PREPARING A NEW PAINT BRUSH BEFORE USE

An inexpensive new paint brush should be soaked in linseed oil for at least a day before use. This helps soften the bristles and lengthen its life. All brushes should be broken in by first using them to apply undercoating. This helps remove any loose bristles. Which may otherwise work free during top-coating and spoil the finish.

THE CORRECT WAY TO USE A PAINT BRUSH

A paint brush should always be held by the handle – never by the metal band around the brush. This can make all the difference between ending up with a smooth finish or a rough one.

Apply gloss paint in vertical strokes and emulsion in horizontal ones. Then -without recharging the brush – criss-cross lightly across the surface. Finally brush back into the paint to lay it off. When cutting-in along edges, hold the brush between the thumb and forefinger. Keep it well charged with paint and work it slowly downwards.

TILING OVER NEWLY SCREEDED CONCRETE

Always leave a newly screeded concrete floor for at least a month before covering it with floor tiles. This gives the floor time to dry out thoroughly. If the tiles are laid before this, the mortar bedding which is used as a key for the tiles may fail.

CHOOSING GLASSPAPER FOR DIFFERENT JOBS

Use a medium-grade glasspaper for general rubbing-down work when painting walls or wood, and a fine paper for the final smoothing. Use a coarse paper only when a surface is badly flaked.

DRILLING THROUGH A GLAZED CERAMIC TILE

To prevent a twist-bit slipping when drilling a hole in a glazed ceramic tile, use a felt pen to mark the point at which the hole is to be drilled and stick a strip of clear adhesive tape over the mark before drilling.

LAYING CERAMIC OR VINYL FLOOR TILES

Always start from the centre of the room when laying ceramic or vinyl floor tiles. Prepare the surface first and then work from the point where two chalk guidelines bisect the room and intersect at right angles.

Lay one row of tiles – without adhesive – at right angles to one of the guidelines. If the gap between the last tile and the wall is less than half the width of a tile-by 25 mm 1 in or more – move the whole row away from the wall to leave a half-width tile gap: mark a new chalk line accordingly.

Repeat the procedure to establish the second row of tiles at right angles to the first, this time moving both rows back by half a tile width if the gap between the last tile and the wall is too small. Mark the second guideline, checking the right angle most carefully. With the two guidelines established on the floor, lay the tiles, covering one half of the room and then the other. Remember to leave a 3mm 1 in gap between ceramic tiles to allow for grouting. Apply the adhesive stage by stage.

To ensure that the rows are not distorted and will compact better. Lay the tiles in the shape of a triangle. Having laid one complete row against one of the guidelines fit the next row one tile shorter at each end. And so on until no more rows can be laid. Then start again in one quarter of the room, working outwards from one edge of the triangle, starting with the shortest possible row and progressing to the longest.

Repeat the procedure in the opposite corner and then on the other side of the guideline. Leave those border tiles that need cutting to the end.

COPING WITH CRACKS IN PLASTER

Sizeable cracks can often appear at the weakest points in plaster-where walls and ceilings meet. Treat the problem either by using a proprietary filler or fitting coving over the area

DECORATING NEWLY APPLIED PLASTER

New plaster can take at least six months to dry out, so only decorate it with water-based emulsion. The paint will not seal the surface and therefore will not affect the drying process.

TAKING CARE OF TWO-PART ADHESIVES

Never mix the caps on two-part adhesives. If this is done, the caps will seal up. And it will be impossible to remove them.

FITTING ROUND-EDGE TILES INSIDE REVEALS

RE (round-edge) tiles fitted inside reveals cover the cut edges of tiles on the adjoining wall surface. Always lay the tiles with the round edge facing the outside of the reveal. Some tiles are not manufactured with round edges. But instead have two glazed edges. As with any tiling job. Plan the work in advance. In particular, if it is necessary to trim the length of any of the tiles, decide where this will look the most attractive.