Painting Tools — How to Use and Care for Them

Painting is one of the most essential DIY jobs – with a quick brushstroke and your favourite paint colour, you can completely change the look of a room (or re-touch any chipped areas to refresh a space!).

At the Handy Squad, we have painted many homes and commercial spaces in London – from painting front doors to painting offices spaces and even painting home exteriors… we sure know a thing or two about painting. One of the things we can all agree on is the importance of caring for your painting tools.

Whether you use paint brushes or prefer paint rollers, it is essential to look after your tools and maintain them properly to ensure these continue to work as they should for many years to come.

Paint Brushes

Still the default painting tool, brushes come in many types and depend partly on what you’re willing to pay. You can make do with perfectly adequate cheap brushes which you discard after use. On the other hand, reusable brushes go up to professional quality, and the best synthetic fibres both give a finer finish and don’t shed bristles.

Using water-based paint.

The way you clean and store brushes depend on the paint you’ve been using. If it’s water-based, just clean them with water and wrap them in any of the various substances from lint-free cloth to foil.

Using oil-based or solvent-based paint.

If you’re using oil-based or solvent-based paint, brushes should be stored immersed in the recommended cleaning fluid, ensuring the bristles aren’t resting on the bottom of the container. You can use an improvised container or buy a purpose-made cleaning tub, which will come with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Paint Rollers

The quickest and most efficient way to cover large surfaces is to use a roller, although you’ll still need brushes for edges and corners. It’s also worth remembering that rolled coats are thinner than if you use brushes, so you’ll need more of them.

If you’re using a roller, you need to buy trays of non-drip emulsion. The type of roller sleeve you use will determine the finish — short-pile for a smooth surface, for instance, or shaggy sheepskin for texture.

Whichever you use, when you’ve coated the roller with paint, roll it across the tray’s ribbed surface to ensure a smooth covering. To get a smooth blend at the edges, always work your way back to the area you’ve covered when you start with a newly charged roller.

Paint Pads

Paint pads, rectangular bonded fibres with a foam back that allows for flexibility, are ideal if you want to cover a large area with liquid paint. The paint tray that comes with them has a built-in roller, allowing you to remove excess paint. With the pad flat against the wall, gently scrub it from the corner, painting strips around four-time the pad’s width.

Paint Pods

This is a power painting tool, allowing the paint to feed through from the paint pack to a roller attachment. It also has a triangular brush for painting the edges. It has a self-cleaning cycle, clearly explained in the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you want to free yourself from the job of painting and are looking for “painters and decorators near me“,  it’s time to call the Squad. Our experienced team of painters and decorators in London will be able to paint kitchen cupboards, repair cracks in wallshang wallpaper and complete many other tasks to uplift the look of your property. Wait no further – contact us today and let us know how we can help! Alternatively, request a booking by filling our online form.

How to fix a leaking tap (DIY Guide)

Leaky taps might not seem like a big deal at first. However, when left unchecked or repaired, leaking taps may lead to worse water damage and more costly repairs. Plus, leaking taps are not pleasant… they waste water, increase bills, stain skins and the sound “drip, drip, drip” can keep you up at night.

It’s time to roll your sleeves up and repair the tap. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, don’t have the time or simply would prefer to leave it to the professionals, the Squad can help. At the Handy Squad, our team of London plumbers will be able to repair taps, repair leaks and more. So, if you have a leaking tap and need an extra pair of hands – get in touch.

Materials.

  • Screwdriver
  • Adjustable spanner
  • Washer

Step by step instructions.

Step 1 – Turn off the isolation ball valve on the pipe under the sink. Turn it off by turning the screw head of the isolation tap with a screwdriver. Some isolation valves have a handle. Whether it is a screw head or a handle, the isolation valve should be turned so it is at a right angle (horizontal) to the flow of the pipe. A parallel position (or vertical) means on.

Note: This applies to both cold taps and hot taps. We recommend turning the isolation valve off for both taps and then drain the remaining water from the taps.

In case you do not have an isolation valve, you will have to switch off the external water supply and then drain the remaining water.

Step 2 – Let the water drain completely. Turn on the tap to let the remaining water drain.

Step 3 – Remove the tap head and undo the headgear nut with an adjustable spanner.

Step 4 – Unscrew the nut and, then, remove the headgear assembly.

Step 5 – Replace the washer with a brand-new one and re-assemble the headgear the same way you disassembled it.

Step 6 – Turn on the isolation valve and test the tap.

 

 

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.

Why hire a professional to jet wash a patio

Whether you want to get ready for the first barbecue of the year by making your outdoor space look as good as possible or have simply noticed that the patio is looking dull and grubby – it’s time for a jet wash.

You might be inclined to do it yourself. You think that all you have to do is purchase a pressure washer, any washing chemicals needed and put time aside during your weekend to do it. It looks easy, why wouldn’t you be able to do it? You forget that you will get all dirty, wet and spend the whole day trying to get your patio looking good and in the end… it doesn’t look as good as you wish. Is it worth it?

Related: When to jet wash a patio?

Enjoy your weekend and hire a professional to jet wash your patio instead. Put your feet up, have your favourite drink and take your mind off of all the stresses you have whilst a professional is taking care of your patio. That sounds much better, right? But that’s not all. Here’s why you should hire a professional to complete jet washing services.

Saves money.

When you put together all the costs of pressure washing your patio, it might be cheaper to hire a professional who already has all the tools necessary to complete the job. If you end up buying a pressure washer – will it be a good investment? Will you use it enough?

Yes, you could rent a pressure washer to cut down costs but do you have the time to jet wash your whole patio or the skills to do it as well as a professional would?

It’s convenient.

Hiring a professional is convenient. It will save you time and energy. No more having to free up your whole weekend to complete a single house chore – leave it to the pros and make the most out of your weekend.

Prevents damage.

When working with high pressure, it is essential to use it with care. Plus, different surfaces will require different techniques as well as more or less pressure. If you do it yourself, you might end up breaking bits of old patio slabs or even getting rid of the grouting, meaning you will have to also regrout your patio after.

Better result.

Pressure washing can be tricky but professionals have done it countless times. So, they know how to do it (and do it well!). No matter how large your patio surface is or the type of surface, professionals will be able to achieve the best result possible and make your patio look brand-new once again.

If you are looking for “jet wash near me” or “jet washing services near me”, search no further than the Handy Squad. We offer a variety of jet washing services, from jet washing paving stones to jet washing stone steps and more. Our professional team can also jet wash garden furniture and, to give your patio a fresh look, we can also repoint patio slabs.

Contact our team today and let us know how we can help. Give us a call on 0800-0 12 12 12. Want to call from outside the UK? Call 020 7384 5160. Alternatively, request a free quote by filling our online booking form.

How to Apply Silicone Sealant

If you have your bathroom tiled by a London tiler, they’ll also give your bath and sink a water-tight silicone seal to prevent leaking. This is a skilled job, and the safest way to ensure it’s done properly is to leave it to a professional, but if you’re an expert DIYer you may prefer to try it for yourself.

Maybe your silicone sealant has become discoloured, maybe it’s time for a change. You can choose to do it yourself but if you are short on time, why not hire our professional tradesmen? Don’t worry about searching for “silicone sealant services near me“, we will be able to help. Our expert tradesmen can do much more than applying new silicone, we can give your whole bathroom a refresh! From tiling bathrooms walls to tiling kitchen floors and even re-grouting tiles… we can do it all.

However, if you are ready to apply silicone sealant yourself, here are a few things to bear in mind.

Get the right materials.

You can’t do a good job without the right materials, in this case, the silicone and the skeleton gun. Different brands of silicone vary enormously in quality, while a cheap gun won’t give you ideal results. The best thing is to discuss your options with staff at a good hardware shop.

Clean the surface.

Make sure the surfaces are clean and dry so the silicone will adhere well. You can get a more even application if you put tape around the silicone tube to prevent expansion, which can make it expel more than you want. The nozzle should be cut cleanly, with a sharp knife, at an angle of around 30-45%.

If you’re siliconing the bath, fill it with water. This means the seal will be at its biggest before you seal it, and both joint and seal will be compressed when you empty it, reducing the stress on it when you use the bath or shower.

Apply the silicone.

Position yourself so you can do a full run from a stationary position, since moving while applying the silicone could affect the consistency. Put just enough pressure on the trigger so it expels a small bead, and keep the pressure the same to ensure the same amount all along the run. Remember that the silicone will spread as you smooth it down, so you only need a little.

Smooth it off.

You might be asking “how to get a good finish with silicone sealant?”. There are a few ways of smoothing silicone sealant. You can use your fingers or you can use a smooth tool – it’s up to you.

Have a cup of soapy water beside you and wet your finger to smooth down the silicone immediately after application. It isn’t advisable to use spit to wet your fingers, as it contains bacteria that may lead to mould developing. Make sure you also have cloths or kitchen rolls to clean your fingers and the nozzle of the gun.

With a smooth tool, you can easily go over the sealant in one go and smooth it out whilst removing any excess silicone (a much easier alternative!).

Vital to get right.

Siliconing is a job that can produce disastrous results if you get it wrong, since an incomplete seal will mean water seeping down behind your bath, perhaps doing permanent damage. Only try it if you’re an experienced DIYer — and, above all, if you have a very steady hand.

If you’re not completely confident of this, you might be better off hiring a professional tiler in London, or wherever you’re based. Handy Squad will always be happy to help with this. So, whether you are looking to replace silicone sealant or apply new silicone sealant, give our team a call and let us know how we can help.

 

 

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.

What are odd jobs?

You might have heard people talk about odd jobs or perhaps someone said they needed an “odd job man” but what does that mean?

An odd job man is someone who is skilled at various odd jobs and other small tasks. The Cambridge Dictionary defines odd jobs as, “small jobs of different types, especially those that involve repairing or cleaning things.” If you’re stuck, scratching your head and thinking “Who do I call to get this done?” That’s an odd job.

At the Handy Squad, our experienced handyman can complete a variety of odd jobs. So, what types of odd jobs can our handymen complete? From boxing in pipes to draught proofing homes, our versatile traders can get all sorts done.

Types of odd jobs.

Install and/or replace bath screens.

Want to install a new bath screen or replace an old bath screen? Perhaps you want to fit a shower screen? An odd job man will be able to give you a helping hand. If you want to further refresh the look of your bathroom, why not get our London plumbers to install a stunning new bathtub or our tilers to regrout bathroom tiles.

Box in pipework.

Pipework is not something pretty to look at. You might want to get someone in to hide it and make your bathroom look modern and sleek once again. Whether you want a professional to box in plumbing pipes in the bathroom or box in pipework in the kitchen, that’s a task for an odd job man.

Cable tidying.

Cable tidying is essential for the home or office (or home office!). Loose cables are a tripping hazard and a pet’s favourite to nibble on. Prevent injuries by tidying loose cables and wires properly. Our handyman in London can tidy away cables in your workplace or hide television cables away from view.

Related: Importance of cable management in the workplace.

Replace ceiling tiles.

Ceiling tiles, also known as ceiling panels, get stained and broken after years of use. Give your office a new look by having professionals replace ceiling tiles. It might seem like a small change but it will have a big impact on the overall look of the office space.

Draught proofing.

No more draughts in the house coming from unwanted gaps in your windows, doors, letterboxes and more. Save money on heating and ensure you are warm during the cold days of winter by draughtproofing your property.

Lift and shift furniture.

Moving furniture around the house might seem like an easy task to some. However, moving large pieces of furniture by yourself will prove to be a bad choice (and you might hurt yourself in the process). Hire handyman to take care of the heavier stuff and redecorate your home. We can lift and shift furniture and help with various other odd jobs.

Replace toilet seat.

Want to swap your old toilet seat with a new one but are not sure how to do it or don’t want the time to do it yourself? Maybe your toilet seat broke and you need help replacing it? Our team will be able to help.

Fit gun cabinets.

If you are a licensed gun holder and need a safe place to store your firearms, our team can easily fit gun cabinets, from small gun cabinets to large gun cabinets, depending on your collection.

These are some of the odd jobs our team can complete. Have more odd jobs you’d like us to do? Contact us today and speak to one of our team members to let us know how we can help.

When to jet wash a patio?

Pressure washing a patio is one of the quickest ways of refreshing the look of your outdoor space. Over the years, it is normal for patio slabs to become dirty, gather moss and lose their shine. To maintain the look of your patio, it should be jet washed at least once a year. This is help cut down the accumulation of algae, dirt and mildew built up (and keep it looking brand-new!).

At the Handy Squad, we have been transforming patios in London for years. So, we have the experience and expertise to talk about all things pressure washing. We offer pressure washing services in London and surrounding areas. Our expert team can also pressure wash paving stones, jet wash stone steps and regrout paving stones.

Pressure washing patio

When is the best time of the year to pressure wash a patio?

Spring and summer are the best seasons to pressure wash patios. The beginning of spring is a great time to jet wash your patio – the temperatures started to rise slightly, so there will not be any unpleasantness of pressure washing in the cold and you won’t run the risk of water freezing. Plus, around this time, you will either want to start using your patio again or want to start getting it ready for summer.

Will jet washing get rid of weeds?

Pressure washing shouldn’t be used to remove weeds growing from in between patio slabs. If weeds are growing in the slab joints, it means that the grout is damaged, cracked or old and should be repointed. So, if you pressure wash delicate grout, it will start breaking even more. Instead, to get rid of weeds, it is recommended to apply a weed-killer.

Related: How to repoint a patio.

Power washing the streets
Image Credit: Ruth and Dave

What to do after jet washing patio?

After pressure washing, you can apply a sealer to your patio. A water-based sealer will protect surfaces against stains to keep them looking their best. However, this step is optional.

Will pressure washing remove paint?

Yes, pressure washing can quickly strip off old paint from wood, metal, concrete and other exterior surfaces. This should only be done if you want to re-paint these surfaces. If you want to keep your exterior surfaces painted, only pressure wash using a low-pressure flow of water.

To note: Lead paint should not be removed with a pressure washer. This type of paint should be carefully contained when removed.

Pressure washing sidewalk

Will pressure washing remove mould?

You can use a pressure washer to remove mould from exterior surfaces. However, removing mould will not stop mould growth. To fully remove mould and reduce the chances of mould growing, pressure wash your surfaces and use mould-killing cleaning products.

Causes of cracks in the ceiling and how to fix them

Whether you brush off a new crack in the ceiling like it’s nothing or you get alarmed if a new crack appears, it is essential to know the difference between minor ceiling cracks and ceiling cracks that might indicate serious problems.

Are cracks in the ceiling normal?

Cracks in the ceiling are a normal occurrence and are often more of a cosmetic issue than a structure issue. However, some cracks in the ceiling might need immediate professional attention. If you need a professional to repair ceiling cracks, search no further than our London decorators, who can also fill cracks in walls and repair plaster walls.

How to tell if ceiling cracks are serious?

The seriousness of a ceiling crack will depend on the location, size and type. To give you a better idea (or some peace of mind!), we ranked different types of ceiling cracks from least to most serious:

  1. Hairline cracks.

Hairline Cracks

Hairline cracks are thin cosmetic cracks that are caused by temperature or humidity fluctuation. These fluctuations can result in plaster shrinkage or swelling, creating small fissures. Hairline cracks are simply an eyesore and can be easily fixed with a new coat of paint.

Small cracks might also appear on walls and ceilings due to layers of old paint. When a ceiling or wall has had multiple layers of paint, cracking might appear. If you want to repair hairline cracks fixed by old paint, be sure to remove old paint before applying a new coat.

  1. Straight cracks.

Straight Cracks

Straight cracks often follow the edge of the drywall tape along the joint. These are most commonly the result of poor workmanship during drywall tape application when an insufficient amount of plaster is used making drywall tape unable to properly adhere to the joints.

  1. Discoloured cracks.

    Discoloured Cracks

Discoloured cracks, such as yellow cracks and brown cracks, are a sign of water damage. Even though these are not linked to structural damage, water damage might lead to more serious problems. We recommend contacting a professional plumber in London to determine the source of the water leak and repair it.

  1. Spiderweb cracks.

Spiderweb cracks have a centre point and the cracks spread out from that centre point, much like a spider web would. Small spiderweb cracks are usually not serious and often the result of poor workmanship, however, larger spiderweb cracks may be caused by foundation settlement which might be linked to compromised structural integrity.

  1. Cracks between the ceiling and wall.

Cracks Between Ceiling and Wall

Cracks that appear between the ceiling and wall might be caused by truss uplift. Roof trusses tend to slightly move due to temperature or humidity. However, cracks that run along the ceiling and continue down to the wall are a sign of structure damage, and should be dealt with in a timely manner.

  1. Large, deep cracks.

Large Ceiling Cracks

Large, deep cracks are a serious concern. In case you have large, deep cracks alongside sagging ceilings, this means major structural damage that needs to be dealt with immediately as the ceiling may collapse.

Are cracks in the ceiling covered by insurance?

Cosmetic ceiling cracks are not typically covered by insurance. It is recommended to double-check your insurance policy to understand what type of ceiling cracks are covered by your home insurance.

Should I worry about cracks in my ceiling?

Small, thin ceiling cracks can be ignored or dealt with by applying a new lick of paint. However, when ceilings have multiple cracks that are more than just a tiny hairline crack, a professional should be called to diagnose the cause of the cracks and recommend a solution.

Can cracks in plaster ceiling be repaired?

Small cracks in plaster ceilings can be easily repaired by applying new plaster and repainting the ceilings. Larger cracks should be dealt with by a professional to ensure there are no structural concerns.

Can you paint over cracks in ceiling?

Hairline cracks can be quickly fixed with a fresh coat of paint.

Painting Ceiling

Can cold weather cause cracks in ceiling?

Yes, change in temperature and humidity can cause cracks to form on walls and ceilings.

What causes cracks in the ceiling?

Ceiling cracks can be caused by a variety of issues:

  • Normal wear and tear.
  • Water damage.
  • Heavy weight above.
  • Poor workmanship.
  • Structural problems.

If you recently found new ceiling cracks in your property and would like a second pair of eyes to double-check the type of crack and recommend a solution, get in touch with our team. Give us a call on 0800-0-12-12-12 or, alternatively, request a free quote by filling our online booking form.

How to repoint a patio

Years of wear and tear have taken a toll on your back garden, and now, after a long and rainy winter, the state of your patio is more noticeable than ever. The grout between patio slabs has become loose, cracked and now weeds are growing out of the cracks.

Now, it’s time for a change. With the sun making its appearance once again, it is the perfect time to finally give your patio some attention. What better way to refresh your patio than to repoint the patio slabs?

What is repointing a patio?

Repointing your patio is an easy and cheap way to make your patio look brand-new once again but what does repointing mean? Repointing a patio means removing old grout and re-apply grout between patio slabs.

patio slabs need repointing

Who can repoint a patio?

Many people can repoint a patio – all you need is the right materials, enough free time (we would recommend a full weekend) and maybe a helping hand. Whether you don’t have enough spare time to complete this task or would prefer to get it done by a professional, our skilled team of tradesmen can undertake a variety of tasks to uplift your outdoors, from repointing patios to pressure washing paving stones and treating outdoor wooden furniture.

How often repoint patio?

There is no set rule on how often to repoint a patio or either when to repoint a patio. Different patio sealers will have different lifespans. There are many factors that will affect the lifespan of your patio grout, from weather conditions to how often you clean the patio and more.

The right time to repoint a patio will be when you have noticed that the mortar that held the slabs together has started to crack, crumbled away or is riddled with weeds.

weeds growing out of paving slabs

What to use to repoint patio slabs?

There are a variety of ways to repoint patio slabs. Some of the most popular ways include:

  • Repointing patio with cement
  • Repointing patio with dry mix
  • Repointing patio with resin

How to repoint patio slabs with cement.

Materials:

  • Cement
  • Pointing bar
  • Mixing bucket
  • Stirrer
  • Trowel
  • Soft brush
  • Gun injection equipment
  • Pointing trowel
  • Grout rake

How to:

Step 1 – Pressure wash patio.

Clean the patio slabs to remove any staining, moss and dirt.

Step 2. Remove old pointing.

Use a grout rake to remove old pointing. Do this in between all patio slabs. Sweep away any residue and dirt. You can pressure wash slightly again to remove the remaining dirt and make the joints damp.

Step 3 – Create mortar mix.

Follow the product’s instructions on how to create the right mortar mix. With the help of a trowel, load mortar mix into gun injection equipment. You might choose to do it without a gun, use a pointing trowel instead.

trowel

Step 4.  Push mortar inside the joints.

Push the mortar mix inside the slab joints. Any mortar that goes on the patio slabs can be wiped off with a clean damp sponge. Any extra bits of mortar can be brushed off.

Step 5 – Keep it damp.

Don’t let the mortar dry out too quickly. After you’ve pointed the patio, let it sit for a couple of hours (depending on the temperature). If you see the mortar starting to get quite light, make it damp with a fine mist of water using a hosepipe. The next day, make it damp again with a fine mist a couple of times a day.

How to repoint patio slabs with dry mix.

Materials:

  • Cement
  • Sand
  • Grout rake
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Trowel
  • Broom

How to:

Step 1. Remove old grout.

Use a grout rake to remove old pointing. Do this in between all patio slabs. Sweep away any residue and dirt or use a vacuum cleaner to hoover any dirt or leftover residue more thoroughly.

Step 2 – Create dry mix.

Speak to a local professional for advice on the best dry mix ratio for your location. Mix it together until you have no crumbly bits of sand. You want to aim for a consistency that holds together when being squeezed. Use safety gloves when testing the consistency of your dry mix.

Step 3 – Push mix in.

Use a trowel to insert the dry mix into the joints of the slabs. Compact it down. Do this again until the mix is higher up and firmly compacted in. Use a brush to sweep any leftover dry mix over. Make sure to not leave any mix on top of the slabs as it might stain. Leave it to cure.

 

finished patio

How to repoint patio slabs with resin.

Materials:

  • Resin compound
  • Grout rake
  • Broom
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Pointing trowel

How to:

Step 1 – Remove existing pointing.

Use a grout rake to remove the old pointing. Once this has been removed, clean the joints thoroughly. Use a brush to scrape out any debris and use a vacuum cleaner to suck out any old pointing that is stuck in the joints.

Step 2 – Soak the patio.

With a hosepipe, wet the whole patio and in between the joints.

Step 3 – Fill in joints and brush.

Open the resin compound bag. Turn it upside down and fill the joints with the compound. Use a broom to brush the mix inside the joints. Compact the mix using a pointing trowel. Brush it in and compact again. Hose it off in a mist as you go and brush off any extra resin.

finished terrace

If all of this seems like a bit too much – why not contact the professionals? Our experienced team will be able to transform your patio in a timely manner. Besides being able to pressure wash patios and repoint patio joints, our painters and decorators can also paint your home’s exterior and more. Give us a call today on 0800-0-12-12-12 or request a quote by filling our online form.

Spring home improvement projects

Spring is not only synonymous with blooming flowers and annual deep cleaning but it is also one of the best times of the year to complete a plethora of home renovation projects. Why is this? Well, if you want to get your home ready for summer and summer gatherings, start making small improvements here and there.

Indoor home improvement projects.

  1. Paint cabinets and cupboards.

Painted Kitchen Cupboards

A new coat of paint will do wonders for your cupboards and cabinets. Whether you want to give your kitchen cabinets an uplift or want to rejuvenate your bathroom cupboards – a new lick of paint is the way to go. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty and are searching for a “decorator near me” to complete the task instead, our decorators in London are the team for the job. We can paint kitchen cabinets, paint doors and paint a variety of other surfaces.

  1. Replace old light switches.

    White Light Switch

Small details, like light switches, are not given much attention until they stop working as they should. However, light switches are similar to any other detail of your home – they get worn out, outdated and discoloured. What better way to refresh your home than to swap out these small details?

Related: How to change a light switch.

If you are not comfortable replacing light switches or doing any small electrical work, contact a professional. At the Handy Squad, we have a team of London electricians who can replace light switches, install new light fixtures, replace extractor fans and more.

  1. Upgrade flooring.

Wooden Flooring

Replacing flooring will give the interiors of your home a completely new look. Whether you want to choose a different type of wooden flooring or want a full transformation to a completely different flooring type – why not do it? We would recommend hiring a professional for the job. Replacing flooring will require a professional hand to ensure it is done properly.

Outdoor home improvement projects.

  1. Rearrange the garden shed.

    Garden Shed Renovation

Have you been using your garden shed as storage for clutter that one day “you might need”? Time to de-clutter and rearrange your shed. Go one step further fully transform the space. Ever you always wanted a family games room? Are you looking to create a home office more connected to the outdoor space? Turn your garden shed into the space of your dreams.

Related: How to paint a wooden shed.

  1. Pressure wash patio.

    Pressure Wash Patio

Is your patio looking dirty, grimy and greasy? Time for a clean. The quickest and easiest way to give your patio a fresh, new look is to pressure wash it. By power washing your patio, you can easily get rid of any mould, dirt, grime and debris that has accumulated during the colder months. Need a helping hand? Stop looking for pressure washing services and call our team.

  1. Add lighting to the back garden.

    Outdoor Lighting

Spend more time outside by adding some lighting to your back garden. Add lighting near your outdoor dining area, some spotlights around your favourite areas of the garden and lights around your garden walkways. Our electricians in London will be able to give you a helping hand installing lighting inside and outside your home.

How to change a light switch

Are you looking at pictures of when you first moved in and noticed that the light switches used to be white? If you are thinking of doing a full home renovation or simply a fresh of your home’s details, don’t forget the switches. Get rid of those plastic white(ish) yellow light switches and replace them with stunning switches that suit your current home.

Perhaps, the light switch in your kitchen stopped working as it should. It no longer has a firm flick and it seems to have loosened up. It’s definitely time for a replacement. Whether you want to change your light switch for aesthetic reasons or simply want to change your old and worn out switch with one that works properly, our guide below should give you some guidance on how to replace it yourself.

old light switch

Note: Before doing your own electrical work, check the local regulations on what you are (and aren’t!) allowed to complete on your own. Also, we would recommend getting advice from a local electrician to ensure the work is completed safely.

Want to leave it to the professionals?

Are you ready to replace your light switch but something came up? Have you given it a second thought and would prefer to have a professional electrician replace your light switches? At the Handy Squad, we have a team of London electricians who can give you a helping hand.

So, if you are in Fulham and are looking for an “electrician near me” or are searching for an electrician in Islington N1 our team can help. We can reach you no matter where you are in London, so give us a call on 0800-0-12-12-12 and let us know how we can help.

Want to do it yourself?

Replacing a light switch is an easy enough job that you can complete yourself (and it will definitely give your bragging rights!). So, let’s get to it.

Tip: Not sure what is a good replacement for your current one? Turn off the electricity, unscrew your switch, take a photo of the front and back of the switch and take this photo to your local hardware store for an exact replacement. If you want a different switch design, ensure that you choose a switch that has the right wattage for the wattage in your light fixtures.

Materials needed:

  • New light switch
  • Electricity detector/tester
  • Medium terminal screwdriver
  • Small terminal screwdriver

Step 1 – Safety.

Before touching any electrical work, you MUST isolate the electricity in the specific room you will be working on. Head to your fuse box and turn off the switch on that room light. If you are unsure which one is the right one or want some peace of mind, turn off all electrics. To do this, turn off the main on/off red switch.

Step 2 – Unscrew your light switch.

Remove the screws on the light switch and pull it from the wall. Take a photo of the back of your light switch to see the positioning of the wires before disconnecting.

Step 3 – Confirm wires are no longer live.

Use an electricity detector to double-check the wires are no longer live.

Step 4 – Disconnect the wires.

Again, if you haven’t – take a photo of the wires before disconnecting. However, do not assume that the layout of the terminals is the same for your new light switch.

If you have a 1-way light switch, you will most likely have two terminals: a terminal marked as “Common”, “COM” or “C” which is for the live wire and another terminal marked as L1 which is the output for the light fixture. On some switches that do not have a common terminal, the live wire terminal will be L1 and the neutral wire terminal will be L2.

1-way light switch example
Example of 1-way light switch wiring.

You will most likely have a red (live wire) and a black wire (neutral) or a brown (live wire) and a blue wire (neutral). You will also have an earth cable (yellow and green wire) going into the earth terminal in the back.

Use a small terminal screwdriver to unscrew the wires.

Step 5 – Install the new light switch.

Get your new light switch and insert your live wire into the live wire terminal (if your light switch has a COM/COMMON/C terminal, insert it here. If not, insert it into the L1 terminal). Screw the wire into place. Then, insert the neutral wire into the other terminal and screw it.

new light switch

Installing a metal light switch?

If you are installing a metal light switch, you must take an earth cable from the back earth terminal to the front of the switch plate to ensure the switch plate is protected against electric shock.

Step 6 – Screw it in place.

Push the light switch back, ensuring that the cables will not be in the way of the screws. Then, fasten the screws into place.

Step 7 – Test.

Turn the switches on in the fuse box and test the light switch.

If you are not comfortable completing this job yourself, know that the Squad is always ready to help. Request a free quote by filling our online booking form today.

 

 

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.