3 DIY Projects for Your Edinburgh Home During Lockdown – Part 2

Welcome to the second blog in our 3-part series on DIY projects for your Edinburgh home during Lockdown. Last week we focused on the exterior of your property including the roof, drains and repointing your brick or stone walls. If you missed part 1 you can read it by clicking on the link here. The other news is, according to the Scottish Government’s recent announcement about easing lockdown restrictions, that garden centres may join the list of retailers in reopening after the 28th May. With that in mind let us leave your garden DIY project until next week and instead focus on the interior of your home with some handy tips from Edinburgh builder and restoration specialist Mackenzie Hughes.

Home Interior DIY Tasks

Unless you are a key worker you no doubt have some time on your hands during lockdown and may have noticed some things about the interior of your home that could do with a bit of TLC. For instance, the doors may now more beige than white and the tiles around the shower have seen better days. By now you may be starting to feel that you’ve neglected your home maintenance for a while because you’ve been so busy but, don’t despair – things may not be as labour intensive as they seem. We may not have our own personal Mary Poppins to smarten things up with a snap of the fingers, but we can take this piece of advice from her and ‘start at the very beginning…it’s a very good place to start.’ And the very beginning is about making a list.

Make your list

  • Whether you use a smart phone or good old-fashioned paper and ink to make your list, spend some time on it. View each room as if you are seeing it for the first time and write down every single job, no matter how trivial. There is no need to put them in order at this stage.
  • Sit down with your list and write down who should take care of each task whether it be you, someone else in your household, or if it should be left to a professional after lockdown restrictions are lifted. By doing this you will feel less guilty about the fading wallpaper because papering, like many other decorating jobs, is an artform best left to tradespeople who have served their time and can give you the best results.
  • Now put the ‘professional’ jobs to once side which means you are left with a list of jobs that can be tackled by members of your household. But before you list them in order of priority put your list down for the time being and deep clean your home – why? Because that may be all you will need to do for some of the tasks you have earmarked such as repainting doors because the colour is fading and your window frames are looking grubby where the wood meets the glass.

Deep Clean Your Home

Giving your home a proper deep clean will give it a new lease of life. Here are some key areas to pay particular attention to:

  • Skirtings – Use a dry and wet approach to cleaning your skirtings. Dust them down first then vacuum them using the small brush attachment. Then wash them down with soap and water (washing up liquid will do). If there are stubborn stains add some white vinegar to warm water or some bleach in water (use gloves to protect your hands). When you have finished wipe down with clean water to remove any excess solution.
  • Doors – Use the same cleaning method as you have for the skirtings but avoid getting the hinges wet – we will deal with cleaning hinges later.
  • Windows – Before we talk about windows let’s talk about black mould. Black mould can be found in various areas of the home where there is little ventilation and the chance of condensation. This includes bath and shower surrounds, tiles and, of course, windows. Black mould can cause serious health issues and the NHS recommends that you should only remove black mould if it has been caused by condensation rather than sewage or contaminated water, and covers an area less than 1 metre square.

Black mould can gather on the window where the glass pane meets the frame and if spotted should be removed, preferably with white vinegar. If preferred, you can dilute the vinegar with a ratio of 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water. In either case fill a spray gun with the liquid, spray onto the affected area and leave for 30 minutes before wiping off with a cloth. For health reasons wear gloves when carrying out this task protect yourself from spores with eyewear, long rubber gloves and a mask that covers your nose and mouth. Remember to open the windows for ventilation and keep doors closed to prevent spores from spreading to other parts of your home. When you have finished dispose of any rags or cloths in the bin and wash your clothes to remove any stray spores. This may sound overly dramatic, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Please note you can also use a solution of bleach and water rather than vinegar, but remember that bleach is an irritant, so be careful not to get it on your skin.

If you spot black mould around your bath or shower, follow the same procedure as for your windows and remember – safety first.

  • Tiles – Kitchen tiles can get splashed with hot oil and food debris which can build up over time. White vinegar can be used straight on your tiles if the stains are difficult to remove or you can use a solution of vinegar and water. As with the other points mentioned wipe off with clean water and dry with kitchen roll or an old dish towel. The same principle applies to bathroom tiles, especially those in the shower which can be subject to thin layers of almost invisible soap scum which dulls the shine.

Revisit your list

Now that you have deep cleaned your home those dull skirtings and doors will much brighter and you may be able to put off the painting for the time being to focus on the other key tasks. So, whittle your list down to what needs done now and put them in order of priority with 1, 2, 3 and so on. Here are some of the tasks you may be left with.

Fix squeaky hinges

Remember the hinges? Well now is the time to deal with them. If you have squeaky hinges resist the urge to coat them in a lubricant such as WD-40 which can turn the hinge pin black over time and is messy to use (as is oil). Instead rub a little Vaseline petroleum jelly into the hinge which will solve your squeak in no time.

Reseal the bath and shower

If your bath or shower sealant is damaged, you will need to replace it to avoid water leaking down behind. It’s not a difficult job, but it does take time and patience as you will have to remove the old seal before adding the new one. You can buy sealant from most DIY stores and you will need the application gun which goes with it. Here is a handy little video on how to reseal your bath or shower which covers all the points you will need to know.  

Boiler and radiator maintenance

If you don’t already have one, an annual maintenance agreement with a reputable Gas Safe registered boiler engineer is a good investment and can save you a small fortune by extending the lifespan of your central heating system. However, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your central heating is working as efficiently and it’s better to take care of it now while the warmer is here rather than wait until winter when you need it most. 

  • Turn your heating on at least once a month, even in summer, to keep it running efficiently. This will help to clear the boiler pump of any grit that may gather when it’s not in use.
  • Turning your central heating on for 10 – 15 minutes every so often (even during spring and summer) can help to keep all the parts moving correctly and reduce the chance of a breakdown.
  • Check your radiators to make sure there are no cold spots. If there are, you will need to bleed your radiators to ensure a proper flow of water. Here is a British Gas video on how to do it.
  • Make sure there is no clutter around your boiler or any outside vents to ensure a proper flow of air.

We hope these home maintenance tips prove useful and if you have any questions please contact Mackenzie Hughes for details. Keep a look out for the final part of our DIY home maintenance blog which will be on preparing your garden or outdoor space for summer. Until then, stay safe.

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