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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Sent: 29 December 2014 05:26 PM

Brick and board built in cupboards

Hi there,
My Mom and I am moving into a rental house which has no built in cupboards in the bedrooms and want to put them in myself as working on a real tight budget. I have never put in cupboards before but I can do it. I have been all over I can in Nelspruit to get prices on wood etc, I have now thought if it would not work out cheaper if I built them with brick and wood. I have done some research on the net but cannot find anything with this combination as to how I would do it.

Hi Avril,
If you have permission from the owner / landlord you could build your own cupboards. However, these will then become fitted items that you probably won’t be able to take with you when you move. Why not look at the option to use 16mm MDF that you can buy at your local Builders to make your own cupboards. A full sheet costs around R800 and you can easily make a large cupboard or two from one sheet and paint with Plascon Velvaglo waterbased enamel. If you build a free-standing cupboard you will be able to take it with you if you move.

You could use a design similar to that of the large cupboards I made for our workshop:



Sent: 25 December 2014 12:34 PM

Remove tiles without breaking them?

Is there any way of removing tiles from a concrete wall, without breaking the tiles?

Hi Nigel,
You will find it impossible to remove tiles without breaking them. They are fastened onto the wall with a cement adhesive and removing tiles involves chipping them off with a hammer and chisel.



Sent: 24 December 2014 03:42 PM

Bathroom cabinet falling apart

our bathroom cabinet is made of chipboard and is now starting to come apart due to moisture in the bathroom, is this common?

Hi Shireen,
Chipboard is like a sponge and will soak up any moisture in the room. If the cabinet is in contact with the floor it will soon start to fall apart, as will moisture that drips over from the basin. If the damage has already started to occur there is little you can do, as the wood chips have already started to swell and will begin to rot or be infected by mould.

I always recommend fitting washers to the bottom of bathroom furniture to reduce the risk of this type of damage:



Sent: 23 December 2014 08:17 PM

Bathroom cabinets peeling

Hi Janice.
My bathroom vanity cupboard doors are a kind of wood-look wrap, which are now beginning to peel due to water getting under it. There are some drawers too with the same problem. The carcasses are perfect. Is there anywhere in Johannesburg that I can have the doors and drawer fronts re-wrapped preferably in a white wood-look texture. The doors and drawers are fine except for the peeling which is beyond repair.
The carcasses are those white ones and are a good quality.

Hi Maxine,
You won't be able to get the doors and drawers re-wrapped but you should be able to find replacement doors and have new drawer made up.

Get in touch with a kitchen company that manufactures standard size doors or that can made kitchen cupboard doors to order.



Sent: 23 December 2014 12:48 AM

Fold away ironing board

Hi Janice,
I have looked high and low online for retractable / fold away ironing board options. So far, I have only found one shop in Pinelands, Cape Town that stock these.

Can you suggest any shops or websites that sell these to the public?

Hi Nicola,
There are some kitchen installation companies that supply retractable / fold-away ironing boards as part of their storage range, but you will probably need to have this done as a specific project, so that the board can be properly designed and fitted to the space you have.

A general handyman/carpenter should be able to do this type of project for you if you don't think you can DIY it.



Sent: 30 November 2014 04:50 PM

Painting Floors

Hi Janice,
First of all - I looooove your website.

I'm so frustrated at the moment, we are renovating on a VERY tight budget and I'm so fed-up with the big paint companies help lines.

I want to paint the floor but my husband would prefer that we put a coating over the floor to make it last longer. On your website I saw that you said one can put a layer or two of clear polyeurathane over the paint. When going to the hardware stores the people think I'm crazy for asking for a polyeurathane to paint my painted floor - like I'm crazy! The only polyeurathane I know is the product for wood, would that be what I then use on the painted floors?

Hi Marina,
The paint companies follow guidelines for their products, and it is generally not recommended that you paint a floor. Walking on the floor scuffs and scrapes off most paint finishes.

As a last resort I have suggested that urethane paints or varnish be applied over the paint, as these are generally hard-wearing and less resistant to wearing off as quickly. You will find information on these paints here:

You could also use an epoxy paint, which is what they use in commercial applications, but you generally find the colour choice is limited.

I am presuming you are painting a concrete slab, and if the slab has not been floated for a smooth finish, your hubby might be correct is assuming that a screed be applied over the floor, and these days this can be tinted in a variety of colours or effects. Although this will cost more, it will last far longer and be more cost effective.



Sent: 21 November 2014 12:56 PM

Flashing around chimney

How to I install flashing around a chimney of tile roof?

Hi Jacques,
There are various methods for flashings around a chimney using different materials:

If the tiled roof is already in place and you need to fix up degraded flashing, an affordable and DIY solution would be to use a membrane and apply Rust-Oleum LeakSeal to provide a waterproof seal. These products are available at your local Builders.



Sent: 21 November 2014 03:16 PM

Cement finish for bathroom

Good afternoon,
I would like to convert my bathroom to an all cement finish bathroom. Its a small bathroom and would like to find out more or less how much this costs.

Hi Astash,
Not knowing the size of your bathroom or the amount of work involved, I would recommend that you work out the square metres of wall and floor and then get in touch with either  or  to find out the cost of the product you want to apply.

Both suppliers offer a range of cementitious products for wall and floor application. If not doing it yourself you need to factor in the services of a reputable local handyman who can do the job for you. Try



Sent: 17 November 2014 06:13 AM
Makita nail gun

Can you suggest a good nail gun that is battery operated preferably and one that has nails/panel pins that are easily available.?

Hi Desiree,
I use the Makita pneumatic nail gun with a small compressor. They don't stock the staples / nails at Builders or other hardware stores, so I get these from  It's a pity that pneumatic tools haven't yet taken off locally because they are super easy to use and make every project quick.

If you are looking for more of a staple gun, the Bosch Tacker is excellent. We use it for all our upholstery projects.  If they don't have the staples in stock at your local Builders, ask them to order stock.



Sent: 07 November 2014 10:25 AM

Building with glass bricks

Hi Janice
This is to install a shower unit (plumbing already exists where bath used to be), mosaic flooring, tiling. I was told that for glass bricks, one needs a specialized person.

Hi Niva,
Definitely not. Anyone with knowledge of building with glass bricks can do this project. I have used glass bricks for quite a few projects on  and the process is practically similar to building with conventional bricks.

Between the joints they need to use bonding liquid – no water – to mix the mortar for a waterproof system. This also applies to the grouting.



Sent: 05 November 2014 03:19 PM

Bosch PFS 3000-2

Good day Janice,
I have read your article re the Bosch PFS 65.
I am in the market now to buy a spray gun and is interested in the PFS 3000-2 or PFS 65.
Which model do you recommend?

Hi Fanie,
I have been using the PFS 65 for a few years now with great results. However, Bosch did send me one of the new models and I am very impressed. What’s nice about the new models is that they have a larger paint container, better nozzles and you don’t have to dilute the paint.

So for me, it’s more a matter of what you can afford to spend, since the new models are a bit more pricey.



Sent: 04 November 2014 12:24 PM

Plywood floors

Hallo Janice,
I read your article on using plywood for floors some time ago and the idea stuck with me. Recently my two daughters (11 & 15) decided that they are going to move into one bedroom together to free up the other bedroom for conversion to a mini dance studio, which means a wooden floor.

I read up on the net about using marine plywood for flooring on a concrete base, but have two questions remain:

a.) Is 18mm marine ply thick enough/too thin/overkill? and
b.) I do not want to finish it with something that forms a layer that can scrape off. Will sealer do the job or should I rather stick linseed oil?

Hi DJ,
Great idea and I would love if you could share your project with me. A 12mm plywood layer would be more than enough.

I would recommend a sealer rather than varnish, and as opposed to linseed oil which evaporates fairly quick, as this is less viscous and more easily absorbed into the surface of the board.  have a great range or you could try one of the new Woodpro water-based sealers.



Sent: 04 November 2014 03:22 PM

Concrete Countertop

Hi Janice
I read your article on concrete countertops and just had a query. Which sealant would you recommend? I'm so worried about food safety.

Hi Johlene,
Because cement is porous by nature, a sealer coat is essential. Penetrating sealers are the best type to use, and on a regular basis. I would recommend that you use a natural wax product such as beeswax, or a natural wax that contains no petroleum additives. This is ideal for use on concrete countertops: it prevents absorption when applied regularly and gives the concrete a satiny finish.





Sent: 27 October 2014 02:15 PM
Paint melamine TV stand

Hi Janice
Bought a TV stand but they didn't have my colour and had to buy a black one. How can I change the colour to dark brown? Not sure what it is made of, but it is the type used to make tv stands - the most popular or ordinary ones we find in shops like game.

Hi Edina,
Sounds like it is made of laminate or melamine particle board or MDF. You could use Rust-Oleum spray paint in Dark Walnut or Satin Espresso to change the colour. You can buy Rust-Oleum spray products at Builders Warehouse.



Sent: 24 October 2014 02:43 PM
Rhinolite a painted ceiling

Hi Janice
Hope you will be so kind to answer my question about rhinolite. I have painted existing ceilings but now I have to rhinolite it? Can I apply rhino light to painted ceilings? You help will be appreciated

Hi Riana,
If you do apply Rhinolite to a painted surface that is in good condition you need to use Grippon Bonding Liquid as a primer prior to application.



Sent: 22 October 2014 03:06 PM
Shower/bath combination

I have a 3m x 2m bathroom, which has a shower, bath, pedestal basin and toilet (1960’s). The entire sanitaryware has been “spray prainted” in white a while back and is now peeling off, showing the ugly green colour it was. So, time to revamp. What is your opinion of a shower/bath instead of a separate shower and bath? Is is “old” and not done? It would free up a lot of space for a largish vanity/basin with cupboards underneath.

Hi Rose,
I did the exact same thing in my second bathroom – fitted a shower panel to the side of the bath – and it works like a dream. I didn’t have a shower in the room (no space) and my boys were at an age where they wanted to shower every day.

It will indeed free up a lot of space and the bathroom will feel much larger, and being able to install a larger vanity will also add to the room.



Sent: 20 October 2014 09:05 AM
Apply vinyl floor over tiles?

Hi Janice
My wife and I recently bought a place, and are looking at a few flooring options. My question: is it possible to install Belgotex Vinyl flooring directly over the tiles?
The reason for the Vinyl is we would like to install in the kitchen as well as the bathrooms, but do not want to go through the hassle of removing the current tiles.

Hi David,
It is generally not a good idea to install vinyl flooring directly over tiles. The gaps between the tiles will eventually impress on the vinyl.

You can install a plywood sub-floor over the top of the tiles, or have a floor screed applied over the top to even out the floor before laying vinyl.



Sent: 17 October 2014 12:40 PM
Paint concrete floor under carpet

I am wanting to take old carpets out and paint the concrete floor. what would the procedure be?

Hi Lindsay,
If the concrete floor is in good condition you can use any floor paint. Make sure that the floor is clean before you paint and follow the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines for successful application.

You can just apply paint or use stencils to add decorative designs or a border.



Date: 12 October 2014 at 13:18:50

Spraying a solid wood TV stand

Dear Janice
I have a solid wood tv stand that I would like to have sprayed in a high gloss white or black. Any ideas where I can get this done?

spray paint solid wood tv cabinet

Hi Rubina,
You can get in touch with or buy Rust-Oleum 2X gloss white or black and do it yourself. Rust-Oeum is available at Builders Warehouse and you will find plenty of tips on using Rust-Oleum and prep for painting on

It is always better to lightly sand before painting to de-gloss the finish for a better bond.

If you are not going to use Rust-Oleum gloss spray paint you will need to use a compressor and Duco paint. This is expensive paint but provides a high lacquer finish.



Sent: 09 October 2014 01:40 PM
Murphy wall beds

Hi Janice,
I am an avid follower of your newsletters and monthly magazines... even though I am not a great DIY person myself, I still pick up a lot of good tips and tricks.

We have recently moved into a flat and the 3rd bedroom is very small. I had an idea about somehow putting a hidden bed in there and so my internet search began. I have found pictures of exactly what I want, so I started searching for more South African based companies and came across your article about Murphy Wall Beds. I have gone onto their website and have tried to contact them telephonically but have no luck. I have also tried to send them emails and they just bounce back to me. Do you know if they still exist in South Africa - or am I out of luck? I just ontacted SA Wall Beds. Their single bed wall option is R9,900, and that is melamine and without the mattress - That's really too expensive for me.

Please could I ask your advice. If I can get someone to build it for me - what type of mechanism would I need for the bed, and would you know where I would get it (builders?)

Thanks for your time.... and all your great home tips that you give us.

Hi Traci,
Have a sneaky suspicion that Murphy Beds South Africa  might have closed down, but you can try:

The mechanism for these beds is not available locally. These beds have always been an expensive option, purely because of the mechanism. An option to consider is to order the mechanism online from an overseas supplier that ships to South Africa.



Sent: 10 October 2014 08:08 AM
Paint rusty corrugation iron

I need to paint a rusty corrugated iron. What do I need to use to paint this?

Hi Wiseman
You need to apply a rust metal primer or converter over the corrugated iron before painting. Rust-Oleum have a range of products you can use for this.To paint after priming you can use any paint suitable for steel.

All the products you need can be found at your local Builders Warehouse.



Sent: 07 October 2014 10:40 AM
Install his and hers vanity basins

Hi Janice,
Thanks always for the interesting reading. With regards to your article.  I would just add that you (plumber) should have added a valve ballstop between copper pipe and the braided hose. They cost about R30 and are well worth the R30. The braided hoses do not last as long as pipes and when they go, your house can flood quite quickly - ask me I know. I'm not a plumber but it was recommended to me by one. They also make it easier when connecting everyting else together as you don't have to switch the main water supply - you just switch the valve to off.

Here is a sample of a valve ballstop



Sent: 07 October 2014 09:31 PM
Can I re-use tiles?

I would like to replace the old kitchen cupboards but will it be possible to retain the existing tiles? What I mean by that is, can the old tiles be removed without breaking then to fit them in the areas where necessary?

Hi Righard,
You are going to find it almost impossible to remove the tiles from the wall without breaking or chipping them. But if you do, there’s no reason why you cannot use these again.



Sent: 07 October 2014 09:27 AM

Mould everywhere in flat

I stay in a granny flat in Vincent, East London, in the Eastern Cape. I moved in there beginning of July and chose it because it was very affordable because I'm a trainee accountant. It needs so much work and the walls really turn black all the time because it lacks ventilation, hence the mould build up. It's really disgusting. The curtains are dirty because of this and I would like a makeover. I don't even have couches, and just a single bed. It's not very homey, I can never have people over because not only am I ashamed, but also because they'd have no where to sit but my bed. Please, please help me.

Hi Belinda
I think the first thing that needs to be sorted is the lack of ventilation. Obviously there aren’t enough windows in the flat to provide adequate air circulation through the space. You can look at having an extractor fan fitted, but may find that a normal free-standing fan will help to move the air around a bit more. Plus, you can take this with you if you move.

Treat any mould on the walls by washing them down with 30% jik in water and a sponge. Apply the solution onto the walls and leave for about an hour before wiping off. This will help to kill off any mould colonies. You might need to repeat this for persistent mould, and make sure you remove all the mould that you can. With the fan in place it should reduce the chance of the mould coming back.

Put any decorating plans on hold until you have sorted out the mould issue.



Sent: 02 October 2014 11:08 AM
DIY kitchen cabinets

Hi Janice
We recently bought a new apartment and would like to replace the existing cupboards with supawood cupboards. We will be spraying the wood ourselves... Do you maybe know of any place that sells raw supawood cupboards at good prices? Also, what paint will you recommend for spraying these cupboards?

Hi Burger,
Most ready-made kitchen carcasses are manufactured out of laminated chipboard and not supawood. It’s quite easy to make your own kitchen cabinets, plus you can make them to any size, and it works out a heck of a lot cheaper than bought ones:

You can paint the cabinets using Plascon waterbased Velvaglo using a combination of paintbrush and roller, or use a Bosch PFS spray system . There are plenty of tips in the kitchen section for different options. I normally use Plascon Polvin and then apply two coats of clear acrylic sealer.



Sent: 27 September 2014 09:59 PM
Cover sliding mirror doors

Hi there
The wardrobes in my bedroom have floor to ceiling mirrors on the sliding doors. I cannot afford to replace them but want to cover over the mirrors. Can you advise what I might be able to do? Is there paint or some stick on sheets I could cover the mirrors with?

Hi Sarah,
I can offer a couple of solutions, but bear in mind that you still have to allow plenty of space so that you will still be able to slide the doors open and closed.  offer a range of self-adhesive vinyl that could be used to cover up the glass. You can find a small selection of their range at your local Builders Warehouse, or get in touch with them to find your nearest stockist.

Rust-Oleum have a frosted glass effect that can be sprayed onto the glass. The only problem with this is that you can only clean with water and a cloth and not use glass cleaner. Again, this is on the shelf at your local Builders Warehouse.

If the space allows, you can have 3mm supawood cut to the size of the glass doors and use Pattex No More Nails to attach the panels over the glass. Supawood can be easily painted.



Sent: 29 September 2014 10:16 AM
Fix broken ceramic tile

We have just put ceramic floor tiles in the kitchen and as we were moving the stuff back, one of the tiles cracked. Is there something we can use to patch the tile instead of removing the whole tile? Please help

Hi Charlotte,
While you can use an epoxy putty (Alcolin AquaMend) to fill the crack, any product you use is going to be visible and spoil the finished effect. Do you not have the opportunity to take out and remove the cracked tile? If you have one spare tile you can use a hammer and chisel to take out the damaged tile and any tile adhesive and then fit the new tile.



Sent: 27 September 2014 02:52 PM
Difference in cement colour

Please can you give me some advice, we had am screed done on our patio about 2 years ago and at the time we had a jacuzzi. About 8 months ago we decided to remove the jacuzzi and screed this area as well. Because they were done at different stages there is a noticeable line which is starting to look very bad. How can I DIY this right?

Hi Sherinne,
Unfortunately there will always be a difference between old and new concrete. The only way to hide this would be to apply a new screed over the entire surface or consider painting the patio with a paint suitable for use on concrete. It is essential to follow the recommended instructions if you intend to paint, as some paints require preparation before application.



Sent: 25 September 2014 02:27 PM
outside Boma and fire pit structure

I wonder if someone can assist. I am in desperate need of some guidance with regards to an outside Boma structure I’ve had built recently. I’ve unfortunately been left in a position where I have an unfinished Boma area in my garden and I can’t seem to find anyone with experience in this sort of work to complete it for me.

The attachment is a picture taken of my Boma structure. This structure was built using stock standard concrete bricks (the grey ones) which have been plastered. The floor was completed using concrete mix and cement and the centre area, (the actual fire pit itself) has also been built using stock standard concrete bricks, concrete and plaster mix. Unfortunately, I’ve realised that this structure is not the safest structure when exposed to extreme heat (a piece of the fire pit cracked and exploded during a test run, thankfully no one was injured during this episode). I therefore need to know if there is a way to make this structure safe without breaking it down completely and having it re-built using firebrick or something similar. Ideally, I’d like to know if there is some sort heat resistant sealer, paint, etc. which can be used to enhance the structure’s resistance to heat (especially the centre fire pit area). I would also like to finish this structure off with some product that looks appealing to the eye. Would cladding be an alternative (although this is an expensive option). I’ve also visited Cemcrete’s showroom and they recommended two products that could be used, cemcote or cemplaster, however, they have advised me that all of their products will crack under extreme heat. Are there perhaps alternative suggestions?

concrete fire pit and boma

I am in a predicament with regards to how to proceed further as I can’t seem to find a professional who can assist. So any guidance or recommendations you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

Hi Barbera,
Beautiful design.

Unfortunately you have been left with a problem. There aren’t any products on the market that can correct the fault in the fire pit, other than refractory bricks. No matter what you apply it is going to be affected by high temperature. The only safe solution would be to remove and re-build the fire pit.



Sent: 23 September 2014 11:10 AM
Where to buy solid wood countertops

Hi Janice,
Please advise where I can get solid wooden counter tops for my kitchen.

Hi Bennie,
For solid hardwood countertops you will need to contact a reputable kitchen installation company, or take this on as a DIY project and install your own. A timber merchant will be able to advise on the best wood species to use and cut everything to size if you decide to go the DIY route.



Sent: 19 September 2014 12:28 PM
How to make my own concrete pillar caps

How do I make pillar caps 450 x 450 out for concrete?

Hi Jacques,
You would need to make a form or frame to the shape and size that you want you pillar caps.

My suggestion would be to use galvanised tin to make the frame, so that you can fold it to shape and still have the pointed top. Spray the inside with lots of spray ‘n cook or coat with vaseline. Where the edges join together secure using duct tape to make it easier to remove the frame once the concrete has cured.



Sent: 18 September 2014 11:42 AM
Fired Earth External Paint

Good Morning
Hope you doing well. I was wondering if you can assist me please. We painted our house about two or three ago with Fire and Earth external paint. The texture was brownish and it felt like there was sand mix with the paint. I would like to paint (touch up) my house with the exact same colour. Do you know what colour this might be. I know the name was Fire and Earth and we bought it at Builders Warehouse in Parow. I saw that Builders Warehouse stock now.

Hi Zulfaa,
It would be impossible to determine what colour you previously used and the longer paint is applied the more the colour changes as a result of weather. My suggestion would be to try and chip off a small amount somewhere unnoticeable and take this along with you to Builders to see if they can match to the colour range.



Sent: 13 September 2014 10:00 AM
Replace edge on patio table

I have a glass-topped patio table which had metal edging. The edging has rusted away completely. Where can I get new edging, preferably not metal? I tried Builders and a few glass installers with no success. I'm in Cape Town

Hi Juliette,
You can buy aluminium channelling at Builders that will work just as well, and will not rust. It comes in 12mm, 20mm and wider channels, as well as corner and flat edging strips. If Builders are confused ask them for the Hillaldam aluminium strips!



Sent: 11 September 2014 09:04 AM
Problem with snails

I have a problem with snails and cut worm in my veggie garden how can I solve these problems eco-friendly.

Hi Linda,
I used to have a similar problem and now have not a single snail. You need to take a 2-pronged approach:

1. Cover the beds with a layer of pea gravel or mulch that will make it very difficult for the snails to move across.

2. Early every morning put on some rubber gloves and take a bucket and start collecting snails large and small. I put salt water into the bucket and it dissolves the snails! It might sound awful but this helps to cut down on the snail population.



Sent: 08 September 2014 09:49 PM
Cladding windows with aluminium

I wanted to know if cladding / converting existing steel windows with aluminium is viable long term. Instead of removing steel windows and replacing it with new aluminum windows.

Hi Yasmin,
If they do it properly. Eg. Strip the steel frame down and treat with a rust-preventative coating I suppose it would look nicer than steel frames. However, there is still a possibility of the steel frame underneath rusting and corroding, especially at the coast. My personal opinion is divided on this. I think you should do some research on the pros and cons. And definitely ask for references on previous jobs – possibly those older than 1 year.



Sent: 02 September 2014 04:59 PM
Tile top of hostess tray

Good Day
I have a hostess trolley that is not looking so good and I am wanting to mosaic it. It also has some surface rust. Can you tell me which glue to use which is heat resistant and can I use normal grouting? Also which tiles would you recommend?

Hi Merril,
If the warming tray doesn’t reach a high heat you can use any ceramic, porcelain or natural stone tile. I would recommend that you use tile adhesive and mix this with TAL bonding liquid instead of water. This will ensure a strong bond between the surface and tile and will be heat resistant to a degree. The same applies to grout – use any grout but mix with bonding liquid rather than water.



Sent: 02 September 2014 01:25 PM
How do I redo wooden window frames

I want to redo the wood window frames in my house as they are starting to look tatty. They have a finish on them already - varnished/sealed. How do I know the difference? I want to seal them ultimately but I can't seal over varnish. But I don't want to take the finish off if they are already sealed. Help!

Hi Anna,
Use some fine steel wool and mineral turpentine to test a small spot on the window frames. If it removes the product then it is sealer and not varnish. You can remove sealer with steel wool and turpentine. For varnish you will need to sand first with 80-grit, then 120-grit and finally with 240-grit if you want the wood nice and smooth.



From: Dirkie
Sent: 30 August 2014 02:51 PM
How to fix chipped corners

What products do you use to fix chips on corner of walls. Saw product names plasterweld and spackling premix drydex on youtube. Do we have those in South Africa?

Hi Dirkie,
I use Alcolin QuikFix or AquaMed for chipped wall corners. This is a 2-part epoxy putty that sets rock hard. You will find at your local Builders. Spackle is just another term for interior crackfiller with slightly more adhesion. We do have but it's not as good as QuikFix.



From: Sharifa
Sent: 30 August 2014 07:17 AM

Compliments on Home-Dzine

Good Morning Janice,
I used to love to do decoupage and mosaics for home stuff 6 years or so ago and then kind of stopped. The other day on fb someone asked who could spray paint their old kitchen chairs and the response posted your web details. I went onto your web and was so intrigued it sparked up all my creative juices.

Thank you. You have an amazing site and all everything is explained so nicely that women like me feel hey I want to give this go! Have a wonderful day and know that your site is being enjoyed by many.


Sent: 26 August 2014 01:00 PM

Faux-box for down-lights

We are going to break down a portion of existing wall. Want to make a faux-box with down-lights on the ceiling where the wall was. How would I fasten this box onto that space? The existing support beams in the ceiling runs in the same direction as the length of the box would be. So there is nothing currently above that space to fasten the box too.

Hi Liz,
It’s a bit difficult to visualise, but you could run PAR pine (32 x 32mm) beams crosswise above the space, securing the ends to existing adjacent beams with steel angle braces and screws.



Sent: 25 August 2014 01:59 PM

How to remove layers of varnish

I came across your website and was very intrigued by the white wash technique. I need to sand down and/or remove thick varnish from a brown desk which I want to have the white wash effect. Do you have any ideas on how to remove the varnish? I have asked around but people are saying different things.

Hi Joy-Anne,
You have two options:
1. Use 80-, 120- and finally 240-grit sandpaper to remove the layers or varnish OR
2. Use Plascon RemovALL paint stripper to take off the varnish

Both methods are equally effective and both just as messy! I would go with option 2.



Sent: 20 August 2014 07:14 AM

How to clad wall and mount TV

I have a brick wall and want to have my tv on a board or sumthng where the cables are hidden and want to wallpaper the wall. What is best to use. Must I buy a certain type of board or what can be suggested so my tv stays on wall or board and my cables are hidden behind it.

Hi Asif,
You can clad the brick wall with various materials.

First, build a frame around the existing brick fireplace using PAR pine:  Over this you can mount 9mm supawood board – making a cutout to allow you to run the cables behind the board. Apply wood primer over the board and let this dry for a day or two before putting on the wallpaper. When you mount the TV make sure to allow for this when framing, so that the frame can carry the weight of the TV.



Sent: 15 August 2014 11:48 AM

Water drainage on stoep

I would like to build a small back yard cement stoep. Can you please advice how to and how to get water drainage away from the house taking cognisance of the slope of the stoep.

Hi Denicia,
I have almost completed my own outdoor project and have had to allow for water drain off. My method was to incorporate a PVC pipe into the paved area and this will run at a slight angle away from the house to carry away excess water. You don’t have to use a pipe, you could also create a gutter in the concrete patio to allow water to run off.

Will be posting my project shortly and you will be able to see what I have done.



Sent: 15 August 2014 12:57 PM

Using Bosch PFS65

I have a Bosch PFS65 which hasn't been used. Can I use it to spray Dulux Timbavarnish? Or more to the point is there anything specific I should not attempt to spray? The user manual doesn't seem to be too specific.

Hi Bradley,
You can spray any product with the spray gun, bearing in mind that some thicker paint or varnish products will need to be diluted, either with water or according to the manufacturers spec. For this reason I personally steer clear of solvent-based products, as they also involve a fair bit of clean up as well.



Sent: 15 August 2014 11:09 AM

Paint doors with wash finish

I would like to paint our indoor doors (bedrooms, bathroom etc, they are the normal hollow core doors and I would like the wash finish. They are at present lightly varnished. What procedures are necessary to do this job?

Hi Dave,
Depending on the final finish you want there are a couple of thing you can do.

Option 1 - Use 180-grit sandpaper to de-gloss the varnish finish. Apply a whitewash or dry brush technique over the existing finish and top this off with a clear satin or gloss varnish

Option 2 - Sand back to remove the varnish and apply Woodoc Gel stain in your choice of colour and then whitewash or dry brush over the top of this. Again, top off with clear satin or gloss varnish.

If you don’t want the varnish finish you can always miss out the painting and varnishing and simply apply my liming wax method over the raw or stained finish:

If you get the chance please send me pics of the before, during and after to share. Would love to see how your doors turn out.



Sent: 12 August 2014 12:46 PM

Want to extend outdoors

I am thinking of purchasing a house, but I would like to extend the lounge / dining room area. The lounge has sliding doors leading out to the back garden and I thought the simplest way was to extend the room out, however, the slope of the roof (tiled roof) is "wrong". The pitch will also not allow for a flat roof extension, is there a way around this problem?

add patio extension onto house

Hi Ann,
You can add onto the back of the house to extend. If you are going to do-it-yourself have a draughtsman draw up plans for approval. He/she will also be able to explain how you can add a design that has a slight slope, or look at options to make a free-standing extension.



Sent: 13 August 2014 05:47 PM

Problem with ants and foundations

I have a house that is 34 years old. I now discover that I have ants/termites in the foundation level eating/moving out all the daga between the bricks. It is just a fine sand falling to the ground. Attached is a picture of the affected foundation area and then the wall area above. How do I go about fixing this? The foundation is 5 bricks high and the length affected is about 3 meters.

ants eating away foundations

Hi Helene,
From what I can see the infestation is quite serious. If it were me I would definitely get a pest control company in to spray the foundations and kill off any colonies. You will also need to repoint the bricks were the mortar has been removed. I have heard of an injection system where the product can be forced inbetween the bricks, but can’t remember of it was  or  that offers the product.



Sent: 13 August 2014 10:30 AM

Add more cabinets to kitchen

Thank you very much,I cant sit still on my chair from excitement!

Do you think I should change the kitchen cupboards maybe up to the ceiling or not its just so empty? 

kitchen makeover

I really want to get rid of the old stove and that board covering the stove (its very very tiny ) I want a funky setup for my place weird colours,I love the red in one of the bedrooms on your website.

bathroom makeover

Here is my bedroom I would like to change the wall as well ,where can I buy second hand furniture I just love that idea of the dresser that you painted with the silver sheets and added the glass top I want to try that and add I it in my bedroom

bedroom makeover

Hi Mara,

Ideas and suggestions:

Remove the backing behind the stove / counter and replace with a shelf unit the same length and to the height of the countertop. You can use this for displaying decorative accessories. The shelf unit doesn’t  have to be wider than 200mm and you can even add a door or two if you need more storage space.

Paint the wall in the kitchen (facing the lounge) in a bold accent colour. Pick out  Plascon colour swatches in your fave colours (red) and take these home to view in different lighting conditions. Whatever colour you choose for the wall, introduce accessories into the living space that incorporates the same – or close – colour. This can be art, cushions, a rug, etc.

There is space at the top of the cabinets if you wanted to increase the height up to the ceiling. You could have carcasses (frames) added on above and then just add longer doors.

You already have red in the bathroom, so bring in more colour. Spray paint the laundry bin using Rust-Oleum 2X gloss apple red or Universal Cardinal Red. Add a large piece of art on the wall facing the door that incorporates red and lots of bold colours, or a large mirror with a spray painted red frame. I would take down the curtain and fit a white venetian blind.

 The bedroom is screaming for a headboard and perhaps a piece of artwork above.

We buy a lot of the pieces we do for  on online auctions and sales, such as gumtree and bid or buy – great bargains to be found.



Sent: 11 August 2014 10:27 AM

Curtains sticking to rail and hard to open/close

Hi Janice,
I recently washed all my curtains and since rehanging them I find that some of the curtains are "sticky" on the rail - in other words, not sliding as easily as they were. They are the normal metal tracks with plastic hooks. Any suggestions to make the curtains slide easily again?

I did remove the hooks and washed them in a bowl with sunlight liquid. The rail is clean, I did wipe the entire rail with diluted handy andy and water…. It is really strange because only certain of the curtains are sticking. I have replaced some of the hooks with new ones but still sticking…..

Hi Beverley,
Spray a little WD-40 along the inside of the rail, that should help.



Sent: 08 August 2014 09:00 PM

Asbestos products used in home

Are there dates that one could work on to determine if asbestos-products were used, for example if a house was built say between 1980 and 1990 -  would the roof- and gutter-product contain asbestos?

Hi Basie,
Asbestos was only banned in South Africa from 2008 onwards, so there is every chance that homes built during 1980 – 1990 could contain asbestos products. I know that a house I had built in 1981 had an asbestos frame that surrounded the geyser.

Before the introduction of cement-fibre board, asbestos was used entirely for fascia boards. However, outdoor application shouldn’t be of any concern, unless you plan to remove the boards, in which case be sure to wear protective clothing, goggles, gloves and a dust mask.



Sent: 08 August 2014 11:34 AM

Hanging picture in rented house

I'm living in a rented home. Any suggestions on hanging pictures on walls without damaging the walls.

Hi Jeanne,
You can buy small white picture hangers at your local Builders that have pins in the back and are hammered onto walls. When you leave the house, apply some white interior crack filler to the holes and no one will know the difference!



Sent: 08 August 2014 11:07 AM

Advice on changes to rental home

Good day
We recently moved into a very old fashioned cottage which we are renting and we asked permission to repaint the ugly bath. The owners were kind enough to allow it; now the bath looks better than before besides the ugly old taps which also doesn’t have a hand shower. We’d like to buy one and install but do you think, with these old taps we’d be able to can replace it or add and hand shower?

rustoleum tub and tile

It seems as if they built the kitchen cupboards without a back. When I open the cupboards it stinks of raw cement, not really like damp yet the wall in the back is not plastered or anything. We’ve noticed when taking dishes out the cupboard there were extremely tiny, tiny little movements in the dishes. Clearly it’s something breeding from the wall or that. And it’s quite difficult to spot immediately with the eye. Any suggestions what to treat the wall with or shall I just get a backing made in the back of the cupboard. Even when we open the drawers it stinks.

Hi Mandy,
If you take a look at your local Builders Warehouse you will see that they have various assemblies that can be mounted to accommodate a showerhead/tap combination. I would measure the pipe and the distance between the taps. You should be able to get a fitting that matches the diameter of the tap, but it all depends on the distance between the taps and whether these were fitted to a standard width or not.

There are all types of teeny-weeny creepy crawlies in older homes. It would probably be best to prime and paint the walls rather than just try to cover up with a backing board. That way you know the wall itself it sorted. Fill any gaps between the cupboard and wall with universal sealer after priming and painting to seal off the cupboards nicely – also to keep out the creepies.



Sent: 07 August 2014 10:31 AM

Advice on decorating first home

Firstly let me start by telling you a little bit about myself ever since i remember as a young girl I dreamed of owning a beautiful home and I am working on that dream till today. I have been dating the man of my dreams for more than 10 years now and we have been talking about getting married but we deicide to put that on hold so that I can get my dream house. Two years back we finally got to buy our home - it was the most exciting feeling ever for us *Proud moment *

The reason why I'm writing to you is that the dream house that I've always dreamed of is incomplete and starting to drain me. I am now finding myself dragging my feet to go home. I lack ideas of turning my house into a beautiful home and seriously in need of your help.

Hi Nonhlanhla,
I can sympathise with how difficult it can be to decorate your home for the very first time. Putting together a mood board or collecting online images and pinning them to your pinterest page is one of the easiest ways to gather ideas and inspiration. This method doesn’t cost anything and at the end of the day you can view what you have collected to gain more insight into what you actually want in your home.

On  you will find hundreds of ideas to get your imagination flowing. Set up a pin board for each room in your home, so that you can collect ‘needs’ and ‘wants’. Your budget will determine what you can afford or what to save for.



Sent: 06 August 2014 11:47 PM

Lack of suppliers in SA

Hello Janice,
All my searching the internet brings me zero results L I’m trying to source a supplier for lampshade making craft. Many articles refer to a ‘pressure sensitive styrene’ onto which the fabric is adhered. Have you any idea where I could find this lining product and wire frames? Stores overseas carry such impressive ranges for crafters in all categories but I am so often disappointed with the limited choices in South Africa.

Hi Marion,
I couldn’t agree more with your comment about the lack of products available locally. The problem stems from the fact that most of the products bought in home décor stores are manufactured in the East, and there is little or no manufacturing done locally. Compared to many overseas countries our market is tiny and this is a major factor as to why many products are not available.

Where I can’t find specific items needed for a project I try to look at substitutes that could be used. Acetate (plastic) sheet might be the solution for your lampshade project.



Sent: 03 August 2014 08:16 AM

Applying sealer to Dado rails

Bought some Supawood dado rails. These are now installed in the dining room and well sanded. Applied a gloss varnish with a stain mixture. The effect is totally different to my other natural wood treated the same way: - dull - colour distortion. Do I need to apply a sealer or what?

Hi Bruckner,
If you have already applied a gloss varnish the only solution to do a colour match to the existing wood trim would be to sand back. You are not going to get an exact match since one is supawood and the other wood, but you could have looked at a Woodoc gel stain colour and then applied a clear varnish over the top.



Sent: 01 August 2014 10:01 PM

Removing tons of glue remover...

I have laid underfloor heating elements before tiling and was told all bitumen would need to come off before the undertile heating can be laid or the bitumen would cause an overpowering tar smell in the room when the undertiles were switched on. I think I overused glue remover to strip my floors of that awful bitumen and found some thick sludge like glue in one corner. As the guys I employed battled to remove it I used tons of glue remover in that corner. We scrubbed and cleaned a bit, and poured on some overnight not knowing that we should not do so!

Now I get the overpowering smell of glue remover in that corner. What is the best thing I can do to remove the smell now.

Hi Sarashni,
This is the first time I have had someone ask how to remove glue remover! Since the glue remover is solvent based the best thing is to wait until the solvent evaporates and the smell will go away on its own. There isn’t much else that you can do.



Sent: 01 August 2014 10:22 AM

How can I make room warmer?

In Summer the room is hot but in winter it is freezing cold. It gets the afternoon sun. The room only has one outside wall. Is the anything I can do to make the room a bit warmer without the use of heaters?

Hi Sihaam,
I have a room with exactly the same problem. After installing fibreglass ceiling insulation the room has cooled in summer and warmed up in winter, but I still need a heater when it’s very cold during winter.

Thick curtains help to keep in the heat and keeping the door closed helps to warm up the room. Think thick fabrics and rugs to insulate.



Sent: 29 July 2014 05:57 PM

Cost of plastering

I am considering buying an old face brick house. I really don't like face brick but one can get cheap face brick houses. I would then plaster the house but I really don't have a clue on how much this would cost and if it would be worth it. Could you advise me on the average cost of plastering the exterior of a face brick house?

Hi Abby,
You can hire a good plasterer for about R350/day and then you will just need to buy the materials needed. Eg. Sand and cement. There are plenty of unemployed labourers desperately looking for work. I normally look outside my local Builders Warehouse store. It will probably take about a week to plaster a side of an average-sized house.



Sent: 28 July 2014 09:52 AM
Advice to re-marbelite pool

Hi Janice
this article [ ] has been very helpful, thank you. I have managed to get a pricelist for the materials I would need. Had two pool companies over (one referred by Cemcrete), both have quoted almost the price of a new pool. Do you perhaps have contacts who will be able to assist with the re-marbelite?

Hi Vergil,
We actually bought the project and did it as a do-it-yourself option rather than let someone do it for us. All the prep work we did on our own, which included scraping off all the old epoxy paint and using a high-pressure spray. Nancy and I had a plasterer help us get started with the whole process and then got stuck in and helped. The plasterer (found outside our local Builders Warehouse) charged R350 per day and it took 2 days.



Sent: 22 July 2014 10:06 PM

Unable to get rid of mould

Attached please find a picture of a section of the mosaic floor of the shower. It shows a buildup of mould or fungus in the corners of the floor. Although I have used a mixture of household bleach to clean the floor, the fungus or mould would reappear. The bathroom is fitted with an extractor fan according to the area of the bathroom.

Hi Rodney,
While an extractor fan will help to ventilate the bathroom, it won’t prevent moisture that might be seeping through the wall, either via cracks or through the grout or stone tiles. If the mould keeps coming back it would indicate that the source of the mould is behind the tiles on the wall and moisture is getting through. I don’t want to say that you need to remove the tiles or grout, and there is an option you can try beforehand:

 Applying a polyurethane sealer might prevent the mould from coming back. Scrub the area clean with jik and water and let dry before application.



Sent: 22 July 2014 09:11 AM

How to antique a chandelier

I am wanting to antique a chandelier I have in white. Please let me know what products I will need and how I will do it.

how to antique chandelier with rustoleum 2x spray paint

Hi Tracy,
There are a couple of easy and affordable ways to antique the chandelier in white:

1. Lightly sand the finish with 180-grit sandpaper or a fine sanding sponge. Spray on a coat of Rust-Oleum 2X satin heirloom or blossom white and let this dry. You can apply a second coat if you need to.

2. Now you can either use a sanding sponge to rub back the paint to reveal the finish, or use acrylic craft paint (black or dark brown) that is slightly watered down to antique. Use an old paintbrush to apply the paint around detailing and then use a slightly damp cloth to wipe off the paint, only leaving paint in cracks and crevices. You can repeat this until you are happy with the finished look.



Sent: Tue, Jul 15, 2014 12:34 pm

Painting over wall tiles

We have ceramic wall tiles in our powder room.. The floors are great but we hate the tiles and dont want to gut renovate now.. Is there a way to whitewash paint over the walls or use another process (acrylic/lustrolite, etc.) to cover the walls so they dont look tacky. The floors are a beautiful blue ghlass tile, the cabinetery is cherrywood..the wall tiless are a greyish black (from long ago)

Hi Florence,
You can use Plascon Tile & Melamine Primer before applying Plascon Velvaglo water-based or oil-based enamel. However, bear in mind that this is only a temporary option and will only last a couple of years.

If you are not based in SA, Rust-Oleum have a Tile Transformation Kit that will last considerably longer, but this product is not available locally at this stage.



Sent: 15 July 2014 06:51 PM
Ideas for outdoor decor

Good day,
I was wondering if you could help, I have this idea of putting puzzles on concrete, outside, but I obviously need to seal it, but with something that would last...? Do you have any idea of what I could use to do this, of if there is something to seal it...?

Hi Carmen,
While I am not one hundred percent sure how it will work, you can apply an exterior polyurethane sealer over the top. You may need to apply more than a few coats and it will be a glossy finish, so slippery as well.

You will also need to put a substrate or moisture barrier between the puzzles and the concrete, otherwise they will absorb moisture from below.



Sent: 15 July 2014 12:09 PM
Fix granite countertop

How can I fix my granite countertop? The narrow part by the sink broke and it will cost too much to get a new top fitted as it is 2 metres long.

Hi Hilary,
You will probably need to use a product such as: The adhesive you use needs to be able to bond stone-to-stone, and this product is transparent, so it won’t be visible.



Sent: 10 July 2014 11:56 AM

Stain or paint wood floor

Good Day,
Currently have Novilon on the kitchen floor. In time it tore does not look good at all. Unfortunately my house basement is very damp. The original kitchen floor underneath is wood. I want to remove the novilon ( had been replaced 3 times in 5 years because of the damp). The end result I want to have only the original wood floor.

1) How can I remove all the glue residue sucessfully after lifting the Novilon?
2) do I need to hire a sander?
3) what products - coating, should I purchase to protect the kitchen wood floor and can I paint the wooden floor in a protective colour wood paint if the wood is scarred or with permanent markings\ spots?

I need to mention the kitchen is where everyone gathers, play board games, walk through. Please advise as soon possibe I have put my mind to it to do it this June school holiday . Builders Warehouse is only a mere 15 minutes drive from me .

Hi Marinda,
You can buy a Genkem Bitumen and Glue remover at your local Builders Warehouse that will remove the old contact adhesive.

You will definitely need a sander. You can buy an Orbital Sander for around R350, and it will probably work out cheaper to buy one and keep forever, than hire one at R150 per day. Start of with 120- grit sanding pads and finish with 240-grit sanding pads for a smooth finish.

You can apply a clear or coloured varnish to the floor: . However, the gloss finish will make the floor slippery.

Woodoc offer a matt and satin product that would probably be more suitable: 

You can paint the floor and then apply a clear polyurethane varnish or sealer over the top.



Sent: 09 July 2014 11:15 AM

Can I rhinolite wood ceiling

Good day Janice
I moved into a house that has wooden ceilings. It really makes the rooms and passage so dark. Can I rhinolite over the wooden ceilings?

Hi Sumaya,
If this is a wood plank or tongue-and-groove ceiling it isn’t recommended that you plaster or rhinolite over the top. Wood continuously expands and contracts and any plaster coat will simply flake off.

You should consider painting the ceiling: 

Or consider removing the wood and having ceiling board installed.



Sent: 08 July 2014 01:37 PM

Parquet floor is lifting up

Hi Janice,
I am hoping you could give me some advice as I don´t know how to approach this problem. I had my old Melville house re-done last year May/June. Tiles were ripped out and a new screed put in, on top of that they laid block parquet (old bought from a re-vamped house). The blocks were cleaned and put in in June. In October the first ones came up along a wall and next to my bed. They “fixed” it, but it looks horrible as it is not even anymore and bitumen is coming out everywhere. Then in Dec a whole long line across the living room came (triangular shape) as well as under the bed in the main bedroom. Now I have patches of holes everywhere in the floor as I took some blocks out in order not to fall. The builders/carpenters refuse to come, they are too busy and they argue that there is a moisture problem in the house.

I say I had the house evaluated and checked for moisture, there was no problem and if there had been then they should have noticed and waterproofed when laying the parquet. Do I have any means of getting them to fix it or pay for fixing it? Consumer protection never answers the phone. I have been sitting with this for more than ½ year now and simply don´t know whom to turn to. I would like it fixed asap and the builders to pay for the costs. In addition to that the beautiful parquet is massively scratched and looks terrible (I do have dogs, they cause the scratches, but somehow I think they did not seal it as I have never seen wooden floors as scratched as that especially not in such a short time).

Hi Dagmar,
Sounds like you have a real problem on your hands. While not knowing the actual conditions, did they allow enough time for the screed to cure before applying the bitumen and mounting the blocks? If you say that the house was inspected for damp and was given a thumbs up, then I don’t see how this can all of a sudden become a problem if there are no existing underlying causes, which obviously there weren’t.

My initial impression is that the screed is at fault or – but not knowing the actual mix and application procedures – the bitumen.

I can understand your frustration with the CPA, and know of plenty of people who have experienced the same problem in not being able to get through, or getting through and have no resolution to their complaints. Perhaps you should consider taking this to small claims court, or getting in touch with a lawyer to take legal action if they are not prepared to investigate and provide a solution to the satisfaction of both parties.



Sent: 08 July 2014 09:26 AM

Paint faded clay bricks

Hi there,
I would like to find out, how do I stain or restore faded clay bricks pavement?

Hi Natatia,
I have painted my paving and driveway with Plascon Floor Paint and it lasts a long time. If you follow the instructions and clean the paving before application it doesn't peel off. My driveway was painted 4 years ago and still looks good. Plus, you can always touch up if you need to.



Sent: 06 July 2014 07:58 PM

Problems with rising damp

I would like to know how to cure damp walls. I live in a slope and the walls tend to get damp from no apparent cause. we have recently re slanted the stoep, build a concrete floor round the house but still damp rises. The damp is also not limited to walls that have plumbing on.

Hi Sasa,
Although I’m not a damp expert, it sounds as though your damp is coming up through the ground. The could be cause by lack of damp proofing course (DPC) or that the DPC has failed. The DPC stops moisture from the ground from being absorbed into the walls. You also mention that you have laid a concrete apron around the house, but the apron could be higher than the DPC, in which case it is allowing water free access to the walls.

Another less common cause could be underground water. If the house is built over an underground flow, this would also increase the level of damp.

My suggestion would be to have a damp expert look into the problem for you. There’s no point in throwing money away if you don’t know the cause of the problem. A damp expert should be able to identify and offer solutions.



Sent: 06 July 2014 06:53 PM

Supawood for kitchen cabinets?

Hi... Can I use supawood to build kitchen cupboards. The inside carcass and the doors? I will primer and spray paint all parts in a high gloss durable paint. Or do I have to use melamine on the inside carcasses

Hi Mirfaan,
You can use supawood to build the carcass and the door for your kitchen cabinets. If you apply primer and plan to spray paint it will be just as good as melamine.



Sent: 06 July 2014 09:53 AM

Problem with condensation

Dear Home-Dzine,
Please can you advise me on whether I should consider replacing my windows due to a lot of condensation. I have floor tiles throughout my 80 square meter home only the bedrooms are carpeted but that still does not stop all the windows in my house dripping with water inside the bedrooms. It has got to a point that mildew has started to settle in on some of the walls. Very frustrating no matter what cleaning steps we take? I live in Durbanville in the cape and every winter is a battle with the elements inside my house. Should I consider double glazed windows oh and the complex house that I live in is now almost 10 years old, so is it time for the windows to be change?

Hi Leigh-Anne,
Your condensation problem isn't necessarily caused by windows, and windows generally last far longer than 10 years, it could be due to lack of airflow or ventilation. In days gone by homes had ventilation blocks built into the top of walls, but nowadays they don't. Add to that that not all developers situate windows for airflow, and you have a ventilation problem.

Before you even consider replacing windows I would suggest that you think about installing an extraction fan in those rooms that suffer the most from condensation. An extraction fan circulates air to the outside and might well solve the problem. You may also want to consider having a damp expert take a look at your home. It could be that one of the neighbouring units has a leak and the damp is in the walls, ceiling or floor, and affecting your home.



05 July 2014 11:15 AM

Milky finish on slate tiles

Hello Janice,
I bought the products and tested the TFC sealer stripper and cleaned with Easy Clean and rinsed but the 4 'test' tiles turned a nasty chalky snow white. As you can imagine I can't continue...I tried washing it off without any success so reverted to using neat meths which cleaned it off. Can I not just put the Natural stone seal over the existing unsatisfactory but clean condition of the slate?

The contractor has informed me that they were sealed with a matt Nova product but who knows what previous tenants used on them... Desperately need advice as stripping 100 square meters all turning white is not on option.

So far the only positive cleaning was neat meths...but naturally not a solution. Can I not just seal over existing but clean condition to make it aesthetically pleasing? Can I use the Natural Stone Sealer I have purchased or maybe the TFC top seal over the entire surface including worn traffic area? I'm at my wits end and its costing me all this testing.

Hi Genie,
The chalky surface you are referring to means that there is still wax on the tiles. I had exactly the same problem with my slate tiles and I had to repeat the stripping process a couple of times to remove the layer upon layer upon layer of wax polish. I really would persevere and you will find that once all the wax is removed the tiles will be clean and look stunning after applying the sealer.



Sent: 29 June 2014 10:29 AM

Mould on ceiling keeps coming back

I have a bad problem with mould on my bedroom ceiling as this part of the house doesn't receive any sun at all,there are dark grey almost black patches,we often clean it with domestos but it comes back,my question is,is there any way I can fix this without having to go into the roof to fix it up there as it will be too costly an won't b able to afford it,besides buying a dehumidifier,is there anyway I can remove it and stop it from coming back,maybe there's products to prevent it coming through plz ur advise will be highly appreciated,im pregnant and don't want to raise my baby in such conditions.

Hi Nuraan,
If the mould keeps coming back it means that the ceiling is getting wet, and this could only be in the roof space / attic. There could be a spot where water is gaining access around the edge of the roof, or a loose roof tile, or the waterproofing on IBR or a flat roof has failed.

Removing the mould is only temporary if you don’t resolve what is causing the mould in the first place. You don’t need to replace the ceiling but you do need to find the cause of the problem.



Sent: 25 June 2014 04:01 PM

Floors sagging

I am looking for advice. I recently bought a house. The floors have sagged in the bedrooms. I had a builder come in-he said the floor had to be dug up to find the problem. He suspects it wasn't compacted properly. The house is at least 30 years old. My query is surely by now the ground has settled and the floor can simply be leveled? I would really appreciate your reply.

Hi Michelle,
Not something you like to find in a newly bought house.

There can be many reasons why the floors can collapse, even in an old house. There could be underground water coming to the surface that is causing a disturbance, some of the material added to the fill could have broken down because it wasn’t compacted properly, ground movement, etc.

The danger with this problem is that the builder has an idea what might have happened, but nobody can be one hundred percent sure until it is dug up. I think the builder is offering the best advice under the circumstances.

Do you have no recourse on the Seller, since this could have been a pre-existing problem that they simply tried to cover up.



Sent: 19 June 2014 10:58 AM

Spots or water marks on cretesone ceiling

I have spots on ceiling that looks like water marks. in fact it is not it is the crete stone that is shining through. I have tried just giving it another coat of paint but to no end. please help with some advice

Hi Marius,
I am not sure why they would use CreteStone on a ceiling, as this is a steel-floated wall treatment. Are you perhaps not mistaken and it is in fact Rhinolite, which is a thin plaster treatment?

You need to apply a primer to rhinolite before painting, and this blocks the surface and stops water-based paints from being absorbed and allowing stains to show through.

If you have already applied more paint I am not sure that applying primer now is going to be the solution. I would recommend that you get in touch with and ask for their technical advice.



Sent: 19 June 2014 08:57 AM

Balcony Tile Waterproofing

We have a balcony and the wall surrounding the balcony floor has damp. I heard that you get something to seal the tiles with or seal the grout with. Can you please give me advice on this?

Hi Reghardt,
Before you go about fixing the damage you need to determine the cause. If water is not being allowed to run off via a drainage pipe, it is going to cause ongoing problems.

There are exterior sealers that can be used to fill gaps around the perimeter of the tiles, and there are damp proofing and waterproofing products that can be applied to walls to solve damp problems. , , all offer products and you will find various other products at your local Builders Warehouse.

You will also find helpful advice on the easy DIY website:



Sent: 15 June 2014 03:25 PM

Bosch PSB 500 or 650 drill?

I am looking at the Bosch PSB 500 RE, but wondering of I should go for the next Bosch impact drill the PSB 650 RE. Please help.

Hi Fatima,
There’s nothing wrong with the PSB 500 RE, and the compact version is very easy to hold, since it is lighter and smaller. I don’t think you will need the 650 unless you intend to do a LOT of drilling.



Sent: 12 June 2014 08:31 PM

Rhinolite on painted walls?

Can I rhinolite painted walls ? And if so, how do I ensure adhesion ?

Hi Cliff,
I am not one hundred percent sure about applying Rhinolite to a painted surface, but know that Grippon is a bonding liquid applied prior to application to enhance and increase the bonding properties.

You will find this article useful:

Or get in touch with  to view articles on their website or to obtain technical advice regarding their products.



Sent: 12 June 2014 01:33 PM

Hand printed ceramic tiles

I want to make my own printed ceramic tiles. Could you please tell me how I do this. I love chefs and owls and want to print pictures and put them on the ceramic tiles. They have to be heat resistant

Hi Juanita,

The best way to do this is to use pottery blanks and have these painted and baked to ensure the best possible finish. For this you need to get in touch with a tile manufacturer that manufactures tiles to order.

Google search



Sent: 11 June 2014 12:14 PM

Clean and strip slate tiles

Hi there DIY Diva,
I have moved into a town house that has slate tiles varying from grey to brown, but they are dull and look great when wet but ashy when dry. The unit is 5 years old and in very few areas it seems to be relatively ok looking. I used a milky liquid wax which I was told washes off and it does but looks ashy and streaks after wash. I've tried to wash as much off but have no idea what previous resident used if anything. Do I have to strip these floors? Was thinking of polystrip and TFC natural stone seal. Is matt a better option than satin finish? Don't want high gloss but quite like a light sheen.

Hi Genie,
It definitely sounds as though the slate tiles need to be stripped and sealed, and TFC is the best product to use. I personally prefer the glossy finish on my slate tiles. It brings out the colour of the tiles nicely, but it is a matter of personal preference.



Sent: 06 June 2014 07:31 AM

Help with laundry room

I would like to know how I can make my laundryroom more appealing, this is the first place people walk into when they visit, this is realy getting me down as I would like them to feel warm and inviting as they come in.

advice on decorating laundry room

Hi Charlotte,
There is so much that you can do with this space and you are lucky that you have a dedicated laundry room.

I would approach this as a small kitchen design and add some built in floor and wall cupboards to fill up the space and hide all the bits and pieces that are on display. Making some floor cabinets isn’t that difficult and with a countertop to finish it off it would look far more organised.

You have all that wall space to use for adding some shelves.

A white Shaker style look is simple yet elegant, even in a small laundry space and you could add more as you have the budget. Once the basic framework is in place you can add a few accessories here and there to make it more personal.

You haven’t mentioned what style you prefer, or how your house is decorated, but browse through our kitchen section and put together a collection of ideas that you would like to see in the space and take it from there.



Sent: 06 June 2014 06:20 PM

Replace fascia board

The fascia board had come off and the wood behind the board is rotten. Can you tell me how to repair it properly please.

Hi Marius,
It depends on the extent of the wood rot. You can re-build small areas using Alcolin QuikWood. For large areas of rot you will need to cut off the rotten wood and add a new piece to replace. For this you could use galvanised steel timber joining plates and nails. It's going to be a lot of work if you need to replace more than one or two and you might want to consider hiring a handyman for the job.

The timber section at Builders should be able to give you advice and tell you what you need for the project.



Sent: 04 June 2014 01:44 PM

Turn ceramic vase into lamp

Hi Janice and Team
I have two gorgeous ceramic vases that I think would look stunning as bed side lamps. What process do I follow and where can I buy DIY lamp kits to get this transformation done?

Hi Tania,
Most Builders stores offer lamp kits, or lamp holders and flex cord, that you can use to turn your vases into bedside lamps. You will also find nice lamp shades at Mr Price Home or Sheet Street, etc.

If you need to drill holes you will find instructions here:



Sent: 03 June 2014 09:59 AM

Plastering walls

Hi there
I love your website and like to do things myself, just feels more special. I recently moved into my house and it has this popcorn effect on the walls. I would like to plaster (skim) the walls. Do i get a professional to do it or can i do it myself. Do you perhaps have a step by step guide to do it.

Hi Nathan,
Thanks! Have just completed a plastering project and will be posting details on

To be honest, while the application is reasonably easy, the process of getting a smooth finish is not. I have employed a labourer to help with the plastering project and I’m letting him do all the smoothing down! My recommendation would be to let a professional or knowledgeable labourer to do it for you.



Sent: 02 June 2014 07:53 AM

Waterproof tiled uncovered patio?

Hi Nell,
If the patio has been tiled and you are experiencing a problem with leaks there are a couple of things you could do.
1. Seal around the perimeter of the tiles with an exterior silicone sealer if this hasn’t previously been done, or where there are signs of damage.
2. Check the existing grout for signs of damage. Where this occurs, remove the old grout and add a waterproofing product when you apply the new grout.

You will find all products at your local Builders.



Sent: 01 June 2014 10:57 PM

Fix chipped wall tiles

We've recently retiled our bathroom. However, some of the wall tiles were chipped during the tiling process and whilst we have considered replacing them, they are now out of stock. Is there a quick fix solution that doesn't involve removing the tiles? The chips are not huge but definitely noticeable.

Hi Nasreen,
I have posted on how to repair chips in basins and baths, and the same method would apply to tiles:

I have also tried tinting the Alcolin AquaMend epoxy putty to match certain colours, and this works as well. Just add a tiny amount of acrylic craft paint until you get the right colour.



Sent: 30 May 2014 05:22 AM

How to fix cracked rattan furniture

I am new to rattan. I just bought a used white glossy small rattan dresser. One of the drawers in the corner is cracked. How do I fix it. will it keep cracking if I dont fix it? Plus how do I take care of it?

Hi Lori,
It's possible that just the gloss paint that has been applied to the rattan has cracked. The problem with rattan furniture is that it expands and contracts since it is a natural material. You may get more cracks. If you need to fix up the cracked corner, lightly sand the damaged spot and spray with Rust-Oleum 2X gloss white spray paint. Keep the can handy in case you need to touch up any other spots in the future.



Sent: 29 May 2014 04:10 PM

Rust has eaten away door frame

Hi there
The bathroom door frame in my apartment is made of metal and is severely rusting away at the bottom on one side that is next to the shower. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do to fix this problem, for example:
1. Replace door frame, not sure if this is a cost effective solution
2. Remove the door frame altogether and install a sliding door instead
I also do not want to do something that would reduce the value of the flat.

Hi Stanley,
First I would sand down the area with 120-grit sandpaper and then apply something like Rust-Oleum Rust Stripper. This stops the rusting process. Be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle and wear rubber gloves.

Once that has been done, apply Plascon Metal Primer to the complete door frame and add more coats to the already damaged area. After that you can paint as usual. If you need to fill up any pitted areas or missing pieces that the rust has eaten, use Alcolin QuikMetal, which is a 2-part epoxy putty.



Sent: 26 May 2014 12:25 PM

Newly applied paint peeled off wall

Please help I painted my bedroom 2 colours. I used masking tape on the side of the walls to paint the 2 colours. When I peeled it off - the one side that was already painted ½ the paint peeled off with it. Is there another method of joining the paint on the side of the walls instead of using masking tape ? Waiting to get your good advice

Hi Bianca,
I am being presumptuous in assuming that perhaps you did not scrub the walls prior to applying the paint, or the walls were already painted with a sheen paint and not lightly sanded before painting. Both of these will cause the newly applied paint to peel off if it can’t bond to the existing paint.

It’s also a good idea to leave the paint overnight, or for a couple of days if there is a lot of humidity or moisture in the air, before applying the second colour.



Sent: 20 May 2014 04:04 PM

Should I install Formica Lifeseal countertops?

I am busy installing new bathroom vanities in my house. I had them made by a carpenter as that seemed like a cheaper option initially (I have subsequently been proved wrong!). Anyway, I am now struggling with the tops. My carpenter has indicated that I can’t use the melamine structure used for the body. He has suggested using Formica tops however some people have warned against this and suggested rather using granite. Granite does look nice however is far more costly! Would you suggest I just go with the Formica top or do you think I should try save for the granite instead?

Hi Karen,
There’s no reason why you cannot use Formica LifeSeal tops as long as they are properly sealed around the sink and at the back of the unit. These countertops have a water-resistant finish that is ideal for bathroom or kitchen countertops.

Once fitted, apply sanitary silicone sealer around the base/top of the sink and where the top butts against the wall.



Sent: 19 May 2014 01:12 PM

Can I lower concrete floor for tiling?

We want to remodel a 29-year-old kitchen, including the floor. How do we convert what was a budget-constrained vinyl floor to porcelain tile? Can the concrete screed be lowered to accommodate the thicker tile, or do we have to have a higher level floor? (Which will also mean raising the bottom of three affected doors.)

Hi Arthur,
I wouldn’t recommend touching the screed at all. Most are only so thin and then you have problems if you get to the slab. Rather tile over the top as is and remove the doors to sand / plane away any excess.



Sent: 16 May 2014 10:19 AM

Rust-Oleum countertops kit

Hello Janice
I need advice on painting my Formica kitchen countertops to look like granite. I was looking for the Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations kit. Can I paint to countertops to make it look like granite.

Hi Wayne,
Unfortunately the Rust-Oleum Countertop transformations won't be brought into South Africa because it works out quite expensive. When you consider that new Formica Lifeseal Countertops cost around R800, it makes sense to replace rather than paint, since painting isn't a long-term option. Because countertops are a hard-working surface, paint easily scratches off and can contaminate food.

My recommendation is that you consider replacing the existing countertops. I am about to do this exact same project and will be posting how to details on



Sent: 12 May 2014 01:48 PM

Can I paint oak cabinets with gloss finish?

Dear Janice
I need help. I recently moved into a house that I bought on auction. The kitchen has Oak wood cabinets that are still in good shape. I wanted to remove them and install new cabinets, I was advised to remove them because they are still in good shape. And the other reason the quotations for new cabinets were up to R90 000. At the moment I don’t have the budget.

I wanted to install white gloss cabinets. But I was told I could paint the current cabinets and just install granite. Please advise, will they look nice when they are painted? And is there paint for the kitchen cabinets? Also do you know people/ companies that you could refer me to that can do the work?

Hi Promise,
You are lucky to have oak cabinets in the kitchen and not laminate. We have quite a lot of articles that deal with painting kitchen cabinets :

And painting wood cabinets is probably the easiest. It is important to scrub down the cabinets with sugar soap, or lightly sand with 180-grit, before painting. If the cabinets have been varnished and are very shiny you need to sand down to de-gloss the finish so that the paint adheres to the surface.

A general handyman/painter can do all the work for you and can use a paint such as Plascon Velvaglo oil-based enamel (gloss) or water-based enamel (satin).



Sent: 09 May 2014 12:03 PM

Restoring a wood coffee table

I have an old coffee table that I'd like to sand down to the raw wood and stain the legs darker than the top. What grains of sandpaper should I use and what stain would you recommend?

Hi Justine,
If the table is painted or varnished you will need to use 120-grit to remove the varnish or paint. Alternatively, you can use Plascon RemovALL paint stripper to get rid of paint layers. After that, sand with 240-grit sandpaper to smooth.

I like to use Woodoc Gel Stain for my wood projects and finish this off either varnish or antique wax. For a coffee table I would recommend that you use Plascon Ultra Varnish. You will find plenty of tips in the decorating section:



Sent: 08 May 2014 11:01 AM

Help decorating laundry in garage

The whole garage is about 6M by 4M. As you can see we 'made do' with a lot of 'previously owned' bits for the shelving. The basket between door and drier is for recycling … On the wall to the right of the glass door I have a rail on the ceiling for hanging ironed clothes … When I got the tiled bit behind the taps done the tiler swore blind HIS line was correct … but the top shelving is parallel to the ceiling?! There are exposed pipes in the shelving … I am wondering how much would have to be pulled out in order to get it looking good. I would love to do something with the cement floor too …

ideas to revamp laundry in garage

Hi Mel,
I’m sure your ‘little carved out laundry nook’ will make many envious. It already looks great and what a way to keep everything out of the kitchen!  There is so much that you can do with the space, but of course it all comes down to cost at the end of the day. Here are some of my personal ideas and suggestions:

1. Rather than replacing the ‘straight tiles’ why not just fill up the gap at the top. Tiles are easy to cut with a tile cutter and you should be able to match the plain white tiles without difficulty. I just bought some plain tiny whities from Tile Africa.

2. What about adding doors to the cupboards and area under the sink. You could use 12mm Supawood, which can be cut to size at your local Builders and painted white. Some 12mm overlay hinges [ ] would allow you to easily mount the doors onto the front of the cabinets.

3. Add some false panelling at the top of the cabinets to disguise the empty space. Again you could use 12mm supawood and No More Nails to secure.

4. I would add a splash of colour to the floor, perhaps using self-adhesive vinyl tiles, or simply painting the floor with Plascon stoep paint. You might need to sand the floor with 120-grit sandpaper if it is very smooth, to allow the paint to bond better.



Sent: 08 May 2014 05:12 PM

How to remove cretestone

Good day,
I have beautiful old brick walls in my dining room that have been covered by crete stone and a paint effect which is now 'bubbling'. I would like to know how to remove the paint as well as the crete stone to expose the lovely old bricks underneath and also if some sort of sealant would need to be applied to the old bricks once they have been exposed.

Hi Shelley,
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m not even sure that you will be able to remove the Cretestone. As a finishing plaster, Cretestone bonds to the existing wall, in your case the bricks, and because bricks are absorbent by nature the Cretestone will be well stuck down. However, you can remove the paint effect that is bubbling by using Plascon RemovALL, which is eco friendly although a bit messy.



Sent: 7 May 2014 12:16 PM

Restore Imbuia Dining set

Good day
I would like to restore a 1976 Imbuia Dining set, but not sure what to use, or what technique to use. What is best ? Teak oil? Antique wax, or maybe woodoc 10.

Hi Pieter,
All the products you mention below have a different method of sealing and protecting.

After sanding the dining suite you can choose the finish that you prefer:

Teak oil needs to be applied liberally. You want to soak the surface so that it stays wet for a least 5 minutes before being absorbed. If it is absorbed faster, pour more oil on. For maintenance, you re-apply the oil as the wood starts to appear dry. It takes about 24 hours before any residue is soaked up and the table ready for use.

Antique wax is not absorbed into the wood and only protects the top layer.

Woodoc is absorbed into the wood and the third and final layer protects and seal the top. It would probably be the best option for a dining table. Follow the instructions on the can and sand down with fine steel wool between coats. Use a soft paintbrush for application that won’t leave brush strokes and apply evenly with the grain to prevent light or dark spots.



Sent: 06 May 2014 10:41 AM

Apply Rhinolite over tiles

We are expanding/revamping our kitchen which has a large expanse of tiling. We wish to heep the wall tiles and us your product over. Can this be done?

Hi Dave,
I personally would never recommend Rhinolite over tiles, and I’m sure that Gyproc would agree on this point. Plaster will not adhere to a tiled finish. If you want a lasting finish the best idea would be to remove the wall tiles and either re-plaster or re-tile the walls.



Sent: 06 May 2014 05:11 AM

Paint flaking in bedroom

Good Day
The interior wall in my bedroom is flaking. I suspect it water damage. I have water pipes and taps on the other side of the wall.

Hi Curt,
If you suspect that water is seeping through the wall you need to determine where the water is coming from. If the pipes in the wall are leaking, this could cause serious damage to the interior brickwork and also allow for mould to develop. Certain strains on mould are toxic and not want you want in a home.

You can buy a water meter with a probe at your local Builders Warehouse and use this to test how much moisture is in the wall. If this is the case, and you can't find the fault, you will need to call out a plumber to fix up.

On the bedroom side, scrape off as much paint as possible and sand down with 120-grit sandpaper. You need to get down to the plaster so that you can apply a waterproofing solution over the wall. After that you can apply a plaster primer and paint as usual.



Sent: 04 May 2014 03:48 PM

Where to buy upholstery springs?

Where can I purchase the springs/coils for furniture. My couch has sagged and I believe through investigating myself and my partner would be able to fix it ourselves....I have searched via the internet for places in Cape Town but I have not come up with any places.

Hi Lucy,
Quite a few of the larger fabric suppliers stock a range of upholstery products. You will also find details here for a supplier that has branches around the country:

Another way to find out is to get in touch with upholsterers and ask where they obtain their supplies.



Sent: 02 May 2014 03:23 PM

Seals for shower door

Can you buy the seals separate for a framed shower? The seals that keep the glass in the white frame. Reason why I ask this. We have some mold inside these seals and seems to be causing water leaks. I would like to disassemble the shower and replace these seals as I believe cleaning them and putting them back, will not create a 100% seal again.

Hi Herman,
Must be honest, I haven’t seen shower glass seals at hardware stores and you may need to find out who the manufacturer is to see if they supply spares for their doors. Mould can destroy silicone seals if not treated quickly and manufacturers should offer an option to buy replacement seals, but that’s only in a perfect world !



Sent: 28 April 2014 11:42 PM

Mount kudu horns as door handles

Hi Janice.
I have 2 kudu horns which I'd like to convert into door handles, for use on the exterior of my front doors. Could you advise how I should smooth, treat and mount the horns onto the doors please.

Hi Paula,
What a great idea!

If the horns are in good condition and the insides have been well-seasoned / dried, you will only need to lightly sand with 240-grit sandpaper and then apply a clear exterior-grade polyurethane varnish.



Sent: 27 April 2014 10:27 PM

Want to paint old couch

Hi Janice
I need some advise from you and I'm quite desperate for it. Lol. I have an old couch which I would like to paint, but I have no idea where and which paint to buy? I am based in Pretoria so any help would be great.

Hi Johan,
I always mention that when painting upholstered furniture it can be a bit stiff for a while. The best paint to use is a satin paint, as this paint doesn't leave the finish sticky after painting. Don't apply the paint too thick, rather apply a thin layer and rub this into the weave of the fabric.

If in any doubt, test on a piece of fabric on the underside of the couch before you go ahead and paint the entire couch.

You will find some helpful tips here:



Sent: 27 April 2014 10:34 AM

How do you get double-sided tape off the wall?

Hi there
I have tried this “No More Nails” (albeit the blue roll) and my picture frames have fallen off the wall …. Admittedly I didn’t wash the wall with sugar soap which I will do but my question to you is : how do I get the sticky residue of the wall. I’ve tried just about everything and it’s still there – even turps which has taken the the paint off the wall too ! L Help !!

I will now try the red roll – my pictures are no more than 500g each ….

Hi Nathalie,
Cleaning the wall beforehand might have made a difference! Try some WD-40 for removing the old tape of the wall. It’s worked for me on previous occasions. And make sure you put enough tape on the back, and double-up if the wall is uneven.



Sent: 26 April 2014 10:27 AM

How to warm up house

Hi Janice
Thanks for your blog, it helps me a lot. My ceiling is pine and my house is very cold. My roof is Harvey tiles and the floors are parquet. Please help me.

Hi Theodora,
Do you have ceiling insulation, such as think pink? This does make quite a difference to insulating a home. With pine ceilings and wood floors I am surprised that you house is so cold, so check for draughts at the bottom of doors and around window frames, as these can easily let heat out and cold in.

You will find plenty of tips in our Home Maintenance section for weatherproofing a home:



Sent: 25 April 2014 11:40 AM

Making a baby compactum

Hi Janice,
I discovered your website a little while ago and I must congratulate you on a brilliant resource. I have picked up so many ideas and inspiration and I really haven't even scratched the surface of the site yet. I am by no means a DIY expert, but I enjoy tinkering around and making what I can out of what I can find. I have done some of my own projects using Supawood that were needed around the home to fill some or other purpose. The most recent of these is a modular type baby compactum (we have a little one on the way) which has been designed to be more useful than what you can buy, and we saved over R3000 by making it ourselves. I didn't take pictures of the project while I was busy with it, only of the end result and did my own rough drawings and plans. If it is ok with you, I would like to submit the project for your website so that perhaps someone else in a similar situation may find it useful, just as I will no doubt find everything else on your site very useful. Please let me know if this is possible and what you would require from me.

Hi Michael,
It’s always nice to hear from readers that find the site useful. I love DIY and take every opportunity that I can to make it myself rather than spend money on – more often than not – inferior products. It would be great to show your project on the website, and I wish more people would – and all I would need are some decent pics and diagrams, and the step-by-step procedure you followed.



Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 9:08 AM
Remove mortar from facebrick

Hello Home Dzine
Need help. We build new home with Corobrick Firelight Travertine face brick. Unfortunately my builder never cleaned the face bricks and we have mortar all over the bricks. We tried products like Mortar-off etc… but the mortar sticks and yesterday I was told that nothing will work, the bricks are spoiled. What alternatives are out there? I could plaster the house, but I really wanted the low maintenance options. Saw you article on painting facebrick, not sure if I like the option to just paint the brick. The house is a classical contemporary look. Are there techniques, paint effects or, or….? My house is big, I have spend millions so far, really would appreciate any idea or help.

Hi Robert,

What a shame that such a beautiful (and expensive) brick wasn't cleaned properly. Unfortunately, mortar that has had time to cure is extremely difficult to remove without resorting to chipping away, which will also damage the surface of the brick. It would be a pity to slap a coat of paint over the top and my recommendation is that you look into plastering over the spoilt brick. If it is as bad as it sounds, this may be the only solution.



Sent: 22 April 2014 10:30 AM

Help with Kitchen makeover

Hi There,
I love your website and cannot wait to try out all the DIY projects. I have bought a home and the kitchen is very outdated. It has tiling all along the walls (not just the backsplash). I read an article on painting bathroom tiles and I wondered what would be needed to paint these kitchen tiles? Would the epoxy coating still be needed? Also, would you recommend cement as flooring for a kitchen? I have read that it should not be used in high traffic areas?

Hi Rifqah
You have the choice of using epoxy paint or Plascon Velvalgo waterbased enamel, both would work well on tiles, but the epoxy paint will be more durable. The only problem is finding epoxy paint in the right colour, since this product cannot be tinted.

Concrete is excellent for a kitchen floor. You can have it tinted with pigment powders, apply a concrete stain and then leave as is or apply a polyurethane varnish over the top. Concrete is excellent for high-traffic areas if a steel floated screed is applied over the top. There are contractors that do screed floors if you are not sure how to do it yourself.



Sent: 16 April 2014 12:54 PM

Spray or paint bedroom suite

Good day Home Dzine team,
I bought Italian Glossy bedroom suite a number of years ago, it has a high glossy finish. Would I be able to refurbish/respray a high glossy finish? Do you know of companies in Gauteng that we refurbish furniture? The furniture was once white, but due to sun damage it turned yellow colour in some spots

Hi Dalila,
You can respray yourself if you use a product like Rust-Oleum 2X gloss spray paint. Just give the furniture a good clean and wipe dry. Take outdoors or spray in a well-ventilated room. You will find the full range of Rust-Oleum products at your local Builders Warehouse.



Sent: 12 April 2014 05:12 PM

Remove cretestone from brick wall

Good day, I have beautiful old brick walls in my dining room that have been covered by crete stone and a paint effect which is now 'bubbling'. I would like to know how to remove the paint as well as the crete stone to expose the lovely old bricks underneath and also if some sort of sealant would need to be applied to the old bricks once they have been exposed.

Hi Shelley,
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I’m not even sure that you will be able to remove the Cretestone. As a finishing plaster, Cretestone bonds to the existing wall, in your case the bricks, and because bricks are absorbent by nature the Cretestone will be well stuck down. However, you can remove the paint effect that is bubbling by using Plascon RemovALL, which is eco friendly although a bit messy.



Sent: 11 April 2014 03:23 PM

Seals or gaskets for shower doors

Can you buy the seals separate for a framed shower? The seals that keep the glass in the white frame. Reason why I ask this. We have some mold inside these seals and seems to be causing water leaks. I would like to disassemble the shower and replace these seals as I believe cleaning them and putting them back, will not create a 100% seal again.

Hi Herman,
Must be honest, I haven’t seen shower glass seals at hardware stores and you may need to find out who the manufacturer is to see if they supply spares for their doors. Mould can destroy silicone seals if not treated quickly and manufacturers should offer an option to buy replacement seals, but that’s only in a perfect world !



Sent: 08 April 2014 10:04 AM

Painting over enamel paint

Hi there
I would just like to know how do you get that shiny enamel paint on walls off so as to paint with new matte, washable paint.

Hi Christa,
The best way is to sand down the walls with 180-grit sandpaper to remove or de-gloss the shiny finish on the paint. If it is a large wall area you could give a light sanding and then apply Plascon Multi Surface Primer.



Sent: 02 April 2014 10:04 PM

Water leaking through floor from shower above

Hi Janice
We have added a room with a shower upstairs, the shower however is leaking through the floor into the TV room downstairs, through the concrete floor! How do I fix this? I was wondering if I could use some membrane and waterproof roof paint (as one does for sealing a leaking roofs) on top of the current mosaic tiles of the shower floor. I was thinking of then re-tiles over that. Or will it be best to remove the current tiles first? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks for a great website.

Hi Anneline,
If the water is leaking through the mosaic tiles on the shower floor, take a closer look around the edges of the tile to find out where there are gaps, or check that silicone sealant is applied around the bottom of the shower door or other areas where water can escape. There must be a small gap somewhere.

Alternatively, remove the tiles and apply a waterproofing products (plenty available at your local Builders Warehouse) and tile over the top of that.


Thanks Janice!
Some of the grouting between the mosaic tiles did come out. My husband wanted to replace the grouting but I am scared the problem would re-appear, hence my preference for a more permanent/better waterproofing solution. I will pay Builders a visit.


Sent: 02 April 2014 02:12 PM

Cracks keep coming back

Hi Janice
About a year ago we added an en-suite. The existing exterior wall was “Crete stoned” as it was very rough stippled plaster. The “new” walls were all plastered as normal with cement plaster. We now have large vertical cracks in the corners were the two plaster mediums join (or in this case don’t). How can we repair these cracks.

Hi Colleen,
It sounds more like the walls weren’t joined together properly. Normally either bricks are removed every alternate row to allow for the new wall to be ‘tied’ into this. If this isn’t done, the walls remain separate and any movement will cause the walls to split or crack along the join (or lack of).

Without knocking down the new wall, a solution would be to chisel away plaster down to the brick and install a wire mesh over the old and new walls to ‘tie’ the walls together. You need to chip away the plaster on both sections of wall – at least 30cm – to be able to nail the wire mesh to the walls. Once attached you plaster over the top of this.

The only other alternative is to continuously fill in the cracks and live with it, but that’s not really a solution to the problem.



Sent: 02 April 2014 12:24 PM

How to paint rattan and cane

Dear Divas and team
Many years ago I bought a cane/rattan lounge and dining room suite. I would like to paint this now. Please could you advise whether this can be done, the products and the process.

Thank you for all the great advice and ideas on your website.

Hi Bertha,
You can most definitely use Rust-Oleum 2X or Universal spray paint on the cane/rattan furniture. You will find these tips helpful.



Sent: 02 April 2014 12:49 PM

Using Plascon Velvaglo waterbased enamel

Hi Janice,
Thanks so much for a great website!!

Just read the article on the Plascon Velvaglo water-based enamel and I have a question: We have a dark wood dining room set and I really want to paint it white, since our new home we’re finishing building will have white furniture rather than dark. Can I use this paint for the set and can I use a brush without it leaving brush strokes or would it be better to use a spray gun? My husband does have one somewhere in storage!

Hi Janine,
There should be no problem painting the set, as long as you do the prep beforehand. Use a foam roller rather than a paintbrush to avoid brush strokes. If you already have a spray gun, this does leave a much nicer finish if you follow a few tips and because Plascon Velvaglo is now waterbased, it is far easier to clean the spray gun after use.



Sent: 26 March 2014 02:13 PM

Re-enamel inside washing machine tub

Hi Janice,
Your product for refurbishing a tub and tile refers: I need to recoat the inside of my washing machines tub. The existing surface looks like a baked enamel, with some rust patches. The new coating needs to be temperature resistant to about 80 deg C, and chemical resistant. The tub metal is thin, approx. 0.5mm thick and will have bearing on the performance of the coating. Any ideas and cost implications? Your supplier may have solved this problem and have some advice to give.

Hi John,
I have been waiting for technical confirmation from Rust-Oleum regarding your query. They do not recommend using Tub & Tile in this situation. You are correct that a baked enamel or powder coated finish is applied to the drum, and the only way to refinish is to remove the drum and have it re-coated.



Cooper Family
Sent: 28 March 2014 09:47 AM

Painting window frames and burglar bars

Hi there,
We are wanting to paint our window frames and burglar bars. We are limited to colours (body corporate). Is it best to paint with enamel and make the window frames and burglar bars the same colour or could we use brown enamel for the window frames and maybe use the Duram hammered look for the bars? We are thinking of painting the security gates in the hammered but there is quite a difference in the enamel brown and the hammered brown…..don’t know what to do…..

Hi Cooper family,
Rust-Oleum offer a range of Universal spray products in solid, metallic or hammered finish. The hammered finish is ideal if you need to hide small imperfections, which are the norm on window frames and burglar bars.

Use newspaper and masking tape to cover the areas not to be painted. I personally think that painting the frames and burglar bars the same colour works best. Burglar bars are a fact of life, but if they are the same colour as the frame they aren’t as visible.



Sent: 30 March 2014 01:49 PM

Why can't I sand Rhinolite or Cretestone?

Thanks for your article on the use of Rhinolite and CreteStone. Our builder has finished work and left me with two problems:

1. There are some minor bumps in the finish of the cretestone (or Rhinolite - I don't know which was used over the cement plastered walls) which I would like to sand down, reseal and repaint ( or chip out and fill with pollyfilla). However your article says " Under no circumstances should CreteStone be sanded. " Why do you say this? What will happen if I sand it?
2. I have a problem that the outer edge of the cretestone around the door way chips off easily. What should I do to treat this? Should I chip off the whole edge (90 degree corner) and re-plaster the edge with normal cement plaster?

Hi Haco,
Both Rhinolite and Cretestone are finishing plasters that are formulated specifically for application onto dry wall or ceilings. As a finishing plaster, only thin coats of both are applied and then finished by floating with a trowel for a smooth finish.

Rhinolite can be lightly sanded to remove small imperfections. ( )

Cretestone is a finishing plaster that is floated with a steel trowel after application. This gives is a sheen finish, which is why it cannot be sanded.( )

I would recommend that you view the links above and download the technical data sheet for both products. This will advise of what can and cannot be done.



Sent: 26 March 2014 09:30 PM

Making my own cement pavers

I have a square paver mould that I bought to make my own pavers. What is the best cement/ concrete mix to use. I bought the premix from builders but it's too grainy and doesn't give a nice smooth finish

Hi Jo,
The best mix to use is 1 part cement – 4 parts sand. I also like to add a bit of gravel to the bottom – just under the level of the mix – as this makes extra strong pavers.



Sent: 24 March 2014 10:36 PM

How to remove tile adhesive from wall

My fiancé and I have just started renovating our first house! Our builder is having problems removing the current tile glue from the wall and their perseverance is even causing plaster to come the wall in the adjacent room (is this uncommon?). He has now suggested we rhinolite directly over the existing tiles (the tiles have been painted) instead of removing them first. I have done some Googling and my findings suggest this is not a good idea. What would you recommend?

Hi Karen,
I have personally experienced times when tiles adhesive simply refuses to be removed, but a less aggressive approach can be used. Rather than use a hammer and cold chisel let them try using a paint scraper instead. Butch force isn’t always the answer and can cause damage to other walls, but by placing a paint scraper along the edge of the hard adhesive you can have success. If that fails then plastering would be an alternative. However, I would not plaster over tiles and definitely not painted tiles.

You don’t mention if this is in a bathroom, but if it is, Rhinolite absorbs moisture and is not recommended for areas with any humidity. It is considered more of a finishing plaster and a conventional plaster mix is required for bathrooms.


Hi Janice
Hanks so much for getting back to me. In response to your question – yes this is for a bathroom. Can’t believe our builder hasn’t recommended not using rhinolite in that area! Luckily they haven’t started yet so we can ask them to change their course of action. Can you use rhinolite in kitchens?

Hi Karen,

You will find some tips and links for Rhinolite in this article:


Sent: 24 March 2014 06:47 AM

Can Pratley putty be used on braai?

Can pratley putty be used to seal a stainless steel spit braai on the in side so that the joints dont leak? And if so, which one?

Hi Jacques,
I'm not sure whether a steel epoxy putty would be able to take the constant high heat. Having someone do stainless steel welding for you would be the recommended solution. You would need to consult online classifieds or do a Google search to find someone in your area.



Sent: 23 March 2014 04:02 PM

Painting over mosaic tiles

I am working on a project and the client is on a limited budget. There is one wall in her dining area which is clad with mosaic tiles. Not the prettiest, so I would like to give it a paint finish. Can you recommend what options I can use? My aim is to allow the grid of the tiles to show through ( similar to when a brick wall is painted) and to use a translucent kind of paint that will give it a nice effect. Am open to suggestions too.

Hi Sonali,
Before any painting takes place you need to clean and prime the tiles. Plascon has Melamine and tile primer. After primer, you could use a product such as Plascon Pearl to give it a shimmering pearl effect.



Sent: 19 March 2014 10:38 PM

Painting fabric

Hi there
Absolutely love your sight and so much inspiration. Thank you!

Would just like to enquire whether one can paint fabric with Plascon Sure Coat Matt Acrylic or Plascon Velvaglo waterbased enamel? Which one would be best? You featured an article where you painted patterns on scatter cushions using Rust-Oleum matt. However I am unable to obtain this product as non of our paint shops stock it in Phalaborwa and the nearest Builders is in Polokwane, which is 200km away.

Hi Ashleigh,
Although you can paint fabric with almost any matt paint, when using paint other than spray paint I normally recommend that you water down the paint to make it easier to use. If you don’t, the paint fabric will be very stiff and may even peel off. Have a piece of fabric to use for testing so that you get the right mix of paint and water.



Sent: 20 March 2014 07:11 AM

Paint colours used in projects

Hi there Janice
Thanks again for some tips - always enjoy the ideas. Tell me, in the easy painted panel headboard, what colours were used? These two colours (or similar) are used in my guest bathroom. If you do know, please do let me know.

Hi Fyrne,
The colours used in this projects are never true when shown on a computer screen or mobile. My suggestion is always that you pop into your local paint store and select colour swatches that best match your existing bathroom decor. That way, you are guaranteed a perfect colour match.



Sent: 14 March 2014 01:21 PM

Upholster headboard with padded squares

Good day, Janice
I need your advice. I attended a DIY Divas upholstered headboard workshop about two years ago. I’d like to do another headboard on my own. The idea I have is small square blocks upholstered and mounted to create a large headboard. Is there a way to create that effect without cutting square blocks and covering them separately and then individually screw the blocks to the back board of the headboard.

Hi Anneline,
I don’t know of any other way to replicate the square panel headboard design, and I have looked at various other options without success. You could use a staple gun to attach the fabric to the back of the individual panels and then use No More Nails to attach to a backing board.



Sent: 17 March 2014 07:48 AM

Cover chipboard with wallpaper?

Hi, I just discovered your site and I'm in love LOL. You have such great tips making dreams look possible now. I am a struggling single parent and I would like to start my 1st diy project. Making a headboard for my teenage daughter. Can I use chipboard or should I use hard board? Will normal wallpaper sold @ mr Price stick to wood? Please advise. I simply cannot afford to waste money.

Hi Alexis,
So glad you like the website.

Definitely use chipboard for the headboard. Masonite is far too thin. If you want to stick wallpaper to wood use a PVA glue rather than wallpaper glue. Squeeze onto the wood and spread out evenly before applying the wallpaper.



Sent: 16 March 2014 08:52 PM

Rejuvenation and maintenance of natural stone tiles

I need help on how to clean and maintain the natural stone tiles in my bathroom. Over time the surface of these tiles have had grime build up and have become dull. What can I use to remove this dirt that everyday cleaning doesn't remove? After removing the grime, what can I use to restore the glossy, shinny look? I have searched for solutions on Google but most of the suggested products are not stocked in South Africa. Your help will be highly appreciated.

Hi Ophelia,
You need to use a product specifically designed for natural stone tiles. See the entire range of TFC products at These products are available on the shelf at your local Builders Warehouse and other hardware stores. In the TFC range you will find cleaners and sealers.



Sent: 11 March 2014 01:48 PM

DIY issues with a slab ceiling in kitchen

Thank you to your wonderful, easy-to-understand and an informative website. I always visit the site for some DIY ideas.

My question is: My wife and I have a double storey house with a concrete slab ceiling. Our kitchen is on the ground floor and has a centre island with a stove.
1. How do I install a stove hood onto the slab?
2. I need to add more ceiling lighting in my kitchen, how do I do that on a slab ceiling

Hi Richard,
I also have a slab above my kitchen and it is impossible to drill through, especially since the slabs are normally reinforced with steel bar. When installing an extractor hood you will need to take the ventilation piping to an outside wall to vent without drilling into the slab ceiling. You could cover the piping with aluminium sheet. Alternatively, if you are also installing additional lighting you might consider adding a false ceiling that allows a minimum of space to run electrical cables and venting for the extractor fan.



Sent: 11 March 2014 08:51 AM

Orbital sander hire to restore parquet floor

Hello Janice
I found your DIY article on restoring parquet online and was wanting to know where I may be able to hire an orbital floor sander in Cape Town. I previously restored parquet flooring in our lounge - the only floor sanders for hire were drum sanders and I was forced to use one of these machines. The problem is that this (industrial) machine was large, bulky and cumbersome to use. In addition it kicked up a lot of dust even with the dust bag fitted and the brown dust, fine as talcum powder, settled in virtually every room in the house.

Hi Julian,
Unfortunately most of the floor sanders you can hire these days are of the industrial type. The only problem with these machines – and the drum-type – is that they do remove a lot of wood and create a big mess. The solution would be to cover doorways with plastic drop cloths taped around the edges, to prevent dust from spreading everywhere.



Sent: 08 March 2014 12:49 AM

Cutting into bed base for storage

Is there a way of cutting the base of base set to create storage space. I have single base beds so I need to know if I cut open the base and create drawers, will the base not collapse? Could you suggest someone who can help as I am not very handy?

Hi Dolly,
Since most bed bases are simply pine frames covered with cardboard and fabric, you can install storage drawers in this normally wasted space:

If you don't have the skills I would suggest you employ a handyman or someone who has carpentry skills.



Sent: 07 March 2014 07:17 AM

Change mounting on light fittings

Hi Janice
I am doing African contemporary décor with purple accents…so I want the lighting to be very modern – but still stylish and classy. And since lighting options aren’t that affordable anymore I need something that is classic and will not bore me easily. I would like to do the following. The lights are available but the ceiling mounts are larger than in the picture – and it looks silly with four large ceiling mounts. I love the ball look – and think it would work fantastic on the stair case and in the dining room? The primary problem is the stairs.. I still have to get lights – and don’t want to buy anything until I have settled on a mounting design.

Hi Leanna,
Depending on how the existing ceiling mounts are fitted, and if they can be removed, you could look at taking these off and replacing with mounts that you will find on cheaper fittings, or loose at your local Builders Warehouse. I would suggest that you pop into your local store and take a stroll down the lighting section. You might have a ‘lightbulb’ moment when you see what’s available!



Sent: 05 March 2014 08:49 AM

Paint old chair with metallic effect

Hi Janice
I would like to paint an old chair with the metallic effect. After using my Rust-Oleum primer and Satin Granite, what paint must i use to mix the scumble glaze with? A water based paint or not. My husband is most concered about putting a water based product over the sprayp aint.

Hi Sharon,
Your husband is correct to a degree – in most cases you can’t put a water-based paint over oil-based. However, Rust-Oleum are latex paints, which means they are rubber-based. If you give the finish a light sanding with 180-grit sandpaper beforehand, it prepares it for painting. [ ]

You can spray with Rust-Oleum Universal pure gold and then sand back to reveal the satin granite beneath, or you can use Plascon Metallic gold paint and do the same. The Plascon paint is more transparent and not as bold as the Rust-Oleum.



Sent: 03 March 2014 10:12 PM

Can I paint vinyl floor tiles

Good Day Janice,
Can I paint over these tiles?

Hi Pumla,

We never recommend painting over any type of floor tiles. It really is a waste of money. The paint rubs off with foot traffic. The image you sent looks like vinyl tiles – you could consider ripping these out and putting new tiles in.



Sent: 02 March 2014 05:15 PM

Chalkboard wedding menu

Hi Janice
Wanted to find out this chalk board paint, can it be used for chalkboard writing? I would like to use it for my weddingbut cant find a decent recipe.

Hi Rochelle
You can definitely use the chalkboard paint recipe for wedding boards for your wedding. Use black acrylic matt paint to mix. It doesn’t come out as black as Rust-Oleum chalkboard spray paint, but close enough and you will be able to write on it.



Sent: 26 February 2014 12:14 PM

Problem with horizontal cracks

I have a horizontal crack about 15cm long before it turns into the door frame, rises another 15cm going to the top of the frame. This is the second time in about 3 - 3.5 years. The first time we removed the old plastering, fitted building netting over the brick work then re-plastered. One person said we need to drill into the flooring test for dampness, another said that this type of product would bind the crack permanently. Would this secure the wall from sagging? The house is almost 20 years old.

Hi Chris,
Have you noticed any subsidence or cracks in the floor/foundation. A horizontal crack normally is an indication of movement in the ground.

Hi Janice
When we bought the house 10 years ago we did notice that the kitchen floor had quite a roll to it. There had been some movement before we bought but it has not worsened at all in the 10 years we have had the house. The thickness of this crack is the width of a match stick but NOT the head of the match. It was a structural engineer who wanted me to drill in the bathroom floor to about a meter or so deep to test the ground. He did a test in 3 areas of our garden and was quite satisfied with the firmness of the soil.

Hi Chris,
If it’s not the floor – is there any movement in the door frame itself? Something has to be rocking the walls to cause a crack to keep repeating. If you originally chased out to the source of the crack and then filled this in it shouldn’t keep coming back, especially if you added the net as well.

You shouldn’t have any sagging in the wall after 20 years, unless there has been ground movement, or rising damp – both of which you say are not the problem.

Has any signs of damp been seen in the walls, as this could cause the mortar layer to deteriorate?

Hi Janice
I do remember having to readjust the shower door frame last year. There is a 19cm space between the top of the shower door and the top of the door frame and I now remember the guy who adjusted the frame said the wall had sagged. On remembering this, what would you suggest? Will the FT FLEXTEC 101 hold the wall from sagging again or do we need to drill into the ground and check for wetness? What would you suggest. Thank you so much for taking this time to advise me.

Hi Chris,
I would recommend that you get in touch with the guys at They have some excellent products that are normally used in construction, and that you can buy at a hardware store, and they can also give you advice at the same time.



Sent: Tuesday 25 February 2014 6:09 PM

Advice on an awkward space

Hi Janice - attached some pics of my awkward room. It does look a bit like a tornado hit; I have just moved the dining room furniture back into the room. I have tried the table in various ways, not sure if the blue wingback should go... would really appreciate help.

PS. What do you think if the heart-shaped mirror that I mosaiced with buttons? :)

Hi El,
It’s actually a nice big space that you have to work with, and I think it’s perfect for a dining nook.

I think you can ditch the wingback [it looks out of place] and perhaps turn the table lengthways, so it looks like it belongs in the space. Hang your artwork so that it sits centrally on the wall in line with the table. That will help create more of an ‘area’.

Have you thought about painting the table to match the console table? It wouldn’t be so obvious if you did and would match the space. Although, having said that, you do have quite a bit of wood/rattan in the room already. Or, add a white centrepiece that brightens up the table.

Love the mosaic mirror!



Sent: 24 February 2014 04:36 PM

Help with designing kitchen

Hi Janice
My kitchen is currently as per the pic below, which I feel is outdated. I think the cupboards are superwood/melawood. Can one paint over this? Could you suggest any ideas for colour to revamp the kitchen. The rest of the house is painted in “Husks of Wheat” by Plascon, which is a warm-grey / greyish-cream!

Hi Rose,
Depending on the style that you prefer there are quite a few options to consider in our Kitchen Craft section for updating or revamping kitchen cabinets. See article here for more details.

For painting the cabinets, I wasn’t able to find ‘husks of wheat’ on the Plascon Inspired Colour System, but I would suggest that you:

1. Look at colours from the same swatch card or,

2. Use complementary or adjacent colours if you want to add a splash of bold colour

Once you find the swatch code for the colour used in your home, enter this into the Plascon Colour System to see the colour options.

Scrub the cabinets clean and then sand with 180-grit sandpaper to de-gloss the finish. Paint with Plascon Velvaglo with a paintbrush and foam roller, or use one of the Rust-Oleum colours in Protective Enamel Spray. You will find both products at your local Builders Warehouse.



Sent: 24 February 2014 07:12 AM

How to freshen dirty grout

The grout in between my white tile on bathroom wall has turned a brownish color. I tried bleach & a tooth brush & didn't work. Any ideas?

Hi Gail,
Dirt has probably already stained the grout, which is why the bleach and toothbrush won't work. You could try using a Plascon Grout Pen over the grout lines. The pen contains a paint formula that soaks into the surface of the grout to brighten.



Sent: 22 February 2014 09:18 AM

Replace pan seat on toilet

I have a closed couple toiled installed in a very narrow place and a seal that started to leak where the pan connects to the outlet(main drain. My problem is that one cannot access the seal in any way but to break out the toilet. Question:Is there any substance i can use from the inside of the toilet to stop the leak before i break out the toilet. Please assist.

Hi Johannes,
Must be honest, I don’t know of any product on the market that can be used from the inside of the toilet, and this isn’t any way that you can get past the bend even if there was a product. What a pity that you have to rip out a toilet just because the pan seal has failed.



Sent: 15 February 2014 03:32 PM

Painting built-in cupboards

Hi Janice,
Thank you very much for all your awesome and handy tips, tricks and advise on all levels! I have a query regarding a previous post - 'Alison Tuesday, 30 October 2012 12:33 AM Painting built in cupboards' - In the article you mention that one can paint laminate furniture with 'Plascon water-based enamel paint for kitchens and bathrooms' - Do I need to apply a primer first before I can use that or can I apply directly onto laminate?

Hi Annette,
When painting laminate or melamine I do normally recommend that you scrub clean and de-gloss first. This is done by lightly sanding the surface with 180-grit sandpaper.



Sent: 13 February 2014 02:46 PM

Fix hole in roof

Hi Janice
Compliments of the season and all the very best to you and the Home Dzine team with all the projects and DIY ideas for 2014. I love all the projects. I would like to remove a freestanding fireplace in my home, how would I close the hole where the chimney is - the roof is asbestos - the hole in the roof (from the top of the roof) that measures about 30cmx30cm? Highly appreciate your advice and thank you for an awesome website and the talented people who create such fantastic things. Congratulations to you Janice for creating this fantastic website.

Hi Wilfred,
What about cutting a piece of shutterply to fit in the space and then applying tar paper over the top? Not sure if you can buy tar paper at Builders, but if you can you can apply this with a blowtorch. Alternatively, patching up with membrane tape and waterproofing paint, but not sure about the efficacy of this method.



Sent: 10 February 2014 05:31 PM

Safe to use pallets indoors?

Is it really safe to use pallet furniture indoors.

Hi Thabo,

As long as the wood is rot and woodworm free and has been exposed to air for a while, there's no reason why you can't use pallet wood indoors. I always recommend that wood be treated with Plascon Wood Cleaner before use.



Sent: 09 February 2014 10:53 AM

Repair cane chair

I have a can chair which needs repairing. I have tried all over to obtain the can which I would like to use to rewrap an area around the bottom of the chair and cannot find a supplier who will sell me some other than in 50KG. Do have any idea who would be able to supply to me with this as I would like to repair the chair myself and not send it to someone else as I enjoy DIY challenges.

Hi Yvonne,
I’m not sure if there is a spelling mistake here and that you actually mean cane to wrap around the bottom of the chair? If it is cane you are referring to, unfortunately this is imported and that is probably why the supplier will only sell in bulk. I not sure what to recommend as an alternative. If the chair is being used indoors, you could look at using hemp or coir twine/rope instead.



Sent: 06 February 2014 09:35 AM

Shower door has turned opaque

How can I revamp a shower - the glass has gone off colour.

Hi Yolanda,
I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'glass has gone off colour' since glass is clear. Do you perhaps mean that the glass has got a milky-white film over the surface. If so, this is hard water and mineral deposits from the water that build up over time, and you should be able to clean this off.

Fill a spray bottle with white spirit vinegar and start spraying at the top of the shower door, letting it drip to the bottom. Work your way down to the bottom. Repeat this every 5 minutes or so, and you will find that the vinegar breaks down the hard water stain and you can use a kitchen sponge scourer to clean off.



Sent: 06 February 2014 01:17 PM

Dress of plain gold mirror frame

I have a large gold framed mirror that I want to refurbish. I have bought a pewter kit but the frame is plain and I would like to add some detail to it. I was thinking of maybe sticking polystyrene moulding on to the frame, please help with some ideas.

Hi Magalie,
You can stick polystyrene moulding to the frame, but can then only use acrylic paints on the polystyrene, unless you use extruded (hard) polystyrene. I would suggest that you rather look at the variety of pine and supawood mouldings and trim that you will find at your local Builders Warehouse. These can be painted with any paint, including a pewter kit.



Sent: 06 February 2014 10:03 AM

Advice on choosing paint colour

Hi Janice,
Firstly thank you for this great site.

I have a big paint dilemma - I have a open plan area that is my lounge, dining room and kitchen (it's a duplex). My walls are painted in a yellow/mustard colour which I can't look at anymore. I am trying to find a nice earthy colour such as brown, but all the samples I bring home (and you don't want to see all my samples.....i can start my own paint shop:-)......have a pinkish undertone or it turns out to look to grey or like a purple colour. I see so many shops and houses with the brown warm earthy paint on their walls, but I really battle finding this. Will the brown colour make my space look bigger?

My house is all open plan. My colour scheme at the moment is red and orange and browns, but I am slowly trying to change it too more earthy colours.

Advice on choosing paint colour

Hi Lizelle,
Thanks for getting in touch, and thank you!

Choosing paint colour is always tricky and even though you take paint swatches home to try them out, making the right decision is not easy.

First off, I wouldn’t recommend a brown colour for the walls. Your furniture and accessories are already dark and adding a dark colour would make the space feel very cramped and claustrophobic. It would be better to lighten up and give the illusion of a larger, brighter space – one that you can live in and enjoy.

Advice on choosing paint colour

Although the colour in the images you sent through is not true, in the one image that you sent the colour that shows on the staircase – and how it display on the screen here – would be the perfect colour. I can match this to Plascon Pale Linen [Y1-C2-3]. It is a pale creamy mushroom colour that would blend perfectly with all your existing home accessories and let your artwork stand out.



Sent: 05 February 2014 01:52 PM

Stains on leather couches

My name is Eleanore and I have a big problem with my couches, I bought new genuine leather red brown couches last year. I thought that it was the best in terms of low maintenance and that we could just wipe it clean, but to my surprise the chairs are leaving marks if certain things falls on it. I do not have a TV room, so we use our living room for both tv and relaxing. I bought leather cleaner, but it only works if I clean up immediately, which is not possible with kids in the house.

Hi Eleanore,
Some leather is treated with a protective finish during manufacture, and some isn’t. Since leather is a natural material it does absorb spills and, unlike upholstered fabric which can be treated with a stain-prevention formula, this can’t be done on leather.

There are leather products on the market that can aid in the reduction of stains: and to assist in keeping a leather couch clean, and Saddle Soap does offer a fair amount of protection.



Sent: 03 February 2014 08:11 PM

Painting supawood / MDF furniture

Dear DIY Divas
We are trying to start a business which involves kids furniture, we are trying to paint on MDF wood but we are struggling quite a bit with the rollers and the finish. I wanted to find out if you have a workshop on painting wood or if you can recommend someone that can help us. We are based in Gauteng.

Hi Tanya,
First off, when painting supawood always add water to the first coat to make it slightly - not too - runny. You want a small amount of absorption, so that the wood sucks up the paint but still leaves some on top for bonding to the next coat of undiluted paint.

You also need to do some sanding between coats. I normally apply two coats and then sand with 240-grit sandpaper before applying another two coats. The top coat is also sanded with 1000-grit sandpaper before I apply sealer or antique wax, depending on the finish you want. Wetting the 1000-grit sandpaper and lightly rubbing in a circular motion also gives an ultra-smooth finish.

Hope that helps.



Sent: 31 January 2014 03:09 PM

Concrete floors and Coolcrete article

Dear Janice
I read your article on Coolcrete stain for conrete floors. We are busy making plans / investigating options to convert the floors in our open plan living room area and kitchen to cement. We lifted all the tiles (as they were cracking and the majority made that dreadful hollow sound when tapping them) and also removed the carpet in the living room.

Our initial product of choice was Stone Cote (a cementitious overlay system of ± 3 mm), however, when the contractor came to site he indicated that the screed/topping is unstable and of poor quality. We completely agree, as the existing cement screed is almost crumbling and has a lot of places where it also makes the hollow sound. Shocking the quality (or the lack thereof) in townhouses in complexes. They just build for quantity and not quality. His suggestion was that the existing topping be removed, and a new cement topping be installed and wood floated, which would allow him to install his overlay. Due to a limited budget, we informed him that we will not be able to install a new topping, AND have him install the overlay. He responded by saying that he will work on a new quote based on a dry-shake (type of colour hardener) which can be floated into the wet screed once poured. Unfortunately we have been waiting for the amended quote since last Friday.

In the mean time, I have done quite a lot of reading, trying to find ways to 'decorate / finish' a new cement screed/topping to produce a floor. Along came your article on Coolcrete (by TFC) and when I saw the photo in the article, I thought that floor that would fit like a glove with our existing decor and the plans we have to redo the boring townhouse kitchen. Could you please confirm what colour of Coolcrete was used to produce this floor? And with which of the TFC sealer products it was sealed?

Hi Pieter,
Have looked at the image and this is a Coolcrete stain that has been applied over a floated, untreated concrete floor. The colour is very subtle and has been enhanced by an application of sealer over the top. If you visit you will be able to see the various colours options, as well as the full range of products available for use on concrete.



Sent: 31 January 2014 07:42 AM

Countertop finishing options

Hi Janice
Your website is such a wealth of inspiration and education. Thank you!

At present I am tiling a whole wall in ‘shattered mirrors’ – I have a tiny kitchen (a corridor actually!) and I have tried so hard to visualise how to replace the existing standard white tile splashback with something more dramatic. The problem is the wall does not have an even surface so no matter which tiles I choose and no matter how well I tile, the result will not be perfect unless I have the wall re-plastered. Then I saw a shattered tile splashback on the Internet and I had the answer – the’ tile mosaic’ hides all imperfections and is most definitely wow! I haven’t finished yet – I keep a bag of mirror pieces and a tube of No-More Nails on the counter top and whenever I have a spare moment, I add a few more pieces – I will send you the finished result. I am doing the whole wall – floor to ceiling so it may take a couple more months. ( If you recommend this project to your readers, please insist on the safety factor when breaking the mirrors – gloves, safety googles and break the mirror inside a very thick cloth)

I am really writing to ask if you know where I may find Rust-Oleum Countertop Renovation kit – I have approached Boman but they say they have discontinued the line. If I cannot find the Rust-Oleum kit, can one paint and seal the countertop? Can one decoupage a countertop – is there some kind of resin finish one can apply to make it durable?

Secondly, it is my birthday next week and I am giving myself (and my daughter whose birthday is the following week – we share resources) a Dremel multi-purpose craft tool. May I ask which one you would recommend? Should I go big straight away or should I be more modest and add-on?

Thanks so much for your fabulous ideas and help – really appreciated.

Hi Shirley,
Thank you!

Your shattered mirror backsplash sounds like a great idea and I would love to share the project with readers. I know my backsplash is uneven – the whole wall in fact – and I am looking at a mosaic option as well... when I finally find the time!

The Rust-Oleum Countertop was discontinued for a while, as it worked out more expensive than actually replacing countertops if you used Formica LifeSeal tops. However, they might be re-launching the product here in SA and I will definitely be posting details on if they do.

I have tried various ways and means to cover a countertop, from decoupage to mosaic. The latter worked out beautifully but decoupage was a disaster. The problem is finding the right product to seal the top. I tried polyurethane and 2-part liquid glass, but the liquid glass works out far too expensive. Having tried both however, I am now going to be replacing my countertops with new Formica LifeSeal countertops, since new ones only cost between R500 to R800 per 3.6 metre length at your local Builders Warehouse.

As for the Dremel, if you want to use the tool to its fullest (eg. Engraving on glass) go for the Dremel 4000 as it has high speed essential for engraving glass. The newest model is the Dremel 4200 with EZ-click system, but the kit doesn’t include the extension, which I find extremely handy when doing detailed work.



Sent: 29 January 2014 02:22 PM

Concrete or tiles on patio?

I am looking for advice. I currently have a small patio area thats only 3 x 3 metres. We recently removed our old dingy umbrella and installed a lovely patio roof that makes the area look so much bigger. The bricks that we currently have there are outdated and they gather lots of dirt and I'm looking for a more modern and sleek look but wanna do it as money friendly as possible.

I was thinking about simply laying concrete in this area beacuse it will be much easier to keep clean. Is it possible to paint over any type of concrete? What cement could you reccomend and what paint will not leave marks easily if I paint the concrete?

I was also looking into possibly laying wood grain finish tiles? Any suggestions or advice will be much appreciated, you have such amazing taste - I know any advice from you will help.

Hi Anna,
Adding the patio roof will make such a difference to the amount of use you will get out of your patio.

If you are looking to lay down cement it might be a far better option to add pigments (different colours available) to colour the cement, rather than paint it. That way you don’t have to worry about damaging the paint finish by moving chairs in and out. It also works out far less expensive than having to re-paint every year or so.

You can buy pigment powder for cement at your local Builders Warehouse.

For wood grain tiles, you can get in touch with your local Tile Africa.



Sent: 29 January 2014 08:54 AM

Rejuvenate plastic and ceramic pots

Do you know any way to rejuvenate old plastic and ceramic plant pots and make them look presentable again? I have lots of really big pots that I can’t afford to replace but as they are outdoor plants the sun tends to make them look very tatty. I tried to repaint them, but the paint peels off the plastic pots and I get brush strokes on the ceramic ones and they just look so dull. I love crafts and projects around the house – not that I am any good at them!

Hi Terri,

Rust-Oleum spray paint !!

The stuff is amazing and nothing like yesterday’s spray paint. Give the plastic pots a light sanding with 240-grit sandpaper before you spray. You will find the full range at your local Builders Warehouse.



Sent: 28 January 2014 12:50 PM

My floor tiles are very dull

Dear Janice,
I have ceramic floor tiles - can I paint these as they are fading and dull. If not, what products do I need to buy for stripping and re-sealing my floor tiles?

Hi Denise,
Unfortunately you can’t paint floor tiles, as the paint simply wears off. However, you can use an epoxy paint on ceramic tiles, but it is extremely expensive and time-consuming to apply, not to mention that it only comes in limited colour options. You will find quite an extensive range of TFC products at any Builders Warehouse. Just tell them you want to strip and reseal ceramic tiles.



Sent: 27 January 2014 03:28 PM


Hi Janice
I have subscribed a while back and always collect your online magazines and keep for future reference. I recently lost all the data on my hard drive and since gone back to your website and saved all the issues again. I am so happy that I can have these with me again. Also, we should be getting our first home soon and I am so excited because now I will have a chance to try some of the projects that I was unable to create before. Thank you so much for an awesome newsletter and a wonderful website.

Hi Pearl,
Thank you ever so much for getting in touch. When I receive emails like this it makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Although I have stopped publishing the magazine, I now make every effort to add even more content onto, so that readers can stop by whenever they feel like it.



Sent: 25 January 2014 09:11 PM

Fibreboard ceiling plaster falling off

Hi there,
I have recently used contractors to fix a ceiling to my patio, they used fibreboard and used plaster to smooth the ceiling out and then painted it white. The snag is in a few weeks it have large cracks in the finish to the extent I have chunks of plaster falling down. They claim they used a bonding agent and blame the heat from the patio roof. The patio is approx 23 squares. What has gone wrong and what can I expect as a remedy?

Hi Dylan,
I can't see why heat would have any effect. It bonding liquid was used and the plaster cement mixed right heat has nothing to do with it. My first thought is that the boards are not supported enough and you are getting movement, which would definitely cause the plaster to crack to the degree that big chunks fall off.

I have a cement fibre board ceiling applied underneath an IBR roof, and there isn't a crack in sight.



Sent: 23 January 2014 11:14 PM

Repaint and makeover old fridge

I have an old Fuchsware Fridge (weighs almost 1 ton....) - jut kidding. The fridge is 45 years old and still in a good condition and working perfectly. I want to have it "re-sprayed" to give it the new 'tero look'. Is there somebody in Pretoria you can refer me to for this job. I inherited it and I want to use it as a centrepiece in our new living/bar area.

Hi Teresa,
If you use Rust-Oleum appliance spray, there’s no reason why this can’t be a quick and easy project for you to do yourself (and save some money!)



Sent: 22 January 2014 01:25 PM

Decorating a boring mobile office

Hi Janice,
I work in an aluminium exterior, wood panel interior, mobile office. The walls inside are as said wood panels, and are VERY boring and uninspiring. The finish is very smooth, almost like laminate flooring. What can i do in order to paint them?

Hi Shaun,
If the finish is very smooth as you say, you will need to sand then down with 180-grit sandpaper to de-gloss the finish. Once that’s done you can paint with a quality acrylic, such as Plascon Wall & All in your choice of colour.

Rather than painting, what about hanging colourful art? Much cheaper and easier to do!



Sent: 20 January 2014 04:57 PM

Resealing glazing in wooden cottage pane windows

Please can you advise what product is best and how do you go about resealing cottage pane windows and doors that are in urgent need of maintenance? What sealant would you recommend for basic treatment of all wood? Your assistance in this regard would be much appreciated.

Hi Sandy,
Most wooden windows have a small strip that is inserted to hold the glass in place. If this has deteriorated or broken away, you can use an exterior sealer (similar to silicone) and apply this around the edge of the glass: This product comes in different tints that can be matched to the wood frame.



Sent: 07 January 2014 02:12 PM

Wood dining table advice

I was reading through your website and thought I might get a expert opinion on what to do to my dining room table before I mess it up for good. I recently made myself a dining room table from Oregon Pine. At the moment the wood is still in raw form. We are scared to use it at the moment because we are afraid of stains/marks that it can get. I wood like some protective layer on it and would like your opinion on what I should use. Also, I am not so fond of the orange/pinkish/yellow color that the wood has at the moment. Is it possible to get it more browner/darker?

Hi Carl,
My compliments on the work you have done on the table. It looks amazing.

Firstly, you can use a variety of Woodoc gel stains to change the colour of the table. Plascon Woodcare offers several products in matt, satin or gloss finish for interior and exterior wood. Because it’s a dining table and needs to be able to handle heat from time to time, Plascon Woodcare Ultra will be the best choice.

If you get the chance, please send me pics of the finished table. Would love to share with readers.


After countless hours of research I decided to go with Danish oil. The "golden/yellow" shine of the table came out a bit more than I would have liked. But with so many options and advice I suppose you will never know if you made the correct choice. Please see attached picture. This is with one coat of Danish oil. I still need to apply another two. I guess no matter what product I chose the natural yellow color of the wood would have came out either way. Let me know what you think.


Danish Oil is always a nice choice, but do bear in mind that the table will need regular applications to protect from spillage and heat. I would definitely apply more coats, so that the oil is absorbed into the cells of the wood. You know when you have applied enough when the surface stays wet for longer than 5 minutes.

If you still want to try to tone down the yellow colour, wait a month or two until the oil has had time to degrade and then try a gel stain. Antique oak should balance out the yellow.



Sent: 05 January 2014 02:11 PM

Dresser makeover with Rust-Oleum

Hi Janice
I recently gave a very old dresser a face lift and enclose herewith the before and after photos. I really enjoyed the hard slog and it took me about 4 weekends to strip off all the old varnish, wax etc. Used Rust-0leum heirloom white spray paint to finish.

Hi Loraine,
What a wonderful transformation. The piece now looks so bright.



Sent: 05 January 2014 12:44 AM

How to drill straight hole

Good day,
I want to install a new sleeper wood door . The carpenter who made the door for me did not install any hinges. I now want to install a pivot hinge in the door but I am scared to drill into the door with a hand drill without the proper control to keep it level. Is there perhaps some jig or drill guide that you are aware of that I can use? I could not find any jigs from our Mica / Builders Warehouse to assist me with the task.

Hi Duan,
You don't mention where you are located, but try What you need is a drill press, but I only know of ones that are used on a benchtop.

A quick tip you can try is to attach a small spirit level to the top of the drill with Prestik. You find the small ones at Builders Warehouse.


Thank you so much for the rapid reply Janice!

Thank you for the website as well. I am situated in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng. I agree that a drill press would have worked best if it was able to 'mount' it to the door. I will try the spirit level idea it might be slightly demanding but it will work thank you. I saw a very nice tool on internet that would have worked perfectly but I cannot find it anywhere (see attached picture). My Dremel has a similar attachment but obviously it cannot take the size bits required for the hardware.

Love the website, brilliant- keep it up!



Sent: 04 January 2014 01:31 AM

Fix up scratched interior door

I have a couple of doors that my EX-roommate's puppy scratched and tore up the face of the white door. I was looking for something I could overlay to cover the damage. The door is a white bathroom door that I am concerned about mainly. The other is a storage room door.

Hi Stephen,
The cost of a new door is only around R300 at your local Builders Warehouse. But if you are looking for just a fix up I have previously used wood filler to fill up scratches. Apply a thin layer of wood filler and let this dry before sanding smooth. Plascon have launched a new product – one coat - that you can use to paint over the door once done.



Sent: 03 January 2014 09:26 PM

Using damask stencil

Hi Janice,
Thanks once again for your awesome site!

I'm a seriously NEW beginner in DIY, I've got the imagination but not the hands :-). I want to create a homely living area and a really romantic bedroom space. I love the Damask design in metallic paint for my bedroom,but unsure what colour paint will suit the wall paint. Can I please send u my living room wall and bedroom wall,for u to have a look and advise if possible?

Hi Michelle,
Please DO send through pics for me to take a look at.

The damask design is lovely once done, and there's also the option to do it with a satin basecoat and the stencil design in a clear gloss, which also looks stunning.

For the peach wall I would go with a slightly lighter or darker shade of the same colour, or a pale colour such as Plascon O4-A2-1- Nursery Rhyme. The burnt orange wall with a black stencil and black frames sounds like a good idea.



Sent: 03 January 2014 11:16 AM

Share projects on Home-Dzine

You have the most amazing site on the internet. I visit your site daily, and steal most of your ideas. In fact, I recently made the tufted headboard using the peg board. Will send you pics.

Hi Dawn,
Always love to hear from someone who enjoys visiting the website.

Please DO send through pics of your projects – I wish more people would share. It’s nice to see the projects that other people do.



Sent: 02 January 2014 05:50 PM

Paint varnished brick

Good day thanks for useful tips on painting brick wall.

1. I have bought a house that has had the exterior face brick painted with varnish which is in good condition and not flaking but I desperately need to change the look. My concern is the bonding ability of paint onto varnished brick - any suggestions on preparation and type of paint to use?

2. A similar interior brick wall possess the same problem but I would like to get a whitewash look on this surface, again concerns about paint bonding onto varnished surface. Your help will be appreciated

Hi Carrie,
When painting over varnish (both interior and exterior) the normal procedure is to sand the surface to de-gloss, or remove the shine so that the new layer of paint has something to bond onto. However, you are talking about painting a large area of exterior wall, which is going to involve far more work and sanding isn’t really an option. There are primers/undercoats that you could apply to the wall before painting, but there’s no guarantee that the process will work 100% and it will also be costly to apply primer and then paint.

My suggestion would be to look consider a small area as a test area where you can try various options to see which works best. Cleaning with a high-pressure spray is recommended as an alternative to sanding, but you have to be extremely careful not to damage mortar joints. After spraying, apply Plascon Multi Surface Primer before painting over with Plascon Wall & All or Micatex.





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