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Brush up on DIY skills

26 February 2016

Brush up on DIY skills this spring with top tips from Haynes

It’s time to dust off the tool box, dig out the paint charts and embark on those DIY projects that have been put-off throughout the winter months. With four bank holidays between now and the end of May and the days getting longer, now is the perfect opportunity for homeowners to spruce up their property.

Whether homeowners are looking to put their house on the market this spring, or just fix those little glitches that have come to their attention with the lighter evenings, Haynes are encouraging people to give DIY projects a go themselves – no matter what their level of skill or experience.

For over 50 years, Haynes’ experts have passed on their know-how in the world of motoring to those looking to try their hand at maintaining a vehicle. Following its tried and tested step-by-step format, Haynes now also offers a range of practical DIY titles, which include projects covering everything from hanging a picture to laying a tiled floor. Each manual aims to give readers a guide to what equipment they will need and the confidence to tackle common household problems, while also letting them know when to call in the experts.

Perfect for everyone from first-time home owners to long-standing DIYers, the Home Decorating Manual covers a number of projects for giving the best finish to various surfaces inside and outside of the home. Similarly, the Women’s Home DIY Manual gives women and men alike the tools to stop waiting and fix a job themselves – whether that’s repairing leaking taps or putting up shelves.

Other titles in the Haynes home and DIY range cover more specific areas, including the Home Plumbing Manual, Eco-House Manual, Home Extension Manual, Garden Landscaping Manual, The Victorian House Manual and Period Property Manual.

Kerrie Hanafin, author of the Women’s Home DIY Manual, commented: “We all know that first impressions count, so whether you’re getting your house valued, welcoming potential buyers to viewings or just having the in-laws to visit for the first time, it’s important to make your home look at its very best. We’ve selected some easy projects for homeowners to try out and hopefully impress their visitors with their handiwork.

“Not only does a DIY project save you money on contractors; it can also give you a huge sense of achievement, as well as a bit of exercise at the weekend. While going it alone can be fun, it’s always useful to have some reassuring advice on how to tackle projects, and that is what Haynes’ titles aim to provide.”

Haynes’ five easy projects for getting your house market-ready

1. Regrouting tiles
Nobody wants to buy a house with a tired-looking kitchen or bathroom (without knocking a few hundred pounds off the asking price). Luckily, there’s no need to splash out on a whole new kitchen or bathroom suite, one easy way to quickly update the room is to renew the grout on the tiles. Grout can become discoloured and stained over time and make a room look untidy. Use a grout raker to remove the old grout from around tiles and vacuum off the excess dust. Apply the new grout and clean off excess with a sponge. If you want a really quick fix, buy a white grout pen from a DIY store and draw over the existing grout to brighten up!
2. Revamping the woodwork
Freshening-up woodwork, such as skirting boards or picture rails, can really brighten a room. If you’re worried about not getting straight edges, mask off the area and don’t remove until the paint is dry. Use an oil-based paint to get a clean, glossy finish.
3. Painting the front door
Not only is the front door often the focal point of your house, it also bears the brunt of the elements as well as the occasional door slam. To get the best finish for your door, remove it from its hinges and lay on trestles. Using water-based paint means that the door can be dry and be replaced all in one day. Work upwards from the bottom of the door and be sure to check regularly, removing any drips or runs that may have formed.
4. Painting exterior metal fittings
Whether it’s a front gate, metal guttering or railings, it’s important to keep external fittings looking smart for your property viewings, and this can easily be done with a lick of fresh paint. Before painting, use a wire brush to remove any flaky material, such as rust, and create a smooth surface. Apply one or two coats of proprietary metal paint straight onto the bare and previously painted surface – most paints won’t require a primer but do check the manufacturer’s guidelines.
5. Adding a hanging basket
Plants and flowers will certainly add an attentive and fresh look to your home, and a hanging basket is one of the easiest ways to insert this splash of colour. Use the largest basket you can find to give plenty of room for your plants to grow and opt for just a couple of colours in the planting scheme. A mix of taller plants, such as fuchsias, and trailing plants like lobelia gives a pleasing and professional effect.

Haynes’ five painless household glitch-fixes

1. Finding and excluding a draught
Fed up of having a cold wind on the back of your neck when you’re watching the television? To find that pesky draught, hold a lit candle near the suspect window or door and move it around until it starts to flicker. Use a silicon sealer for gaps between windows and walls, self-adhesive foam for draughts between a window and frame, or brush excluders for under the door.
2. Realigning cupboard doors
If your cupboard door doesn’t quite have a snug fit when closed, you can simply adjust the hinges. Just take a screwdriver to the internal hinge and tighten or loosen the relevant screw – top and bottom to adjust the height, furthest back to adjust the depth and the screw nearest to the door to alter the side alignment. With a bit of trial and error you’ll have a neat cupboard in no time at all!
3. Fixing a squeaking floorboard
There’s nothing more annoying than a squeaking floorboard! Firstly, find the questionable floorboard and drill a pilot hole through the board and into the joist below (find this where the line of nails already run). Remember to check beforehand for any hidden wires with a stud finder, or switch off the electricity to prevent an electric shock. Take a screw and fix the board to the joist. You can also try adding some talcum powder into the joint to stop a squeak.
4. Stopping doors sticking
Having to muster all of your strength to open a door in your own house is never much fun! Luckily a sticking door can easily be fixed with a plane – just remember that it’s very hard to fill a gap if you’ve planed away too much. Use a pencil to mark where the door is catching the frame and then, with the door open, plane the edge by the mark a little at a time. Keep opening and closing the door to check your progress.
5. Resealing a bath
The silicone edging to a bath or sink can often start to look a bit discoloured and tired over time. Not only does this ruin the look of your bathroom, but split silicone can lead to water leaks running through to your floor. To reseal your bath, first remove the remaining silicone completely with a Stanley knife and some silicone remover fluid, if required. Next, run yourself a full bath and jump in – as strange as this may sound, the weight of the water plus a person will bring the bath to its lowest position so that cracking will be minimised once the silicone is dry. Use a silicone gun to fill the gap between the bath and tiles and use your finger to smooth the line to a convex shape. Remember to leave the water in the tub until the silicone has fully set.

Title details

Women’s Home DIY ManualWomen’s Home DIY Manual is available from and is priced at £21.99.

The book number is H4973, ISBN: 9781844259731.

The book will be available in paperback form from May 2016 and will be priced at £12.99.


Home Decorating ManualHome Decorating Manual is available from and is priced at £12.99.
The book number is H5837, ISBN: 9780857338372.


Period Property ManualPeriod Property Manual is available from and is priced at £22.99.
The book number is H5701, ISBN: 9780857338457.


Victorian and Edwardian House ManualVictorian and Edwardian House Manual is available from and is priced at £22.99.
The book number is H5284, ISBN: 9780857332844.


Home Plumbing ManualHome Plumbing Manual is available from and is priced at £22.99.
The book number is H5069, ISBN: 9780857338174.


Garden Landscaping ManualGarden Landscaping Manual is available from and is priced at £19.99.
The book number is H5854, ISBN: 9781844259724.


Eco-House ManualEco-House Manual is available from and is priced at £12.99.
The book number is H5854, ISBN: 9780857338549.


The information on this page is supplied courtesy of Haynes Publishing, please credit accordingly if you intend to use it. For more information or to request a review copy please contact Spirit PR on 0117 944 1415 or email Haynes PR

Haynes Publishing has been the world's leading publisher of illustrated workshop car manuals and motorcycle manuals since 1965. In that time Haynes has evolved and so have its Manuals to now include a wide range of automotive, sport, leisure, military and lifestyle subjects. Haynes also has licenses to publish Manuals with NASA, the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, Star Wars, Star Trek and others.Haynes publishing also offers its more recent car and motorcycle manuals through online subscription, Manuals Online was launched in 2010 and offers colour imagery, video and is accessible through computer or tablet via an internet connection. Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 7JJ. Telephone: 01963 440635 Fax: 01963 440001 E-mail: