Household tasks made easy
Replace door handles, install blinds, hang picture frames and reseal basins or sinks with ease
By Aarifah Nosarka
Replacing a door handle
Door handles are used regularly on a daily basis and must work properly not only to prevent agitation, but also for security reasons. The general rule when selecting door handles is to choose good quality units for lasting performance. Changing a door handle can also be done for aesthetic reasons, but are most often replaced when worn or broken.
In order to choose the correct handle for your door, measure the backset and hole diameter of the door in question. The hole links the handle on the outside to that on the inside, and the backset is the distance from the edge of the door to the centre of the lock itself.
Step 1: Start by removing the old handle. To do this, unscrew the screws from both sides of the handle plate. Do this one side at a time, starting at the bottom and ending at the top. If you are unable to find the screws, it may be because the door handle has a cover plate. This can be easily removed using the blade of a flat screwdriver to clip off the plate.
Step 2: Make sure the face plate or strike plate is still secure and the screws are flush. If the face plate is not secure, it may be a safety hazard, and if the screws are not flush, they can prevent the door from closing properly. The internals of the lock can also be replaced if necessary by removing the face plate.
Step 3: Read the instructions provided with the new handle; assembly directions may differ between brands. Align the front and back handles and insert these through the holes and into the cylinder mechanism provided (this links the inside and outside handles). It is best to use a level when positioning the handles to ensure the top and sides of the handles are horizontally and vertically true before screwing them in place.
Dressing your windows can be a difficult decision thanks to the variety of options available.
However, if you are exchanging outdated curtains for blinds, a DIY installation is simple and
will save you money. Common blinds consist of horizontal or vertical slats, which can be opened
or pulled aside using a mechanism. The slats can be adjusted to alter the amount of light allowed
in or opened fully for maximum light.
Step 1: Before purchasing your blinds, measure the width and height of the wall surrounding the
window. Subtract about 10mm from the width to allow for clearance on either side and add a
couple of millimetres to the top and bottom for adequate length.
Step 2: Once you have the blinds, mark the dimensions described above on the top of the wall surrounding the window. Also measure and mark the space in-between the window and the end of the wall opening. While doing this, consider how the blind will look in this position, and make sure it is not positioned too close to the window.
Step 3: Hold the bracket in place and use it as a template to mark the screw holes. Pre-drill the holes and secure the bracket with wall plugs and screws using a screwdriver or drill driver.
Step 4: Mount the headrail (the top portion of the blinds) in the brackets. Venetian blinds are normally locked into place by a swivel catch on each bracket and others are simply clamped.
Test that the mechanism works by raising and lowering the blind. Lowering or moving the blind across involves pulling the sash chord across the front of the blind, which releases the lock mechanism, then letting the sash cord slide through your hand.
Resealing a bath, basin or sink
When you notice that the silicone sealant around your bath, basin or sink is peeling or that there
is mould build-up, this is indicative that a reseal is required. All silicone seals must be kept in good
condition, otherwise water will penetrate and cause damage. Before resealing the junctions around
your sanitaryware, remove the old sealant from the surrounding areas. Applying new sealant on
top of the old is not advised because the new silicone won’t stick very well to the old stuff.
Removing the old sealant
Use a utility knife to carefully cut along the length of the silicone, loosening it vertically and
horizontally without scratching or damaging the surface you are removing it from. Peel away the
loose silicone and scrape off the remainder with a paint scraper. There may be some small strands
of sealant left. Remove these by dabbing a little white spirit on an old cloth and rubbing it over the
excess strands until they come off. Clean the area with water and a mild detergent. Thoroughly dry
the surface before attempting to apply new sealant. There are several ways to reapply a silicone seal,
but the one described below uses only a cartridge of applicable sealant, a caulking gun and a nozzle cutter or blade.
Step 1: Read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to apply the sealant. Pull the nozzle away from the cartridge, screw the nozzle onto the cartridge and trim it diagonally leaving a hole twice the width of the bead of silicone you intend laying down.
Step 2: Hold the vertical opening against the gap being sealed and push the gun away from you while pulling the trigger slowly and smoothly, ensuring that you work it well into the gap. This should lay down the perfect fillet of silicone without you having to touch the silicone.
Hanging a picture
A house without decoration is not a home. Hanging pictures or paintings allows you to show off your family members or reveal your artistic side. They also add a splash of colour to a room and give it a unique personal touch.
Step 1: Position your picture by holding it against the wall and mark the top using a pencil or tape. If your frame is too large to hold, use a level instead of the picture itself, taking into consideration the dimensions.
Step 2: Turn the picture around and measure the distance from the top of the frame to the hook. Transfer the measurement to the wall moving downwards from where you marked with pencil or tape.
Step 3: Draw an X on the spot where you need to drill the hole for the picture screw to be inserted.
Step 4: After drilling in the desired location, insert the plug and screw.
Modern fixings may differ in design. People staying in rented homes are often not allowed to make any holes or add permanent fixtures. Ways to hang a picture on a wall without creating any holes include using picture hanging strips, adhesive nails and hooks, sawtooth fasteners or double-sided tape (for lighter objects – avoid hanging anything with a frame when using double-sided tape).
Ensure that the wall surface and picture are clean and dry when using adhesive products so they stick properly. Follow step 1 described above as well as the manufacturer’s instructions for a perfectly mounted picture frame.
• The new handle
• Spirit level
• Stepladder (use at your discretion)
• Tape measure
• Drill driver
• Utility knife
• Paint scraper
• Latex gloves
• Spirit level
• Tape measure
• Pencil or tape
• Drill driver (only necessary if you are drilling into the wall)
• Picture screw/picture hanging strips/adhesive nails, hooks, sawtooth fasteners or double-sided tape