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Interior & Exterior Finishes

Add glass panel to hollow core door
I have done quite a few projects that look at how to dress up a plain hollow core door. These doors are bargains and you can pick them up for about R300 at your local Builders. Sometimes even cheaper than that if they are on special. But they are also pretty boring. I'm going to show you another way to dress up a standard hollow core door by cutting and fitting a frosted glass panel into the door.
Add decorative trim to hollow-core door
In this DIY project we’ll show you how easy it is to transform plain hollow-core doors into a feature using inexpensive pine moulding. It is a simple and affordable way to add detailing to boring doors and one that you can easily do in a day.
How to get rid of bumpy walls
If you live in an older home chances are you have ugly bumpy walls. For some unknown reason there used to be a time when plasterers thought it was the 'in' thing to give walls a textured finish.  That might have been the case then, but now we live with bumpy walls where dust collects and it just looks ugly. But there is a way to smooth those bumpy walls.
How to fit a door knob
We have  covered fitting a door handle and lock to an exterior or interior door, but what if you prefer to fit a door knob. While the pricinpal is basically the same, a door knob is easier to fit. Here are the instructions for fitting a door knob to any interior or exterior door.
Fit and install over-skirtings
Nore more ripping out skirtings boards! Now you can fit and install over-skirtings to add a decorative finish to a home. Over-skirtings are manufactured to fit over the top of most standard skirtings and are easily cut, glued and installed. Available in a decorative profile, you can dress up a plain room instantly.
Choosing the right tile adhesive and additive
This may seem like a strange topic, but not many homeowners are aware that there's more to tile adhesive and additives than meets the eye. When taking on a tiling project you want to ensure a successful result, so it's important to know what products are available and how to use these in your next  tiling project.
diy tile kitchen project
Smart investments for kitchens and bathrooms
Styles may come and go but kitchen and bathrooms will also continue to plan an important role in any home. In a newly built home the homeowners will design a kitchen that meets their immediate needs, but in an older home it's nice to know that improvements can be done to keep up with modern trends.
diy tile kitchen project
New floor tiles for beadroom
The carpet in my bedroom was installed 15 years ago, I'm ashamed to say. It's almost threadbare and really looks grubby. No amount of cleaning improves how it looks, so it's definitely time to rip up. Rather than put down new carpet I have decided to put floor tiles down... but not just any floor tiles - wood grain imprinted floor tiles!
diy tile kitchen project
Wall and floor tiles with wood-like finish
I will soon be featuring a project where I removed the carpets in my bedroom and dressing room and replaced them with tiles imprinted with a wood grain finish. The original carpet was old and grubby and the new tiles make a huge difference to the bedroom.
diy tile kitchen project
DIY option for tiling a kitchen wall
I have been waiting to tile my kitchen finished for a few years. After the kitchen revamp I didn't know what to do with the tiles around the windows, since the burglar bars were welding in and couldn't be removed. As a temporary fix I glued vinyl tiles over the ceramic tiles. But the time has come to properly tile the kitchen walls.
Adding a rope bannister to staircase
Nancy Muchangwa, our resident DIY Divas, is busy doing improvements to her house. One improvement is to knock down the wall at the side of the staircase, as it blocks a lot of light and makes the staircase cramped and dark. After looking at various alternatives I stumbled upon a rope bannister as an affordable way to finish off a staircase...
Bamboo... More than just floors
The buzzword all around the world these days is ‘sustainability’. Going green is even becoming an increasingly prominent trend in home décor, as we look for ways to beautify our living space, while helping the environment.
Add decorative cornice to bathroom
I have a double-storey house that has a concrete slab that forms the ceiling in all the downstairs rooms, including the bathroom. In the bathroom they never bothered to fit a cornice around the top of the wall and it always looked unfinished. Thanks to the guys at DAS Products for supplying an easy solution for adding a decorative cornice to the bathroom.
Tile indoors and outdoors for a seamless flow
Tiling outdoors allows you to extend your indoor living spaces and, whether it's a patio, stoep, boma, edladleni or braai area, one thing is certain: the contemporary outdoor relaxation area is a functional extension of the home and is as important as any other living area when it comes to planning the right decor to suit the space.
Glass... sustainable design option for home interiors
Judging by the number of queries I receive, there are plenty of homeowners out there who are living with facebrick walls, especially with a fitted fireplace, that hate the look. While we have previously look at painting a facebrick wall, another option to consider is cladding the wall.
Clad a facebrick wall
Judging by the number of queries I receive, there are plenty of homeowners out there who are living with facebrick walls, especially with a fitted fireplace, that hate the look. While we have previously look at painting a facebrick wall, another option to consider is cladding the wall.
Repair & paint home exterior for lasting results
Way back in August 2010, Nancy and I took on the huge task of painting three home exteriors in my development. The three homes in question, including my own, were full of exterior cracks, chips, and one home in particular had extensive peeling and bubbling paint and required dampproofing.
Get your deck in shape for the holidays
Depending on the type of wood used for your deck installation you may have a deck that is looking worn and faded and definitely not the beautiful deck that was originally installed. Wood needs a regular application of nourishing treatments to protect and preserve, so here's how to get your wood deck looking good for the holidays.
Flooring options for patio or outdoor dining
Choosing the right floor for your patio or entertainment area can be as difficult as selecting the right flooring for your home interior. With any flooring choice their are pros and cons as to durability, maintenance, appearance and safety. In this article we look at the various flooring options available and how each one offers benefits and disadvantages - helping you to make the right choice.
Door option for a home
Make a lasting impression and add value to your home by choosing doors that reflect style and personality. Choosing the right doors for a home is the difference between standard builders-grade doors, or a door that stands out and adds architectural interest.
Fit a new exterior door
Many homeowners put this project on the back burner thinking that a new door is too expensive and it isn't easy to fit. You would actually be surprised at the selection and affordability of wood doors at your local Builders Warehouse, and once you get started you will realise that fitting is not as difficult as you originally thought.
Reclaimed timber ceiling
If you have a little DIY know-how, you can be creative with reclaimed timber and completely alter the look of a room in just one day. Many tend to overlook a ceiling, but here's how you can transform a ceiling using reclaimed timber.
Dress up a plain door with vinyl planks
Turn a simple sliding door into a feature by adding vinyl flooring planks. Today's vinyl flooring comes in a wide range of styles and you can match the door to your home decor.
Give your home a mini facelift
Updating the decor in your home doesn't have to be a long, laborious or expensive process. Instead, get a little instant gratification by using Plascon paints to easily refresh areas and items throughout the house. With a little cash and a free weekend, you can makeover your house right now.
Restore or add architectural detailing
I must admit to falling in love with moulding and trim, even though it's not as popular here in South Africa as it is in other countries. There is something elegant and dignified about a home that is fitted with trim, whether wood trim stained in light or dark, or SupaWood (MDF) trim painted in a crisp white. Plus, this feature ties in nicely with the recent article that I did on restoring an older home.
Shutters - Style without compromise
When you install shutters you don't need to worry about blocking out natural light or air circulation. Adjustable shutters allow you to control the amount of light you let into your home, depending upon the time of day and location of the sun, and still have air circulating through your home during the hot summer months.
Restore an old home
If there is one property option that South Africa has, it's older homes, and not all are located in undesirable suburbs. In fact, some of SA's most upmarket suburbs are dominated by older homes. Taking on the restoration of an older home is a challenge, but well worth the time and effort you put into it at the end of the day.
Paint gutters and downspouts
Painting gutters and downspouts is a project that adds curb appeal when combined with painting a home exterior. If galvanised gutters and downspouts are looking drab, or perhaps rusty, they can easily be refreshed with Plascon Metalcare.
How to lay self-levelling floor compound
Before we look at how to lay self-levelling cement... What is a self-levelling floor finish ? A self-levelling cement screed is a quick setting concrete compound that is designed to level imperfect floors. You would use a self-levelling floor screed to finish off a concrete floor or screed floor as a base for tiling, vinyl or laminate floors.
Luxury bathroom tile options
If you are planning a new bathroom renovation or building a new home, creating a relaxing sanctuary is one of the leading home improvement trends and ceramic tile creates dramatic first impressions. Ceramic tile is a luxurious option for creating a beautiful and luxurious bathroom.
Home transformation with Plascon Micatex
This entry into our Bosch Home Improvement Competition shows how Charlene and her husband used Plascon Micatex to transform their newly-bought house from a very old peeling paint-job to a beautiful dune colour.
DIY concrete countertops
When most people think of DIY concrete countertops, the first reaction is that making a concrete countertop is not easy. Well, there is a fair amount of work involved, but at the end of the day you could save yourself thousands of Rands with do-it-yourself concrete countertops.
Should I paint exterior facebrick?
Facebrick homes have been a popular choice for many homeowners through the years. With time, however, even brick will lose some of its appeal, succumbing to the forces of nature and beginning to look worn and aged. Homeowners start to look for options on what can be done to refresh the look of their brick homes.
Add wall cladding
Wall cladding is becoming a popular trend in homes as manufacturers introduce DIY alternatives to solid rock. Available locally, wall cladding in supplied in ready-made panels that resemble to look and feel of natural stone and rock.
Beautiful walls... naturally!
These days it's easy to have good looking walls without the hassle or fuss of installing tiles. Cementitious (cement-based) products are now easily available off-the-shelf for any savvy DIY home improvement enthusiast to tackle themselves.
Frameless glass windows and doors
Sit back and enjoy the view when you install frameless windows, frameless folding or sliding doors, as these offer an unobstructed and panoramic view of the surroundings. Frameless windows and doors have been on the market for quite some time, but as we look for sustainable options - frameless windows and doors make a lot of sense.
Brick veneer wall cladding for indoors & outdoors
Not only does cladding with brick veneer add texture and architectural detail to walls, it's also a great way to cover up walls that are prone to hairline cracks, have a rough plastered finish, or blank walls that lack interest.
Install Gyproc plastered ceilings
A flush plastered ceiling consists of steel branders onto which Gyproc RhinoBoard is fixed. All joints are covered with yproc RhinoTape and the ceiling then plastered with a 3 - 6mm coat of RhinoLite or CreteStone.
Install Gyproc M-Strip ceilings
Finally, an informative step-by-step guide on how to install an M-Strip brandered ceiling. I have yet to get round to replacing my one ceiling and this detailed guide from Gyproc is comprehensive enough that even a beginner DIY-er can install his or her own ceilings.
Using RhinoLite and CreteStone finishes
I receive a lot of enquiries from homeowners who have used, or had work done in their homes using RhinoLite and CreteStone. Most of the problems arise from lack of product knowledge, either on the part of the homeowner, or on the part of the contractor. M
How to add mosaic tile to kitchen countertop
In last month's issue of Home-Dzine Online I gave my kitchen countertop a makeover. After a couple of weeks of living with it, I decided I wasn't happy and wanted to consider another option - applying mosaic tile to a kitchen countertop.
How to remove and install new skirtings
In this article we show you how to replace standard skirting boards with skirting boards that provide an attractive finish and architectural detail to a room.
Don't tile when you can CemWash
Don't think that you have to tile bathroom walls and floors when there are so many other options to choose from.
How to paint steel window frames
Are your window frames covered with layer upon layer of paint? Do they show rust spots? Are they spoiling the look of your home? Time to strip and paint your window frames!
Care for wooden windows & doors
There is a beauty to timber windows and the homes they grace, and if they are well maintained, they can last a lifetime. Charl Jacobz from Swartland offers some tips and advice on how to best maintain their beauty.
Interior & Exterior plaster finishes
If there are damaged walls in your home, areas where you have removed tiles, or walls that are uneven or highly textured, plastering is one of the ways to fix these types of defects. Using a plaster mix, plastering is the technique for covering up raw and rough surfaces.
Rock wall cladding
I love the look of natural stone clad walls - both interior or exterior walls. It's a way to introduce texture and detail to an otherwise bland room. It's also a way to merge interior and exterior areas.
Tile over an existing tiled wall
Where tiles are still in good condition, and you don't want to paint over tiles, there is the option to tile over existing tiles.
Glass blocks let in natural light
I have always considered glass blocks to be perfect for bathrooms - they let in plenty of natural light without any loss of privacy, and now that they are available in soft and bright colours, you can use glass blocks in even more creative ways.
Install gutters and downspouts
Installing your own gutters can save you substantially over professionally installed gutters. Your local Builders Warehouse sell gutter systems that are designed primarily for easy installation. But with just a little bit more work, you can use these same parts to put together gutters and downspouts that are stronger and better looking too.
Installing wooden windows and frames
Windows are an important element in how a home looks. From a design point of view window styles are suited to particular styles of homes.
Faux sandblasted effect for windows and doors
I have previously featured an article on how to create more privacy by using self-adhesive vinyl on glass. In this project I used the same self-adhesive vinyl to add a decorative effect to my sliding door, and at the same time add privacy.
Repair, restore or renovate concrete
Conventional wisdom holds that old concrete, with cracks, surface discolouration, or surface imperfections, must be removed and replaced if improving the look of the concrete is the goal. But there are many options available for transforming that drab concrete patio, driveway, or floor into a new, decorative, coloured concrete surface.
Add curb appeal
Just as your home makes a statement about who you are and what you value, so do the patios, walkways and driveways that connect your home to the outside world.
Add architraves to windows
A simple frame and panel with applied mouldings gives an ordinary window an extraordinary appearance
Enhance a home with window shutters
Window and folding-door shutters are ideal for light, wind and ventilation control on a patio, garden room. or any room in the home. Not only do they enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home, they will also increase the value.


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Architectural & Detailing

Clad concrete or steel staircase
When you live in a double-storey home, or are adding an extra level onto you existing property, you're going to need a staircase. In my case the staircase was built using concrete slabs or lintels. I would have loved a wooden staircase, but these can work out pricey, but I came across this idea for cladding a concrete or steel staircase that would cut down the cost dramatically.
Revamp an ugly fireplace
Whether your fireplace gets used annually or is just a hole in the wall that hasn't been used for ages, most fireplaces are a focal point in a room. Make your fireplace a 'stand out' feature with paint, tile or with a new DIY fireplace surround. And if your fireplace does get put into use during the colder months of the year here are a few ideas to get make your fireplace a feature.
Staircases with style and flair
When your home is a double-storey or more, a staircase is a main element. It might be tucked away in a corner, but at the end of the day any staircase takes up a lot of space and grabs a lot of attention. When designing, building or renovating a home, give some thought to the type of staircase you want.
Adding window trim
Having already started adding trim around door frames and to corners in my home, the next project I want to tackle is adding window trim. I just think that windows look so much nicer with added trim, and they look more polished and elegant as well.
Let more natural light into your home
If you find that your home has dark areas that don't receive any natural light, there are various home improvement projects that you could consider to let in more natural light, or allow natural light into dark areas.
Boring staircase becomes a "wow" feature
If I hadn't seen these pics for myself, I never would have believed that this was the same staircase. A fairly standard staircase is transformed into a dramatic feature in the entrance hall of this home.
Roofing options for DIY home renovation
An extension or add-on will require some kind of roof, and a framed timber roof - or roof truss - is the most affordable way to go. There are many timber suppliers that offer custom roof trusses, designed in accordance with drawn and approved plans, and these obviously make any DIY project that much easier.
Clever way to add decorative skirtings
This is one clever trick that I am sure many of you will appreciate, especially if you are looking to add a nice, high detailed trim to the base of your walls.
Add detailing to interior doors
Standard home - standard doors! There's nothing special about the boring interior doors that get fitted to most homes. But there is a way to transform them into a unique feature for your home.
Easy way to add crown moulding
Forget about a hammer and nails, you can easily install the new style polystyrene crown moulding and cornice with a tube or two of No More Nails and a caulking gun.
Install bi-fold closet doors
The level of effort in installing bi-fold doors really depends on the condition and type of door jambs you already have. In new construction this is pretty straight forward. You just trim out the door opening as if it were going to be a cased opening.
Remove and rehang an exterior door
Removing and replacing an exterior door, especially a front and back door, is as easy as removing the old one, making a few adjustments and then hanging the new one in place.
Hang a new interior door
Replacing a door in an existing door frame is easier and much cheaper than pulling out the trim and frame and installing a prehung door, because you have the old door as a template.
Restore pressed ceilings
There is no denying the beauty and old world charm offered by pressed tin ceilings. Popularised as an architectural feature in Victorian homes during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, pressed ceilings remain a much admired and sought after element in many modern homes today.
Install wall panelling
Panelling, wainscoting, board and batten - it's been a part of home decor for a long time. There are various design styles that can be applied to walls in a home, whether it's for a lounge, dining room, bathroom or bedroom. Here are some tips on how to install or add panelling to your home...
Wrought iron detailing
Whether featuring the flamboyant swirls and curves of Art-Deco style or the clean lines of minimalist design, decorative ironwork makes a statement. Iron pieces may be hand-forged or ready-made, but they will set the tone in a room or add contrast to a design.
Wall panelling adds architctural detail
Add interest to a plain dining room with this faux moulding project. All you need for this project is a few strips of pine and skirting, and some satin paint to finish off.
Install crown moulding
Installing crown moulding, like playing the piano, takes practice. Unlike playing the piano, however, most people can get the hang of it with only a little practice.
Remove and replace skirtings
In an older home you may find that skirting boards need to be replaced either due to rotting, damage over time, or simply to update a home. In this do-it-yourself project we show you how to remove and replace skirting boards.


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Flooring Options

Tile indoors and outdoors for a seamless flow
Tiling outdoors allows you to extend your indoor living spaces and, whether it's a patio, stoep, boma, edladleni or braai area, one thing is certain: the contemporary outdoor relaxation area is a functional extension of the home and is as important as any other living area when it comes to planning the right decor to suit the space.
How to tile a kitchen floor
Tiling a floor, any floor, is not that difficult if you have the right tools at hand and a bit of DIY savvy when it comes to laying tile. In this article we show you how to remove vinyl tile from a kitchen floor - two layers of vinyl tile in fact - and lay a ceramic tile floor.
Create an instant feature with tiles
If you are looking for a way to give your home a facelift without spending a fortune, consider using decorative ceramic tiles and mosaic. Quality tiles are considered an investment for any home and you can use tiles to create patterns on the floor, walls, in the kitchen and bathroom, and even around a fireplace.
How to lay self-levelling floor compound
Before we look at how to lay self-levelling cement... What is a self-levelling floor finish ? A self-levelling cement screed is a quick setting concrete compound that is designed to level imperfect floors. You would use a self-levelling floor screed to finish off a concrete floor or screed floor as a base for tiling, vinyl or laminate floors.
Online floor planner makes it easier
Choosing the right flooring for a room or home can be a difficult process. We've discussed flooring options, but in this article we look at choosing the colour - light or dark - for flooring. Because, at the end of the day, once it's installed you don't have the option to rip it out and start all over again - you need to get it right the first time. This online floor planner will help you make the right choice...
In search of the best flooring option
With so many options to choose from, installing flooring is a difficult decision to make, but one best left to the homeowner. The flooring you select for a home not only reflects your personal taste, it will also tie in with your style of decor and your way of life. In the process of trying to decide what flooring would be best for my lounge, I realised how many factors have to be taken into consideration.
Circular patio and firepit
Creating the perfect patio for your outdoor area doesn't have to break the bank. By taking time to design and plan out your patio area, you can create a space that not only looks good, but also adds a unique feature to your home. Transforming your patio also gives you the perfect excuse to entertain family and family throughout the year.
Bamboo floors - a good choice
It has been well over a year since I installed bamboo floors in the bathroom, and I am happy to report that it still looks as good as when installed. The bamboo laminate floor is installed in our second bathroom, which serves as the main bathroom for two grown boys and as a guest loo, so it takes a fair amount of routine and traffic.
Restore parquet floors
You either love or hate parquet floors but when cared for and maintained, parquet floors are a valuable investment in a home. If you have parquet floor buried under layers of carpet, perhaps consider the option of restoring the floor to its original condition.
Install vinyl foor tiles
I receive a lot of enquiries from homeowners wanting to update or install new flooring on a tight buget. For some areas, and for a nursery or children's bedroom, I have found that vinyl tiles offer the most practical and affordable flooring option for anyone on a small budget.
How to paint concrete
Don't live with a dingy, grey concrete slab when there are so many ways to update and give concrete a makeover. You will find a selection of concrete paints and concrete preparation products at your local Builders Warehouse, and painting concrete is a project you can easily tackle in a weekend.
Choose a natural clay brick floor
Since writing my first article, brick floors definitely seem to be a consideration for home floors, whether in a kitchen, bathrooms, or any room in a home. Clay brick is by far the most affordable flooring option and is available in a wide selection of colours, from light to dark.
Upgrade your outdoors with pavers
With so many options to choose from for enhancing an outdoor living space, cement pavers allow you to create a beautiful space on a budget, and outdoor spaces are just as important as indoors when more homeowners are looking to improve rather than move.
Luxury floors without the hassle
Deciding what flooring to install can be a difficult decision, especially with so many options to choose from. While each type of flooring has it pros and cons, there is one flooring that is extremely easy to lay, can cover up dated tiles, hide worn and scratched laminate floors, and that is affordable, practical and durable.
How to tile over existing tiles
As long as the existing floor tiles are in good condition, and the surface is level, you can install new tile over an existing tiled floor. However, it is not recommended that you tile over high-gloss ceramic or other tiles, as there is insufficient bonding between the old and new surfaces.
Benefits of a concrete patio
With more decorative options than ever before, concrete patios are attracting homeowners who want an outdoor surface that offers the ultimate in design versatility. Concrete patios also have the edge when it comes to durability and low maintenance.
An outdoor sanctuary with tile
The heady days of summer provide us with an opportunity to spend more time outside the home to unwind from the fast pace of modern living. Turn your outdoor sanctuary into an attractive spot where you can entertain and celebrate with friends and family in pure alfresco bliss.
Plywood floors
So many homeowners are looking for affordable - and eco friendly - ways to update and improve a home. I recently came across an article or two on installing plywood as flooring and while I originally had my doubts, after giving it some thought I realised that you can indeed use plywood for flooring - and it's probably a great idea for a den, games room, children's bedroom or playroom.
Brick floors
Brick has a natural beauty that blends perfectly with almost any style of home. Once sealed and protected, a brick floor is just as versatile as any other type of flooring - if not more so.
Choose the right flooring
We spend a lot of our time and money on the decor of a home, and flooring is an important element of home decor - affecting the look, feel, and the ambiance of a room. While budget plays an important role in determining what flooring you can afford, whether you are renovating or choosing flooring to update your home, you will find the tips below useful for choosing the right flooring for a home.
Luxury vinyl flooring
One of the best kept secrets in hard-surface flooring is now out of the bag - it's almost identical to high-end hardwood floors that look great in any home - but provides quiet, warm-performance benefits, is easy to maintain and won't break your budget.
Invest in bamboo flooring
Bamboo is an excellent, ecological flooring option, but not all bamboo is created equal. Since it caught on in the early 90s, this building material has been heralded as a green, sustainable, plentiful resource - it is fast-growing and can be harvested and replenished with virtually no impact to the environment, due to the fact that it regenerates in 4-5 years. It is also a high oxygen-producer.
Stain or paint concrete floor
Many homeowners are choosing to have a concrete floor rather than tile or carpet their interiors. This versatile and low maintenance flooring option can be polished, stained or painted.
Flooring trends
Check out some of the newest technologies and reclaimed materials that are becoming the hottest products in flooring.
Stamped concrete
Stamped concrete is an affordable way to imitate the look of natural stone or brick without having to pay for the real thing. Proprietary rubber patterns that create effects resembling natural stone, and preconfigured patterns such as brick or cobblestone, are commercially available, although sometimes hard to find.
Epoxy floors
Epoxy paint is a two-part paint product that was originally designed for industrial flooring application. Now available for residential use, epoxy paints provide a tough, durable protective coating that makes them easy to maintain.
Natural stone floors
Floors usually undergo heavy traffic in your home. They are expected to cope with the traffic flow on a daily basis. Added to that, floors are susceptible to spillages, heavy weight objects that rest on it and they have to look good whilst doing all that.
Bring concrete to life
Despite its many wonderful attributes, concrete slabs can be boring. Whether we are talking about a concrete verandah, a pathway or a driveway, there is something very uninspirational about the flat, dull look of grey concrete.

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Building & Construction

Improving an RDP house
RDP housing might be an answer to the housing shortage but they only provide a basic structure with no added details and very little in the way of elements that make a house a home, and not even as much as that in some cases. Even on a small budget you can buy a few materials and supplies at your local Builders Warehouse to turn any RDP house into a place to call home.
Simple, affordable pergola design
Browse the Internet and you will find plenty of projects that show you how to build a pergola, some of which range from designs that will blow over in the wind, to those that are way over the top when it comes to materials and technique. We managed to find a pergola design that is simple and affordable, and that anyone with some DIY savvy can tackle in a weekend or two.
Transform your garage into living space
As we move into secure complexes and boomed areas, garages are being used for more than just parking cars. A single or double garage accounts for a large percentage of the total floor space in on a property, so it makes sense to take advantage of an empty garage and transform it into extra living space.
Fixing and repairing cracks in concrete
Cracks in concrete happen all the time as a result of shrinkage or movement. As concrete cures and dries out it has a tendency to shrink, and that's why it is important to lightly spray concrete with water during the curing or drying process. Another reason why concrete can crack is incorrect preparation of the mix, which is why it is essential to know the right ratios of sand, stone and cement.
Pros and cons of a thatched roof
Thatched roofs have endured for thousands of years, offering a durable roofing option that not only adds character to a charming cottage, but a modern home as well. However, there are pros and cons to having a thatched roof and it helps to know what to expect if you are considering having a thatched roof on a house.
Restore an old home
If there is one property option that South Africa has, it's older homes, and not all are located in undesirable suburbs. In fact, some of SA's most upmarket suburbs are dominated by older homes. Taking on the restoration of an older home is a challenge, but well worth the time and effort you put into it at the end of the day.
Clean up building rubble or garden waste fast
After any home improvement project - small or large - you are invariably going to be left with a pile or heaps of rubble or waste that needs to be removed. Even a simple clean-out can leave you with items that are too big to be tossed into the dustbin. Hiring a skip or arranging for rubble removal is one way to get your home cleaned
Guide to building brick walls
Whether you want to build a small wall at the end of your patio or a 1.8 metre wall around your house you'll need to learn the ancient art of bricklaying. Building a wall is a tricky job, and it'll take you all day, but here we show you how it's done.
How to lay foundations
Laying foundations is just one of the many jobs you will need to do if you are adding on, extending or building a new project. Laying foundations is probably the most important part of any building project, because if you get this part wrong, the entire project is a fail.
Consider a garage conversion
In many homes the garage takes up a fair amount of valuable real estate on a property. When used for parking cars a garage is obviously in need, but when stacked to the roof with junk that should have been given away or tossed out, it's an investment going to waste.
Renovations that pay you back
While home improvement projects can really add to the appeal and practicality of a home, some will add more value onto the bottom line than others.
Remove interior walls
Knocking down internal walls can transform your home by turning two or more cramped rooms into one integrated and spacious area. But knocking down a wall – any wall – is not a job to rush into without detailed preparation and expert advice if the work is to be completed both safely and effectively.
Building a green home
Cutting-edge energy efficiency and stunning contemporary design are the keywords for a home that is elegant, functional, and efficient, and green - the home scored at the gold level under the US National Green Building Program. Is this the home design that we, in South Africa, can look forward to in the near future?
Build with relaimed materials
With the ever increasing cost of construction materials, the wise DIY builder should whenever appropriate, try and purchase them second-hand. In fact, a surprising variety of materials can be obtained without ever entering a builder’s merchant, hardware or DIY shop.
Home design set in concrete
Fu-Tung Cheng's work has become internationally known for its sophisticated, understated design and innovative use of concrete throughout the home.
From garage to garden room
This couple cornered off a long driveway to create their very own 'secret' room and relaxation zone.
Safely remove and dispose of asbestos
Lurking in many buildings, its safe removal and disposal is a must. But how do you spot it, and what do you do with it once it's found?

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Contractors & Professionals

Find a reputable plumber
Recent media coverage has shown that consumers worry about the quality of plumbers in South Africa. So how do we know if the plumber we hire is qualified and registered or not?

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Preparation & Planning

Plan carefully before you renovate
Renovation is a ‘dirty’ word, not only for the dust and mess, but also as a cause of serious stress. Indeed, additions and alterations have been known to reduce grown men to tears and strong women to helpless rage.
Plan renovations and improvements
Before embarking upon a renovation or home improvement project it's important that you decide why you want to renovate. Renovation is no mean feat, you'll have to make numerous decisions and if you want to make the right choices. Setting yourself clear goals and deadlines will help you out enormously in the decision-making process.
10 home improvement tips
With the housing market in its current state, the sensible householder's mantra should be 'don't move: improve'. With this in mind, we've come up with tips, advice and links to our best features to help you boost your home's value so that staying in put won't just make sense financially, it will be an absolute pleasure.
Building regulations
Before you start planning for home improvements in the form of alterations and additions to your existing home, there are some facts that you need to know.
Think before you build
If you are planning any home improvements, additions or renovations be aware of the fact that all building plans have to be submitted to the relevant Local Authority for approval. If you fail to do this you could end up tearing down, ripping up and demolishing any work you do.
When times are tough...
...The tough do it themselves. And times are definitely tough at the moment. With property values in the doldrums, many homeowners are sitting tight and taking the option to improve rather than move.
Home renovation tips
If you have made the decision to tackle home renovation you'll want to ensure the best value for money for your home improvements. Whilst doing-it-yourself will save you a lot of money, you will need to know a fair amount of basics before you can consider tackling major home renovation.

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Living Spaces

Freestanding fireplace for electric or gas fire
We have recently looked at how you can frame or makeover a built-in fireplace, but now look at building a fireplace surround for a freestanding electric or gas heater. Just like a built-in fireplace, an electric or gas heater can also be used to create a unique focal point or feature in a room.
Revamp an ugly fireplace
Whether your fireplace gets used annually or is just a hole in the wall that hasn't been used for ages, most fireplaces are a focal point in a room. Make your fireplace a 'stand out' feature with paint, tile or with a new DIY fireplace surround. And if your fireplace does get put into use during the colder months of the year here are a few ideas to get make your fireplace a feature.
Keep heat in and cold out this winter
You can switch on as much heat as you like to warm up a home, but if there are gaps under doors in your home, you're just wasting electricity. Install a door sweep to keep out cold draughts and your home - and family - will start to feel the heat.
Let more natural light into your home
If you find that your home has dark areas that don't receive any natural light, there are various home improvement projects that you could consider to let in more natural light, or allow natural light into dark areas.
DIY home renovations
These types are projects are not done in a weekend but they are projects that can be done by a DIY enthusiast who is prepared to put in the time and effort. With the proper materials, the right tools and some DIY savvy any homeowner can save thousands of rands by tackling a home renovation project, but care must be taken to do a professional job.
Window tinting & glass glazing
There is definitely some confusion between the terms 'window tinting' and 'window film' and we asked an expert window tinting company to explain the difference between these two window treatments.
Staircase ideas
When living in a double-storey townhouse or apartment, standard staircases fitted off-plan are usually as basic as they get. Timber beams and steps stained to match skirtings, windows and doors. But you don't have to live with standard fitted options when there are so many ways to dress up a staircase.
How to install ceiling insulation
Home owners spend a lot of money on heating and cooling the home yet home insulation offers an affordable and energy efficient way to keep a home cool or warm.
Organise a garage
If your garage is overflowing or packed to the brim with stuff, perhaps it's time to look at various storage options to get the space organised.
Home insulation saves you money
We've had a couple of very chilly days over the past two or three weeks. You can spend a lot of money on heating and cooling a home yet home insulation offers an affordable and more energy efficient way to keep a home cool or warm.
Solar tube skylights
Solar Tubes or Tubelites are an excellent way to get natural light into parts of your home that don’t have any windows, or rooms that are situated on the south-east side of a home. These skylights are one of the most popular home improvement projects being done right now.
Things to know about concrete countertops
I would like to share a few things we would do differently if we were to start over on our concrete countertops.Don’t get me wrong, we love our concrete countertops but we have also done some experimenting and would make a few slight changes. I’m hoping these will help some other brave people out who might just attempt this monster project too.
Dealing with noisy neighbours
With the increase in townhouse and apartment living, many homeowners share at least one wall with their neighbours. With single brick construction between dwellings, noise may be carried and be heard in the apartments or homes next door. The good news is that there are ways to soundproof your abode to reduce the amount of noise that you have to put up with.
Extend a home without adding on
You may not have the time or patience to throw yourself into an extension project at the moment, but there are clever ways you can trick the eye and give yourself a sense of more space more immediately. Not only that but you can physically open up a room to utilise existing space efficiently.
Visually enlarge a room with mirror doors
Whether you closet is in your bedroom, or in a small walk-in, adding a full length mirror to the doors will increase the amount of light in the room and add the illusion of space.
Gallery of ideas for using concrete
A small selection of modern homes that use concrete in inventive and imaginative ways.

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New Products & Materials

Tangit PVC-U Weld adhesive for PVC pipes
When you are using PVC pipes for installing a water feature, repairing a swimming pool, or for any craft or DIY project that uses PVC pipes, you need an adhesive that sticks fast and sticks strong. Tangit PVC-U Weld is the product you need.
Fit a water-wise shower head
Replacing your old shower head with a modern shower head doesn't take more than 30 minutes tops. With a few basic hand tools you can enjoy an entirely new showering experience, and probably save water while you do! You will find a variety of water-saving shower heads at your local Builders Warehouse.
Brick veneer wall cladding for indoors & outdoors
Not only does cladding with brick veneer add texture and architectural detail to walls, it's also a great way to cover up walls that are prone to hairline cracks, have a rough plastered finish, or blank walls that lack interest.
What is a stretch ceiling
Todays stretch ceilings consist of a suspended ceiling system that uses a lightweight PVC membrane and a track. The PVC membrane is stretched and clipped into the track to provide a perfectly flawless ceiling.
How to fix a chipped floor tile
I am sure that there are many homeowners out there who have at least one tile in their home that has been chipped. How do you repair a chipped tile? Here's how...

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Your Home Improvement Projects

Gazebo with IBR sheet roof
Out-the-box thinking transformed a gazebo kit into a more permanent structure for Mike and his family. An affordable gazebo kit from his local Builders Warehouse is fitted with an IBR sheet roof. Definitely a worthy entry into our Home Improvement Competition.
Bosch power tool hamper winner
Cobie Pretorius proudly displays his Bosch Power Tool hamper. Cobie single-handedly took on the task of renovating their kitchen from scratch, with only a few basic tools. Cobie was very chuffed to receive his Bosch Tool hamper that includes the Li-Ion range of cordless tools: Drill/Driver, Jigsaw and Sander.
Kitchen renovation from scratch
Colleen and hubby ripped out their old kitchen and installed a beautiful new kitchen - from scratch. The new dark wood kitchen features plenty of storage space and there was plenty of room to add an island that provides additional countertop working space and comfortably seats six.
Home Improvement Competition entries
We have had lots of readers sending through pics of projects they are tackling in their home - everything from updating a kitchen or bathroom, to adding on a room. We love hearing from you and please DO send through pics of renovations you are doing at home.
Die huisie by die see
Deon purchased his first home by the sea and hopefully wants to retire there. But quite a bit of work had to be done to get the house in good condition. As an entry into our Home Improvement Competition, here's what Deon did to tackle all the problems and faults in his Huisie by die see.
Outstanding DIY kitchen installation
This do-it-yourself kitchen shows how you can transform any space with just a few basic tools. Loraine and her husband Cobi transformed a boring space into a beautiful kitchen.
New laminate floor replaces grubby carpets
When it comes to replacing grubby and worn carpets there are quite a few flooring options to choose from. Home-Dzine reader, Barbara, opted for laminate floors in this bedroom.
A Benoni kitchen goes modern
After some constant begging and pleading, Morne tackled a kitchen renovation project in his Benoni home. The original kitchen was outdated with its old-fashioned cabinet doors and badly scratched countertops. The plan was to rip out and replace as much as possible without spending too much.
From shack to guest house
Originally a bathroom and shower, the Chelin family transformed the space into a small kitchenette over a period of six months, working every Sunday.
Unused bathroom becomes kitchenette
Using her basic knowledge of building and construction and unskilled labour, Annemarie transformed a dilapidated shack into an amazing guest house for when family and friends stay over.
Fireplace and wall cladding
Home-Dzine reader, Hilton Kinnear, installed a new fireplace in his home. Once installed, the next step was to add wall cladding to finish off the total look. The finished result is amazing!
Kitchen walls and countertops tiled
Suzette English transformed her dated kitchen by fitting new tiles onto the kitchen walls and tiling her kitchen countertops. To tie in with the new look, Suzette painted her kitchen cabinets in a crisp white colour, for a kitchen makeover that was affordable and worthwhile.
WINNER: Home-Dzine reader adds wall panelling
Home-Dzine reader, Donavan Packaree, transformed his living room with wall panelling, moulding and trim for a dramatic and affordable makeover. Using instructions found on the Home-Dzine website, Donavan used PG Bison SupaWood to create faux panelling around the bottom of the walls in his living room.
Complete passage transformation
They say a man’s home is his castle and this home is no exception; especially for Marilyn and her husband. From a shabby old farmhouse with Novilon covering the kitchen and bathroom walls and even the toilet; wallpaper on most of the other walls and with either Novilon or green carpet throughout, it has been transformed into a home where one would be proud to have friends over.
WINNER: Tin shack to modern home
It's a bold homeowner indeed who takes on the task of transforming a tin shanty to a luxurious home. Khensile Gomba is just that homeowner. Over the past two years Khensile has lived through the mess and hard work of building a home from the ground up. It's still a work in progress but already the new home starts to take shape.
Workbench for first DIY woodwork project
If there is one thing you need when starting out in DIY, it's a workbench and Werner in PE made a workbench for his first ever DIY woodwork project.
Hidden leaks bring about bathroom renovation
Home-Dzine reader, Tasha, bought her first home in October 2011, only to find that within the first month there were leaks in the main en suite bathroom.
Suprise bedroom makeover for daughter
Home-Dzine reader, Candice and her husband, whose 11 year old daughter was away for 2 weeks during the December holidays, decided to suprise her daughter by giving her bedroom a makeover.
WINNER: Guest toilet makeover
Just to show it can be done, Grant transformed a ho-hum guest loo into a beautiful, modern space in just under two weeks.  
WINNER: Faux rock cladding
Home-Dzine has previously featured rock cladding for walls, both faux and genuine rock veneer. For a small outlay you can instantly change the look and feel of any room in a home - in a weekend.
Project: Staircase renovation
I completely stripped this staircase, which was in a bad state of repair, and sanded the stairs down to the bare wood (all by hand and a small orbital sander).  
Project: Do-it-yourself kitchen renovation
Having the wood and materials cut to size for a new do-it-yourself kitchen makes the job much easier, plus the fact that you can save yourself thousands of Rands by doing it yourself. 

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