Doors - Danish oiling notes
There are many finishing products on the market to bring your timber doors back to their glorious original condition.
My preference is oil as it's one of the easier products to apply; it looks the most natural and smells nice as apposed to urethanes.
It's all in the prep
- Fill in any holes with matching wood filler
- Sand using various grades of sand paper
- Finish off with 320 grit sandpaper for a polished finish
We needed to save some money so we got some second hand floorboards to lay in the dining and lounge areas. We simply phoned around a few demo yards and took a quick trip to check them out. The boards were in good condition but covered in tar (which made my job a little harder).
Before you lay the boards bring them inside if you can and lay or stack them in the room, which you will be laying them. This allows them to dry and become closer to their true size so that when you actually come to lay them the shrinkage should be minimal.
The hardest part of laying floorboards is getting them tight together. One way of achieving this is to clamp a piece if wood close to the board and use wedges to force the board over. Another way is to use a chisel and lever it over if it's not too bent.
When laying floorboards make sure that you stagger the joints; don't lay the joists side by side.
If you can take a measure, saw a piece of wood and bang some nails then it is a DIY job.
- Rotten T & G floorboards cannot just be cut out. You first have to drill a series of holes both sides of the T & G (ends) which will be right on your joist lines and a series of cuts in the middle of the board, and then clean up with a very sharp chisel, removing the board from the existing t & g boards either end, carefully, so not to break off tongue.
- To replace a new bit you remove the bottom of the groove on the new piece of the board and then gently ease it into position.
If you have a sticky floor as we did when we removed the vinyl tiles from the dining room area, a quick and easy solution to remove the stickiness and the dangers it can create is to simply sprinkle some dust onto the gluey surface. I used gib- stopping powder but cement dust or sawdust, are examples of alternative things to use. It's a bit like making pastry; you flour the board to stop the pastry sticking to it.
Mike's guide to
My beginners guide to tiling is
- Always start with a square and plumb surface
- Use tiling mortar and follow manufacturers instructions, I normally swear by the one that comes with it's own bucket
- Apply an even application of mortar with the bevelled edge of your trowel, about 2 ml deep
- Peel off the tile backing
- Apply the tiles promptly and ensure they line up evenly.
- Sponge away any excess mortar or grout before it gets a chance to dry
- Cut tiles individually to fit into odd gaps
- Leave at least half a days drying time before grouting
Tiling walls and floors
Prepare the surface to be tiled by making sure the surface is flat and free of grease and dust. Fill any holes or cracks and remove any loose paint or wallpaper. In areas subject to moisture especially showers, use a waterproofing membrane to seal walls before tiling. Tiles and grout alone are not 100% waterproof.
Plan your layout, get the first row of tiles level and in the right position is most important, as this will determine where all the other tiles are placed. Normally you will start from the centre of a wall with either a tile or grout joint placed on the centre line whichever will give you the largest piece of tile when you reach the corner. It is important to check your levels. Try to avoid small or narrow cuts; tiny pieces tend to make the job look unbalanced.
Once the adhesive is dry, mix a small amount of grout and work it well into the grout joints using a grout float or rubber squeegee. Remove the excess grout from the surface of the tiles before it dries with a damp sponge. Have a bucket of clean water and rinse the sponge often. Wring out as much water as possible from the sponge and lightly wipe all the grout off the tiles until the tiles look really clean when wet.
Don't let grout dry on the tiles, and don't grout too big an area at one time before you start cleaning the excess grout off the tiles (it may take longer than you think).
After you have sponged off the grout so that the tiles look clean when wet and as the job dries there may be a light grout haze that develops but this haze can be buffed and polished off the tiles the next day. This buffing acts like a good cut and polish. Change your water often when cleaning the grouting off the tiles especially for that final once over. Putting grout haze remover in the final rinse often helps too.
Mix the grout up according to the instructions, unless using pre-mixed.
Remember a grout additive will make your grout perform better for little cost and you can also seal your grout. After the grouting has fully cured, 1 to 3 weeks use a grout sealer and seal your grout. This is a simple and easy way to make your tiling look better longer and also make cleaning a lot easier.
We do not recommend using white grout on floors but if you must, use an epoxy grout to avoid it staining. Normally floors are grouted with a light, medium or dark grey, charcoal, black or terracotta as these colours will be a lot easier to maintain. 90% of floors are grouted using a shade of grey grout.
Once the seating, steps, handrails and pergola were ripped out, the edges of the deck needed to be smartened up. For this I nailed some new decking timber along the edges. The deck itself was in good shape and I only had to cut out and replace a few damaged pieces. Fortunately no rot was found in the deck, only in the steps, which were demolished anyway.
All decks higher than one metre off the ground require a building consent and a council approved handrail. Handrails must be at least 1000mm in height from the deck with no gaps greater than 100mm.
Our deck was approximately 800mm from the ground so we did not
need a handrail around the deck, but we did need at least one
handrail for the steps because we had more than three risers. This
also is required for building consent. Our weatherboard handrail
also needed a 'grip' rail, such as a metal rod or wooden
The handrail was set beside the tri-fold door and a small matching 'wall' was built to connect the handrail to. This small wall beside the tri-folds enabled a keep to be fixed so that when the door was opened it could be latched back.
Tip: When ripping out timbers take time to either bend or pull out all the nails as you go. It really hurts when you tread on one!
Steve's decking tips
- For a great finish, make sure your nails are in a straight line and equally spaced. Use a string line, chalk line or straight edge.
- Pre drill nail holes to avoid splitting timber
- Leave the nail head proud and finish driving with a nail punch
- Holes for posts should be 350mm x 350mm x 450mm deep.
Please make note that if the deck requires bracing these dimensions may change
- Treads must be at least 280mm deep.
- Risers must be a maximum of 185mm high.
- Front of tread must overlap the back of tread below by between 15mm to 25mm.
- There can be no gap more than 100mm between the vertical distance of treads, therefore riser boards will be needed to close any gaps.
Working out steps involves a fair bit of calculating and adjustments and can be complicated for the novice.
First of all you have to determine where the steps will land and calculate the total rise from there in a level line. Remember that the ground coming away from the deck might not necessarily be level and the slope of the ground will affect the overall height of the steps. Consider: total run, the tread, total rise and the unit rise.
The total rise for our deck was 800mm max.
Step tread 310mm minimum
Riser 180mm max.
So if we start with 180 (max. height for a riser) divided by 800 (height of the deck) = 4.44 steps, we discover that we need 5 steps. Always round up your calculation. So we need 5 risers at 160mm each (800 divided by 5) that way all the steps will be the same.
Theme - Antique Romantic
I am going a bit girly in here, with a lovely antique rose as the main colour, almond cream above as per the other bedrooms, and a lovely decorative stencil in silver around the base of the walls.
Even though I have chosen deep rose as the main colour there is actually not that much of it, so it will not darken the room too much, especially with all the surrounding light colours and white accessories, including large rug.
I decided to paint over the wallpaper in my room however there is a bare patch that will require a little rehanging.
If your paper repeats itself, you should allow for an extra pattern match for each drop. Work out how often the pattern repeats itself and then allow that amount extra at the top of each drop. For example if the pattern repeats every 5cm, then allow 5cm extra at the top, if it repeats every 10cm then allow 10cm extra at the top, and so on.
Keep note of things like the wallpaper make and style for reference.
Pasting and hanging your wallpaper
As all paper has different ways of pasting it pays to follow the instructions on the wallpaper i.e. Pre-pasted wallpaper or un-pasted wallpapers
To hang, unfold the top section of the first strip of wallpaper and place straight on the wall. Leave 5cm of paper at the top and bottom.
Use a paper brush or sponge to smooth the wallpaper from the
centre outwards. This will push any bubbles away to the edges where
they can escape.
Wrinkles are a little harder to smooth out. You may have to carefully remove paper and rehang again.
If bubbles will not go through with careful smoothing, pierce it with a pin before the paper dries and then try smoothing it out.
Now trim the excess wallpaper at the top and bottom of the wall. Use a razor knife to make the cuts along the top and bottom of the wall. Check that the top and bottom of paper are stuck to the walls after you have trimmed.
Wallpaper will remain workable for approx. 10-15 minutes after soaking or pasting, so you have plenty of time to get paper on straight and smooth.