Which taps are best for your bathroom sink?

After choosing the perfect bathroom sink, the right taps can help to tie it in with the theme of a room and make the sink look more attractive.  Changing the taps on an existing sink is also one effective way to give the room a makeover, matching the taps with other accessories to change a bathroom’s character without spending a fortune.

Crosswater mixer taps are available in a range of styles, including elaborate antique designs and simple contemporary styles.  However, mixers often rely on a home benefiting from high water pressure and it is worth checking whether certain taps are suitable for a home’s water pressure level before buying the taps.

To ensure that a sink fits in well with the rest of the bathroom, its taps can be coordinated with those already installed on the bath or shower.  Matching minimalist designs with the shower can help it to look as stylish as an impressive power shower.  Good examples of taps that help to give your sink a contemporary edge, as well as a range of stylish bathroom sinks, can be found at Crosswater.

Spare planks? Flank the deck with raised beds

Decking is a great way to spruce up the back garden.  It is relatively cheap, easy to lay, and hides unsightly paving.

As with any DIY job, however, it is often the finishing which reveals the very understandable limitations of the amateur, be it down to lack of range of top quality tools, or simply the fact that new skills are required.

Like any other job, decking needs finishing well and if materials are left over, or a few extra planks and batons purchased, using them to fashion a matching set of raised beds is a great way to complete the project.

These only need to be slim, beds as narrow as 30cm and the height of a couple of decking planks, should work well and have a similar effect to a brick or stone edging wall with a gap for planting.

Cut decking board to size and fix to batons with the same galvanised screws used for the decking. (You are, essentially, just building a rigid frame here.)  Use batons to make the corners solid, and pin the beds into the ground.

With spaces left for access to the garden, a further piece of plank will work well fixed across the edge to block off the view of the gap under the deck.  This gives a good, seamless look, particularly if the raised bed boxes are treated with the same wood stains, preservatives, etc. as the deck.  Add some beautiful, summer or winter, bedding plants, to complete the picture.

Need a new floor? Check for buried treasures first!

As carpets get old, worn and dirty, enthusiasm for cleaning them (yet again!) starts to wither.  It is at this point that homeowners are likely to be tempted to prise up a corner – no longer caring about the fact that the carpet will probably never stay down as firmly again – to see how serviceable the floor underneath
actually is.

Occasionally, in older properties, removing a tired and battered carpet might reveal the very welcome sight of old but dignified parquet or quarry tiled flooring.  These floors can take some cleaning, or defy cleaning altogether, but are nevertheless solid, and, perhaps, a very fortuitous answer (either temporary or permanent) to the pressing need for a new floor.

In the early part of the 20th Century, it was quite usual for sitting rooms to have a solid floor and for homeowners to place a very large rug in the centre, with furniture positioned on the hard floor around the edges.  Far from being old fashioned, hard flooring with rugs is both stylish and modern.  A modern rug, with bold designs or colours, can offset a traditional floor beautifully and of course, hide any marks which the best attempts at cleaning have failed to disguise. 

There is great satisfaction to be had, in these austere times, from such a thrifty solution, and it does, of course, mean that money is saved on flooring, thus fast-forwarding (with fuller pockets) to the fun part of the job: choosing new accessories for the room.

It is good to be vain

Vanity unit refers to a sink or cabinet with a mirror, which has drawers to hold all sorts of beauty products and grooming items.  It is the focal point of most bathrooms, since it is where you check how you look and ensure you are ready to begin your day.  Bathroom vanity units are usually the first and last thing people look at when entering the room.

Vanity units may come in the form of just a cabinet or a sink with under-sink cabinets.  Some also have a towel holder, sliding doors and a hidden waste bin.  The most important parts of your vanity though, are the countertop and mirror.

Make sure to keep the countertop clutter-free by placing organisers that can help to keep everything in order.  The mirror reflects how vain you really are.  It is not a crime to be vain.  Go for a big mirror, with mirror lights.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best every day!

Finally, design your vanity unit to match the bathroom tiles, fittings, bath, tap and other fixtures.  You can visit UK Bathrooms for several design and style options from a number of different manufacturers including Simpsons Showers and Bauhaus Bathrooms.

Tips for cutting glass safely

Whether you are repairing a broken window pane or creating a custom glass design, there may be situations when you need to cut a piece of glass. This can be dangerous, so make sure you are giving full attention to safety when you tackle the job.

Purchase the right tools for the job

The right tools are the most important part of this task. You need a glass cutter, whether diamond tipped or a small steel wheel design. If you do not intend to cut glass regularly, the more affordable steel option will work just fine. You will also need some thick gloves to protect your hands and safety glasses to protect your eyes.


Always practice on scrap pieces of glass. It can take time to get used to the process of cutting glass and you do not want to ruin an expensive window pane.

Cut the glass

Mark the area you are to cut and lay a straight edge along it. Lay the glass on a flat surface to keep it steady, with the piece to be cut hanging over the edge. Grip the glass cutter firmly and draw it along the straight edge in one stroke, slowly and with a reasonable amount of pressure. Move the blade away from your body and draw it in an outward direction, so that you are not injured if it slips.

This action should cut the glass cleanly, though it will not fall away. Instead, you need to snap the piece of glass into two pieces by applying a firm and even pressure. If it does not give easily, run the glasscutter again. Soon, you will have a piece of glass, cut to the required size and without any cut fingers.

Fix that sticking door

A sticking door is actually more common than you might think. It makes no difference how old or new the property is, you can have a door that sticks when moisture, even just the moisture in the air, gets absorbed into the wood, causing it to swell. Fixing it is quite straightforward and will eliminate what can become an extremely annoying problem.

Find the location

The only way to fix a sticking door is to find out where it is sticking. If the problem is due to moisture making the door or the frame swell, then the door will probably stick along an edge. If it is sticking at the bottom, it is probably because the door has settled too low on its hinges or the hinges have moved. If the door is sticking on the top, it is probably because the structure around the door has settled, pushing down on it.

How to fix it

For a door that is sticking on the edge, all you need to do is remove it from its hinges and plane a thin strip of the edge off. For doors sticking at the bottom, do the same thing, but use the plane on the bottom of the door. If the door is sticking at the top, plane the top. You may not even have to remove the door to plane the top, provided you can secure it open, so it does not swing and that you can physically reach the top of the door from a stepladder.

Remember, a sticking door does not have to be a problem; it is a very easy to fix.

Installing an electric power shower in your bathroom

For many homes upgrading the family bathroom to include an electric power shower is essential. Many older houses have no space in the bathroom for a separate shower cubicle, but it is possible to install electric showers into existing bathrooms with minimal effort.

It’s likely your bathroom tiles will need to be replaced as part of this process and it makes sense to tile up to the ceiling. When selecting bathroom fittings many people also opt for a glass door on the side of the bath to contain spray from the electric power shower.

Bathroom extractor fans are a must if you plan to install an electric shower as the steam produced needs to be removed efficiently in order to prevent a build-up of mould and damp. Consider the placement of this item carefully before you install it. Many have a switch to ensure it can be turned off when the shower is not in use.

However competent you are you should always employ an electrician to install your new electric shower. Discuss your options in advance, before purchasing any bathroom fittings to make sure the model you want will actually fit in your bathroom.

If you are unsure which design to choose check out websites like UK Bathrooms; they have a great selection of top brands and also room images to give you an idea of how the shower will look when installed. It is much easier to make your choice when you can see the finished room.

Waste pipe blockages

It will happen at some time, a blocked or slow running waste pipe from a sink, bath or washbasin. This can occur for a number of reasons, in kitchens the likely cause might be scraps of food from plates, or pieces of cloth after washing dishes, detergents can also build up on the pipework walls. In baths basins and showers the likely cause will be more than not be strands of hair which become shed in shampooing.

Perhaps the easiest way is to use a proprietary drain cleaner, such as caustic soda which can be obtained from good hardware suppliers. Care must be exercised when using these and protective rubber gloves should be worn at all times. There are also many others and none should be left in the system for a long time, they work extremely quickly, usually it takes only 15 minutes.

A safer way is to use the time honoured method of applying a plunger which can be effective if used properly. Simply place the device over the drain hole, run the water to cover the base and work the plunger up and down in a pumping action, care should be taken to cover the overflow hole at the top of the sink or bath otherwise water may escape through it. Usually this will work first time, but if not repeat until the water runs away easily.

As a last resort if the waste cannot be unblocked tit may be necessary to undo the waste from the sink or basin, remembering to place a bucket underneath to catch the water left in the sink and use a flexible drain clearing wire to move the blockage, This last method is not usually necessary unless something serious has caused the blockage, which then may result in specialist help being required.

Growing carrots

Growing carrots in the garden can be very rewarding, giving fresh produce to cook with or to add to salads.  Vegetables that are fresher often have a sweeter taste and carrots straight from the garden are no exception.

Carrots can be planted from April to June for cropping between July and October.  Carrots should be sown thinly, about half an inch deep, in rows around 6 inches apart.  Germination can be expected in around 2-3 weeks.  Carrots prefer a sunny place and adding some peat to the soil a few months before planting is good practice.  Plants should be thinned to leave 2-3 inches between each.  Weeds should be removed by hand as use of a hoe may disturb the crop.  Carrots need to be watered during dry spells to keep the ground moist.


Carrots planted in April can be picked from the end of June onwards, with earlier picking resulting in smaller but sweeter carrots which are ideal for salads.  Carrots can be left in the ground until October when they should be fully grown and ready for harvesting.

Choosing Bathrooms blinds

Blinds are a superb innovation for any room in the house but the bathroom is where they really come into their own.

A colourful blind can brighten a clinical and functional room, or you might like to choose one that will blend in with your existing decor.  With the amount of water being used in a bathroom, it is sensible to go for one of the many waterproof options on the market.  These are easy to clean and will not get damp stains on their PVC fabric, should water be splashed on to them.

Privacy is a major consideration when choosing blinds for the bathroom or lavatory and some people find that blackout blinds are ideal.  Blackout blinds are made of thick durable fabric – usually polyester – and do not allow anyone to see into the room.  As suggested by their name, they also do not allow any light in.  Those who choose a white or pastel coloured blind will be able to benefit from reflected light inside, but still retain their decency.  If one requires natural light then lighter fabrics should be chosen. 

Most of these blinds are fitted on an aluminium tube mechanism that is easy to use and also shouldn’t be affected by rust or other problems.  If you are choosing a brighter colour blind then the natural sunlight will cause your room to take on the hue of whichever colour blind you have chosen.  It is important to bear this in mind when choosing your bathroom decor.

Roller blinds are relatively easy to fit for the home DIY expert and most manufacturers’ products come supplied with full instructions as well as any required fixtures and bathroom fittings.  All you will need to have is a masonry drill, screwdriver and possibly scissors and a hacksaw for cutting to size.