Tips for summer DIY

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PA Photo/thinkstockphotos
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Hot, sunny days are the obvious time to do exterior repairs and painting, although painting in strong, direct sunlight and high temperatures isn’t necessarily a good idea - it can affect the finish.

If your home’s exterior walls are painted, a fresh coat or two will protect them ready for winter, and smarten them up. As always, do any prep first, such as filling cracks and scraping off loose and flaking paint. To protect bricks, pointing, render, stone, concrete and plaster against water damage, try Sandtex Brickwork Waterproofer and Protector (£29.99 for 5ltr, Homebase), a clear liquid that’s easy to use and dries quickly.

If you have a wooden front door and the paintwork’s tatty, you’ll need to fill, sand and recoat it. Paint on exterior doors has a tendency to crack and flake with movement, which can expose the wood to the elements. The same applies to wooden windows - don’t allow the paintwork to deteriorate or the wood will soon start to rot. Use a good exterior wood paint, such as Sandtex 10 Year Exterior Satin in Seclusion (£17.64 for 750ml, B&Q), a fashionable dark grey that looks great on doors and windows.

If you’ve got time off at home and the weather’s nice, tackling a big garden DIY project, such as building a deck or laying a patio, may be something to consider. Perhaps it’s time to turn your garden shed into something more than just somewhere to store your lawn mower and tools? A shed can be converted into useful living space, including a home office, studio, music or games room, gym, or playroom/den, as long as it’s easily accessible from the house, is insulated and (preferably) has electricity.

You may want to get tradespeople in while you’re away on holiday, so you don’t have to deal with all the mess, noise and disruption, but, in my experience, leaving them to get on with it is usually a bad idea. However clear you are, it never quite goes to plan, leaving you disappointed. If a friend or family member can supervise the work for you, that may help, but if you want something doing well, do it yourself - or at least supervise it yourself. Remember that tradespeople may also be away at the moment, so don’t expect things to happen as quickly as they might at other times of the year.

Most of us don’t need the heating on now, so what better time to replace an old boiler? This is one occasion where you might want to be away, as (in most cases) you’ll be without hot water, and it should be a straightforward job for a good heating engineer to do unsupervised - see www.worcester-bosch.co.uk for installers accredited by boiler manufacturer Worcester, Bosch Group. You may also want to consider installing a more energy efficient - and luxurious - form of heating than central heating, such as wet underfloor heating. This works at a lower temperature to radiators but delivers the same level of comfort, saving you money because the boiler doesn’t have to work as hard, using less energy. Most types of floor-covering are suitable for wet underfloor heating, including carpet, tiles, vinyl, laminate and wood - go to www.askforunderfloor.org.uk for more information.