In the May issue property expert Sarah Beeny gives her step-by-step guide on how to tackle some of the more common household jobs. Here are a few more of her insider tips to ensure that professional finish…
…countersink a screw
If the screw head is left sitting proud of the surface, remove it and then drill a wide shallow hole into the pilot hole, (a small hole that you have drilled prior to ensure the screw goes in easily) big enough so that the screw head sits just below the surface. It can then be filled and the screw head hidden. You can buy a special countersink bit for your drill or just use a large bit, big enough to make a dip.
…insert wall plugs
Screws will only hold in masonry walls if used with wall plugs. As you screw into it, the plug expands to grip the sides of the hole, holding it in place. Choose wall plugs based on the material being fixed to and the weight of object being attached. Solid masonry wall plugs are usually yellow, red, brown or blue, with colour indicating size. Hollow wall fixings are usually grey, white or metal. Ensure the plug is long enough to receive the screw.
…sand effectively by hand
Sandpaper is graded by the number of abrasive particles per square inch. The lower the number, the coarser the grit and the rougher the finish. Coarse, medium and fine grades are really all you need for general DIY. You will use fine grades for finishing but coarser grades for smoothing cut ends. Coarser grades remove more material but leave a rougher finish; finer grades remove less but give a smoother finish. Sand using progressively finer grades for best results.
Sandpaper usually comes in 230 x 280mm sheets. Cut them into quarters and wrap around a sanding block. Blocks are usually made of cork but you could also use a bit of wood measuring roughly 90 x 65 x 25mm – about the size of a washing-up sponge. Always sand with the grain – in other words, along the line of the wood.
Follow these key steps: clean; sand; prime; undercoat; two coats of topcoat paint. Painting wood is a combination of these steps, so select as appropriate. Firstly prepare thoroughly so surfaces are clean, grease and dust-free and other surfaces are protected. Make sure you buy the best paint and brushes you can afford as quality does make a difference. It’s much better to paint two thinner coats than try to apply too thick a coat at once. You don’t want the paint to drip.
All tips taken from Sarah Beeny’s 100 DIY jobs, Quadrille, £19.99