DIY Tips: How to Lay Ceramic Floor Tiles

Ceramic tiles can be incredibly decorative and they’re perfect for jazzing up a hallway, kitchen or bathroom. They’re even better with some underfloor heating. Learn how to lay them with this guide and take a look at this link for tools that’ll help you get the job done.


Getting Started and Prepping the Floor

Remove any doors that are facing inwards, as this will make the job much, much easier. Remember though that tiling the floor might raise the floor level, which could mean that you have to take the door off of the hinges and plane it so that it sits flush with the floor – after all, you don’t want your lovely new floor to all scratched as soon as you lay it.

You’ll need to remove the existing tiles before you can lay the new ones – but it’s quite easy (and fun). Cover your eyes with protective goggles and use a hammer and bolster to chip away at the tiles. Protect furniture by covering with sheeting. Once the tiles have been removed, fill any cracks. Check that the floor is level and if not, use a self-levelling screed. You can tile over tiles, but you’d have to coat with scratch paper and PVA first so that the new tiles can adhere to the old tiles. If you’re tiling over chipboard, cover it with plywood first.

Planning the Layout

Planning the layout really depends on whether or not you want to create a pattern with the tiles. Find the very middle of the room and mark with a chalk cross – use two lengths of string for this. Dry lay a single row of tiles from one corner of this cross, using spaces, along the line and up to the wall. Then lay a second line of tiles, so that there are two lines going to the wall. There will be a thin gap between the tiles and the wall, but this gap should be at least the width of half a tile or more as it’s too difficult to cut tiles any smaller.

Nail temporary battens around the room that you can use as a guide. Two battens should form a right angle and the sides of the battens should touch the edges of the two rows of tiles that you just laid. Dry lay tiles in the battened corner of the room.

Laying the Tiles

Spread waterproof adhesive over an area 4×4 tiles wide using a notched spreader. Lay your first tile using the battens as a guide, starting at the end of the room that’s further away from the door. Use the plastic spacers to mark out the distance between the tiles, using a spirit level to make sure that the floor is flat. If a tile is too high, put a piece of wood on top and then give it a gentle bash with a hammer. If a tile is too low, you can add another layer of adhesive to bring it up. Run a knife around the battens and tiles to remove excess adhesive, then keep going until you’ve laid all of the tiles you can. Leave to dry for 24 hours before removing the spacers and use a “wet” tile cutter to cut tiles for edges and around toilets.


For a clean, smmooth finish, use a grout spread edged with rubber. Ensure that any gaps are filled evenly, then wipe clean using a cloth before the grout dries.

Source: UKTV Home

DIY Tips: Bedroom Flooring Ideas

Make your bedroom look a million dollars by taking a look at our brilliant bedroom flooring ideas. From floor tiles that evoke memories of far-flung holidays to soft, fluffy carpet that you can sink your feet into, we have a flooring idea that will work for you. Read on for our tips and take a look at this link for tools to help you lay your brand new floor.



  • Tiled floors are popular across Mediterannean climes and with good reason – they’re cool, easy to clean and care for and if you choose the right kind of tile, super chic too. Choose an earthy coloured tile like the one in the image above and team with neutral fabrics and walls for a bedroom that oozes with laidback charm.
  • Wooden flooring is always a popular choice for bedrooms, especially in period properties, as it adds plenty of character – but it can be a bit chilly on your feet. Continue the flooring through to the hallway or any adjoining rooms, like the bathroom, to make the rooms flow and feel bigger. Put a rug on either side of the bed, too, so that you can keep your feet nice and warm until you put your slippers on in the morning.
  • Patterned carpets have fallen out of fashion favour a little bit in recent years, it’s now coming back with a bang. Stripes are the most popular pattern as they go with everything and work in virtually every decor, from modern to period. Choose autumnal hues like oxblood, brown and golden orange to add warmth to chilly north-facing rooms.
  • Don’t forget about using a patterned rug to create a bold style statement. Choose a rug with bright, bold colours and a loud, splashy print to pull the whole room together and then pick colours out of the rug to finish off the rest of the room.
  • Another option is to paint your wooden flooring. If your floorboards are in good shape and aren’t too cracked or chipped, instead of covering them up, why not paint them? Pastel colours and a very pale white always look beautiful in a bedroom, or for a strong, bold look, opt for a deep aubergine, olive green or dark charcoal grey. Remember though that you’ll have to re-paint the floorboards quite frequently as they are subject to a little bit of wear and tear – make sure you seal the floor with a high-quality varnish or sealant.
  • Brighten up the room and make your bedroom feel bigger by using light carpet or floorboards. Light colours create a feeling of space and are really the easiest way to make your bedroom feel larger.
  • Mix and match patterns. Floral bedlinens can work brilliantly well with a striped carpet so long as you stick to colours from the same palette.

Source: UKTV Home

DIY Tips: Kitchen Vinyl Flooring Ideas

Vinyl flooring has a bit of a bad reputation, but there are plenty of good things about this practical, versatile material – it’s easy to clean, easy to maintain and is super durable, too – perfect for busy households. Get the look of wooden flooring or even flagstone tiles with a high-quality vinyl, or opt for a simply vinyl floor for a low-impact, fuss-free look. Read on for our tips to choosing kitchen vinyl and take a look at this link to help you fit the flooring.



  • An easy, fuss-free way to inject a little bit of brightness and colour into your kitchen is with a brightly-coloured vinyl floor. It’s inexpensive, too, so if you decide to change it up again in a few year’s time you can replace it quickly and easily for an instant update without having to replace your kitchen door and drawer fronts.
  • For a classic yet contemporary kitchen floor, why not opt for a Victorian-inspired black and white checked floor? Use large black and white floor tiles and if one gets damaged, you can easily replace it without forking out a lot of money.
  • If your kitchen is a bit dark, or if it doesn’t get a lot of natural light, make sure that you choose light flooring in a pale or neutral colour in a natural effect, like tile, stone or pale laminate, as it’ll make the space feel bigger and brighter.
  • If your kitchen units don’t match the rest of your furniture, for example, if you have white units and an oak dining table, a mottled stone-effect floor can really help tie the whole room together, especially if you choose a vinyl that contains a few different colours.
  • For a sleek and stylish look, choose vinyl flooring with a modern and abstract pattern  – softer and more comfortable than cold, stone tiles, it can be surprisingly chic.
  • Get the look of real wooden flooring with wood-effect vinyl – run it through the kitchen and through the dining room, too, to make the room look bigger and wider. Plus, wooden vinyl is actually more practical than real wood flooring in a kitchen, as you can drip water on it or spill food over it and mop it up really easily – if you drop water onto real wood flooring, over time, the floor could warp. For a rustic look, choose a wood-effect vinyl that is a shade or two darker than your wooden units or dining furniture.
  • Although slate tiles can work wonderfully well in both modern and period properties, they’re not only incredibly expensive but they can be fairly difficult to maintain, too. Instead, try a slate-effect vinyl.

Source: UKTV Home

DIY Tips: How to Repair Skirting Boards

Traditional finishing touches, like skirting boards, architrave and ceiling moulding can all make a huge difference to the look of a period property. Although older skirting boards can be more intricate and elaborate than modern skirting, the process behind repairing them remains the same.


Tip: if the skirting board is completely split or rotten in places, it’ll be easier for you to replace that complete section, rather than only a small part of it as the join will be less obvious when you come to paint it.

Things You’ll Need:

  • pencil and tape measure
  • new skirting board
  • chisel, hammer and crowbar
  • handsaw
  • timber battens
  • coping saw
  • flexible filler, wood filler and a filler knife
  • combination square
  • drill and drill bits
  • screws and wall fixings
  • paint

Remove the Skirting

First, prise the skirting away from the wall using a chisel and hammer. Start at the centre of the wall, then work your way out to the edges. Next, work your way methodically along the length of the board, removing wall fixings and screws, before finally pulling the skirting off of the wall. You might need to use a crowbar to help you do this.

If corner joints are trapping the length of skirting you wish to remove, place wooden battens behind the centre section of board still attached to the wall, then saw through the skirting at an angle, so that you don’t damage the wall. Remove.

Tip: Can’t find skirting to match your skirting boards? There are plenty of options – you can take a section of the skirting board that you’ve removed to a local timber yard. Chances are, they’ll be able to find a piece to match – if not, take the piece to a joinery firm or carpenter and ask them to machine some new pieces for you.

Cutting the New Skirting Board

Cutting the new length of skirting might sound simple – after all, it’s a case of just measuring the gap, then cutting the new piece of skirting to fit. Use the combination square to mark up a 45 degree angle on the face and edges of the skirting board, then carefully saw through the marks you made to cut the board to size.

Fixing the Skirting

Finally, once the wood has been cut, you can simply fix the skirting to the wall, by sinking screws into the wall fixings. Once in place, fill in any gaps using the fillers, then use the filler knife to smooth the edges. Paint, leave to dry, then add another coat if necessary.

Source: UKTV Home

DIY Tips: How to Choose a Carpet

Laminate and wooden floors have been au fait for the last few years, but recently, carpeting has been making a comeback! Soft, cosy and warm, carpets can be trendy too – so take a look at our top tips for choosing a carpet and this link for carpet stretchers to help you fit your carpet.



Synthetic or Wool

Synthetic carpets tend to be very stain-resistant, so are great for areas with lots of footfall or if you have children or pets. However, wool carpets are softer and tend to retain their pile better – or, you can buy a carpet made of a combination of wool and synthetic fibres.

If your room has lots of footfall, it’s a good idea to choose a carpet that is strong and heavy duty – an 80% wool blend is always a good choice for a living room or hallway. Alternatively, opt for a synthetic blend such as acrylic or polyester in areas that might be prone to heavy footfall and stains, such as kid’s bedrooms.

Carpet Pile

The “pile” of the carpet refers to the length of the fibres. Shag or saxony carpets have long fibres, meaning that they have a soft and luxurious feel and a plush look, while twist and loop carpets offer a similar look but tend to retain their pile better. However, if you have pets, steer clear of twist and loop carpets – claws can easily get caught in the loops, unravelling the fibres and ruining the carpet far more quickly.

Eco-Friendly Carpets

Eco-friendly carpet fibre, like jute or seagrass, are very hard-wearing and are also renewable, too, making them a great choice for green homes. Unfortunately, they do tend to be quite hard and can be a little bit scratchy, so they are not the best choice for comfort but might work well in a hallway, on stairs or in a home office.

Do I Really Need Underlay?

The short answer to that question is yes, yes you do need underlay! New carpeting can be quite pricey but you must set aside a little bit of budget for underlay. It not only helps to cushion the carpet, but it will also make the room feel warmer and prolong the life of your carpet – just imagine how cold and uncomfortable a carpet would be if it were fitted straight onto concrete.

Colours & Patterns

Using the same colour carpet throughout the house and in areas like the hall, stairs, landing and bedrooms will not only create a harmonious look but will help the space feel bigger and brighter. However, this could be a little boring, so it really depends on your personal preferences. Lighter carpets make the space feel bigger, but they do show dirt really easily – whereas patterned carpets are great at hiding stains. You could choose a patterned carpet to brighten up your hallway or to breathe life into your home office.

Source: UKTV Home

DIY Tips: How to Fit Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is having a bit of a revival at the moment and with good reason – it’s cheap, easy to fit, easy to maintain and fairly durable too. It’s also a great alternative to tiling and even wooden floors as there are a huge range of finishes and textures available. Learn how to fit vinyl flooring with this guide and take a look at this link for flooring supplies to help you get the job done.


Things You’ll Need:

  • sheet vinyl
  • vinyl adhesives
  • cutting tool
  • utility knife
  • tape measure
  • bolster chisel
  • straight edge

Work Out How Much Flooring You Need

To work out how much flooring you need to buy, measure the width and length of the room and add between 50-100mm to each edge. Multiply the two measurements together to get the overall amount of flooring you need. Make sure that you measure alcoves and up to the halfway point in the doorway. You can also lay vinyl in strips. If you choose to do this, measure the wall that the narrow lengths are going to sit across and divide by the width of the strips to determine how many you’ll need. Measure the length of the other wall to determine the length of the strips. Always add 50-100mm, more if the vinyl is patterned and you need to match up the strips. Once the vinyl has been bought, keep it in the room you plan to fit it in for 48 hours to bring it up to temperature.

Unroll and Cut the Vinyl

Unroll the long side of the vinyl alongside the longest clear wall. Make a scribing tool. Hammer a nail through a piece of wood, about 30cm from one end. Run it along the edge of the vinyl along the skirting as a guide line. Cut along the guide line with a pair of scissors or using a utility tool. Cut a triangular notch into each corner then press tightly into the corner. Use a bolster chisel to do this, then use the straight edge to create straight creases. Cut the creases with the utility knife to trim the edges. At external corners, cut a straight line at a 45 degree angle down to the floor level. Cut excess vinyl, leaving a little overhang.

Finish it Off

Press the vinyl into the space between the skirting board and the floor. Use the straight edge to create creases, then cut along the lines. Once the floor is completely laid out, use a vinyl adhesive to stick it down, making sure that it is fitted under or butted right up against the skirting board. Smooth the flooring down so that it is as flat as you can get it, making sure that there are no bubbles or ripples in the surface of the vinyl. When fitting around awkward shapes like the toilet, cut wedges into the vinyl in the same way that you’d cut wedges into the corners.


DIY Tips: How to Fit Laminate Floor

Extremely popular as it provides a clean, modern look, laminate flooring has come a long way in the last few years and can now rival hardwood floors in quality but for a fraction of the cost. Learn how to lay laminate flooring and check this link for flooring supplies and tools to help you get the job done.


Choosing a Floor

Look for laminates with oiled wood finishes or bevelled edges, as these are features commonly seen in hardwood floors. Choose the thickest laminate that you can afford, as this generally means that it’s of a higher quality and will last longer than thinner laminate. To work out how much flooring you’ll need, measure the length and breadth of the room and then add 10% for wastage. Ask an assistant at the DIY store if you need some help.

What You’ll Need:

  • laminate flooring and underlay
  • adhesive (unless you’ve chosen click-together flooring)
  • fitting tool and edging block (unless you’ve chosen click-together flooring)
  • drill and 20mm wood bit
  • craft knife and panel saw
  • spacer blocks
  • tape measure
  • hammer
  • try square
  • quadrant moulding
  • panel pins

Lay Down the Underlay

Firstly, take off any inward-opening doors to make the job easier. Remove your shoes and then thoroughly vacuum the floor to remove grit and dirt and then fit the underlay boards to provide a cushion for the laminate flooring.


Fit the First Board

Put the plastic spacers every 60cm along the longest straight wall. Starting from a corner, lay the first row of boards with the groove side of the board facing the wall. Squeeze a thin line of adhesive along the ends of the boards to fit them together. You’ll probably have to cut the last board of the row to fit. Do this by marking with a try square and then cut to size with the saw.

Start the Second Row

Start the second row, beginning with the off-cut of the board you cut for the end of the first row, always staggering the end joints of adjacent rows by at least 30cm in order to provide a uniform finish. Push the completed rows together, joining them with a thin layer of adhesive, adding more plastic spacers as you go alongside the two side walls. Finally, make sure that you force each board together by firmly tapping the edge block against the groove side of each board once you’ve fitted it to ensure that there are no gaps.


Fit the Boards Around Pipes

Mark the position of the pipe on the board that needs to be laid. Drill a hole that is at least 5mm bigger than the diameter of the pipe to allow for expansion of the wood and then make two angled cuts with the saw from the sides of the drilled hole to the edges of the board. Fit and glue the smaller off-cut piece behind the pipe, then fit the rest of the board. Make sure that there is an expansion gap around the pipe.

Finish the Floor

Replace the skirting board over the top of the new flooring or add decorative quadrant moulding to disguise the expansion gap. Pin the moulding to the skirting board and then paint or varnish as desired and finally, fit a metal or wooden door bar over the edge of the flooring at each doorway. Both the moulding and the door bars will finish the job nicely.

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: What are Encaustic Tiles?

Encaustic tile is a term that usually refers to the patterned tiled floors often found in Victorian and Edwardian properties. Learn more about encaustic tiles and how to restore them with this guide, and check this link for tile flooring tools.


Original encaustic tiles are usually up to 2.5cm thick and tend to be red/brown in colour with white/yellow patterns, although other colours including blue and green are also seen quite frequently. The patterns are literally “burnt” into the tiles, rather than painted on top as a surface glaze and so the colours and patterns will never fade, even if the tile gets scratched or damaged. They also make a fantastic fire surround as the patterns are burnt in at exceptionally high temperatures, meaning that the tiles can withstand the high heat from the fire.

Can I Replace Damaged Encaustic Tiles?

Some encaustic tiles may be damaged or cracked and in most cases, this is a job best left to professionals – these tiles are often very valuable and it’s important that the job is done properly. However, if you’re going to replace damaged tiles at home, make sure that you look for original tiles that match your floor or choose modern tiles that are the same depth as the original tiles.

To replace old damaged or broken tiles, carefully remove the old, broken tile, use a hammer and small chisel to chip away the old grout and tile adhesive and then replace with the new tile using grout and adhesive that is colour matched to the original. The look of the floor might also be improved by adding a new layer of grout, and you can do this by very carefully removing the old grout and then replacing with new grout, being sure to wipe grout from the surrounding tiles before it dries.


How to Clean Encaustic Tiles

  1. Sweep the floor to get rid of dust and grime and open windows and doors so that you can work in a well-ventilated space.
  2. Working on around 1 metre of floor at a time, apply a tile-restoring cleaning solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Let the tile-restoring solution sit on the floor for the specified amount of time and then scrub the floor using a scourer.
  4. Rinse the floor using a mop and water. Keep rinsing until the dirt has lifted away and if the floor is still dirty, use another application of the tile-restoring solution.
  5. When the floor is completely clean, apply a thin layer of encaustic tile sealant, according to manufacturer’s instructions, to protect the floor from further dirt and damage.

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: How to Remove Old Floorboards

Removing old floorboards is important when treating woodworm or damp, as this is really the only way to fix the problem. Learn how to remove old floorboards so that you can fit new floorboards that are ready for painting, varnishing or for a new floor covering with this tutorial and check this link for flooring supplies to help you get the job done.


Things You’ll Need:

  • work gloves and safety goggles
  • nail punch
  • power drill
  • claw hammer
  • screws
  • handsaw
  • pry bar
  • jigsaw
  • chisel
  • club hammer

Prise the Boards Up

Most ordinary floorboards are actually fairly easy to remove as they are just butted together. Use a club hammer to wedge the chisel between two floorboards (the boards you want to remove) and carefully angle the chisel to prise the floorboard away from the floor joists. Work along the edge of each board, paying particular attention to the areas that are fixed down with nails, until the board comes up and away from the joist. Continue working until you’ve removed all of the affected boards or all of the boards that you want to remove.


Remove Damaged Tongue and Groove

Tongue and groove boards are a little more difficult to remove than traditional boards as you have to trim the groove from the board to remove it quickly and easily. Set your saw so that it cuts at a minimal thickness as you just want it to cut through the groove and not through any of the floor joists, pipes or wiring underneath. Use a chisel to create a slot between the joists that you can use to guide the saw.

Make it Safe

As you work across the room, removing old floorboards, be sure to knock out the nails as you go. If you find any loose boards that have been lifted to fix plumbing or wiring, nail a batten along the edge of the floor joist so that the new boards sit flush against the rest of the floor. You might also need to use a power plane or sander to make sure that the floor surface is completely smooth and level.

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: How to Level a Floor

There’s no use laying new carpet, floor tiles or laminate flooring over uneven floorboards as you’ll be left with an uneven, bumpy finish, which could cause floor tiles to buckle, bumps in the carpet or laminate to rise out of place. Learn how to use a spirit level and hardboard to level the floor for the most professional-looking results and check out this link for flooring supplies.

level floor

Things You’ll Need:

  • straight edge
  • nail punch
  • utility knife or a saw
  • try square
  • hammer
  • panel pins
  • sheets of hardboard

Make Sure the Room is Ventilated

Proper ventilation is really important when installing new floors to prevent damp, so ensure that the room is properly ventilated before levelling the floor. There should be an airbrick opening at ground level to let air into the room. If not, install an airbrick, check for any signs of damp or mould and fix using the appropriate solution before levelling the floor.

Prepare the Old Floorboards

Using a hammer, punch any protruding nails below the surface of the boards. Screw down any boards that have come loose or that are creaking and then if needed, use a power plane to level any boards that are really uneven. You should also take up a few floorboards and note where the wires and pipes are.


Prepare the Hardboard

Take the 6mm hardboard sheets and brush a litre of water over the rough side of each sheet panel, then leave for 24 hours so that the boards can acclimatise to the room. Lay the boards on the floor and mark where the pipes and wiring lay, then lay narrow strips of hardboard into these spaces so that they can easily be taken up should there be any issues with the electrics or plumbing later on.


Lay Out the Boards

Measure and cut the boards to size using the craft knife or saw. Lay the sheets down with the rough edge facing upwards, using the straight edge as a guide. Fix the sheets down, staggering the joints, using diamond-headed panel pins 150mm apart in the middle of the boards and every 100mm around the edges of the boards, making sure that the pins and nails are level with the top of the boards.

You’re now ready to lay your new floor!

Source: 4Homes