The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.


First House Renovation Almost Complete

Well, as expected it has been a stressful and very tiring week. I have been working all the hours I have been awake. Or at least it feels that way. Claire has even been sending me to work with extra flasks of coffee and energy drinks to keep me on my toes. By the time I get home at 9pm (or even later sometimes) I feel jittery and can't get to sleep. Great for the paperwork, but no so good for my body, I suspect!

But having said all this, the house renovation is looking great and I am making good headway with it. I think I can expect to be finished by the end of next week and then all the fun and games start. I have already seen the next project which is a rental property in need a big makeover.

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Footy Takes Pressure Off Chancellor

Well, it is budget time again and I love to be right. I did say that everything in the last budget was pointless as it would all change when the election was held and it appears to be the case. Only problem is that it may have changed, but it doesn't look any better. In fact, it is fair to say things are going to be much worse.

I fear that I was very wrong trying to earn extra money, as now we look likely to lose our child benefit. We come just above the cut off limit and while we might have some extra income, we also have some increased expenses. So the money which Claire uses for the kids clothes, for attending kids clubs and all those nice little extras which keep her sane simply won't be there. Either that or I will have to work even harder to supplement it. Or I may have to “massage” the figures to see if I can come in under the threshold. A chat with my accountant looks like it is on the cards. Add to that the fact I am also likely to pay a higher band tax, then life looks rosy – not!

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Freedom to Achieve

Having just watched a rather inspiring speech made to our parliament by Barack Obama, I kind of feel inspired to chat for a minute on some of the themes which came up. Funnily enough, I think it relates to the sort of life we lead as builders and tradespeople.

I am not the sort to get involved in political posturing. I mean I am not really into royalty or even very patriotic. But one thing has to be said for Americans. They really believe in what they say and what they do. They have this belief that no matter what they face, they can achieve their dreams.

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Gadgets Are Useful, But ...

Today I am going to have a chat about technology, you know, gadgets. Those horrible things that seem to run our lives these days, but succeed in making life hell for everyone else.

I am talking about a specific incident which set off my train of thought today. I was at my local Screwfix this morning and a fellow builder was in front of me in the queue. I would say that builders are often thought of as easy going, salt of the earth types and to be honest most are. But this guy happened to be on his mobile while in the queue, something which seemed to transform his personality.

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Give Me Home Repairs Any Day

This week I have learned the value of backing up files...I am the first to admit I am not very technical. I mean, give me a reciprocating saw, a current meter or even a calculator and whole load of variables and I am your man. But ask me to create a website or drop and drag some files and you have me flummoxed!

So this weekend when my computer decided to turn off and not turn back on again, I pretty much thought my life was over. All I could think about was all those files, the invoices, contacts and everything which make a small business run properly. Yes, I have learnt enough over the years to write the odd invoice and keep my finances more or less on the straight and narrow, but backing these files up...? No one told me I had to do that!

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Good Job I'm No Cowboy

I have started a new job this week. I finally got away from the warring divorcing couple and now I have a nice old lady who wants a few things done to her home to make it a bit more user friendly for someone of her advancing years.

So I am building a ramp up to her door, hand rails on either side of the door and in the bathroom and some little changes to the kitchen cupboards so she doesn't have to stand on stepladders to get at anything. Basically I am moving everything within arms reach.

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Good News - We Didn't Lose Money

I have made some great progress this week. The weather has really helped me to knuckle down and put in some seriously late nights and early mornings. If it is raining I don't mind being stuck indoors.

So the bathroom is finished, the kitchen is very close and the final finishing touches are underway. The main news is that we have registered the house with a letting agent. We are asking them to look after getting the tenant and all the legal guff which is required. But after that we will be responsible for collecting the rent, keeping up with maintenance and so on.

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Granite – How Hard Can It Be

This week we have been sanding, more sanding and oh, yes sanding some more. To get the right look downstairs we have decided to bring the existing oak floorboards back to what they were. Of course I figured this would have been a day or two at the most with a decent floor sander, but no...

It seems that everything that can be done to this floor has been. There is stuff spilled on it, sticky glue from where the carpets have been and huge scratches and dents. Trouble is, I am such a perfectionist that it isn't good enough for me to simply let the odd scuff mark go. It needed to be perfect. So we have gone over it several times but at last it’s right.

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Harder Than It Looks

I am officially exhausted and have been put on garden leave for two days this weekend. Clare has ordered me to take some time off and to be honest I am pleased. I felt that if I told her I needed a break she would start to panic about everything we haven't yet managed to do. But she says we need time to just chill out and spend some play time with the kids.

It is hardly surprising that I am so tired. I managed to install all of the windows this week at the little house. I did all of the upstairs on the weekend. To be fair this only meant three windows, but it was the first time I had done it and I was finding my feet. It is harder than it looks. It is getting the opening to the right size which I found the most difficult. I needed to be sure that there wouldn't be any cracks or openings and the last thing I wanted was loads of filler all around the edges.

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Holiday Hell For Marty

The weather doesn't seem to know if it is coming or going lately. One day it is so hot, you can't sleep and the next day you are contemplating putting the heating back on. But at least it seems like it is going to be settled for the next few days at the very least.

But all this changeable weather has had the effect of Claire wanting us to start getting ready for our holiday. You know the one in Disneyland, Paris. The one which is going to make me really grumpy. Yes, I know I love roller-coasters and adventure parks, but theme parks are something quite different.

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Hot under the collar

Well, I guess I have to agree with my wife. As much as it pains me to say it, writing this blog is actually helping me to feel more relaxed. All this week I have had something which has been bursting to get out and finally I get the chance to get it off my mind and onto yours.

Expenses. That's all I need to say to get you lot hot under the collar.

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How to Squeeze in a Bathroom

So, bathrooms. Today's lesson will be how to squeeze a full family bathroom into a room which ought to be a cloakroom (on a good day).

I suppose I should have considered stealing some space from one of the bedrooms or perhaps just decided to opt for a shower room, but I am pitching this house as a family home and so a full bath is called for.

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G L Smith and Sons