Five festive fixes to give your house a boost

Applying sealant between a wall and a sink. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

Applying sealant between a wall and a sink. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos - Credit: Archant

If all that extra time at home (or the critical eyes of family) has made you aware of all sorts of niggling problems with your house, here are some quick DIY fixes that can be carried out during the perpetual Sunday that is the Christmas break.

1. If the front door is letting you down, hanging a Christmas wreath on it won’t necessarily smarten it up. You probably don’t have time for a full revamp, but you should still be able to fill and sand, where necessary, and do a coat or two of paint, providing you use quick-drying exterior wood paint.

2. For dents in interior walls, use a quick-drying filler, like New Polycell Tough Little Polyfilla.

To cover the repair, stir the emulsion really well, but bear in mind that you can sometimes see a slight difference in colour, even if you use the original pot of paint.

3. Wooden kitchen worktops, even if oiled, tend to get marked. If cleaning doesn’t remove the marks, sand them, clean with a cloth dampened with methylated spirits (or white spirit) and apply worktop oil.

It’s important to protect the worktop before using it again, so only start this job if you have time to apply enough coats of oil - see the manufacturer’s instructions for drying and recoating times. Test if you’ve done enough coats by splashing a few drops of water on the worktop - if they sit on the surface as beads, you have.

4. In both the kitchen and bathroom, dirty and discoloured grout immediately looks tatty. You can hack out the grout, or at least enough of it to enable you to apply new grout over the top, with a grout rake or specialist power tool, such as Worx’s Sonicrafter range of multi-tools.

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A quicker and easier way to give discoloured white grout a new lease of life is to scrub it with grout cleaner and use a grout pen or reviver to whiten it. Badly discoloured grout probably won’t look like new, but it should look better.

5. Peeling or mouldy kitchen and bathroom silicone sealant looks just as bad as ageing, dirty grout and may be letting in water where you don’t want it. If the sealant’s hard to get off, use a sealant remover to soften it first.

When applying new sealant, putting masking tape either side of where you want it helps you to get neat, straight lines.