Ask the Diva

If you have a query relating to home improvement, home maintenance, home DIY or decorating a home then this is the place! Send your queries to our DIY Diva and we will answer them as best we can. If we don’t know - we’ll find out for you. Submit your question and we'll post and answer. In this way we can build up a comprehensive library of information that everyone will be able to access. Fill out the form below or email us at

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               2012 ARCHIVE == 2011 ARCHIVE

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13 December 2012 01:46 PM

Paint peeling on ceiling board

My existing ceiling is in good condition except for a small patch which has flaking paint. I have started scraping the paint off and it is now peeling and lifting and it has peeled straight back to the raw brown ceiling board (sorry, I dont know the correct name for this board) The small area I have scraped is now becoming a bigger area as more paint is flaking off in big pieces. I am wanting to paint the ceiling to freshen it up. What is the best way to do this, on both the raw brown ceiling board and the balance of the ceiling which is faded?

Hi Anita,
I am presuming you mean the Gypsum board. This is a chalky board wrapped in brown paper.

Don't worry if you take the paint back to the board itself, in fact that might be a good idea if the paint is starting to peel. You don't want to spend time painting the ceiling if the paint is going to peel off. You can apply Plascon Kitchen & Bathroom paint directly onto the ceiling board with a roller.



17 December 2012 09:45 PM

How to paint zinc patio roof

Need step-by-step guidance to re-paint a zinc patio roof on top and underneath.

Hi Theo,
You will find practical step-by-step instructions here. There is also a list of Plascon Metalcare products that can be used for various applications, including a Zinc patio roof. The full range of products can be found on the shelf at your local Builders Warehouse.



Sent: 16 December 2012 11:40 PM

Problem with Dulux paint

Hi Janice,
We have installed a supawood kitchen, however the carpenter we used is very problematic and has taken over 4 weeks to complete a little kitchen. He has sprayed the doors with a dulux signal red gloss paint, but the paint is peeling off! What can we tell him to do to prevent this from happening and also preventing the paint from fading during time. I would also like to know if supawood can be designed with an embossed pattern on the doors and who can we get to do these designs on the east rand.

Hi Michelle,
I spray supawood all the time and can only say that he probably didn't spray on a couple of light coats beforehand. If he didn't use an undercoat, it's imperative to spray on light coats that are absorbed into the wood before applying top coats.

Not sure why the paint is fading, but I have never used Dulux paint.



Sent: 10 December 2012 01:22 PM

How to dye my leather lounge suite

I bought a beautiful leather corner unit couch from my mother. The only problem is that it is an awful tan colour – making it very difficult to add colour to my decor (no blues match, and the tan is so close to orange that it is over powering with the current warm colours I have).

I would like to dye it. Either a dark chocolate brown or preferably a grey colour (only because I read on the internet that it is possible to go any colour). The only problem is that I do not know where to get the appropriate leather dye in South Africa (I have called Leatherite in Pretoria but they only supply dye for raw leather). Nor do I know if it is in fact possible to go a lighter colour.

Please help!

Hi Jodi,
I am also not sure if you can go lighter, and very much doubt it. A chocolate brown would probably be the best colour to go with.

Dylon dyes can usually be found at shoe repair shops and this would be the best dye to use for a finished lounge suite. I have also recently posted an article that looks as dye for a leather lounge suite.



Thursday, December 06, 2012 10:27 AM

Can I paint my old fridge

Good morning. I followed your advice with distressing my bedroom cupboards using the candle wax method and finishing off with Woodoc Antique wax. It looks lovely but I'd like to have your advice for the following projects:-

1. If I want to do the same with my kitchen cupboards would I still finish off with the woodoc antique wax or is there some other product I should use to finish with to protect paint from the steam/heat from the oven, kettle and stove?

2. I have an old fridge with a few scratches on and would like to redo it with a cream paint to look vintage. What should I use...and if rust oleum products please advise on what to use.

Hi there,

1. On the kitchen cupboards I wouldn't use the candle wax method. Paint matt colour on and then sand around the edges to distress. Apply two coats of clear polyurethane varnish to protect.

2. On the old fridge you can use Rust-Oleum Spray Epoxy. It comes in a selection of colours and you can buy at your local Builders Warehouse.



05 December 2012 09:31 AM

Fill gaps where tiles removed

Hi there, Our builders removed our built in cupboard when building and have left areas where we have no tiles. in future we are wanting to rip up our existing tiles so don't want to replace the tiles now. can you suggest a way to fill this area without replacing the tiles?

Hi Kim,
You don't mention the type of tiles that are on the wall, but if they are a plain colour you could have 9mm SupaWood cut to size, sand the edges, paint them with Rust-Oleum 2X and then stick onto the wall with No More Nails. Not a permanent solution but definitely one that will fill in the gaps until you replace the tiles.



03 December 2012 06:47 PM

Fabric couch dye

I have a slip-cover (no-longer-white) fabric couch that I'd like to dye. Can you recommend a product / company for this?

Hi Shirley,
You can buy a dye product at many shoe repair outlets and stores such as Clicks and Dischem. If you plan to do it yourself you will need a large galvanized or plastic tub in order to soak the slipcover.

I did Google for a professional to dye the slipcovers for you, but came up empty handed.



04 December 2012 03:18 PM

Messy exterior walls

Please help. I had a painter come paint the exterior walls. But they polyfilled the wall and they look untidy. They have already painted over the poly filla. Can we plaster the areas where there is poly filla and paint over that

Hi Yashika,
It's going to be very difficult for you to fix up without removing the paint over the filled spots. What I normally do is to keep a small tin of textured paint on hand, so that I can try and blend any repaired spots in with the existing finish. If you do this you don't need to sand away the paint.



30 November 2012 08:48 AM

Interior decorator Cape Town

I’ve recently bought a property that is still being built. At this moment in time, I only have a floor plan to work with. I now have a clean slate to make my home look beautiful but the task seems daunting & overwhelming. Where do I start….. what colour themes do I want, what colour should I paint the walls, what kind of tiles do I want etc….

Do you know of any interior decorators in Cape Town that could help me with these decisions? I don’t have a big budget to work with, so I’m looking for solutions that are the most cost effective but still has the “wow” factor.

Hi Ronelle,
It can be a daunting task to start from scratch if you are not sure in which direction to move forward.

There are literally hundreds of interior designers in Cape Town. What you need to do is look at the previous work of some of these designers to see which one strikes a cord with you. It also helps to put together a Mood Board - images of furniture and decor that appeals to you. While putting together the Mood Board you might even come up with ideas that mean you don't need a designer after all.

There are plenty of ideas and inspiration on the website to get you started.



29 November 2012 12:26 PM

Frustrated about home decor

Kindly assist. I just moved into a 3 bedroom town house and don’t have any idea on how to decorate the place. I am living with my husband and 2 year old baby - expecting my 2nd baby March next year. I need ideas - my bedroom is just a sleeping room with a bed and old TV unit. I want my husband to sleep in a beautiful and nice bedroom. I don’t know what to buy when I get to the shop for my bedroom, even the painting I don’t even know which paint is suitable for the bedroom or kids room or toilets even living room. I get frustrated when I go buy the stuff and end up buying nothing because I don’t even know how I am going to put them/place them.

Christmas is around the corner and will be giving birth soon and my place is not nice at all. It does not look like a home. I feel ashamed that I can’t even decorate my baby's room.

Hi Shirley,
On we try to provide as many ideas and as much inspiration as possible for anyone wanting to have a beautiful home. I would suggest that you make a list - room by room - of what you would like each room to look like. EG. Paint colour, furniture to be added, a particular style that you like, etc.

It helps to put together a Mood Board. This is a collection of images cut out from magazines or found on the Internet that you like and would like to have in your home. With a Mood Board you will see that there are certain colours and style that you like, and you can then use this as part of the decorating plan.

You don't have to worry about paint these days. Most paints are acrylic and are easy to keep clean if you buy a satin or sheen acrylic paint.

Making your own furniture will obviously save you a lot of money, but you need to have some basic skills before you start. offer a range of workshops that show you how to use power tools, start off in woodwork, and make your own furniture. It might be worthwhile considering signing up for a workshop or two.



25 November 2012 10:59 AM

Where to buy appliques, onlays or mouldings for furniture

I'm at my wits end. I cannot find a supplier that sells embellishments, onlays, appliques or mouldings for DIY projects when revamping furniture. Overseas are plenty but can only find industrial locally. I want the dainty ones.

Hi Sonja,
Unfortunately we have a very limited selection locally. For most projects I purchase mine via Amazon.

They work out much cheaper than the local product, have a wider selection, and delivery normally only takes about 7 to 10 days.



25 November 2012 08:47 AM

Where to buy a black countertop that resembles granite

Hi, We are currently installing a red super wood kitchen and are looking for a black counter top that looks alike to granite. I was told about laminate counter tops but cannot find them anywhere in Gauteng, most places only have post form tops. Pls help. Thank you, Michelle

Hi Michelle,
You can still get the square-tops. I would suggest that you get in touch with, who manufacture the laminate tops and will be able to direct you to the closest supplier.



24 November 2012 11:15 AM

Advice on fixing up a home and pool

Your website and tips are awesome !!!

Just bought a fixer upper and 1)the concrete pool is rather neglected, is there a way to fix this? 2) I like the deep bath but it has a few rust marks nd brown stains and mildew around the silicone sealer and the window frame has rust. How do I fix these?

3) The floors are wooden and have some scratches and are grey in certain areas, how do I sort these out?

Hi Michelle,
1. There are several products that you could use for the concrete pool. If the pool finish is in good condition, you could consider applying epoxy paint, or keep the concrete look:

2. I presume the bath is enamel, in which case Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile would work: and you can easily remove and replace the silicone seal:

For the steel window frames:

3. Where the wooden floor is grey it means that the wood has started to die (or dry out). The best solution would be to sand the floors:



23 November 2012 07:12 PM

How to level out patio floor

We have recently moved into a renovated Karoo cottage. The previous owner, in his wisdom, screeded the stoep concrete floor with a very angled drainage slope, presumably to cope with water run-off in the event of a heavy rain storm (this is the Karoo we are talking about!). Anyway, this has resulted in our stoep lives being lived at crazy sloping angles, and just doesn't work. We have approached a local builder who wants to chop out the whole floor, at what we feel is a large cost (about R11 000, excluding equipment hire) and mess, involving jack hammers, etc. Is there another solution? We'd be very grateful for your opinion.

Hi Romy,
Is there any reason why the local builder could not offer the solution to build up the level with concrete, rather than chop out the whole floor? If the existing floor is in good condition he could do that. A frame could be built around the perimeter of the stoep to allow new concrete to be poured in. Perhaps discuss with the builder and see what he has to say.



23 November 2012 03:28 PM

Help with bedroom cupboards

Hi Janice,
I hope you can help me please. I want to tackle a huge diy project for my bedroom, but I seem to get my measurements completely messed up. I want to build a headboard framed by 2 cupboards, in a very particular style. I have included a picture of the headboard i Want. You will see that it has little shelves on the sides-I want to keep those shelves. Next to those shelves, I want to put a cupboard on either side. So the bed will be centered on the wall. The cupboards on either side must have the shoji doors-as in the pic. I wanted to make a padded headboard using this design, but not sure if it will be too heavy.

The measurements of the wall I intend to use is 4.1m wall to wall , the height from floor to ceiling is 2.58(so i think ~2.4m high??) the bed is 1.8 m wide. Can you help me please? This is the biggest job I have undertaken, am very afraid and would love your advise. The colours I am considering is very much in line with the colours of the headboard pic. ( iIthought about possibly using the polystyrene ceiling board thingies - but not sure if it will work or if a padded headboard will look better) I love this design and cannot wait to do it myself:)

Hi Faaeza,
Does look like a big project.

Instead of trying to work out everything in one go, concentrate on the headboard and side shelves first. I think your suggestion to use polystyrene tiles was a good one. They are much lighter and you can paint them with acrylic paint. Don't use spray paint as this will dissolve the polystyrene. If the bed is 1,8 metres wide and you allow a width of 300mm each for the side shelves, that gives you a total of 2,4 metres, which leaves 1,7 metres for the shoji cupboards (or 850mm each).

Start with the tiles and once you know how big they are you know how many you need. Use No More Nails to fasten the tiles to the walls.

The shelves are fairly easy. Have 3mm SupaWood cut to 30mm width for the framed front.

Leave the shoji cupboards until last.



12 November 2012 11:35 AM

Advice on painting raw pine

Hi Janice,
I would like to know how difficult it would be to stain/paint a set of raw pine chest of drawers? I want it to be white so it looks like built in cupboards.

Hi Beverley,
Make sure the finish is ultra smooth and clean before painting. Any holes or dents should be filled in with wood filler and then sanded smooth.

Painting is definitely required. If you use a paintbrush to get into detailed bits; smooth this down with a foam roller and paint larger areas with a foam roller you should be fine.

Use an acrylic PVA and apply at least two coats, allowing drying time between coats.



12 November 2012 10:58 AM

Renovating antique oak table

Can you please help us. We bought an antique oak table and chairs that needed some renovation, also it was french varnished and we didn't like this. So we used varnish remover and a sander to get the wood back to its raw finish. Now we are not quite sure how to finish the project. We don't want to use varnish again however we do need to seal it. We would like to just darken the colour slightly to a mahogany type colour. What is the best product to use on this raw antique oak that would give us a light mahogany colour? We will really appreciate your advice.

Hi Andri,
If you don't want to varnish the table again you might consider using a Woodoc Gel Stain and finishing this off with Woodoc Antique Wax. We use this process on quite a bit of our furniture, especially if we don't want a glossy finish. With regular polishing the wax protects the table top.



12 November 2012 09:54 AM

Advice on painting kitchen cupboards black

I need some advice, I have a small kitchen in desperate need of a make over, but the budget is low, I was thinking of covering the old tiles (halfway) with stainless steel or even quilted aluminium. To paint the rest to the ceiling white and my cupboards black and then but black / grey tops Please advise on what paint I should use for the cupboards as well as the wall

Thanks for your advice

Hi Valerie,
It's always tricky offering advice without actually seeing anything.

You will find both stainless steel and embossed aluminium fairly expensive, but brushed aluminium is still reasonably priced at Metals Centre and they will cut it to size for you.

Do beware that you don't make it too dark, especially if you say it is a small kitchen. It could end up looking even smaller and darker. With dark cabinets and countertop you might be overdoing the dark just a tad. Why not consider doing the cabinets in a metallic finish. Pop into your local Builders Warehouse and take a look at the Rust-Oleum Universal Metallics range of spray paint. All you need to do is give the cabinets and good clean and then spray on.

You will also find advice on painting cabinets in our Kitchen section.



Saturday, 03 November 2012 10:05 AM

Protect pallisade fencing from weedeater

I have palisade fencing and the garden service's weedeater takes off the protective paint at the base of the palisades. If there anything that can be placed on the base of the palisade to protect even a type of sleeve which can be thrown away after it is completely trashed by the weedeater

Hi Carlo,
It's going to need to be something that can take a fair amount of beating, as weedeaters can easily rip through.

Off the top of my head you could use rubber strips from old tyres, wrap them with duct tape, or even strips of carpet - none of which are going to look attractive. Why not cut back the lawn a bit and install and edging strip, so they don't have to cut so close to the fencing?



Friday, 02 November 2012 03:27 PM

How to clean slasto

I have Slasto down my passage which is very dark and I want to chemically clean it and reseal it so that it is lighter. What products should I use?

Hi Kelly,
I would recommend that you use a stripper on the slasto to remove as much wax build up and embedded dirt as possible. You will find a range of TFC products at your local Builders Warehouse, and they have specific products for stone and slasto.

There isn't anything you can use to lighten the stone - being that it is stone. The only way to lighten the floor would be to paint it, and that unfortunately is not something I would recommend for slasto. But if you are desperate you could give it a try.



Tuesday, 30 October 2012 12:33 AM

Painting built in cupboards

We have just bought a house which has a lot of built in furniture in the bedrooms. It feels good quality and provides valuable storage in a small room so we don't want to get rid of it. However, it's not my style so I want to revamp it! Can you advise me on how best to go about painting the wardrobes and changing the look with new handles etc? Thanks a million.

Hi Alison,
So many styles to choose from...
Start off by sanding the doors and frames with 180-grit sandpaper (wood finish), or washing and rinsing with Sugar Soap (melamine finish).

I like the new Plascon water-based enamel paint for kitchens and bathrooms. This product is perfect for painting onto wood or melamine and will be easy to keep clean.

If you remove the old handles and new to drill new holes, fill the old holes with Alcolin QuikWood epoxy filler and then sand smooth.

You will find all the above products, and a wide selection of nice handles, at your local Builders Warehouse, or at

There are some projects on Home-Dzine that may provide inspiration:



Tuesday, 30 October 2012 09:29 AM

How to mount bathroom basin

Hi Janice
Thank you for replying to me, first I must appologise, I should have said a bathroom basin and not sink (sorry) I was thinking of using those L-shape brackets, like the ones used for book shelves? Would this not work? would it be strong enough, I can get a basin that's not too heavy - like a glass one or a small countertop one.

Hi Samantha,
I would suggest steel angle braces and not the ones used for bookshelves. The brackets should be a mild steel and be an 'L' shape with a diagonal cross piece. Even a light sink needs to have that type of sturdy support. Have seen the steel braces at Builders Warehouse.



Monday, 29 October 2012 10:52 AM

Mid century chair makeover

Hi Janice,
I am very intrigued with the mid-century chair makeover. I would like to do some upholstery, I’ve got a sewing machine but I don’t know how to sew. Is there anyone you know that does sewing classes? I’ve got a six piece Victorian lounge suite just lying in my garage. I would love to give it new life. Hey, thanks once again that for the great advice always, and a great website!

Hi Donavan,
Knowing how to do a few basic sewing stitches can save you a fortune when it comes to giving furniture a makeover. I don't know of anyone who offers sewing classes but my advice to you is to, take out the sewing machine and grab some fabric scraps and give it a go. Start with a small project like making a placemat and get to know how to use the sewing machine. With a machine the more you know what it does the more you can do. I always say that practice makes perfect, and it's mostly how I know so much. I will try anything once!

Let me know how it goes.



Thursday, 25 October 2012 05:33 PM

How to remove broken shower arm

How can I unscrew a piece of broken shower arm from a wallplate elbow without breaking the tiles.

Hi Howard,
If the shower arm was cemented into the wall you may have to chip away a bit in order to get it free. If you use a small chisel and hammer and only use light taps you can prevent breaking the surrounding tiles.

There is also a new product on the market - silicone tape - that you could wrap around the arm to give you a bit more grip. Look for Alcolin silicone tape at your local Builders Warehouse.



Thursday, 25 October 2012 04:05 PM

How to patch up hole in door

How to fix a hole in a hollow core door.

Hi Jo,
With two boys in the house, I have fixed holes in hollow core doors quite a few times...!

The easiest method is to have a piece of 3mm masonite cut to slightly smaller than the size of the door. You need to allow a border around the outside edge of the door for the frame. Use No More Nails to glue onto the door and then paint this to match.

BTW... a new door only costs around R300 at Builders Warehouse.



Thursday, 25 October 2012 03:29 PM

Do I have to tile walls?

I LOVE. LOVE your website. It has been the source of much inspiration for me - and I have even done a DIVA course for the garden bench :)

Several plumbing issues, and the fact that insurance never pays out enough, over the last few years have meant that there a few areas in my bathroom that no longer have tiles. I would like to know do I HAVE TO have tiles on my wall - or can i take off the rest of the tiles and then plaster over the walls again?

DIY-ing is addictive :)

Hi Tanya,

I recently posted an article on the website that looks at alternatives to tiling.

The growing trend overseas is to leave tiles off and I think this is the best way. You can change the look of a bathroom as and when you like.



Thursday, 25 October 2012 10:40 AM

Products to get rid of termites

I am wanting to know what I can paint on my skirting boards before installation to prevent termites.

Hi Ailsa,
There isn't really any product that you can 'paint' onto the skirting boards. I would suggest that you pop into your local nursery or garden centre to see what they can recommend for dealing with termites, or get in touch with a professional pest removal service.

The Woodoc range of interior sealers do offer some protection on initial application, but once installed you aren't going to be able to reapply to the back of the skirtings.



Monday, 22 October 2012 02:34 PM

Where can I buy Rust-Oleum countertop coatings?

Good afternoon.
I saw on your website you make use of the Rust-Oleum countertop coating to paint a kitchen countertop. Where can one buy that product. I reside in Cape Town

Hi Marlise,
You can buy the entire Rust-Oleum range at your local Builders Warehouse. If you have difficulty in sourcing a particular product, get in touch with - who are the agents for Rust-Oleum.



Wednesday, 24 October 2012 04:16 PM

Where to buy Murphy Wall Bed

Where can I locate a Murphy Wall bed that I have seen on your site. Are there any other similar alternatives?

Hi Lawrence,
You can get in touch with: - the official suppliers of the Murphy wall bed in SA.

I haven't come across any other alternative to this product, but you can buy the springs separately if you want to make your own.



Thursday, 18 October 2012 09:46 AM

Where to buy roller blind kit

Hi There
I would like to make my own blinds. Do you have any idea where I can get a kit?

Hi Sheree,
Have managed to make an arrangement with to allow you to buy the spring rod for roller blinds. Here are their details:
Tel. 011 434 1075



Thursday, 18 October 2012 02:45 PM

How to fix up klinker brick paving

Hi Janice
I recently inherited a house from my dad and the paving is in a terrible state. They had clinker brick paving which they then concreted over and now the concrete is all cracked and broken in places. I'm not sure what I could do that is affordable and not require digging it all up. I was thinking of the cement screeding in a colour with some pebbles set into the cement on the edges. But if there is another solution out there I would be really grateful if you could give me some advice.

Hi Eshaana,
There isn't much you can do if the base is already starting to crumble and crack and applying a cement screed over the top would be a waste of money, as it too will crack sooner or later.

What about putting down pebbles or gravel, or laying a few flagstones and planting some low- growing grasses in between.



Wednesday, 17 October 2012 12:28 PM

How to paint cane furniture

Hi Janice
Please can you let me know the method and process to paint cane furniture – I think my cane has a varnish over it and want to paint it white.

Hi Loraine,
Painting cane is the same as painting wood. You will need to sand with 120-grit sandpaper to remove the existing varnish and then sand with 180/240-grit to smooth. Wipe clean before painting. You can paint with any acrylic or spray paint, bearing in mind that a satin or sheen will offer more protection and be easier to keep clean.



Wednesday, 17 October 2012 10:35 PM

Where to buy polystyrene ceiling tiles

Dear Home-Dzine,
Just saw your article on Pressed tin ceilings and polystyrene tiles. Where in SA would I be able to get polystyrene ceiling tiles. My house is 75 years old with the original wooden floors, but I would really like to get rid of the asbestos ceilings or at least cover it.

Hi Lizette,
I know that you can purchase a limited selection of polystyrene ceiling tiles at Builders Warehouse, otherwise try this Google listing.

I sincerely hope that you do not have asbestos ceilings.... read more but think you may be confusing this with a gypsum ceiling.



Monday, 15 October 2012 11:54 AM

Where to buy aluminium treadplate

Please post ideas to use aluminium vastrap over old tiles in the kitchen and where can I buy this cheaper than by Builders.

Hi Valerie,
I have recently discovered that the tread plate design in Formica has been discontinued. used to offer a variety of metallic Formica finishes, but have now stopped this due to lack of demand. Would recommend that you get in touch with Metals Centre who supply aluminium sheeting with a tread plate design.



Monday, 15 October 2012 08:38 AM

High-gloss finish on wooden countertops

Could you please advise me on how to obtain a high gloss on wwoden -counters that we want to install in my kitchen. I'm crazy about your website.

Hi Christelle,
The best product to use would be a polyurethane varnish such as Plascon Ultra. It dries to an ultra-hard finish that is glossy and will protect the countertops.



Saturday, 13 October 2012 08:44 PM

Which Dremel tool should I buy?

I attended your DIY Divas Dremel tool workshop ... I want to get the Dremel multitool. I went onto Boman website for the 300 series. I found the 3000 series (R829.00) which includes the rather expensive flex shaft that usually sells for R349.00 (that I want to eventually get anyway so may as well get it in a kit if I can). The other 3000 pack is this one (just to show you why I would be willing to pay the extra R250.00. Although there is a pretty extensive pack of accessories for R349.00(which I am willing to get if you think there is a better multitool than the 3000 pack I mentioned) I'm a bit lost as to what to look for. I really want to engrave things like crystal and have had one or two people already ask me to engrave crystal or thin glass.

Hi Michelle,
We recently had a Dremel Workshop and specifically focussed on the Dremel 3000 for engraving on glass, as one of the ladies has just received one for her birthday. The 3000 has now replaced the 300 and it is a very good model. The price on offer is excellent as I'm sure it normally retails at around R1200 at Builders Warehouse. I would buy the model with the flexi shaft, as this allows you to work much easier when engraving on glass.

If you need any help or advice, you are welcome to drop me a line.



Saturday, 13 October 2012 05:16 PM

Wood pallets - are they safe

I saw your site and need to ask you a question, I want to build a frame for my daughters bed out of wood pallets I found but am afraid that they may have chemicals that could hurt her. What do I look for?

Hi Ruth,
It is a fact that many wood pallets are chemical treated to prevent bug infestation and rot. The older the pallets the safer they will be, as the chemicals will have been released over time, so keep an eye out for nice, aged pallets in fairly good condition.



Friday, 12 October 2012 10:50 AM

Glossy concrete floor

Wonder if you can give some advice. I have used a concrete stain on my floor and would like to try and ‘polish’ it up a bit so that it is more glossy or shiny? Is there something I can use to get this affect?

Thanks. Really enjoy your magazine

Hi Janine,
The best way to get a 'polished' look without too much effort is to use a sealer. Here's a link for more info on the TFC cement sealer that you can buy at Builders Warehouse:



Thursday, October 11, 2012 6:26 AM

How to make concrete forms

Hi Janice
Thanks for the awesome advice re different queries. When you advised Patsy who is doing a landscaping project you mentioned making one's own concrete seating using plywood as moulds. Where can I get more information about casting concrete seating , pavers, etc? I have already asked a question about classes in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. Is there any chance of this ever happening?

Hi Shireen,
Making forms and moulds for casting concrete is simply a matter of screwing shutterply together into the shapes you want to cast. The concrete is then poured into the forms and left to cure. You will find a fair amount of details in our DIY - Building Projects.

As concerns DIY Classes in Southern Suburbs, what area are you referring to, as we have workshops at various centres - see



Wednesday, October 10, 2012 9:53 AM

Toilet making a funny noise

Hi Janice,
Thanks again for your wonderful tips and all your help. I have another problem, my toilets…they are both making almost like a hissing noise after flushing and until the next flush (keeping me awake at night, sounds like water is on somewhere). If I look down the overflow pipe I can see water trickling I think into the bowl? Can also see water dripping/running into the bowl….any suggestions please? Don’t want to call a plumber when I could probably do it myself, husband away and doesn’t have the time or inclination...

Hi Beverley,
Could be that you need to replace the ballcock. Before you do, try bending it a bit into a position that it stops the flow of water. Looks like it's not lifting fully back into place and cutting of the water.

Take a look at this feature: making sure that the water inlet valve is fully open can make a huge difference.



Wednesday, October 03, 2012 12:27 PM

Repair secondhand dining table

Hi, I was hoping you could help!
I bought a dining room table at a clearance store and it has numerous scratches and chips on the edges of the table top. the table is a wood of some kind and is stained dark almost black. what is the best way to repair these damaged areas?

Hi Kim,
The best way is to give the table a light sanding with 180-grit sandpaper to see if that removes most of the scratches and smoothes out the chips. If you need to, you can use wood filler for small chips - match the colour of the wood filler to the colour you want to finish the table in. For larger chips use Alcolin QuikWood.

Once you've done that you can apply stain, seal or varnish. Varnish offers limited colour choices, but with Woodoc sealer you can tint in a choice of colour tints. The tints are mixed into the sealer and applied as one.



Thursday, October 04, 2012 2:13 PM

Where to buy Formica lifeseal countertops

Good day,
Where can one buy the formica lifeseal worktops?

Hi Elize,
At almost any Builders Warehouse. If you have difficulty sourcing a particular style, get in touch with



Tuesday, October 02, 2012 3:00 PM

Setting up a new swimming pool

Hi Janice,
I have a newly painted marbelite pool which has been filled with water. It has been about a month since and I find that the water is not clear as it should. Do I need to worry? is there any advice?

Thanks for the great articles.

Hi Talya,
A new pool takes a while to settle down. In the meantime, you could pop in a Sparkle It Cube to reduce the amount of floating contaminants. This clears the water overnight.

Other than regularly testing, the pool will settle on its own.



Tuesday, October 02, 2012 3:48 PM

Advice on painting pine cabinets

We are buying raw pine kitchen cabinets and want to paint them white, as our kitchen is small. What paint would be suitable and what would be the process of painting the cabinets.

Hi Claudia,
A water-based enamel would be perfect for painting the raw pine cabinets. Plascon Kitchens & Bathrooms paint is a water-based satin finish (If you use a water-based enamel it isn't necessary to apply primer beforehand) and Plascon Enamel Doors & Trim is a high gloss finish. You will find both products at your local Builders Warehouse store.

Make sure that the cabinets are sanded smooth before painting and use a quality paintbrush or foam roller for application.

You will find plenty of hints, tips and advice in our Kitchen section.



Tuesday, October 02, 2012 8:19 AM

Spray plastic pots

Help please, I have a number plant pots. Is the rust olem product suitable for these hard plastic pots, unfortunately all of them have very mature plants, which I doubt I can remove, do you have any suggestions of how to protect the plants.

Hi Alison
You can definitely use Rust-Oleum for the plastic pots. The new 2X spray formulation bonds to plastic and comes in amazing colours, while the Universal comes in metallics, hammered and metal tones. Wrap some newspaper around the plants when you spray.



Tuesday, October 09, 2012 10:13 AM

Brown stains in pool

I had a new rock pool build +- 4 months ago and I started using blue 52 for 3 months. Brown stains appeared on the pool floor and walls (I suspect metal stains) and I have gone to pool shops close to me and I have even

  • ed the blue 52 helpdesk but up to now, I have not found a solution to remove the brown stains from my brand new marbelite pool. I have used metal remover, hydrogen peroxide (3 x 5 lt thrown directly onto the stains) after which I switched on my pump (On filter) for 24 hours non stop.

    I am now in the phase where I need to wait for 10 days and then take my water to the pool shop for testing after which the balance of the water will be corrected and we will start to swim for the very first time as the pool was build during winter time. The only problem is that the brown stains are still there – Nothing seems to remove the stains.

    Hi Jan,
    I sympathise with you on what has happened. After spending so much money and then sit with a stained pool is not nice. My concern is that the stain is not sitting on top of the marbelite, but actually in the marbelite, which means it is going to be impossible to remove.

    Having used epoxy paint on my pool I am not going to recommend this route. But, after the bad experience with epoxy paint I applied PoolCrete to the pool. This was about 3 years ago and it still looks excellent. PoolCrete is a cement-based product that bonds to the pool to create a smooth finish that is just as good as the marbelite finish. It is not expensive and can be applied DIY. I would recommend that you get in touch with Cemcrete and ask for their advice, as I am sure that they will be able to come up with a solution.



    Monday, October 01, 2012 5:58 PM

    Plastic instead of landscape fabric?

    Hi Janice
    I have a very limited budget and would like to replace some of the lawn in the garden with stones / gravel. The price of the fabric mesh that is placed under the stones does not suit my pocket. Could I use heavy duty plastic instead?

    Hi Shireen,
    Yes, you can use plastic. Another alternative is to use plastic dropcloths that you find at Builders Warehouse. These are pretty tough, come in different sizes and are affordable.



    Friday, September 28, 2012 9:37 AM

    Leaky wax toilet seal

    The new wax seal at the back of the toilet sticks to the plastic pipe that goes into the wall but wont stick/seal to the porcelain of the toilet. The porcelain was super dry when the ring was installed. Builders Warehouse suggested one wax ring was not enough. There are now 3 wax rings in and it still leaks! Is there something I can do to get the wax to seal to the porcelain.

    Hi Kate,
    Very unusual. The wax seal should stick to anything, including the porcelain outlet at the back of the toilet.

    I normally pop the was seal in the fridge for about half-an-hour, so that it isn't too soft to work with. There is no special technique involved to fit; gently push into the gap and use your fingers to mould to the side of the outlet and waste pipe.



    Wednesday, September 26, 2012 11:35 AM

    What paint to use for doors

    Hi Janice,
    I would like to know :

    1. How can I keep our shower “mould free” – I “resiliconed” it in June (with the Sanitary clear silicone) and it is already getting mould under the silicone and doesn’t look very nice….

    2. I also need to know whether it is possible to paint interior doors with the Plascon Kitchen and Bathroom paint (I don’t want a very shiny appearance, but it must obviously be washable).

    Hi Beverley,
    If you have a recurring problem with mould it normally indicates sufficient air circulation in the bathroom. Mould multiplies when there is constant humidity in a room. I would suggest that you leave the window open at all times and regularly leave the bathroom door open for air circulation. Alternatively, purchase an extraction fan or small dehumidification unit (seen at DisChem).

    Plascon Kitchen and Bathroom paint is designed for walls and ceilings rather than doors. I would rather suggest that you use Plascon Walls and Trims for interior doors. This is a satin finish and not glossy.



    Saturday, September 22, 2012 4:20 PM

    Paint a pram canopy

    I am buying a 2nd hand pram and it is faded quite a bit- can you recommend anything as I won't be able to take the canopy of pram off to iron or anything....?

    Hi Claire,
    I have used Rust-Oleum 2X spray paint on fabric with excellent results. You have to use a flat or satin and not gloss spray. Mask off the pram itself with newspaper and masking tape and then spray on light, even coats. You should only need two coats.



    Monday, September 24, 2012 12:03 PM

    Queen underbed storage

    Hi Janice,
    I am looking to create a queen size unbderbed storage, I would like to totally re desing the bed base. I would also like it to be a full size storage and 1 metre tall. Please advise on what wood should be used, please advise on the design, should it be a 4 poster or maybe three equal boxes. I understand that to move the inside shelves I would need to mount wheels because it will have to be a massive storage.

    Hi Ntombi,
    I have made a storage base for my bedand perhaps you can modify these sizes to fit yours. My bed is also a queen size.



    Thursday, September 20, 2012 4:06 PM

    How to make a dining table

    I am moving into a new place and I don't have a table! Can you pls send me information as to how I can make a simple dining table and where to get cheap wood.

    Hi Mamo,
    Have just posted a DIY dining table onto

    Don't forget to send me pics of you making the table and the finished table, so that I can enter you into the Home Improvement competition.



    Tuesday, September 25, 2012 11:11 PM

    Thank you Home-Dzine

    Hi Janice
    I don't know how to thank you enough. I'm renovating a small room in a child care centre (for orphans and vulnerable children) on the tiniest budget. I trawled through your web pages and I was inspired beyond what I imagined I could do. So far I've painted the walls using my Bosch PFS65. I've made a bookshelf and some storage using your cubes design, sewn a roman blind using your instructions and fabric I've had lying around for three years and spray painted some black chalkboards using rustoleum spray paint. Using empty food tins spray painted with whatever colours i had on hand, i've made cannisters to store their stationery. I also made a felt board (reminiscent of my own childhood). It all comes together this weekend. Thanks for all the brilliant tips and amazing inspiration. I'm looking forward to attending another workshop and definitely the next Careers W/shop

    Hi Paula,
    Just knowing that readers are inspired to design and create makes it worthwhile for me!



    Tuesday, September 18, 2012 11:42 AM

    Restoring a tin ceiling

    Hi Janice,
    I love your newsletter and often refer to your site when doing some diy.You’ve inspired me so often I thought I’d tell you about my kitchen revamp on a teeny budget. I am stripping the tin ceiling down to the metal and then giving it a clear coating. As I can’t afford to re-tile I am decoupaging the floor with Vintage adverts. Aside from the paint I haven’t spent a cent yet (except on goggles and a mask when stripping the ceiling). Hope it all comes out as I imagine lol! Back to the heatgun for me!

    PS. It’s all your fault! I looked at Rust-Oleum and now I have to paint the fridge too!

    Hi Carla,
    Oooooh. You simply must send before, during and after pics through to me. I love it when revamps get done on a limited or teeny-tiny budget. If you send through I can enter you into the Home Improvement competition and you could win power tools valued at over R3000...!

    BTW: For the ceilings you could use Rust-Oleum clear sealer or Acrylic clear sealer, and for the floors you will need to use a polyurethane varnish.



    Saturday, September 15, 2012 10:48 PM

    Thank you Home-Dzine

    Thank you for your awesome magazine and articles! Your advice and tips have given me such confidence. I've just moved into a house that requires a lot of changes, and every time I worry about tackling a home improvement or DIY problem, I check the Home-Dzine website and find simple solutions and even better ideas. Ypu have made this single girl's move easy and my home is starting to take shape. Even when I have to deal with Handymen, I can't be taken for a ride, because I know exactly what's required. Looking forward to attending a workshop soon. thank you Janice. You are definitely doing great things for SA women. It would make a great TV show

    Hi Thembalethu,
    Thank you so much.

    We like to receive comments like yours, it's lets us know that we are doing something right and that our readers are gaining practical advice.



    Monday, September 17, 2012 4:20 PM

    Stain on curtains

    Thanks for a great website!

    I have cream curtains and if the windows are open when it starts to rain, the water seems to combine with the varnish on the wooden window sills and leaves large brown marks on my curtains. I think I need to re-varnish/paint the wooden window-sills - is there anything that I can do to make sure that in future the varnish will not come off on my cream curtains if the window sill gets wet?

    Hi Louise,
    Varnish shouldn't leave any stain whatsoever, as it cures to a hard finish. But perhaps with age the varnish has failed (as it does) and collected dirt is causing the problem.

    I would recommend that you sand down the window sill to remove the old finish and then apply Woodoc 50 to the window sills. Woodoc 50 is clear, while Woodoc 55 is tinted, but you can also purchase a stain concentrate to add to Woodoc 50 if you require a particular colour.



    Saturday, September 15, 2012 9:51 PM

    Bosch PFS65 spray system

    Hi Janice - feedback Bosch PF65
    I bought the Bosch PF65, it's great. I painted all the boards for bookshelves and cubes today. I'll be painting a large area of a crèche next weekend. What's the best paint to use, which is economical, safe and practical for busy children? Currently the room is painted in very dark colours, how can I best prep the walls for a bright, cheerful paint colour? By the way, I made three chalkboards using Rustoleum chalkboard spray, then painted a border using the spray gun 'dot' setting.

    Hi Paula,
    I use my Bosch PFS spray system for nearly all my painting projects - it's fantastic. You can use almost any paint and I find it better to fill up the container with 80% paint and 20% water and mix well. Using the fine spray option, you can apply a nice finish and use less paint.

    All of today's quality paints are lead-free, and top brands are also low VOC, which makes them perfect for use around children.

     Universal primer/undercoat are the same.  When I spray Supawood I simply apply a very light misting of the paint I am using -  with the spray system - as the primer/undercoat and let dry before spraying on a heavier first coat. You don't need an additional primer/undercoat for supawood when using the spray system.



    Saturday, September 15, 2012 10:48 PM

    Thank you Home-Dzine

    Thank you for your awesome magazine and home improvement articles! Your DIY advice and home improvement tips have given me such confidence. I've just moved into a house that requires a lot of changes, and every time I worry about tackling a problem, I check the home-dzine website and find simple solutions and even better ideas. You have made this single girl's move easy and my home is starting to take shape. Even when I have to deal with Handymen, I can't be taken for a ride, because I know exactly what's required. Looking forward to attending a workshop soon.

    Hi Thembalethu,
    Thank you so much. We like to receive comments like yours, it's lets us know that we are doing something right and that our readers are gaining practical advice.



    Thursday, September 13, 2012 8:27 AM

    Can I spray paint wooden blinds

    Can I spray my wooden blinds? I have cherry coloured blinds and need it to be white. If I can spray it what product do I use?

    Hi Lamees,
    You can definitely spray wooden blinds. Give them a good clean beforehand and a light sanding with 240-grit sandpaper. Use Rust-Oleum 2Xif you want a bold colour, or Rust-Oleum Universal for a metallic finish.



    Tuesday, September 04, 2012 11:08 PM

    Cupboard revamp

    Hi Janice,
    Please see photo's of our cupboard. It has so far been obviously a wardrobe, a biltong dryer (for my hubby's old butchery) and then a linen cupboard when we lived in a tiny little spot. It has been with us for such a long time and I hate to see it used just as a storage cupboard. I would love to make it into a bit of a feature by making it into a liquor cupboard. My diy skills are still in the nurturing stages but would love to get more into it so if you have any ideas, or articles from previous online mags, that would help, I would greatly appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction.

    Hi Kerry-Ann,
    I think it would make a perfect liquor cabinet. If you want to dress it up put some mirrors on the back of the cabinet and install a small tube fluorescent underneath the top. If you replace the wooden shelves with 10mm thick glass shelves the entire cabinet would be lit up.

    If you have a Gelmar in your region, they stock wire glass hangers that you could fit into the cabinet.

    See a similar project that I did:



    Tuesday, September 04, 2012 2:14 PM

    Remove paint from slasto

    We've just bought a house which has the most beautiful entrance and front garden. The previous owners unfortunately painted the lovely slasto path and patio in an awful blue paint which we would like to remove. We'd then like to restore the original slasto to a decent condition. Is this possible and which products are best for this? Would it just be cheaper to chip off the slasto and then tile?

    Hi Jenni,
    It's going to be a lot of messy work to remove the paint, but I would try Plascon RemovAll as the first step. It's an eco-friendly product that will strip off the paint. If you hire a hire-pressure cleaner for the day it would also speed up the job and make it easier.

    The last resort would be to try rough sanding to remove as much of the paint as possible.



    Tuesday, September 04, 2012 11:36 AM

    Damp walls and cold room

    Hello! I'm Megumi Human. Been married almost a year and I stay with my in-laws in a huge 7 bedroom house. The house is always cold. We occupy the one wing of the house. Our bedroom wall faces the late afternoon sun but is very cold in winter yet bakes in summer (its a sold wall with no window). When we are home we try and keep the window (that faces north) and door open for ventilation but the room stays cold and damp. The built-in cupboard has started to pull away from the wall and smells mouldy. I have also noticed the stuff in my dresser has started to mould as well (a leather watch strap that I'm thinking ill have to throw away) I don't keep things in my dresser that could be causing the mould in the drawers. We still stay with his folks as we can't afford to move. What can we do to help with the mould that will be affordable?

    For the December vacation I want to re-paint my fridge (want to make it a piece of art but not sure what to do with it yet maybe stencil it?), make a headboard from palets and paint a sheet of hardboard with blackboard pain to create a feature wall in out passage. Super excited to start on these projects. Thanks for the great ideas that are on your mind. Regards Megs. :)

    Hi Megs,
    The first step would be to determine where the damp is coming from. If you can attend to that problem, the room will be warmer and you won't have a problem with mould.

    Look at the walls outside to check if there is any peeling paint or moulding spots, and if there is you should apply a waterproofing product. You will find this at your local Builders Warehouse and I recommend Coprox. Apply according to their instructions.

    After treating the damp, remove any flaking paint and repaint the interior walls. You will need to remove and replace any timber that has been infected by mould spores, as these can cause health problems.

    As it warms up, air out the room as much as possible. Put in a fan to circulate the air as much as possible.



    Tuesday, September 04, 2012 8:14 AM

    Bosch PFS spray system

    Hi Janice
    I'm looking for an honest opinion which I trust I can get from someone who uses the Bosch spray painter. I'm considering buying one but all the reviews I've read are complaining about mixing the paint and washing the tool problems. It seems paint must be mixed before it's used and testing for colour consistency wastes a lot of paint.

    I want to use it on Masonite, boards and pre-painted walls. Is it OK to mix more than you need or only advisable to mix per application? Eg, can I mix 4l paint and 1l water then use it as Each canister is emptied? I want to make sure the colour is consistent throughout the room.

    Hi Paula,

    I have been using the Bosch PFS 65 for about three years now and I would recommend it to anyone.

    When mixing the paint you need to water it down slightly. I fill the container up to 80% capacity and then top off with water and mix it up well with a stirrer. So you actually save on paint because you use less.

    Cleaning is extremely easy as you wash it under the tap with lukewarm water. Obviously, if you use an oil-based paint or varnish, you need to clean with lacquer thinners, which can be messy. But today you don't need to use oil-based paints anymore.

    Yes you can mix up larger batchs.  Just make sure to seal the paint can when not in use.
    Definitely worth buying.



    Tuesday, September 04, 2012 11:21 AM

    Where to use rust-oleum

    Good day
    Thank you so much for your magazine – I really enjoy reading it and love the ideas.

    I see that you often use a product called rust o leum ( hope that is spelt right). I was just wondering -I have a steel security gate and steel gate and railing by the stairs at my house that I would like to repaint. Will I be able to use the “ rust o leum” and if so, can I just spray it over the existing paint.

    Sorry for the naïve question- I am a beginner at DIY.

    Hi Cherise,
    You can definitely use Rust-Oleum on the gates and railings. I would go for a hammered effect or metallic and you can use the Rust-Oleum Universal range.



    Thursday, August 30, 2012 11:03 AM

    Building an outdoor playhouse

    I've been wanting to get my two girls a playhouse for a while now. But the prices are just way over the top. So we've decided to build one ourselves. We'd like to spend no more than R1500. What type of wood can we use? Is shutterply even an option for outdoor projects?

    Hi Siphokazi,
    If you are building the playhouse for outdoors you might want to spend a little more and use marine plywood. It's much nicer quality and used for boat building, so will last much longer outdoors.



    Wednesday, August 29, 2012 8:49 AM

    Paint interior doors and frames

    Hi Janice,
    Thanks again for your DIY ideas and help. I need to know : 1.Which paint is best to use for repainting interior doors and their frames? 2. How many coats should I do on the doors and frames? 3. Which type of brush is easiest and best to use? 4. Which paint for window frames and can I use a spray paint at all? Thanks so much.

    Hi Beverley,
    Today, you can use almost any satin, sheen or gloss paint for interior doors. A water-based gloss or enamel is the best, although a tad more expensive, and you can use this on interior/exterior window frames as well.

    I use a foam roller and a brush to apply the paint. The roller leaves a much nicer finish. If you have a Bosch PFS spray gun ( this is fantastic for painting doors.

    Yes, you can definitely use Rust-Oleum 2X, Universal or Gloss Enamel spray paints for windows and doors. If you consider that a 5l of paint costs around R350 and that you will only use around 2 - 3 cans of spray paint, it would work out cheaper to use spray paint. More messy though.



    Monday, August 27, 2012 7:52 PM

    Where to buy a pink drill

    Where can I buy the pink Drill for Ladies

    Hi Cecile,
    You should be able to buy the Fragram drill at your local Builders Warehouse.

    However, if you plan on using the drill for serious DIY - you would be better off investing in a decent power tool. Unfortunately these don't come in pink though.



    Monday, August 27, 2012 12:53 PM

    Spanish plaster

    I want to Spanish plaster over a brick wall that has been painted.The type of Spanish plaster I am referring to the type that is splashed onto the wall with the hand held machine. What would I have to do to make sure that the plaster sticks. Regards Mark

    Hi Mark,
    Ideally, you should remove the painted surface before you plaster. If you plaster over the paint and this eventually fails for some reason, so will the plaster. If you are absolutely positive that the paint will not fail, apply a bonding liquid over the surface before spattering on Spanish plaster. You can purchase bonding liquid at your local Builders Warehouse.



    Friday, August 24, 2012 10:18 AM

    Where to buy Rust-Oleum chalkboard and magnetic paint

    I am looking for magnetic paint or magnetic chalkboard paint. Do you know of anyone stocking it in South Africa?

    Hi Cecile,
    You should be able to buy Rust-Oleum Magnetic and Chalkboard Paint at your local Builders Warehouse. If you have any difficulty sourcing the products, get in touch with who are the agents for Rust-Oleum products in South Africa.



    Thursday, August 23, 2012 2:16 PM

    Magazine storage ideas

    Dear Janice,
    I have some magazines (Men’s Health) that I received since subscribing in 1999. Thus at 12 magazines per annum, equates to 140-odd magazines. I would like to keep the magazines and have also some Runners’ World magazines, now quickly accumulating since subscribing in 2008. Do you have any suggestions for storage of the magazines or to utilise it for something whilst still being able to access it from time to time?

    Hi Monja,
    I have come across so many ways to store magazines, and one of these should get your creative juices flowing...




    Thursday, August 23, 2012 1:46 PM

    How to fix leak in water feature

    Hi dear Janice
    I have an issue with a preformed fibreglass water feature that seems to have sprung a leak. I spoke to Waterplant on Ontdekkers yesterday and you can purchase a repair kit from them - only problem is, I don't see where it is leaking! I've emptied and scrubbed it clean but I still don't see the leak. Is there something I can use to simply coat the entire inside of the pond as I really don't want to have to replace it?

    Hi Petro,
    There are sealers that you can buy (at Builders Warehouse) that have a fibre resin built into a thick paint that is painted on to cover up leaks and cracks. I used it on a terra cotta pot to seal it for a waterfeature and it worked like a dream. I think it's called FLASH HARRY.



    Tuesday, August 21, 2012 9:01 AM

    DIY projects

    Hi Janice
    I so look forward to your newsletter and DIY ideas and can’t wait for them to arrive. My husband and I have recently built a Cape Cod type cottage in Yzerfontein. We built a shell and are doing everything ourselves. We are presently “trying” to design our kitchen – starting with the island and are really battling as its a project that we have never tackled. We have bought our gas hob which we want to place on the island. We will then go on to do the rest of the kitchen. I just so wish we could attend your kitchen cupboard workshop. Also your bedside cabinet, garden swing and upholstered headboard! I just can’t believe all these projects are on our to do list?? If you don’t have any workshops in Cape Town, would it be at all possible, when you have done your workshops in Johannesburg, could you post your “how to” on your web or email to me?

    Thank you for all your inspiration and wonderful ideas – you just don’t know how much this newsletter has aided us – we have lime washed, floors, furniture, painted walls and ceiling beams, ballastrades, stairs etc. Now our biggest challenge lies ahead of us with the kitchen and bedroom cupboards.

    Hi Loraine,
    Thank you for your comments. I must definitely speak to Cornelia - our DIY Diva in Cape Town - about adding more 'how to make' workshops to the schedule. She is amazing and you will definitely learn a lot from her workshops.

    Looking at your future projects I am quite sure that we can post most of our workshops as projects on the in the near future.



    Thursday, August 16, 2012 6:21 PM

    Stop garage door from squeaking

    Hi, I would like to know what I can use on our automated garage door/s? They are squeaking terribly.

    Hi Beverley,
    You need two products for a garage door:

    1. Use a scrubbing brush to clean and then apply grease to the chain at the top that pulls up the door.

    2. On the side tracks, wipe these with a cloth to remove any gunk and then apply WD-40 to the tracks and also to the hinges along the length of the sub-divided door.



    Wednesday, August 22, 2012 9:10 AM

    How to decorate small apartment

    Good day
    I have decided to buy a home. It’s a 40sqm house. It’s only me and my 2 year old child. Please give me ideas for how to decorate this place. I have cream curtains. Round dinning table with 4 chairs. One small sofa bank (cream)

    Hi Essie,

    Although it is a small space, you and your son should still be able to live comfortably if you limit the amount of clutter. If you pack too much into the space it will make it feel smaller and claustrophobic. If you keep the walls in a white or light neutral shade it will also make the space appear larger than it is, and you can introduce colour with accessories.

    You already have cream curtains and a cream sofa, so consider painting the walls in a soft grey (on the yellow side of the colour wheel) and adding accessories in earth tones such as deep reds, golden yellows, deep greens or browns, etc. You will also find plenty of ideas and inspiration on the website.



    Tuesday, August 21, 2012 2:33 PM

    What wood or board to use in a bathroom

    I need to build a cupboard with storage and a vanity in my bathroom. what sort of wood can I use. I have asked and none gives the same answer. Some say the best to use is super wood or plywood. Just need to protect the wood.

    So please any answer would be so great.

    Hi Morne,
    The reason you have been given different answers is probably due to the fact that SupaWood is highly absorbent and not recommended for use in a bathroom. However, if the SupaWood is painted, has a top that protects it, and a base that is mounted on metal or plastic pins (similar to those you would use for mounting shelves), then you can use SupaWood. If you use Marine plywood, this is moisture resistant and will not be damaged by water if painted, sealed or varnish. The advantage is that you can still have a wood grain effect. Pine is another option to consider, but as with the above, should be sealed or painted to reduce moisture absorbtion.

    I have used all three of the above for bathroom cabinets without any problems. But all need to be given some form of protection against moisture.



    Saturday, August 18, 2012 8:08 AM

    Mosaics and Ceramic tiles

    Dear Janice
    Many thanks for your wonderful magazine which is always a lifesaver for me while out here in the most remote spots in Africa where I run remote location clinics. Beng able to log in and plan projects, getting my To Do lists together and my To Buy lists planned--helps me keep my sanity in the very rough, tough male world of mining and oil rigs.-as it keeps my evenings light and as normal as possible as I plan exciting things to do in my home and garden.

    I would like to try a mosaic project in my cottage- -unfortunately it has some really hideous shiny ceramic? tiles throughout --as well as right up the walls in the bathrooms Is it possible to put mosaic tiles onto these tiles rather than try and remove them( bathrooms) ? Do you know of a mosaic stockist the Cape --I live in Montagu in the Breede Valley Is it possible to put wood laminate directly over these tiles--(entrance hall), or even other tiles or a screed? I did ask for a quote to remove them a couple of years ago as I wanted to retile with old quarry tiles as the cottage is about 100 years old, but that was hideously expensive.

    With much appreciation as always for your advice over the years and for the real buzz I get from reading your magazine

    Hi Clare,
    Although not recommended, you can fix tiles over the top of tiles, as long as the existing tiles are in good condition and not about to fall off the wall...!

    On the floors, a layer of 12mm plywood would cover up the old tiles and I would use No More Nails adhesive to attach the new tiles onto the plywood, as tile adhesive will not work. Applying a screed is another option, but if the tiles ae not 100% stable it won't work.

    You are lucky to have a great supplier of mosaic products in Cape Town:



    Monday, August 20, 2012 11:22 AM

    Can I paint melamine furniture

    I need to repaint a sideboard and its melamine covered. What are the steps that I need to follow for this DIY task? It's currently a beige/off white color, not sure I like it though. I was aiming for a darker color (dark brown etc.) But somehow if I see the picture in my head it doesn't look good... I've heard of wood graining effects, would this work?

    I'm based in PTA East. Getting married next year and this is typical furniture that's being given to the "newly weds" but it's not in the best condition... haha.

    Hi Milindi,
    Thanks for getting in touch. These days it's easy to give any type of furniture a makeover. Rust-Oleum have two beautiful brown spray paint colours: Gloss Kona Brown and Satin Expresso - the Gloss Kona Brown is gorgeous once applied.

    You can visit the Decorating section for plenty of ideas of painting with acrylic PVA or painting with spray paint, and even faux bois/wood graining.



    Thursday, August 16, 2012 4:51 PM

    Install shower in log house?

    We live in a log house in Johannesburg with suspended wooden floors. We have a small space of 73cmx119cm in our bathroom and would love to install a shower.The required plumbing has already been installed. Would a frameless shower be possible?

    Hi Steve,
    I don't see any reason why you cannot install a frameless shower, as long as the proper sealing and waterproofing is in place.

    You will probably need to purchase a shower that comes with a shower tray, or where one can be easily added. Make sure to seal around this properly with sanitary sealer to avoid any leaks.



    Tuesday, August 14, 2012 10:00 AM

    Wallpaper on textured wall?

    Hi Janice,
    Thank you for the great advice on your website.

    My bedroom wall has a rough surface which is quite boring I must say. Do you think I can put a wallpaper directly onto it?

    Hi Talya,
    I wouldn't recommend that you apply wallpaper to a textured wall, or wall that has a rough surface.

    The wallpaper may not stick properly and you will also see any roughness on the surface of the wallpaper. You may need to sand down the wall before applying wallpaper.



    Tuesday, August 14, 2012 10:29 AM

    How to dye suede lounge suite

    Is it possible to dye suede lounge suite? If so, where can I get it?

    Hi Ntombi,
    You will need to use a Dylon or Suede Dye that is specifically for suede. You should be able to purchase this at a shoe repair shop.

    You will need to be very careful, as dying suede yourself can come out streaky. I would suggest that if it is an expensive suite, you let the professionals do it for you.



    Thursday, August 09, 2012 13:49 PM

    How to repair a vinyl pool

    I have a vinyl swimmingpool that keep on leaking but nobody can find the spot. Can Coprox be used to seal the entire lining or will it be too heavy and cause sagging

    Hi Marie,
    It is difficult to repair a vinyl pool and you will probably need to get someone in to do it. Alternatively, I see that you can purchase vinyl pool patch kits for DIY repairs:



    Thursday, August 09, 2012 11:12 PM

    Where to buy Formica laminate sheet

    Hi, I have two questions
    I'm currently renovating and saw this idea on how to re-laminate kitchen countertops, my question is where can I purchase the laminate(formica) sheets in Gauteng? Please if you can let me know.

    Secondly, also from online site, they used a brick veneer (like a thin brick-looking tile) for the fire place wall. However, I have called around the country, and no one can help me find the product. Seems it can only be found in the States???

    Hi Cordelia,
    You should be able to purchase Formica sheets at TimberCity or H&S Timbers on the East Rand. If you have any difficulty in sourcing a particular design, get in touch with PG Bison direct and they will be able to assist or advise.

    The brick-veneer is called faux rock or stone cladding.



    Wednesday, August 08, 2012 12:12 PM

    Advice on Landscaping project

    I am wanting to do something similar in my backyard ( the braai ) as in the attached pic, but have no idea where or how to start. Not as big as the one in the pic though, something smaller and intimate Any ideas please.


    Hi Patsy,
    Love it...!

    First step will be to draw up your own plan to the dimensions of you garden. Once you have that, you can work out what is going where and the sizes of each element to fit into the space.

    I would start with the seating area, as this is going to be messy if you are casting your own cement seats. You can use shutterply (cheap plywood) to create forms (shapes) for the seats. Once you have completed that section, everything should fall into place.



    Tuesday, August 07, 2012 9:14 AM

    What to use on exterior timber frames and doors

    Thanks for your info on new doors and windows. I need info on what to do for windows and doors that have already been build-in but have not been maintained for 6 to 7 years. Some of the frames have rotten away because of water intrusion. My customer wants me to strip down all varnish and repair all damaged areas and to seal with the best product available. I work in Durban so it is at the coast and the wood is subject to severe conditions.

    Hi Errol,
    You have a big home improvement job on your hands!

    First off I would suggest you make a trip to kit yourself out with Woodoc Wood Reviver, Woodoc 50 or 55, Woodoc steelwool and mineral turpentine, and Alcolin QuikWood. You can use Woodoc Wood Reviver to restore wood that has been infected with rot or mould. I have previously used this product with excellent results.

    Alcolin QuikWood is an epoxy filler that sets rock hard to fill in wood that has rotted. Once applied to the wood, you leave for about 30 minutes before shaping, as it's hard to sand once completely cured.

    Wipe down all the frames with Woodoc steelwool and mineral turpentine to clean and then sand down as required. Wipe down again before applying Woodoc 50 or Woodoc 55.



    Tuesday, August 07, 2012 8:25 AM

    Replace glass top on dining table

    I bought dining table with a 10cm thick glass top.Out of the blue,the glass top broke into small pieces.I would like to know why this happened and where I can find a glass or perspex of the same thickness.

    Hi Lerato,
    Quite a few things could have cause the glass to shatter: heat, undue stress, or a previous fault in the glass.

    I would suggest that you

  • a glass supplier in your area and ask them for 10cm-thick safety glass or their recommendation for a replacement top. You can obtain a replacement top cut to size of the same thickness from any glass supplier.



    Thursday, August 02, 2012 14:18 PM

    What product to use to paint swimming pool

    We have just moved to a house with a swimming pool that has been neglected. Could you please advise on which product we should by to re-paint it? its marblelite. Thanks in advance for your help.

    Hi Talya,
    You can use any epoxy pool paint on a marbellite pool, as well as cementitious coatings that are designed for swimming pools.

    There is an article on the website that you might find helpful.



    Friday, August 03, 2012 1:57 PM

    How to get rid of moles

    Hello- Thanks for all the great advice and tricks- you rock. But now do share some more!

    We live in Richards Bay and have a ghastly problem with M O L E S !!!! We have tried mole deterrants, traps, poison, batteries etc, etc, etc- but to no avail. They keep coming back and our lawn(at least the bit we call our lawn), looks like a ploughed up field. Just a note- we have 2 dogs and a cat and dont want to harm them in the process of erradication. What to do - we are desperate to get rid of them and are not the only ones to suffer- our neighbours, fellow sub-urbians all have the same issue.

    Please help us get this issue sorted.

    Hi Talitha,
    I have previously written an article on controlling moles. Unfortunately there is no magic cure or easy solution. They have obviously set up their own neighbourhood in your area and, until they move on to greener pastures, you're going to have to learn to live with them.



    Thursday, August 02, 2012 6:52 PM

    Which wood sealer to use

    We have just completed a built in wall unit, we want to put wood in the cupboards next to the fire place. How do we prevent any bugs termites from the logs, from eating the wood of the wall unit? Thanks for a fantastic website, your ideas are endless.

    Hi Ann,
    Use a sealer such as Woodoc 5 or 10 to protect and enhance the wood. The sealer also prevents bug infestation to a degree, if regularly maintained according to the manufacturer's recommendations.



    Wednesday, August 01, 2012 1:47 PM

    Ideas for a sunroom

    We bought a old house and it has a sunroom. We don't know what to do with it to make it younger and fresh? Any ideas???

    Hi Lusinda,
    Phew, so many choices!

    It's nice that you have such a large space to work with and that you have already decided on a young and fresh look for your sunroom. Having looked at the image it is really hard to see the room, but I have the following suggestions:

    1. Paint the tongue and groove ceiling in a white or light colour to 'lift' the ceiling.

    2. Install vertical or horizontal blinds that will blend with the style you use for decorating the space

    3. Plant up foliage and colour around the exterior perimeter of the sunroom.

    4. Add natural coir or sisal rugs/mats, or make your own affordable rugs.

    Obviously, the furniture and furnishings that you select will set the tone for the room. If you fill the room with trendy accessories, this will go a long way towards achieving that young and fresh look.

    And don't forget that you will find tons of ideas and inspiration on the website and online magazine, and in our Garden Section - Garden Rooms and Patios.



    Tuesday, July 24, 2012 11:38 AM

    Rust-oleum frosted glass spray

    Hi Janice
    Very strange thing happened to me over the weekend. As you know, we had builders in and they did some work to the house. I frosted my bathroom windows with the above spray and left it to dry. Left it for quite a while – 2 months, before cleaning it this Sunday. I sprayed some Windolene on the window to clean it and the spray came off. I thought I should just let you know cause I know you recommend it and also because this spray is rather pricey. Is there any other frosting spray you can recommend that won’t come off with Windolene?

    Hi Michelle,
    Have spoken to Rust-Oleum and they confirm that Windolene will remove their frosted spray. In fact, any product that has an alcohol base will remove the spray. I clean my windows with a lemon-scented cleaner and it hasn't removed the frosting.



    Wednesday, August 01, 2012 3:50 PM

    How to make a duvet cover

    Hi Janice
    Has anyone told you today how great you are…if no one has, let me be the first….YOU ARE GREAT! If someone has…they were right! I am in the process of decorating my daughter’s bedroom…she’s a tween and the theme colours are lime green and hot pink. I just couldn’t find the right duvet cover and then today I open the mail and guess what…how to make your own duvet cover!

    The timing couldn’t have been better! Thank you!!!!

    Hi Shereen,
    Thank you! It only struck me recently that it is absolutely so easy to make a duvet cover at a fraction of the cost to buy, plus you can design your own to fit in with any style. I am having so much fun using Rust-Oleum spray paints on fabric that I really am going to make a unique duvet for my own bed.

    If you do make one, please share your pics... pretty please!



    Monday, July 30, 2012 9:24 AM

    How to fix screw through surface

    Hi Janice,
    Just to first of all say I absolutely love your site. It makes me think I can try and do anything!!

    I have two questions : I mistakenly screwed in some hooks into my broom cupboard door (which have been there for a while), but the other day I noticed that they have almost “cracked” the exterior side of the door (almost like they were screwed through, which they weren’t). Any way I can repair this, it’s not major but I know it’s there…. As far as I know, it’s veneer……Vancouver Maple I think is the colour…..

    I have an old dressing table (think it’s either pine or wood of some sort) that was given to me and it tends to look permanently “dusty” and dull. Would I be able to use the Rust-Oleum Polyurethane Semi-Gloss and just spray it to give it a bit of a gloss and makeover?

    Thanks so much again for your wonderful site.

    Hi Beverley,
    Thank you! And there's no reason why you can't try anything... I do!

    For the door... First off, remove the screws. Use a towel folded over and a hammer to tap where the wood has cracked on the front. It doesn't always work but it is the best way to fix up. The problem with laminate is that it is plastic and not easy to fix up if you damage.

    As concerns the old dressing table, you will probably find that it looks dull and dusty because it has a build up of furniture polish on the surface. My suggestion would be to use Woodoc steel wool and mineral turpentine to remove as much of this as possible and then spray with Rust-Oleum polyurethane gloss.



    Thursday, July 26, 2012 7:23 AM

    How to remove red oxide paint

    comment=We had our roof painted with red oxide paint. The idiot painted over three skylights presumed to be made of fibreglass. How to strip the paint off.

    Hi Joyce,
    Now you have a problem. Most paint strippers will damage the fibreglass skylights by leaving them cloudy and dulled. And red oxide paint is difficult to remove from most surfaces.

    I have done a bit of research on removing red oxide paint and one suggestion was to use a high- pressure spray, but good luck with getting one onto the roof.

    Will post this onto the blog to see if anyone can come up with an idea on how to remove red oxide paint from transparent fibreglass, without damaging the skylights.



    Wednesday, July 25, 2012 11:19 AM

    De-fluff velcro sanding pad

    Hi Janice
    What is the easiest way to clean the backing plate on an random orbital sander? Mine is full of the 'fluff' from the sanding discs and they are no longer sticking to it.

    Hi Jenny,
    Have the same problem from time to time. I have a fine-toothed comb that I use to 'de-fluff' the sanding pad and it works.



    Tuesday, July 24, 2012 11:47 AM

    Gravity-feed shower

    My shower doesn’t let out enough hot water, people tell me this is because I have a gravity feed geyser. Is there any way I can increase the pressure or do I have to install a pressure geyser. What is the difference between the two geysers anyway?

    Hi Kathie,
    It would be nice if a plumber could provide some feedback on this as well, but a gravity feed geyer works in a similar way as a toilet that has a ballcock and valve. As water drains it slowly fills up again until the water level lifts the ballcock and switches off the valve. What happens when you flush a toilet that has a ballcock? You have to wait until it completely fills up or the water will only trickle out.

    If the water pressure in your area is low, this could result in the geyser taking a long time to fill after being emptied.

    In an area where there is hard water, the geyser and pipes can become sluggish with build up of scale and limestone.

    Replacing the geyser is by far the better option and you will have a noticeable increase in hot water flow. However, I would recommend that you consult a plumber before making any changes, as older pipes may not be able to cope with the additional pressure and you may have low water pressure in your area. A high-pressure geyser of 150 litres is priced at around R5000.00.



    Monday, July 23, 2012 9:10 AM

    What product to use for shower floor

    Good Morning,
    I am looking for a product to finish my shower floor and am wondering if cretestone would be the right product to use. I want a cement like finish in white that is not smooth and slippery, would your product stand up to the constant use.

    Hi Melanie,
    Any finish you put onto the shower floor needs to be a cementitious, such as the range offered by Coprox or Cemcrete.

    CreteStone is more of a finishing plaster rather than a cement-based product and would not be suitable for a shower floor.



    Sent: Monday, July 23, 2012 10:06 PM

    Best solution for ants behind skirting boards

    I am installing new skirting boards in our master bedroom after the room was revamped. The skirting boards are made from super wood. We have a problem with those little black ants that enter our home and love to make nests between the wall and skirting boards. Can I treat the back side of the skirting boards (wall facing side) with something that would deter the ants in the future as well as seal the wooden skirting? Will creosote do the trick? What do you suggest.

    Hi Daniel,
    First off, I definitely wouldn't use creosoe indoors. The stuff stinks to high heaven and never goes away.

    I would try to block up any access points to deter the ants from living behind the skirting, and the added plus is that they probably won't move in again if you have supawood skirtings as opposed to pine or meranti as it's not as tasty!

    I would recommend that you paint the skirtings with a gloss acrylic or water-based enamel in your choice of colour.



    Friday, July 20, 2012 8:23 PM

    Thank you for a wonderful website

    Dear Janice,
    I have been browsing through your website and I think it’s fair to say that I find you incredibly talented. The way you simplify DIY makes it more approachable. This is not to say that it’s easy, it’s just that you speak in “plain english” and your step by step details are wonderful.

    I have yet to become the DIY diva in my dreams, but watching your work and reading the guidelines makes me feel closer to that dream.

    Anyway, this is just a note to say that I find you quite amazing and if no-one has told you that today, consider it done!

    Hi Wendy,
    It's when I receive such inspirational thanks that it all becomes worth while. It is a lot of hard work and takes up most of my time, but not many people can say that they truly love what they do.



    Thursday, April 19, 2012 12:53 PM

    Rust-Oleum stone spray on floors

    Can Rust-Oleum stone spray be painted on a staircase - with all the walking up and down. I love the paint and also want to know if it comes in 25lts, so you can paint on and not spray paint.

    Hi Ann,
    Unfortunately the Rust-Oleum stone spray won't work on floors, or any surface that has to take a lot of wear and tear. It's a more decorative effect than anything else.

    If the stairs are concrete you could consider using a paint technique to imitate the look of stone and you will find ideas and inspiration in our Decorating and Home Improvement sections.



    Thursday, July 19, 2012 9:49 PM

    Can I paint a chest freezer

    Can I paint my old chest freezer with pva paint?

    Hi Angela,
    Have done quite a few projects using Rust-Oleum Appliance Epoxy spray and it works like a dream.

    It comes in various colours and is available from your local Builders Warehouse.



    Tuesday, July 17, 2012 9:38 PM

    DIY Recycling old wooden furniture

    I am having a hard time trying to find a way of sourcing old wooden furniture/doors for me to revamp for my home. Besides auctions, do you know of contact details for people/company in the Durban/Pietermaritzburg area that deal in these items beofre they are revamped and sold at high prices.

    Hi Tracy,
    I have found the most affordable way is to source via online classifieds such as and your local Gumtree. It's also a good idea to find out when liquidation auctions take place, as you can pick up nice bargains at these as well.



    Saturday, July 14, 2012 3:59 PM

    How to deal with textured walls

    Hi Janice
    We have recently moved into a house that needs a bit of work. my first concern are the walls, they have popcorn like texture both inside and out. How can we get rid of it? is it going to be costly to smooth the walls out? can we DIY it?

    Hi Phathisa,
    Textured walls can be a bit of a nightmare, both the live with and to fix up.

    You have two options to consider:
    1. To sand down the walls to a smooth surface. Obviously this is going to be messy and time consuming. Once sanded down you can apply a plaster primer and then paint as normal.

    2. To have a professional plaster over the existing finish. Not sure how much this would cost, but you are probably looking at around R2000 - R3000 for the total job.



    Thursday, July 12, 2012 2:59 PM

    Best product to use for garden furniture

    Hi Janice
    We have an oldish rubber wood table that only seats 6. I would like to remove the top and replace it with a larger pine top to accommodated 10 (but still using the current leg base).

    My query is: once I have sanded down the new table, how do I finish with a weathered oak vanish without having brush marks visible ... would I use a soft clean cloth to apply the stain?

    Hi Tania,
    The best product to use would be Woodoc 30, 50 or 55, with added oak stain concentrate. Apply according to the instructions and use light, even strokes that go with the grain on the wood. If you work by applying with the grain you should not have any brush strokes.

    Alternatively, you can use Woodoc Gel Stain in Antique Oak, which is applied with a sponge, and top this off with Woodoc 30, 50 or 55 to seal. Again, apply with the grain.

    Woodoc 30 is for in Joburg, Woodoc 50 and 55 for coastal regions.



    Thursday, July 12, 2012 12:44 PM

    Best paint to user for exterior metal

    Good Morning Janice
    I’m an avid follower of all your great ideas and tips. I do, however, have a couple of questions:

    Question 1: Our palisade fence is in need of paint and repair. It was re-painted forest green and has now been dulled by the fierce Free State sun. Certain sections are already showing signs of rust and we’re thinking of changing the colour back to the original white as the latter will not discolour. We’ll obviously have to use a rust converter and then a primer and I’m aware thereof that we’ll have to get a Roof Paint as it’s more durable. We’ve received advice to use the two-in-one Plascon Metalcare Rust Converter and Primer. Are you familiar with this product and performance thereof and if so, what’s your opinion. We need to get and independent viewpoint as we have to get it right first time around. Money is tight and we cannot afford going for the two-in-one option and then end up having to re-do the fence, gates, etc., within the next couple of years.

    Question 2: Is there really such a thing as the “best paint manufacturer”. For the life of me I cannot understand it but in Bloemfontein the advice is that “Duraline is the absolute best”. We’re being pushed to use only Duraline. All the contractors use Duraline and it doesn’t take a genius to know why they are pushing the product. I just need a good quality paint that will get the job done for at least the next 7 – 10 years without peeling/fading, etc. – indoors/outdoors. Obviously the prep-work will have to be done perfectly if the paint job is to last.

    Question 3: A question was posed to you for the painting of tired paving and/or cement [outdoors]. You’ve advised: “. I agree with your comments that standard floor paint looks unnatural and will eventually peel off or wear away. I found that my using a standard acrylic paint (Prominent Paints), and mixing it with water to thin it down, it works much better and is absorbed into the cement” Do you need to do an undercoat over old cement before applying the acrylic paint as advised? Obviously the cement have to be thoroughly degreased and cleaned before painting.

    Hi Christa,
    Question 1: The absolute best paints that you can buy is Hammerite. I have never heard of Duraline paints, so cannot offer any opinion on this range.

    You will not find any exterior metal paint that lasts 7 - 10 years. Due to weather extremes all paints expand and contract and you will eventually end up with small cracks that allow water ingress, which then results in rust and corrosion. The best solution to is apply a good quality paint, such as Hammerite, and do an annual checkup to ensure that the paint remains in good condition or attend to any minor repairs. That way, you can ensure that a paint job lasts as long as possible.

    Question 2: You can buy paving paint that is recommended for porous surfaces, such as concrete. I prefer to add a little water to the first coat for better penetration and it also improves bonding when applying the second coat. That way, you do not need to apply an undercoat as long as the surface is clean and in good condition.



    Wednesday, July 11, 2012 1:52 PM

    Best closed combustion fireplace to buy

    I want to buy a cast iron wood burning closed combustion fireplace - could you please give me links to suppliers, and also a site that gives advise of comparison of the different brands. The price varies so much, and I have been told that the local SA made fireplaces are not as good as the imported models.

    Hi Sonia,
    As concerns your enquiry, yes, our local models are not quite as efficient as imported varieties, but many consider the price difference to be compensation for this fact.

    Morso is one of the leading imported brands for a closed combustion fireplace and I have included a Google link that offers quite a few supplier options:

    At the end of the day, it depends how much you are prepared to spend.



    Friday, July 06, 2012 8:34 PM

    Water stain on a coffee table

    Hello Janice
    Love the magazine! Please could I request advice on how to remove the white water stain on a varnished coffee table without having to sand down the whole table. A pot plant had been on the table and water leaked through.

    Hi Chris,
    I would suggest that you use mineral turpentine and a cloth to try and remove as much built up wax on the surface. If there is quite a bit of built up wax you could also use Woodoc steelwool and rub in a light circular motion. If this fails, I'm afraid that sanding and re-sealing may be the only option.



    Friday, July 06, 2012 11:13 PM

    Best way to refurbish countertops

    Hello, I am looking to refurbish my countertops. What is the best way? I have learned that the paint method only lasts a year or so. Is this correct? The counters are 80's laminate/masonite are chipped. I do not know the cost of replacing the the kitchen two bathrooms, but estimate the square footage to be around 72 sq ft.

    Any ideas?

    Hi Jason,

    You are correct that the paint option does not last long.

    If you want to consider replacing the countertops it's not that expensive. Alternatively, I recently applied mosaic tile to mine, and even though I am not a fan of tiled countertops, it did come out extremely well. The tile colours are very contemporary.



    Fri, 06 Jul 2012 14:54

    How to remedy broken floor tiles

    This web page is the BEST!I like the all in one, thank you.I have broken floor tiles and a can not find the same tile any were. They tell me that floor tiles go out of fashion it\'s going to cost me now to re tile my whole house and that is going to cost a lot. Please can you give me advise.

    Hi Suzette,
    It is a problem to try and match up broken floor tiles, because the styles keep changing. This is just one of the reasons that I opted for natural slate floors - I never have a problem finding the same tile!

    I have found that the best way to sort out the problem of mismatched tiles is to do it intentionally, replacing tiles here and there with a tile that totally contrasts to the original tile. EG. For white tiles, add a black tile here and there, or for cream tiles, add a brown tile, and so on. This way you only have to replace a few tiles and the floor does not look completely ridiculous.

    Another option is shown below, but I'm not sure if I like this idea or not. But whatever - it works!



    Wednesday, July 04, 2012 2:32 PM

    How to seal whitewashed cot

    Hi Janice
    Before I forget I love your magazine. My latest project is a cot that I am re doing for my baby that is on the way. Just 2 questions. In one of the issues u made a side table and painted it with PVA paint and finished it off with furniture wax. I want to white wash the cot with pva, and what would you recommend sealing it with. My second question. I have fallen in love with the Dremel Trio. Were would I get one and how much do they cost.

    Hi Kevin,
    I would recommend coating the finish with clear acrylic sealer. It's none toxic, so safe for children's furniture and it won't spoil the whitewashed finish.

    The Dremel Trio is a really fantastic little tool and I use mine all the time. It's good that they have added the new router bits to the range. You should be able to buy at Builders Warehouse 



    Friday, July 06, 2012 9:07 AM

    How to finish a bookshelf and make a coffee table

    I'm happy to say with your help I'm going through the process of giving an old three piece bookshelf a new lease on life. Stage on is done and you'll get some pic soon.

    My question today is, do you have a tutorial for making a coffee table please. I've been searching forever for one that would be aesthetically appealing and most nb! Functional as I have a space challenge. So something that can store as well eg, books, draw for remotes, etc. I'd like to give it a go.

    Hi Wendy,
    It's so nice to hear from ladies that are DIY Divas and who are managing to make their own furniture.

    For the coffee table, why not have a look around and see if you can find some images of the style that you are looking for.



    Thursday, July 05, 2012 8:55 AM

    Should I treat my timber pallets

    I wanted to get old pallets from a place to make a headboard, the guy discouraged me to use this indoors due to chances of woodborer. What can I treat this with to ensure I dont have problems?

    Hi Valerie,
    First off, inspect the pallets, as wood borer leaves small holes in the wood and these can be seen.

    I bought an African mask from a flea market only to discover it had wood borer. A couple of squirts of Doom and the wood borer was no more. If in doubt, leave the pallet outdoors and spray with Doom, and let it stand for a day or two.



    Thursday, July 05, 2012 8:37 AM

    How to fix toilet to floor

    Hi Janice
    Please help. Have fired a contractor who has been working at my house for 4 months and getting nowhere fast. How do I fix/attach a toilet to the tiled floor? Silicone, tile cement, normal cement?

    Would appreciate your advice.

    Hi Michelle,
    Good for you...!

    There is a Pattex product called PL700 that is fantastic for this job. It dries clean and the toilet will be stuck forever. When using this product cut a large hole in the tip, as PL700 is quite thick and needs to be forced out of the cartridge.



    Thursday, July 05, 2012 7:42 AM

    How to hammer in picture hooks

    Hi Janice
    I just read the article on How to display art in your home on Property24. This was very helpful as I have been putting off hanging a group of photos for nealy 4 years due to me being too scared to do it wrong!

    My question is what is the best wat of 'tool' for haning pictures. Previously I asked the neighbour to drill a hole then I use a screw and plug in the hole and hang the picture. But a couple of weeks ago I went to the woodwork workshop and one of the ladies mentioned a hook that looks like a dumbell. She said she hangs all het art - even big heavy ones - on these hooks. I failed to get the name of them from her. It did sound easier to use than scews. Are they better than drilling holes? If so, what are they called?

    Thanks for a brilliant website. I am learning a lot from this.

    Hi Riona,
    What you are looking for is a Hilti Hammer. They used to be shaped like a dumbell, but the design has been modified as you can see below. You will find this hammer at your local Builders Warehouse, as well as a selection of nails, caps and picture hangers that are used with the tool.



    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 10:38 AM

    Clear sealant for supawood

    I am looking for a CLEAR SEALANT that can be used on SUPERWOOD products, I understand that a water based sealant cannot be used. We are not looking for the thick and heavy wood varnishes, or is that our only option?

    Hi Rita,
    I normally use Rust-Oleum spray polyurethane varnish. It comes in satin, semi- and gloss finishes, can be used on SupaWood and does not leave a thick finish as most varnishes and sealants tend to do.

    You can buy Rust-Oleum products at your local Builders Warehouse.



    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 12:34 PM

    Dull Grey Wooden Floors

    Hi Janice,
    We will be moving into our new house this weekend. But the wooden floors are so dull and grey. The house has not had any occupants since January this year thus the state of the floors. I want to tackle this as a DIY home improvement project. What can I use to make them shiny and presentable - I have no idea how to care for wooden floors, as I've only had tiles before in my old place.

    Hi Samu,
    You may also find that the floors are dull and grey due to a build up of floor wax. Restoring wood floors to a glossy condition is not an easy task, but it is one that can be done.

    If you don't have the budget to hire someone to sand the floors for you, there is a DIY home improvement article on the website that offers advice:



    Thursday, June 21, 2012 6:21 AM

    Where to find nice mouldings

    Hi DIY Divas
    I'm embarking on my first DIY project which is to transform a big bookcase which comes in three segments held together by a monstrosity that is supposed to be decorative crown moulding (i bought this last week). My intention is to make each of the pieces a stand alone item. Thanks to your rust-oleum section I've adressed most hurdles. My last is where to get attractive moulding to give the tops that finished look. I should also mention that I'm looking for champagne on a beer budget (builders warehouse and pennypinhers ranges are very limited). How do I attach it if the doors reach right up to the top? I live in Jhb - Westrand. You ladies are phenomenal. Cheers

    Hi Wendy,
    Definitely a DIY Diva!

    As an alternative to wood mouldings you can consider extruded polystyrene mouldings. These are not the soft polystyrene and are quite hard. I use these often for designs on - and you can paint these with Rust-Oleum as well.

    You don't mention where you are located, but google "polystyrene mouldings" and take it from there.



    Wednesday, June 20, 2012 12:03 AM

    Can I patch a gypsum ceiling?

    Due to home renovations, my ceiling needs to be replaced or patched up. Instead of replacing the whole ceiling I was wondering if it is possible and common practice to patch and rhinolite my existing ceiling which is fitted with metal cover strips on the joints.

    Hi Lars,
    There is no reason why you cannot patch up your ceiling and I have previously done it myself.

    However, fill the gaps and use Rhinolite tape to join the patched section before plastering. It can be difficult to get the surface extremely smooth so that it matches the rest.



    Tuesday, June 19, 2012 10:57 AM

    Rust-Oleum frosted glass spray

    Hi Janice
    I will be fitting a new light outside the kitchen door. The glass covering the fitting is clear. I'd like to frost or etch the glass as the lighting would be too bright. The flat glass is only 25 x 25 cm. Is it possible to change the look of the existing glass without having to get a new glass plate cut? Would it be cheaper to get a new plate? Thanks

    Hi Shireen,
    You can easily use Rust-Oleum Frosted Glass spray to apply an etched or frosted effect to the glass and you will find that this is probably cheaper than frosted safety glass cut to size..




    Monday, June 18, 2012 11:41 AM

    Where to buy pre-primed canvas

    I absolutely love the canvas mat project...where can I buy pre-primed canvas? I reside in Simons Town.

    Hi Marrilyn,
    You don't necessarily need to find pre-primed canvas. I use normal canvas fabric and prime with watered down acrylic PVA paint. You will find that this works out much cheaper than buying primed canvas.



    Thursday, June 14, 2012 9:45 PM

    Sorting out problem with garage door

    I have two marine ply garage doors installed 15-20 years ago. Over the years they were neglected in the sun, wind and rain. A month ago I washed the doors with Woodoc Wood Reviver, though some black marks are still present. The ridges (patterns) on the doors are about 15mm wide and spaced about 300mm apart throughout, running diagonally., not so easy to clean or fill with wood filler.

    Have applied wood fillers of different tints/colours, but still need to sand and worried that if I apply the Woodoc sealer the wood fillers would show through and will look ugly. I will really appreciate your technical expertise.

    Woodoc replied
    We called Ebrahim and suggested that he apply wood primer and paint to the doors. The doors are not solid (being marine ply) so there is just so much repair that can be done. The wood rot that he refers to most probably reached the core of the doors so the rot will continue no matter what he applies to the surface. It also sounds as if he used wood filler of various colours, so he will never be able to get the colour even by staining. Much better just to hide the damage with paint and keep the doors going for as long as possible in that way.



    Thursday, June 07, 2012 10:37 AM

    Cleaning silicon residue

    Dear Janice,
    How can I clean leftover residue from silicon used to instal my new shower. The leftovers are on the surrounding tiles, chrome egde of the shower, and some on the glass. So ideally I would need a cleaner that wouldn't hurt the 3 surfaces. Thanks in advance for your help and advice.

    Hi Chimene,
    You should be able to use acetone (nail polish remover) on all the surfaces mentioned below.




    Thursday, June 07, 2012 8:57 AM

    Where to buy castile soap

    At last... I think I'm one of the first people in SA to get Castile soap. Please

  • The Soap Barn who has just recieved their first batch.

    Made from pure Olive oil. Youv'e never had soap like this before.

    Thanks Sandy... Janice


    Wednesday, June 06, 2012 4:59 PM

    How to paint cretestone

    My walls were skimmed using cretestone, and the builder painter some PVA base coat of paint over it (inferior kind?). We notice that paint is powdery and can wash off using sugar soap leaving bare cretestone, and the next layer of PVA colour paint does not always adhere. He did not paint any primer on first. What should he have done, and what do we do now to rectify to ensure the top coat adheres?

    Hi Libby,
    That was definitely not the right thing to do. The contractor should have used a plaster primer before painting over the top. What has happened is that the cretestone has sucked all the moisture out of the paint (very absorbent) and left only residue behind.

    When Gyproc have a paragraph that states UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should Rhinolite be sanded - they obviously mean it  Obivously, sanding or even brushing will destroy the surface layer. Gyproc have a product called Grippon that would probably be your best option if you have already tested with paint.  This is a bonding liquid and would do the job.

    You have to think that Rhinolite is very absorbent and sucks up moisture like a sponge, so anything water-based would dry out too  fast. The last layer also has to be finished in a specific way that release dust from the surface, and perhaps he didn't do this properly:




    Wednesday, June 06, 2012 10:21 AM

    Silicone and showers

    Hi there,
    I need to re-silicone my shower (it is full of mildew and limescale) and is leaking. What is the best product to use for removing the remaining silicone and also for removing limescale marks and general cleaning of the entire shower and door/s etc.?

    Hi Beverley,
    Use a plastic scraper and acetone (nail polish remover) to take off the old silicone and then wipe down with a solution of Jik and water to kill off any mould or mildew spores.

    Removing limescale can be difficult, especially if it has built up over a long time. You can try both vinegar and lemon juice, as the acid helps to break down the scale. You may have to repeat this to get rid of built up layers. I also find a plastic scraper comes in handy for this as well.

    When applying the sanitary silicone, put a layer of masking tape on both sides of where you will be laying the silicone. Smooth down the applied silicone gently with the tip of your finger and then remove the masking tape for a nice, neat edge.



    Wednesday, June 06, 2012 4:59 PM

    How to paint Cretestone

    My walls were skimmed using cretestone, and the builder painter some PVA base coat of paint over it (inferior kind?). We notice that paint is powdery and can wash off using sugar soap leaving bare cretestone, and the next layer of PVA colour paint does not always adhere. He did not paint any primer on first. What should he have done, and what do we do now to rectify to ensure the top coat adheres?

    Hi Libby,
    That was definitely not the right thing to do. The contractor should have used a plaster primer before painting over the top. What has happened is that the cretestone has sucked all the moisture out of the paint (very absorbent) and left only residue behind. You can use a plaster primer, or an oil-based primer that is suitable for use on plaster.

    I have also loaded an article on using rhinolite and cretestone.



    Monday, June 04, 2012 7:28 PM

    Help with ideas for staircase

    We need this to look modern and stunning, help with ideas please.

    Hi Caron,
    Depending on your personal style, I have a few suggestions:

    1. On the wall that runs up the stairs you could consider adding panelling to make it more of feature wall. Over this you could hang framed photos or pics to create more interest on this wall.

    2. On the open side of the stairs you could install glass or perspex panels, either to a specific height or to the top of the wall/underside of the ceiling above.



    Monday, May 28, 2012 12:55 PM

    Decorating advice

    I am moving into a duplex and need advice on paints please. What color do I use in my living room ? I have black lounge suite & dining room suite with mahogany built in Tv cabinet and display cupboard? What colour do I use on the staircase leading to bedrooms ? Stairs are wooden in a light brown? Also my bedroom please , mahogany built in cupboards with light colored wooden floors but my bedroom suite ie pedestals ,blanket box & bed are a light grey with bling buttons. Please help so confused.

    Hi Zaheda,
    It is always difficult to advise readers on what colours to use, because everyone has different tastes. However, I can make suggestions on colour combinations and you can then pop into your local paint store to view swatches.

    For the lounge and dining room I would suggest light wall colours, since the furniture is already very dark. A biscuit, taupe or beige would look nice on the walls and you can then add accent accessories in your choice of colours.

    A staircase needs to be light and airy, so as not to feel claustrophobic and I would suggest that you use the same colours as for the living and dining room.

    For the bedroom you alreadu have dark furniture and light floors, with light grey pieces. If you want a warm room you can choose a slightly darker grey (on the red side of the colour wheel). By choosing a warm grey you will also complement the mahogany pieces.



    Thursday, May 24, 2012 2:44 PM

    Uses for small white stones

    I have a whole lot of white garden stones but i'm at a loss on how to use them in the Garden..pleeeeeeeeeeese help

    Hi Shobana,
    There are so many ways that you can put those white stones to good use if you give it some thought. I have them to edge of my flower beds and I use them on a slope to contain water for those plants. You can put them into potted flowers to help retain moisture. If you need a pathway you can buy a few concrete pavers and then use the stones to fill in gaps.

    Get creative and you will soon have no more stones left!



    Thursday, May 24, 2012 9:25 PM

    How to wire a plug

    What's wrong with this picture?

    The live and neutral wire are to long - if the cord gets ripped out the earth wire will be the first out ! The earth wire should be longer so the earth stays connected to the last.


    Hi Nico
    I'm glad to see that some of our readers are observant. However, if you open a standard plug you will note that the neutral and live connections are facing up and in order to get a wire into these connectors, both the blue and brown wires have to be cut at a length that allow them to be inserted properly and not too loosely. Additionally, it should be impossible to rip out the cord if the cable grip is secured and the wires are tightly inserted.



    Wednesday, May 23, 2012 10:47 PM

    High gloss acrylic coated laminate

    I would like to know about a new superwood with a gloss finish looks more like a laminate does this scratch easily it costs around R500.00 a sq mt

    Hi Fathima,
    I think you may be referring to Seno. MDF is coated with an acrylic layer that is high-gloss. Bear in mind that acrylic is plastic, and like any plastic, is not overly resistant to scratches. However, if you are using it for cabinet doors and doors that shouldn't be a problem.



    Tuesday, May 22, 2012 8:25 AM

    Home-Dzine rocks!

    Hi Janice,
    I think your website rocks!!! You’re doing a great job. I’m a huge fan!

    Hi Donavan,

    Thanks ever so much.It's when we receive emails like yours that it's all worthwhile!



    Wednesday, May 16, 2012 3:02 PM

    Instructions for DVD cabinet

    Hi Janice
    I have a huge DVD collection and was wondering if you don’t have a project or plans relating to making a DVD stand that can take approximately 500 DVDs. I found instructions of the Builders Warehouse website, however I would prefer something visually as this would be my first attempt in trying such a project.
    Thanks for a great website.

    Hi Mario,
    The DVD shelf unit is not actually a Builders Warehouse project and they don't even have the diagram available. You can click here for the step-by-step instructions. This is a project I think that I must tackle for the website.



    Tuesday, May 15, 2012 1:08 PM

    Dresser disaster

    Hi Janice,
    Wanting to try a popular trend, I bought an old dresser to re-vamp and use in our bathroom as a double sink vanity. I have re-sprayed it using Rust-Oleum High Protective Gloss spray. (You did an article on kitchen cupboards using this paint, so I thought it would ‘wear’ well in a bathroom).

    However, a number of friends are horrified at my choice of using the dresser and have told me that the wood will eventually swell, warp etc. due to the water factor and I will have wasted my time and money. A possible solution they could offer was to place a granite top on the dresser and to go with basins that just sit on the top or seal it with an epoxy sealer and marine varnish. I have already bought the drop in basins and standard mixer taps, but I could afford to replace them with counter top ones. I cannot afford though, to go out and buy the tall tap mixers that go with these ‘bowl’ type basins. I have seen ones that can accommodate the average mixer, but it looks to me as though you will be able to see part of the connections coming up to the mixer.

    Please advise Janice, what can I do? I have already spent most of my budget and instead of looking forward to the finished result; I don’t want to continue with the dresser route in case I am wasting my time and money.

    Hi Bev,
    Definitely a misunderstanding somewhere along the way. You definitely need a top - on top of the dresser, as your friends are quite correct in saying that the wood will swell. Additionally, if you can seal all the wood, and I do mean all the wood, with a polyurethane varnish, you could get away without adding the top. You will need to apply at least three coats of PU varnish and make sure that you cover all exposed areas as well as the top surface.

    Alternatively, you could pop a piece of glass on top of the cabinet and have it cut to fit the basins. Apply transparent silicone sealer around exposed edges, so that water cannot seep underneath.


    Hi Janice,
    Thanks so much for the advice – I will look at the glass option as well (maybe a bit more reasonable). I did not get much input from my other half as he was never too keen on the dresser idea and left me to my own devices; probably to see what I would come up with – he obviously does not know about Home-Dzine!

    My husband, a qualified builder (City & Guilds) and I have been building our home (for cash) for the last 5 years – and we are still doing so! I work full time and hubby is self employed, so he works on the house during ‘quite’ times and I get stuck in on week-ends.

    I hope to finish the dresser this weekend and replace hardware etc. Hubby is hoping to finish the bathroom tiling as well. I will then move the dresser into the bathroom and send you a picture to give you an idea.

    I would love to send you a few pics to show you what we have achieved so far, as we have done almost everything ourselves; no builders or contractors, except for the odd labourer(s) now and again to help with the heavy stuff.


    Tuesday, May 15, 2012 4:08 PM

    Sliding closet doors

    Hi Janice,
    I am looking at changing my BIC from doors with piano hinges to sliding doors to create more space, If you have any DIY notes and where I can buy the sldining mechanisms, it will also be floor to ceilling door +-2700m.

    Hi Terence,
    You will find sliding tracks at your local Builders Warehouse, or get in touch with, who manufacture sliding tracks. Once you have removed the existing doors, it's simply a matter of mounting the tracks and hanging the doors.

    I just did a home DIY project where I made doors using 9mm SupaWood - in the latest issue of EasyDIY magazine.



    Tuesday, May 15, 2012 2:56 PM

    How to knock out for window

    I need help please. Where can I get instructions or method on how to build a new and small bathroom window & close/cement the old one. Or which book can I buy with instructions.

    Hi Karin,
    Having knocked holes in walls and fitted my own windows for my own home improvement project, I know that I cannot refer you to a book for instructions. I only wish it was that simple. The problem is that most publications are not written here and generally do not apply to our situations and building codes when it comes to home improvement and home DIY..

    The May 2010 issue of Home-Dzine-Online shows how I knocked out a hole for the window. After that you simply need to fit and fasten the new window and plaster around.



    Monday, May 14, 2012 2:15 PM

    How to stain or paint raw pine

    Hi Janice,
    We bought some pine shelves on sale. now we want to buy two more of the same, but it costs more than double what we paid originally. If we buy the raw pine, it is much cheaper. How do we achieve the almost black colour that you see on pine furniture? I think the pine stores refer to it as ebony. Is this finish achievable by DIYers?

    Hi Anisha,
    You have two options, both of which work extremely well.

    1. Woodoc Gel Stain - Ebony and then apply polyurethane varnish (matt, satin or gloss) over the top.

    2. Rust-Oleum 2X spray paint in black. I prefer this option because it's much easier and looks stunning once finished.



    Monday, May 14, 2012 9:23 AM

    Decorating advice for home office

    Hi Janice
    I'm a keen follower of your e-mag and find it very useful. I have a decorating dilemma and wondered if you have any advice or who I can

  • . I have a home based photographic studio that's running for the last 8 years. But on some resent visits from clients I get the idea they think I'm not very professional due to my studio being at makes me wonder - perhaps it does not look as nice and attractive to clients as I would like. And this is where I need the help... I might have a photographic eye,, but decorating,,, I'm not so good at. Your advice would really mean the world to me. Or maybe a interior decorator - that wont break the bank.

    Hi Charlene,
    I think the layout looks great - very arty! Although I do agree that it might be a bit cluttered.

    My suggestions would be the brighten up the space a bit:
    Perhaps slipcover the brown suite is a light canvas or bull denim and add matching curtains/blinds
    Coir or seagrass rug to replace the patterned rug
    A folding screen to contain/conceal some of the items that clutter up
    Paint wicker furniture in a broken white and upholster in a taupe/biscuit/camel colour

    This is the direction I would go with so as not to loose the feel of the room, but make it appear more professional.



    Wednesday, May 09, 2012 9:55 AM

    What power tools should I buy?

    I need to re-install my pantry cupboard door-it has never closed properly (gap where it meets the carcass),so bought 45 degree hinges, but now the holes for the screws don't match exactly and I stripped a hole or two trying to get them in and the hinges are now loose. Also, would it be possible for me to put it back up by myself? Battling to get the hinges to fit in properly? We have a drill, but I battle to fit the drill bits to it and I find it very heavy. If I do occasional DIY, would it be worth getting the Bosch compact and will it be able to drill holes in tiles and walls as well as have the screwdriver function?

    Hi Beverley,
    The Bosch compact is an impact drill that is lightweight and that you could use on your own. It is suitable for drilling into tiles and walls, but is not to be confused with a Drill/Driver, which is a combination screwdriver/drill. A Drill/Driver is a combination screwdriver/drill which is not as powerful as an impact drill but is handy for occasional DIY that does not require drilling into concrete. It will handle drilling into tiles and soft cement or clay brick.

    I normally tell our ladies that you should have both an impact drill and a drill/driver.

    The best way to fill in screw holes is to use matches or toothpicks and jam them in tighly with a bit of wood glue. Once dry you can use the holes again. What you need to do is measure and drill 2mm pilot holes in the frame for the hinges, so that you can pop in a screw at the top of each hinge to make it easier to hold the door in place while you do the rest, or ask someone to help you hold the door in place.

    Not sure what hinges you have, but most hinges are easy to mount if you measure up in advance.



    Wednesday, May 09, 2012 7:36 AM

    How to repair scratched fibreglass bath

    I bought a fibreglass bath at a yard sale but around the drain it was damaged and there a few chips on the bath how could I repair these.

    Hi Diana,
    Because the bath is fibreglass, you will need to use a fibreglass repair kit to touch up any damaged areas. This is usually a resin and catalyst that are applied to damaged areas. Never having done this type of repair, I would suggest you

  • one of the following suppliers:



    Sunday, May 06, 2012 9:54 AM

    How to paint melamine

    Hi There
    I would like to paint my kitchen cupboard doors. However, I'm not too sure how to go about painting the melamine surfaces. Please help!

    Hi Anthea,
    There are quite a few articles on the website that deal with painting melamine or laminate.

    You can also use the search facility on Home-Dzine to pick up items in the blog.



    Saturday, May 05, 2012 8:33 PM

    How to disguise wiring for TV

    The wiring for the flat sreen TV is an eyesore. Any ideas how they can be disguised?

    Hi Shireen,
    PVC plumbers pipe, sprayed black is an affordable way to corral all those wires behind the TV. You can also buy Telkom channeling (in the electrical) section of your local Builders Warehouse. For this option you click the channelling apart - fasten on side of the channel to the wall - pop in the cables - click the top section in place, and voila - no more cables in sight!



    Monday, May 07, 2012 10:19 AM

    Cornice coming away from wall

    My house burnt down 7 years ago. The cornices that were installed seem to be coming away from the ceiling and or the wall in places. What is the best way to sort out this issue

    Hi Karen,
    All you need is a cartridge of No More Nails and a caulking gun. Cut the tip at a 45-degree angle, but keep it narrow enough to be able to squeeze under the cornice where it is coming away from the wall. If your house is new, the problem could be caused by normal settling of the masonry and plaster - nothing to worry about.

    You could also apply a thin bead of No More Nails along the top and bottom edge of the cornice and smooth with your fingertip, as an added precaution.



    Saturday, May 05, 2012 6:37 PM

    Damp problem - Shower installation

    Hi Janice,
    Firstly, congratulations on a world class magazine.

    I am currently renovating my house, with the bathroom being on my wife's priority list. There is a full shower installed in the room, of which internal walls form the main tiled areas. I am experiencing severe damp in the adjacent room, which without too much investigation, comes from the shower.

    During the renovation, should I line the internal walls somehow to prevent damp penetration - if so with what, or should careful attention to the tiling, both walls and floor be the only requirement? Looking forward to your ideas.

    Hi John,
    Thank you!

    You have two options, both of which will prevent damp through the internal walls.

    The first option would be to apply a waterproofing compound ( before applying the tiles. Coprox products are available at most hardware stores and definitely at Builders Warehouse.

    The second option would be to ensure that the shower is completely sealed with tile and grout, and to apply a grout sealer as an added measure. Apply silicone sealer to all exposed edges around shower door frame, etc. That should put paid to any furture damp problems.



    Thursday, May 03, 2012 1:45 PM

    What track to use for sliding door

    I want to make a sliding door as per your article but want advice on which sliding door tracks I should get. Or can I use any sliding tracks? The door will do onto my main bathroom.

    Hi Sammi,
    The sliding tracks come in different lengths for various openings, but are otherwise all the same for a single sliding door. I purchased a Hillaldam brand at my local Builders Warehouse.

    Don't forget to send pics so that I can enter your project into the Home Improvement competition.



    Thursday, May 03, 2012 2:38 PM

    Advice on decorating

    Hi Janice!
    We have recently bought some new furniture: a light brown untreated leather sofa and two black Charles Eames recliners. The problem is we have a black heavy tv unit, so everything looks dark and dull! We are thinking of sanding and re-painting the TV unit to liven things up a bit. Any tips or ideas on colours, and how to go about doing it? We were thinking of white or duck egg blue, but not sure if this will be TOO strange with our couches and chairs?

    Hi Megan,
    If you want to liven up the room a bit and are thinking about painting the TV unit, why not go for a glossy white. A little light sanding and a can or two of Rust-Oleum Gloss Protective Enamel will definitely brighten up the space, and definitely won't look strange.



    Friday, May 04, 2012 10:32 AM

    How to attach roman blinds to window recess

    Hi Janice
    Regarding the question I sent you yesterday about my home DIY project and fixing roman blinds to our windows. The kitchen window may not be very clear, but the recess of the window in tiled all around. I thought of putting one batten across the full length of the window, but to split the blind into two sections.

    I browsed on the internet, too, and one of the suggestions was to use “no more nails” adhesive to attach the batten to the lintel top. Would that work?












    Hi Ria,
    There are various adhesives for home DIY and you could use an adhesive to fasten the battens to the wall/tiles above the window, but No More Nails won't work. You need to use Pattex PL700 to stick to the tiles. Lightly sand the tiles with 120-grit sandpaper where the batten will be glued. Drilling would obviously be the best way to attach the battens to the tiled wall - using a glass/tile drill bit, but if you don't want to try this option - go for the adhesive.

    The idea of using velcro to attach the fabric to the batten is a great idea, and at least you can remove the blinds as and when to clean them.



    Friday, May 04, 2012 8:24 AM

    What foam to use for headboard

    Good Morning
    I'm trying to make a block art padded headboard for my baby's room. what type of foam should I use? Should each piece of foam be the same size of each block or should the foam be slighter bigger? Do I need to use anything else over the foam before covering with fabric?

    Hi Vimla,
    5cm thick high density foam is best and the foam should be exactly the same size as the block of wood. If you want a softer look you can use batting over the foam.

    Good luck with the project and don't forget to send me pics to enter the Home Improvement competition.



    Wednesday, May 02, 2012 8:11 AM

    How to fix a carport that leaks

    How can a carport roof that leaks be repaired ?

    Hi Aysha,

    Most carports leak, especially ones with IBR sheet roofs. They are not designed to be waterproof, but rather provide cover from the elements.

    If you let me know where the leaks are, I might be able to offer advice. For leaks along joins and where screwed down you can use a waterproofing paint in combination with a mesh membrane - available on the shelf at your local Builders Warehouse.



    Wednesday, May 02, 2012 11:31 AM

    What option for broken tiles

    I need to replace a cracked tile but do not have a matching tile to replace. What options do I have?

    Hi Navin,
    The most practical way would be to blend in a few mosaic tiles here and there. You will find some nice styles at Builders Warehouse for around R30 per sheet - in a variety of colours. Chip out tiles randomly or in a pattern to make it look designed rather than accidental.



    Wednesday, April 25, 2012 1:03 PM

    Should I paint or screed floor?

    We have recently bought a house which has a patio and entrance hall paved with slasto. It's not really my style. Because I am on a budget I'm looking for cheap ways to do home improvement in order to modernise it a bit. Would I be able to use floor paint on it, and would it look alright, or should I just consider screeding it? I'd welcome any other home improvement ideas too.

    Hi Nicole,
    Screeding would be a better option for slasto, as the material has a natural tendency to flake over time and you will end up with messy paintwork. A 5mm screed will cover the slasto and you will be able to add pigment stain, or paint over the finish surface once dry.



    Tuesday, April 24, 2012 10:43 AM

    What would be the best flooring choice

    We recently moved into our own home. We have facebrick walls in the lounge, knotty pine ceiling and a carpet. So pretty heavy in a way. We'd like to get rid of the carpet but not sure what to go for: tiles, more wood flooring etc.

    Suggestions would be appreciated.

    Hi Candice,
    It is was me, I would go for a tiled floor in view of the knotty pine ceiling and face brick walls. It you put down a laminate floor it will make it appear even more claustrophobic. Have you considered painting the knotty pine ceiling to lighten and brighten the space.



    Monday, April 23, 2012 1:34 PM

    Built in ovens query

    Please could you help me. I am remodeling my own kitchen and would just like to make sure that if I use the standard melamine board to build the cabinet to hold the built-in stove it is not a fire hazard. the instruction manual of the oven and hob advise that the surrounding materials need to withstand high temperatures.

    Hi Cathy,
    I don't think that you need to worry. Built-in ovens have been fitted into melamine cabinets for ages without any problems. If it is a quality oven, the door has a seal that prevents excessive heat loss. However, do use a quality board, such as that manufactured by PG Bison, which will either be MelaWood, BisonLam, etc.



    Monday, April 23, 2012 3:06 PM

    Home decorating advice

    Hi Team,
    We are moving into a new house, and I am so desperate for our home to be trendy. I'd love to paint one wall of the bedroom a distinct colour but I am somewhat reserved about timelessness. What is the fashion for neutral tones at the moment?

    Hi Catherine,
    You can never go wrong with decorating a home with neutrals and they don't go out of fashion. There are quite a few articles in the Decor and home Decorating sections that will give you ideas and inspiration, but the most popular colours at the moment are warm neutrals, like those shown below and work perfectly with white. At least with paint you can paint over if you don't like it!



    Sunday, April 15, 2012 10:55 PM

    How to fix up driveway

    We have cobblestone type paving made out of broken bricks in the driveway but the cement (or whatever it is) is crumbling between the bricks making it difficult to walk on. How do we fix this problem?

    Hi Beverley,
    Because there is a lot of movement in bricks and pavers, the best method for bedding is to butt the bricks/pavers tightly together and then use fine sand as a gap filler. I'm sure that you don't want to lift the whole pathway, but perhaps removing as much old cement as possible and then filling with sand might help the problem.



    Tuesday, April 10, 2012 3:54 PM

    Where to find a handyman

    Hi, I am a single lady trying to fix up my house. Do you perhaps know someone in Fourways who can help me install a door and some edging for laninated flooring, who isn\'t looking to charge the earth?

    Hi Anne,
    I take my hat off to you for trying to do-it-yourself.

    As regards a home handyman in the Fourways area, I don't know of anyone offhand but perhaps you can try As with any job, get three quotes and ask for references for previous work so that you can make an informed decision. When it comes to home improvement or home maintenance you will find a handyman offers reasonably affordable services, but be sure to obtain more than one quote and ask for reference. You want to be assured that you home DIY project is done properly.



    Thursday, April 05, 2012 6:08 PM

    How to use my drill/driver

    I have been given a electirc srew driver drill as a present but I just cant seem to get the hang of it. The srew tips keep on sliping out from under the drill - Please help!

    Hi Marlaine,
    First off you need to make sure that you are using the right screwdriver bit for the screw. If the screw looks like a star on top, then use a PZ1 or PZ2 bit. If the screw looks like a cross on top, use a PH1 or PH2.

    Make sure the screw bit is firmly seated in the slots of the screw head. If it comes out it will only spin and strip the screw head. Press down with enough pressure to keep the bit firmly seated. A drill/driver is one of the most practical tools when it comes to home improvement and home DIY. Today's drill/drivers are lightweight, cordless and take all the hard out of work, so think about investing in a drill/driver for your next home DIY project.



    Thursday, April 05, 2012 11:13 AM

    Hi there Janice,
    I know the new look on your site is no longer so new, but it is really great. I love the update and all the extra cooking and sewing info that is now available.

    I love to crochet and sew. However, I am not a pattern follower, I’ll make up my patterns as I go along. I managed my own sofa slip covers and was so happy with myself.

    With your inspiration we have managed to do our own dining room table, coffee table, baby crib, single bed size baby cot, book shelving and floating shelving for the nursery and lounge and we even painted the nursery ourselves. I am proud to say I sewed all the bed linen myself (with the help of google). I even sewed my own cloth nappies (never used because daycare would not use cloth). Your site makes one realise that with a bit of planning, there is so much you can do. It is addictive, making your own stuff.

    Things waiting in the wings: Baby playmat, car seat sun shade (we need this one urgently), foldable high chair (I saw a pic on the internet and it is so easy to do yourself). The problem I have currently: Trying to continue with my diy while taking care of the little one.

    Continue with your good work.


    Wednesday, April 04, 2012 12:46 PM

    Problem with parquet floor

    Hi there, we have just recently moved into a home where the previous homeowners painted the parquet flooring. The paint has chipped all over so floor look really horrible. Besides sanding can you suggest a paint that won't chip that I could re-paint?

    Hi Kim,
    Sounds like you have a home improvement nightmare on your hands!

    The problem with painting over paint is that it normally does chip. Even a better quality paint on top won't stay put if the paint underneath is starting to chip. You could find that you paint the entire floor only to find that - a few months down the line the paint starts peeling off.

    My suggestion is to do is right the first time and sand away the old paint before repainting. If you use an orbital or random orbit sander it shouldn't take too long, and Bosch and Skil sanders have built in micro filters that remove a lot of the dust. Alternatively, hire a professional orbital sanding machine for the day.

    Once sanded (first with 120- and then with 220-grit) you can paint with Plascon Velvaglo.



    Tuesday, April 03, 2012 9:57 AM
    Where can I buy ottoman cover?

    Where in Johannesburg can I buy covers for ottomans or that doesn't exist at all?

    Hi Grace,
    I haven't yet come across anyone that makes covers for ottomans. I think that this may be your time to do-it-yourself. You will find plenty of ideas and advice on the Home-Dzine website, and it is quite a simple project. All you need is a hammer and some upholstery pins.



    Tue, 03 Apr 2012 12:42:08 +0200

    Help with kitchen renovation

    I have just moved into a new apartment but the kitchen is in a terrible state. I have a very small kitchen and a small budget. How do i go about see what my options are?

    Hi Amy,
    Just bear in mind that you don't have to do everything in one go. Do what you can as and when you can afford it.

    Some things to consider:
    Replacing or painting cabinet doors
    Resurfacing the countertops - either with paint or with laminate, or if you can afford to - replace the countertop.
    Refresh walls and trim with a coat or two of paint. Light colours are ideal for small spaces
    If the floor needs attention, consider vinyl flooring if you cannot afford to re-tile

    And don't forget you will find plenty of ideas in the Kitchen section on If you plan to do your own home improvement kitchen renovation, look at the costs involved and set up a budget before you start. That way you will know how much your home improvement project will cost at the end of the day, and if you can't do-it-yourself - whether or not you can afford to hire someone to assist you.



    Thursday, March 29, 2012 9:58 AM

    How to install water fountain

    Hi Divas
    I bought a 2 tier water fountain and I need some advice on how to install the water fountain. Could you please help me?

    Love your website, sooooo incitefull !!!

    Hi Julie,
    Installing a water fountain is actually quite simple. There are a couple of articles in the Garden section on Home-Dzine, but the procedure varies depending upon the type of pump. The pump is submerged into the water, with the water spout of the fountain just above the water level. There are various attachments that fit onto the pump to give different effects.

    One the pump is in place, make sure to tuck the wiring away out of harm and site, before plugging into the mains supply.



    Tuesday, March 27, 2012 10:12 PM

    How to smooth Rhinolite finish

    My builder left a very rough rhinolte surface on my wall. How can I smooth the really bad patches?

    Hi Graham,
    You can easily sand the Rhinolite smooth with 220-grit sandpaper. An orbital or random orbit sander would provide the best finish, and if you have a Bosch sander they have an integral filter that catches most of the dust - this is going to be messy! The difference between an orbital and random orbit or eccentric sander is that, an orbital sander is great for everyday home improvement sanding projects, whereas a random orbit sander is more of a finishing touch for your home improvement projects - it sands without leaving fine, circular scratches on the surface.



    Friday, March 23, 2012 2:52 PM

    Painting appliances

    Hi Janice
    Please could you advise? I have a white freezer and my fridge is metallic – how can I paint the freezer – what exactly do I need to do?

    Hi Michelle,
    Rust-Oleum have a range of appliance spray paints, but I have used their Universal Metallic range to spray my tumble dryer. Before you spray give the freezer a good cleaning to degrease and then lightly sand with 400-grit sandpaper. This prepares the finish for painting. You can buy Rust-Oleum at your local Builders Warehouse.


    PS. Have now posted an article on the Home-Dzine website that looks at painting appliances.


    Friday, March 23, 2012 9:44 AM

    Where to buy foam for upholstered headboard

    Really enjoy you site... We are busy with a DIY headboad and are not able to find the sponge/foam for the headboad. I got a quote for R1300.00 - Ddo you perhaps a list of supplies in the JHB area

    Hi Rhett,
    R1300 for foam for a headboard - are they nuts!
    You can buy direct from or, the latter will also deliver for you. And it definitely will not cost you anywhere near R1300.



    Friday, March 23, 2012 8:33 AM

    How to stick mirror to wall and touch up scratched bathtub

    Dear Janice,
    Thank you for the nicest ideas you giving us. I need your help with my DIY. I need to hang up a 600 by 900 bathroom mirror, I don’t need to drill because it may damage the tiling. Can I use the double tape to hang it?

    My bathroom was recently renovated, but my tub has scratched on it, is there anyway I can paint it or spray it white again?

    Hi Samantha,
    The problem with using double-sided tape in a bathroom is that, over time the moisture and humidity in the room cause the tape to loosen from both the tile and the back of the mirror. It's also quite a big mirror, which means it is heavy. You can safely drill into tile with a glass and tile bit, in order to use Fischer wall plugs and screws to hang the mirror. Use an electronic detector to ensure there are no pipes in the wall before you drill. If you don't know how - offer a variety of workshops that show you how easy it is.

    Alternatively, try an adhesive such as Pattex PL700 to secure the mirror to the tiles. Clean the tiles well beforehand and give them a light sanding with 180-grit sandpaper so that there will be a better bond.

    Before I can answer your query on touching up the bath tub, I need to know what the tub is made of. You can buy Rust-Oleum Touch Up Epoxy at your local Builders Warehouse if it's only a tiny scratch, but do following the manufacturer's instructions. If the tub is acrylic or fibreglass, lightly sand the area before application.



    Thursday, March 22, 2012 9:52 AM

    Tile over ugly shower floor

    I would like to find out how to retile over my existing shower floor, it is looking very bad the landlord had put in previously just broken tiles into the sement floor. I just want to put pebbles or small tiles as a mosaic over the existing ugliness. The floor is quite far from the edge of the shower door so won't be a problem of water running over door edge.

    Hi Joan,
    You will find quite a few home improvement and home DIY ideas in the Bathroom Craft and Improvement sections on the website. I suppose that anything will be an improvement on cement with a few bits of cracked tile! Home-Dzine has plenty of home improvement and home DIY projects on the website and you are welcome to take a look around for ideas and inspiration.



    Thursday, March 22, 2012 10:49 AM

    Sinking bath tub

    Hi Janice,
    In Oct 2011 I had the bathroom redone. Replaced everything in the bathroom and put a bath/shower in. I noticed that when they installed the bath, they used a type of sand which they bought at the hardware store to secure the bath in place. Because we get into the bath to have a shower, i noticed a crack behind the silicone between the bath and the tiles. the bath seems to be sinking on the side that we use to shower. Is there anything i can buy to put under the bath (through the trapdoor) to secure/lift the bath without having to remove the entire bath? Please help!

    Hi Reece,
    When it comes to home improvement you will always find at least one contractor out there who looks for the easiest way. Putting sand under the tub is an easy and cheap way to support without having to build a frame, which is the preferred option. Eventually the sand will shift, especially if you are also using the tub as a shower.

    Without turning this into a major home improvement project by removing the tub, you are going to have to try and fill up the void with something like an expanding foam that sets to a firm surface. Not sure how much you would need for the job, but it is on the shelf at your local Builders Warehouse.


    Thank you Janice…so very much! With a baby on the way, we need a quick and easy solution and I think we found it. Thank you and regards, Reece


    Sunday, March 18, 2012 4:21 AM

    How to remove a steel door frame

    How do I remove a steel door frame without damaging the wall to much?

    Hi Michael,
    Removing a steel door frame is not an easy home DIY project and there's going to be some damage that can be patched up, but the easiest way to remove a steel door is with a cold chisel and hammer and then to use an angle grinder to cut the metal straps that hold the door to the wall.

    Put down some dropcloths to catch all the mess and protect your floors, and close off any doorways with plastic dropcloths stuck with masking tape to cut down on dust spreading through your home. If you don't think that you can tackle this as a home DIY project, a reputable handyman will be able to assist when it comes to smaller home improvement projects such as this one.



    Wednesday, March 14, 2012 7:02 AM

    Regrout tiles in shower

    I want to regrout my shower and around the bath. Would I have to remove the old grout first or can I apply another layer over? The grout isn't broken but it is going black in some places due to mould.

    Hi Susan,
    Unless the grout in the shower is already low, you may need to remove a millimetre or two for the new grout to 'grab' onto something. Otherwise it will just flake off. If you don't have a Dremel MultiTool you could use a flathead screwdriver to scrap away a small amount of old grout.

    If you have black mould in areas, wear a face mask when scraping the grout, as this stuff can cause respiratory problems. I would suggest that you scrub the shower with a solution of household bleach and warm water before starting. This will kill off the mould spores.



    Wednesday, March 14, 2012 7:35 AM

    How to remove and replace steel windows

    I loved your article on how to repaint steel window frames but I have another problem our house is almost 60 years old and a lot of the window hinges have broken. We have tried to fix them but unsuccessfully and have thought of replacing them but not sure how. One of the ways that we have heard of is cutting it out with an angle grinder and then putting the new on in with some foam stuff that hardens, is this so and how really do we do it.

    Hi Bev,
    I would agree that you can cut off the old hinges with an angle grinder, or Dremel MultiTool. The easiest way to attach new hinges would be to use epoxy putty that is specifically for steel. You could use Alcolin FastSteel to do this, or Pratley Steel Putty. Both products are 2-part epoxy that are kneaded together before application.

    If you are removing and replacing the entire window frame, I'm not sure that an anchor foam would be best on its own. Yes, they do offer a certain amount of strength, but not enough to hold an entire window frame in place. If you are going to be cutting out the frame, it's not going to be much more work to also cut a groove or channel into the bricks that will allow you to mount the new frame in the existing brickwork and then apply anchor foam along this gap. Most frames have metal support tags on the outside of the frame - these are what need to be placed in the groove or channel. By doing it this way it will be far safer and more secure.



    16 March 2012 07:28 AM

    Can I paint over melamine?

    Can I paint over Melamine cupboards and is there a sealer for my formica tops that are peeling.

    Hi Hellen,
    You can indeed paint over melamine.

    As concerns the Formica tops. I'm not sure why these are peeling unless they are very old. It isn't expensive to replace Formica countertops and you will have new countertops rather than trying to fix up the olds ones, which would probably cost just as much. If you're not sure whether or not you could do this as a home DIY project, think about hiring a reputable handyman for a small home improvement project of this nature. The project should take no more than a day from start to finish.



    Sunday, March 11, 2012 8:06 PM

    How to remove paint from windows

    Hi there
    What solution can I buy/make to remove window glue left-over after I removed the window tinting from my home windows?

    Hi Shaun,
    You should be able to remove a fair amount with any regular window cleaner. Most contain ammonia, which will help soften and dissolve what is left on the window. Any harder sections can be scraped off with a glass scraper that you will find at your local Builders Warehouse.



    Wednesday, March 07, 2012 7:49 PM

    How to edge PG Bison MelaWood

    Dear DIY DIVA!!
    What a wonderful service you give! Want to use BisonBord Melawood 9 mm or 12 mm thick, and glue it to exisitng interior wood (mostly pine) surfaces in refurbishing the bedrooms in our B&B. I want to treat the cut edges of the particle board with a woodfiller closely matching (or harmonising with) the melamine woodgrain finish and then satin varnish the edges. What woodfiller should I use? Your advise would be hugely appreciated - thank you!

    Hi Louis,
    For our home decorating and home DIY projects we normally use Alcolin Wood Filler, but you can also get edging strips - iron on or glue on - to match the melawood that you are using. You may find that this would be a better solution and look far nicer. However, you won't find edging strips at Builders Warehouse for some strange reason - so buy the strips from Timbercity.



    Tuesday, March 06, 2012 10:54 AM

    How to paint a mural on concrete

    Good Morning
    Firstly, I love your site and love spending time DIYing at home.

    I am busy concreting an area, what can I use to paint( Mural) on raw concrete? Look forward to hearing from you.

    Hi Nicola
    As regards your query. I would suggest that you use Universal Primer on the concrete before painting, and the concrete should be 100% cured before painting. If you paint on concrete that has not cured the paint will peel and blister. Find more home decorating ideas and inspiration in our Decorating section.



    Monday, March 05, 2012 11:52 AM

    Where can I buy a pink drill?

    I want some one to help me I want a pink drilling machine for ladies, where can I get.

    Hi Del
    When it comes to home DIY, we always advise the ladies against buying a pink drill. You can purchase a pink drill but it will probably last you about 10 minutes if you want to use it for serious home DIY projects in and around the home. Buy yourself a pink toolbelt or pink cap, and kit yourself out with quality tools that will do the job. We recommend Bosch or Skil power tools - Bosch as an investment and Skil if you only plan to do occasional home DIY projects.



    Monday, March 05, 2012 8:38 AM

    Dealing with noisy neighbours

    I read your article called Soundproof against noisy neighbours and was wondering if there is a Act/Code in place that prevents excessive INDUSTRIAL noise in a built-up neighbourhood. I have neighbours that use an angle-grinder persistantly (sometimes for entire day on both Saturday and Sunday) with no regard to noise levels or odour (kitchen faces onto their driveway). I believe that it is important to get along with your neighbours, not only from a good relationship perspective but also a safety (a set of eyes when you away on holiday) perspective and hence I would like to address this from a discreet/polite point of view. Any help would be greatly appreciated

    Hi Mark
    I would suggest that you speak to your neighbours and let them know that you are inconvenienced by the noise. If they ignore your request you could always take it to the next level, which would be to report it to the local police station. Municipal bylaws do cover excessive noise, especially on weekends and you are within your rights to complain.

    Yes, we all want to have a good relationship with our neighbours, but not at the cost of our lifestyle.



    Monday, March 05, 2012 9:52 PM

    Painting kitchen cupboards

    Hi Janice
    I would like to revamp my kitchen by painting my laminate kitchen cupboards (a cherry colour) white. I am going for an old style kitchen. I have three questions: is Cabinet Rescue the best product to paint the laminate cupboards? I would like to add some beading to the flat cupboards to create a frame inside the cupboard panel. Do you advise this on laminate cupboards? Also, have you heard of a product called “Beadboard”, it is a wall paper type (thicker and more durable) product that looks like real Bead board panelling. I would like to place this inside the frame. I am wondering if you know if I can get hold of it in SA?

    Hi Karin
    There are various products that you can use for laminate cabinets as a home decorating project. The most important step is to lightly sand to de-gloss the laminate surface before painting.

    I like to use the Rust-Oleum range of spray paints for cabinets (available at your local Builders Warehouse), but also use a matt PVA for clients who are looking for a Shabby Chic or distressed finish. If you do use a matt, you will need to apply either an antique wax or 2 coats of clear sealer over the top once painted.

    We have done various styles with moulding and trim and there is no reason why you cannot add to laminate cabinets. As concerns beadboard, I have been battling to find someone to do this for me. Apparently there is a company that does beadboard sheets in 3mm and 6mm thickness and if I find out I will let you know.



    Sunday, March 04, 2012 3:39 PM

    Coping with high humidity

    What is the best product to keep glass, chrome and granite clean at the coast in high humidity conditions? As fast as I clean them, they get hazy from the humidity!

    Hi Mary-Anne
    I think this may be something you have to live with. I know of no products that would make life easier except perhaps trying to reduce humidity with something like Rubsons Stop Humidity, which works like a dream and may help keep your mirrors cleaner.



    Wednesday, February 29, 2012 4:16 PM

    Which is cheaper: laminated pine or supawood?

    Can you tell me, which is cheaper between laminated pine shelving board or supawood of the same or closest looking? For example, I pay R670.00 for 4 lengths of 19mm thick laminated shelving pine of 3000mm X 305mm.

    Hi Simon
    A sheet of 18mm PG Bison SupaWood will cost around R600 for 2700 x 1830mm and the cutting charge is around R40 per board. Personally, I prefer the SupaWood for our home DIY projects because I don't have to worry about knots and warps, but it all depends on whether or not you want to paint or stain. Try or



    Thursday, February 23, 2012 11:56 AM

    Find an interior designer

    I am struggling to find someone who can help me with the layout of furniture in my home. I have the most wonderful pieces, but cannot seem to match them together in a room. Do you know of anyone in Pretoria who provides this type of service. I do not want to spend a lot of money on buying new pieces. I want advise on how to work with the pieces I have.

    Hi Anna-Marie
    It's sometimes difficult to find an interior designer to work with what you already have and I normally recommend a Home Stager for this type of situation. However, finding a Home Stager is another story, as the only advertise in local classifieds. I would like to suggest that you get in touch with {} and see if they can assist or offer any alternatives.



    Wednesday, February 22, 2012 12:08 PM

    What to put under paving cobblestones?

    I am going to lay cobblestone paving and was wondering what can be used on the ground before the paving is laid to prevent growth of weed etc and ants? Also, should I be placing a layer of DPC plastic sheeting before the paving is laid, if I do what benefit will this have?

    Hi Niren
    For this landscaping project you can purchase landscape fabric at your local nursery or garden centre. I have used black plastic dropcloths with the same success, and they are far cheaper. Find plastic dropcloths at your local Builders Warehouse or Builders Express store.

    The plastic prevents weed growth, which can be an ongoing hassle when laying cobblestones.



    Tuesday, February 21, 2012 4:54 PM

    Should I replace or paint bathtub?

    Good day
    I need to renew my cast iron bath tub and was wondering if the ‘tub and tile refurbishing kit’ would work on any chip surface regardless of the depth of the damage? Mine is chipped up to the surface (metal exposed) on at least 4 areas with chips the size of the 50 cents coin if not smaller. My math tells me that if i was to replace the entire bath tub, the complete project would cost me around R2000.00 which bring me to this question; how much would the kit cost. Looking forward to your response.

    Hi Sydwell
    Although the Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile Kit (available at your local Builders Warehouse) will restore badly stained and scratched surfaces, it won't cover badly pitted or chipped areas. These will need to be sanded and levelled before applying the epoxy paint. You could also use a 2-part epoxy putty to fix up the chips and then sand to a smooth finish before painting. The kit works out at around R500 and will cover an average bath. If you bear in mind that you could probably sell your cast iron tub for more than the cost of a new acrylic bath, I think you need to consider your options. There are home improvement companies that will do the job of resurfacing the cast iron tub for you, but this normally costs a fair amount and may not be worth it in your case.



    Tuesday, February 21, 2012 8:19 AM
    Awesome, fantastic, superb

    Good morning Divas
    Thank you for an awesome on-line magazine, I am a Divo for DIY and thank you sincerely for all the awesome articles, I am learning such a lot and I thank my beautiful wife, Penny of 29 years for introducing me to your on-line magazine, continue to inspire and God’s richest blessings as you develop your talents and motivate others Divas and Divas to be creative.

    Hi Wilfred
    Thank you. It's the joy we get out of doing the various home decorating and home DIY projects, and your thanks, that continue to inspire us.



    20 February 2012 07:18 AM
    Want to give my kitchen a makeover

    I have just been into your February magazine and it seems to have been written for me! I need to replace or renew my kitchen cupboard doors and the doors you had in this issue are exactly what I want! Next the hanging herb gardens are such a fantastic idea – I have a section of concrete panel walls and the hanging herb garden will work so well! And finally – Angry Birds – I know a couple of young DIY’s who will just love this one! Many thanks for a fabulous magazine! I am itching to start!

    Hi Shirley
    Thank you. We always try to include a selection of home improvement and home DIY projects that will appeal to everyone, although not always an easy task!



    15 February 2012 07:28 AM
    Problems with slasto

    I bought a house with slasto inside. I want to bring back the natural coulour of the slasto (black). At the moment it looks like it was varnished a few times over and over. I tried paint remover but it do not work well I mean it is the whole house. Can't i use sand paper by hand and a sander on the more level areas. What paper must I use. What would you recommend ?

    Hi Sarel
    The problem with sanding slasto is the nature of the stone. Slasto and slate tend to flake off and become uneven if you try to sand them. Have you tried using Plascon RemovAll? This is an eco-friendly paint and varnish stripper that won't overpower with toxic vapours and works extremely well. Alternatively, try TFC Sealer Stripper - both products are on the shelf at your local Builders Warehouse.



    15 February 2012 08:07 AM
    Build a swing for a small child

    My husband and I want to build our little one a safe outdoor swing. I cant find any blueprints of DIY's on building swings and outdoor playpins for kids. Can you help?

    Hi Marilet
    Let me look around and see what I can come up with.



    Tuesday, February 14, 2012 12:21 PM
    Solution for a corner wardrobe

    Hi Guys

    Here's a challenge for you... We are busy building on an addition to our house - an additional 95square meters of living space - being a double story - and when I say ""we" I quite literally mean that my wife and I are the manual labour, doing everything ourselves, except for the plumbing eventually.!!

    In our design, we are using the entire new upstairs section (45 square meter) as our new main bedroom, with en-suite bathroom and a walk in closet / changing room. Essentially the stairs come up in the middle of the addition with the 3 'rooms' circling the stairwell. So I will also be looking to build from scratch my own built-in cupboards in the change room. BUT, not wanting to waste or lose any space, I want to be able to utilise the corners of the room as well.I have found plenty of on-line ideas for corner cupboard units for kitchens, but hardly a thing for a corner wardrobe unit for a walk in change room.What ideas can you come up with?Look forward to some inspiration.

    Hi Stephen,
    We always welcome a challenge. Not sure I understand 100%, but what you basically need is a wardrobe that fits into a corner? If correct, what you need is a corner unit design that allows for cabinets to be fitted on both sides. You could consider two options, both of which are shown below and that have different styles of door openings.


    14 February 2012 02:12 PM
    Clearly not much of a challenge after all.. !!  You understood perfectly...

    That's the beauty of building on - each room is a blank slate to implement any new idea. and I really want to maximize the use of the space so the corner unit is perfect for what I have planned!.

    Thanks for the inspiration.


    Tuesday, February 14, 2012 10:02 AM
    Looking at bamboo countertops for a kitchen

    Hi, I came across one of the features on your site where you mentioned Bamboo Kitchen counter tops. Where would I be able to source these types of tops? We are also looking for a great way to lighten up an old kitchen and would really like to see what the bamboo has to offer.

    Hi Guarin,
    You can purchase bamboo countertops at your local Pennypinchers or Timbercity. If you have difficulty sourcing the product, get in touch with Eco Logik Bamboo ( . They really are gorgeous to look at and comparable to hardwood countertops.



    Monday, February 13, 2012 2:01 PM
    How can I disguise a toilet?

    Hi, I would like ideas on how to "hide" a toilet, the house we are moving into has a very long hallway, but looks right into the separate toilet at the end of the hallway. My husband said we must just keep the door closed, but is there any other ways to cover up the toilet so as not to always have the door closed?

    Hi Justine,
    I'm afraid I have to go with your husband on this one. Alternatively, if the toilet is white and the room is painted white, the toilet will not be as obvious if the door is left open.



    Thursday, February 09, 2012 2:27 PM
    Is there a way to paint a bath?

    I would like to inquire about the re-surfacing of a bath, and if it's possible to do it in a different colour? I'm not sure but I think the bath is ceramic or porcelain.

    Hi Colin,
    If it is porcelain you can use an epoxy paint to finish the bath. Use 120-grit sandpaper to sand down the existing finish and smooth out where it has chipped and then go over again with 180- or 220-grit sandpaper to prepare for painting. Rust-Oleum have a Tub & Tile Kit that you can buy off the shelf at your local Builders Warehouse. However, if you are looking for more colour options, find a supplier of epoxy paints.



    Tuesday, February 07, 2012 9:29 AM
    Can you offer any pool tips?

    Hi Jan

    Any tips on pool cleaners ? Changed the O ring, cleaned out filters and darn thing still wont come to life!

    Hi Hayley,
    There are so many things that could - and normally do - go wrong. Have you changed the sand in the filter in the last 5 years? Is the pump working properly? They normally only last between 5 to 7 years. I went to the expense of buying a complete new Kreepy only to find out the pump needed to be replaced. If it doesn't pull water like it should, or has started sounding different, it might need replacing.



    Monday, February 06, 2012 3:09 PM
    Want to stain my bedroom suite a darker colour


    I have a original oregan pine bedroom suite that I want to change to a imbuia colour. What is the process and what is the best products to use.

    I have received a quotation to have it profesionally done but can not afford it.

    I am living in the East Rand area if you can advice me were to obtain the product that you advice me on using.

    PS. The quotation for the bed was R3400.00.

    Hi Lorna,

    I can understand why the quotation for the bed would be so high, due to the wicker design of the foot and headboard. It's a difficult process to sand those areas to remove varnish, and get it right as well. My advice to you would be to save up for the job to be professionally done, because there is a lot of work involved on the bed. The other pieces you could do yourself, but it might be tricky to then have to match what you have done so that the bed is exactly the same. Unless, you specify the products to be used for a matching finish on all the piece.



    Thursday, February 02, 2012 8:18 AM
    Can I use Micatex in the kitchen?

    Hi Janice,

    We bought a fixer-upper last year and since then, we’ve made a lot of minor improvements. We broke down the wall between the kitchen and livingroom and now I would like to paint the kitchen (as we do not have money for tiles at the moment). I got some Crown Micatex paint from my dad. My questions are:

    · Can I use it in the kitchen?

    · It is a biscuit colour, but can I mix an Acrylic white interior paint with it to lighten the colour a bit more?

    Hi Annelize,
    I would not advise using the Crown Micatex in your kitchen. It's a very good paint but is meant for outdoor use. It has a grainy finish that will make it extremely hard to clean, and kitchens get very dirty over time. Rather buy some Plascon Wall and All, or Prominent Sheen for the kitchen walls. Who knows, you might even like it so much you won't need to tile.



    Wednesday, February 01, 2012 9:51 AM
    Can I use Micatex in the kitchen?

    I'm painting my royal cherrie melamine kitchen cupboards doors with Plascon Velveglo. I applied 2 coats of Plascon Melamine & Tile Primer and the top coat - Plascon Velveglo. I've already applied 3 top coats with a sponge roller, but still get an effect of a few "matt" spots on the cupboards. I lightly sanded between each coat. How do I get rid of the "matt" spots? Do I need to apply a varnish on the doors?

    Hi Nelmare,
    That is a problem with using an oil-based paint such as Velvaglo - you never quite achieve a perfectly gloss or satin sheen. Even using a foam roller doesn't help much. I prefer using acrylic paints and then applying two coats of clear acrylic sealer over the top. What you can try and do now to remedy the problem is spray on a clear polyurethane sealer, such as Rust-Oleum Polyurethane spray. But before you do, test on a small area to make sure that there is no reaction between the oil-based paint and the poly sealer.



    Tuesday, January 24, 2012 4:42 PM
    Best way paint supawood kitchen doors

    Hi, I have been making kitchens for 20 years and have always used melamines or veneers which I stain myself. Now someone has asked me to spray a duco look for them on superwood. At first I said no but now would like to take it on so my question is, how to seal the edges effectivly and the most user friedly high gloss paint to use. At the moment I am very good at staining so I should be able to achieve this any advice.

    Hi Adrian,
    The most effective way to treat the edges of supawood prior to painting, is to polish with 400- or 600-grit sandpaper to reduce absorbency. Another trick we have tried is to rub wood filler across the cut edge and then sand. Both are pretty effective.




    Monday, January 23, 2012 12:32 PM
    Can I paint over melamine furniture?

    Thank you for the informative website! We bought our first home but the kitchen still has that old brown steel cabinets with the wooden doors. My wife absolutely hates the colour scheme but finances are low so we cannot start with a full scale upgrade right now. Would it be advisable to stain or wrap the doors to a darker (more modern) look? I attach a photo for your convenience. We have approximately 23 cabinet doors with an average size of 90cmx40cm. Thanks for the advice, we are looking forward to your reply.

    Hi Willem,
    You can stain or paint the doors, whichever you prefer. Visit the Kitchen section for ideas and inspiration, as well as details on how to stain or paint the cabinets. Using Woodoc stain concentrate and Woodoc 10 interior sealer is one option. Using Prominent Paints UltraGloss is option and using Rust-Oleum spray paint is another option. You can buy the full range of Rust-Oleum products at your local Builders Warehouse. Sand the doors down for a smooth finish and choose any of the above options.




    Friday, January 20, 2012 2:39 PM
    Can I paint over melamine furniture?

    I have been getting inspired by looking at your home office articles. Please can you let me know if it is possible to paint melamine furnture? If so what paine do you suggest I use?

    Many thanks

    Hi Linda,
    It most definitely is possible to paint over melamine. The best way to do this is to lightly sand the surface with 180-grit sandpaper to remove the glossy finish. This will provide a better bonding between the melamine and paint. Once that is done you can use almost any sheen paint or any of the Rust-Oleum 2X spray paint colours.

    You will find more tips here:




    Saturday, January 21, 2012 7:45 PM
    Wallpaper on walls - is it easy?

    Hi Janice, thanks for the workshop today learnt so much and am so proud of myself. Tried your Espresso Rust o leum for my kitchen wooden handles looks amazing. My question is I wanted to put wallpaper on one of my walls but I heard its very difficult and you can mess up pretty bad. So my question is should we leave it to the professionals or can I can do it myself and where could I look at a variety of wallpaper?

    Thanks a mill, Clarisse

    Hi Clarisse,
    Glad you enjoyed the workshop and hope to see you again soon.

    As for the wallpaper, Builders Warehouse offer a range called Fired Earth. It's a vinyl coated wallpaper that is easy to clean and won't rip when you apply it. In fact, apart from lining up the pattern it's not that difficult to DIY. Apply wallpaper past to the entire back of the paper and then fold it up like a book:

    I think it costs around R99 per roll and I have used it myself - even on furniture.



    Thursday, January 19, 2012 2:05 PM
    Can I tile over wood?

    Can you apply ceramic tiles on top of a wooden bathroom cabinet? It has a gloss enamel surface and not a melamine surface .

    If so what would be the best way to apply the tiles? Silicon or glue?


    Hi Anita,
    It isn't recommended that you put tiles on top of wood, but I have done it myself with good results. I would sand the unit first with 120-grit sandpaper and glue the tiles onto the surface with No More Nails, which is more flexible than tile adhesive. You can also use No More Nails as the grout, smooth with the tip of your finger.

    Apply a grout sealer to the finish for grout that stays cleaner for longer.




    Thursday, January 19, 2012 12:46 PM
    Can I repair and paint acrylic bath?

    Hi –

    I have a few scratches – some quite deep in my bath. It’s an acrylic bath. I used very fine sandpaper and have managed to lessen the appearance of the scratches. I don’t know what caused them, they were there when I moved in. I bought some Pattex and thought I could try to fill them up a bit and then sand smooth. Will that work? Also the sanding takes off the shine – is there anything I can apply to the whole bath to improve the appearance?

    Hi Sue,
    We have had a reader who previously tried this without success but he might not have prepared the surfaces properly. You will need to lightly sand the entire area to be filled so that the epoxy can bond nicely.

    When you say you bought some Pattex, what product did you buy. The best might be Alcolin AquaMend, which is a 2-part epoxy that set hards and is impervious to water.

    Unfortunately you can't re-colour a bath because of its nature. Acrylic or fibreglass is flexible and it needs to be able to withstand regular movement, heat and constant moisture. Replacing would probably cost just as much as what you need to spend on fixing up. A standard bath isn't that expensive if you shop around for the best prices. I do know that Builders Warehouse have several affordable models.




    Wednesday, January 11, 2012 10:51 PM
    Can I paint supawood doors?

    My cupboard doors are made of supawood. They are about 12years old and in need of a facelift. The wood itself is in good condition. Is it possible to paint over supawood and If so then what paint can I use?

    Hi Zohra,
    When you say supawood doors do you mean plain supawood or foil wrapped supawood? There is a big difference between the two. Plain supawood that has been painted only needs a light sanding with 180-grit sandpaper before painting. For foil wrapped doors you will need to degloss the finish by sanding with 180-grit sandpaper before painting. You need to remove the 'glossy' finish from the doors and provide a good surface for the paint to adhere to.

    For painting there are two options:

    Remove the doors and use Rust-Oleum 2X, Universal or Gloss Enamel spray paints, or

    We prefer to use Prominent UltraSatin or UltraSheen. These are waterbased paints that offer the same characteristics of enamel paints.




    Wednesday, January 11, 2012 4:35 PM
    How to paint over tiles

    Hi Janice,
    I would like to paint over the tiles in my bathroom, I know it can be done because the previous owner painted over the same tiles in the kitchen. The tiles are the white square porcelain ones with very smooth and shiny surface (almost all old bathrooms have some variation of this tile). Please advice on how to go about it.

    Hi Boipelo,
    There are many ways to paint over tiles, but here is a lasting method:



    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 3:29 PM
    Need help with TV cabinet

    Dear Janice,
    We’ve recently moved into our new house! I am struggling to come to terms with the tv cupboard…I don’t want to start breaking out walls etc, but urgently need to do something with the cupboard as it really stands out (in a bad way). Have you got any suggestions? I thought of taking down the doors and maybe painting it or staining it darker…

    I love the different levels next to the fireplace, although it looks like something is missing around the fireplace, but not sure how a mantel will look… Any other ideas I can use?

    Thank you so much!

    Hi Ilze,
    You say "stands out in a bad way'" but that you want to stain it darker, which will make it stand out even more. Why not consider painting in a white and distressing the unit so that it doesn't stand out as much. If you do want it to be a feature, wipe down with fine steel wood and mineral turpentine (if waxed or oiled) and apply Woodoc 10 with added stain concentrate in your choice of colour.


    I agree with your feelings about the fireplace, it just looks like a hole in the wall and not a feature. You could try framing the fireplace - with moulding or tile - to make it stand out more. A mosaic tile border in modern colours would be quick and easy to do and make such a big difference.




    Saturday, January 07, 2012 10:19 PM
    Kitchen door and roof trusses look ugly

    Please could you advice what to do with my kitchen door and my roofing truses. I oil them often with linseed oil clear, and I sand them, but they still look all ugly and as if not being looked after, they look old and tatty. ..What could I do to change this and even maybe the look.

    Warm regards

    Hi Clarisse,
    You need to use Woodoc 30 or 50. This is a sealer that is absorbed into the wood to nourish and protect. Follow the directions on the tin, but you will need to clean the door with Woodoc steel wool and mineral turpentine to remove the old oils. You can buy clear or tinted sealer, or clear and add a stain concentrate.

    The problem with oiling wood is that it evaporates and dries too quickly, leaving the wood looking grubby, as you mention.




    Monday, January 09, 2012 3:49 PM
    Need to paint my oven door

    Please can you assist, my DEFY oven exterior door paint is coming off, I believe I would need baked enamel paint to paint it, do you by any chance know where I can buy it or what else can I paint the door frame of the oven to give me the same glossy paint affect on it.

    Hi Clarisse,
    You can buy Rust-Oleum High Temperature spray paint at your local Builders Warehouse. Mask off around the door with with tape and newspaper before you spray, and open windows and doors for ventilation.

    BTW, you can't buy baked enamel - it's a whole process that has to be applied.



    Monday, January 09, 2012 2:02 PM
    DIY project - painting a fridge

    Dear Janice,
    I am a DIY enthusiast yet master of none.

    I have a good non-frost fridge we bought in 2003 that I feel could use a new lease in life. I then thought of spray painting it, and a friend suggest someone who spray paints cars. However this did not come to light as the guy didn't get back to me. So while looking for someone else I came across some people suggesting that I paint the fridge myself.

    I am worried as well as intrigued and was wondering if you have any suggestions for me. I have never painted a piece of furniture and I worry I might not get the full story when going to a paint shop. Also the fridge makes noises from time to time, do you think I should take it for re gassing and maybe a service?

    Hi Lebo,
    You can use Rust-Oleum Appliance Paint for the fridge - find on the shelf at your local Builders Warehouse.

    As concerns the noises, if they are coming from the back of the fridge you will probably find that something has come lose over time. Switch it off and take a look to see if you can see anything loose. If in any doubt, take it in for a service or bet yet, replace it with a more energy efficient model.



    Thursday, January 05, 2012 12:36 PM
    Advice on kitchen update

    Hi Janice,
    Herewith some photos of my kitchen , I do not want to paint the cupboard doors or the tiles or replace. Thinking more in lines of cornices and change of handles etc... .As you can see the stoves are in front of a window, have no idea what to do with this.

    Your assistance and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Hi Clarisse,

    Without painting or replacing you are leaving very little that can be done. However, I would replace the curtains at the window with something a little more practical, blinds perhaps. Additionally, a bit of trim (moulding or cornice) at the top of the tiles would finish it off nicely, as would new handles. Take a look at for a great selection of handles at very reasonable prices.



    05 January 2012 09:44 AM
    How to treat rusted aluminium window frames

    Hi Janice
    1) The aluminium windows are attached to the aluminium frames using stainless steel stays(hinges) and pop rivets. The pop rivets seem to always get corroded and the stays(hinges) keep getting damaged. Is there a way to prevent this?

    2) The aluminium windows and frames are white in color, and although I do agree that aluminium should not rust, this is not the case. Both the frames and windows are getting spotted with rust. From what I found out, this is normal on the beachfront. I am looking for a method to clean out the spotted areas. I heard from someone that I should paint over the area, but this does not sound correct as the rust will still be below the surface.

    Thanks again for all the assistance.

    Hi Habib,
    To clean off any rust you can use Rust-Oleum Stops-Rust (at your local Builders Warehouse) and then give the frames, hinges and pop rivets a light sanding with 400-grit sandpaper. I would suggest that you apply two coats of clear water-based polyurethane over the top of everything as a protection against further damage.



    Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2012 9:06 AM
    How to remove and replace a toilet

    Thanks for this wonderful website ... My first question ...

    1. How long would it take to take out a toilet and replace it.

    2. How do I remove the basin from my guest room to replace it.

    Hi Clarisse,
    1. Removing and replacing a toilet can be done in a couple of hours (!!!!) Not many people know how easy it actually is:

    A. Switch off the water and disconnect the water supply pipe.
    B. Empty the tank and use a plunger to empty the toilet bowl.
    C. Unscrew the tank from the wall (normally from inside the tank).
    D. Unscrew the toilet from the floor (if not screwed to the floor you will need to break the toilet)
    E. Install the new toilet. You will need a new wax seal to fit the toilet onto the waste pipe at the back.
    F. Reconnect the water supply pipe - fill with water.

    You're done!

    2. Removing and replacing a basin.



    Thursday, January 05, 2012 8:56 AM
    Can I put new tiles over my old tiles?

    I have a guest toilet where the toilet and basin is this olive green real old and the tiles are green too, the floor is black slate and was wondering if it would be difficult to replace the toilet and the basin, also would it be easier to paint the tiles in a different color or just put the new tiles over the old green tiles? or would I need to remove each tile from the wall. Thank you for your kind assistance. Also how long would it take to remove the hand basin and replace it together with the toilet.?

    Hi Clarisse,
    You can put tiles over the top of tiles, but it's more of a have to rather than anything else - if there is no other option. Painting tiles is also a solution for covering up ugly tiles, but it's not a long term solution, as it will only last for a couple of years. However, if you use a product such as Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile (available at your local Builders Warehouse or from this epoxy-paint will laster much longer.



    Tuesday, January 03, 2012 12:29 PM
    Refinish enamelled cast-ron bath tub

    I wish to refinish an old enamelled cast-iron bathtub and am not sure  of product to use and preparation.
    I have heard of a Rustoleum product (have no details beyond this) that  is available, but am unsure if it will work on a enamelled rather than  porcelain surface.

    Any advice on this/other products will be appreciated.

    Hi Patrick,
    Rust-Oleum Tub & Tile will work on an enamelled tub, but you will have to do some preparation beforehand.  If the tub is badly pitted you can use an angle grinder and grinding disk to smooth out these areas and then sand the entire tub with 120- and then 240-grit sandpaper before application.

    If there is any rust on the tub, Rust-Oleum also have a Strips Rust product that can be applied beforehand.



    Thursday, December 29, 2011 6:16 PM
    How to treat wet saligna

    Hi, I need your help please. I just bought 1 cubic meter of saligna planks, but they are still raw and not completely dry. With what can I treat the planks to prevent them from cracking and splitting? I thought of raw linseed oil, but I will have to buy quite a lot to treat all the planks. What is the best, cheapest option?

    Hi Dirk,
    You are going to have to let the planks dry out completely before you do anything with them. Place them in a dry storage space, laid flat, so that they won't warp. It could take quite a while for them to dry out. Buy yourself a moisture meter so that you can check how wet they are now and try to bring it down to about 20% before you use it. BTW, what are you going to be using the Saligna for?


    Morning Janice,
    Some of it will be used for roof trusses as it is a lot cheaper than pine, but I want to insure that it will last on the roof. The rest I will use in my bar to build wine racks.


    Hi Dirk,
    OK. If you are going to be using for roof trusses you need to use a treatment that doesn't require regular application. Linseed oil won't protect it for very long. Most of the products I know are cosmetic protection, meaning that they have to be re-applied over time.

    I would suggest that you get in touch with a timber merchant and ask for their recommendation. Creosote is going to be far too smelly and will make the whole house stink.

    For the bar racks you can use boiled Linseed, Danish Oil or Woodoc sealer.



    Thursday, December 29, 2011 8:48 PM
    How to level out parquet floor

    Hi Janice,    
    The problem I have is with a warped cement floor. There was no way of reshaping the cement floor first before laying the parquet floor, which is now also warped. Some of the blocks protrude above the floor. Is there any way to deal with the protruding ones just to make them look better.                     

    Hi Theo,
    Without levelling out the cement floor the only solution that I can think of would be to sand down the blocks that protrude above the level. Start off with 60- or 80-grit sandpaper, then use 120-grit and finish off with 240-grit sandpaper. It would be easiest if you use an orbital sander for the project.



    02 January 2012 01:32 PM
    Sealer is blistering on top of concrete

    We have sealed our concrete floors with Earthcote Acrithane Sealer and the second coat is blistering in some patches, is there some way we can disolve the sealer in those patches to prevent damaging the paint underneath? Or is there some way we can remove the blisters in those patches without ruining the finish of the floors?

    Hi Shanna,
    The easiest way will probably be to sand down the blistered areas with fine wet/dry sandpaper - try 600-grit to start off and see how it works. You could always go down to about 400-grit if it doesn't smooth out enough.



    01 January 2012 03:53 PM
    Mirror effect on wood

    Hi there
    I built a chess board and would like to know how to get a mirror shine effect to it. They don't have shellac in South Africa. Please what can I use.

    Hi Martin,
    There are various other ways to add a mirror shine to wood. I have often used Woodoc 10 on wood and, when applied according to the manufacturer's instructions, it can add a wonderful glossy finish. The trick is to sand lightly with fine steel wool between coats and allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next coat.




                   2012 ARCHIVE == 2011 ARCHIVE