How to prepare for a garden summer party

Whether you are throwing an afternoon tea party for your children or inviting some close family members for a socially distanced garden party, now it’s the perfect time to get your garden ready.

You might have been avoiding your garden since last summer and now the weeds are tall, the patio is grubby and your garden furniture is covered in cobwebs. So, before thinking about what sandwich to serve at your afternoon tea or what cocktail to make for your garden party, give your garden some much needed attention.

If you haven’t been ignoring your outdoor area, perhaps you have a green thumb and already have your weeds cut and plenty of flowers blooming in your garden. There are still things you can do to make sure your garden area is ready to welcome your guests.

Make your patio look brand-new.

Remove built-up slime, debris, grime and moss with a pressure washer. You can rent one or book our jet washing specialists today to do it for you, so you can sit down and relax. We can blast away any inch of dirtiness with a jet washer and make your patio look freshly laid again.

Perhaps you’ve noticed grass or weeds growing between your paving stones which are making some of the stones crack, don’t worry! Our team can repair your patio jointing and regrout paving stones.

Give your garden furniture an uplift.

Pressure washers can also be used to give garden furniture a serious clean. If your wooden garden furniture is already squeaky clean but needs its shine back, it’s time to treat it. Treating wooden furniture will give it a longer life, help resist the elements and make it look brand-new.

If there is no way to restore your furniture or if you’d prefer to purchase new garden furniture, go for it! There is no need to struggle for hours trying to build new flat-pack furniture, our handymen in London can assemble your flat-pack garden furniture in no time. Put the furniture assembly instructions down, give our team a call on 0800-0-12-12-12 and enjoy the sunny weather.

Paint your home’s exterior.

Give the outside of your home a lick of paint for a quick refresh. Even simply glossing your fence and shed will do wonders to the look of your home! If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, our London decorators will come to the rescue and give the outside of your home a new coat of paint.

Light the way.

Make sure your exterior lights are working properly and, in case you don’t have any installed, maybe it’s time to consider putting some lights outside. Not only do lights improve visibility when it starts getting dark but lights can also be highly decorative and add a special touch to your outdoor area. If you need the Squad to help with any of these tasks, don’t hesitate to contact our team, who will be happy to help!

How to display your indoor plants

Have you just bought your first succulent and are looking for the best way to display it? Or perhaps you are a long-time plant lover who can’t stop buying new plants for their collection, so you desperately need some ideas on how to best display your plants to help you transform your jungle into an organised and well-thought plant haven? Yes, it is something achievable!

House plants are not only a great way to add greenery to a house but will also refresh and purify the air, lift your mood and brighten up your rooms. Plus, the plethora of house plants that is available means that you can find the perfect plant for any room in your home – bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, living room, you name it! Just remember to match the right plant to the right lighting and growing conditions, so it can thrive and bloom.

1. Hang loose.

Hanging plant pots, vertical gardens and wall planters are a beautiful way to display your house plants. There are many ways you can hang your plants, from installing hooks to hang plants from the ceiling to attaching your plant pots to the wall and even mounting trays of succulents on the walls to create vertical gardens.

It’s important that your hooks and brackets are properly fitted to ensure that your plants will hang securely in place. Also, there are things to consider when hanging things on walls, for instance, the type of wall, positioning, hidden cables and pipes behind the walls and the size and weight of what you want to hang. So, maybe it’s best to leave to the professionals? Our handymen in London will be able to hang plant pots efficiently and promptly.

2. Shelf it.

Add a shelf above your bed, on top of your kitchen cupboards, next to your desk, in the corners of your room – wherever! Perhaps add a wall of shelves to fill it with plants, a great way to layer different sized plants and leaf shapes. If you can’t find the perfect shelf for your wall, why not go for bespoke shelves? Custom-made shelves will fit your room perfectly!

3. Light it up.

You can install plant grow lights to help your houseplants grow and flourish or simply add some dramatic lighting to make your plants more eye-catching. Our London electricians will be able to help you install new lights to make your plant display even more special.

4. Think behind the plants.

If you found the perfect spot for your Monstera deliciosa think about what’s surrounding the plant – the walls, the furniture, everything. You might want to move your furniture around to make your plant the centrepiece or the focal point of your room. To make your plant stand-out even more, why not paint your walls a different colour? Go for bright colours, a two-tone wall or whatever colour you would like! Our decorators in London will paint your room in a splash, so you don’t have to get your hands dirty.

Give our team a call today on 0800-0-12-12-12 or alternatively, request a free quote by filling our online booking form.

How to keep rainwater away from your home

With April showers on their way, it’s important to ensure your home is safeguarded from the rain. Not only can the rainwater put a damper on your gardening activities but it can also have a big impact on your home.

Water damage can create mould, wood rot and foundation cracks, so it’s vital to prevent water from entering your home. Here are some ways to ensure that your home stays dry this Spring.

Waterproof your exteriors.

Start by looking at the exterior of your home, can you see any cracks or openings where water could come through? Start by sealing those. Inspect the rest of your exteriors and properly maintain them. After all, the exterior of your home is the first line of defence against rainwater.

Related post: How to winter proof your home.

Seal windows and doors.

If you feel a cold breeze coming through your windows and doors, it means that these are not properly draughtproof. If wind can pass through these openings, so can water. If you are not sure how to draughtproof your home or if you simply don’t have time, the Squad can help. Our London handymen will be right at your door ready to seal your windows and doors.

Clean gutters.

It’s important to clean your gutters every year. This will ensure that your gutters won’t get clogged and that rainwater can smoothly flow down the drainpipe.

Mind the roof.

Take good care of your roof by hiring a professional to have a look at it from time to time. An experienced person will be able to check if there are any repairs to be done as well as any small issues that need to be addressed.

Check the drainage.

It’s also essential to have proper drainage. This will guarantee that water will be diverted away from the base of your home.

In case you need a helping hand with any of these tasks, our skilled tradesmen are one call away. We’re polite, friendly, highly-experienced and CRB checked, so you know that your home will be in safe hands. Request a quote today by filling our online booking form or give our team a call on 0800-0-12-12-12.

Easy home improvement projects for the winter

Are you looking out of the window, staring at the rain and wondering what you could do to give your home a bit of an upgrade? Or perhaps on a cold winter night, you’re binge-watching the Homebuilding & Renovating Show and are inspired to give your home a quick makeover? We’ve put together a few home improvement projects to cheer you up on a cold winter day.

  1. Give your interiors a new lick of paint.

If you’re tired of the same white coloured walls in your living room or bedroom, maybe it’s time to choose a brighter and more exciting colour. In case you don’t want to paint the entire room, you can simply paint an accent wall. Trust us, a simple change of colour will transform the overall look and mood of your home.

Does this sound like too much hassle? Get the Handy Squad to do it. We’ll be able to paint your home interiors, paint an accent wall or if you don’t want something as permanent, we can hang up wallpaper too.

  1. Change out your kitchen cabinet hardware. 

Replacing cabinet hardware couldn’t be any easier and you can even do it with a cuppa in one hand and a screwdriver in the other Changing these small details can have a huge impact on the overall look of the kitchen. Go a step further and paint your kitchen cabinets for a full kitchen makeover.

  1. Look at your bathroom.

Are you happy with your bathroom or is there something missing? Maybe the silicone around your bath or grout in between the tiles is getting grubby – time for some changes. Replacing silicone and re-grouting tiles should be an easy task to complete during a weekend.

If you want to completely change your bathroom, we would recommend calling a professional. At the Handy Squad, we are able to replace bathroom tiles, change bathroom fixtures and much more.

  1. Follow Maria Kondo’s footsteps.

And declutter, declutter and declutter a bit more. If you are waiting for Spring to come so you can do your annual home declutter and cleaning, don’t. Get some decluttering out of the way now, so then you can enjoy the warm(ish) Spring weather.

If you are not sure how to declutter, follow Marie Kondo’s method and ask yourself “Do I love it, do I need it?”. And don’t try to tackle your entire home at once, start small and go slowly.

  1. Give your entrance an uplift.

If you feel brave and determined, put on your raincoat on and head outdoors to the entrance of your home. Is your door handle looking old and worn out? Is the paint on your front door starting to chip? If so, maybe it’s time to replace your door handle and maybe repaint your entrance door.

These home improvement projects are guaranteed to keep you active and to cure the winter blues. If you need a helping hand completing any of these projects, don’t hesitate to ring the Handy Squad – we’ve always got your back. Simply call 0800-0 12 12 12 and let us know how we can help. Alternatively, request a free quote by filling our online booking form.

How to unstick a door

So, you’ve got a stubborn door that keeps getting stuck to the door frame, making it very difficult to open. This is the last thing you want to deal with, even more, when you are running late for work or school, but you simply don’t haven’t had the chance to fix it or don’t know how to do it.

You’ve finally taken some time out of your busy schedule to repair your door, so you can stop having to think about it and stumbled upon our blog post. That’s perfect, continue reading to find out how to unstick doors. In case you don’t have time to do it yourself, call the Squad on 0800-0-12-12-12 and we’ll send our London carpenters to unstick your door.

  1. Identify the problem.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand the reason why your door is not opening properly before looking into the solution. Closely examine the door to find the problem area.

    • If there is any dirt or grime built-up on the door you might just need to clean it.
    • In case you can hear the hinges squeaking it might mean that they need to be oiled.

The most common reason for doors to stick is actually the weather – there might be an abundance of moisture in the air due to rainfall which can cause wood to swell.

  1. Fixing a swollen door.

If you can easily access the problem area with the door open, you can sand it down using a coarse-grit sandpaper. However, you might have to remove the door from the door frame by removing the hinges, and then sanding the problem area, in case you can’t easily access it.

Once you’ve sanded the door enough so it’s closing and opening smoothly, don’t forget to repair the finish by painting or staining the area to match the rest of the door. Let it fully dry before closing the door.

Don’t have time in your hands to fix your door? At the Handy Squad, we have a team of carpenters in London who will be able to give you a helping hand with any door-related task you might need, from hanging new doors and repairing door frames to planing doors.

How to get your home ready for the holiday season.

Looking forward to the festive season ahead and to having your friends and family around to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year? If you are looking forward to it but haven’t had the time to get anything done around the house or don’t even know how you will find time to do so, don’t worry – the Squad is here to help. Take a deep breath because we’ve put together a list of how to get your home ready for the festivities to make everything easier. However, if you simply don’t have time or don’t want to get your hands dirty, call the Handy Squad and we’ll get your home ready for Christmas in no time.

  1. Declutter, organise and clean.

Decluttering your home is highly important and it should be on the top of your list this Christmas. The last thing you want is for your guests to feel cramped and uncomfortable in your home due to the lack of space, so get it to it!

Go around your home and grab anything you don’t need or want and make three piles: sell, give and throw away. Once you’ve cleared out all these unnecessary belongings, it’s time to organise the ones you decided to keep and to clean everything.

  1. Winter-proof your home.

So, it’s Christmas day and you’re having your family around when your radiators start to make a strange noise and stop working. Your home starts to get home and the only thing you can do is to hand out blankets to everyone.

Before this happens to you, make sure you have your home ready for the cold months and that you’ve serviced your radiators and boilers. Also, don’t forget to draughtproof your windows, doors and other small gaps to ensure the warm air stays in and the cold air stays outside.

Related post: How to winter-proof your home.

  1. Get Christmassy.

Now it’s time to decorate your house. Get all your family members together (because that’s the best way to do it) and put up Christmas lights on the bannister and wherever you feel like they will look good, put up the Christmas tree and any other Christmas decorations you’ve around. Don’t forget to decorate the front garden and your entrance door!

Related: Help to set up your Christmas tree and decorations at home or in the office

If you are more of a Grinch and Christmas is not your thing, we make your life easier as well – we can block up your chimney, so Santa doesn’t stop by yours. However, in case you absolutely love Christmas but can’t find the time to prepare your home for the season, give the Squad a ring on 0800-0-12-12-12 and we’ll be ready to help (no matter if you’ve been nice or naughty this year!).

How to save energy during the winter

The cold days are here to stay, and much as it pains us to type this, they are here to stay for a long time (and you know it). This means that it’s time to start layering clothing, drinking mulled wine, listening to the sound of a burning fireplace and thinking about ways to stay warm at home without worrying about the energy bills at the end of the month. To give a helping hand, we’ve put together some low-cost tips on how to save energy during these colder times.

Seize the sunlight.  

During the day, open the curtains on your south-facing windows, so that natural sunlight warms up your home. Once the night comes, close the curtains to help keep the heat inside and cosy up.

Drafts? No, thank you.

Any gaps on windows and doors can easily let warm air out and cold air in. To tackle this problem, try installing draft proofing strips or draft excluders on both your windows and doors. Don’t forget to also cover letterboxes, keyholes and cat flaps. If you don’t have enough time on your hands to do this by yourself, give the Squad a call on 0800-0-12-12-12 and let us draughtproof your home.

Seal the deal.

Find and seal leaks around chimney gaps, recessed lights in insulated ceilings, unfinished spaces behind closets and cupboard or even around utility cut-throughs for pipes.

Push the button.

Some appliances, such as televisions, chargers, hairdryers, and irons continue to use up energy even when they are not turned on. So, instead of wasting energy, when you are not using your appliances, remember to switch them off. Also, don’t leave your phone on charge all night, it won’t need that long!

Light it up.

Switch your lightbulbs for energy-saving LED bulbs. These bulbs use much less energy than normal ones plus, last much longer than non-energy-saving ones. Our London electricians will be able to replace your lightbulbs in no time!

Change it around.

If your radiator is being blocked by a sofa or a bed, it means that the heating is getting absorbed by the item in front rather than warming your whole room. Change the placing of your furniture, so you’re the one benefiting from the warmth. Need an extra pair of hands? The Handy Squad can lift and shift your furniture – leave the heavy stuff for us!

Also, if you’ve noticed that your radiator isn’t working properly it might mean that it’s time to bleed it or repair it. We’ve written a whole blog post about how to fix issues with your radiator, so if that’s what you’re looking for, hop on to that page.

If you need a professional to ensure that you have a cosy and warm winter at home, our team will be happy to help! Request a free quote today by filling our online booking form.

How to paint kitchen cabinets

It’s been a few years since you’ve moved into your house. When you first moved in you had all of these ideas about renovating the place and a large collection of Pinterest images of your dream kitchen. Now, you’ve made up your mind and are ready to start renovating your kitchen. At this point, nobody can stop you.

But then, you start to think if you really want to go through all the trouble of a full revamp and feel like a refresh might do just the trick. Even better! We think that giving your kitchen a small refresh, like painting the kitchen cabinets, will actually have a big impact on the overall look. Now, all you have to do is put your sleeves up and get to work. Wonder how to do it? Keep on reading.

  1. Pick a colour, any colour.

When it comes to choosing the right colour for your own kitchen, there is no right or wrong answer. However, it is important to pick the right colour the first time around, as the last thing you want is to re-paint your cabinets right after painting them. The easiest way to see which colour suits your kitchen is to get a few colour samples, tape them to the current cabinets and see how you feel.

  1. Preparation is key.

Start by removing the doors, drawers and all hardware (hinges and door handles). Don’t think that you can skip this step and decide to paint over the hinges and door handles – trust us, it’s not a good idea.

Make a quick sketch of all the doors and drawers in your kitchen and number them. Then, label the doors and drawers with the corresponding number. The last you’ll want to be doing after all your hard work is to be guessing where everything goes.

Next, time to clean! Wipe everything down with a grease remover. This is a very important step because paint won’t stick to greasy cabinets.

  1. Sand it down.

Sand everything with a medium grip sandpaper. This will help the paint stick to the surface. Fold the sandpaper in half to get into the detailed areas on doors, drawers and door frames. After sanding, don’t forget to clean all the surfaces with a vacuum cleaner. 

  1. Don’t forget to prime.

Primer will also help the paint stick to the surface plus, it will cover any imperfections.

Top tip: if you have oak cabinets and are looking for a smooth finish, we would recommend filling the open pores before painting with several coats of primer or with spackling paste.

  1. Embody Bob Ross.

This is our favourite bit. Use a paint roller on larger surfaces to speed things up and then use a paintbrush lightly over the surface to ensure there are no roller marks. If you prefer to take your time, use a paintbrush all around. Whilst applying the paint, finish with top-to-bottom strokes along the wood grain.

  1. Assemble and admire.

Finally, let your masterpiece fully dry. Then, follow the sketch you did earlier with the positioning of your kitchen cabinets and put everything back in place.

If all of this seems too much, too time-consuming or you simply don’t want to get your hands dirty, don’t worry – the Squad will come to the rescue. Our team of highly experienced decorators in London will be able to give your kitchen cabinets a new lick of paint whilst you put your feet up and enjoy a warm cuppa. Request a free quote today by filling our online booking form or give us a call on 0800-0-12-12-12.

 

Disclaimer

At the Handy Squad we strongly advise that you always take safety precautions into consideration when undertaking a DIY project. We also strongly suggest that you closely read and follow the instructions, that are provided by the manufacturer, of any building materials, products or tools you use for your projects.

Our aim is to provide you with clear and correct instructions, so that you can easily complete any DIY project you desire. However, please note that the information we provide should only be used as a guideline and that some information within the text may not be entirely accurate.

When using our articles for information and advice, please note that it is your own responsibility to determine whether you are capable of undertaking and executing the task you wish to complete.

Before starting a DIY task, it is essential that you inform yourself of any existing building, gas, water and electrical works regulations. If you were to have any further concerns, we recommend that you complete additional research and/or contact the necessary professional body.

We also strongly recommend that a qualified tradesperson completes the relevant safety tests and checks on any DIY work you have completed. 

How to repair a broken tile

Tiles are known for their durability and low maintenance. However, tiles can eventually crack when exposed to pressure changes, normal ageing or a sharp blow from a heavy object.

Maybe you were minding your own business making dinner and dropped your large Paella cooking pan on the floor. Thankfully, the food is still intact and smells amazing, but there is some bad news… a crack on the floor tile. Some good news is that it was only a hairline crack.

Even though it was such a small crack, you kept thinking about it and it even felt like it was looking at you every time you walked by. It’s time to do something about it. That’s where we come in – continue reading to figure out how to make this sight for sore eyes gone for good.

How to repair a hairline tile crack

If the tile in question simply has a small hairline crack, there is a temporary solution – to cover it with paint.

  1. Find a paint that matches the colour of the tile and mix it with tile filler.

  2. Clean the tile with a cloth and soapy water, rinse it and allow it to completely dry.

  3. Carefully paint the crack with a small brush or a cotton bud.

How to repair a deeper tile crack

If the tile crack is deeper than a hairline or if the tile has broken into two pieces, we would recommend removing the tile and replacing it for a new one.

      1. Place tape around the surrounding tiles to prevent any damage.

      2. Remove the cracked tile’s grout with a grout remover.

      3. Carefully drill holes into the tile. (Don’t drill too deeply, you only want to loosen the tile)

      4. Gently chip the damaged tile away and remove any old adhesive from underneath.

      5. Clean the area before laying a new tile.

       

      6. Put adhesive on the back of the tile and fit it in place.

      7. Fill the joints with new grout, wait for it to settle and then clean any excess off.

      If you don’t feel confident enough carrying out this task, we are here to help. At the Handy Squad, we have a team of highly experienced London tilers who will help you with any tiling needs you require. Request a free quote today by filling our online booking form or give us a call on 0800-0-12-12-12.

       

      Disclaimer

      At the Handy Squad we strongly advise that you always take safety precautions into consideration when undertaking a DIY project. We also strongly suggest that you closely read and follow the instructions, that are provided by the manufacturer, of any building materials, products or tools you use for your projects.

      Our aim is to provide you with clear and correct instructions, so that you can easily complete any DIY project you desire. However, please note that the information we provide should only be used as a guideline and that some information within the text may not be entirely accurate.

      When using our articles for information and advice, please note that it is your own responsibility to determine whether you are capable of undertaking and executing the task you wish to complete.

      Before starting a DIY task, it is essential that you inform yourself of any existing building, gas, water and electrical works regulations. If you were to have any further concerns, we recommend that you complete additional research and/or contact the necessary professional body.

      We also strongly recommend that a qualified tradesperson completes the relevant safety tests and checks on any DIY work you have completed. 

How to unblock a sink

After a long day at work, you get home and are ready to eat a comforting meal and put your feet up. However, when you get to the kitchen, something is not right – there is an extremely unpleasant smell coming from the sink. You’ve decided to run the tap for a while and the water is taking a good few minutes to drain plus, there is this strange gurgling sound… We’re afraid you have a blocked sink.

We know this is the last thing you wanted to worry about when you got home, but you’ll have to do something about it. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to tackle this problem.

  1. Get out the plunger.

Guess what? This is the perfect moment to use that plunger that you thought you throwing out a couple of times because you haven’t used it since you’ve bought it. Dig it out from your appliances room and get to work.

Place the plunger over the plughole in your sink and cover with water to create an airtight seal. Grip the handle with both hands and pump it up and down – this will suck the air out of the pipe and force it back in. Fill the sink up and if it drains quickly, you know the blockage is clear!

If you don’t have a plunger and it’s too late to go to your nearest shop to get one, move on to the tips below.

  1. Blast it with water.

A high-pressure blast of water might be able to push out whatever is blocking the sink. Simply take a 2-litre drink bottle and fill it with warm water. Tip it upside down and place the open end down the plughole. At the same time, quickly squeeze the bottle to force the water out of the bottle as fast as possible. 

  1. Use a drain cleaner.

If the plunger and the water pressure didn’t work, it might mean that the blockage is dense and greasy. This means that you’ll need something to break it down.

There are many chemical drain cleaners which work wonders, however, if you don’t have any at home or have no time to go outside to purchase one, you might have to use some items which you’ll find in your kitchen cupboard.

  • Baking soda and vinegar.

Add two teaspoons of baking soda to a cup of white vinegar, then pour the mixture down the plughole. Leave it for a few minutes and then flush the blockage with some hot water.

  • Bleach and hot water.

Pour some bleach through the plughole at night before going to bed and then flush it with hot water in the morning.

  1. Clear out the blockage by hand.

Be aware that you’ll have to get your hands dirty for this one plus, a tough stomach will definitely help. If you are not happy doing this job, give the Squad a call on 0800-0 12 12 12 and we’ll be there in a jiffy.

If none of the methods above have worked, you will have to dive into your kitchen cupboard and wrench off the U-bend of the sink to clear it out by hand.

Firstly, put on a pair of rubber gloves and put down some old towels and a bucket under the U-bend.

Then, use a wrench to slowly unscrew the threaded caps from each side of the U-bend.

Take the U-bend and any dismantled bits to another sink or outside tap. Clean them thoroughly. A wire coat hanger can also help to clean out the inside of the pipe.

Finally, re-attach the U-bend and run the tap to make sure everything you’ve just fitted is watertight.

Still have a blocked sink? Maybe it’s time to call a professional. Our London plumbers are experts at unblocking all plumbing fixtures, from unblocking basins, unblocking baths to unblocking showers and unblocking sinks. Call today on 0800-0 12 12 12 or request a free quote by filling our online form.