DIY Home Improvement: How to Apply Paint to Your Walls




Painting is the one job that the home handy person is more likely to tackle than any other job around the home. It ís the one where the least amount of things can go wrong, right?

Before You Get Started

But there are some things that can go wrong and you won’t know it until a few months have passed. Imagine your shock and horror when those layers of paint come flaking off, just a few months after all that hard work. How could this be? It ís simple; you didn’t wash the wall down properly first. There is mostly a layer of grease or scum that builds up on walls, particularly kitchen and bathroom, so paint will not adhere properly to the wall unless it is removed. Washing down with the proper ingredients may seem unnecessary, especially if the walls look clean, but it is one of the most important tasks.

But wait! First you must buy the proper paint. External paint for all outside painting including the covered-in veranda or deck and windowsills that get lots of sunlight; special paint for wet/steamy areas like bathrooms and kitchens. Ceiling paint for ceilings that is thicker and won’t splatter as much. Keep away from cheap paints. This is hard work and you want it to last as long as possible.

So scrub, then rinse if necessary. Allow to dry, and then fill any cracks or holes with putty. Sand the putty smooth when it is dry. Also sand back where there is any loose paint. If there are patches where there is no paint, dab those spots with a sealer/undercoat combo along with the putty spots. Place masking tape along edges where the paint is to finish and along light switches and window/door frames. If this takes all day, don’t sweat it, just do it. Many people prefer to remove the light fixtures and doorknobs completely.




Starting to Paint

Only when everything is properly prepared can you start to paint. Make sure there is plenty of air in the room; leave the doors and window open. Set the can of paint and the tray on layers of newspaper. Of course, you will have removed all the adornments such as pictures before you started. Cover all furniture that cannot be removed from the room with plastic or cotton sheets. Cover the flooring with plastic sheets. Bring in the ladder if you need it. Use a roller for large areas and a brush for the edges. Buy a good quality brush or you’ll end up with brush hairs throughout your paint. Leave the first coat to dry. If you are using a water-based paint this will only be a couple of hours, but an oil-based paint requires longer drying time.

If the original paint was in fairly good condition, you may only need one or two coats of paint, depending on the color. If you are changing the color scheme from dark to light, you may need more. Allow the paint to dry before removing the tape and replacing furniture and bric-a-brac.

Tip: If you’ve used the ladder for outside jobs, the feet may have a build-up of dried mud or dirt. Clean it off before you take it inside.




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DIY Home Improvement: How To Apply Wallpaper




Before You Start

Wallpaper application is not that hard, but it requires some specific preparation just like painting does. The job is made harder if you have to remove old wallpaper. Before you start, switch off the electricity and unscrew electrical plates. Tape over anything else. Buy a good quality wallpaper removal product and apply it with a sponge or garden-sprayer. Some wallpaper may be waterproof and so the substance won’t be able to penetrate, so go over the surface lightly with a perforating tool. The paste softener should work in about 15 minutes, and then you can start scraping.

You May Not Need To Remove the Old Wallpaper

If the wallpaper is in good condition and firmly attached to the wall, you may not need to remove it. In this case, paint over the surface. Use paint that is about the same shade as the background of the new wallpaper. All cracks and bumps need to be patched and sanded before you start. So – clean, patch, sand and prime using wallpaper primer which prevents paste and waste from being absorbed by the wall.




If You Are Removing the Old Wallpaper

Or if you are removing the original wallpaper, spray or sponge on two coats of remover and then pull off strips of paper in small or large sections, using a plastic and not metal putty knife as an aid. Then wash, putty, sand and prime the wall with special primer. It should be oil-based, since water will be used for the wallpaper paste.

Of course you will have measured the room so you know how much wallpaper you need. Now remove any head or base boards and cut the wallpaper into appropriate strips. Using a level and a pencil, mark the position of each strip lightly. Make sure you cut it so that the pattern matches up.

Two Types of Wallpaper

There are two types of wallpaper. One you must wet with water to activate the paste, the other you just pull a backing strip off gradually. For both sorts, start at the top of the wall, making sure you get it level. When doing subsequent strips, match, but don’t overlap the edges. For the wet one, lay each strip on the floor after wetting with the paste side up and wait for the paper to expand before hanging it.

Once each strip is up, smooth it gently with a damp sponge to get out any air-bubbles. A razor knife will come in handy to trim the edges. Some wallpaper must have the glue mixed and applied separately. It should be laid as above; making sure that the glue is spread as evenly as possible and has set slightly before you lift it up. Two people working together is helpful.




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Home Improvement: Structural vs. Cosmetic Improvements




Improvements or additions to your home come under two headings; structural and cosmetic. What is the difference?

Structural Changes

As the name might imply, structural changes include changes that are done to the deep structure of the house. This includes a new roof, electrical wiring or plumbing, and work on the foundations. If you decide to tear out a wall, that will be structural because it affects the internal structure. Consultation with a building professional should be sought to ensure there is no loss of strength to the rest of the house. You will also need to know if there is electrical wiring or plumbing behind the plaster. Damaging things unnecessarily is foolish and can lead to cost blowouts.

Structural work is often done to bring a dwelling up to local building standards. It could be that the flooring is not stable, or vermin have chewed through the wiring. The roof could leak and cause damage, so structural improvements are necessary. The trouble is, although it is necessary, it doesnít add that much to the actual look of the place, so if you are upgrading to resell it is not a money-spinner like cosmetic renovations often are. The buyer has a right to expect that structural conditions of the house are adequate and up to code, therefore you cannot offer that feature as a selling point to any great extent.

When planning structural work, you need to factor in the weather equation. You donít want to have the roof off in the blizzard season. If snow or wet weather is imminent, donít plan on reconstructing the flooring or pouring concrete.




Cosmetic Changes

Cosmetic changes, on the other hand, are what affects the look of the place and gives the property a wow factor. They include fresh paint or wall-paper, new carpet and window fittings, light-fitting and faucet replacements, light alterations such as new kitchen cupboards and landscaping. In general, they donít cost quite as much as structural changes, yet they add a great deal of value to the property. This is because they can be seen, and everyone wants the chance to rent or own a house that looks great.

One of the best ways to add perceived value to your property is with cosmetic changes. Often you can do them yourself, thus cutting costs even further. You donít usually need any permits or permission to do cosmetic changes. They can be done without regard to the weather in most cases, though painting requires a certain temperature range to be effective. Cosmetic changes will modernize your house and give it a good resale value, or just allow you to enjoy it more.




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