Home Improvement



Have you wanted to redesign your floor for a long time or repair old stairs? We show you how to professionally repair tiles and fittings in the kitchen. A+ Construction & Remodelling tips will help you with the  renovation work . Also: Practical DIY tips for  painting, wallpapering and varnishing.

1. Remove the dowel

Basically, we recommend leaving the old dowel in the wall, as the dowel hole is enlarged even further by pulling out the dowel. However, if you cannot avoid it because a new hole is to be drilled in the immediate vicinity and the old one is to be filled with plaster, then you take a corkscrew, screw it into the dowel and pull it out of the wall.

2. Cotton wool for the wall

This trick works particularly well with woodchip wallpaper. Instead of plaster, dowel holes are simply filled with a ball of cotton wool and then dabbed over with wall paint.

3. Find the right anchor

Doesn’t hold up, doesn’t exist: There is the right dowel for every wall. You can find detailed information in the brochure “Der dowel finder” from Fischerwerke (available in the hardware store on the Fischer dowel shelf)

4. Fill cracks

Small cracks, be it stress cracks in new buildings or signs of aging in old buildings, can be filled quickly and easily with an acrylic joint compound. Acrylic has the advantage here that everything can be painted over afterwards. To smooth the grout, use a spatula or your own finger dipped in detergent.

5. Expose cracks

Deep cracks are opened with a hammer and chisel down to the masonry, moistened with a sponge and only then filled with filler.

6. Mix the plaster of paris

The secret of the lump-free mass lies in the mixing sequence. First comes the water, then the plaster of paris. Never the other way around! The plaster beaker is only about a third filled with water and the plaster gradually sprinkled in until it is evenly close to the water surface. Let the mixture soak for a short time and mix the plaster with a narrow spatula to a smooth mass.

7. Lay the cable

Cables under plaster to relocate is an extremely tedious and dirty work. Some even try a hammer and chisel! So make it easy for yourself and rent a wall chaser with a vacuum cleaner connection. You can get such devices for around 25 euros per day or 40 euros for the weekend. An investment that quickly pays for itself – especially with hard solid masonry.

8. Buy cheap wall grinder

Anyone who wants to lay a cable duct exclusively in plaster or lightweight building blocks is well looked after with a small wall chaser (e.g. from Wolfcraft). It is attached to a drill as an additional device and costs around 55 euros including a carbide-tipped cutter

9. Keep your distance

Cables, sockets and junction boxes are installed 30 cm above the floor and 30 cm below the ceiling. The distance to doors and windows is 15 cm. The light switches are 105 cm high.

10. Lay the electrical cable

Do you want to lay a cable in the milled channel, but don’t have cable clamps? Drive small nails into the wall next to the cable, crisscrossing them, then seal the slot with plaster of paris. Once the plaster of paris is dry, the nails are removed and the holes are reworked with plaster of paris.

11. Bridge cracks

Stress cracks, caused by different building materials, will break open again and again after filling. A self-adhesive tear tape made of fabric can help.

12. Wall plaster without waves

Plumbing and flush mounted metal plaster strips guarantee an even application of the plaster mortar. Important: Attach the strips so that the plaster board rests well.

13. Detect live power lines

The Bosch PDO Multi tracking device detects live power lines, ferrous and non-ferrous metals (such as copper pipes) and even wooden substructures in drywall! Available for just under 90 euros in the hardware store

14. Knot the cable

Even if it sounds strange – it helps a lot: Under tension, for example when you climb a ladder with an electrical device, some plugs come loose from the coupling. Just make a knot around the connection with the cables and everything will hold perfectly. If you like it more elegant, you can buy safety boxes that serve this purpose, but also keep out splash water.

15. The choice of paint roller

Long-pile rolls are particularly suitable for thin paints. They absorb more of it and are more suitable for coarse-pored walls (rough plaster). Rolls with a medium pile are used for smooth walls; pasty and solid colors can be processed well with short pile models. They are also smaller and lighter, which makes them easier to hold.

16. Assess color

A wall color has a different effect depending on the incidence of light, because vertical surfaces reflect light less than horizontal surfaces. The color should therefore also be assessed where it will later be applied, namely on the wall. To do this, make a color sample on a piece of wallpaper and try out this color sample on the corresponding wall. It has proven useful to let the color samples hang for a few days in order to let the color take effect.

17. Check the subsurface

If the old wall paint can be rubbed off by hand, as in the photo, one thing is certain: neither wallpaper nor new paint will stick here. The so strongly chalking old wall paint must be washed off thoroughly with water. After drying, the wall is then painted with a deep primer and then colored.

18. Protect floors

Carpets, wooden floors and tiles can be easily protected from paint splashes by using a protective film with a self-adhesive edge. The adhesive strip is glued along the baseboard and then the film is unfolded. There are different sizes, for example from Tesa

19. Use telescopic rod

In order to be able to paint on high walls and ceilings effortlessly, a telescopic rod is used as an extension, which can be extended up to 3 m in length. The paint roller is simply pushed onto the telescopic rod.

20. Read in color samples

You saw a wall color in the interior magazine but you don’t know the manufacturer’s name? No problem for color mixing machines with an integrated scanner. Color samples you bring with you are read in with the computer, which then mixes the right color together. This service is now available in many hardware stores.

21. Pre-treat the door frame

Before starting the painting work, the door frames should be masked with painter’s tape. If there is a joint between the frame and the wall, this is neatly sealed with an acrylic spatula.

22. Use corner roller

The corner roller is a great invention. This specialty has a tapered roll that is distributed in 90-degree inside corners.

23. Even coat of paint

First roll the soaked paint roller from bottom to top and only then distribute the paint criss-cross on the wall. Immediately put the next line (wet on wet) next to it and distribute it again. Always paint the walls continuously without pauses.

24. Painter’s tape

The industry has the right adhesive tape for every application and every masking width. For example, straight surfaces are masked with a smooth painter’s tape, while the extremely flexible painter’s tape is used for curves and curves.

25. Protect heating

The radiator roller fits exactly into the distance to the wall, but it also fully lubricates the radiator. Simply protect the radiator by putting masking paper over it.

26. Painting slap

Another nice product from the painter’s trade: the paint job. The velor cushion on the flexible bracket brings wall paint clean behind the radiator.

27. Bag rolls

Paint rolls that are still in use the next day are packed airtight in plastic bags overnight. Then you don’t have to wash out the paint roller!

28. Cover corners

A piece of cardboard is held as protection during painting so that no paint gets on the adjacent wall. We also recommend this procedure if you use different colors on two walls.

29. Remove the thermostat

So that the thermostat is not smeared when painting, it should be completely removed in summer. In winter the heating would be too hot, so it is better to cover the controller with painter’s tape.

30. Save paint residues

Paint residues should be kept for touch-up purposes. Cleaned pickle jars are ideal for this.

31. Draw a chalk line for wallpaper

So that the wallpaper strips are straight, a line is drawn about 50 cm from the wall using a chalk line. The second strip is then glued to this line. Only now do you glue the first strip.

32. Glue wallpaper with incidence of light

Ceilings should always be wallpapered with the incidence of light. This way the seams run towards the light and cannot form mini-shadows.

33. First roll of wallpaper

Do not start the first strip in a corner, but about 50 cm from the corner on the free wall. To do this, we recommend making an exact vertical mark with a pencil and solder. The first lane is worked towards this marking. Since you now have 50 cm out of the corner, you will get approx. 2 to 3 cm into the corner by train. Because you should never use wallpaper around an inside corner, but only briefly over it. The wallpaper may have to be cut off in the corner so that everything stays straight. With the adjoining wallpaper you just go over the first strip.

34. Cut the edges of wallpaper

Cutting into the edges makes wallpapering “around the corner” easier. Of course, this also applies to outside corners. Cut the strip of wallpaper at the window so that it only runs 1 to 2 cm to the corner. The membrane in the reveal is then glued so that it hits the corner exactly.

35. Ceiling helpers with wallpapering

The best way to wallpaper a ceiling is with two people. And so that the helper doesn’t have to balance on the ladder too, he or she remains on the floor and supports the upholsterer by holding the wallpaper strip under the ceiling with a shower squeegee. This trick with a broom is well known. Only that the broom is narrower.

36. Cut wallpaper

Since you always need a few centimeters longer, there is logically an overhang. This overhang can be marked with a pencil and then cut off with scissors or simply cut off with a spatula about 20 cm wide. To do this, press the spatula tightly against the baseboard and pull the rest of the wallpaper. You will see that it is not difficult at all.

37. Bumps in the wallpaper

If bumps appear in the wallpaper after drying, the area is moistened and glue is sprayed under the wallpaper with a syringe with a thick cannula (from the pharmacy). Spread the paste well and press everything down firmly with a smooth seam roller.

38. Wallpaper behind the heater

For this purpose, the wallpaper is cut in a comb shape: the upper area remains intact, the lower area is divided into strips. First the upper continuous area is glued on and then the individual strips of the “comb” are pressed on with the roller.

39. Measure the wallpaper

Not quite as accurate, because there is a non-wallpapered area behind the heater, but just as good: The brackets behind the radiator are measured, the dimensions are transferred to the sheets and the recesses are cut out. Then the wallpaper can be glued to the brackets behind the heater.

40. Direction of paint

Always start painting at the window and work your way away from the incidence of light. In this way, you can prevent possible approaches from becoming visible later.

41. Calculate the amount of paint

The range specifications refer to the painting of smooth walls. If you paint rough plaster or rough woodchip, the range is reduced by 10 to 30 percent.

42. Corners first

The corners of a wall are always painted with a brush first, but not in the whole room. The paint should always be painted wet on wet so that the transitions cannot be seen.

43. Store paint correctly

Paints can be stored for a long time if you put a little water or turpentine on the surface.

44. The correct room temperature

A normal room temperature must prevail when painting or wallpapering. It is wrong to turn the heating on fully or to set the window to a draft because this would result in drying out too quickly.

45. steel wool

Impurities on paint surfaces can be carefully removed with steel wool without removing a lot of paint. Then paint everything again dust-free.

46. ​​Avoid strong color differences

If a wall shows significant color differences after painting, the entire wall should be treated with deep primer. Then paint everything again.

47. Airborne dust

Persistent dust settles on the surface when painting: stretch wet sheets!

48. Material requirements for wallpaper

To calculate how much wallpaper you need, multiply the height of the room by the length of the wall. Example: Your room height is 275 cm and you measure a wall length (without doors and windows) of 15 m with the folding rule. You therefore need nine rolls with the standard dimensions of 10.5 x 0.53 m for this area. Here you will find other important tips on the subject of walls and paintings .

49. Drill tiles

A strip of adhesive parcel tape is stuck to the tile to prevent the drill from slipping. Important: it is essential to drill through the tile without hammering.

50. Replace the floor tile

Cut out the joints around the tile with a small milling cutter and a hard metal milling insert (e.g. Dremel Multi). Now smash the tile and pry out. So the other tiles remain intact. You don’t just want to replace a tile, but want to completely renovate your bathroom? Here’s how to do it best .

51. Cool tiles

The tool can burn out quickly when drilling through hard tiles. The little trick to prevent this from happening: surround the drilling area with a wreath of modeling or modeling clay and pour some water into it to cool it down. Then drill with a glass drill at low speed.

52. Cut tiles correctly

Some still use glass cutters and rulers for this. But it is faster, more precise and with less waste with a tile cutter. At around 20 euros, this is so inexpensive that it is hardly worth borrowing for a fee.

53. Electric tile cutter for hard tiles

Anyone who has large areas to tile or is processing very hard tiles is well advised to use an electric tile cutter. The circular saw-like device has a diamond-set saw blade. A worthwhile investment at around 50 euros.

54. Tile hole cutter

To get larger holes for supply lines or sockets in tiles, you use a tile hole cutter that can be clamped in normal drill chucks. It is essential to proceed with a low speed and with great care.

55. Tile corners

Start at the corner with a whole tile and determine the edge overhang with a remnant of tile.

56. Plaster tiles

With the renovation system “Instead of tiles” from Ultrament, the walls can be made smooth or structured without chipping off the old tiles. The system consists of a primer, cover filler, white paint, the effect glazes in different colors and sealing. From around 125 euros, sufficient for a good 6 square meters.

57. Tile on tile

Prime with a thin layer of adhesive and allow to dry. Then apply the actual adhesive layer (e.g. safety adhesive from Lugato). Comb through with the notched trowel and apply the tiles immediately.

58. Apply tile varnish

Tiles that have become unsightly can be refreshed with tile varnish. Prime tile joints and edges with a brush. Then apply the varnish with the paint roller. The surface must be cleaned thoroughly beforehand.

59. Moisture protection

Even un-tiled walls in the bathroom and kitchen can be effectively protected against water and soap stains with a seal (e.g. Molto wallpaper protection). Also suitable for the subsequent treatment of wallpaper because the coating is washable and scrubbable. Simply apply with the roller.

60. Grouting properly

When sealing joints in the bathroom and kitchen with silicone, small special fillers made of elastic plastic (available in hardware stores) prove to be useful helpers. Pull the tool over the mass and remove the excess. Only then use detergent and your index finger to smooth the silicone and then let it dry.

61. Repair broken concealed hinges

If such a mishap happens, you don’t have to throw away the good piece of furniture right away. With a two-component wood repair putty, even large hinges can be glued in firmly again. After the two components have been mixed, the putty must be used quickly as it hardens very quickly. Here we explain in detail how to properly repair door hinges .

62. Touch up the enamel

Whether bathtub, wash basin or toilet: Small wounds can be quickly repaired with a repair kit. Such sets (for example from Jaeger) consist of sandpaper, filler and hardener as well as spray paint. When mixing the filler and hardener, the room must be well ventilated and protective gloves must be worn!

63. Repairing imperfections in acrylic coating

Small areas of damage in an acrylic coating can be removed with the Aquatic polishing set. The set consists of wet sandpaper of various grains, an abrasive paste and a polishing agent. Price about 23 euros.

64. Painting the bathtub

In the event of extensive damage, tubs can be recoated with the special two-component paint from Molto. After applying it with a brush or roller, the bathtub looks like new again and is almost as resistant.

65. Remove the mirror

Tie a few knots on a piece of dental floss. With the “wire saw” produced in this way, glued mirrors can be removed from the wall without having to use a hammer and chisel.

66. Clean the joints

Normal household vinegar, pure or diluted, often works wonders for mold stains and mold growth. If you want to completely renew the joint, read here how to do it .

67. Free pipe

If the drain is clogged, you don’t have to resort to the chemical club . Add 150 g of baking soda and then 230 ml of household vinegar. When the foaming subsides, rinse with hot water then thoroughly with cold water. Without side effects.

68. New silicone seal

To do this, the old seal must first be removed. The easiest way to do this is with a joint knife or joint shark. If necessary, a cutter can do it.

69. Pay attention to the quality of silicone

When it comes to silicone, you should buy branded goods that only shrink by 5 to 10 percent when they cure. Cheap products can shrink by up to 30 percent due to inferior additives and lose their elasticity in the process.

70. Remove limescale from the toilet

If there are limescale deposits in the basin, you should first remove the source: remove the brown deposits in the cistern, add vinegar essence and fill up with water. Leave on overnight and rinse two or three times. You can read more about the bathroom here.

71. More time with plaster work

The processing time of plaster can be extended significantly by adding Rotband adhesive plaster and quartz sand. Mix the materials dry and soak them in water. Allow to dry well before painting (2 to 3 hours).

72. Stainless screws

If the screws on the toilet seat are not rust-free, a coat of clear nail polish will help. The nail polish not only protects against rust, but also ensures that the screws are tight.

73. Flashing fittings

Limescale deposits on metal fittings can be removed with fine 00 steel wool without scratching the metal. You can find more home remedies for limescale deposits here .

74. Carpet in carpet

Carpeting in the door area is quickly dirty. Simple solution: the piece of carpet is cut out with a self-made template and another one inserted, which can be replaced if necessary.

75. Lay the carpet correctly

Make an exact sketch of the rooms with all dimensions. Enter the windows or the incidence of light. With some carpets, this can also determine the laying direction, as the seams must always run parallel to it 580 in order not to be visible. Provide additional material for niches and doors and thus calculate the material requirements.

76. Carpet from the corner

Start laying in a right angle corner. Pull the unrolled carpet into position with both hands and one foot.

77. Cutting the carpet

One tool that we recommend for cutting carpeting is Mator’s Easy-Cut. Press the Easy-Cut with its blade in the corner of the carpet and baseboard and cut with a pull. From 20 euros in the hardware store.

78. Patchwork

Burn holes and other small damaged areas in the carpet can be the opportunity to beautify the floor individually. Place a leftover piece in a different color under the carpet and cut out rectangles from both with one cut.

79. Punch

If you want to mend the carpet so that it can no longer be seen, you can use a punch. Simply punch out the damaged area and patch.

80. Carpet knife

Only carpet knives designed for this purpose are suitable for cutting carpets. Long straight cuts can be made with the hook blade without damaging the ground. The trapezoidal blade is suitable for fine work, for example in the door area.

81. Carpet on the door

To put the carpet through the door opening, the cut is first made at an angle to the door reveal. Later it will be cut exactly. If you put a board underneath as a cutting aid, you can prevent a cut from being unintentionally cut into the carpeting.

82. Disengage the heating pipes

First measure the center points of the pipes and mark them on the board. The passages for the pipes are then drilled with an artificial drill. Take into account about 1 cm of contact surface for the rosette. The board is then notched in a wedge shape. Finally, both parts are put together.

83. Leave out the heating pipe

Recessing is even easier if you place the longitudinal joints of the boards on the pipe. Pay attention to a minimum offset because of the joint pattern.

84. Sand the plank floor

First sand diagonally to the direction of movement of the boards, then in the second step across it. The third sanding step is then carried out parallel to the boards. If you drag towards the light, you will be better able to see any unevenness. Here you can find out in detail what to consider when sanding parquet floors .

85. Occupy stairs

If the overhang of the first step is cut quarter-round, then it is better to make an extra template for this area. When you have finished the actual step stencil, the two are put together. With this overall template, the floor covering can then be cut out precisely.

86. Step creak

The natural shrinkage of the wood and the traffic load on the stairs create gaps on the stringer as well as the risers and steps where the wood rubs against each other: Before you carry out a repair, check where the weak points are.

87. Uncatch the step

To remove the creak, the step is first lifted with two wedges – carefully hammered in with a hammer. The acrylic mass can be pressed into the enlarged joint.

88. Riser

Here the step is separated from the riser with wedges. The joint is filled with sealing compound until this edge oozes out, the excess, when everything is completely dry, cut off with the cutter and the wedges removed. The joint is covered with a nailed wooden strip (quarter bar).

89. Peel off paint

Hot air devices are particularly suitable for profiled doors. They can be used to soften several layers of paint and then remove them with a spatula or scraper. Here we explain in detail how to remove paint with paint stripper or a heat gun .

90. Use paint stripper

Paint strippers are liquid and pasty chemicals for removing old paintwork. However, they only ever loosen the top layer of varnish, which is then lifted off with the spatula.

91. Grinding turned profiles

With abrasive cloth cut into strips, you can also create turned profiles.

92. Tint the white lacquer

An old trick of the painting professionals: Tint the white lacquer with a drop of black or umber. This increases the opacity noticeably.

93. Mask off the window frame

Before painting the window frame, it is essential to protect the glass panes and silicone seals from inadvertent paint with a UV-resistant window adhesive tape. This adhesive tape does not dissolve by the sun’s rays, the paint has time to dry.

94. Store brushes correctly

After a day’s work, you rarely feel like cleaning your brush thoroughly. If you want to continue the next day, that is not necessary. Used brushes can be stored overnight in a mason jar with water. Fix the brushes with tape so that the bunch stays above the water. The use of a brush cup made by Lehnartz is much more elegant. Several brushes of different sizes can be stored here.

95. The right brush

In order to achieve optimal work results, you have to choose the right brush for each color. Connects a brush with China bristles (pig bristles), which is suitable for synthetic resin paints and glazes. Brushes with plastic bristles are ideal for water-based varnishes and glazes based on acrylic due to their high absorption capacity.

96. Patches in color

This can happen and is annoying at first. But you don’t have to dispose of the old container immediately. Simply let the paint run through a pair of taut tights into a second container. The paint is ready to use.

97. Apply spray paint

In order to obtain a perfect finish, it is first sprayed vertically and then horizontally. Go beyond the edge of the surface to be painted so that there are no approaches.

98. Delete correctly

A perfectly painted surface can also be achieved here. To do this, first apply the paint with a diagonal line, then run the brush across.

99. Paint window frames

First, roughly apply the paint to the glazing beads with a long brush stroke . Then spread the paint evenly in a steady rotating motion. By rotating, you distribute the color instead of pushing it in front of the brush like a straight line.

100. Paint the muntin windows

In order to achieve a seamless coating, it is particularly important for transom windows to adhere to the optimal sequence. Basically work from the inside out. First paint the vertical, then the horizontal rungs. Then it is the turn of the sash and finally the frame is painted.

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