Kerb Appeal Q&As

I need to re-paint my garage door and I’m not looking forward to it. What is the best and easiest way to do it?

First, remove all loose and flaking paint from the door. I use a cup type wire brush fixed to an angle grinder for this job. If you do this, take care – wear safety glasses, a mask and gloves. You could use a hand-operated wire brush or a sander with a coarse or medium grade abrasive paper. Prime any bare metal that has been exposed by cleaning. There are plenty of metal primers to choose from so read the labels carefully to check you have the correct one.

Once the primer has been applied and is dry, rub the whole door down with coarse, then medium and finally fine abrasive paper. Now the paint can be applied. Hammerite make a special garage door paint that is applied with a natural bristle brush and can be re-coated the next day. External gloss paint can be applied using a 100mm (4”) roller. Before you do this, check the instructions on the tin to see what primer and undercoat are required. I like to apply at least two coats of top coat rubbing the paint down with fine grade wet & dry paper between coats.

I have a gutter with a slight crack in it caused, I think, by a builder’s rough use of his ladder. What is the easiest way to repair this? I do not want to replace it.

Perhaps the easiest way to repair it is to use a bitumastic spray to cover the crack. I’ve not tried it to repair a crack but it seems to work well on leaking gutter joints. Isoflex supply one that is called ‘Gutter Repair’ and, as you would expect, it does what is says on the tin.Alternatively, you could use a gutter repair tape for the job. It is more a matter of preference than effectiveness. Whichever system you use, you will need to clean the old gutter well and use a ladder to reach the gutter. When doing this please take care to erect the ladder safely and to make sure it is well secured!

I have three bricks in the front wall of my house that have crumbled away. I don’t know why this has happened, they are not close together and they are about 3’to 4’ above ground level. It seems a real mystery. Enough of that, how easy is it to replace them?

You do sometimes get bricks that have not fired properly in the kiln and do not withstand the weather, perhaps this is what has happened to yours. The job of replacing a single brick is not too difficult – removing the brick is harder. Use a masonry drill bit to drill a series of holes in the mortar that hold the brick in place, going the full 100mm (4inches) depth of the brick. Then use a lump hammer and plugging tool (this is like a 50mm (2inches) wide cold chisel with the angle cut off one corner) to chisel away the mortar from around the brick. Keep at it – this is a tedious task.

If you resort to breaking the brick with a hammer and bolster, try not to let any of the bits go into the cavity between the inner and outer skins of the wall. Once the brick has been removed, mix up some bricklaying mortar and spread it on the base of the hole and the end of the bricks on each side. Spread some mortar on the top of the new brick and push it into place. Now carefully smooth the mortar into place (pointing) so that it matches the rest of the wall. You may find it easier to allow the mortar to set a little before finishing pointing – if it is too wet, the mortar will not be easy to shape.

The plastic window frames in my house have been in place for many years now (at least 20) and they are beginning to yellow. Is there anything I can do to revive the plastic?

Yes, it’s now quite an easy job! Use uPVC primer (International Paints make one) to prime the window frames, then over-coat them using a good quality gloss exterior paint.

When doing this job, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Although it is not suggested in the instructions, once I’ve cleaned the windows I give them a rub over with fine abrasive paper to ensure all the dirt has been removed. The window frames will need two coats of primer and a good quality exterior gloss paint to finish.

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