Guest Posts
If you know a spot of DIY, and think you could write confidently about a specific topic, we are always happy to take on new writer's. Get in touch to learn more!
@DIYNewbie on Twitter
January 2014
« Oct    
What’s happening in DIY?

Find a place to stay with TempLettings

If you’re bored of staying in soulless hotel rooms, or simply fed up of paying over the odds when you’re travelling to another city a solution could be at hand. We’re not all lucky enough to have friends we can stay with but paying a visit to TempLettings could put you in touch with people that have room for you to stay.

The website itself is easy to use with a simple search function allowing you to narrow down your hunt to a particular geographical area, as well as by other criteria such as costs, number of rooms, type of accommodation, length of stay and its proximity to public transport.

If you’re hoping to get a local outlook choosing to stay in a room in a property shared with others might be the right choice, but if you prefer a little privacy or simply want the extra space there are entire properties available too.

Of course, if you have a spare room of your own you could start making a little money from it by listing it on the site. Whichever way you look at it though it sounds like a great way to meet people from different places and potentially make new friends.

Naturally, some people may be a little concerned about security but this is something TempLettings covers in its Frequently Asked Questions section, which is well worth consulting before you start contacting people.

So if you need a place to stay, whether it’s just for a night or a little longer, why not see if the website has a solution?

Are you a landlord with a great story to tell? Win a toolbox worth of B&Q vouchers!


HomeServe, Boiler Cover, Home Emergency, Landlord boiler cover

The lovely people at HomeServe are offering the prize of £250 of B&Q vouchers to the landlord with the best story to tell!

It could be about your DIY nightmares, emergencies you’ve had to deal with, or property successes. Have a go and see if you win. Your next dream room or brand new power tool could be a story away!

Enter the competition by liking HomeServe’s Facebook page and following the link to the “My landlord Story” section.

How to Install a Laminate Floor

If you’re looking for a way to improve your home’s appearance without breaking the bank, laminate flooring may be the right option for you. Made of compressed wood with a look that mimics traditional hardwood flooring, laminate flooring is known for its durability and scratch-resistant properties.

It’s also a great project for a do-it-yourself personality. Taking relatively little time to install, laminate flooring provides a finished, modern look for any room (think bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, even closet spaces).

If you think laminate flooring would be a good fit for your next home improvement project, follow the steps below and get started today.

Know Your Specs

Like any home improvement project, it’s absolutely critical to know the dimensions of the room or space you’ll be working with. Figure out the square footage as a starting point.

Also pay attention to your current color scheme (if you’re not changing furnishings and wall colors), or pick a finish that matches the look you’ll be going for. Look at corner spaces and think of how you’ll want them to look when complete.

Because laminate flooring comes in various sizes, look at the packages to figure out how many square feet will be covered and calculate your needs based on that figure. Once you know what you’re looking for, you can move forward.

Choose the Right Materials

When you’re ready to purchase your materials, explore your options. Look into different brands and varieties of laminate flooring. Pay attention to the specifics.

Some flooring comes with underlayment attached. This adds a level of convenience to the installation and could make the process smoother. Some prefer to purchase this foam layer separately as it creates a continuous barrier for water and other condensation that can form on concrete slabs. It’s a matter of preference; just know that if you choose laminate flooring without the extra layer, you’ll need to purchase and lay it separately.

Make sure you have a rubber hammer head to help with any tight fitting boards, and a power saw for cutting boards to fit for the look you’re going for. If you’ll be working in a darker space like a closet, be sure you have adequate lighting on hand.

Take Your Time

One of the most important aspects of a laminate flooring install is careful work. This means there’s no rushing permitted. Take the time to cut the first board in each row to a varying length; this will add a look of variety (like a traditional hardwood floor) to your space.

Look for unique room features. Corners, appliances (think washers, dryers or generators) present unique challenges but don’t necessarily need to break your project. Just carefully cut boards to work around them.Also, pay attention to your edges. Because laminate flooring expands with temperature changes, you should leave a quarter- to a half-inch around the sides to allow for this expansion without buckling (your sideboards will cover this when you are finished).

Take your time while installing each board. While the boards interlock, they don’t always fit together easily. Take your time and gently use a rubber hammer head when necessary (with a piece of cloth between the floorboard and the hammer) to avoid damage.

Installing a laminate floor is a relatively inexpensive, simple project with big results. If you’re ready to improve the overall look and feel of your home, think about installing one today.


Adrienne is a freelance writer and blogger who loves taking on ambitious projects in her spare time. Read more of her work on her blog Pongra.

Recessed LED lights

Recessed LED lights

Recessed LED lights are becoming an increasingly popular choice in the home as well as in business premises. As with most things, there are pros and cons to these types of recessed lights but with clever design, locating in the correct place to get the best illumination and choosing the right LED bulbs, this type of lighting will serve you well!

But, firstly, what is a recessed LED light? Recessed means sunken; in other words rather than having a hanging light fitting, several LED light fittings are sunk into to ceiling. They can also be used in other places around the home or business premises as they also come in various sized fittings. The more LED light fittings you have in a room, the brighter the room will be. These recessed LED lights are popular in large cavernous spaces as they can create fantastic illumination.

The benefits of recessed LED lights are many and varied:

Energy efficient – energy prices seem to continue going up and with more consumers becoming more aware of the impact of using fossil fuels, are attempting to be smarter and savvier in their consumption level of electricity.

LED bulbs offer a far great rate of efficiency than the usual, traditional light bulb as LED bulbs ‘burn’ at a lower temperature. LED bulbs, as a result have a longer life span than a traditional bulb, just look at the statistics:

Type of bulb Average life span (in hours)
Traditional light bulb 1,000
Fluorescent light bulb 10,000
LED light bulb Minimum 50,000 up to 100,000

Clearly, replacing light bulbs on a less frequent basis will save money in the long run.

LED light bulbs also cost less to run as they are far more efficient in the usage of energy, even under ‘heavy’ use, recessed LED lights can save you money!

Lower operating temperature – LED light bulbs although they still ‘burn’, they do so at a lower temperature. This increases the versatility of where recessed LED lights can be located. However, the recessed sunken nature of these light fittings in themselves can present a fire hazard therefore kits have been developed and if you thinking of installing recessed lights, then it is a wise move to check carefully where that particular product can be located.

Robust – LED bulbs as well as being durable in terms of life span, LED bulbs are also far more robust that traditional light bulbs.  These types of light bulbs are far more fragile, whereas LED light bulbs are more likely to make it home from the store in one piece!

There are few disadvantages to installing and using recessed LED lights. One complaint, in the past has been the quality of luminosity. Early example of LED bulbs were weak in their light capability and also did have the crisp, white light that we had become accustomed to with traditional and fluorescent light bulbs. However, LED technology has moved forward since those early days, and LED bulbs can now emit a great quality white light, as well as the additional benefit of a dimming feature.

LED lighting technology is here to stay and with constant developments, recessed LED light fittings are increasing in quality and versatility all the time.


5 Simple Tips for Office Maintenance

Businesses spend substantial resources on impressive office design and refurbishments. In order to avoid incurring additional costs throughout the lease, it is in the immediate interest of any company to invest time and plan wisely for proper care and maintenance of office furniture, equipment and interiors.

As an option, you may choose to employ professional service providers for office maintenance on a contractual basis, to do away with all the hassles of keeping your office clean and up-to-date. Alternatively, you must be on a constant vigil so that suitable office maintenance measures are executed to create a smooth and healthy work environment.

Let’s go over some tips for easy office maintenance.

1.    Promote Clean Workstation Policy

Encourage your employees to do away with cluttering their desks and ensure that every desk is dust-free by adopting healthy housekeeping practices.

Keeping each workstation neat and tidy would mean half the battle won. Also, cleaner work environment would mean enhanced productivity.

2.    Maintaining Leather Finished Furniture

If you have invested in expensive leather for your office furniture, undertake appropriate measures to maintain its quality and appearance. You must refrain from using alcohol-based abrasive cleaners and opt for the ones available specifically for leather.

Also, be careful not to expose the material to direct sunlight. Engaging the services of a skilled leather-cleaning technician would be recommended.

3.    Wood Furniture Care

Finished wood furniture is quite easy to clean. Ideally, wipe the surface with a damp cloth and treat with wood polish next. Some offices might have antique furniture created from untreated wood, for which special care must be taken. Only dry cloth should be used to clean off the dust and special oils available to retain the finish of such wood must be used.

4.    A stitch in time…

Encourage your staff to report any anomaly they come across within the existing fit-out. For instance, if someone noticed a loose screw or a strange noise in one of the office chairs, they should immediately notify the appropriate person to fix it. Such prompt measures will ensure safety of the employees and avoid further damages.

5.    Focus on the Reception Area

Your company’s reception area is the face of your business. The overall appearance of the area and the cleanliness must be immaculate and ooze professionalism to create a lasting impression on your clients and visitors.

The seating area must be kept spick and span at all times. Watch out for worn out furniture pieces or upholstery and replace them without delay. Invest in high-quality stain removers to keep every inch stain-free.

It is a must to inculcate the importance of a clean workplace in your company’s primary list of objectives, so that each employee understands and acknowledges its importance in building a cleaner society and boosting overall productivity. A clean and well-maintained office space aids building the right professional attitude and a touch of refinement; and puts you across as a serious business enterprise.

Article written by Jonny Peace of, UK’s leading site for managing office relocations.

Purchasing furniture online

Whether you are completely renovating your home or just replacing some old furniture, doing your shopping online can be a convenient experience that saves you time and hassle. With the internet being a more frequent platform for shopping, buying certain pieces of furniture makes sense and can save you money but you need to ensure that you don’t just rush into it. This is even more so if the product is big and expensive.

Take a look at our checklist below and see what basics you should follow before committing to a purchase online. This will minimalize the stress and anxieties that will typically come with ordering over the internet and keep your money safe:

• The Prices – One of the benefits of ordering online the fact there are so many places that sell similar products. If you have a specific piece of furniture in mind then there is a high chance that you can find a store that provides a cheaper price.

• The Description – Before you add the furniture to the check-out, give the property description a thorough read and ensure that you do not miss out on any key things that could cause a problem. From sizes to the material, there is no harm in reading through a couple a times and ensuring that there are no hidden surprises.

• The Reviews – Customers enjoy reviewing their products, whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with them and there are a wide variety of websites that hold reviews for certain products. This is why it is beneficial to check on any reviews you can find on the piece, either on the website you are purchasing from or another trusted source. This will provide you with an idea on how good the quality is of the furniture and if it’s a right fit for your needs.

• The Company – Just because a business is online, it doesn’t mean they can be automatically trusts. If the website that you want to buy from is a company with a shop address then this is an indicator that the business operates in person. If the address is close-by then we advise you to visit and check on the furniture quality that they have in-store. It will give you the opportunity to correctly examine your specific product in person before before you buy.

• The Assembly – If you enjoy DIY projects then it might be more financially prudent to purchase furniture that is not yet assembled. These kind of furniture pieces are not yet constructed to save on shipping costs, to allow convenient and cheaper delivery. However, if you do not like assembling your own furniture then then ensure that the product is already assembled.

• The Returns – It is understandable that you might change your mind on a piece of furniture, and you should be able to. This is why it is vital that you check on the returns policy to ensure that this isn’t a problem. There will more than likely be additional shipping costs to return it so we advise yo familiarise yourself with these and remember that shipping furniture can be expensive and might require a Property company to transport it back.

This article was created by Easy Home Improvement Blog who showcase home improvement advice for your property.

Useful DIY Blogs

Maintenance on the home can be extremely expensive and in some cases you cannot escape the fact that you will need to employ a professional builder or tradesman at some point to ensure your house or home is safe and secure.

Homes require a lot of TLC and if you ignore any problem, no matter how small, at some point it could lead to a major repair which could cost thousands. Professional tradesmen such as electricians, plumbers, roofers and builders in general are not cheap to employ, however, not all maintenance work around the house requires a professional.

Do It Yourself can be a great hobby and many people resort to home DIY for smaller jobs which simply require a bit of research and practical skill, and of course common sense.

There are plenty of ways to become a great DIYer, you can purchase monthly magazines, watch dedicated TV and YouTube channels, or simply search the Internet for useful DIY forums and DIY blogs.

The UK is currently going through a recession and every penny saved through DIY will be better spent on life’s essentials. Of course, as already stated, some building work will nearly always require a professional tradesman who will be trained in his or her specific field of work. Health and safety is paramount when dealing with gas, electricity, sharp cutting saws, working at heights or with unstable structures. These kind of jobs are always best clash of clans astuces left to the professionals. You can contact your local council for advise on reputable local tradesmen and women, and they will also be able to explain which certificates and regulating bodies you should look out for when hiring a builder

DIY can be an enjoyable part of looking after your home, it can also be rewarding knowing that you have “done it yourself”.

So for those who simply want to have a go at DIY, why not decide on a job, and begin some research to see what you can maybe do yourself.

Article by Simon Lucas of Blog About DIY

How to Build a DIY Conservatory

So you’ve decided that you want to extend your home with a conservatory, but want to save some money and do the installation yourself. Whilst it’s not a popular choice, building a DIY conservatory yourself is a great way to save a bit of money. In fact, we’ve seen a 20% rise in DIY conservatory orders since 2010, probably due to the economic turmoil of recent years.

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

The first, and most important step, is the planning. It is hard to stress enough that the work spent at this stage has the highest value! Think through what exactly you want to get out of the project – are you looking to create a room for your children, or are you looking for a room in which you’ll be able to host dinner parties lit by the moonlight and stars? Making a good decision at this stage will feed through the entire build, in terms of the precise size, shape and interior design decisions.

Draw a to-scale diagram of the project, and – whilst you’re at it – fill this with the different furniture you want to include. This will force you to be realistic about how large it will need to be, and it means you’ll get a good feel for how far into your garden the build will extend.

Finding A Conservatory Supplier

Now, you’ll need to place an order. I’d offer our conservatory prices comparison service, but it only applies to the UK and I don’t want to be biased – just have a look around and do your research to get the best price and product possible. We have plent of competitors doing something similar after all. The company will discuss with you what they need in terms of plans and sizes so what they send you is what you expect!

It’s Fairly Bas(e)ic!

When everything arrives, check you’ve got all of the components first of all. You don’t want to find that the roof is missing only once everything else is in place. There are two options for the foundations – you can either get a pre-fabricated base, or you can take the traditional approach of digging trenches and filling them with concrete and planting the supporting elements into these.

Once the base is done, you’ll be able to start connecting the frame of the conservatory and installing the windows – needless to say, but take great care when handling all of the glass (which you should, by the way, check will not let out too much heat – it can vary greatly from one company to another).

Have a Beer and Enjoy It

When the structure is complete, you’ll be able to fill it as you planned! This step is possibly the most fun, although don’t underestimate how much you may spend when you’re budgeting! Hopefully, having read these basic instructions, you’ll already know what you’re looking for and you’ll end up with something that becomes one of the heavily used areas of your home.

Choosing the best materials for your double glazing project

If you are looking for new or replacement windows for your home it can be a difficult decision to make. With the wide range of products available what is best choice for your home? In this article I would like to explore some of the options available and what the positives and negatives are behind each one.

1. PVCu Windows

Whether your window project is for a new build or you are looking to replace existing windows then PVCu windows are a good place to start. Firstly whilst price will fluctuate depending on your location, size of order and quality of material PVCu windows are generally regarded as the cheapest option when it comes to double glazing. Some people may be put off by PVCu appearance as some people see it as cheap looking. As time has moved on PVCu has evolved and is now available in a variety of styles and colours to match any home. If you are looking for double glazing on a budget PVCu is definitely the way to go.

2. Wooden Timber Windows

Wooden frames generally have a lower environmental impact that other alternatives however will require slightly more upkeep. You can use a variety of high performance paints and stains to provide maximum protection and minimal maintenance. Whilst it may require a small amount of maintenance it still has a very long life expectancy and with a variety of colours it can produce a very high quality finish. With the timber windows you can expect to pay slightly more, this is still a great choice for period properties or barn conversions.

3. Aluminium Windows

Aluminium windows are perfect for contemporary style homes, it has an extremely long life expectancy and tends to provide a higher quality finished that alternatives such as PVCu. That being said metals are not as thermally efficient as other material like wood, whilst this is not a going to cause any major problems is it something to be aware of. As a whole if you are looking for a stylish addition to your new build home Aluminium frame windows may be something that interests you, again with a variety of colours and styles you can be sure to find one to match your tastes.

4. Composite Windows

Composite windows are typically used in countries with harsh climates such as Canada and Sweden, they are however becoming more and more popular in the UK, especially as a triple glazed window. They generally consist of timber windows with a weatherproof capping such as aluminium strips. Due to the way they are build you can expect to have very low maintenance and a long life boom beach diamonds expectancy. One thing you do need to be cautious of is, if you order your windows from Europe they will unlikely be made to the standard UK sizes

As you can see there is a lot of variety for homeowners looking to install new windows. Each option has it’s pro’s and cons depending on the materials used, there is also a lot of variations in price depending on both what material is used and the quality of that material. When looking for windows be sure to get at least 3 different quotes and be sure to check their previous works to avoid getting caught out.

About the Author: This article was written by Joe Symons on behalf of Thames Valley
Windows, quality suppliers and installer of double glazing Surrey.

Running Your Own Home Based Letting Agency With Letting4Success

For many people the idea of being their own boss is a dream – but one that never quite becomes a reality. The most common reason for this is that they never took the first step and embraced an opportunity to put them in control of their working life. Running your own letting agency from home is one such opportunity, and our Letting4Success System can get you started with everything you need to do just that.

Why running a letting agency is the perfect work from home opportunity

What is it that makes working from home so appealing for so many people? While it may not be suitable for everyone, it does have an extensive range of benefits over slaving away in a 9-5 job, including:

  • Controlling your work and working the hours that are suitable for you
  • Saving time / money / sanity on not having to commute
  • No over-demanding bosses or tricky co-workers
  • Working from home means low overheads (and you can always expand into an office at a later date when your profits grow, should you so choose)
  • The satisfaction of creating something from scratch and building it up into a profitable and successful business

Starting up a home-based letting agency is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to tap into these benefits. The lettings market is currently going from strength to strength, which is more than can be said for a lot of sectors in these trying economic times.

Of course, you don’t need to literally convert your home into a lettings agency office, and there’s no need to have either tenants or landlords visit you at home unless you choose to. Your website acts as a virtual ‘shop front’ for your business, and this is something that Letting4Success can show you how to establish. Alternatively, we can offer you our Websites4Lettings system as a complete solution for online letting.


What you get from Letting4Success

One of the most daunting things about getting started with any work from home business is undoubtedly having to learn the ropes all by yourself. That’s why we created the Letting4Success System, which will provide you with all the information and face-to-face training you need to get started from just £495.00.

The business manual comprises more than 300 pages of vital information and a proven blueprint for running a lettings business, with a CD-ROM that contains all of the forms and documents you’ll need to operate your business professionally, as well as accounting spreadsheets for your records. You also get our unique FACE-TO-FACE training, in either classroom or 1-2-1 options.

Of course, even with such in-depth information and training on tap you’re still bound to have questions, particularly in the early stages. Fortunately, with us you gain access to unlimited phone and email support, so whenever you have a question you can simply drop us an email or call us at no extra charge.

Starting your own home-based letting agency may be the most rewarding and liberating decision you take in your working life, and we can guide you on your way. Start up with Letting4Success today to take the first step.

For further information please call 01722 414 300.

Written by Rory James MacLaren-Jackson from Letting4Success