for curtains
What is the standard drop for curtains i.e. how far off the floor must I fit the curtain track?
The standard curtain length is 218cm, but you can also buy extra length curtains at many home décor stores. If you are mounting a new curtain track the height is determined by several factors:
- How high is the window from the floor
- What style of curtains will be hung, as this will also affect the height
- Does the room need longer drops to visually increase the height of a room
- What type of curtain track will be installed
More often than not it is better to mount the track with these considerations in mind and then have curtains custom made, or make your own, to fit the room.
Sent: 10 February 2015 07:52 AM
Liquid glass has yellowed
Hi there, I was wondering if you could give me some advice. I have painted a lamp table with pva and I also decoupaged a serviette onto the top which is a tapestry of a rose. My daughter suggested I get a piece of glass for the table but I had some liquid glass which I thought would work okay. I poured the resin onto the table and it worked out fine, with a couple of bubbles but nothing awful. I noticed around the edge of the serviette which I modge podged a few times before, the resin is slightly yellow. Is it possible to sand off the resin around the edge. I don't have power tools so I will have to hand sand it.
It could be that there was a reaction between the ModPodge (acrylic) and liquid glass (epoxy) that caused the yellowing around the edge. I think you might find it very difficult to sand away only a part of the liquid glass, and you will always notice the difference even if you do manage to sand it away. Send through a pic and let me see if I can offer any alternatives.
Sent: 08 February 2015 03:20 PM
Paint self-levelling concrete
DDo you know how we can actually dye or paint self-levelling concrete. http://www.home-dzine.co.za/kitchen/kitchen-screed.htm#
Thanks..love the blog by the way!
You can buy concrete stain for self-levelling concrete that hasn't been steel floated. If the concrete has been floated a concrete or epoxy paint would be the better option, and of the two the epoxy paint would be the most durable.
Sent: 06 February 2015 09:00 AM
Water run off against kitchen wall
My kitchen wall is situated at the bottom of a fairly steep slope and water run-off is very bad during heavy rainfall. There is also a gutter downpipe outside this same kitchen wall. I have installed a water tank under the downpipe to limit some of the water build-up. I have also installed a drain to limit water build-up. Both, I suppose, are helping to a very small degree, but I still get water seeping through the exterior kitchen wall (under my dishwasher), and the water also seems to be going under the house and coming up under other kitchen cupboards along an interior wall as well. I have googled this extensively and don't know what else to do. Could you advise?
It sounds like you are having a hard time with controlling water build up, and have definitely already put in place some practical solutions. You don't mention whether or not the area at the base of the wall has a concrete apron, as this would also help speed up water runoff and prevent the ground from soaking up water. If the water is gaining access through the walls you need to make sure that the ground is lower than the damp proof course (DPC) that is laid on top of the foundation. If the ground is higher than the DPC this could be why it is getting inside the kitchen walls. Probably going to be a difficult project, but you need to lower the level of the soil and lay a concrete apron at least a metre wide, that slopes away from the wall and directs soil away from the building.
Sent: 02 February 2015 01:42 PM
Paint quarry floor tiles
I have quarry tiles on my floors and they are badly discoloured with some staining. Is it possible to paint them and, if so, what should I use? Because I want to hide the discolouration I need a product that is not see-through.
Painting any floor tile is generally not recommended, but quarry tiles even more so. Paint does not last on floors and any painting done will be temporary. If you are desperate you could try using a paint designed for cement paving, but there is no guarantee that it will last.
Sent: 02 February 2015 09:10 AM
Replacement lid for toilet cistern
I hope you can help, I am looking for a lid for the cistern of my toilet, my little one knocked mine off and I have been told everywhere that you have to buy a complete toilet set - they do not sell the tops separate. Is this something that I can get from you? If not do you have suggestions as to where I can go?
I have to agree that you are going to find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to buy a cistern lid. You could try getting in touch with the manufacturer if the toilet has a brand name.
Sent: 31 January 2015 12:34 PM
How to fix worn table top
I have a wooden table which has started to wear badly, down to the unprotected wood due to being in the sun and rain for a prolonged period of time. Do I need to sand it all down to the raw wood before treating it and sealing it or just give it a general sanding all over. I will need to restain it and seal it as the colour is patchy all over as it has worn.
You mention that the table has worn down to the wood, but you don’t mention what the table has on top. If it is varnish or laminate it is best to sand down to the wood and then apply exterior sealer (Woodoc) directly onto the wood surface. Three coats are applied according to the instructions and this will provide protection from the elements. Start with 80-grit sandpaper, the change to 120-grit to even out and finish with 240-grit to smooth the surface.
Sent: 01 February 2015 02:06 PM
Vinyl on glass sliding door
I have an aluminium framed patio door between my study and another room, which I don't know what to do with. The other room is an extension of the kitchen/work room. I'm thinking of moving my fridge into this room - close to the kitchen. The fridge will have to stand in front of the solid part of the sliding door. It won't be a problem in this room, but on the study side the back of the fridge will be directly in front of my desk. I have good lighting in the study and if I leave the sliding part of the door open, there will be enough ventilation, so I'm thinking of covering the solid part of the patio window with something funky. I have some rolls of vinyl wallpaperand was wondering if I could paste this onto the window on both sides. It would look really cool, because the colours would fit in with the colour scheme in both rooms. Can it be done?
If you plan of sticking wallpaper onto glass you will need to use a product such as spray adhesive to attach, as wallpaper paste will soon peel off. Alternatively, you could spray one side of the glass with Rust-Oleum Frosted Glass or Mirror Effect to block out the fridge. Another alternative would be to use self-adhesive vinyl in a frosted glass or similar finish - www.gordons.co.za - to cover the glass and hide the back of the fridge.
Sent: 01 February 2015 08:58 PM
Revamp of TV Unit, Advice and Products
I have bought a new Tv Unit and my old tv unit fits like a dream with the new one, only problem is, the new TV unit is Wenge of colour and my old one is a very light wood brown, it has laminated paper on. Must I paint it wenge colour to fit with the new unit or must I get laminated paper in Wenge colour? Please advice on what to do and where I can get tge right products from to do this?
Not sure if you are going to find laminated paper in Wenge, and it might be difficult to match the colour unless you spray it a solid colour. Rust-Oleum have a selection of 2X colours and you might find that satin espresso or walnut will be the closest. The other alternative would be to buy Formica laminate in Wenge and cut and glue this to the cabinet, but this is not easy to do unless you have done it before. You can ask at your local Timbercity if they sell Wenge or can order for you and some stores also cut to size. But you will need to take exact measurements.
Sent: 30 January 2015 11:21 AM
Spray paint has sticky finish
What can I use on supawood that wont stick and pull off the paint or varnish if it's placed on another painted supawood item. For instance if make placemats, I usually decoupage the front and'paint the back with acrylic paint and either a waterbased glazecoat or a water based varnish. At times when stacked on top of each other these boards stick to each other pull the paint off. What am I doing wrong? Also what varnish can I use on top of the modpodge that will seal the placemat and wipe easily with a damp cloth.
From experience I have found that after painting, say a day or two later, I use furniture polish or Mr Min and wipe the painting finish. This tends to reduce that tackiness that you sometimes get with gloss paints and varnishes. For the sealer coat, if you apply 3 to 4 coats of ModPodge there shouldn’t be any need to apply any other type of sealer if you only want to wipe clean.
Sent: 28 January 2015 08:08 PM
Empty my pool and save the water
I need to empty my pool to repaint and repair tiles. I need save the water , what do I do please give advice.
The question should be… where can I store the water emptied from the pool. You are going to need a very large storage container to hold the water while you repair the pool, so while the idea to save the water is a good one you need a place to store it, and this probably isn’t a possibility.
Sent: 28 January 2015 01:05 PM
Crack in bathroom basin
The basin in my bathroom has a hairline crack from one end to the other. Water leaks through so it is useless. Would you perhaps know of a way that will fix the problem. I will really appreciate any advice or assistance.
You can buy Alcolin AquaMend epoxy putty at your local Builders. This should at least offer a temporary solution – it has lasted 4 year so far in my pool – to fix the problem.
Sent: 25 January 2015 08:20 PM
How to mount shower panel to bath
I purchased a single bath screen from Game - instructions are clear, however, please to advise on the following: 1) how far from the edge of the bath must the screen be; 2) must the bottom of aluminium channel - which is same length as glass panel - be fitted right to bottom touching the bath or must extra space be allowed i.e. aluminum channel slightly raised off bath to allow for fitting of plastic/rubber seal strip which gets pushed onto down edge of door - to stop water coming out between bath and bottom of screen - after installation.
To answer your queries as follows: Mount the frame in the centre of the bath surround. If they supplied a rubber strip to fit underneath the channel, the frame will sit on top of this. For my own bath frame I placed the frame directly on top of the bath and finished off with sanitary silicone sealer to prevent leaks.
Sent: 22 January 2015 01:25 PM
How to mount drawer slides
Thank you very much for coming back to me. I am not sure how to calculate the size of the drawers when I use the slides to slide them in. How do you glue/fit the finishing edges once the wood has been cut? I want to work with melawood.
You will find instructions here for an easy way to mount drawer runners: http://www.home-dzine.co.za/diy/diy-4-drawer-runners.htm and you will also use ball-bearing drawer runners for the bath cabinets. To join the sections together without any visible jointing you can use dowels, a biscuit joiner or a pockethole jig, and you will find information about all these methods in the DIY section on www.Home-Dzine.co.za
Sent: 16 January 2015 12:33 PM
Where to find pallets
Firstly, THANK YOU for a stunning site! Do you perhaps know where I can find pallets in JHB/West Rand area?
I previously got my pallets from Builders in Strubens Valley, but I know that everyone else is rushing here and there to find pallets as well. It’s getting to the stage where pallets are becoming difficult to find and there are now companies making these up for those who want to buy them!
Sent: 23 January 2015 08:41 AM
Repair Defy stove
The warmer drawer on my 4 plate defy stove was left on for some time and baking gloves were inside and so they burned inside and the stove rubber and the outer surface of the stove burned also, I wanted to know where I can purchase the rubber and the spray paint and what kind of spray paint will be needed to fix it because it looks really horrible.
You can buy Rust-Oleum Appliance Epoxy spray at your local Builders. Not sure where you would buy the rubber seal other than at a Defy spares supplier or direct from www.defy.co.za
Sent: 21 January 2015 03:49 PM
New kitchen countertops
I currently have old kitchen tops of about 2 cm in my kitchen. To replace them you need to break it out, which means you will break the tiles. Is there a way/top which you can lay over the existing tops and work it off with an edging of some kind?
If the existing tops are only 2cm thick, you could use this as a base for mounting Formica LifeSeal or other countertops over the top. Is there a way to trim the edge of the existing tops flush with the cabinets and then have the new tops hang over. That way you could edge the old tops to match the cabinets and not even notice.
Sent: 21 January 2015 04:35 PM
I was going through the website as am embarking on a DIY bathroom renovation, re planning. Is there someone whom you can recommend that can design and plan a bathroom for me at a reasonable cost.
Unfortunately I can’t recommend anyone to do the job for you. I have previously done my own bathroom renos and only hired a plumber or handyman to help out with larger aspects of the project I wasn’t able to do myself. There are plenty of bathroom renovation contractors in Joburg and my recommendation would be to obtain two or three quotations and ask for references where you are able to get in touch with previous clients.
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.