Philobiblon: Building tips

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Building tips

Sorry about the delay in resumption of normal service - doing all the finishing off of the flat refurbishment and unpacking my ridiculously large library, has taken considerably longer than expected. In the meantime, some potentially useful things I've learnt, for anyone else heading down the DIY route:

* Laying laminate flooring is really pretty easy, and immensely satisfying. The mock-tile stuff is excellent; it looks good and is practical, particularly if you have concrete floors that resemble the lower slopes of the Himalayas.

* Don't buy the ridiculously overpriced, tacky plastic strips that DIY stores offer to finish off the expansion gap around the edges. Your local builders' merchant will sell wood beading that you can paint to match the skirting. I bought 32m of the stuff for about £20; it would have been a fortune in B&Q. Also, don't worry about the cork spacing Homebase sells; just leave the centimetre gap around the edges.

* B&Q kitchens are really good quality for the price. My builder says don't touch Ikea.

* Older electrical systems in council flats don't have earth wires. The system is earthed by the screws into the metal box in the wall. (Very puzzling when you first look at it, if you're an electrical neophyte like me!)

*Really dark wall colours will take three coats minimum, requiring far more paint than you'd think possible. (But I think my deep purple arch in the bedroom looks rather good.)

*Moving flatpack furniture really isn't worth the effort. It always falls apart, even without the help of my removalist from hell, but that's another story ...


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