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: 03 February 2016 03:30 PM
Subject: Advice on removing bathroom tiles
I would like to know what to expect if we want to remove the wall tiles in our bathroom? Is there anything that we should be careful off, or can we just go ahead and do it? We would like to paint the walls rather with water proof paint, if there are any on the market. Your advice re: this would be great or any nice and easy diy ideas. :-)
If you plan of removing wall tiles allow of plenty of mess. You need to chip the walls tiles off and then remove all the tile adhesive that stays behind. You will find handy tips here:
However, if you aren’t going to re-tile the
wall you will need to apply a finishing or skim
plaster to smooth the wall. They have these
products at your local
Builders, and if you are unsure about how to
apply a plaster finish – hire a handyman or
plasterer for a couple of days to do the job for
Allow the plaster to cure for 5 to 7 days and then apply plaster primer. For a professional finish only use paints that are recommended for use in a bathroom, and ones that contain anti-fungal / mould.
Sent: 29 January 2016 10:07 PM
Subject: How to fit shower in Wendy House
We need some advice. We putting in a Wendy, wooden floor with a shower in bathroom, any suggestions how we could waterproof the walls in shower to prevent cracking and rotting. We cannot put in bath so need to find a way to make a shower work, please help.
The easiest and most practical way would be
to buy a complete shower cubicle and shower
tray. All this would require is a sanitary
silicone sealer be applied to all joins to
Another solution would be to build the shower using cement fibre board (at your local Builders). Build a sturdy frame using treated pine and clad this with cement fibre board. For this type of project, you can follow guidelines that they use in the US for shower installation, and you will find plenty of instructions on You Tube. However, not all the products used are available locally, so check beforehand.
Sent: 28 January 2016 04:28 PM
Subject: Barn door with sliding runners
Hi Janice, Wondering if you could please help. My hubby and I are looking to buy a barn door with sliding runners for our pantry but cannot seem to find anyone in KZN who makes them. We unfortunately do not have the time to make it ourselves. Do you perhaps have any idea of a company or other. Willing to purchase in Joburg and have it sent down to us.
This might be a project for a handyman /
carpenter if you are not in a position to make
the door yourself. That way, it can be made to
Do a Google Search for one in your local area.
Sent: 27 January 2016 09:57 AM
Subject: Please help with some DIY advice - paint stripper
Hi there, I am hoping you can help with some
DIY advice. I follow your website, and I'm a
little desperate for advice.
We used paint stripper to remove PVA paint from a small section of brick and plaster wall in our bedroom, in preparation for applying dampseal. We did this on Saturday, but the smell is still overwhelming. After we finished I washed the wall with sugar soap, and three more times with plain water.
I have already tried reducing the smell with: baking powder, vanilla essence, coffee, oil burners. I also run the fan in the room, but nothing has worked. Last night we tried washing the wall with baking power, which seems to have made the smell worse. Bowls of vinegar also seems to make it worse.
I read up a little (should have done this before I started) and some articles suggest that I should neutralise the paint stripper. The ingredients of the paint stripper are: methylene chloride, ethanol, and mix-cresol. I found this online:
"When all the paint is gone, wash or neutralize the surface according to the manufacturer’s directions. Caustic strippers can be neutralized with vinegar and water. Solvent strippers can be washed off with mineral spirits."
According to what I found, methylene chloride is a solvent stripper; so it would seem I need to use mineral spirits (mineral turpentine). I don't want to make the smell worse, or create some kind of horrible chemical reaction. I have been advised that the paint stripper fumes are toxic. Can I sleep in the room while the smell is there?
Will applying dampseal 'lock' in the smell or will the smell go away?
Would have be a great idea to use Plascon
RemovAll to strip off the paint – no fumes and
eco-friendly. However, now you have a
problem that might have been exacerbated by what
you have already applied to try and neutralise
the stripper, and water normally does it for
most paint strippers here in SA, depending on
Use a scraper to try and remove as much of the remaining product as possible, wrapping the scrapings up in newspaper. I would not apply any more toxic or smelly products now, but would use a stiff scrubbing brush and soapy washing detergent in warm water to clean away what is left.
Dry the wall with a warm hairdryer and repeat the process if the smell still remains. You definitely want the want to be dry before you apply Dampseal, and sleeping in a room with toxic smells is definitely not good for your health.
Sent: 26 January 2016 03:54 PM
Subject: Countertop Concrete
I am interested in building a table for a work space with a concrete counter top. Where can I buy counter top mix or what mixture do I need for this. I live in Pretoria.
You will find plenty of information on concrete tops in our Kitchen Section and may find the following articles useful:
Within the articles you will find links to sites that offer comprehensive details for cement mixes for this type of project.
Sent: 26 January 2016 12:56 PM
Subject: How to clean Nubuck
Hi there - I am considering purchasing a Nubuck couch. What products could I use to waterproof/protect the couch from spills and stains?
I found a very useful article on caring for and cleaning Nubuck:
Not sure what products you can apply over this as opposed to genuine leather, since this product is more like suede than leather and there isn’t a product that can be applied onto suede.
Sent: 26 January 2016 01:05 PM
Subject: Mouldings for kitchen cabinets
I want to upgrade my old fashioned kitchen cabinets. I love the french style. I want to put some moldings on the cabinet doors before painting. Where on the web can I go search different styles and where can I buy it. I live on the West Coast therefor I do shopping in Cape Town. Where in Cape Town can I go buy it.
I buy quite a lot of mouldings in SupaWood,
pine and extruded polystyrene at my local
Builders Warehouse, and I’m sure you should
Alternatively, use Google Search to try and find a local supplier of mouldings.
For ideas you will find 1000’s on www.pinterest.com and we also have some great ideas on our website:
Sent: 26 January 2016 09:05 AM
Subject: Attach mosaic to countertop
Hi, how do I attach mosaic tiles to a concrete screeded bathroom counter top? this will be my first time ever attempt. So I want to get it right. I have a bag of grout, is this all I use or do I need something else to lie the tiles on first?
You need a layer of tile adhesive on top of
the countertop to bed the mosaic tiles in place.
Since this area is also subject to moisture, use
a bonding liquid to mix the tile adhesive
instead of water. They can provide the correct
product when you tell them what it is for.
Also use a waterproofing additive to mix the grout, as normal grout will absorb moisture.
Here are some tips to help you:
Drop me a line if you need any help along the way.
Sent: 25 January 2016 02:03 PM
Subject: Where to buy Murphy bed?
Where can I purchase a Murphy bed lifting mechanism and legs in South Africa?
Unfortunately, the company that used to import this item is no longer in business. I think it worked out too costly due to the weight and shipping costs for it to be feasible in this country.
Sent: 25 January 2016 11:12 AM
Subject: Table saw for home DIY enthusiast
Thank you for your reply. Yes, that is
exactly the issue I've been having - all the
ones that are affordable (only ryobi or mac
Afric) don't seem to be even worth the money you
pay for them.
It just would be nice to use a decent table saw to make neat french cleats, faster dados, re-saw wood, and there are fortunes of nice jigs you can build (box joint jigs, super accurate mitre sleds, frame spline jig etc.)
I've currently made my own workbench with solid pine wood frames and legs and 2 MDF (supawood) boards for the top, routed 2 dados to fit tracks in - then created a step-insert rectangular hole in the middle for a router insert (mounted a Bosch 1400W router to a base plate) and another identical insert with a circular saw mounted to it to create a table saw. It is immeasurably more sturdy than any table saw I have seen, though the Ryobi circular saw is not very accurate so that hinders the accuracy of the cuts, naturally...
The problem with having wood cut (which I usually do regardless to fit into my car) is that Builders have not been cutting to my plans correctly (errors of a cm here or there but still very irritating) as well as not cutting square to the board.
Not sure what the solution for the DIYer is in this situation as, like you said, you need some serious power tool allowance to get something decent...
When we present our DIY Divas workshops I
normally recommend that the Divas get in some
practice with small projects, and then start
making small pieces of furniture (such as
upholstered storage ottomans, headboards, etc.)
for profit. They can then use this money towards
buying better quality, more advanced tools, to
add to their collection.
I would love to see the table that you made – it sounds like something I could share with readers in the same position.
Sent: 23 January 2016 03:15 PM
Subject: Product to repair concrete driveway
Hi could you recommend a product to repair a concrete driveway ,the small stones are starting to show through dont know if i must paint.
We do have quite a few articles on www.Home-Dzine.co.za that you will find useful:
You will also find a sizable source of information on:
Sent: 23 January 2016 03:50 PM
Subject: Mirror finish from Rust-Oleum
Looking for mirror Rust-Oleum. Is it available here?
All products in the Rust-Oleum range, including the mirror finish, are available at your local Builders Warehouse. Alternatively, get in touch with www.spraymate.co.za - the local agents for Rust-Oleum products.
Sent: 22 January 2016 03:26 PM
Subject: Do I replace plaster damaged by damp?
Hi there, hope you can assist. We recently bought and moved into our new home. The wall between our bedroom and bathroom had a bit of water damage. I resealed the bathroom tiles on the one side and damp sealed the wall (rough plaster finish) in the bedroom and painted. However after a few days, a brown rust like colour started showing in the bedroom and keeps showing even after repainting. The wall is completely dry. Do I need to chop off the plaster and re plaster the wall? Not too sure of my options here. I do have a 'whoflungadung' to match the plaster if I must.
Before you go to the extreme of ripping off the plaster, give the wall time to completely dry out and then apply a stain blocker. I know that Kilz is now available in SA (at your local Builders), or there are some local alternatives. Try these first.
Sent: 21 January 2016 10:36 AM
Subject: Article Suggestion
First off, I must say well done on creating a
DIY-haven site for us all - I've found so many
helpful articles and projects!
Just a thought for an article - I'm currently struggling to find a decent Table saw for a decent price in SA and was wondering if you would be able to write an article on a pricing review for table saws available here (we unfortunately don't have a wide variety like in the U.S.) and seeing as the table saw has been deemed a woodworking-shop essential tool, it would be good to find something that has decent accuracy and still doesn't ask you to take a second mortgage on your house...
Thanks so much again for all the efforts put in to this site!
Thanks for the suggestion. To be honest, even
with all the DIY projects that I do, I don’t use
a table saw and see no need for one. I
previously owned a Ryobi Table Saw, which lasted
for just over a year before it fell apart. I
never felt safe using this saw either, since
everything felt loose or wobbly. If you are
prepared to invest R8000 up you can buy a decent
table saw – you just need to decide if it is
worth the expense.
If you can have all your wood and board cut to size, this eliminates the need for a table saw. Most smaller cuts can be done with a jigsaw, or a circular saw.
Sent: 18 January 2016 04:15 PM
Subject: How to Faux Lusterstone
I recently came across a product on a stencilling called Faux Effects Lusterstone for a Moroccan wedding blanket as a wall hanging. This product doesn't seem to be available in SA. Do you perhaps know of another similar product that is readily available here (I'm in CT).
After reviewing the article and having done a similar project some years back, if you are unable to find the plaster a matt acrylic or chalk paint also works well. The idea is to stiffen the fabric and paint does achieve this without cracking once dry. Perhaps try this with a small project before tackling a large one.
Sent: 16 January 2016 09:34 PM
Subject: Where to buy paint flakes
So glad I found this page :-) Where in Johannesburg can I buy paint 'flakes/chips'? I See this is mainly used on concrete flooring for a marble effect, however I want to use it for something else. I cant find a local supplier, please advise.
The only flakes or chips that I know of are the ones that are supplied or included when you buy epoxy kits. I haven’t seen separate loose flakes or chips anywhere else.
Sent: 10 January 2016 03:05 PM
Subject: Brick floor
Thanks, Janice! Truth be told, I a looking for something cheap! I made a ridiculous offer on a beach house in need of several renovations and now the offer has been accepted! While I am not trying to cut corners, I will have to see what are the cheapest, but most visually pleasing, options. Do you maybe know how difficult/costly it is to lower a floor? Then I can use half-size pavers maybe.. I must say, I do like the look of a brick floor!
It would be very difficult to lower the level of the floor. Plus, concrete slabs are set to a specific thickness is accordance with building regulations, so I’m not sure if you are even allowed to do this.
Why not shop around to see who has special offers on tiles or laminate flooring. I know that Builders have some great specials from time to time and you might just pick up a bargain and avoid going to extremes to floor the beach house. I have done articles on plywood floors, and this would also be very affordable if you can find decent plywood.
Sent: 10 January 2016 11:33 AM
Subject: Flooring advice
I am looking for some guidance. I want to use the brick tiles (cladding) to tile the interior floors of my house including kitchen and bathrooms. I plan to seal them after installation but am concerned with the ability to carry weight and movement as well as being uneven. What do you think? Will this work?
Must be honest, I would be worried about putting wall cladding on the floor. It just isn’t manufacturing for the purpose and you could end up with a big problem on your hands. If you’re looking for something different and out of the ordinary, concrete and wood tiles look stunning:
Sent: 09 January 2016 06:14 PM
Subject: Built-in room divider
Love love love your site! useful as well as beautiful :) We are looking for a room divider exactly like the one on your post about modern room dividers, the one with steel rods and two boxes.. I clicked on the site below but it says the site doesn't exist; is there a South African company who can do it?
Thank you. The room divider you refer to is definitely a DIY project, as I haven’t seen anything like this locally. If you don’t think you could tackle this project yourself, a handyman / carpenter or shopfitter should be able to make a built in divider for you, since the materials can be sourced in SA.
Sent: 06 January 2016 11:34 AM
Subject: Wendy House DIY Insulation
What is the best insulation one could use for a wendy house which is to be used as Domestic quarters? Also what is the best cover one could use to cover the insulated roof to make it neater on the inside?
Isoboard would probably offer a practical way to clad and insulate a wendy house, and could also be applied as a ceiling as well. I know that some Builders stores stock this product, or get in touch with http://isoboard.com/insulation/ to find your nearest stockist.
Sent: 05 January 2016 09:39 AM
Subject: Paint bubbling
I bought a 60 year old house. I have tried painting my walls but due to the layers of paint and wall paper, the wall bubbles and is like thick rubber. I would like some advice on how to proceed to wall paper and paint the walls, as I would like to create some feature walls with wall paper, use some paintable wall paper and paint as well.
Although it may seem like a lot of hard work, the best way to proceed would be to get rid of the wallpaper and as many layers of paint as possible. Painting over this is only going to cause more problems down the line, especially if you already have problems with bubbling. Removing the existing wall covering will also help you to discover whether or not there is any damp in the walls, which could also cause bubbling.
Sent: 04 January 2016 09:47 AM
Subject: Dirt on painted walls
Good day. Firstly, what a great website! thank you. I would like to paint my wooden skirting boards white. What is the best, quickest and easiest method to paint them? Also, we recently painted the house grey with Dulux paint that was not cheap! I am so irritated with the quality of Dulux! The walls get so dirty so quickly. What can you recommend to help with this? Should we repaint with some sort of gloss that will not allow dirt to show so much.
I presume you are referring to exterior
walls? Must admit I am not a fan of Dulux. I
have used Micatex and
Prominent Paints Textured, the latter has
been on the exterior walls for almost 10 years
and can be washed down if it gets grubby. You
could try using a soft brush and soapy water to
clean the walls, or a high pressure hose if it’s
very dirty – but when using high pressure test
on a small area before you blast the walls!
If it is interior walls you could also try washing down with soapy water or Polycell liquid sugar soap. Unless it is matt paint, you should be able to clean walls. If it is matt paint consider applying a coat of Prominent Paints clear acrylic sealer. This will leave a satin finish that can be wiped down.
For the skirting board query. Best way is to use Plascon water-based enamel paint and apply with a paintbrush. Apply wide masking tape above and below to skirting to contain mess and for easy clean up.
Sent: 04 January 2016 12:17 PM
Subject: Where to buy veneer
Hi. I was reading you article on how to Reface kitchen cabinets. any idea where i can but the veneer, or laminate from. 2. is it possible to paint cupboards that are already laminated?
You should be able to buy veneer boards at
any Timbercity outlet, or use Google search for
your nearest supplier.
Have this morning posted an article on painting kitchen cabinets, so pop onto the www.Home-Dzine.co.za website for more info.
Sent: 03 January 2016 04:22 PM
Subject: Acid free glue
I am a graphite artist and instead of framing my work under glass in the traditional way, I now first spray the side with the drawing with several coats of artists fixative. When this is dry I mount the drawing onto hardboard which I have sealed with PVA glue; (Ponal which I doubt is acid free). I currently use Acrylic Gloss gel to stick the paper to the board but is horrifically expensive. Once dry, I rub beeswax over the drawing which gives it a lovely glossy finish.
I find at the moment that I am having trouble with air bubbles forming under the artwork even though I roll from the centre outwards with a roller to try to eliminate them. I think my problem could be that while the front of drawing paper (I use quite heavyweight paper) is quite thick after coating with fixative, the back is, by comparison thin, which could result it the formation of unevenness when stuck down. I thought that if I could seal the back of the drawing paper as well (with cold glue - much cheaper than artists fixative), the two sides would be more even in thickness. Would really appreciate your expert input.
I know that Rust-Oleum have a fixative that
will probably be cheaper than the one you are
using at the moment:
It might be worth giving this a try to see if it solves the problem. You can buy at Builders, or get in touch with www.spraymate.co.za to find a local stockist.
Sent: 03 January 2016 07:06 AM
Subject: Rust-Oleum Chalked paint
Thanks for the helpful website - I enjoy reading often. I do, however, find that sometimes products mentioned - like the rust-oleum chalked paint - is nowhere to be found at builders. Would you know where I can find a tin ? I'm in the western cape.
Thanks for the comment. I have copied the local agent ( wwww.spraymate.co.za ) on this mail so that they can come back to you and let you know your nearest source of supply for Rust-Oleum Chalked paint.
Sent: 01 January 04:25 PM
Subject: Antique finish for picture frame
I have a craft related question, I bought a picture frame, it is covered with what looks like scrapbook paper and then on top of that is a layer of varnish/spraypaint that creates a texture what feels like it is 'sandblasted' and it creates a yellowish cover whick make it look vintage. Do you know of a product that would give that effect that I can buy?
From your description it sounds as though the frame was given several coats of Mod Podge, or clear acrylic sealer. However, this dries clear and eventually yellows with age. You can create a vintage effect by using a tea bag to tint water and gently brush this over the surface of the paper before applying sealer. Have some newspaper handy and dab the brush almost dry before brushing the paper finish.
Sent: 01 January 2016 10:37 PM
Subject: Rope rugs
1) I am very keen on making a rope mat for my
passage way which is comprised of different
sized circles, the instructions recommend hot
gluing the circles to each other, however, I
feel this will come undone with the wear & tear
of traffic. Any other suggestions?
2) I see you recommend Builders Warehouse for rope, went there but the selection is very small & the price outrageous! Again, any other suggestions?
If you want the rope rugs to last a better option would be to use embroidery thread and a blanket stitch to join the coiled rope section together. As for price, Builders does offer the best price that I have yet come across for various rope products.
Sent: 28 December 2015 10:54 AM
Subject: spray paint for glass
Please advise if rust oleum spray paint can be used on glass jars and if it is safe to store food or kitchen stuff. And where can I find this spray in Pretoria? And which one works better?
You can use Rust-Oleum spray paint on the exterior of glass jars, but do note that it is not a permanent finish and cannot be cleaned in a dishwasher. Rust-Oleum products are available at your local Builders store.
Sent: 01 January 2016 02:50 PM
Subject: Lustrolite for table top?
Could I use the Lustrolite product on top of a table for a great new look.
There are no technical specs for this type of
application, so I am not sure how to advise you.
The product is expensive for just a table top so
I would recommend that you contact the supplier
directly to ask for their advice.
There is a link within the article to Lustrolite and to Bathroom Bizzare.